I have written a fair number of books (26 to date) and while I AM a prolific writer, one of the reasons I am able to write these books with much less effort and heartache is that I have two great tools for writing a book that I use. One is my own Writing A Book Worksheet and one is Scrivener, a suped-up word processing tool for authors.
Writing A Book Worksheet
This is the worksheet that I made to make my book writing easier! I use it from the very first inkling of an idea, all the way through were I am going to be putting words on actual paper.
There are a number of different worksheets including:
Book Ideas Sheet – This is where I put every thought I have about my book all in one page, but no specific order. Generally I have a few of these pages going while I am brainstorming my book idea.
Working Title / Chapter Ideas – Here I scope out different potential chapter titles and start drilling down to what I might have as sections in each chapter.
Note: I have about three of these sets of worksheets going at any one time. If I have a book idea I don't just jump in and start writing, instead I start plotting it out and collecting ideas that I can use in it. This has stopped me from “writing” many different books as I found out early that there really wasn't enough content (or interest by me) to finish it!
Chapter Page – Once I find that I DO have enough to start a book, then I use the Chapter page to flesh out each of the 5 sections that I had on my Chapter Ideas Worksheet.
Working Titles – One thing I find as I write is that there are a number of different titles that I might want to use as I go. Here is where I note all of my great title ideas so I can winnow them down closer to publication time.
Chapter Order – The last worksheet I use is the Chapter Order sheet where I can get all my chapter ideas in one place and then figure out which comes first and which should be a little further down the line.
Why it works for me… I have to say that I am a paper gal and using Evernote or any of those great online tools just doesn't suit me early on. Instead I like to have my book worksheets in my planner where I can note down ideas and really just brainstorm my book before I actually start writing it.
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The Binder – The very neatest thing about Scrivener is the “binder” area. This looks a little bit like the folders in email, but it works much differently. In there you can make a hierarchy of sections and chapters and then just shoot them out when you are ready to publish a book. You can move them around at will and really make your writing life easier.
Research – Another cool thing about Scrivener is the “research” area. This allows you to pull and store all kinds of different bits of your book OUTSIDE of the publishing part.
Formatting – Last but not least is the powerful ability that Scrivener has to format your book consistently. If you have been using Word and styles to try and make your book look better, PLEASE take the leap and get Scrivener. It is SUPER affordable and SO worth all the time and headaches you will save!
Why it works for me… Scrivener allows me to have ALL the different bits of my book in one place. I can drag and drop PDFs, pictures and all kinds of research into different “research pages”. Also, it makes outputting my books in PDF, Amazon and ePub format a breeze.
When I published our first book I remember using Word and reading ALL the articles about what to do, how to make the table of content, etc. I spent HOURS dinking and tinkering and trying to make it work and finally got something that I could upload to Amazon, but it was UGLY. After that I said, “there has to be a better way” and that way was Scrivener! It will seriously save you hundreds of hours and lots of tears!
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There you have it, my two favorite tools for writing a book! Each of these makes my life easier in a little different way and both are invaluable in my book writing process!