I Want to Write a Book. Now What?

So you’ve decided to write a book.  Or you decided you wanted to write a book three years ago and are still thinking about it.  The problem is, every time you think about it, you start wondering where to start.

Start with your audience.Who is the book for? Are you sharing your expertise with other professionals or are you sharing health tips for your patients? If you’re sharing health tips, will they only be for your patients or for anyone who wants to feel better or has a certain disease?  These questions will help you as you make notes that you can turn into a book outline or, if you are more free spirited, you can work from directly as you write your book.

Knowing your audience will help you with your writing voice.  A book targeted at other practitioners will have a depth and use language that would not be appropriate for lay people.  It’s important to keep that in mind as you write.

Make some notes about topics within your book topic. What sorts of things do you want to share. If you are writing about acupuncture and insomnia, are you going to talk about diagnosis or how to make a diagnosis? This could be one section. Of course another section or within those subsections, you might also have point prescriptions and herbal prescriptions and adjunct therapies that you hope to use.  Finally, you might be talking about the definitions of insomnia. Of course, looking at the notes, you might think it would be smarter to write about insomnia and how it manifests first and then talk about diagnosis second.  This would be a good call.  Notes and outlines are helpful that way.

Looking over your topics and ideas, you can get a feel for what you want to write. How many sections. How many notes to do you have within each of those sections. How much do you think you can write about each subtopic?  This will help you plan out your time for writing.

Now, consider how to set aside some time for writing.  Even if it’s only an hour a week, plan to sit down and write something (no matter how bad) once a week for that hour. Make more note, make an outline, write some chapters or even just write a sentence, no matter what you do during that time, make that time about your book.  At some point you’ll actually have a manuscript.  After that, you can decide what to do next about publishing.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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