How to Write a Book – The Secret to a Super Fast First Draft


What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome
to Episode 1 of SPI TV. I could not be more excited and to start off with something extremely
valuable for you, I’m going to share some stuff that other people have taught me to
help me with my book writing. Book writing has always been a struggle for me and I’m
going to give you some secrets that I’ve been using to write over 36,000 words in the first
two weeks of 2015. I’m also going to reveal my next big book project with you and give
you one tool that is saving me so much time and helping me achieve up to 180 words per
minute? Stay tuned. A book. A book is such a huge undertaking
and it’s really funny because I can write a blog post, 3,000, 4,000 words in just a
few hours, but when it comes to writing a book, I struggle, a lot, and that’s why I
have a couple unwritten books just sitting on my … I’ve started them but they’re just
sitting in my computer in Scrivener, which is the tool that I use to help write books.
I remember sitting for hours, I would block out four or five hours of time during the
day to sit in front of my computer and finish my book or work on it, at least, and coming
out of that with an extra 300 words for four hours of work? It was just completely deflating
and I know a lot of you can relate to this. I know a lot of you also, like me, feel like
you have a book in you, and many books in you.
I’m going to show you a technique that I have been using that has changed my life in terms
of productivity with book writing already within the first couple of weeks of this year,
I’ve been able to crank out 36,000 words using this new technique. Now, it’s a technique
that I’ve adopted from a lot of other people’s strategies and tips for writing books and
it’s involving Post-Its. Something that a lot of other people have
used before, Post-It notes. Post-It notes. I love Post-It notes because you can write
on them, you can move them around, they’re small but not too small where you have to
squint to see them, and they’re perfect, and I’m going to show you how to mind map your
next book using Post-It books. How you can, with that, achieve incredible words per minute
in terms of the rate at which you write your book, and I’ll show you some tools and special
things that I have been using along with my Post-It notes and some special things that
you can do in terms of where your Post-It notes are that will help you crank out these
books like none other. The first thing I want to do is start with
… You want to go get Post-It notes. Right? You can get them at any store or the grocery
or wherever, and just get a whole bunch of different colors. I like the ones that are
a little bit smaller than … They have large ones but if you get the small ones, that’s
fine, because you’re just going to write one or two words on them. The idea is you want
to pick one color, I’ll start with neon green, and just start writing, just start anything
that comes to mind involving your book that you’re going to write, put it down and just
stick it on that surface that you’re working on. To demonstrate this and just show you,
I’m just going to pick a topic and it’s something that I always talk about in the blog is fly
fishing. I know a little bit about fly fishing and
I’ll show you how I can craft this book and put it together and you’ll start to see that
once you start to put all your ideas on to this board that you’re working on with these
Post-It notes, you can move things around and then the chapters start to form, the subchapters,
the different topics, and that will help create what becomes your outline. What we’re going
to do after that is take bits and pieces of that outline and move them out into a place
where you will then just focus on those little bits and pieces.
Again, that’s why I love the Post-It notes because you can move them around into different
places. Let’s do fly fishing. Now, I might just pick a color in the middle just to make
it my central thing, so I’m going to pick pink, I’m going to write fly fishing. Again,
anything that comes to mind, there are no rules here. You can always throw things out
but you don’t want to stop yourself. This is the creative process. You don’t want to
edit in your head. You just want to put things out there and then you can edit and move things
out. Fly fishing. What is involved with fly fishing?
There’s obviously fish and this is going to go really fast. I’m just fish, and there’s
flies, and what else? Rods. There’s casting techniques. There’s reels. Again, anything
that comes to mind. You want to put this stuff in your brain down on paper because then that
way, you won’t have to think about it anymore because it’s there and then you can focus
on then organizing it, but this isn’t the organizational part, remember.
Fish. What else? Lake fishing or lake fly fishing. There’s rivers and streams. What
else comes to mind? Caleb, anything related to fly fishing that you can think of?
