Career management book update: 02

Since my first, and most recent book update a couple of weeks ago, the beginning stages of my book have picked up considerable momentum (…than expected at least). As a follower of a number of writers, I always hear them talk about how a story has organically taken an unexpected turn, and while I don’t see myself as being awesome as they are, I now understand what they mean.

I left off my last update having completed the mind map with my Post-it notes, categorised them into chapters and I’ve taken the next steps of writing a summary for each of these chapters. This became a much bigger task than I expected but in a pleasantly surprising way – I have noted a lot more information than I first thought under each chapter, so much so that each chapter has a number of sub headings. This has added a considerable amount of clay to the pipe-cleaner.

But from these concepts grew two more tangents. At first I considered these to be completely separate entities – perhaps book two and three? But when rolling with those concepts, and beginning the research phase of the book by reading leading books on similar topics, I’ve come to realise the three seemingly separate elements are ultimately and fundamentally interdependent. So why was I keeping them apart?

Cue my book growing 150% bigger! Which is good for two reasons: one, readers won’t feel they’re only getting part of the picture, subsequently still having questions unanswered; and two, I won’t need to rely on ghost pages to pad out the book (this is a particular bugbear of a writer-friend of mine so I wouldn’t want to upset her!).

So while I’ve progressed considerably with my initial idea, I now need to do a similar Post-it mind map for the two other ideas, and make sure they cohesively work altogether, before summarising the remaining chapters.

Career management book update: 01

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I was starting to write a book. As promised (warned), I’ll be sharing with you how I’m getting along with it.

So for my first update, there’s actually no writing that’s taken place. It turns out that there’s a lot more to this book-writing malarkey than buying new stationery and creating a folder on my desktop titled ‘Book’, which I have of course dutifully done.

I knew research would be a key task to do long before I actually put pen to paper but when preparing for this, I knew there was a step before this which I’ve been working on; building the skeleton.

I’ve read up on countless articles and books on the best approach to writing non-fiction, and I concluded that my book first needed a skeleton. This comprised of me writing every idea and concept I wanted to cover in the book – one per post-it.

I ended up with a desk full of uncategorised ideas, and while it felt liberating getting them out like that, I needed to put them into order. Looking through each idea, I began to determine the chapters needed to provide the structure for these ideas.

I then had a big blank card per chapter which homed the relevant post it notes. This resulted in my chapters being formed (well, the first draft at least), and the topics that were to be included in each. After a careful and logical feng shui of the order of the chapters, I have a sort of blueprint to the book.

While I’m working full time in my HR day job, writing for The Avid Doer, editing guest posts for The Avid Doer, writing for HR Zone, and peer-reviewing papers, I decided that writing this book should fit into my schedule, and not the other way round. As such, I’m not approaching any publishers at the moment, but I got thinking in terms of the services they could offer me.

Kogan Pages seemed to me like a sensible publishers, so having a gander at their website, I came across their publishing application form. On this, it sets out what they expect from applicants, for example, a synopsis, a detailed summary of each chapter, why this book is needed, what hashtags would you use to promote this, what gaps is this book filling based on what is already written, and a load of other useful guidance for me to ponder on.

So when I wasn’t creating an indoor autumn-scape with post-it notes, I’ve been completing this application form to get me thinking the right sort of things.

Still no title (I had a really good one, but somebody pre-emptively nicked it years ago!) but I think that will manifest organically over time.

Next steps – provide a synopsis for the whole book and one for each chapter.