Get the Faster Writing Cheat Sheet for Your Business Book
If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, the idea of writing a book can be overwhelming. You have a business to run, so you have precious little time to waste. For many busy people, just getting started and finishing the first draft is hard. The key is to have a plan and start writing as quickly as possible, so you can write your book faster. I’ve uncovered some secrets on how to write a super speedy first draft. I’ve used this technique on my published books, and it saves so much time. No more wasting time on the wrong things or staring at a blank computer screen.
I call it the Note Card Technique. To see it in action, watch my video tutorial below.
You will use 3×5 note cards to flush out your outline for your book topic. Breaking the process down into smaller steps will be much more doable and a lot less overwhelming.
Several packs of 3 by 5 notecards.
Colored pens (5 or 6 colors)
Step 1: Write One Word Per Card
Brainstorm different ideas around the topic of gardening. Let’s use gardening as an example. On each card, write one word that comes to mind about gardening. For example, you could write the word “soil” on a card. You could then write “seeds”, “tools”, etc. Write each brainstormed idea that comes to mind on each card. You’ll just have one word on each card. Keep coming up with ideas and writing the words on the cards. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. This is just brainstorming.
Step 2: Create Subtopics For Each Word
Next, brainstorm subtopics for each word. Write each subtopic word on a separate card. Place all the cards under the main word. For example, you’ll have a pile of cards for soil, a pile for seeds, and a pile for weather. Let’s take the first example of soil. Using a new colored pen, list different ideas about soil: soil for succulents, soil for vegetable gardening, soils for hot weather, soils for winter weather, etc. Write those subtopics on each card in different colors.
Next, take that pile of cards, put it aside and go to the next pile and start working on a new pile. From there you’re going to have separate piles of cards that will form your outline. As you move through the process, take each pile of cards and develop your topic out on the cards.
Step 3: Organize Your Ideas
With all of your topics and subtopic on cards, you can now organize your ideas. You can move the cards around to develop your outline. Move the different subtopics around to organize your thoughts and ideas.The stacks of cards will form the chapters of your book.
Step 4: Write From Your Cards
Grab one of the stacks of cards and move to another location in your room. Start writing out your ideas from those cards. Expand on the topics and subtopics to write each chapter. You can use voice recognition to make the process go faster. You can speak everything into your phone using the Rev app, and then have it transcribed. Or you can do it yourself and speak everything into the voice recognition on your phone. Don’t go directly to your computer because you’ll tend to go straight to editing mode. In the early stages of the first draft, you want to keep the ideas flowing – so try to avoid your computer at this stage.
Step 5: Edit and Polish
Think of the topics as a series of smaller articles assembled into one book. Each article then becomes a chapter. After you’ve organized the structure and expanded on each chapter, copy and paste all your work into a document on your computer. Once you have your first draft complete, you can begin the editing process.
Want to become an idea machine like most successful entrepreneurs? They’re gifted with creativity. In fact, creativity is often a predictor of success. Without new ideas, new companies would never exist. Accomplished entrepreneurs see a problem and think of a new way to solve it. They have the ability to visualize the solution and create ways to implement it. But what if you don’t feel especially creative? Not to worry – everyone has creative potential. Did you know the creative thought process can be improved and strengthened? You can train your mind to be more creative. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” If you’re accustomed to exercising every day, you know how important it is to keep it up. Studies show it only takes two weeks of inactivity before your fitness level starts to decline. The same holds true for your mental fitness. The more you exercise the mind, the stronger it becomes, and more ideas are born. Mind mapping, brainstorming ideas are popular ways to keep the creative ideas flowing. Read on for more ideas on becoming an idea machine and keeping your idea muscles in tip-top shape.
Imagine being a more confident and effective entrepreneur. You no longer hesitate in business decisions. You trust the words coming out of your mouth. You solve problems easily. That’s what happens when you become an idea machine. Here are 10 powerful tips for you to become an idea machine: 1.