Caleb: How to dry things off after you’re done.
Pat: How to dry things off after you’re done. Equipment. Good. I like that. Maybe clothing.
Probably shouldn’t be doing this on fly fishing. I’m not going to be publishing a book on fly
fishing anytime soon but you’ll get what I’m doing here in a sec. What did I say? Fish
finders. Again. Anything that comes to mind and I’ll stop here in a second.
Now at this point, you have a whole board or desk full of these Post-It notes. Maybe
you’re doing this on a whiteboard somewhere. I don’t know, but now at this point you want
to start looking at all these and start to tie them together, somehow. Just pull them
out and start moving them in different places, organizing them in bunches, and whatever comes
to mind. You’ll see that your brain will just start to organize this stuff. Again, it’s
nice that it’s all here for you because then you can move things around.
For example, I can put jackets and wading boots here together, boots is the same as
boots, so I’ll just put that on top of that one. Let’s see. Equipment and clothing, that’s
the top level one here. Then I have reels and rods and flies over here, and then I have
some more behavioral type stuff like etiquette and time flies and maybe casting techniques
over here. I have oceans, lakes, and streams over here. Snacks, which is something to bring,
maybe that’s over here in the equipment area. License, that’s another thing that you’ll
need before you go out. Safety, I can put that in the behavior area, tournaments. I
don’t know what goes with that right now. Here’s some more equipment, boats, and floats,
destinations, go here, oceans, lakes, streams, where in the water, what to do with kids and
fish finders, that’s another equipment, casting techniques. That’s its own thing. There’s
probably a whole array of different kinds of those.
Kids, I don’t know what I’m going to do with kids right now. That might go …
Caleb: Put them in the ocean. Pat: Yeah. Put them in the ocean. What? What
are you talking about? You can take them with you on these destinations. Maybe what’s kid-friendly.
Now I have four different sections here I can see. Maybe five because casting techniques.
Then what I can do is I can start to, again, create a hierarchy here. I can see here this
is equipment and clothing. This is here, and then stuff to bring with you when you go,
and then different kinds of more fishing-related equipment here that you’ll need before you
go out. Already I can see a chapter here and then subchapters happening in this section.
In here, I see … Here’s a catch and release thing, that should go for that, and net. Again,
that’s another piece of equipment. Again, again, starting to organize, I’m starting
to form my book here. Fish. That’s a top-level thing, obviously. Fish, what kind of fish?
Trout, bass, and there’s a whole bunch of other fish. How about fishing equipment like
rods and reels and flies? That can be separated out from here. That becomes a nice little
chapter. Then what you can do is you can start to pull
out another color and you can begin to create second or third levels within these. If I
knew a little bit more about fly fishing, I would probably know that they were different
kinds of flies that I could tie and I know there’s a few out there. I’m just going to
pull out flies and I’m going to put, okay, there’s I don’t know what are the names of
the fly. I think there’s a nymph fly, and I can put that there, and then I can put out.
What are some other flies? People who actually fly fish are probably mad at me for this but
there’s a housefly. There’s gnats. These are all … I have been
fly fishing once in Colorado and I know that there’s names for all of these little ones
and things like that. Again, you begin to create your chapter on flies. Then maybe under
nymph, there’s two different kinds of nymph ones. Maybe there is … Actually, here. I
know that there are two different kinds of flies. Again, I’m going to toss these and
I’m going to put dry, those are flies that float, and then wet. Wet flies, those are
the ones that sink. Then within there, I’m going to go in a different color and then
I’m going to put another level and put when to use, and you just get deeper and deeper.
Types of dry flies. You can see how I begin to start to structure
everything and I started very top level, I bunched things up, and then I started to break
things out a little bit, and that, again, will help you decide what your chapters are,
what order everything should be in, what your subchapters are, your subsections, and then
what we can do and what I typically do is when I start to create this order of events
here and start to organize these in a sequential pattern, then I start from the top, I pull
those Post-It notes out and I move them over there onto my other desk, and that’s when
I start writing about that particular thing. Everything else that’s here is still here
but I’m just not focusing on it because I’m just writing that little portion, and that
