Writer’s Corner: How to write a book…..

…without sitting down to write a book.

 (And why that’s helpful.)

When I sat down to write my first book, I actually thought I was writing a small ebook.

After a while though, I realised that the material was splitting itself up into natural sections, falling into themes. I ended up with 8 sections. Great, I thought, this means I’ve got 8 separate ebooks.

But the sections had a habit of wanting to refer to each other, or support each other’s ideas. They wanted to be separate sections but work together, part of a bigger whole.

A package deal.

So I bundled my 8 ebooks back into one document. Then I wrote an introduction which highlighted how they all worked together.

The result? A pretty substantial ebook.

After a few rounds of editing and tinkering and fleshing out of ideas, then adding helpful references and a few relevant quotes, my ebook project had taken on a new life and a new identity.

I’d accidentally written over 300 pages of what could only be described as ….a book.

• • •

My second book also began life as something other than a book.

I thought I was just writing blog posts. Actually, I was writing blog posts – and they did live solely on my blog for a couple of years.

But these were more like articles than ephemeral updates and they weren’t date specific, they were relevant at any time of year.

I thought my readers might find it helpful to access all my articles in one place, in sequence order (unlike the back-to-front blog format).

So I compiled them into an ebook, which people seemed to like.

From there, given my adventures in self-publishing with my first book, (see here for more on those) it was only a hop, skip, jump to setting the copy, designing a cover and uploading the file to my distributor.

Before I knew it, it was available on Amazon and I had accidentally written another book.

• • •

So – why is this helpful? 

Well, writing a book is a popular goal.

Many people claim that they have a book in them and I dare say Write My Book features on many a bucket list or goal planner.

But, in reality, most people will never #writethatbook.

They may like the idea  – but the reality of bottom-on-writing-chair for hundreds of hours is not quite as appealing as the dream.

For many, the prospect of writing a book is too daunting.

Where to start?

How to maintain enough momentum to write a whole book?

And that’s even before those ‘helpful’ inner voices pipe up with comments such as; You write a book?  What makes you think anyone would want to read it? 

All this is resistance, which stems from the programming that shapes our subconscious mind.

But as helpful and brilliant as our subconscious can be, it can be tricked.

Whilst it’s possible to power through resistance  – that’s neither easy nor fun, so what if you could just sneak past it?

What if you could saunter right past the block labelled ‘Aaaaargh! Write a whole book?!’  by pretending, maybe even believing, that you are writing something else…?

A book? No, this is just a blog post… Or two… Or four…

Writing a book? No, just a quick short story idea I had that I wanted to set down. It may expand, who knows, I’ll just see where it takes me. 

Writing a whole book? Who me? Nah, I’m just sketching out character ideas / jotting down a bit of dialogue / making a few notes about themes I’m interested in. 

As long as you aren’t declaring the specific intention to Write My Book, our old friend Resistance will probably leave you to it.

Then….who knows?

Your efforts may or may not turn into a book. They may be perfectly formed as a blog post or ebook or short story. (But if this is the worst that happens – you’ve still created something.)

Or you may discover that your idea was a dead-end after all. (But isn’t knowing this more satisfying than always wondering… or berating yourself for never writing that damn book?)

But maybe…when you have quieted that dubious duo; Self Doubt and Inner Critic…just maybe you’ll produce something, something that could take on a wonderful life of its own.

The life of a book.

It might even join the ranks of many other bestselling titles that began life as something other than a book….

Acres of Diamonds began life as a keynote speech.

 – The Artist’s Way started off as a pamphlet for Julia Cameron to hand out at her writing classes.

 – The Fire Starter Sessions grew from the questions Danielle LaPorte used in her business strategy consultations.

 – Shirley Conran’s breakthrough novel Lace, evolved from her research for a sex-guide for schoolgirls.

 – Julia & Julie, Escape from Cubicle Nation & ProBlogger are just three of the rapidly increasing number of books that originated and/or grew from blogs.

 – Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles was originally a series of short stories. (Thanks to Brain Pickings for alerting me to this one.)

So, if you are one of the thousands (millions?) of people that have been saying for years that they’d like to write a book (but still haven’t), maybe it’s worth trying to not write a book?

Have you written  – or could quite easily write – any of the following…?


Ways to accidentally write a book: 

• Blog

• Short stories

• An article, or series of articles

• An ebook or ebook series

• A themed collection of quotes

• A mindmap of ideas/themes

• A dissertation or thesis

• A lecture or speech

• A pamphlet of tips

• Diary
This is a classic birthplace of ideas, characters, or stories. It can provide interesting starting points, or if your life is very dramatic, actual content. (You could always protect the innocent with an alias. Or pretend it’s a work of fiction.)

• • •

So, if Write That Book is on your To Do list, give some thought to the list above.

What could you easily begin?

What have you already spent time working on? Perhaps you’ve already written your book (or at least begun it) without even noticing!

I hope you find this helpful in your book-writing adventures – let me know if you think ‘not writing a book’ could be the answer for you.

Next post: How to write a book…. without worrying about getting published.  (And why that’s helpful.)

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Hi! I'm Danielle.

creative coach danielle raine

creative coach danielle raine l



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