I have published four books and have had several articles published. There are some key things I have learned in this process that I want to share with you. As I stated before, it's great you have a story but you have to make sure you bring out the reason why your story needs to be told. To make sure I am capturing the reason for telling my story, I write an outline for each of my books.
For example when I began writing my book, "I Soar: The Chicken is out of the Coop", I wrote down what I wanted to express in the book. The initial thought I had was: Brief testimony of my life from my first book to walking in my calling and allowing God to help me grow. I initial saw this book as the next step from my first book, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made". In that first book I gave my testimony and talked about what I learned to help a young girl understand her worth. In this book, the Lord had me looking at the differences between chickens and eagles and how He desires His children to grow from a cooped up (bondage mentality) attitude to a free type of attitude like the eagle (that soars). In this book I had to make sure when I wrote about the chicken I related the chicken's coop existence to different spiritual areas in the lives of people that needed to be changed so they could be free (released from the coop). When I wrote about the eagle I had to keep in mind the goal was to use the eagles characteristics to show the spiritual characteristic God wanted in His children. My outline helped me to keep myself on task.
The next step in the plan, once I came up with my initial thought of what the book would cover was to outline the chapters or what I would cover in the book. I decided I would write about the chicken mentality first. The next section I would write about the eagle mentality. I then had to decide what was the purpose of sharing these characteristics. Sometimes this will call for you to do additional research. Often times writers say to themselves, I have something to share and can get discouraged when they realize it calls for dedicated work to move from being a writer to being a published author. When you do all the outlining, research and prep work, it will help your writing process to become much more successful.
One of the reasons I like to do an outline before I start writing is it helps me to keep myself focused on what I am trying to write. Your outline helps you to remember what you wanted to say in that section and becomes your accountability partner in a sense. Remember you are only in the writing section. I tend to focus more on writing at this point than I do on editing (that will come later). Let your writing and your thoughts flow.
When I have finished writing a section and/or chapter I step away from it for a period of time. The reason I do this is to give myself some time to get the immediate writing out of my mind. I come back to it after some time with fresh eyes and read what I have written to make sure I have actually stated my thoughts in the way I intended.
Rev. Jewel D. Williams, Creative Director for Tri-Production affiliated with Williams Innovative Network (W.I.N.), where we help people WIN with Christ.
More information will be coming soon on publishing packages through Tri-Production. Join us again soon for our next lesson in our Writing Workshop Series.