is something that I struggled with when I was writing books was I was envisioning this
whole thing and I was thinking about every other part of the book and how it was going
to relate and tie in together. You got to focus on that next little section, and when
you do that, it becomes so much easier because as you complete those, you move things aside
and pull from this list of Post-It notes and you move on to the next section, the next
section, little by little, you’re chipping away at it, and you’re adding more words every
single day. By the end of it, you will have gotten rid of all these because you have had
worked on them and it’s just you start to make progress and it’s completely motivating.
There’s one little secret I want to share with you that goes along with this technique,
and I’ll show you that in the next section. All right. You’ve done your Post-It notes,
you’ve started to see what’s happening in your book in terms of the outline and the
chapters, the sub-chapters, the little sections within each of those. Now it’s time to start
writing. Again, like I said earlier, you’re going to pull out little sections. I might,
for example, pull out the sections on how to get involved with fishing tournaments and
there’s probably some more hierarchy involved within this one, as well. I think there’s
different types of tournaments and that would go in here, as well.
Now that you know this is what you’re focusing on, you can start writing about it and your
mind is just focused on this. Everything else is still there on the table but you’re focused
on this. Now, for me, writing and actually typing all of this out is still a struggle
at this point. I’m a little bit more focused than I was. However, my mind gets into editing
mode whenever I get in front of a computer. It works for blog posts but when I am writing
a book, it just becomes much harder for me mentally to go through all of this, even though
I can try and treat each of these as a single blog post, I still want to edit along the
way as if I’m crafting it like a blog post that’s going to be published tomorrow. No.
The very, very best strategy I heard is you want to puke on the screen. Basically you
just want to put everything there is in your brain about this particular topic on the page.
I know some people who actually take the delete button off their key because they don’t want
to force themselves or even accidentally edit. They are just in creative mode and the thing
is you’re going to come in here the next time around and edit and move things around and
you’re probably not going to be using a lot of what you write down but what comes out
when your brain is in creative mode is going to be extremely good for what you have going
on in your book. For me, when I was in edit mode, what would
happen is I just wouldn’t let myself think creatively. I would just stop myself because
I had to edit this thing and move things around. It’s not what you want to do. Now for me,
the big trick I use and the app that I use to help me achieve extremely high words per
minute is called Rev. I’m actually not writing, I’m not typing, I’m dictating my book, and
it helps a little bit that I have a little bit of podcasting experience, but if you have
any knowledge of this particular topic, you just have to imagine you’re talking about
it with someone. Talking about this next Post-It note into Rev, which is an iPhone app and
I believe it’s also on Android, too. It’s basically an audio recorder but the cool thing
about it is you can take that audio recording and send it to the people over at Rev and
they will transcribe it for you at a dollar per minute.
Now, you can even just transcribe it yourself or have somebody else on your team transcribe
it for you but they do a really great job, the quality is really good, as well. When
that comes back to you a few hours later, it’s all of the words that you talked or related
to that specific item and that’s the trick that I use to get up to 180 words per minute
and how I’ve been able to complete the first brain dump, this first draft of my book. You
can’t even really call it a draft because it’s just everything in my brain about these
particular topics on these Post-It notes all dictated or actually 95% dictated because
I started writing it on the computer but then I went to Rev, R-E-V, and this has been game-changing.
Now I’m going to go through the book a second time with a little bit of editing mode in
mind and I’ll be able to shape and move things around and craft these stories in a way that
makes sense for a book because it’s not going to make sense for a book when it comes from
your voice but you can get so many amazing stories and pieces of your book out through
your voice. Record it on Rev, transcribe it, and you’ll see you have a lot of stuff to
work with and your book’s going to be finished sooner than you know.
Again, to recap, try that out. Brain dump all of your ideas about your book on to Post-It
