April 2012 E-Book Challenge: Brainstorming, Organizing and Outlining


Notebooks (Photo credit: Wm Jas)

And the first week of the 4 Week Write Your Own E-Book Challenge begins…

Are your ready?

Writing an e-book can be a challenging and time consuming task if it is not planned out accordingly. However, by setting a schedule and buckling down, you will be able to write an e-book within a one-month time frame.

In this challenge, I will guide you through the process of creating one of these books, explaining the steps and offering examples of how to perform them. My goal is to help you create something special. Something all your own that can be given away or sold on your own website or blog.


The first step in writing an e-book is coming up with a topic. Sit down with a pen and notebook, and brainstorm ideas for your e-book. You will want to write what you know, so as to limit or eliminate the amount of research time for the project. Make a list of topics that you are passionate about, things that you enjoy and know something about. Some examples include: Blogging, cooking, babysitting and article writing.

Once the step above is complete, note which topics you would be most interested in writing on. Enjoying what you write is key to finishing the challenge.

From the second list, decide what the topic of the e-book for this challenge will be. Start a new page in your notebook, indicating possible titles at the top.

Now brainstorm a list of topics you would like to cover in the book. For instance, if the e-book will be about article writing, you might touch upon topics such as generating ideas, brainstorming, finding writing opportunities and editing your own work. Think about everything you want to write about and enter a short (a few words) explanation after each.


It is important to organize the brainstormed list of topics into a cohesive format. Begin a new page in your notebook, and list the topics you want to write about in the order they should appear in the book. You might think in terms of steps. What is the natural procession for your e-book? What should your reader do or learn about first? Second? Last? Decide now how your e-book will be set up.

Outlining (and more Brainstorming)

Writing one topic at the top of a new page. Continue this for as many pages as you have topics for, giving each topic one page. (For an extra long book, I might use two pages per topic.)

On each page, make notes on subtopics that you want to write for the given topic. If you remember, you wrote a short note after each topic during the brainstorming session. Now is the time to expand on that. Go through each topic page, expanding and brainstorming more ideas.

Go through each idea under each topic and number them in the order in which you would like to write them. This is your last step, and is done when you have completed all the brainstorming activities have been completed. Admittedly, this is not the most attractive way to complete this task. However, it does work for me. Over time, you will find your own ways to organize information.

The brainstorming task in this last step may take until the end of the first week. This is fine, and expected. Each day you might come up with new ideas, so don’t rush this process.

NOTE: Listing ideas is only one way to brainstorm ideas. Some people use charts, mind maps or other tactics. Research the topic of brainstorming if this method does not work for you.


  1. Do the brainstorming technique in mentioned in this post, or incorporate your own.

  2. Organize your beginning thoughts.

  3. Outline your ideas. Keep thinking about what you want to write, and keep your notebook and pen with you at all times to record thoughts that come into your mind.

UP NEXT: First Weekly Follow Up

Happy Brainstorming!

Shannon L. Buck




About Shannon L. Buck

Hello. My name is Shannon, and I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters, and Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres. At some point, I would like to travel. It would be a true writing adventure.

4 thoughts on “April 2012 E-Book Challenge: Brainstorming, Organizing and Outlining”

  1. Pingback: April 2012 E-Book Challenge: Third Weekly Follow Up | How to Live the Freelance Life
  2. Pingback: April 2012 E-Book Challenge: Begin Writing | How to Live the Freelance Life