Outlines and Ghostwriters: Starting Your Book Strong
Everyone’s had that flash of inspiration, a heady moment when they attack the keyboard like a tiger on Adderall, the fires of creativity blazing. If you have a ghostwriter, you make an excited, giddy call, spouting ideas like you’re on stage at a poetry slam.
Slow down! You’re not cramming for an exam with nothing but Red Bulls and gumption to sustain you. Taking time to plan your book will ensure a cohesive work, help your readers, and save you time. Diving head-first without a comprehensive outline is a recipe for countless hours of soul-draining revisions and extensive rewrites, and your motivation will almost certainly take a massive hit. If it still feels like a whirlwind, consider hiring a ghostwriter for your memoir, business book, or something else.
Get organized to get better results
Think of your outline as a long view. Organizing your content enables you to prioritize your points. If you’re writing a self-help book, for example, it’s necessary to consider the most important information for readers looking to make a lifestyle change. The order of chapters or elements can also be crucial in such a book, resulting in an easy-to-follow guide for people eager to change their lives. Even if there’s no clear order that makes the most sense, ensure that the book flows coherently from start to finish.
What if you’re writing a thought leadership piece or a marketing book? You’ll need to plan it carefully so that it hooks readers right from the beginning and takes them on a ride they don’t want to end. You also need to consider when you should introduce different elements of your subject to ensure maximum cohesion and coherence. You don’t want to lose your audience by throwing overly complex topics at it from the start.
Perhaps you’re crafting a memoir. In this case, you’ll need to consider what stories will hold the most value for readers and provide a worthwhile theme for your book. You’ll have to evaluate the different moments of your life and determine which have the most significance for your memoir. Since you’re taking a holistic approach, you can see how these aspects connect. You just have to make sure the connections are also evident to your readers, who haven’t lived through all the experiences you’ve had.
While planning may delay the exciting start of work on your book, you'll be ahead when you do begin. Being armed with an outline also prevents you from the surprise discovery that you don't have as much to say about a topic as you thought or that you have way more to share. If you don't realize this early, you can end up spending hours reordering and course-correcting, which can be so demotivating as to entirely derail the project. Knowing exactly what your book should look like will help you progress smoothly.
Having an outline before you start will translate into a much more readable book. A certain well-known author professes he’s not big on outlining. His world-famous series got overtaken by its TV adaptation and still isn’t finished. The writing process is dark and full of terrors.
Enlist expert assistance
If you're having trouble organizing your thoughts, a ghostwriter can assist you. As professional writers, these specialists can take uncertain ideas and rearrange them like puzzle pieces, finding the most sensible order. They can also provide invaluable third-party insight since it’s often hard to be objective when it’s your story. After all, you might subconsciously fill in many of the gaps. A ghostwriter is both a writing expert and an impartial pair of eyes, so they can let you know what doesn’t make sense, what isn’t pertinent to your overall story, and what is and isn’t marketable.
You don't have to plan out every detail from the start, but you and your ghostwriter should at least know the key points of the book and their general order. A little planning can go a long way, and your book, your readers, and your publisher will thank you. If a ghostwriting partner sounds like a huge relief, check out our ghostwriting services for memoirs and business books.