notes, move them around, organize them, shape them, sequence them to a point where they
become to look like a book in terms of chapters, subchapters, parts within those subchapters,
all those things. Pull out individual pieces and talk about those things, record them,
and if you don’t want to do that, that’s fine, you can write them, too. Just having that
Post-It note there that you’re focusing on is going to help quite a bit.
I want to talk to you really quick before we end this video about my next book idea.
I know a lot of you have been following me, talking about this journey for quite awhile
now. I’ve even talked about it in episode 138, where I said by the end of 2014 I was
going to make a decision on what this book would be. I wanted to go traditional but I’m
actually not going to go traditional this next round and actually this book I’m writing,
it’s going to be the first of a series of books that are coming out. The quick story
is I was always inspired to do a quote, “encyclopedia” of online business strategies, tips, and things
you should do to become a successful online business and build a successful blog, podcast,
everything, the whole thing, an encyclopedia, and there was a book like that called Moonlighting
on the Internet when I first started back in 2008, although that book has not been updated
since 2008, and it’s probably obvious that it’s quite outdated at this point.
I know being at the level I’m at now, I have the ability to give you all the information
you need to start a successful business now. However, the reason it’s not going to go traditional
is because something like this I learned through some quick conversations with publishers,
at traditional publishing companies, they said that this wasn’t a book that was really
going to look very attractive to them, and that they were looking for something bigger,
something with more of a story arc, more wider-reaching, and something like an encyclopedia just wasn’t
very, very attractive to them, and I got that. I totally understand, I know I have a number
of those books in me but I really want to start this encyclopedia.
Now through even more conversation with a lot of other people, I learned that maybe
an encyclopedia isn’t the best idea in terms of one big, fat, giant book that has all of
the information because there’s obviously a lot of things that can be done, a lot of
different pieces of building an online business. That’s why I’m going to be writing this series
for you. It’s going to be a series of books, I don’t know how long it’s going to be, but
every series is going to be one particular piece of the puzzle of building a successful
online business, and parts of it you may find useful for you and some of it may be not.
It’s going to be a choose-your-own adventure type of deal.
I’ve already started on book one, and like I said, completed the first draft of that,
and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m so excited about this. I think this is perfect,
especially for what a lot of people have been requesting of me through email and messages
and Facebook and Twitter and things like that. This is going to be perfect, especially for
the beginners, and even if you’ve just got going already and you have a lot of your business
up and running already, it’s still going to be helpful as well for all levels. Again,
it’s going to be a series of books coming out this year and I cannot wait to share it
with you, it’s going to be so much fun. Thank you for joining me on this journey and
yes, a traditionally-published books is in line for the future and I think this is a
great stepping stone towards that for me, as well, especially getting into this daily
writing habit, which has been really good for me, and including it in my morning routine,
too. I’d love to know what you think about this. Obviously, you’ve followed me for quite
a bit now and understand the ups and downs of gone through with book writing. Let Go
is a major success but I’m looking for even bigger and better things now and so head on
over to WatchSPI.TV. There you’ll see the archive of shows if you’re watching this on
the day that this particular episode goes live, you’ll just see our preview episode
from last week and this one there but a new episode will come out every single Friday.
Again, WatchSPI.TV, head on over to this episode. This is Episode 1 and you can leave a comment
there and let me know what you think. Love to share this with you and I’ll keep you posted
along the way and I’d love to hear feedback from you along the way, as well. Thank you
and if you’re working on a book, too, I hope this has been helpful for you. Let me know
what you think and if you are writing a book, I’d love to know what it’s about and where
you’re at with it and let’s just do this together. We’re a team, I’m here for you, and hopefully
you’ll be here for me, too. Thanks so much and I’ll see you in the next episode of SPI
TV. I wonder if that looked real or not because
it was totally not real.

