How to Write a Book – The Secret to a Super Fast First Draft – SPI TV Ep. 1

What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 1 of SPI TV. I could not be more excited and to start off with something extremely valuable for you, I’m going to share some stuff that other people have taught me to help me with my book writing. Book writing has always been a struggle for me and I’m going to give you some secrets that I’ve been using to write over 36,000 words in the first two weeks of 2015. I’m also going to reveal my next big book project with you and give you one tool that is saving me so much time and helping me achieve up to 180 words per minute? Stay tuned. A book. A book is such a huge undertaking and it’s really funny because I can write a blog post, 3,000, 4,000 words in just a few hours, but when it comes to writing a book, I struggle, a lot, and that’s why I have a couple unwritten books just sitting on my … I’ve started them but they’re just sitting in my computer in Scrivener, which is the tool that I use to help write books. I remember sitting for hours, I would block out four or five hours of time during the day to sit in front of my computer and finish my book or work on it, at least, and coming out of that with an extra 300 words for four hours of work? It was just completely deflating and I know a lot of you can relate to this.

I know a lot of you also, like me, feel like you have a book in you, and many books in you. I’m going to show you a technique that I have been using that has changed my life in terms of productivity with book writing already within the first couple of weeks of this year, I’ve been able to crank out 36,000 words using this new technique.

Now, it’s a technique that I’ve adopted from a lot of other people’s strategies and tips for writing books and it’s involving Post-Its. Something that a lot of other people have used before, Post-It notes. Post-It notes. I love Post-It notes because you can write on them, you can move them around, they’re small but not too small where you have to squint to see them, and they’re perfect, and I’m going to show you how to mind map your next book using Post-It books.

How you can, with that, achieve incredible words per minute in terms of the rate at which you write your book, and I’ll show you some tools and special things that I have been using along with my Post-It notes and some special things that you can do in terms of where your Post-It notes are that will help you crank out these books like none other. The first thing I want to do is start with … You want to go get Post-It notes.

Right? You can get them at any store or the grocery or wherever, and just get a whole bunch of different colors. I like the ones that are a little bit smaller than … They have large ones but if you get the small ones, that’s fine, because you’re just going to write one or two words on them. The idea is you want to pick one color, I’ll start with neon green, and just start writing, just start anything that comes to mind involving your book that you’re going to write, put it down and just stick it on that surface that you’re working on. To demonstrate this and just show you, I’m just going to pick a topic and it’s something that I always talk about in the blog is fly fishing. I know a little bit about fly fishing and I’ll show you how I can craft this book and put it together and you’ll start to see that once you start to put all your ideas on to this board that you’re working on with these Post-It notes, you can move things around and then the chapters start to form, the subchapters, the different topics, and that will help create what becomes your outline.

What we’re going to do after that is take bits and pieces of that outline and move them out into a place where you will then just focus on those little bits and pieces. Again, that’s why I love the Post-It notes because you can move them around into different places. Let’s do fly fishing. Now, I might just pick a color in the middle just to make it my central thing, so I’m going to pick pink, I’m going to write fly fishing. Again, anything that comes to mind, there are no rules here. You can always throw things out but you don’t want to stop yourself. This is the creative process. You don’t want to edit in your head.

You just want to put things out there and then you can edit and move things out. Fly fishing. What is involved with fly fishing? There’s obviously fish and this is going to go really fast. I’m just fish, and there’s flies, and what else? Rods. There’s casting techniques. There’s reels. Again, anything that comes to mind. You want to put this stuff in your brain down on paper because then that way, you won’t have to think about it anymore because it’s there and then you can focus on then organizing it, but this isn’t the organizational part, remember.

Fish. What else? Lake fishing or lake fly fishing. There’s rivers and streams. What else comes to mind? Caleb, anything related to fly fishing that you can think of? Caleb: How to dry things off after you’re done. Pat: How to dry things off after you’re done. Equipment. Good. I like that. Maybe clothing. Probably shouldn’t be doing this on fly fishing. I’m not going to be publishing a book on fly fishing anytime soon but you’ll get what I’m doing here in a sec. What did I say? Fish finders. Again. Anything that comes to mind and I’ll stop here in a second. Now at this point, you have a whole board or desk full of these Post-It notes.

Maybe you’re doing this on a whiteboard somewhere. I don’t know, but now at this point you want to start looking at all these and start to tie them together, somehow. Just pull them out and start moving them in different places, organizing them in bunches, and whatever comes to mind. You’ll see that your brain will just start to organize this stuff. Again, it’s nice that it’s all here for you because then you can move things around.

For example, I can put jackets and wading boots here together, boots is the same as boots, so I’ll just put that on top of that one. Let’s see. Equipment and clothing, that’s the top level one here. Then I have reels and rods and flies over here, and then I have some more behavioral type stuff like etiquette and time flies and maybe casting techniques over here. I have oceans, lakes, and streams over here. Snacks, which is something to bring, maybe that’s over here in the equipment area. License, that’s another thing that you’ll need before you go out. Safety, I can put that in the behavior area, tournaments. I don’t know what goes with that right now.

