So, you want to write a book?  This is a lofty goal that many of us have thought of and few have completed.  Why is that?

It starts with the fact that you might think it’s a goal out of your reach. It’s that thought process that may be stopping you from the beginning.

Let’s start with a different perspective.  Decide you are going to write a book.  Without thinking of any other aspects of what that means, decide, commit and shout it from the rooftops.  My friend Cathy Fyock, coaches new authors to completion and one of her tactics is to have them wear a button that says, “Ask me about my Book.”  That’s a commitment.

Here are some tips to get started:

Before you write one word:

  • Figure out why you want to write
  • Define who your reader is in great detail
  • Find the central idea you want to convey
  • Answer this question, Why would anybody care?
    • If you can’t answer that, the rest will be a lot more difficult.

Start writing.  Some people write the same time every day.  Others record and transcribe.  You might use a transcription software like Dragon.  Find what works for you.  This is vitally important in every step of the writing/publishing process.  (Hint, there is no one right way.  If someone tells you that there is only one way, I would seriously consider moving onto someone else’s advice.)

DO NOT EDIT while you write.  You might find this extremely difficult.  I sure do.  Basically, what I am asking you to do is get used to vomiting words.  The more you let the words free flow the more gems you will find.  As you re-read what you write, as you get deeper into the process, have an open mind.  Sometimes your subconscious will take you down a path that makes more sense in terms of what your goals are.  Be open to that.  Rigidity does not produce creativity.

Create a mind map.  With an app, a poster board and sticky notes, or even index cards.  Use something visual.  Start from a central idea and build around it.  See example below:

Let this be a living document as you begin to write.  The more you break it down into small parts, the easier your writing will become.  Unless it is a fictional novel, don’t get stuck on having to write in order.  With this mind map, you can pick and choose whatever your brain is interested in on a particular day.

This is only the beginning of this process.  My biggest advice is to ask for guidance from others who have already done it.  There is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel.  There are choices here too.  There are writing groups, in person and on line.  There are coaches that help you write, help you publish and help you market.  The writing is ONLY step one.

And of course, a great way to start is to be a part of the SmartFem Summit.  There you will meet people starting out, folks who have written 10 books and a multitude of professionals to help you succeed.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Congratulations on being part of the 5% of millions of people who want to write a book, but never do.  You can.  I know it.


Julie Ann Sullivan is an international best-selling author.  Her newest book is titled, Blueprint for Employee Engagement, 37 Essential Elements to Influence, Innovate and Inspire.  Reach her at or 724-942-0486