100 thoughts on “How to Write a Book – The Secret to a Super Fast First Draft”

  1. Hi Pat just discovered you yesterday and watched Eps.1. Brilliant Post-Its and Dictating! LOVE it. [yep i edit as i write] so about to check out Rev. Thanks heaps. Yes want to start writing E-Books and VERY early days here. Feels good to have you/SPI as a online Resource. 🙂 Gs

  2. Where is your video on bookcovers? Couldn't find it and the link led me to a different video for which I am glad because I learned even more and began checking out more of your videos.

  3. Great overview Pat! Really enjoyed it and will definitely start using Post-it notesnand Rev to capture and organize my thinking into book form. ~d

  4. LOVE your light-hearted fun approach to shooting your videos. i was starting to glaze over (just a little) when you (allegedly) grabbed the post it notes mid air. it was the perfect interruption. it made me laugh and engaged my attention on a deeper level. very creative and always incredible content. thanks Pat.

  5. Love this!! I was doing a mind map on a sheet of paper, but it makes so much more sense to be able to move the pieces around. Thanks, Pat!!

  6. Fabulous info! I will try the posted notes or similar way. I usually use a large writing pad and a pen. But it's hard to read my writing. But this is very interesting and doable. Thanks for posting.

  7. “You can find them at any store” BLUE SKIDOO WE CAN DO

    HERE WE GO WALMART, 70TH TIME TODAY HERE GOOO

  8. This is a great way to start brainstorming and writing your book. I really like the idea of talking through your book so that you're only focused on what you're saying and not how they look on a piece of paper. A method I have used you might find interesting is I have begun writing books in Excel before using macros to automatically export them into my desired Word format. See how here: https://youtu.be/DqmnnLLmO9o

  9. This is basically just using an outline??? For me using outlines works better, they're more detailed and give me a better sense of chapters forming.

  10. I am writing an historical fiction and struggling with my typing and distracted more towards other stories that I have in my mind. Finally had pen down some in short real stories of 5 pages like that. Do suggest .

  11. My mom started watching your channel and I liked it so I wanted to check it out on my computer btw I am on my mom's account 🙂

  12. I know this video s older, but brilliant! I'm so glad I watched it. I don't know why I didn't think to use post-it notes and break it down that way. I start with an idea for writing and end up with a jumbled mess that I never go back to because it just seems like chaos in my head and I don't want to work through it (if that makes sense to you lol) So, in short, thank you for this video!

  13. I love your content Pat. I just came to find more about your channel from Real Men Real Style which I have been watching for a while and I love Antonio as well. Super educative and it has helped me improve on my dressing styles. As a beginner Pat with so much motivation to write a book, can you kindly help me. Do you mind standing next to my shoulder and help me put down the dream that has been haunting me for a long time. I feel I have the potential to become that next motivational speaker with a built platform of well written books. I have so many written drafts that I have personally tried to put down but a long the way, I lack the courage to push it up to the end. Thanks. My email address is [email protected]

  14. Well here's what I think – all those post its and colours just look fun to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xD
    P.S. – what happened to the "series" of books? Is this something I've missed or did they turn into Will it Fly? 😀

  15. Enjoyed this video too. What a great idea using the post-it's. Will have to try that. Would work for posts too. Thanks.

  16. Thank you so much, Pat. I have gone through sooooo many different sites to try and find the best way to write the book I want to write. Your Post It idea seems so amazing. I'm gonna try it and see how it works. You make it look so easy, so hopefully it will be for me too. Thank you, again. I love it!

  17. Appreciate that this video is 2015 so I don't know what Siri was like back then… but as an alternative to dictating to audio files and getting it transcribed (which costs money), modern smart phones with Siri or Google have really good speech to text functions.

    I dictate into OneNote into my phone, OneNote syncs automatically with the Cloud, then when I'm sat at my PC the text can be copied and pasted into a Word document for editing

    Same principles of just getting my thoughts out of my head as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter that the speak to text software sometimes doesn't get all the words right.

    I've not read any other comments so hopefully this is helpful to people and not repeating anyone else…

  18. I can write 10 to 15 pages a day easy. Notebook pages that is. Putting the pen on paper becomes more intuitive then using a keyboard. I just write it and put notes to the side.