What is the ideal length for a blog post? That’s the $100,000 question. It turns out, the answer depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and who your audience is. It also helps to turn to the research on the subject.
Write and design your own ebook with a customizable template
An instructional ebook can be a powerful tool in your content strategy. Your own ebook can position you as an industry authority and help your customers perceive you as a trusted expert in your field. You can write an e-book as a free opt-in to build your email list, or you can use an ebook as a content upgrade to sell as a digital product. Whatever the purpose, a well-written e-book can help you gain the trust of potential clients and build your brand. When they read your ebook, they’re more likely to read your blog or visit your website.
Maybe you’ve thought about writing an e-book but struggle to find the right words or get your ideas organized. You know that you have something to write about, but the task is somewhat daunting. You just can’t seem to get started. If you don’t have the resources to hire a professional writer, it’s not as hard as you might think to write your own ebook. That’s why I’ve compiled some simple steps to help you get started.
Identify A Great Ebook Topic
The trick to selecting your book topic is to really understand your customer. Think about your customers’ most common problem. If your ebook answers their most pressing question or solves their most persistent problem, they’ll want to hear what you have to say. Do some market research to help validate your topic idea. What questions do your current customers ask you the most? Join some Facebook groups in your niche. What discussions are taking place? What are the most frequently asked questions? What struggles are they dealing with?
Write An Outline and Table of Contents
Start by outlining your topic so that you’ll have a framework to follow as you’re writing and organizing your ideas. Planning your book from the start helps save time and allows you to write more efficiently. Use your earlier research to clearly define your audience. The more details you include when describing your ideal audience, the better. Set a goal for the number of words you would like to write. When you have a goal to work towards, it helps you make progress towards finishing your book. After you have your ideal audience and desired length established, create a high-level view of what you’ll be covering in your book. Your outline does not need to be set in stone, it just helps you stay organized and serves as a reference point on your progress Your outline will eventually become your Table of Contents.
Just Start Writing
I recommend setting a daily goal on how many words you would like to write each day. Set aside a specific time each day to accomplish that goal. Start by working on one chapter at a time. It helps to use a simple question and answer system for each chapter. Ask why, what, when, where, and how questions on your topic. Continually refine your writing until you’re sure that you’ve clearly and effectively answered those questions.
We have some resources to help you get the job done in a fraction of the time. It’s as easy as downloading one of our e-book templates, following our Irresistible Writing Formula and dropping in your text.
Our ebook writing and design templates make publishing an ebook fast and easy.
Proofread and Review
Read through your work with a critical eye. Look for typos and misspellings. Replace all uses of the passive voice with the active voice. Instead of, “The dog was brought to the vet by its owner,” you would say “The owner took her dog to the vet.” For more tips on what to watch out for when proofreading, check out my previous article here. Reading your work aloud also helps you catch grammar and usage errors. Don’t forget to install Grammarly, your personal grammar coach to help you along the way. The last thing you want is for your readers to point out grammar and spelling errors!
Format Your Ebook
Once you’ve finalized your text, you can begin thinking about laying out your pages and adding some graphics. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to do this. As long as you remember some basic page design principles, you can create a presentable ebook without breaking the bank. When laying out your pages, you want to:
Break up text with plenty of white space
Add quality images without cluttering the page
Use headings and call-out boxes for emphasis
You also don’t need to invest in expensive software. Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Apple Pages or Keynote can work well for basic page layout. Free tools such as Canva can help you create your own designs, while photo sites such as Unsplash offer quick access to beautiful images. Once you’re finished with your design, simply export your document as a PDF, and you’re done!
Whether we like it or not, everyone writes. From emails to text messages or social media posts, your writing says a lot about you. Careless grammar mistakes are the equivalent of bad manners when it comes to writing. Save yourself the embarrassment of grammar mistakes in your emails, texts or any other written communication. You don’t need to become a grammar expert, just take some simple steps that will go a long way to avoid grammar mistakes and improve your writing skills.
The English language has several words that are commonly misused and misunderstood. Even though they may look alike and sound alike, the wrong word may significantly alter the meaning of what you’re trying to say.
