The Process of Writing a Book

The process of writing a bookWhen I announced my book deal writing Blog Design for Dummies, I had some of you tell me that you wanted me to write about the book writing process. Well, this is the post. Consider this your official behind-the-scenes type look into writing a 352 page book!

In case you haven’t heard, writing a book is hard work, y’all! Lots of late nights, blank stares at the screen, and then giant bursts of writing energy. I’m currently 50% done with the book and have a few more deadlines until it’s out of my hands.

Some of you wanted to know a little about the process so let me tell you a bit about it.

The Beginning

Even though Wiley Publishing came to me, in the beginning of the book writing process I had to submit a proposal for the book and a general chapter outline of how I envisioned the book. I can tell you that I sat in my living room floor with handwritten notes about the different areas of blog design I wanted to cover. I shuffled them around, ripped some up, added some and moved more around until I had a decent list of parts and chapters. Sometimes I need the creative process to be very tactile which means typing ideas on a computer doesn’t cut it. Hooray for scrap paper!

The Right-After-the-Beginning Part

Ha, like that title? After my book was signed off on, I really had to roll up my sleeves. That chapter outline had to magically morph into a full-blown outside with Parts, Chapters, Headings, and Subheadings. Honestly, this was one of the hardest parts of writing the book so far since I could have taken the book in so many directions! I really had to think about it from the perspective of my target audience- someone who isn’t a professional designer or coder. I also had to consider that a lot of the book isn’t platform-specific, meaning that you can benefit from it regardless of if you use WordPress, Blogger or something else.

Once I turned that in, I moved towards my sample chapter. A sample chapter is a chapter from a “meaty” part of the book that I write in full. If you’ve ever read a Dummies book, you know they all have a similar structure. The purpose of the sample chapter is  for me to learn how to apply the Dummies style. That was probably the hardest chapter to write thus far, which makes sense because it was my first official chapter!

Before I turned in my chapter, I heard my high school English teacher in my head saying “there’s no such thing as a final draft.” So after much self-editing, I crossed my fingers and sent it off.

Where I Am Now: The Middle

Currently, I’m smack in the middle of writing my book. I have four main deadlines marking 25% percent increments of the book being written. I just met my 50% deadline last week (yay!) but still have two more to go. Once I finish these deadlines, I will go through a process called Author Review, when I get back all the edits and get to work editing my book.

Even though I’ve written professionally (copywriting, freelance writing, etc) for over 12 years, writing a book is a whole different ball game! I’m learning to tighten my writing and also figuring out what writing schedule works best for me. Currently I write a lot at night but I’ve been working increasing the number of times I get up early to write (like 5 or 5:30 am). Even though I’m typically NOT a morning person, the quiet calm in the morning is quite refreshing.

Having a warm cup of coffee in my hand and a computer screen before me unleashes my productivity way more than staying up until 12 or 1 am after a full day of work (3-5 hours), kid time, gym (some days), dinner, bedtime, lunch preparing and all that other life stuff. (I couldn’t write this book if my husband wasn’t such an equal partner in our house.)

I’ll let you know when I’m done with the book but for now, I’m still writing!

As you know, I typically stick with tips and tutorials around here but I like sharing the process of doing something with you too. Hope you found it interesting, helpful, or even just curiosity-satisfying!


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  1. says

    This sounds wonderful, fascinating, challenging, exciting and intimidating :)
    Good luck to you, can’t wait for your book to be published!

  2. says

    Thanks for this. I’m actually considering jumping into the book thing so it’s nice to hear tales from the dark side.

    • melissa says

      Thanks Sonia! I actually just use Word, but I had to upload a Dummies template that I use. So when I do bullets for example, I have to click their template menu that says “bullet” not use the Word one. It took a bit to get used to but I’m on Chapter 11 so I have the hang of it now!

      • SoniaBarton says

        Thank you I have a friend that is putting a book together and she’s wondering if she should lay it all out (at least one chapter) to submit to publishing houses or not. She wanted me to help her put it all together in InDesign for her, and I was just wondering if it was going to be wasted time for her. She is a Milliner and is writing a book about hats.

  3. says

    This is really informative. I am not planning an actual book, but my friend who is helping me write a series of e-books for my blog has been writing a novel for 10 years. I am going to pass along this motivating article to her. Maybe it will inspire her to keep on writing it. Thanks for the information!