“It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done”- Terry Pratchett
It’s ironical but to pin down an idea on paper you need a process. If I had known about the processes in writing maybe I would never have written but by the time I realised I was too fascinated by it to give up.
You see, before I started writing, everyone in my family knew better than to ask me for a process.
“It’s just daydreams with her,” they would say shaking their heads as they saw me sitting and reading.
“Give her a book and watch how she wastes the whole day away.”
It came as no surprise to them when I decided to leave banking but even I was worried about what work I would do. I had not trained for anything else…or so I thought.
Serendipitously I found my way into writing and for the first time, I was happy working.
Life seemed to have made sense of all the jig-saw pieces that it had given me- a love for learning about different experiences, a desire to read everything and anything be it the newspaper held by a train passenger or the posters sticking on walls and a preference for silence over unending conversations.
It seemed the right choice for a day-dreamer until I realized that if I wanted to turn it into a career, I will need processes.
WHAM! I couldn’t run away from processes this time because I really loved what I did and wanted to make it better.
As a ghostwriter, I just don’t have to write my ideas and thoughts I have to write from a point of confidence about the learnings and experiences of my authors.
Ghostwriting demands a highly collaborative and customised process. Yet, despite all the permutations and combinations due to the author’s time and requirement, there are a few stages that remain constant.
When I worked with my mentor Derek Lewis, I realised that he follows these steps too. Derek’s named them Discovery, Blueprint, Frankendraft and Polish.
Meeting, conversation and discussions…this stage is all about talking and discovering the ideas of the book. As a ghostwriter, I have to write like you and that means I need to get into your mind and understand your views from your perspective (believe me this is not as invasive as it sounds.)
It’s interesting- you get to talk your heart out on your favourite subject and you get an attentive audience😊
The Discovery stage is the foundation of your book. It starts off with me flying to your city for a three-five day author retreat. In the author retreat, we talk about everything related to you and your ideas- your experiences, learnings, likes, dislikes, the way you view life.
Every detail matters because it builds your book.
I will record all of this gold and send it to my transcriptionist. Post the discussions and the transcription, we schedule two-three weeks of follow-up calls to go over anything else you might have remembered. These printed notes now become the raw material that I will read and re-read as I write your book.
As I sort and sift through those hours and hours of conversations, a common theme and a structure emerges. This stage takes your idea forward and goes into deeper detail about
• Your book’s WHY (check this blog post to know more about your WHY and why it’s important)
• Your target audience; their problems and goals
• How your book’s ideas are uniquely helpful to its readers
Further discussions lead us to the table of content with chapter outlines.
Many authors already come with an idea and a structure to their book, yet the deep discussions and questioning through these two stages further clarifies the structure for their book.
TIP: The authors that I usually work with are experienced professionals and business owners. They have learnt so much over the years and they want to help their readers with all the solutions.
This leads to a problem of plenty.
They think the best way is to put all their learnings into one book. But think about it, a book that contains so many ideas is usually very difficult to read.
After working through these two stages my authors can decide on the two-three main ideas for the book. They can even plan a series of books, based on the first book or create masterclasses for the rest…the possibilities are endless!
In this stage, I start writing your book- chapter by chapter. Every time, I complete a chapter, I send it to you to read and comment.
Tell me what resonated with you and what didn’t. Plus, you can share any new ideas you’ve had.
I will note them all down separately and we will move forward to the next chapter. This way, chapter by chapter, we will build your book with greater clarity in each step.
Often, I have noticed that during the discussions we go over certain points and they seem perfectly detailed. But when I sit down to write the chapters, I can see the gaps for the reader more clearly. The discussions and the writing in this round are geared to eliminate those gaps and build your story.
In fact, through this process, we’re shaping your book even as we’re creating it.
Frankendraft, is Derek’s word and it captures the idea of the first draft beautifully- the first draft is not the perfect version of your book but it brings all the ideas together into a working whole!
Yoohoo the final stage! We are reaching there…
In this stage, we work on the entire manuscript:
• Its flow
• The feedback and comments you made along with any new ideas you suggest
After we make the changes, you can share your book with a couple of people whose honest feedback you trust—and then we’ll re-group to discuss each chapter.
Of course, it’s not a total change of vision we’re talking about here (we’re too deeply invested in this version by this stage), its additions and deductions to make it better.
In this stage, we can also get a professional editor to look at your manuscript, making sure that each sentence and paragraph is smooth and tight. With revisions and edits, your manuscript is now ready.
Struggling to Write your Authoritative Book?
You have spent years gaining expertise in your niche…You know the correct solutions and can give people a roadmap to succeed…
In fact, many people come to you for help and guidance…
Now, you want to connect to a larger audience and build your own personal brand.
I can help you…For more than a decade, I have worked with business owners like you to produce in-depth content that explains how your products, services and processes work…
Want to build trust with your content and connect with your readers?
We should talk. Email me now: Nishkawrites@gmail.com