Journal Your Book



On any given day, how many people, events, problems, projects, family issues, things to remember and appointments are running through your mind? A LOT, right?

If you're writing a book, you have to add on top of that a whole other world of stories, bullet points, theories and rhetoric.

How do you keep track of it all? 

Use a Journal

Keeping a journal for your book can be a great tool. In it you can keep your outline, story details, research topics and anything else that serves as a guide for helping you stay on track.

The following is a simple outline of headings for setting up your daily journal pages to help you with the day-to-day writing of your book.

Word Goal

At the top of your page start out with the date of the writing session and set a goal for how many words you will write for the day.

Make the number big enough to challenge you, but not too big that you feel overwhelmed if you consistently miss it. A good range is between 500-2000 words.

You can also keep the word goal in line with what you're working on that day.

If you are re-writing a chapter instead of creating a new one, then your word count for the day will be significantly smaller. (And that's okay!) 

Today's Work Will Focus On...

Under this heading you will plan out what you want to handle in the session.

  • Are you writing up an interview with an expert who features in your book?
  • Are you doing a scene setter that places the reader in the heart of your book? Though this is common in fiction, it applies to nonfiction, too.
  • Are you writing a how-to chapter to explain how the reader can put to use the new strategies you've given them on how to be a better networker?

Doing this also makes the word goal less intimidating because you immediately see what you're going to do with all those words!

What Problems Might Arise?

There WILL be problems--no big deal. Note what they may be so you won't get tangled up in the problem as you're sitting in front of the computer screen.

Write down each one.

Some examples:

  • "How do I transition from theory to practice in my advice book?"
  • "How do I introduce the other side of an argument I'm addressing in chapter 3?"
  • "How do I shrink my program down to 5 simple steps that people can remember?"

Acknowledging problems really helps to lessen their power over your writing.

You aren't scared away from a problem so easily when you know you can come up with a solution.

Possible Solutions

This is where you'll do a quick brainstorming of how you can solve the problem.

You can try out one of the solutions in your writing session. If that doesn't work, you'll have a list of things you can try the next day.

What's great about this is that you're starting to train your mind to look for answers.

You'll find that when you're writing consistently, you'll be thinking about ideas and solutions all the time--in your car, in the shower, while you're taking a walk. This is really where the magic happens.

The bulk of book issues can be worked out in your head--then you have to sit down and get it onto some paper! 

Today's Result and What it Means for Tomorrow

At the end of your writing for the day you'll want to take note of what you accomplished.

Maybe the dialogue you wrote today has opened up another avenue you'd like to explore.

Or perhaps you've noticed a big hole in the research you've done for the biography you're writing and you realize you need to make a few more calls.

Print out the pages you've written so you can really see and feel what you've done for the day. It will make you excited to do more.

The idea here is to reward yourself for your work and also see that you have more to do.

You're less likely to get writer's block if you see that you still have plenty more to say for your next session.

But if you do happen to get stuck anyway, go to... 

Your Fun Pages

This is the page where you just dawdle and dream when the writing isn't quite happening.  

Your page could have the list of cities for your book tour, or notes on the introduction you would give before your readings.

Keep it light, keep it fun. This way, getting to the end of your book will be a pleasure, not a struggle.

Isn't that the way you want it to be?


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