Even if your grammar is correct, the wrong word and grammar mistakes can completely alter your message. Even worse, it can make you look bad in the eyes of your customers or colleagues.
Grammar Tools Help You Improve Your Writing & Minimize Grammar Mistakes
While spell check can catch basic spelling errors, other tools can catch bigger grammar mistakes and actually improve your writing. By doing something as simple as installing a grammar tool, you can level up your writing and make sure your message gets out effectively.
One of my favorite tools is Grammarly. With both a paid and a powerful free version, it’s your personal writing assistant – always there lending a helping hand. While it doesn’t replace a human editor, it can help you become a more confident writer by easily catching common grammar mistakes.
One of my favorite books is The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. One of the most influential books of all time, it’s the definitive guide on effective writing style and usage. This little book has been a standard on my desk for as long as I can remember.
Be Careful of English Words That Are Similar But Have Different Meanings
Falling for common word traps can turn an otherwise flawless message into a credibility killer. That’s why I’ve compiled the checklist below of some of the most common problem words in the English language. Take a look at your writing and make sure to correct these word choice mistakes.
Affect or Effect
This is one of the most commonly misused word choices when referring to something changing something else.
“Affect” is an action. Use this when you’re talking about the act of changing.
That speech affected me positively.
“Effect”is a noun. Use this when you’re talking about the change itself.
That speech had a positive effect on me.
Assure, Ensure or Insure
While some people consider these words to be interchangeable, they’re not the same. Often people will use “ensure” or “insure” when “assure” is actually the better choice. Here’s why:
“Assure” means you are telling someone that everything is okay. Use this when you want to remove doubt or convey confidence about something.
“I assure you I can handle this project.”
“Ensure” means make certain that something does or does not happen.
“We perform several tests to ensure the best performance.”
“Insure” is used when referring to insurance policies. Use this when you’re discussing compensation for loss, or protection against damage, death or a person becoming injured.
“We would like to insure our car for $20,000.”
Their, They’re or There
“Their” is possessive. Use this when you’re talking about a group owning something.
Their flowers are gorgeous.
“They’re” is a contraction. Use this for they are.
They’re going home.
“There” refers to a place. Use this when your talking about the location of something or someone.
They’re going over there.
Then or Than
“Then” is usually used as an adverb or adjective and often refers to a sense of time. Use this when describing what comes next or what happened in the past.
“We went to dinner, then we went for a walk.”
“If the traffic is light, then I’ll get there early.”
“Than” is typically used as a conjunction to make a comparison between two things.
“He is faster than I am.”
“Your food is colder than mine is.”
Your or You’re
“Your” is possessive. Use this when you’re discussing owning something.
We’re going over to your house.
You’re is a contraction. Use this when you’re talking about being something.
You’re a nice person.
Its or It’s
The apostrophe leads to the most confusion on this one. Just remember it’s the opposite of what you might think.
“It’s” contains an apostrophe, yet is not possessive. It’s a contraction, meaning it is. Use this when you’re combining “it” with “is.”
It’s going to be a hot day.
“Its” has no apostrophe, yet is possessive. Use this when you’re referring to owning something.
The book is about the rose and its many colors.
Me or I
The use of “me” or “I” gets confusing when there are two subjects or objects linked with the word “and.”Many people will be tempted to misuse the word “I.”
This is correct: When you’re finished with the paint brush, give it to Beth and me.
This is incorrect: When you’re finished with the paintbrush, give it to Beth and I.
This is correct: Beth andI joined the gym.
This is incorrect: Beth and me went to the store.
Tip: The word “I” is never used after the word “to.” To check yourself, remove the other person’s name. You wouldn’t say, “Give it to I.” You also wouldn’t say “Me joined the gym.”
To or Too
“To” is used before a noun or a verb.
I sent the letter to my friend.
“Too” is used to mean “also” or “as well.” It’s also used to describe an adjective.
He, too, belongs to the club.
