Creating an eBook ~ Ideas to Paper (PLUS, the TITLE REVEAL!)

In my first Creating an eBook post, I talked a bit about the initial phase of deciding to write an eBook and figuring out where to go from there. In this post, I want to delve into the process of creating an outline.

In the initial brainstorming phases, I pretty much captured anything and everything on paper. If an idea popped into my head, I wrote about it in a list or journal entry. The idea for my book was, at first, very broad.

I also needed to sit with the idea for quite some time before I was sure I was passionate enough about the topic to write a book about it. (Because trust me, you might think the idea of writing a book sounds glamourous and inspiring and amazing, and while it is exhilarating, it is also challenging, long, and time-consuming. So, it’s a good idea to be sure that you care very deeply about the topic you are going to spend months thinking and praying and writing about.) :)

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I eventually started making more concrete outlines to organize my thoughts and ideas. Here’s a snapshot of that process:

  1. First, I wrote out main themes and jotted notes under each one. Just some general ideas I wanted to explore/cover in my book.
  2. Next, I wrote out actual ideas for chapters, and using the main themes I had already identified, I determined in which chapter I would cover each theme.
  3. The third thing I did in my outline-making process was to write the main take-aways I hoped readers would be blessed with by reading my book. I think of these take-aways as the true heart of the book.

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By putting the outline process into three main steps, I make it sound very short, but I do want to say that I spent MONTHS doing that (and continue to refine my notes — even though I’m in the writing phase at this point. More on why I am following the outline, but also leaving things a bit open in an upcoming Creating An eBook post.

P.S. I’m excited to *finally* reveal my book’s title (hurray! happy dance!):

An Inspired Life: Living Fully and Creatively in Every Season

So excited to share more about An Inspired Life in upcoming posts!

Happy Weekend!

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Blogging: Getting Back to Basics

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I recently discovered Jenni’s Blog Every Day in May Challenge, and I love what she had to say about it: “I think when you force yourself to blog every day, you stop feeling so much pressure for every post to be perfect. I do that (the pressure thing) BIG TIME, and lately, I’ve been so frustrated by the fact that I’m not enjoying the experience of blogging as much anymore. I want to get back to the basics. You know, the writing stuff.”

I really, really love the idea of getting back to basics with blogging — writing from the heart because you LOVE to write. Enjoying the process of putting words and phrases together and really telling a story.

I wish I could participate this month, but with the eBook writing, I just can’t commit to a challenge like this. It’s for sure something I’d like to do in the future, though. And I might try and respond to a few of her prompts here and there, because sometimes, responding to prompts can free us from writer’s block and really encourage our creativity to bloom again.

Perhaps, once the eBook is published, I’ll create my own challenge.

**And speaking of the eBook, I’m working on the next post in the Creating an eBook series, so look for that soon (maybe this weekend?).

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a beautiful spring morning, and I can’t wait to embrace all that’s in store for this day.

Creating an eBook – The Beginning

For a while now, I’ve wanted to share with you a little behind-the-scenes look at my eBook process, so today, I thought I’d take you through some of the initial brainstorming phases.

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As with most creative projects, my eBook started with an idea — an idea and a wonderfully inspiring conversation with a dear friend.

Remember when I attended Weapons of Mass creation?

Well, there I was that hot summer day (very hot, actually), wandering around with one of my dearest friends, talking creativity and discussing the crazy process of making things and taking risks and following dreams.

Somehow, we must have landed on the topic of books and writing, because all of a sudden, there she was planting the idea in my head to write an eBook and publish it myself. Strangely enough, it was an idea I’d never considered, but the more I thought about it, the more inspired and encouraged I felt to go for it.

At that point, however, I wasn’t sure what it was that I’d write about. It probably took another month or so for the idea to fully form, and I will say that during that brainstorming time I found this often-quoted piece of advice to be true: Write/create what you want to see/read.

Let me expand on that idea a little further by sharing two quotes from Annie Downs (who recently taught a class about writing in all seasons for The Influence Network). While I wasn’t able to attend the class, I did snag these gems from Twitter, and they really speak so perfectly to this idea.

“What season are you living? What are you hoping for? What do you wish someone else was writing about?”

“There is profound power in writing, speaking, blogging, sharing right where you are.”

I found those statements to be very true in my brainstorming phase of eBook creation (even though I didn’t know about them at the time). As I was dreaming and planning, I was thinking a lot about who I was as a creative/woman of God and what inspired/encouraged me. I was thinking about the life season I was living and everything I was learning through God’s generous love and grace.

It also helped that at around the same time I decided I wanted to write an eBook, I was also redefining the focus for my blog. That whole blog reorganization/rebranding essentially led me to decide I wanted to write about how to live inspired, creative, fulfilling lives in every season.

My next piece of advice for the initial phase of brainstorming and creation is this: don’t rush the process. Even after you’ve dreamed up an idea, take your time to really sit with it. Journal about it. Make lists. Pray about it. I have pages and pages in my journal with lists and ideas for my eBook — and not everything will make it into the final book. You have to give yourself the time and space to really get to know your idea. Figure out what it truly means to you and how you might develop it.

I honestly spent about five months in this initial brainstorming/praying/journaling phase, and I’m so thankful for the time I spent doing that. It might seem like a long time, but I feel like I know my ideal well, and I know where I want to go with it. Plus, when you generate a lot of ideas brainstorming, it makes it so much easier to actually begin the sometimes daunting task of actually sitting down and creating.

In my next Creating an eBook post, I will share a bit more about the actual process I used for brainstorming and some of the ways I started to organize my ideas before jumping into the writing phase. I look forward to continuing to share this exciting creative journey with all of you. Thanks for being a part of it! :)

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Do you have a big idea or dream that God’s placed on your heart? Are there things you wish someone would create? Why not spend some time really sitting with those ideas, exploring them, getting to know them, and bringing them honestly before The Lord? Who knows, you might be at the beginning of a beautiful creative adventure…’

{photo by LuSarah SEAS Photography}