Structure for Writing A Book
This post is part of an ongoing series of post related to the process of writing a book about educational technology. Learn more about the book here.
The old strategy of having everything in one directory was overwhelming and chaotic (and not based on any real structure). It was difficult to stay on track with what had already been worked on and what needed to be worked on next. It amounted to having a lot of unorganized text files, and a lot of todo lists to track things. It wasn't a thought out plan.
The new structure consists of 4 buckets or stages, as I refer to them. Each with it's own purpose.
Ideas is where most everything goes and everything starts. Anything that I think could become a chapter or section of the book goes in here as a text file. Each text file has the same template with four sections.
- Title - This is self explanatory. It is the initial title of the chapter or section.
- One Sentence - This is a short summary of what the chapter is about. It is one sentence that helps to stay on topic for that chapter.
- Notes - Any research, random ideas, links, or notes that can be used in writing the actual content.
- Content - The actual content of the chapter. Once there are enough notes to start writing content, the file is moved to Drafts.
Draft is where the actual content of the book starts being written. There is enough notes and research to fill a chapter, it just need to be put into a rough draft. When the draft is completed, the file is moved to the Edits stage.
Now it's time to edit and refine. The rough draft is cleaned up and made ready for print.
Once editing is done, the file is moved to Publishing to be included in the first draft of the book.
This is where my strategy differs from the original by Jeff Goins. Since I am using the stages for chapters in a much larger projects (the book), I am not going straight to publishing then.
Files that end up in the Published stage have been edited and are ready to be added to a 1st draft of the book. When I have all my chapters in the Published folder, I will create a first draft of the book.
The GitHub repository for the book has already been updated to reflect this structure and you can view the progress here.