P2: Pen

Time to write a great book and design your eye-catching book cover.

4 Helpful Book Writing Tools

As you jump in to write, edit, format, prep your file, and get a cover designed (head's up you ONLY need the front cover for your Kindle launch -- the spine and back can wait), I want to draw your attention to a few tools...

Tool #1:
8-Week Action Plan -- Full Overview

To give you a full bird's eye view, this shows what actions you need to take each week of an '8 Week Plan" from 'no idea' to 'bestseller.' Of course, you can speed up or slow down the pacing to fit your goals and schedule.

LEVEL 1 covers outlining, writing, formatting, and design.
LEVEL 2 covers self-publishing, marketing, and the bestseller launch.
LEVEL 3 is about leveraging your books for more income, influence, and impact.

Tool #2:
The "8 Week Action Plan" Day-by-Day Calendar

NOTE: This lesson is repeated inside LEVEL 2 for easy reference there as well. I referenced it earlier too, but wanted to explain it more...


This is a day-by-day editable 'calendar' built in a Google Spreadsheet with tabs for:
1. writing
2. self-publishing
3. marketing
4. all the three tabs elements in one view

How to use it:

1. Watch the overview video on the front tab
2. Click File, then “Make a copy…” and rename and save it anywhere you like in your files so you can edit it.
3. You will find 4 main tabs
4. You can edit the dates on TAB 1 and they will automatically update on TAB 2, 3, & 4
5. You can edit the CONTENT in TAB 1, 2, 3 and it will automatically update on TAB 4
6. Use to help yourself write, publish, and market a best-seller! 🙂

Tool #3:
The "8 Week Action Plan" Week-by-Week Checklist

Some have found the day-by-day too detailed/overwhelming.

(As a nerd, I love spreadsheets!)

So, I also turned it into a more digestible week-by-week at-a-glance checklist [click]

Like the 8 Week Action Plan day-by-day calendar, this covers WRITING [covered in this program], SELF-PUBLISHING [covered in LEVEL 2], and MARKETING [covered in LEVEL 2]!

Even though the majority of your efforts right now will be around creating your book and its contents, rely on the 8 Week Action Plan to remind you to:

1. Market, as you work!
2. Look out for tasks for Self-Publishing that need to start being completed

And just because this for 8 weeks, doesn't mean you have to stick to that timeline.
- you could do 2 weeks at a time and cut the plan into 4 weeks!
- you could take 2 weeks per week on the plan and take 16 weeks!
- you get to decide, but hopefully, this plan helps get you started

Tool #4:
Write Your Book Checklist [editable resource]

This is another version of a writing checklist to help you focus on the step by steps as we progress!

Next up, a lot of your burning questions will be answered!...

Book Launch "Crunch Time" Calendar and Must Do's Overview

NOTE: This lesson is repeated inside LEVEL 2 for easy reference there as well.

Watch this video below for an important overview of the 2 weeks leading up to your public launch day and the critical things to get into place for a #1 bestseller launch.

We go through items in more detail later in the lessons inside LEVEL 2's P4 and P5, but this is a great bird's eye view of the most important things to have at the top of mind!

[Recorded June 2020 in a live bestselling group program run with Allison Melody, also a former #1 bestselling author client!]

Crunch Time Schedule

Click "File" and "Save a copy" to make a copy for yourself that you can edit the dates and tasks!

Okay, great! Now, let's get working on your book! : )

Outlining: How To Go From 'No Idea' to Awesome Outline with the P.S.T. Method

Writing isn't so hard if you have a killer, clear outline! So, if you don't have one yet, let's get it DONE in the next hour or two!


When I first decided to write a book, I felt excited...

...and then completely overwhelmed.

1. Reframe

For one, I had the title "book author" elevated in my head like it was a term only used by the most special among us. 😉

But I didn't feel that same way about the title "blog writer."

And that got me thinking...'what IS the difference between writing a book and writing great blogs?'


I realized that a non-fiction book (on a topic in your niche) as an entrepreneur can truly be thought of as a series of kick-ass blog posts with a core theme, organized in a logical way, with an intro and outro attached.

