This is really the Top 3 Ways, followed by the next 3 ways. Clearly, the first rule is: don’t always let the rules dictate what you do!

1. Take a deep breath. Or ten.

2. On paper or on the computer (however you work better), quickly write down every main subject/topic you can think of that you’d like to cover in this work. Don’t worry about the order or complete sentences or anything like that. And by “quickly,” what I mean is that as soon as you have to stop to think about it, go on to the next step. You can always come back and add more (and probably will). For example, when I started writing my teacher training manual, my list started like this: sequencing, playlists, anatomy, ethics, breathing… etc etc.

3. Then, take one of these topics, and do the same thing …meaning, quickly jot down any thoughts you want to be sure to cover or address on this specific topic. Again, as soon as you have to stop and think about it, move on to the next topic.

Now you have a beginning! When you’re ready to continue, here’s what I suggest:

1. Take one of the topics with your jotted-down notes and spend some time thinking about what else you want to include. Write these down. When you find you can’t think of anything to add, go on to the next step.

2. Take your list of points to cover within one topic and put them in the order you think is important.

3. Now, start to write actual sentences. Go point by point and write as much or as little as seems to make sense. Don’t worry about making it grammatically correct or using the exactly right word. Just get a written draft down.

Now you have a first draft! At this point, you can revise that draft, or set it aside as you work on another topic, or send it to someone to edit it (a friend or colleague or professional editor). I find that working like this totally takes away the overwhelm factor and makes each piece very digestible.

Good luck! And if you need any cheerleading, feel free to email me. Cheerleading is always free.

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