  19. Excellent Pat!! As per usual you deliver just great info in an effective and clear way!! Keep it up! Thanks!

  20. Just watched episode 1 and I am excited to start this process. I am working on my first ebook. I want to help a specific niche with 30 minutes of time they are given each day for exercise. Thanks for the content!

  21. That was helpful but maybe someone can help me with my little problem. My story ist very complicated. I have 12 povs and a very complicated high fantasy story where I kind of can't do it like everyone else does. It's so confusing. Like I know how it works and how every chapter is seperated but it will be confusing for a reader if I don't structure it right. Like.. I dont know.. Does this even make sense? XD

  22. I was looking for advice on writing fiction, but I still think this will be useful to me, especially the part about brainstorming. May or may not use post-it notes though.

  23. Cheap $4 books are on on sale on the GoFundme website, you can post your books on sell there too. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WiVDNMOUg08

  24. Learn how to create and publish your first ebook, start teaching everyone what you are passionate about.

    Checkout my channel if you want to start learning today

  25. I am writing a poetry book on a certain subject. Is there a software I can use instead? Can't someone just create a mind map?

  26. Microsoft App "Write Freely" doesn't allow you to edit or backspace. Only $1.29 in Microsoft store.

  27. So quick and easy for NONFICTION!!! FICTION writing doesn't work like this. Wish this was specified in the title.

  28. This is fine for nonfiction, but not so much for novelists who need a lot of detail. If I just have the bare bones, I still struggle to find the words.

  29. Best tips Ever!!! Thank you so much, you explain things very simply and non intimidating! So appreciated. 🙂

  30. YES Pat!!! So so true! I'm excited to complete my second book this summer using this method! 🙌 Thank you!

  31. I've been struggling for 2 years to get my book out! I like this "vomit on the computer" and "just talk as if our explaining it" idea. Wish me luck 🙂

  32. Great Advice Pat, I actually have already three Books and now going through the publishing process. But using the Post-It Notes Idea is a great idea for a Fitness book series because there so many variables the go into writing this series. thanks.

  33. this was truly helpful and truly practical. I'm currently writing on a comic book and this will be so useful and simple. tnx!

  34. Very helpful and very inspiring. Im using this technique to help with my own book idea as well as course ideas, it makes sense so far to start this way!

  35. Scrivener does all of these things, so you could just have everything in one program instead of having a bunch of different sticky notes and apps.

  36. I subscribed only because of your laugh at the post it notes😂. That was so real and raw and hilarious 😂

  37. Can you please give an example for books that are poetry? I guess I can do this if I focus poems on particular place or subject and just list a bunch of related objects.
    So basically if all my poems were related to my garden, I would make a list of all things related to my garden ?

    I have a book already that has a bunch of poems about women. So maybe I can keep the book about women…mmmh.

  38. Do you have tips for picking work to go in a book, that is already written. So basically if you have bunch of poems done, how do you know which ones should go together in a book?

  39. Everybody has their own creative writing style and how to fit the pieces together to tell their story, but this is by far the simplest and easiest step-by-step guide that I've seen as to how to write a book. Great video.

  40. Thank you great guidance, I mind map but the post it note idea is really motivating. I’m writing about work place bullying – shining a light into the dark techniques of, and how to fight for your career in that environment, thanks for the app pointer, I’ve been looking for just the thing!

  41. What if you could create beautiful eBooks in under 60 seconds? Here’s a tool you gotta see people…@t . This is perfect for creating products, and lead gen reports. Watch this video to see how fast this process can be: >>> @t
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  42. You should see my laptop screen 😂🤣 it's one big post-it 😂 and the dictating idea is great, I use google docs for the dictating part, you just speak and it transcribes on screen.

  43. I use post its for my visual vision board with deadlines and milestones. Using the concept to write a book…BRILLIANT! then to dictate and transcribe…BRILLIANT! Thank you for sharing!

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