322 Find Your Why: Blueprint for a Book Step 1

322 Find Your Why: Blueprint for a Book Step 1

Episode 322

We sit down to write because we have something to say.

It’s beginning!

This Episode marks the beginning of the 10-part Blueprint for a Book Series. Start here, do the work (we’ll give you an assignment every week)—and in 10 weeks, you’ll have a solid foundation for a first draft or revision of your project that will help you push through to “the end”. For the details on the challenge, and to sign up for weekly encouragement, bonuses, and the chance to win a blueprint critique, head to authoraccelerator.com/amwritingblueprintchallenge.

Start with why. That’s the title of one of Jennie Nash’s favorite books and TED talks: Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, and it’s what a good book coach will always bring you back to if you get ahead of yourself. Why are you writing this? Fiction, memoir, non-fiction: we always have a reason. There is something we want to say, and someone we want to hear it. Knowing what that is gives your writing power. Readers feel it when something raw and real lies underneath your words, whether those words are about an intergalactic dinosaur battle or improving your chess game.



Leaf Your Troubles Behind: How to Destress and Grow Happiness Through Plants, Karen Hugg

Know My Name, Chanel Miller

Bomb Shelter, Mary Laura Philpott


Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation, Hannah Gadsby

Jenny Lawson

Mae Respicio

Glennon Doyle

Brené Brown

Blueprint for a Book (Fiction and Memoir)

Blueprint for a Nonfiction Book


Write one page on why you want to write this book. Consider external motivators such as money and the admiration of colleagues, and internal motivators such as anger, jealousy, or wanting to prove to yourself (or someone else) that you can really do this.

Be honest with yourself: knowing your why can fuel your fire to keep writing, especially when the going gets tough (and it will get tough!)

(Note: We suggest you download a Blueprint answer workbook to keep track of your 10 assignments. That will make it easier to revise, review and come back to your work. Click to grab yours for fiction or nonfiction. If you are writing narrative memoir (a story), use the fiction workbook and assignments. If you are writing self-help/memoir, use the nonfiction workbook and assignments. Prefer paper? Tape the assignment into your journal and make a nice big heading so you know: This is Step 1. This is the page (or pages) with my why. )


For more from KJ, subscribe to her newsletter: Read. Eat. Listen. Or grab one of her novels, In Her Boots and The Chicken Sisters, wherever books are sold. Wondering about KJ as a book coach? Her current offerings are HERE.

For more from Jennie, subscribe to her weekly newsletter. Or grab one of her Blueprint books, wherever books are sold. You can learn about getting matched with an Author Accelerator book coach or becoming a book coach at authoraccelerator.com.

Our summer project is all about starting a book, but if you have a memoir or novel draft that you’re in the process of revising, Author Accelerator has a free treat for you—Ready Set Revise, a three-hour workshop that will help you evaluate your manuscript, figure out where you are in the process, and hopefully make it all less painful. Friday, July 8, noon – 3 pm PT / 3 – 6 pm ET

 They’ll explain how best to think about revision, talk about the things writers most often get wrong, and put you into a small group with a coach who coaches the kind of books you write.  It’s a great chance to get yourself in the right headspace to do this right. For details and to sign up, head to authoraccelerator.com/manuscript-incubator.

Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.