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Give Yourself Permission to Write About Whatever You Want to Write About

I wrote my first nonfiction eBook in 2010. It was called, Butt-In-Chair: A No-Excuses Productivity Guide for Writers Who Struggle to Get Started. It came out on March 23, 2010 and it’s still, to this day, the book I sell the most copies of.

Before I published this book, I’d been blogging for two years, all about my writing journey and what I was learning along the way. And before that I was in journalism school and working many jobs where I had to use my writing skills.

So writing about writing just seemed to be a natural fit for me. I’ve published nine eBooks and all of them relate to writing or being a writer.

But lately I’ve been wanting to expand and write about other topics. I’ve wanted to write nonfiction about other parts of my life and share what I’ve learned in those areas.

I want to write a book about how I used personal challenges to transform my life. I want to write about overcoming fear by facing it head-on. I want to write about making amazing gluten-free, dairy-free food. I want to write a business and marketing book for multi-passionate entrepreneurs.

These are all topics I’ve avoided because I thought I wasn’t allowed to write about them. That I didn’t have enough credibility or I had to stick with writing books about writing because that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what people expect of me.

Yet another unfulfilled desire, buried deep inside.

A couple years ago my story mentor and great friend, Larry Brooks, wrote a book about relationships. Totally outside of the usual topics he writes about (as most of you know him from StoryFix.com and Story Engineering). I respected him a lot for doing that. It’s hard to be known for something and then move outside that wheelhouse to something totally different.

Most people couldn’t and wouldn’t do that. (Not to mention all the advice in the writing industry, which says to focus and niche down. Total BS, by the way.)

But the thing we often forget when we’re multi-passionate, is that we’re different than other people.

For most people it would be a total disaster to change topics and start writing books on other topics that you’re not known for or that are outside of the wheelhouse you’ve been in. Because many people really are only good at one thing.

You and I are different. We’re good at lots of things. We have talents and gifts that stretch far beyond just being and doing one thing.

So why should you hold yourself back from writing about what you want to write about?

The way I see it, you’re alive and you’re living life. That means there are things you’re passionate about. That means along the way you picked up knowledge and skills that have allowed you to become really good at several things.

In my opinion, writing a badass nonfiction book is all about being passionate about a topic and having knoweldge, skills and experiences related to that topic.

And with that definition, it really opens up the possibilities for you to write about whatever you want to write about. How fun is that?

The reason it’s so important to focus on writing about the things you’re passionate about is because that passion will fuel you. It will be the thing that keeps you going when you want to give up.

Passion will get you across the finish line.

And that passion can only come from allowing yourself to write about the things you desire to write about–regardless of what they are–so you can share yourself, your gifts, your talents, your skills, your knowledge and your experiences with the people of the world who want and need what you have to offer.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

P.S. If you want to find the perfect topic for your first (or next) nonfiction book, join me today at 5 p.m. CST for a FREE livestream training on how to find a badass nonfiction book idea, right here on my Facebook biz page. (If you’re not reading this on my FB biz page, go here to join us: www.facebook.com/dreamlifeorbust)

P.S.S. Are you ready for the biggest writing challenge of your life?? (I’m talking bigger than NaNoWriMo!) Join us for the next round of my workshop, Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days.

Scary? Maybe. A challenge? To say the least. Doable? When you join this workshop.

>> Details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/10days

Why Every Writer Has a Nonfiction Book in Them

I work with a lot of fiction writers. In fact, fiction writers make up the majority of my community at this point. And a common complaint I hear from them is this: I can’t write nonfiction.

While it’s true that writing nonfiction isn’t for everyone, it’s untrue that fiction writers can’t write nonfiction.

Nonfiction just means what you’re writing about isn’t made up, it’s something that comes from your own knowledge, skills and experiences. And every writer–including fiction writers–has knowledge, skills and experience in something.

The thing is, we tend to discredit this knowledge, these skills and those experiences, because they feel so normal to us.

For example, maybe you’ve been playing softball since you were 11. First you started off on a little league team, then you played for your high school’s team, which got you a scholarship to play in college. You played for a couple years in college and then go sick of the competitiveness of it, and so you stopped playing at the college-level, and instead took up a summer league that’s more about having fun than it is winning.

You’ve got a long-standing background in playing softball and being a softball player. So why not use your softball knowledge, skills and experiences to write a nonfiction book for people who want the knowledge, skills and experience that you have?

And not a boring textbook-style book on “how to play softball” (unless that feels good to you). But something that will allow you to stand out and reach a readership of people who need what you have to offer.

