Once upon a time, I didn’t have any nonfiction book ideas. Or so I thought. Now, I have so many, I feel overwhelmed because I can’t figure out how I will ever get them all written. In fact, I’m in the process of revamping my business to make time to write more nonfiction books.
When I work with aspiring nonfiction authors, I typically can think of at least two or three books they could write in addition to the one they had in mind when they began their series of coaching sessions or consults with me. My mind constantly spins with idea.
Ideation has become my forte. How do you become a book ideator? Here are six tips.
- Don’t discount your ideas. Start by never discounting any ideas that pop into your head. You may later decide they aren’t salable, but don’t determine that out of hand. The main reason most writers or aspiring writers think they don’t have book ideas is because they don’t think they do—or they don’t think their ideas are good enough. When inspiration hits, take notice. Your idea may seem crazy at the time, but I’m sure the Internet seemed like a crazy idea, as did the airplane, telephone, television, and cell phone. Let your mind go wild!
- Write all your book ideas down. Instead of discounting ideas, train yourself to look for ideas. Each time the glimmer of an idea enters your mind, write it down. Get a notebook to carry with you, or use a program like Evernote.com, which you can access both on your phone and on your computer. The more often you tell yourself that your ideas are valid—both by confirming that your ideas are worthwhile and then by concretizing them in writing—the more often ideas will pop into your head.
- Follow your passion. If you have subjects, hobbies, charities, or causes that you feel passionate about, these can be wonderful book idea generators. There’s nothing better than writing about a topic about which you feel passionate (especially if many others share that passion). Consider the books you wish someone had written in this area or that you’d love to see written
- Pursue your purpose. What do you want to accomplish with your writing? If you focus on this one thing—your purpose—you will find ideas right in front of your ideas constantly. They will come in the form of your customers’ or clients’ problems, questions and concerns, books that will get you closer to accomplishing your goals and ways to serve others that inevitably help you fulfill that purpose (and succeed).
- Explore your ideas later. Once your ideas are written down, you can spend time exploring them and determining if they need to be tweaked, re-angled, or thrown away. Often the kernel of an idea that seems unworkable can be worked into something marketable with a bit of creativity and an open mind. Coming back to them later—with some objectivity—provides a good practice.
- Get objective feedback. Although sometimes working in a vacuum can prove helpful, asking someone objective and with no ulterior motives assist you in seeing the big picture of your idea is a good idea. A coach or consultant, or even a knowledgeable friend, can help you flesh out your idea, determine if it has appeal to your target market or if it needs to be changed or thrown away. That said, you will have to decide if the advice is good or not. Intuition is valuable as well.
The more often you look for nonfiction book ideas and work with them, the more often you will find ideas popping into your head. Before you know it, like me, they’ll be a regular part of your daily life. And you’ll end up with a long list of nonfiction books to write.
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