Here’s some more equipment, boats, and floats, destinations, go here, oceans, lakes, streams, where in the water, what to do with kids and fish finders, that’s another equipment, casting techniques. That’s its own thing. There’s probably a whole array of different kinds of those. Kids, I don’t know what I’m going to do with kids right now. That might go … Caleb: Put them in the ocean. Pat: Yeah. Put them in the ocean. What? What are you talking about? You can take them with you on these destinations. Maybe what’s kid-friendly. Now I have four different sections here I can see. Maybe five because casting techniques. Then what I can do is I can start to, again, create a hierarchy here. I can see here this is equipment and clothing. This is here, and then stuff to bring with you when you go, and then different kinds of more fishing-related equipment here that you’ll need before you go out.

Already I can see a chapter here and then subchapters happening in this section. In here, I see … Here’s a catch and release thing, that should go for that, and net. Again, that’s another piece of equipment. Again, again, starting to organize, I’m starting to form my book here. Fish. That’s a top-level thing, obviously. Fish, what kind of fish? Trout, bass, and there’s a whole bunch of other fish. How about fishing equipment like rods and reels and flies? That can be separated out from here. That becomes a nice little chapter. Then what you can do is you can start to pull out another color and you can begin to create second or third levels within these. If I knew a little bit more about fly fishing, I would probably know that they were different kinds of flies that I could tie and I know there’s a few out there. I’m just going to pull out flies and I’m going to put, okay, there’s I don’t know what are the names of the fly.

I think there’s a nymph fly, and I can put that there, and then I can put out. What are some other flies? People who actually fly fish are probably mad at me for this but there’s a housefly. There’s gnats. These are all … I have been fly fishing once in Colorado and I know that there’s names for all of these little ones and things like that. Again, you begin to create your chapter on flies. Then maybe under nymph, there’s two different kinds of nymph ones. Maybe there is … Actually, here. I know that there are two different kinds of flies. Again, I’m going to toss these and I’m going to put dry, those are flies that float, and then wet.

Wet flies, those are the ones that sink. Then within there, I’m going to go in a different color and then I’m going to put another level and put when to use, and you just get deeper and deeper. Types of dry flies. You can see how I begin to start to structure everything and I started very top level, I bunched things up, and then I started to break things out a little bit, and that, again, will help you decide what your chapters are, what order everything should be in, what your subchapters are, your subsections, and then what we can do and what I typically do is when I start to create this order of events here and start to organize these in a sequential pattern, then I start from the top, I pull those Post-It notes out and I move them over there onto my other desk, and that’s when I start writing about that particular thing.

Everything else that’s here is still here but I’m just not focusing on it because I’m just writing that little portion, and that is something that I struggled with when I was writing books was I was envisioning this whole thing and I was thinking about every other part of the book and how it was going to relate and tie in together. You got to focus on that next little section, and when you do that, it becomes so much easier because as you complete those, you move things aside and pull from this list of Post-It notes and you move on to the next section, the next section, little by little, you’re chipping away at it, and you’re adding more words every single day.

By the end of it, you will have gotten rid of all these because you have had worked on them and it’s just you start to make progress and it’s completely motivating. There’s one little secret I want to share with you that goes along with this technique, and I’ll show you that in the next section. All right. You’ve done your Post-It notes, you’ve started to see what’s happening in your book in terms of the outline and the chapters, the sub-chapters, the little sections within each of those. Now it’s time to start writing. Again, like I said earlier, you’re going to pull out little sections. I might, for example, pull out the sections on how to get involved with fishing tournaments and there’s probably some more hierarchy involved within this one, as well.

I think there’s different types of tournaments and that would go in here, as well. Now that you know this is what you’re focusing on, you can start writing about it and your mind is just focused on this. Everything else is still there on the table but you’re focused on this. Now, for me, writing and actually typing all of this out is still a struggle at this point. I’m a little bit more focused than I was. However, my mind gets into editing mode whenever I get in front of a computer. It works for blog posts but when I am writing a book, it just becomes much harder for me mentally to go through all of this, even though I can try and treat each of these as a single blog post, I still want to edit along the way as if I’m crafting it like a blog post that’s going to be published tomorrow.

No. The very, very best strategy I heard is you want to puke on the screen. Basically you just want to put everything there is in your brain about this particular topic on the page. I know some people who actually take the delete button off their key because they don’t want to force themselves or even accidentally edit. They are just in creative mode and the thing is you’re going to come in here the next time around and edit and move things around and you’re probably not going to be using a lot of what you write down but what comes out when your brain is in creative mode is going to be extremely good for what you have going on in your book. For me, when I was in edit mode, what would happen is I just wouldn’t let myself think creatively. I would just stop myself because I had to edit this thing and move things around. It’s not what you want to do. Now for me, the big trick I use and the app that I use to help me achieve extremely high words per minute is called Rev.