Once I reframed "write a book" (which felt daunting) as "write a bunch of great blogs that are cohesive and add intro and outro stuff to make it feel like a book," I felt a huge weight on my shoulders lift up and away.

My book Copywriting for Podcasters (which hit #1 best-seller in the U.S. and Canada the day I launched it as a first-time author) has 15 chapters in the 'meat' of the book.

Each one of those chapters I treated like a terrific blog post. So, I didn't write a book, I wrote 15 blogs!

[You don't need that many, btw.]

That's still work...but it doesn't feel as hard.

And psychologically, that makes a big difference...for me, and I'm guessing you too! 🙂

2. How Do You Eat an Elephant?

When I was a kid and teen.... and got really stressed out...

(which I often did because I was an overachiever in school wanting to get the best grades while juggling a billion extracurriculars -- sounds like normal life today actually! Just with "grades" being "business success" haha)

...my dad would ask me to take a breath and tell me to answer the question, "How do you eat an elephant?"

The first time I heard that, I thought he was crazy to ask such a question! So I just looked at him dumbfounded and maybe said something like, "I'd never do that, Dad" missing the point completely. 😉 #teenagers

To which he just smiled and revealed the correct answer:
"One bite at a time."

That made me laugh and his point hit home immediately.

If you want to take on a big, monumental task, the only way you will achieve it successfully is if you take one step, after the next. One baby step at a time.

We cannot get so overwhelmed by the elephant.

We must break things down, reverse engineer our goal, and take a step forward.

That's it!

Action begets action. 

Action builds momentum and gives clarity. 

So, if you feel overwhelmed by "writing a book" and don't know where to start, remember that it all starts with one bite. 🙂

And I'll help you know where to place those chompers!

3. Multi-Tasking is Actually Multi-Switching

I like to claim that I'm a great multi-tasker. I wash the dishes while listening to podcasts and planning out my next book idea.

But research actually proves that we humans are not truly able to do multiple things that require our focus at once.

One time when I was on the Podcast Cruise (where I presented on repurposing your podcast content!) I participated on stage in an experiment the organizers did to demonstrate that we actually CANNOT multi-task...

I stood in the middle. Another gal stood on my left and a guy on my right. We were all facing the audience.

The organizers told the gal and guy to each think of a story from their lives and get ready to tell it to me.


They both began telling me their story at the same time -- one in one ear and one in the other.

I tried SO HARD to listen to both!

I wanted to perform well and show off my multi-tasking skillz. 🙂 (Remember the overachiever thing? ;))

What I found myself doing was listening to the gal for 5 seconds...and then listening to the guy for 5 seconds, then back to the gal, then back to the guy. I tried to process what they were saying and fill in gaps I must have missed in between.

It didn't take long for me to start laughing and shaking my head. I was losing track completely and could feel it!

After a minute or two, the organizers had the stories stop and it was my job to report back to the audience what each storyteller had shared.

My report was incomplete, mixed up, and pretty entertaining for the viewers.

I truly could not recall the full story of either person. I don't think I even got 25% right of either!

Why do I tell this story now?...

Well, when you commit to writing your book, you will need to sit down and do some tasks that will require your undivided focus.

If you sit down to write a chapter and have Facebook messages dinging, your significant other walking by asking you questions about weekend plans, and the T.V. playing in the background, you are not giving yourself (or your brain) the time, space, and focus it needs to do your job well.

You will not be "multi-tasking" but "multi-switching" and you've seen the decrease in quality that comes from switching back and forth!

It's stressful, tiring, and counterproductive.

So, I want you to commit to me and commit to yourself that you will block and batch your writing work. You will not have a billion things going on at once.

I like to set a timer and have NOTHING ELSE open or going on. As I write this very lesson, I have all other browser windows closed, my phone on airplane mode, and am sitting in a hotel room alone before heading out to a podcasting conference.

Allow yourself to 'get in the groove' or into 'flow' and create great work without distractions or fatiguing yourself trying to do a bunch at once. It doesn't work that way! 🙂

Okay...so remember "Block and Batch."

We'll talk about that more in-depth when we get to the actual 'writing the book' stage.

But first...let's dive into how you can get all those ideas OUT of your head and into a killer outline...a roadmap...that will make the writing part easy.


The P.S.T. Method is near and dear to my heart for two reasons...

