My book writing process

Yep, leave it to me to write about writing. But hey, it’s happening, roll with it :)

As I mentioned last week, I’m in the process of writing a book. I’ve had ideas before about books I wanted to write, but this book (currently titled, Thrive, though I’m not married to that name) needs to be written now.

I’ll talk more soon about what the book is about, but I thought I’d share the process I’ve been going through to get to this point.

First, I started by creating an outline and refined that over and over again for a few weeks. And then I used post-its on a wall at Dragon Army and rearranged those for a while. Then I decided to try to use Evernote to organize my thoughts, so I started creating individual notes for each part of the book. And then I realized…

I was procrastinating by faking myself out to think I was actually working on the book. I was making empty progress.

That’s when I decided to just start writing. So I gave myself a goal to write a page a day. And I asked a few friends to check up on me each day to hold me accountable.

And it worked! After the first month I had 31 pages done. By the time I got to about 50 pages I was rolling. But then I talked to a few people in the book industry (and another friend that is writing her own book) and found out that I needed to see if I could get a publisher. To get a publisher you need to get an agent. To get an agent, you need a book proposal.

So…I asked some friends and did some research and came up with a proposal template, and I shifted my “write a page a day” focus to creating the proposal. I’ve been working on the proposal for about three weeks, and I hope to have my first draft of it completed by the end of this coming weekend. It includes things like a competitive analysis, audience description, sample content, the table of contents, about the author, etc. Enough for an agent to look at it and get a “feel” to decide if it’s worthy of putting in front of a publisher.

I’m guessing it will probably be about 30 pages when it’s all said and done.

So that’s the process. I use Dropbox + Microsoft Word on my iPad Pro to actually do the writing and organizing. I jot down notes in the car when I think of them or send myself an email with notes if I just have a quick minute. And I use my friends and colleagues to bounce ideas off of and get advice.

Whether an agent will find any of what I write interesting, that remains to be seen. But I’m enjoying the process so far.


  1. Kendrick Disch on June 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Great lunch today! Thanks!

    this sounds great! I’ve been noodling on the idea of a book also… but not nearly as far along as you!

    I’d love to shoot a complimentary author’s bio pic for you if you need one for that proposal.

  2. Jeff Hilimire on June 2, 2016 at 4:43 am

    Awesome seeing you as well. And thanks for the offer, but my wife has dibs on the author photo ;)

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  4. Chris Hopf on June 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Appreciate this post Jeff … curious, how did you come up with 30 pages as your estimated Proposal length? e.g., was such recommended or typical?

    Looking forward to more posts about your progress / journey … all the best,.

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  6. Jeff Hilimire on June 8, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Thanks for the note, Chris. My proposal is turning into about a 30-pager, but I don’t know if that’s common. I researched and found the most common elements of a book proposal and then started creating them. A few pages for this, a few pages for that, and the sample writing is maybe ten pages, and it adds up pretty quickly. My guess is I will need to put more sample writing in there, so it will probably grow.

    Hope that helps, and know that I’m researching and making it up as I go. If I get lucky enough to get a publisher then I’ll be able to share more, as I’ll feel confident that it worked ;)

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