I wrote my first book, The Yellow Elephant, in just 10 days. It is just over 200 pages and 40,000 words. You would argue if a book was written that quick that it would be rushed and somewhat lack some substance or quality. After all, how are you going to think of everything you need to add into the book in such a short time? All the ideas, strategic direction of the book, the reflection, the research, the typing itself, testing of concepts to see if they work, proof reading, critique, etc etc. This surely seems like a few months’ worth of work at the very least.
Like all good memory techniques, I knew there was a better way of writing a book. Something quicker, yet still effective providing value to its reader. The sole purpose of writing a book is not just to have written it, but for it to make a positive impact on readers. Just this alone takes time. It turned out that my book has been getting some great reviews and is a bestseller in Australia. So I thought if I can write an impactful book in 10 days, anyone else will be able to as well.
Here is how you can do it:
1. Create a Mind Map of your book
There is no chance that I’d ever have written a book without using Mind Maps. As described by its inventor Tony Buzan in his popular Mind Map video, a Mind Map is a thinking tool that reflects externally what goes on inside your head. Often when we’re thinking, things are not exactly organized. They are scattered around and we need to gather all the information from various places in our brain in order to understand. If information is not planned and structured in the brain, then it can cause ‘writers block’. A Mind Map allows you to create a plan all on one page so you can see the direct links each topics has. It creates a bird’s eye view of your book.
Below is the Mind Map for The Yellow Elephant book.
These are the headings I came up with for my book. I had a fair idea that I wanted to write about these topics. Hence, they ultimately became my chapter headings.
2. Fill in gaps on your Mind Map
The next stage is to create 2nd level branches underneath the main chapter headings. Below is how I did it for The Yellow Elephant.
This is the whole book in Mind Map format. You can pick up what the book is about, the topics, interest areas, and so much more information once it is Mind Mapped like this.
Once you create your branches you will have most of the information you need to write your book. The next step is to look at your branch topic and start writing it. If you get stuck, simply move on to another branch and continue. Your writing does not need to be a linear approach. Even if it is a novel you’re writing. The pieces will all fit together as you already have created the skeleton. Just add your meat.
3. Writing hacks
These are cool tricks to help you write a book quicker and provide great value to the reader.
Exercises – Have a short task or questions for your readers that can drive a point or create further learning.
Start of chapter quotes – I’ve come across so many of these that I had to use them at the start of each chapter for my book. It can be used to set the scene for that chapter. For example in my chapter on Speed Reading, I have the quote by Bruce Lee from the movie Enter The Dragon, “Don’t think, feel …it is like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you’ll miss all the heavenly glory!”. This quote depicts one of the speed reading techniques, which is to read with your finger. The more you read with your finger, the more you will not notice it. This will help you improve comprehension as now you’re focused on the actual text.
End of chapter key points – A summary of a chapter in point form is very handy indeed. It assists readers to recall what the chapter was about and reinforces concepts.
Contributors – I requested individuals who I look up to and admire to contribute in my book. This added a nice change of flavour from the overall content and I believe made the book much more interesting to read. It also saved me roughly 11,000 words! That’s a quarter of my book.
Visuals – It is much simpler often to explain things with visuals. There are a plethora of options here including charts, illustrations, maps, guides, and so on.
Checklists – Provide an avenue for readers to make sure they have a system to check themselves and how their progressing. Very useful and can be motivating.
Websites/links – Further resources to assist readers is also helpful. Your aim is to provide greater value to the reader. Additional resources expand the knowledge and offer further approaches of learning.
Interviews – Provides greater insight into how others think. Celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs, whoever you can think of to interview that contributes to extra gain for the reader is most welcome.