Nonfiction books and self helps are a doddle to write. You already wrote the book as it is based on your life. Your past life is written already and so you have memories to go by. Hence why you will never have a celebrity write a fiction. Because their heads are not wired like that. Readers like to read about those people, not a fiction.
There are variable problems when mapping out a great fictional story from thin air. Your mind explodes with an idea at first. Then your mind has snippets of what would be great to include in the story plot. Scenes like car chase, fighting, intimacy and gun shooting. Then you have this sinking feeling of how you are going to piece together the various plots into one hell of a best seller.
That is why movies and television series have a bunch of writers with similar minds. It is not one person writing a James Bond film or a Superman film. It always has two or more people creating the story.
When it is your own work, it is little old me and friends and family do not know how your mind works to help you write that fantastic book. The reason is because you are unique.
Drawing on my own experience, I will dream in bed or wake up in the morning and suddenly my mind conjures up a never before told story. I will go to the gym, play certain music that I can see being played in a romantic movie or action film. Then my mind comes up with great lines to put in a book. Half the time I forget them which is frustrating. At the same time, jumbled up for my drafted manuscript.
I have found that the best way to write your untold story is to map it out on paper. Empty your mind and have something tangible in front of you.
To do this is to grab a A4 paper and lay it out horizontally. Then draw a grid that represents chapters. From my own experience with trial and error, I make thirty boxes by drawing grids.
Once I have my boxes, I write short bullet points in each box. It does not matter if the bullet points are not in chronical order of your idea. It is a starting point. I tend to write a maximum three or four lines to represent plot in that chapter.
It does not matter if you only complete one box, ten boxes or twenty boxes on your first attempt. The reason is because you are doing a brain dump of an idea your mind has conjured up.
Once you have exhausted the brain dump, work out which box is going to be at the front of the thirty chapters, middle of the thirty chapters or end of the thirty chapters. This is done by using a pencil to number each box. Use pencil as you can rub it out if you think you have the chronical order wrong in your head. Not a friend or family. Again, it is your story not anyone else’s. There is not a right or wrong way. Never is.
Once you are happy with your story board, start writing. Now this can be daunting because you feel that each tap of the keyboard is set in stone. You cannot unwrite it. Well that is nonsense as you can draft, redraft and redraft to your heart content. I have done this a million times. Even rewrote half a five-thousand-word chapter. You watch your favourite television series that gives you an idea that you never thought of before.
Do not be bogged down with trying to find fancy words or a similar line to Shakespeare. Proof-readers/ editors are paid to do that. You are telling a story not impressing someone. None of my six books has any fancy words or a similar line from Die Hard or Star Wars. I use the dictionary if I cannot spell a certain word or feel another word best describes something. But not try to write a Thesis for a degree.
The final thing to say is that time is what you have. There is no rule to follow. If someone says to you that it should take a year, it is non-sense. From my own experience, my first book ‘Jane Knight Rogue Officer’ I started around October/ November 2016. I wrote about five chapters up to April 2017.
I then had a house purchase completion to make. I had clients nagging me to get a tax rebate. And I forgot, my wife was having our first baby. I thought I would never finish the book. Be one of those people who sits in a pub and says that I am in the middle of writing my best seller. But started it twenty years ago.
But once Alina arrived safely after my wife water broke six weeks early and moved to our family home, I went back to writing. It was around September/ October 2017. I wrote about ten chapters by Christmas and eventually drafted the book by March 2018.
Now that took me between say October 2016 to March 2018. 19 months. A year and seven months. It was a killer thinking I would never finish it.
My fastest writing is a book I have not had proofread yet. Took three months. It is about a female woman in her early twenties who unintentionally/ accidentally becomes a middle weight boxing champion. Again, conjured up in my sleep and worked on it while brushing my teeth, showering, and knocking out a tax bill. And looking after a three-year-old and four-month-old. Lockdown helped thanks to our Prime Minister. Must buy him a drink.
One more thing, you have a busy hectic life and cannot find time. My typical weekday is waking up after seven in the morning. Watch a television show on Amazon/ Netflix until around ten in the morning. That gets me awake and have breakfast. Then work between ten and six. After that I have family dinner between six and eight. After that I bath our two gorgeous children. I then write between nine and mid night.
When work is quiet, I can write between ten in the morning and three in the afternoon but very rarely. The weekend is can be the afternoon or late evening gone eight.
To sum it up, I have about ten hours in the week and about five hours over the weekend. A total of fifteen unsociable hours. I fit the gym in during work hours on alternate days.
Hence why it can take me between three months to a year to write a book.
Picture courteous of www.istockphoto.com/nl/portfolio/ylanitekoppens