How to mind map your book

Books take us to new worlds–but when we’re writing them without a clear plan in place, it’s easy to overshoot the intended destination and get lost somewhere between Polaris and Ursa Major. To properly navigate the writing of our book, we need a solid outline–in essence, the itinerary for our writing voyage. And what better way to plot out an itinerary than by using a mind map.

Simply put, a mind map is a tool to capture and organize ideas, often in the form of a spider diagram. You might remember making them in elementary school, when they probably looked... keep reading

Five easy formats for nonfiction books

Your book contains some of your best ideas. But do those ideas add up to a streamlined, compelling manuscript… or a pile of disorganized thoughts? When you’re outlining your nonfiction book, it’s easy to get so caught up in the content that you neglect to plan the book’s overarching structure. This can be a real problem because many readers will give up in frustration when faced with a book that forces them to work too hard to understand it.

So how should you structure your book? Of course you could always just move through your material chapter by chapter, begin... keep reading

The Books Behind the Most-Discussed TED Talks

“Enthusiastically agree? Respectfully beg to differ? Have your say here.”

So says the comment box under every TED video. As a place for nurturing ideas, TED wholeheartedly supports discussion, and their content shows it. Whether it’s a divisive talk on religion or an inspiring talk on finding yourself, TED’s comment boards are full of TED-heads sharing their own opinions on the latest controversy or their stories of personal empowerment.

But with the average TED talk running to just 18 minutes, it can be difficult to prepare yourself for the conversati... keep reading

The world’s most prolific author: How Philip M Parker published 200,000 titles

What does it mean to be a prolific writer? Well, by the book it means to “write in large quantities or with great frequency”. The prolific writers are the ones who’ve figured out all the secrets of the productivity game. And while there are a number of notable writers in this vein–say, Isaac Asimov with his 506 published works, or Alexandre Dumas who churned out hundreds back when paper was a luxury–there is one who has not just mastered the rules of w... keep reading

Two Great Ways to Beat Writers’ Block

I don’t believe in writers’ block, any more than I believe in washing-dishes-block, or dealing-with your-taxes-block, or confronting-a-scary-problem-block. I’m not saying that writing will always come easily, or that you won’t sometimes stop and find it hard to start again. Of course you will. What I’m saying is that the reasons for halting your work are perfectly logical, therefore so are their remedies.

When your productivity dries up (and it will), do not deceive yourself that you’re the victim of some kind of creativity flu, or a passive vessel waiting to be filled wi... keep reading

Boost your word count with these 11 writing productivity tips

What’s your word count today? Go ahead, take a look. Is it as high as you were hoping? If not, these graphics will guide you to more productive writing sessions–meaning more words, more books, and more time as an author. Happy writing!

Okay, maybe skip the bacon, eggs, and sausage, but countless sources state that eating a healthy breakfast can keep your energy up and your concentration steadfast. And don’t rule out dinner-time foods–fish and leafy vegetables are a great wa... keep reading

The Running Writer: My path to whole life fitness with Dai Manuel

Part one in a four-week series.

There are a few popular sayings–“put your money where your mouth is”, “practice what you preach”, “talk the talk, walk the walk”–that encourage purveyors of information to be really, really careful with what they say. This is especially true for anyone giving any kind of health advice, yet the media is inundated with food fads and easy exercise routines that “sound crazy, we know, but you’ll drop eight pounds a day!” Those outlets rarely put their money where their mo... keep reading

Month by Month: How to Write Your Book in a Year

“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” So goes the advice for which author and writing prof Anne Lamott named her classic instructional memoir.

Wise words if, like Lamott’s brother, you’re churning out a school report on ornithology. But the rest of us can learn a thing or two from her approach, too.

Writing a nonfiction manuscript is a big task. A year is a long stretch. At least one of those t... keep reading

Word Stylists: Four writers who inject their writing with personality

Stylistically, writing is boundless. And yes, that applies to nonfiction too. Pick up a newspaper and compare the day’s editorial to a news segment, or even the sports section; they’re remarkably different in style, making each one a unique reading experience. So what’s the secret to bringing a distinctive flavour to your writing? It all starts with your authentic personality. Here are four great non-fiction writers who injected their personality into their writing to create a writing style that led to multi-dimensional classics that transport their readers to another world.

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