I think it’s too hot in the jacuzzi.
A lot or A lot
This one is simple. “Alot” is not a word. Don’t use it.
“A lot” is always two words.
“We like you a lot.”
Lose or Loose
“Lose” is a verb. Use this when referring to not winning a competition, misplacing something or to be free of something.
“I would like to lose at least fifteen pounds.”
“Loose” is an adjective. Use this when describing something that is not tight or restrictive.
“My pants are loose because I lost fifteen pounds.”
Compliment or Complement
Although they are spelled almost the same, they have very different meanings. They are not used interchangeably.
“Compliment” is a noun or a verb and means to convey admiration or provide a positive statement about someone or something. Use this when congratulating a person or giving that person praise.
“I would like to compliment you on the extraordinary service here.”
“That was such a nice compliment.”
“Complement” is a noun or a verb and means to augment, improve or make something more complete. Use this when describing an addition to something that makes it better.
“The flowers were a perfect complement to the room.”
“The flowers complemented the sofa.”
Farther or Further
The words “farther” and “further” can many times be used interchangeably. However, there are some subtle differences between the two.
“Farther”maydescribe a physical distance.
“She lived farther from school than I did.”
“Further” may describe a figurative distance.
“We cannot go any further in these negotiations.”
However, there are many ambiguous situations where you could interpret certain instances as a physical distance or figurative distance. For example, “I’m farther along in writing my paper.” For this reason, either word can be correct when the meaning is vague or unclear.
Should of or Should have
The use of “should of” is wrong. So is “could of” or “would of.” This is a common mistake. All are wrong.
When speaking, people will often say “shoulda.” You may hear someone say, “I shoulda gone home.”
When writing, people will change “shoulda” to “should of.”
The correct word is a contraction. The correct usage is “should have” or “should’ve.”
“I should have gone home.”
The same would be true for “could have” or “would have.”
When In Doubt Look Up Potential Grammar Mistakes
Put your best foot forward in all your written communication. Don’t distract your readers with grammar errors or confuse them with the wrong words. When in doubt, look it up. It’s worth it to take the extra steps necessary to avoid embarrassing mistakes.
Please note: This article includes affiliate links. That means if you choose to make a purchase, we will earn a commission – at no additional cost to you. You can be assured that we have experience with all of these companies. We recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of a small commission that would be made should you choose to make a purchase. We would never want you to spend money on these tools unless you need them or feel they would help you accomplish your business goals.
Understanding the Flesch Reading Ease formula can help you learn if inefficient writing is costing you. Why? Because complex writing can kill your sales. It can cost you potential customers. It can hurt your website’s traffic.
The truth is, most people like to read plain English – they don’t want to read cliches or technical jargon unless absolutely necessary.
Google understands this too. Even if you sell complex products or services, you need to especially careful of mind-numbing, complicated writing.
Here are the signs:
Using ten words to say something that could be said in three
Using perplexing language for common ideas
Becoming redundant in an effort to be precise
Becoming verbose when trying to be accurate
Sounding pretentious in an attempt to be interesting
your readers’ eyes glaze over,
or worse –
they leave your page,
delete your email
They never read your message.
Not one word.
When writing web content, blog posts or emails, plain English is a necessity. It must be easy to read, understand and use.
How To Write Content People Will Actually Read
Reading ease is important no matter the subject – even when writing technical information. If you’re explaining a technical subject, use simple sentences and keep plenty of white space on the page. When possible, replace complicated words with simplified words and avoid unnecessary jargon or acronyms.
That doesn’t mean you should use simple words at the expense of being accurate. It also doesn’t mean you should delete important information just for the sake of making it easier to read. Don’t sacrifice what’s necessary for your audience.
It’s about writing for your readers. Not too complex, yet not so simplistic that it fails to answer their questions.
That’s why your content should be direct and straightforward, yet streamlined. Is there an everyday word to replace that fancy word? Can you eliminate unnecessary clauses in your sentences?
