It’s not easy to become a J.K. Rowling,  Zora Neale Hurston, or a George Orwell.

Yet, so many people think that if you just sit down and start writing…Voila! You will have a book. However, the truth is, writing a book is definitely, a process. Depending on what you are writing, whether it is a novel, memoir, fiction or nonfiction, you should at least brainstorm and outline your ideas so you can remain focused. I highly recommend this because it saves time during the editing process later on.

When brainstorming, you don’t have don’t have to be so concrete. I liken it to word associations, setting ideas, and anything that comes to your mind. This is a chance for you to get your ideas and feelings out on a page and then see if you can find a central theme. Outlining, on the other hand, is much different. This is the process in which you need to be focused in order to organize each part of your piece.  Your outline should consist of:

  1. Introduction– In a book, this is a precursor to what you will be talking about throughout the piece. You might even include how you came up with the idea to write the book or what inspired you. This can be 3 or more brief sentences as you will further develop them as you write.
  2. Chapters-  After you nail your intro, you can then list the number of chapters in the book. Each chapter should be labeled with a title and the outline should include 4-5 sentences on what you want to cover. You can make sub categories such as topic, scope, theme, etc. to help guide your thought process.
  3. Epilogue- Some authors include an epilogue, which is a short speech or additional chapter at the end, that tells what happened after the main character’s journey or simply to add an additional comment. This is optional and largely dependent upon what kind of work you are creating.

By utilizing the processes of brainstorming and outlining, you will be sure to create a piece that takes your readers on an exciting and focused journey. For more guidance on brainstorming, check out and for outlines.

Now, go forth and turn that book into a work of art!