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How To Start When You Want To Write A Non-Fiction Book

 Writing can be therapeutic, fun, and in some cases, it can even bring in a living or at least add to your existing wage. If you have an interesting story to tell, and you are considering writing a non-fiction book, there are certainly some things that you will want to do before you even begin the writing process in order to make everything easier for you, and to ensure that you don’t run out of enthusiasm for the project partway through. Here are some tips on how to get started.


Choose Your Topic

Before you do anything else, you are going to need to know what it is you are writing about. Until you have this in mind, you won’t be able to plan or come up with new ideas. Knowing your subject doesn’t just mean you can get started though; it also means that you’ll know (roughly) how long the book should be, as in how many words you think you will write. Having this gauge is useful as you can break the whole down into parts, and choose to write a set amount of words per day. This gives you a deadline to work towards which, even if it is self-imposed, can help keep you focused.


When choosing a topic, you should keep in mind that it will need to be something universal. The more people who are interested in what you are writing about, the more people will read the book – it is that simple.


Have Somewhere To Go

When you’re writing, you won’t want to be disturbed. It’s important to be able to write cohesively and coherently, and if you keep getting interrupted, then you will find it hard to get started again, making it even more difficult to complete the task you have set out to do. You could even set yourself up as a freelance writer, if necessary, and make it a full-time profession. A freelance profession can be beneficial overall and can work around you and be flexible, but there may be some overhanging costs in the early days. Investing in a good workstation and making a freelance lifestyle work for you may require some extra funding, but this can be turned around if you soon create a best-selling novel or have a lucrative writing career! You could even go all out and invest in an outdoor office, so you really enjoy working from home. There are many finance options out there, including loans, if this is something you may be considering. You can spread that cost on a loan or a credit card if you prefer; read this article for more information. Once you have your writing space, the words should come more easily, and you will be a lot more comfortable. Making yourself a writing room in your home where you can shut yourself away completely and concentrate on your book is something that is recommended to all writers, whether they are writing non-fiction or a novel.


Make A Plan

When writing fiction, there are two types of writers; there are those who plan and those who just write and see what happens. They are called ‘plotters’ and ‘pantsers’ (that is, they write ‘by the seat of their pants’). When it comes to non-fiction, there should only ever be plotters. Planning the content of your non-fiction book will mean that you are able to write coherently and interestingly and that your readers won’t become confused and lost. The plan will help you to keep on track, and will also save you time as you won’t start writing about anything that just isn’t relevant.


Having to go back and change things, finding that you have gone off topic with your writing, or even having to delete a lot of information because it really has no place in your book is extremely time-consuming, and it might make you feel as though you just don’t want to carry on. Of course, should anything occur to you that you need to add, it will need to be done, but make sure you update your plan accordingly, to ensure that everything is still going to make sense.



A non-fiction book is nothing without the research that goes into making it accurate. Even if you know your subject back to front, and even if the story you are telling is about you or your family, there will still be aspects that need to be researched thoroughly before you can include them in your book. It might be a quote or the URL of a useful website, or it could be something bigger like a medical fact or some piece of historical information.


Having to stop during the process of actually writing can interrupt your flow and make it more difficult to get back into again, even if you now have the information you were looking for. It is far better to gather all the research you need together before you put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard so that once the writing itself has begun, it won’t need to be interrupted.


To know what you will need to include, your plan – mentioned above – will be extremely useful. Break the plan down even further and ensure that each element of each section has the relevant research before you begin work on it. The last thing you want to do is tell yourself that you will come back to the research element later, because finding all the ‘research holes’ in your manuscript is going to be time-consuming, and it is easy to overlook them as you check.


Gather Your Materials Together

What do you need around you when you are writing? It will depend on what you are writing about, of course, but you may need photo albums and old letters, or medical journals and interview recordings. You’ll need all the research you carried out, of course. Whatever it is you do need, gather it all together and keep it organized where you can find what you need, when you need it. This will speed up the writing process and make you feel a lot more accomplished, which can help to keep you writing even when it is difficult, or you think you are running out of ideas. If you have planned properly, those ideas should keep coming, even if they need a little push every now and then.


Make A Writing Schedule

Saying to yourself that you will get some writing done at some point during the day often means that no writing gets done at all, and the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes to get started. The hours that you put aside for writing should be used just for that – no distractions and nothing other than an emergency should change the fact that you are sitting down to write. Although this may sound harsh, you’ll get a lot more done this way and have a great non-fiction book to show at the end of it.

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