1. It's simple, but effective in taking you from 'no idea' and overwhelm to clarity and an awesome outline for your book, so the writing part becomes a cinch!
2. I am a SoCal girl and "PST" reminds me of "Pacific Standard Time"! 😉

We'll dive into what the letters actually stand for in a moment, but to be ready for this activity you will need:

Prep Materials Needed [5 minutes]:

1. Post-it Notes (Sticky notes)

• Scraps of paper cut into squares
• A Word doc or Excel spreadsheet to pour out ideas

2. A mind-mapping tool like MindMeister (free up to 3 mindmaps)

• Another online tool of choice
• Paper and a pen!

3. Word document or Google Doc 

• I personally use only Google Docs in day-to-day business life because I hate attachments and love being able to collaborate real-time on editing the document (with, say, a book editor!), but know going in that Google Docs are a stripped-down version of what Word can do, so do not kill yourself perfecting the format in Docs...you will need to redo it or make it perfect a second time when you head over to Word.

4. Past business-related writing you have done

• Books, eBooks, blogs, guest posts, podcast episodes, etc.


Once you have your materials prepared, it's time to block out 1 hour for ONLY this P.S.T. Method.

For example, I suggest:
• block out 1 hour first thing in the morning
• take a break from this and get other work done
• look back at it with fresh eyes later in the day or the next morning (15 minutes)
• done!


Go from 'no idea' and overwhelm to clarity and an awesome outline for your book, so the writing part becomes a cinch!


"P" is for "post-it notes."

As you saw in the materials list above, you do not have to use post-its for this step, but I LOVE them!

It feels fun and productive to brain dump all conceivable ideas onto the little pieces of paper and be able to quickly and easily move them around, group them, ungroup them, etc.

I love using digital technology for everything, but there's something almost therapeutic about writing out ideas with pen and paper (well, post-its!).

So, for this first step...

GOAL: Get all ideas, thoughts, and notes out of our head 

The goal at this stage is NOT to have the book outline done. We still need to decide WHAT the book will be about!

When I sat down to write my first book Copywriting for Podcasters: How to Grow Your Podcast, Brand, and Business with Compelling Copy, I did not instantly know that would be my topic!

I wrote out a ton of ideas...
...writing for sales pages?
...podcasting how-to?
...how a teacher became an entrepreneur?
...digital nomad / working abroad while traveling?

This step, the "P" in our Method, is just for getting everything out of your head and the stress off of your shoulders.

Keeping ideas in your brain tends to stress us out and fear forgetting something or feel complete overwhelm and analysis paralysis.

So, give yourself uninterrupted space to jot down every thought, idea, and possibility! It will be fun!

Don't edit.
Don't worry about 'the book' yet.
Don't hold back.

Just get out all of your ideas.

And reference back to things you've already created (blogs, books, podcasts) for ideas, inspiration, and potential sources to jump-start chapter writing later on.

⏰ Set a timer for 20 minutes and GO!


"S" is for Select + Spiderweb Mindmap.

In this step, we will move from a billion ideas that could turn into a book to the ONE idea that will turn into our book.


As my dad always says to me, "Laura, you can have it all. But not all of it at once, right now."

I hate it, but it's true.

Same goes for your book writing. After our "P" activity above, you will have tens, if not hundreds of viable ideas!

But, you can't write about all of them...at least not right now or all in your current book you are working on.

How to pick?

• Look at your Post-It Notes and see where you have lots of great sub-ideas that could clump together under one bigger idea.
• What do you emotionally feel most excited about writing?
• What do you want to MOST be known for in your business?
• Pull up Amazon.com and search for your topic(s)...where is there some 'white space' in the market? What niche or combination of ideas hasn't been covered yet?

Case Study: 

When I looked at my Post-Its, I came up with the combination of writing and podcasting and realized that NO ONE had ever written a book on copywriting for podcasters!

What, in your business world, can be combined to give you the ability to claim that you wrote *the* book on XYZ?

And remember, you can always write more books! So, know that all your awesome ideas are still there at your disposal when you are ready. But, you must pick ONE (or a combination of just a few) to move forward on.


Okay, once you drill down into your topic (or a unique combination of a few topics like I did), it's time to move forward even more!