You could write a nonfiction book about how to prepare yourself to play college ball. Or you could write a book about navigating the politics of playing softball in high school. Or you could write a combo memoir-nonfiction book that tells some of your stories from playing softball, while sharing the life-lessons you learned and how to apply them.

It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. You don’t have to write 300 pages or even cover ever little thing there is to know. Especially if you plan on publishing it on Amazon, which now has entire categories dedicated to books that are short, fast reads.

The thing I want you to see in all of this, is how ripe for nonfiction most people’s lives are. At any given time there are thousands of potential things you could write a nonfiction book about.

I’ve written nonfiction books about writing habits (several of them), becoming creative on demand, having a pro writer mindset, journaling. All of these are writing-related topics, but I’m now branching out and writing nonfiction eBooks about life-related topics, on things like productivity (in general, not just writing), being multi-passionate, challenging yourself and more.

I basically just use the knowledge, skills and experiences I’ve acquired over my life so far and turn that stuff into written content that can help someone else do the same.

Not to mention, if you’re an entrepreneur, writing a nonfiction eBook is a great way to shine a light on your business, your processes and how you get results for your clients. I wrote a book called, Find Your Story, that walks you through my 6-part story planning and development process. Then I put a call-to-action at the end, letting people know I offer a coaching program that will allow them to go deeper on this process.

That 99 cent eBook has made me thousands of dollars through clients coming to me for coaching services, wanting to have me walk them through my process in a more official capacity. And it all started by deciding to write down my process and share it in eBook form.

The other awesome thing about nonfiction eBooks is that they’re actually much easier to sell than fiction, and you can make more money overall, which can then allow you to fund your fiction writing efforts.

How cool would it be to make a full-time income writing nonfiction eBooks, and be able to free up more time for writing fiction? How cool would it be to get your processes and ideas out into the world so other people can benefit from them? How cool would it be to have consistent money rolling in every month from eBook sales?

Pretty damn cool.

Now maybe you’re a fiction writer who only wants to write fiction. Fine if you are.

For most of my life I only saw myself as a fiction writer. I thought I would only ever write novels.
But toward the end of 2009, I realized I had built up quite a bit of knowledge and skills on being productive, so I decided to write my very first nonfiction eBook (Butt-In-Chair, published in early 2010). And then I fell in love with writing nonfiction and I’ve been doing it ever since.

If you’re open-minded and willing to use your writing talents for other types of writing, nonfiction eBooks can be a great way to leverage your knowledge, skills and experiences to not only help other people, but to make some money in the process (which can then fund other things you dream of doing, being and having).

Dream life or bust,

 

 

P.S. The doors to my badass workshop, Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days, are now OPEN to new students!!! I’ve run this workshop 3 times before, and every time more than half the students who sign up go all the way and hit “publish.” I created this workshop around my own personal nonfiction eBook development, outlining, writing and publishing process. The one that I use over and over again for all of the nonfiction eBooks that I write.

> Get full details, check out testimonials and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/10days

Outline Your Nonfiction Book: A 5-Day Blueprint

I’m a big believer in planning, as you probably already know. I think planning and development are the most underrated aspects of the book writing process.

And the truth is, the book you write could be a million times better if you just did some planning and development first. If you spent some time thinking through the details and trying things out before committing to it or playing around with ideas rather than going with the first one that hits you.

This is true especially with fiction writing, but it’s also true for writing nonfiction.

I plan, develop and outline every single nonfiction book I write BEFORE I write it. I have a tried-and-true process that I use, to not only dig out the details of what needs to be included in the book, but then to refine them into a book that’s worthy of writing (and reading).

I’ve found that process and strategy are missing pieces for most writers. Most writers have ideas–loads of them–but they don’t always have a process for getting those ideas out of their heads and onto the page in a way that makes cohesive sense.

And this is kinda important, because if you can’t get your ideas out of your head and onto the page in a way that’s organized and flows for a reader… they’re not gonna be reading for very long.

Having a repeatable process and strategy for planning, developing, outlining and then writing my books (fiction and nonfiction) has been a game changer for me. Especially with my nonfiction. It has helped me to become 5X more productive with getting books written and published.

And it all starts with an outline.

That’s why I’ve taken the process I use to plan, develop and outline my nonfiction books and turned it into a short workbook that you can use to plan, develop and outline all of your nonfiction books.

>> Grab your copy of the Outline Your Nonfiction Book–the 5-Day Blueprint here 

Share With Us

What could you write a nonfiction book on? Brainstorm ideas in the comments. 

 

You Have A Nonfiction Book In You: 3 Ways to Pull It Out

Something I believe is that all writers have nonfiction book ideas in them. And maybe you don’t want to write nonfiction or think it’s not for you—that’s totally fine.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have ideas in you that you could write, if you wanted to.

