Writing a Non-Fiction Book: Tips To Get Your Draft Done - Publish Your Purpose

Writing a Non-Fiction Book: Tips To Get Your Draft Done

An open laptop and notebook on a table. Writing a non-fiction book is possible with the guidance of Publish Your Purpose.

The hardest part of publishing a book? Writing the thing. Writer’s block, creative self-doubt, despair, and tears—they all get in the way of writing. They’re also an inevitable and important part of the process. There are a number of things you can do right now to set yourself and your future book up for success before you write. Keep reading to learn tips for writing a non-fiction book from publishing expert Jenn T. Grace.

Called to delve deeper? Explore Jenn T. Grace’s new book—Publish Your Purpose: A Step-By-Step Guide To Write, Publish, and Grow Your Big Idea.

A Sneak Peek into Publish Your Purpose

In Publish Your Purpose: A Step-by-Step Guide to Write, Publish, and Grow Your Big Idea, Jenn T. Grace, the founder of Publish Your Purpose, takes you on a journey from wanting to write a book to successfully publishing and launching it. Moral of the story? If there’s a will, you bet your bottom dollar there’s a way. 

The book is divided into three distinct phases that encompass the journey of becoming a published author.

Part I: Mindset—This part of the book handles the process of choosing your book idea and building the right writing mindset to start your publishing journey.

Part 2: Writing—This part of the book teaches you all about writing a non-fiction book and creating a draft you’re proud of. 

Part 3: Publishing—The last part of the book covers everything you’ve ever wondered about how publishing works. From editing to finding the right publisher, you’ll have the answers to get your book into the world.

In this blog post, we are giving you a sneak peek into Part II of Publish Your Purpose. Keep reading to learn how to get your writing done with the right writing process.

Chapter 5: Your Target Reader

So, you’re writing a non-fiction book. That’s incredible. Do you know who your target reader is? You’ll want to drop everything and figure that out before you write another word! Why? Identifying your audience before writing ensures your book resonates with them. 

Here’s an exercise to get you thinking about who your target reader is, specifically: 

  1. Start with a broad description. Answer the question: Who is your target reader? 
  2. Now, let’s make it more specific with demographic information: How old are they? What is their occupation? 
  3. Geographic questions: Where do they live and what language(s) do they speak?
  4. Psychographic questions: What is their lifestyle like? What are their habits?
  5. Behavioral questions: What are their motivations, and what are they influenced by?

Tip: Collect insights by engaging your audience through blog posts, social media, or asking clients and subscribers. Competitive research on similar books also yields valuable insights.

Now is also the time to decide on a writing style. Do you want to write in a more academic style, or casual? Your target audience will help you answer this question. Ensure your writing is accessible and relatable to empower readers.

For more in-depth information and worksheets on finding your book’s purpose, read Publish Your Purpose: A Step-By-Step Guide To Write, Publish, and Grow Your Big Idea.

Chapter 6: How Long Should Your Book Be?

Before you write, it’s really helpful to determine the length of your book and create a writing plan. 

A general rule of thumb to remember is that a non-fiction book should be between 20,000–60,000 words (100–250 pages),  while a memoir should be between 60,000–130,000 words (240–520 pages).

Here’s a handy formula for creating a writing plan:

  1. Determine your word count goal.
  2. Set a timeframe for completion, usually around six months.
  3. Determine how many words you can write in a session (e.g., 1,000 words per hour).
  4. Set your writing schedule: Allocate time for writing based on your availability (e.g., one hour per week).
  5. Combine the numbers: Use your word count goal, timeline, and writing speed to calculate a manageable writing plan.

Example Calculation:

  • Word Count Goal: 30,000 words
  • Timeline: Six months
  • Words per Session: 1,000 words per hour
  • Writing Schedule: One hour per week
  • Result: 30,000 words / six months = about one hour per week for six months

Chapter 7: Before You Begin Writing

Ideally, at this point, you have (1) a target reader in mind, and (2) a writing schedule and plan. What do you need now? Publishing expert Jenn T. Grace strongly recommends planning some more with an outline. 

One time-saving strategy for building the first draft includes repurposing existing content. Leveraging thought leadership materials, like blog posts or workshops, can enrich your book. 

Chapter 8: Your First Draft

As you write your first draft, it’s good to stick to your writing routine but also to listen to moments when inspiration strikes. If that means writing in between appointments or while waiting for the train, go for it. 

Creating a “Mind Map” can help you get all your thoughts down:

  1. Central Idea: Write down the core concept of your book
  2. Orbiting Ideas: Generate related ideas branching out from the central idea
  3. Related Ideas: Expand upon the orbiting ideas with more details
  4. Just Keep Adding: Continue adding ideas until you feel satisfied
  5. Fresh Eyes: Return to the mind map with a fresh perspective

Read Publish Your Purpose: A Step-By-Step Guide To Write, Publish, and Grow Your Big Idea to gain access to a sample outline structure for writing a non-fiction book, and more.

Chapter 9: Adding Ease to Your Writing Process

Remember how we started this article? The writing process is tough and can involve tears and frustrations. This chapter delves into how to add ease into the writing process. It’s important to accept and embrace the imperfect nature of the first draft, tackle your imposter syndrome, and develop a writing routine that you love.

To create a personalized writing routine, you’ll need to find the perfect combination of environment, atmosphere, and reward. Give yourself the chance to try out writing during different times of the day with different rewards and in different environments. Eventually, you’ll find a combination that you love and that motivates you to get your draft done!

Chapter 10: Key Points on Editing

And when there’s writing, there’s editing. Learn how to self-edit, and how to work with a professional editor to get your book to its best. From tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid to working with a developmental editor, Publish Your Purpose covers all you need to know and prepare for as a non-fiction writer working with an editor before publishing. 

The Four Stages of Editing:
  • Developmental Editing: Focuses on the overall structure and flow of the manuscript
  • Line Editing: Addresses sentence-level issues, maintaining consistent style and pacing
  • Copyediting: Ensures adherence to grammar and style guides
  • Proofreading: Corrects final details and lingering errors

Delve Deeper With Publish Your Purpose

Ready to embark on your writing journey? Join the ranks of successful authors and read Grace’s book—Publish Your Purpose: A Step-By-Step Guide To Write, Publish, and Grow Your Big Idea.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about writing a non-fiction book, plus exclusive worksheets and resources to make it happen. With Jenn T. Grace’s help, your dreams of becoming an author won’t be so out of reach.

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