I’m actually not writing, I’m not typing, I’m dictating my book, and it helps a little bit that I have a little bit of podcasting experience, but if you have any knowledge of this particular topic, you just have to imagine you’re talking about it with someone. Talking about this next Post-It note into Rev, which is an iPhone app and I believe it’s also on Android, too. It’s basically an audio recorder but the cool thing about it is you can take that audio recording and send it to the people over at Rev and they will transcribe it for you at a dollar per minute. Now, you can even just transcribe it yourself or have somebody else on your team transcribe it for you but they do a really great job, the quality is really good, as well.

When that comes back to you a few hours later, it’s all of the words that you talked or related to that specific item and that’s the trick that I use to get up to 180 words per minute and how I’ve been able to complete the first brain dump, this first draft of my book. You can’t even really call it a draft because it’s just everything in my brain about these particular topics on these Post-It notes all dictated or actually 95% dictated because I started writing it on the computer but then I went to Rev, R-E-V, and this has been game-changing.

Now I’m going to go through the book a second time with a little bit of editing mode in mind and I’ll be able to shape and move things around and craft these stories in a way that makes sense for a book because it’s not going to make sense for a book when it comes from your voice but you can get so many amazing stories and pieces of your book out through your voice. Record it on Rev, transcribe it, and you’ll see you have a lot of stuff to work with and your book’s going to be finished sooner than you know. Again, to recap, try that out. Brain dump all of your ideas about your book on to Post-It notes, move them around, organize them, shape them, sequence them to a point where they become to look like a book in terms of chapters, subchapters, parts within those subchapters, all those things. Pull out individual pieces and talk about those things, record them, and if you don’t want to do that, that’s fine, you can write them, too. Just having that Post-It note there that you’re focusing on is going to help quite a bit.

I want to talk to you really quick before we end this article about my next book idea. I know a lot of you have been following me, talking about this journey for quite awhile now. I’ve even talked about it in episode 138, where I said by the end of 2014 I was going to make a decision on what this book would be. I wanted to go traditional but I’m actually not going to go traditional this next round and actually this book I’m writing, it’s going to be the first of a series of books that are coming out. The quick story is I was always inspired to do a quote, “encyclopedia” of online business strategies, tips, and things you should do to become a successful online business and build a successful blog, podcast, everything, the whole thing, an encyclopedia, and there was a book like that called Moonlighting on the Internet when I first started back in 2008, although that book has not been updated since 2008, and it’s probably obvious that it’s quite outdated at this point. I know being at the level I’m at now, I have the ability to give you all the information you need to start a successful business now.

However, the reason it’s not going to go traditional is because something like this I learned through some quick conversations with publishers, at traditional publishing companies, they said that this wasn’t a book that was really going to look very attractive to them, and that they were looking for something bigger, something with more of a story arc, more wider-reaching, and something like an encyclopedia just wasn’t very, very attractive to them, and I got that. I totally understand, I know I have a number of those books in me but I really want to start this encyclopedia.

Now through even more conversation with a lot of other people, I learned that maybe an encyclopedia isn’t the best idea in terms of one big, fat, giant book that has all of the information because there’s obviously a lot of things that can be done, a lot of different pieces of building an online business. That’s why I’m going to be writing this series for you. It’s going to be a series of books, I don’t know how long it’s going to be, but every series is going to be one particular piece of the puzzle of building a successful online business, and parts of it you may find useful for you and some of it may be not. It’s going to be a choose-your-own adventure type of deal. I’ve already started on book one, and like I said, completed the first draft of that, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’m so excited about this. I think this is perfect, especially for what a lot of people have been requesting of me through email and messages and Facebook and Twitter and things like that. This is going to be perfect, especially for the beginners, and even if you’ve just got going already and you have a lot of your business up and running already, it’s still going to be helpful as well for all levels. Again, it’s going to be a series of books coming out this year and I cannot wait to share it with you, it’s going to be so much fun. Thank you for joining me on this journey and yes, a traditionally-published books is in line for the future and I think this is a great stepping stone towards that for me, as well, especially getting into this daily writing habit, which has been really good for me, and including it in my morning routine, too.

I’d love to know what you think about this. Obviously, you’ve followed me for quite a bit now and understand the ups and downs of gone through with book writing. Let Go is a major success but I’m looking for even bigger and better things now and so head on over to WatchSPI.TV. There you’ll see the archive of shows if you’re watching this on the day that this particular episode goes live, you’ll just see our preview episode from last week and this one there but a new episode will come out every single Friday. Again, WatchSPI.TV, head on over to this episode. This is Episode 1 and you can leave a comment there and let me know what you think. Love to share this with you and I’ll keep you posted along the way and I’d love to hear feedback from you along the way, as well. Thank you and if you’re working on a book, too, I hope this has been helpful for you.

Let me know what you think and if you are writing a book, I’d love to know what it’s about and where you’re at with it and let’s just do this together. We’re a team, I’m here for you, and hopefully you’ll be here for me, too. Thanks so much and I’ll see you in the next episode of SPI TV. I wonder if that looked real or not because it was totally not real..

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