Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, January 01, 2022

How to Prepare to Write a Nonfiction Book

 Several months ago, I decided to take on a writing challenge for this year. This particular challenge was to write one ebook each month. Not only this, but to also self-publish it on Kindle Unlimited. A writing friend had successfully completed this challenge one year, and I wanted to give it a try too. This kind of challenge would require me to write an ebook fast – ideally within one week – so that I would be able to send it to the editor, get it edited/revised/ready, then go through the necessary steps to get it published and all by the end of the month! (A real challenge, indeed.) I figured I could write the first draft in one week, since I used to write ebooks in one week’s time when I was a ghostwriter for a client.


Once I figured out what books I would write for this challenge, I got busy making preparations. Today was my first day writing the January book and I got in a good word count for the day: 2300 words. I believe all of the planning and preparations I made helped me to get off to a strong start.


Here are the steps I took in planning:


Organizing the book


I put together a table of contents for this book as well as notes on what to write about for each section. I made sure I understood this book’s purpose and exactly what it must cover. I also took note of any questions that this book should answer.




I’m big on doing research, and I especially do research for every book I write. Research is so important when you are writing a book, especially if it’s a nonfiction book. You can never do too much research! It was research that helped me to learn more about this book’s topic as well as get ideas for things to include in my own book. I used both the Internet as well as other ebooks and print books for my research. I follow a lot of news and magazine accounts on Twitter and sometimes I’ll come across an article published there that covers my topic.




Every good nonfiction writer takes notes for their work! These notes can be items to look up, books to check out, an idea to investigate further or even a quote to include. I took lots of notes for this ebook and they have proved very helpful when it was time to start writing.


Keeping the book in mind


When I’m doing laundry, I’m thinking about the book I’m writing. When I’m doing dishes, cooking a meal, walking the dog, doing a puzzle or even watching a movie, I still have a book I am writing or planning to write in the back of my mind. Writers are writing even when they’re not writing. We’re planning, exploring ideas, thinking about things in our books and what we’ll write about next. Keeping this book in mind helped me to prepare for writing it, because I started getting ideas for things to write about. It also had me itching to get started with the writing!


Scheduling the time to write


I can write at any time of the day – morning, noon or night – but I had to figure out when the BEST time to write would be. Since my timeframe was to write the book in one week, I had to ensure this writing time would be uninterrupted. So after some thought, I decided to schedule my time to work on this book in the early hours of the morning. I get up early just so I can have time to myself to pursue activities like exercise, meditation, reading and writing. I live in a house with only one PC, and because I need to use the PC for this book, and because EVERYBODY ELSE in the house uses the PC too (sometimes for several hours), I knew my best bet to get work done on the book would be to slate that writing time for the morning. Yes, I have a laptop with OpenOffice on it, but I’m still getting used to that laptop. I write faster on the PC. My fingers fly across the keyboard on the PC! But on the laptop, not so much. Perhaps that will change. Meanwhile, I use the PC for all of my “big” writing projects. Finding the right time to write without interruptions is so important if you want to achieve your writing goals. Such a task may not be easy, and it may take time, but it’s an important task to complete if you want to get any writing done.


So, those are the steps I took to help me prepare for the ebook I am currently writing. And even as I am writing this ebook, I am thinking about the next one I’ll be writing in February!


In the event you are planning to write a nonfiction book, consider following the tips mentioned in this post. Do what works for you and you’ll soon be hard at work on your next book. Writing a nonfiction book can be daunting, but if you plan ahead of time and use your notes as well as research to help you out, it may make the job a little easier to get through.

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