Six ways to take the stress out of writing a book

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For all the aspirant writers out there who want to get a book out of your system, start with an e-book. Here’s how:

Getting down to writing: Write that e-book. Just like that. It is almost that simple if you set your mind to it. I never had aspirations to write a book of any kind, but when I learnt of this one-week technique, I couldn’t help but put it to the test.

So, pardon the cliché, but if I can do it, anyone can. There are two critical requirements here.

Commitment and time. Once you make the commitment you must make the time. If the week ahead looks like a time-pressure week, it’s not the week for your e-book.

Why you should start: Following the well-known belief that everyone has a book in them, this is a way to test if this is true of you. Maybe you have one book, maybe you have several. By putting it to the test in short format, you’ll soon find out if you indeed have that book in you. If writing is a new discipline for you and the thought of committing to 80 thousand words just about paralyses you, an e-book is a great way to start. Think of it as the first step across the bridge to literary splendour.

The psychological preparation: Authoring an e-book does not come with nearly the same pressures and demands as writing a lengthy manuscript. If you can write 10 thousand words on one topic, you can write an e-book. Pick something close to your heart. Think about your hobbies and interests. What have you become expert at over the years due to the time spent accumulating knowledge. Review your expertise and jot down the main points of what you know. This will serve to create your outline and provide a framework for the chapters. You can now start to fill in the text.

Practical points: Set yourself a task of two thousand words a day. This will require about two hours of your time, depending on how fast you write. If you can complete that target for five consecutive days, by the end of the week you will have enough content to comprise an e-book. But you’re not quite done yet.

The finishing touches: Spend three to five days editing and get a trustworthy friend to proofread your work. Remember to include your cover page, a table of contents and copyright clause. You want it to look as professional as possible, so pay attention to these extra but important details.

Putting it out there: Another great thing about an e-book is that you can publish it immediately and it can escape the critical eye of a potential publisher. The publishing process is not difficult. There are several publishing sites on line, many of them free. You must read the small print. In many cases the free listing is for a trial period only and if you sign on with your credit card, you will be charged at the end of the trial. In addition to Amazon, many sites provide cover templates and there are cover design apps cheaply available online.

Go for it and good luck.

“You know you’re a writer when your proudest possession is a first edition of Strunk and Whites’ The Elements of Style.” Adair Lara

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