The autobiography or legacy book is the easiest. It can be written quickly without the use of a pencil, pen, paper, or keyboard. Let me explain in detail.
If you are a public speaker specializing in motivation, self-improvement, business applications, and the like, it is easy to write this type of book. A book about your business is very easy to write. A book about your hobby is also simple and easy to write.
I ask potential clients this question, “Can you tell me about the first car you ever owned?” Everyone can. They know their first car and all the experiences they had buying it, driving it, repairing it, taking vacations in it, going to work, etc. It is something printed into your brain.
With our lives, we have other indelible memories – parents, friends, schools, jobs, military, travel, etc. I suggest that new authors develop a list of 40 questions on their topic – business, speech, hobby, life, etc. Forty questions require a lot of thought to determine the importance and value you want to share with others.
An autobiography could include questions about your earliest memories, your parents, your siblings, where you lived, what schools you went to, favorite teaches, special occasions, going away to college, your first job, joining the military, your career, and many more. I tell them to write the questions down and put ‘bullets’ under each question. The bullets are the details that you don’t want to forget. And, they are to be in the order you want them covered.
Select the best 20 questions and that will be your book. Each question is a chapter. Each bullet is a subchapter. This is where you put the pen, pencil, or computer away and think about your questions and bullets for a week or more. You might spend a month or two developing the questions. Now is time for honing the thought processes to see clearly the images of those memories.
Copy the list and give it to your best friend, your spouse, one of your kids, a business associate, or a person you trust. They do not have to know you. Place your cellphone between the two of you and begin with the first chapter (first question) and record it. Answer each question as if it were an interview. The interview style is critical for this type of writing.
The bullets are there to help you remember what to say and in what order. If I were talking about my first car, the bullets would include the make, model, the cost, the color, the reason for buying it, the trips I took, how long I kept it, and other related things.
My first car was a 1962 Oldsmobile that I owned for one night before my father forced the guy who sold it to me to take it back. My next first car was a 1956 Buick, blue and white, with a very large dent in the front bumper – all the way back to the engine.
I paid $75 in two installments to a friend of my father. He helped me rework the front end until I had a drivable car. I took that car everywhere. On bright sunny day driving on the Crosstown Expressway in Corpus Christi, Texas with my sister-in-law in the front seat the hood rose up and blocked my view. I could not see where I was driving (at around 50 mph).
I pulled over to the side of the road, got out, and realized that I didn’t chain down the hood and lock it in place. The front repairs did not include a hood latch. The hood popped up when a gust of wind was strong enough. I pulled down on the hood and it buckled where it was attached to the car. The brackets held strong and the metal of the hood folded over it. I now had a hood closed with almost a foot of viewing area above the engine.
I climbed on the roof of the car and jumped (carefully) on each bracket to push the hood flat so that I could drive. I chained the hood back in place and continued my day as nothing happened. I could also tell you the story about my right rear tire coming off and passing me on the top of the high bridge over the ship channel in Corpus Christi. I drove down the bridge on three wheels and a brake drum.
The little stories are what bring your book to life, whether it is about your hobby, your business, or your passion for speaking. Each bullet allows you to capture the minds of the audience. It might be that you really have two or three books that cover your life. It doesn’t matter, you are the author and you make that decision.
It’s hard to talk for more than an hour or two. Schedule time over a weekend and begin with Chapter 1. Do two or three chapters and stop. A couple or more hours later do another few chapters. In two or three days you can complete your book.
It is important that this process is followed as a one-on-one interview. Why? Because it will minimize editing. If not, you will spend many weeks editing. When you sit across from each other the body language and eye expressions connect with you and your story. It makes you a better teller of your story. The real you comes out. The passion is more genuine compared to talking on the phone and recording it, presenting it to a small group of your friends, or standing in front of an audience.
Rev.com is a company that you can email your .mp3 file to. They have humans listen to your recording and transcribe it to paper and send you the manuscript back in less than 24 hours. You now have a book written. Rev.com charges $1 a minute for transcribing.
There are other ‘voice to text’ editing apps and software. Some do a decent job of interpreting appropriate places for the periods, commas, and paragraphs. They can be free to pennies per minute.
The object of writing the book is to get it down completely and quickly. As you are reading the manuscript and you remember there is something that must be added, then add it. If you need to delete a bullet or question, delete it. It is your book.
If you spend 30-60 days developing questions and bullets, your job as the storyteller becomes super easy. You already know the details. You just need the bullet to keep you on track. One bullet might be a paragraph or page or more. You can have sub-bullets as necessary.
Writing a book can be as easy as telling a story that you know more about than anyone else.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life – Red O’Laughlin