Words and ideas don’t come easily to everyone. Each of us has our own mental blocks and quirks that can inhibit our creative flow from time to time. As I delve into in great detail with the first book in my new Indie Author Success Series, writing books can be faster, easier, and a lot more fun than you might expect. Sometimes, however, you’ll want to embark on a new book project, but your brain is all clogged up. What to do?
You sit down to write, but the words, the ideas, the pages just don’t come freely. Don’t sweat it. Maybe it’s time to explore alternative creative ways to building a solid base of material to turn into a draft of your first book project. Here are a few clever approaches to teasing the knowledge from your noggin — or gleaning it from the heads of others — to get your early draft material down.
1. Create a podcast about your topic
Podcasts are indeed a lot of work, but they’re a lot of fun too. If you can find a good co-host, an interesting topic, and a steady stream of guests to interview, you can easily create a show that’ll serve as a great foundation for a book project. If you plan your topics and guests well, every episode will add new material for you to draw from.
All you have to do is transcribe the show, take the best bits, and weave them into an outline and rough draft for your book. And if your show catches fire with listeners, you’ll simultaneously build an audience for your book well before you even write and launch it. That’s a win-win!
2. Grab a digital recorder, jot down a few talking points, and then talk it out
I’ll admit, carrying on a conversation with yourself into a recorder feels a bit weird the first time you try it. It’s also a little awkward if anyone else is within earshot. But humans think and talk WAY faster than we can write, and getting information straight from your brain to a digital audio recorder can be a very speedy way to generate a LOT of material quickly.
If you know a lot about a subject or have personal experience with your planned book topic, just record yourself riffing on ideas and laying your thoughts down as if you were explaining them to a friend. It’s best to have a rough outline or list of bullet points for the topic you want to cover, but feel free to veer way off topic, ramble, or even just talk jibberish until you gain momentum. The idea is to just get into the flow and let the info pour out of you. You can always go back later to transcribe, edit, and rework the material you get from these recordings and then start working it into a book draft.
3. Create a YouTube channel about your topic
If audio isn’t your thing, but you like creating video, this is another great way to generate material for your book. You can rough it out by using your smartphone to capture and upload video of yourself talking about your topic. Or if you’ve got some technical knowhow, why not create a script and weave together nicely edited videos that deliver information related to your topic in regular installments? Later on, you can revisit your videos and turn them into notes for your book draft, and if they go viral or become popular, you’ll…wait for it…build an audience as you go too!
4. Have a friend interview you
Regardless of what format you pick to record your ideas down with, sometimes recording by yourself without another person around doesn’t click. A great way to overcome this is to invite a friend who is interested about your subject to sit down for a bit of recorded coffee talk. Doing this virtually through skype works well too!
You can have them come up with a list of questions to ask you about the subject, or you can provide a few starter Qs on talking points you want to cover. Then? Just roll tape, forget you’re being recorded, and have a lengthy conversation about the topic where you answer questions, chat, and explain things in detail. Once you get into a comfortable flow, things will click and you’ll get a ton of great information to work off from.
5. Blog your book in many small bite-sized installments
Ah, the tried-and-true method of book writing for many online bloggers. I used this very blog as a testing ground for early rough draft chapters of some of my previous books. Sitting down to write a quick blog post is a lot easier to wrap your head around than trying to write a proper book chapter. So consider breaking your book outline down into a planned list of topics, then tackling them in bite-sized chunks. Get into a routine where you sit down and write a blog post a few times a week. Eventually you’ll generate readers, and gather enough draft material to heavily edit, re-work, expand on, and transform into a book.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on social media! Also, check out my new book series for indie authors, which starts with my latest book below. Cheers!
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