That’s where the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests come in. They give you an objective assessment of your content. They are the most commonly used formulas and generally considered to be the most accurate tests available.
First developed in 1948 by Rudolph Flesch, the Flesch Reading Ease test estimates the reading difficulty of any written material. In 1975, the U.S. Department of Defense wanted to evaluate the difficulty level of its technical manuals, and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test was created to make it more useful for the military.
Fletch-Kincaid Readability Tests eventually became standardly used in the United States Military. In most of the United States, it is now commonly required that reading material such as insurance policies and other legal documents use plain English (8th or 9th-grade level).
Here’s how the tests calculate readability:
Flesch Reading Ease Formula
206.835 – (1.015 x Total Words / Total Sentences) – (84.6 x Total Syllables / Total Words)
Here’s how the results are interpreted:
0 to 30 – College graduate level. Very difficult.
30 to 50 – College student level. Difficult.
50 to 60 – 10th grade to 12th-grade level. Relatively difficult.
60 to 70 – 8th grade to 9th-grade level. Plain English.
70 to 80 – 7th-grade level. Relatively easy.
80 to 90 – 6th-grade level. Easy. Conversational.
90 to 100 – 5th-grade level. Very easy.
The lower the score, the more complex the writing. The higher the score, the easier it is to read. Word length and sentence length determine complexity. For example, Dr. Suess books would have a score of at least 100. Their short sentences and one syllable words create some of the easiest reading.
Generally, a score of 60-70 is considered to be the standard level for most web content.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test
Widely used in education, this test expresses results in terms of grade level. This helps when trying to estimate the best educational materials for certain groups of people, such as students.
0.39 (Total Words / Total Sentences) + 11.8 (Total Syllables / Total Words) – 15.59
The results are converted into an American school grade level – a score of 9 would be understandable by readers who have a reached a 9th grade level of education.
How Flesch Readability Impacts SEO
While we don’t know exactly how Google evaluates readability, the Flesch Reading Ease Score can help you clearly know if your text is too difficult or too easy. Reading ease impacts your SEO either directly or indirectly. Bottom line – if people leave your page because they’re bored or find it to be a waste of time, it will lower your ranking.
Tools That Measure Your Content’s Readability
The good news is you don’t need to worry about doing the math to measure your content’s readability. There are several tools that will do the job quickly and easily.
If you use Microsoft Word, you can enable readability statisticsto see a snapshot of your content’s statistics. Click the File tab. Then click on Options. Select Proofing. In the area that says, When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, select the box that says, Check grammar with spelling. Finally, select Show Readability Statistics.
Once you’ve enabled this feature, Word will display your readability statistics after each spell check.
How to use Microsoft Word’s readability statistics
Yoast SEO Plugin
If you’re using WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to measure your content’s readability.
There are also free online readability checkers, such as this onefrom webpagefx. You simply enter your site’s URL, and you’ll receive a readability report for your website.
How To Improve Your Flesch Reading Ease Score
To ensure your content is readable and understandable, always keep your target audience in mind. Each audience has its own needs. What problem are you solving? What information do they need to know? This will help you evaluate what to include and how you will write it.
It’s important to stay organized and keep your paragraphs concise. Your writing should flow easily from one topic to the next. Use familiar, appropriate vocabulary. Strike a balance between overly complicated and overly simplified language. Avoid using acronyms or industry jargon.
Thoughtful page design is also important. Avoid large blocks of heavy text. Keep plenty of white space and use headings to break up each topic. Use easy to read fonts in a large enough size. Avoid using all capital letters.
Keep in mind the Flesch Reading Ease Tests have their limitations. No readability measure takes into account the subject you’re writing about. It can’t tell you if you’ve done a good job conveying the information clearly. Only a human being can tell you that. If you’ve successfully explained a technical or complicated subject, your Flesch Reading Ease score won’t necessarily reflect that you took a complex subject and made sense out of it.
Readability tools should be used as guidelines rather than rules. You also need to use some judgment.
Use the checklist below to improve the readability score of your blog posts, emails, manuals and other content.