Here are the steps:

1. Open up MindMeister (or an equivalent tool)
2. Put the ONE (or a combo) idea in the center of your spiderweb
3. Map out the subtopics to your ONE idea as legs on your spider
4. Map out subideas to the subtopics of your spider legs!
These can be quotes, phrases, misc. words to help remind you of things you could cover in that subtopic.
5. Give yourself 20 minutes to write in anything and everything that could go inside this spiderweb mindmap!
(Note: If you need to 'sleep on it' and add or edit it with fresh eyes, go ahead -- but do not let perfectionism make you think this needs to take days, weeks, months, or years!)

Completing this before stressing about 'writing' will help you be sure you won't leave anything out and get rid of that analysis paralysis!

⏰ Set a timer for 20 minutes and GO!


"T" = Timeline (which will turn into your best-selling book's outline!) 

Once you have your Spiderweb MindMap, the next step is turning that into your book's outline!

In your mindmap, you have spider legs jutting out every which way.

But, in a book, you need to follow a linear and logical progression of one idea to the next. 

I recommend that you think like an ideal client...what does this person need to know and in what order?

What is a logical "timeline" for learning the information you will be teaching in your book?

There is no right or wrong answer necessarily, but if you think like a newbie or an ideal client who is considering whether to hire you or not (your book will be a helpful tool for this!), then think about the order someone would consume the information best in.

Think about a logical "timeline" and put each spider web leg in order from top to bottom in that order.

This...is your book's outline!

Now that you have a logical outline and great ideas and subtopics flushed out, now it's time to block out time and start writing your book!

⏰ Set a timer for 20 minutes and GO!

Final Step: Review with Fresh Eyes

Take a mental break (whether that is 25 minutes to stretch and have a snack, or a night's sleep) and come back to it with fresh eyes for one final review before you are ready to start writing your book! 🙂

⏰ When you are ready to review things, set a timer for 15 minutes and GO!

Add or edit with fresh eyes. But do it quickly...trust your gut. You've got this.




• 5 minutes: prep materials needed
• 20 minutes: "P"
• 20 minutes: "S"
• 20 minutes: "T"
--take a break (at least 25 minutes for a snack and stretch)--
• 15 minutes: review your Timeline with fresh eyes

TOTAL: 1 hour, 20 minutes

(or 1 hour, 45 minutes with a break included)


Push yourself to spend a short amount of concentrated effort on this and you will have a detailed, awesome outline fast!

Then, after a mental break, come back to it with fresh eyes for one final review before you are ready to start writing your book! 🙂

But Remember:

All tasks expand or retract to the time you give it. If you want to think that this 'should' take you 1 year, it will take you 1 year. If you choose to believe you can do it in 1 hour (the three 20-minute blocks), you can do it in 1 hour.

Quality does not = quantity of time you belabor things.

[If you want even more insights into the P.S.T. Method, watch the bonus video in the next lesson!]
Take a screenshot and come over to our bestselling author group and share your TIMELINE with us!

Outlining: Diving Deeper into the P.S.T. Method

If you need a bit more help working through the P.S.T. Method, then watch this live training video above. [But if you are plugging along, feel free to skip this lesson!]

Here were the links to the things we mentioned:

• Podcast that has the "voice to text" Google doc hack that Tim mentioned! "3 Google Docs Hacks for Faster, Better Writing"

• $15 per audio hour for transcription

• Scrivener for Mac (regular) $45

• Scrivener for Mac (education discount) $38.50

• Scrivener for PC (regular) $45

• Scrivener for PC (education discount) $38.50


Take a screenshot and come over to the group and share your TIMELINE with us!

Outlining: Book Topic Ideas + Rough Outline Guide - [printable](alternative to P.S.T. Method)

P.S.T. Method not workin' for you?

Or you want to look at your book's outline from another angle?

Here is a second tool to help you come up with a great outline for your book! Even if you are starting at "I have no idea!" 🙂

1. Click over to this guide: Book Topic Ideas + Rough Outline Guide

2. Click "File" and "Make a copy..."

3. Answer the questions and start your outline work!


Take a screenshot and come over to the group and share your OUTLINE with us!

