Outlining your book is an integral part of successfully understanding the pieces that you want to create and how they’re all going to fit together. If you’ve never written a book before, or if you’re looking to make your next writing endeavor smoother than the last, understanding a basic book outline is a great place to start.

Understand Your Topic

Before you go any further, you need to understand your topic. First of all, how detailed are you planning to be? If you’re writing a book that is going to require 200,000 words to get your point across, you may want to consider breaking it down or simplifying your message. Get a basic idea of what you want to share, express or say before you really begin your outline.

Organize Your Research

You can’t write a book without first doing some research into your topic. If you haven’t already began gathering things, you need to create a concrete plan for research. What do you have and what are you going to need? Organize your thoughts, harness your expertise, conduct interviews and compile evidence. This is important.

Draft Yourself A Plan

Not everyone believes in a plan for writing, but for many people a content plan allows them a clear path without distraction. There are many ways to create this plan, and everyone will find something different that works for them. One way to create a writing plan is to make something that looks like a table of contents. Organize your ideas, one by one, and put them in an order that makes sense to you. This may not be the final order your chapters appear in, but it serves to keep you on track while you’re writing.

Schedule Yourself

Have you ever used an editorial calendar before? If you have, scheduling is nothing new for you. If you haven’t, it’s a great tool to keep you motivated and on track. The trick to an editorial calendar is that you have to follow the schedule. The time that you set aside for writing is for writing and writing alone. No dishes. No Facebook. No phone calls. Let nothing stand between yourself and success. But, an editorial calendar works in more than one way. It also helps you understand how much time you need and how much progress you regularly make. This is going to give you a fairly accurate idea of how long it will take you to finish your first draft.

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