In the digital age, I believe it’s important for authors to diversify and not just try to make a living from just one thing. I mean, sure, you could if you really wanted to, but why would you want to? 

You’re multi-passionate. You have lots of ideas and things you could be doing to make money from your writing, which would get you to that “make a living from my writing” goal a whole lot faster.

Trying to do it from just one thing, like writing novels, really limits you. It limits your reach, your audience and your potential to share your gifts and change people’s lives.

I believe that even fiction writers have nonfiction books in them. They just have to learn how to pull them out.

Now maybe you’ll decide that you do only want to make your living as a writer from one thing. That’s fine too. Whatever you want and see for your writing life is what you should be doing.

But for those multi-passionate writers who like the idea of diversifying and not having to choose just one thing… here are 3 ways you can come up with nonfiction book ideas:

1. Expertise 

You’re an expert in something. Most likely several things. We all are. It’s just that we’re so good at certain stuff we don’t think about it as something that’s actually valuable.

For example, people tell me all the time that I’m motivational. When it first started happening (way back when I was a kid), I’d brush it off. But people kept saying it. And eventually I realized—I’m an expert in motivating people.

But I never would’ve figured that out if people hadn’t been saying it to me my whole life.

You have something similar going on. There are things that you’re really, really good at. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve had your whole life. Maybe it’s a natural talent you were born with (like writing). Maybe it’s something you’re not even aware of.

But these expertise that you have could make a great nonfiction book.

Do these exercises to pull ideas out…

> Grab your notebook and make a list of all the things you’re really good at or are an expert at (hobbies, talents, experiences you’ve had, etc).

> Ask your friends and family—what am I really good at? They’ll likely have additional answers for you to add to the list; at the very least they’ll say stuff you already have on there which will just confirm it.

2. Transformations You’ve Made

You’ve had life experiences and have overcome stuff and made transformations in your life. And that is fodder for writing a nonfiction book.

Self-help books are flying off the shelves (virtually and in book stores) because people have an innate need to learn and grow and become better. We’re always looking to improve ourselves or get better at something or learn how to do something.

So you can turn the transformations you’ve made into nonfiction books.

For example, I used to be the BIGGEST procrastinating writer in the world. It’s true. My first blog was called Procrastinating Writers for that reason. But I overcame that. I made a massive transformation and now I push everything else off and out of the way to make daily space for doing my writing. It’s now a non-negotiable for me.

That’s a big transformation—and one that a lot of writers would like to make themselves. Perfect topic for a nonfiction book (and I’ve written several).

An exercise… 

> Grab your notebook and brainstorm on the transformations you’ve made in your life—what results did you want that you didn’t have and how did you finally get there and achieve those results? what have you overcome and come out stronger on the other side? Write it all down.

3. A Unique Angle—On A Topic Or On A Book That’s Already Out There

One of the easiest ways to find nonfiction book ideas is to come up with a unique angle on a topic—or even another book—that’s already out there. If it’s already out there, that means there’s a demand for it.

For example, if you’re an expert in how to create your own recipes, you could go out there and look for books that relate to this topic… and maybe you’d find a bunch of books that help people write recipes for personal use. But maybe no one’s done a book on how to write recipes for a cookbook. Or how to write recipes for commercial use. Or how to write recipes when you’re a caterer.

That could be your unique angle that you use to write a nonfiction book.

Another example… like a decade+ ago a book came out called, He’s Just Not That Into You. It was all the rage with women who were so happy to finally have a better understanding of men and how they think and why they behave like they do.

Soon after another book came out… Be Honest—You’re Not That Into Him Either. This book was a riff on the other book and was written to help women raise their standards and stop dating or going after men who are like the men described in the other book.

Is there a book out there that you could write a riff on?

Some exercises…

> Grab your notebook and make a list of topics you could write a nonfiction book about—then think about different angles you could take on that same topic. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can.

> Go to the bookstore (or on Amazon, but the bookstore is a fun excuse to grab a coffee and wander through the stacks) and look at what books are selling right now—could you write a riff off of one of those books and add another perspective to the discussion. Grab your notebook and brainstorm book riff ideas that you could write.

I hope you can see now that you DO have nonfiction book ideas in you—you just have to know how to pull them out. Complete the exercises and if something sparks your interest and pulls at you to write it… DO IT!

 

Share With Us

What’s one nonfiction eBook that you could write from all of the ideas you brainstormed? Share in the comments.

———–

 And if you find an idea that you just LOVE and want to get written and published NOW, my upcoming workshop: Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days, will help you make it happen!! This is an action-taking workshop that will light a fire under your ass to get that nonfiction eBook written and published, so you can grow and expand your readership, change people’s lives, and make money in the process. 

