I’ve heard more than one account of friends who set out to write a book together–and lose their friendship. This won’t happen to you if:
- You write alone, or
- You have clear boundaries in the collaboration, and
- You observe the boundaries assiduously.
Whether you have read my book, heard me speak on my method, or just been a reader of this blog, you know the essence of “The Simple Secret To Writing A Non-Fiction Book In 30 Days, At 1 Hour A Day!”: Structure first, then content.
Sounds simple, I know. But it is not something most people are used to doing, and they don’t know why it might be important when undertaking to write a book. The metaphor I usually use is the building of a house: You don’t start with a trip to the lumberyard. If you do that, you will wind up with a yard full of stuff, and no idea as to how to assemble it into a house.
You start a house with a trip to an architect, who creates a plan. The plan makes its way into the hands of a builder, who uses it to create a list of materials. Then, after the materials have been acquired, a foundation is prepared and a frame built. That becomes the skeleton of the house.
It’s the same with a book. If you create your “framework”–your outline–first, it’s easy to write your book. If you don’t–well, good luck. You’ll need it if you hope to get a book done.
Creating the framework has an additional benefit: It makes the delicate process of collaborative writing practical. It does so by creating boundaries.
You see, once your framework is complete, all the book’s pieces–its chapters and subchapters–are defined and named. So if two people are to work collaboratively on a book, they should:
- Structure the book together, at least at the table-of-contents level.
- Then they can split the chapters between them, and each create the list of subchapters for his or her own chapters,
- Or structure the whole thing together, and split the subchapters up.
The place where many collaborations bog down is at the level of paragraphs. By dividing up subchapters and chapters, that opportunity for failure is avoided.
You and your partner may choose to identify yourselves as the respective authors of different parts of book. Or you may choose to have an editor “Homogenize” your distinct writing styles into a consistent “voice.” Either can work.
Structure makes collaboration possible.