In my post Blogging your way to a book I highlighted the advantages of writing a book piece by piece (or blog by blog) rather than attempting to sit down and write a full-length book. So now here are some tips on how you can actually start to blog your book.
If your aim is to write your complete life story or family history then like many other writers you probably imagine writing it chronologically (i.e. starting at the beginning and working your way to the end) is the best approach. However, if you write your book blog by blog, it really doesn’t matter where you start or what order you choose to write your blogs in. You may find that remembering and writing about more recent events is a lot easier. Or, you may have uncovered some fascinating stories in your family history research which you really want to get down in writing.
Decide on your subject or topic before you start to blog your book
Before you can blog your book you need to be clear about your topic or subject. For some people this might be obvious (for example, you know you want to write your life story, or you know you want to make a start on your family history) but if the subject is not so clear then it is worth giving this some proper consideration. Whatever you choose as the subject of your book, a clear aim and plan is important.
At Beginners guide to writing we provide help and support for a variety of non-fiction genres from life story, memoir, autobiography and family history to nostalgia, food writing, local and social history and travel writing. However, if you want to write a fictional story the process of planning and blogging a book is just the same.
Getting your research organised
If you are writing a non-fiction book your research will probably have generated a lot of information and so the first step to blog your book is to get all of your research material organised. There is no right or wrong way to get organised. You may be happy just sorting all of your research material into organised piles or putting it all into folders. If you prefer to do everything on a computer, it is a good idea to spend some time setting up files and folders which are named and categorised appropriately so as you will have no problem finding anything.
Plan the content of your book
Once you are clear about your topic or subject the next step is to start planning the content of your book. If you haven’t already got a clear idea of what you want to include when you start to blog your book, try doing some brainstorming. Brainstorming is not only useful for generating ideas it also good for reducing an excess of information or ideas into something more manageable.
The simplest brainstorming method is to take a large piece of paper and scribble down absolutely anything that comes into your head in whatever order. If you want to be a bit more organised, you could write each of your ideas on separate index cards or you could use a white board and sticky notes. For those of you who prefer a more graphical approach you could create a bubble chart or mind map.
To create a bubble chart write down the subject of your book in the centre of a piece of paper and draw a circle (bubble) around it. Then write down everything you can think of that is associated with your subject. Draw a bubble (or whatever shape you want) around each idea and then link each of these bubbles to the main bubble with a connecting line. You can then use the same process for each new bubble on the page.
Mind mapping, just like a bubble chart, is a graphical way of representing ideas and concepts. For more about mind mapping see my blog post Mind mapping – a useful tool for writers.
By brainstorming your ideas you will not only identify potential chapters or sections of your book you will also build up a list of topics or subjects for your individual blog posts. Once you have a created a plan using the ideas you have generated you can start writing your blog posts. You can write them in any order you want but if you want your online audience to see your story unfold then it may be a good idea to follow the structure of your final book. A good plan will help you to do this.
Building up your audience blog by blog
Writing a book blog by blog is a good way of building up an audience as you go along. This is particularly useful if would like your book to reach out to people beyond your own family and friends. To reach a wider audience not only does the topic or subject matter of each blog need to have a broad appeal you will also have to determine how you are going to promote your blog both offline and online.
To catch up on the other posts in my Blogging your way to a book series, click on the links below: