The Missing Ingredient of a Finished Book

The singer acim authors a hit song several years ago about opening up the dirty window and beginning a book. The chorus had a line, “Today your book begins.”

While this is a catchy pop lyric, it can also give you a tip about getting your book finished. One of the most important ingredients of a finished book is clarity. You can’t see well out of a dirty window. You can’t write a book well, without clarity.

To write your book efficiently and effectively, you need clarity on several important considerations before you write the first word.

First, who is the intended reader of your book?

Can you clearly describe your ideal reader and state how your book will help her? When you are clear on the ideal reader of your book and the problem your book will solve for her, you can write directly to that person, heart to heart. If you’ve ever read a book and felt like the author was speaking directly to you, you’ve experienced clarity of readership.

Next, what is the point of your book?

Before you write, spend some time getting clear on exactly what you are teaching in your book. Write down a list of your concepts, and put them in an order that will make it easy for your reader to digest. Take the reader on a logical journey from point A to point B so that he can comprehend and feel intelligent as he reads. If your book is confusing or difficult to understand because it rambles, your reader will probably not finish it and miss the message you are trying to convey.

Then, what content will you cover in your book?

You will save much time and frustration if you create a detailed outline for your book before you begin to write it. Just like a roadmap, a book outline ensures that you don’t repeat the same concepts or miss something important. In my classes, I teach a detailed process called the Book Blueprint, which is a thorough outline of all the concepts, large and small, that will be addressed in your book. If you don’t know how to do a Book Blueprint, you can start with a mind map for each chapter or create an outline. Both methods work well to keep you organized in your thinking and your writing.

Finally, how will you compete with other books on the market?

It is very wise to look at the top five to ten books that compete with your future book. You can do this at a bookstore or online. Look at the best sellers in your category. Determine what they have in common and what they lack. Ensure that your book will contain the basic material readers need to know about your topic as well as unique material that only you can write.

When you take the time to answer these questions before you begin writing your book, you will have the clarity you need to write quickly. You’ll be sure of your message and the readers who will receive it. When you have clarity for your book, you’ll stop feeling stuck and start writing your masterpiece.

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