Repurposing: The Lego Strategy to Writing Your Book Without Stress [in 5 Steps]


Legos are one of my favorite toys from childhood because the possibilities with them were endless.

I remember getting a big tub of legos as a kid and letting my imagination loose to build a house, a village, or a spaceship!

After my brother and I would build cool things with our legos, we’d enjoy them in their shape for a few days.

But then, we’d want to do something new.

Do you think we just threw the legos away and bought a new set of legos?

Heck no!

[We weren't spoiled brats 😉 or wasteful Dennis-the-Menaces].

We just broke the current forms down and started afresh building something new with the same core pieces.


Why can’t we think like this in our businesses?

• We spend ungodly hours writing blogs, creating podcasts, and filming video tutorials.
• We put blood, sweat, and some tears into creating content to stay relevant in today’s digital landscape and to connect with our growing audiences.
• Once we decide to write a book and become a published author, we get overwhelmed.


Because we get analysis paralysis. And we mistakenly believe we have to start at square 1.

But do we?

What if we thought of all our content as lego pieces? 

We could assemble all that we’ve built and put the pieces into new piles, new configurations...we could create a new piece of work off the back of what we already have.

And the best part is that ‘breaking down’ a “lego spaceship” of podcast episodes does not destroy the original work! We are able to reuse the ‘lego pieces’ infinitely many times without destroying the original creation.

And, we are allowed to add brand new pieces to the build where we want. But, it’s so much easier because we have an amazing foundation.

Goodbye stress, overwhelm, confusion, and ‘recreating the wheel.’

So, here are the steps to reworking your content like legos for your very own book.

STEP 1: Collect all your legos and put them in one pile in the center of your room

That just means to go dig up all the content you have created for your business.

• Blog articles (published, in draft form, or even just ideas for future ones)
• Podcast episodes
• Vlogs or video tutorials
• Long emails to clients/customers
• FAQs on your website or internal documentation

Feel free to borrow the sticky-notes from our P.S.T. Method in this step!

STEP 2: Think about new combinations that you could build

Likely there will be a LOT of new configurations possible. That’s great!

But just pick one.

You can write more books later. But to start, pick a topic that you most want to be known better for (first)...what you want to speak more on...where you want to get more clients for.

Decide on one core topic that solves one problem for your audience.

Borrow the "S" in the P.S.T. Method here if you want to visually map out new ideas digitally or on a sheet of paper.

STEP 3: Arrange the lego pieces in the right order to create your next structure

Collate all the pieces already written (and/or transcribe the audio or video content not yet in writing) and catalog all you have.

This will become your outline of chapters and subchapters for your book.

Refer to the "T" in the P.S.T. Method for more ideas here.

STEP 4: “Buy” new pieces to fill in any gaps in your creation

Fill in any missing content by writing or even speaking out (and then transcribing) what you need to flesh out the rest of your book’s content.

Check out Trint.com and Rev.com for decent pricing on transcription.

STEP 5: Finishing touches!

Now you are ready to get help with editing and formatting so you can publish your book and use it as an incredible multi-purpose marketing tool that it is.

Next Steps:

Just block out time on your calendar and finish writing your book! You already are 80% done!


Come tell us about your lego pieces and plan in the group!

Writing in Microsoft Word: Book Format Templates

Here is how you can get a template for free and edit it to suit your needs directly from KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

• I personally hate Word and do not use it. 
• I adore Google docs, but it's not robust enough to export a good looking file for Kindle publishing as an EPUB file.
• I use Scrivener, and we will cover that more in-depth next.

Although we will launch with just the Kindle version (.EPUB file format) of the book first (which does not have page numbers, a gutter, footnotes, or other specialty formatting), we wanted to share this upfront in case you wanted to write your book directly into the file format you plan to use for export to print (PDF).


1. Go to: kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834230

2. Click to expand "Blank templates" and "Templates with sample content."

3. Choose your book dimensions. 
We cover this more later, but I usually go with:
6" x 9" 
5.5" x 8.5"

3. Save it to your desktop, or wherever you are managing your files.

4. Open the file. And it's best to name it and save it right away too.

5. From here, adjust your margins and gutter to make sure it's how you like it. 

• Click "Layout"
• Click "Margins"
• Click "Custom Margins"

[See the next section for more information. And remember your 'gutter' will depend on the final page count, so notate to keep an eye on this as you go. The gutter is the extra space on the inner pages where the binding happens for the print version.]

