My Version of the Organized Book-Writing Process
Written by Lisa Montanaro | May 25, 2010

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am launching my first organizing book in fall 2010 to be published by Peter Pauper Press. This is my first book publishing experience. I have been published as an attorney in law journals, which was a grueling process, but still not an actual “book” published by a publishing house.

In this post, I will share a little bit about the writing process for those of you planning to write a book (or for those that want to write a book someday!). As a professional organizer, I tried to write the book by using an organized process or system. It worked for me, but I realize it may not work for everyone, and writing is a very personal experience. If it helps you, great. If not, feel free to just chalk it up to one writer’s technique!

I first started by accessing my own written content. I gathered the content that I had been using for years to do speaking engagements and workshops on organizing. I also reviewed all of my blog posts and articles. I realized I had a lot of content that could be repackaged and polished to include in the book.

I then listened to all of my audio programs and teleclasses on organizing. I transcribed what I considered to be golden nuggets of ideas for the book. As a professional speaker, I am always doing workshops on organizing so it was a natural place to turn to for content. I highly recommend this approach if you are writing about a topic you frequently speak on.

I also carried a digital recorder with me, and whenever a great idea for the book would pop into my head, I would record it so that I would not forget it. I highly recommend this! You can also use an “app” like Evernote on your smart phone to jot down ideas, or an old-fashioned notebook. Whatever works! But be sure to get the ideas down when they are fresh. They came to me at all times, some not as convenient as others, so definitely have a way to capture those ideas when the creativity sparks fly!

I wrote the book using Word on my computer at home, and sometimes on my laptop on the road. I mostly booked writing sessions at my desk for extended hours as that is how I write best. I like to go into the writing zone and just let it flow without interruptions. But if you write well in short stints, go for it!

I organized the book by chapter and split each one into a separate Word document so that I could easily go back and forth, and not have to scroll through a massive manuscript. I put all of the chapters into a folder on Word, and then backed it up in two separate locations for safety-sake. I also sent chapters to my editor as I finished them. We used redlining to track changes, but there are many ways to track edits these days, so again, use whatever is most comfortable for you.

Now the chapters have been consolidated into one manuscript which is being edited. It is exciting to see the book start to take shape, and the next step is to review the “mechanicals,” which are the pages of the book in the actual size they will appear in the book with the design features added in. In other words, it is slowly becoming, and looking like, a book!

If you have written a book, or are in the process of writing one, share your own writing technique in a comment below so readers can see lots of different ways of tackling what seems to be an overwhelming project! I’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more on the book-writing process as I get to the next stages of the project.

Meet the Author

Helping others be the best versions of themselves gets me jazzed!

I’ve worn many hats in my lifetime—often at the same time—while enjoying fulfilling careers. I’ve been a performer, teacher, sign language instructor, lawyer, career counselor, law professor, coach, consultant, mediator, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, writer, and author. 

I’m an eternal optimist and life-long learner, constantly researching ways to improve personal and professional effectiveness. And it brings me great joy to then pass on the results of that persistent curiosity to my clients and audiences. 

Of all the career hats I’ve been privileged to wear, my favorite is owner of this business since 2002. Why? Because it provides me the opportunity to work with wonderful organizational and individual clients. On any given day, I get to connect deeply with audiences, work with dedicated teams, improve workplaces, watch clients have a-ha moments, and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and careers. And that is very satisfying.