Getting Started

Want to write a book? But you don’t know how to start? You’ve come to the right place. Here are eight steps to begin:

██1. Right Message
████ 2.Right Argument
██████ 3. Right Differentiation
████████ 4. Right Content
██████████ 5. Right Organization
████████████ 6 . Right Craft
███████████████7. Right Game Plan
█████████████████ 8. Right Work Program

I’ve dubbed these steps the Stairway to Earth. They cover the hardest part of an author’s work, engineering a descent from the foggy notion of a book to an on-the-ground program. They are what most writers call “prewriting.”

Getting a book written ranks among the hardest of life’s professional goals. It’s not just that putting words down can be hard. It’s that putting down so many, in a logical way, can send your brain into tangles. Face it. Writing a book can be daunting – and sometimes painful – not just for new writers but for professionals.

But there is a way to make things go easier.

The Background
I’ve written a number of nonfiction books and been a consulting editor and ghost writer for others. Authors usually come to me with the same kind of questions: How do I bring a blue-sky idea down to earth? How do I turn my expertise into a manuscript that puts me on the road to publication?

The answer, as in any other professional field, is that you need a process. That’s what this website is for – to explain and discuss a process for writing serious nonfiction books. My process is the Stairway.

I’ve actually organized my book process into 14 steps, idea to manuscript. I cover all 14 in my book, Stairway to Earth. But I believe the most unappreciated steps are the initial eight. And the most unappreciated task is preparing the work-in-process documents – the paper trail – to drive the writing process forward continuously.

The Challenge
People write nonfiction books for all kinds of reasons – to help others, build their reputation, document their expertise, advance their careers, create a consulting brand, and even make money. No matter. Everyone faces a similar problem. I call it writer’s vertigo. That’s why we all need some systematic steps to solid ground.

In the same way that engineers imagine, design, and create a blueprint for a product before they make it, authors have to do the work of prewriting before they write. It’s the only way to get down to earth.

Please Join In
If you have experience in book writing — or you’re just thinking about it — please share your thoughts. I offer a short essay on how I handle each prewriting step. I then invite you to join the discussion on my blog. Together, we can overcome the vertigo and make the road to authorship a little bit easier.


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