• But make sure the Apply to dropdown says: "Whole document"
• Click "OK"

After you apply changes, it may throw off what is there slightly, so go through and spot check.

6. You can also mess with the font and header styles and apply changes to the rest of the document with just a few clicks. 


Now you have a document ready for you to type directly into...or to copy and paste in what you've written elsewhere.

But, if you copy and paste content in, watch out that it doesn't mess with the current settings for fonts and spacing. For this reason, it's a good idea to import the meat of your book, clear the formatting, and THEN apply your fonts, sizes, and things to make sure it's all in there and updated once.

And, no matter what, expect that the formatting will take some time. Be patient with yourself and make sure you set aside time for formatting in your overall plan. 🙂 Or...if you can, outsource it. It's a giant pain. 🙂 #tobehonest

PS: If you hate Microsoft Word (I do), check out Scrivener. Especially if you have a Mac.

**It's $45 one-time and totally worth it.
**Plus, you can try it out for 30 days of use (use it every other day and it lasts for 60 calendar days).
**There is a learning curve with it, however, so don't jump ship if you are happy with Word.


Come ask your questions in our support group!!

Writing: The Best Tool for Writing Books - Scrivener

(Head's Up: Scrivener is Better for Mac Than PC)

best book writing tool for authors is scrivener

As I mentioned in the last section, there is an alternative to Microsoft Word.

To be honest, I hate Word.

I never use it EVER. If I need to write a 'document,' I only use Google Docs. I own a Mac and got rid of my Microsoft Office suite long ago. But, unfortunately, Google Docs isn't a robust enough application to export a good looking EPUB file for Kindle book publishing.

So, if you start in Google docs -- that's okay -- just know you will need to format it in another platform so do not spend hours and hours making everything perfect.

That's part of what was such a headache for me with my first book Copywriting for Podcasters. I didn't have Word on my computer and had to get help (free and then paid) with the formatting from people who did (and love minute details of sometimes-buggy Word formatting).

After I was finished with the book, I recalled a tool called Scrivener that I had done the free trial years ago and forgot all about! (Sadly).

I then used Scrivener for my own Book #2 Permission to Write a Brand Building Book and also for many private clients' books.

So, check out Scrivener!

Short video showing you how to download a free trial and what it looks like inside

It's $45 one-time and worth it (cheaper if you are a student or teacher).

Check it out here if you use a Mac.

Check it out here if you use a PC.

Warning: Some past clients have found that the PC version of Scrivener is limited in what they can do. If you really like Word and have a PC, there is a strong argument not to switch over and try something new.

If, however, you are like me in that you have a Mac and don't like Word, then I can say that I love Scrivener...even with the learning curve of a new platform.

Plus, you can try it out for 30 days of use (for example: use it every other day and it lasts for 60 calendar days or use it every 3 days and it lasts for 90 calendar days).

best book writing tool for authors is scrivener

At first glance, it may look like Scrivener is only for fiction novelists, but that's not true! It's great for any long work of writing because it's far easier to keep track of your work in a clear, organized way.

Here are some more of its features.

best book writing tool for authors is scrivener

Getting Started

Once you have Scrivener downloaded on your computer, I recommend starting with their "Non-Fiction" template.

With that loaded up, at the top left-hand side, you will see an item called "Non-Fiction Format" (see image with pink arrows below).

Click on it and then read the text that appears describing the template and how to use it. This is a great overview to get you acquainted.

Then, also looking at the photo below, in orange you can see how I have my 2nd book set up.

For me, I used 'folders' for Chapters and 'pages' for the actual content inside each chapter, broken down by the sub-sections that I wanted to cover.

best book writing tool for authors is scrivener - example inside

This is NOT the only way to do it! 🙂

It's just the way that made sense in my head -- so, I hope it's a great quick start for you!


Start with a free trial, if you still aren't sure about Scrivener, and let us know what other questions you have so we can keep adding resources to help you!


More coming soon!

Where Do You Want to Go Next?