We kick things off on March 13 and doors open to the public on Monday March 6 at 1 PM EST. Get on my email list to be the first to know when the doors open… and you’ll also get a free copy of my eBook–The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: How To Think Your Way to #1.

Magic Happens When You Do This

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what, specifically, has made my mission of writing and publishing 9 books in 2016 actually happen. And what I mean by that is, what has caused me to actually be able to keep up with it? To have already written and published three books and to be working on books four and five right now?

And when I really think about it, there’s one thing that stands out: shortening the timeline.

Usually when you’re writing and publishing a book, you give yourself six months to a year to get it done (sometimes more!). But when you only give yourself 30 days (sometimes 31), it changes everything.

Because now you don’t have time to mess around. You don’t have time to procrastinate or doubt yourself or not do the work. If you want to get the book written and published in 30 days, you’ve gotta get to work immediately. 

There’s no time to waste. No time to slack off. No time to avoid doing the work.

At least, not if you actually plan on getting the book done in that timeframe.

There’s something kind of magical about shortening the timeframe that much. Because it really forces you to focus, to stick with it and to make consistent progress.

Of course, this all depends on how committed you are. But the truth is, when you’re totally 150 percent committed, you’ll make it happen. And the amount of time will never be an issue again.

This month, I wrote and published my new eBook in 5 days. I have a good friend who wrote and published her Amazon best selling novel in only 3 days. One of my other good friends just wrote and published her debut eBook in 10 days.

The amount of time you commit isn’t what matters. It’s the commitment to doing the work and making it happen that matters.

And when you’ve got that commitment in place, you can make pretty much anything happen in any amount of time.

That’s the main reason why I’m loving this 9-book challenge I’ve given myself this year. It has gotten me out of my head and into action. And there’s no other option, because if you get stuck in your head–which is what happens to most writers–you’ll never make it happen. 

At least not in 30 days.

So what does it really take to get a book written and published that quickly? Here’s what it takes for me:

  • A good book idea–you need something that’s worth writing and that you’re passionate about, otherwise it will be easy to quit.
  •  Having a fast-turnaround editor on board–I believe in professional self-publishing, so even with this short timeframe I still wouldn’t publish without someone editing the book for me first. So I have an editor who is totally on board with my crazy mission this year, and she’s willing to do a fast-turnaround for me on the edits so I can get the books out in 30 days.
  • The willingness to let everything else go–I’ve had to give up social time, spend a lot of Friday and Saturday nights home with my MacBook, get up really early and stay up really late, in order to get these books done in the short timeframe. That’s just part of it. If you want to accomplish anything, you’re gonna have to be so committed to the outcome you desire that everything else can fall by the wayside if need be.
  • Being good at designing covers–I’ve been designing all of my own book covers this year, because I’ve taken design classes and have always been interested in cover design. But this isn’t gonna be the case for most writers. And you don’t want to end up with a shitty cover. So if you can’t design it yourself and make it look pro, you’ve gotta have a cover designer on board, ready to help, or be willing to buy a pre-designed cover that’s ready to go.
  • Kick negative voices and self-doubt to the curb–this is a must. If you don’t do this, you will get stopped at every turn. And with a 30-day turnaround, you don’t have time for that. You must get rid of the “noise.” I like to do this by writing my reality, setting intentions and visualizing the end result.

This whole write-and-publish-a-book-in-30-days thing is not for the faint-hearted. It takes major guts.

But it’s totally possible, when you get out of your own way.

It’s even possible for you to write and publish it faster than that, if you wanted to. Like I said, I wrote and published my most recent book in 5 days (and it became a #1 best seller on Amazon, and is currently at #1 right now in 3 categories!). 

It’s not about the timeframe. You can write and publish a book in pretty much any timeframe if you set your mind to it.

And that’s really what it comes down to: setting your mind to it. Making the decision that you’re gonna make it happen, no matter what.

Now before I continue on, I just want to add: I don’t recommend that short of a timeframe for a novel. Most writers cannot successfully write and publish a novel in that short amount of time and actually do a good job (and please don’t even get me started on the writers who write 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo and then publish it without even thinking twice about it, UGH!).

BUT–if you’re writing nonfiction–30 days, 10 days, 5 days, 3 days, whatever–is enough time to write and publish your book. So long as you can get an editor on board to make sure there aren’t any massive errors before you hit “publish” (there’s no excuse for not professionally self-publishing your books).

I’m living proof of what’s possible when you shut up, drop the excuses, get out of your own way, set your mind to something and commit to doing the work.

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How long did it take you to get your nonfiction eBook written and published?

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