You want to write a book, but where do you start? It’s helpful to have a vision for the subject you want to address, but that isn’t enough to see your project from beginning to end.
What do you like to read? If you write in the genre you enjoy, you will find the process easier and fun. But, in order to write without the distracting chaos of disorder, you will need a structure to what you want to write.
In non-fiction there are many options and it’s important to determine which direction you are going before you begin. Here are a few: Christian living, spiritual growth, discipleship,inspiration, motherhood, marriage,women’s issues, health, grief, family,counseling, self-help, leadership, memoir, devotionals and Bible study—and more.
How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 5 Steps
- Get clear on your goal.
- Understand the genre that you are going to write in and the audience
- Plan your structure.
- Draft your outline
- Write the book
Let’s Break it Down
- What do you want your reader to take away from your book? That is your mission and your goal. Keep the goal in mind during the entire process of writing. Pray about that goal, for your future readers and for an anointing on the words you write.
- If you are writing a devotional, be clear on what devotionals are on the market and study the genre. The same is true for every category of non-fiction.
- Structuring your book before writing is the most important step. Will it be a 30-,60-, or 90-day devotional? Will it be a 12 chapter trade book? Will it be a Bible study? Carefully decide which format will best fit your message and mission. Will there be prayers, contributors to the chapters, etc…The chapters or devotional need to have a structure that remains consistent throughout the book.
- Drafting your outline is key to being able to have fun once the writing process has begun.This will look like an annotated outline. For now, think of it as a working outline that can be changed but is holding space for you to begin the project. You will need a working title and subtitle and chapters or days that each have working titles and a few sentences of what will be in that chapter or devo day.
- Write Away! This is where the fun begins. With a clear directive of an outline you can write each day. Don’t try to write your best, just write. You will go back and edit before moving on to next chapter. Being too careful will slow you down, editing will be your best friend. Don’t overlook word count but keep chapter word count consistent throughout the book or devo. Most non-fiction books are 3500-4000 word count per chapter and devos can be anywhere from 250-1500 per day depending on the format—365 days, 90 days, 60 days or 30 days.
The Beauty of Structure
Here’s an example of a possible devotional structure.
- 500 words
- Prayer for each day
- Key take away questions for each day
Next, name each day for the number of days in your devotional. Then determine the Scripture and quote for each day. Brainstorm what story you will use within that day. Now you are ready to begin. You will open up to a theme and Scripture so now all you have to do is write 500 words, a prayer and take-away questions to go with those words. This is a simplistic example, but it helps you provide a picture. Structure is key.
Writing is never easy, always a sacrifice and work. But,writing can be fun when we are organized with a clear path outlined for us before our fingers hit the keyboard.