Danny Breslin

How it is…

7-point plan for writing my first book

Every journey begins with that first step; if you don’t make the first step then the journey doesn’t begin. It’s the hardest part; it’s the step that’s easiest to stumble over.

The problem is, it is not the first step that you see; it is the entire journey that lies ahead, a vast open prairie that needs to be traversed in order to reach your destination. It just looks so big! What if you don’t make it anyway? What if you put in all that effort only for it to be unsuccessful? What if nobody notices that you’ve made the journey and nobody is there at the end to greet your arrival?

Wouldn’t it be so much easier and less frightening if you could break up the journey into smaller, bite-sized pieces? That scary first step would then seem less of a leap of faith. I wanted to share with you how I decided to put together my first book, “Me and Gus on the Roof of the World.” This is how I forced myself to take action and get on with a project I’ve been putting off since 2006, when the events I describe in the book took place.

1.       Decide on your destination

Ask yourself a few questions and try to be as honest as you can with the answers: Where are you going with this? What are you hoping to achieve? How important is this to you?

Picture yourself when you’ve achieved what it is you are setting out to do. Will you be happier? Richer? More fulfilled? How will you feel? How much will your life, and indeed lifestyle, change when you have finished? How HAPPY will it make you?

That is your goal; not just finishing your project but how you will benefit from it. That is what you are aiming for and what you should keep in mind and use as your driving force.

2.       Draw a map

Now you have decided on your destination, you need to work out how you are going to get there. As with any journey, you don’t just jump in the car with a vague idea of where the destination lies; you work out a route. You work out the easiest, quickest and most economical way to get there. You map it out.

It is the same with your big project. You need to split it up into sections and work out where each turn takes you. If I do A then I will reach B which in turn will lead me to C and so on. Your map will stop you from getting lost on the road to success.

3.       What can I do today?

If nobody has ever written an ode to task lists then perhaps someone should. I love task lists, I’d be lost without them. They keep me on a steady course and focus my efforts towards achieving my goals.

On a Sunday evening I refer to my map (see above) and see how far along I am; from this I create a task list for the coming week. I get a clear picture of what I want to achieve for the week and from that I can make a list of what I need to do each day.

I then create a task list for Monday and tick off as I go along. On Monday evening I see what I have achieved that day and prepare a list for Tuesday, and so on.

Make sure it is achievable; putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to disappointment and getting disheartened. Remember that you are doing this as a labour of love and should enjoy doing it. It’s a passion not a chore.

4.       Create a schedule

If you are like me then you will have several things going on that need your attention simultaneously. Where will you find the time? In fact that is one of the biggest roadblocks that prevent people from taking that first step: “Where will I find time?”

I created a schedule for my day where a specific period was set aside for writing my book. That time was mine and I let it be known to those around me that I was working and wouldn’t appreciate being disturbed. Basically, if the house burns down, carry the desk out with me still in front of it.

Unplug your phone, silence your email alerts. Get up an hour or two earlier or go to bed an hour or two later. If you need to look after a baby, write when they are asleep. Think of spending your time as an investment in your future: if you don’t speculate you don’t accumulate!

Set aside time to work on your project and only work on your project during its allotted time.

5.       Reward yourself

Every tactic you are using is part of an overall strategy but each successful tactic is in itself a victory, so you should be rewarded.

Every time you meet your own deadlines and complete the tasks on today’s list, treat yourself – you deserve it! Just something simple that makes you happy and rewards you for a job well done.

6.       Tell everyone!

Spread the word; let as many people as possible know what you are doing. Don’t wait until you are finished before getting the message out there. Market your product before it is ready for release and you will have a salivating audience ready and waiting to rip it out of your hands when it is released.

Tell them what you are working on and how it will benefit them. Let them know how empty their lives have been thus far and how fulfilled you can make them. It’s what they have been waiting for all these years, they just didn’t know it, and they won’t know it unless you tell them.

So how do you do that? Take advantage of social media, that’s what it is there for. Open a twitter account, build a Facebook page, start a circle in Google+. Put together a blog and write about what you are doing.

Find social influencers and comment on what they are saying with links back to your blog. Form a relationship with them and ask if you can submit a guest blog for their site. If their readers, which can be in the tens of thousands and more in some cases, like your style they may follow the link you provide back to your site.

Read and familiarise yourself with the sort of stuff that’s welcome on their site, how that ties in with the subject that you want to write about so there is an overlap of interest.

7.       Ignore doubters

Not all criticism is constructive! You will always have those who will try to discourage you. They will tell you that you won’t make it as a writer, that there is too much competition and that you are wasting your time.

They live under a dark cloud because they have never achieved anything themselves. They have, in many cases, not had the guts to try. They wear negativity like a comfortable overcoat and convince themselves that they are happy where they are.

These are the worst people to associate yourself with because negativity spreads like a virus. It can crush blossoming creativity like the petals of a flower.

Let them wallow in their own self-pity while you move onwards and upwards. Surround yourself with positive people and you will find their positivity infectious. Your creativity will soar and you will find that there is nothing you cannot achieve.


These points are things that helped me and are helping me, but I am always open to suggestions of ways I can make myself more productive, or a better writer, or tips on product marketing. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think, how you have done/would do things differently. If you wish to guest post on this blog then please email me with an outline of what you want to write about at dannybreslin@mail.com


September 26, 2012 - Posted by | Writing Your First Book | , , , , , ,


  1. Lovely, I especially liked your point about ignoring the doubters. I had my fair share but keeping an eye on the goal gets one there…

    Comment by flyingbubbles | September 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Absolutely. Never give up on your dreams.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | September 26, 2012 | Reply

      • I agree,dreams keep us alive..

        Comment by flyingbubbles | September 27, 2012

  2. Thanks for the like over on my blog!

    I think listening to doubters is good–they keep you realistic. But viewing yourself through their eyes is not helpful. It’s a fine line. Listen, but write anyway. If you keep listening and keep writing your own voice will come through.

    Comment by Loving Language | October 11, 2012 | Reply

  3. Honor every rejection you receive (I’ve gotten plenty), and use it as a catalyst to move you onward.

    Comment by sandrabranum | October 15, 2012 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the follow on my blog, Snide Reply. Looking forward to more from you as I tackle the first book project.

    Comment by jmlindy422 | October 22, 2012 | Reply

    • Snide Reply is good stuff, enjoyed reading it.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 23, 2012 | Reply

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