Two people sent me similar questions recently. Both wanted to know how I set up a writing project so it can be set down at night and easily picked up the next day.
The best way to answer this is to start with your outline.
Write your outline with a single sentence to name/describe each chapter of the book. This is important because this will become the foundation for everything else you do to get it written.
When you outline is written, go to the bottom of the page and press <Ctrl> and <Enter> at the same time to start a new page – this is called a page break. Then copy and paste your outline to the new page.
Now you’ll have something like this:
Chpt 1 (top of new page)
Take the “second” outline and put page breaks between each sentence. This gives you the chapter headings at the top of each page.
Now print the whole thing. My preference is to print on lined 3-ring binder paper. That’s because I like making my notes longhand before I sit down to type.
When it’s printed, put the pages into a binder and use tabbed dividers to separate each chapter. That means each chapter has just one page at the start, and it gives you a spot to put your notes and research whie you’re working.
The first page of your printout is the table of contents. Print a second copy of this, or make a photocopy then put the table of contents into the binder. Here’s a quick list of how I set up my tabbed dividers:
1 – cover page
2 – copyright page
3 – table of contents
4 – quick start guide (if applicable)
5 – first chapter
Then, on top of all the dividers – so it’s the first thing I see when opening the binder – I put the copy of the table of contents. You’ll also want to put some of those peel and stick supports on the holes. It keeps the page from tearing out because it’s going to get used a lot.
Use that first page in the binder to check off each stage of the writing process. When I have the research for a chapter done, I circle the chapter number. When the notes are done and I’m ready to type, I put an X over the circle. The last thing is to put a check mark beside the other marks when the first draft has been typed.
That’s it in a nutshell – a big nutshell. Let me know if you have other questions.