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Where to Start When It Comes to Non-Fiction Books

Updated: Apr 16, 2022

So you want to write a non-fiction book... why? No really, why this book?

This is one of the first questions I ask my clients. Most of the time they answer 'oh, I've always wanted to write a book' or 'it seems like the best thing to do for my business.' And while these answers are valid, they're not emotional anchors, they will not inspire you when your midnight oil has run dry and you've still got 40,000 words to write.

To engage yourself to write, you will need an emotional anchor, something that inspires you from within, something that makes writing the book as important as caring for your loved ones, something that screams purpose.

Where to start?

I am a huge fan of spider diagrams. They're a great way for connecting dots. And when it comes to finding your why for writing this book, you just have to keep repeating that question at each turn. Write 'Why do I need to write this book?' in the centre circle and then give as many answers as possible on each of legs leading out of it. Then ask 'why?' again of each of those answers, and so on.

It doesn't have to get more complicated than that at this point. And it's important that you take time to reflect on the answers too. Let them settle, or percolate (as my morning coffee likes to remind me). Come back to your diagram after a few days and you're bound to be able to hone in on the right answer with ease.

So, for example, 'I've always wanted to write a book.' 'Why?' 'Because I feel deep in my bones that I need to.' 'Why?' 'Because I have a message to share.' 'Why?' 'Because I feel it will help people.' 'Why?' 'Because my experience is not unique, but it isn't spoken about.' 'Why?' 'Because our community has always swept those things under the carpet.' 'Why?' 'Because of shame.' 'Why?' 'Because we struggle to live outside the norm.' 'Why?' 'Because of fear that we won't be accepted.'

If you ask enough times, you'll uncover why you feel this book, this specific book, needs to be written OR you'll realise that you may need to go back to the drawing board. Tweak your idea and repeat until you find something that really resonates. Believe me, it'll be worth it.


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