An Article on … Articles: How to Write a Book, by Starting Small

Copyright 2006 Kathy Gulrich

I recently led a series of intro calls for a book-writing program I’m leading at CoachVille.

Most people who showed up on the calls had been thinking about writing their book for a year or so. Not a surprise.

I was surprised, however, to discover how many people on the calls had started thinking about writing their book five or six years ago … but still hadn’t done it. Wow.

So … what’s getting in the way?

Could be just about anything. Creative block. Fear. Lack of knowledge, or information. Procrastination. No support. Time management (or lack thereof!). Other priorities. Lack of confidence. Maybe all of these…

In thinking about it, one word kept coming up for me: overwhelm.

For almost anyone setting out to write a book … or create an information product … the sheer size of the task can be very overwhelming.

And when overwhelm hits, we generally can’t get started.

One suggestion that often works? Tackle a smaller project that feels comfortable, and do-able.

Less can be more

Instead of writing a book … or workbook, or e-book, or teleclass series … how about writing just one article?

You could start by choosing an article topic that you’re already very familiar with.

For example, what’s your book going to be about? What’s the general topic, or your particular slant on that subject?

Once you’ve decided on the general direction you’ll be heading, look for an article format that’s comfortable for you – and will work well with your topic.

Article formats that work

Back to my book-writing program for a moment.

Let’s say that I’m thinking about writing a ‘how-to’ book for first-time authors that would support my program at CoachVille.

Yep, that would be a big project.

But instead of ‘facing’ the whole book, I could start with one article.

Here are several different formats I might consider for my article (along with some ideas for titles that came to mind):

– steps: “10 Steps to the Perfect First Chapter”

– secrets: “Writing Secrets of’s Best-Selling Authors”

– questions & answers: “Answers to the Top Ten Questions Beginning Writers Ask”

– just a question: “Are You Ready to Become an Author?”

– how to: “How to Write Your First Book in 12 Weeks or Less”

– tips: “14 Tips for First-Time Writers”

– checklist: “Writing Your First Book: A Checklist for Success”

– expert approach: “Best-Selling Author Kathy Gulrich Shares Her Most Successful Writing Formats”

– DOs and DON’Ts: “Writing Your Book: DOs and DON’Ts That Will Save You a Fortune”

– a twist on the familiar: “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Writing a Book, But Were Afraid to Ask”

– quiz: “Authors: Take This Quiz Before You Write One More Word!”

– challenge: “Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Successful Author?”

– or combine more than one

It’s really quite easy, once you’ve got the ‘skeleton’ to hang your information on. So just get writing!

Now what?

Okay, you’ve got your article. How the heck does that help you write your book?

Ah, many ways….

– First, the article got you writing, and that’s a very good thing

– Perhaps your article will become a chapter in your book

– You could use your article for advance publicity, to get people interested in your upcoming book

– If you enjoyed working with it, you might use the same article format (how to, DOs and DON’Ts, etc.) as the format – or underlying structure – for your book

So … why not give it a try?

And when your article’s finished, get it out there! Include it in your newsletter, submit it to a magazine, or submit it to your favorite article distribution site.