Formula for writing books & other complex stuff

This won’t work for everyone, but for you right-brained folks with book-writing aspirations, this simple secret formula could be a game-changer.

The difficulty with writing books is overcoming the ‘where to begin’ barrier, then finding a way to distill and organise masses of complex information into a sensible order. The vast majority of us never fulfill our authorly destinies for exactly these reasons.

Panic not. It isn’t as complex as you think. The core formula for a factual book is:

1. Make a point (what… are you telling your reader)

2. Back it up (why… is that a fact)

3. Apply it (how… can your reader benefit / apply it to their own life)

Or in other words…

blog post mindmaps


Now, for those of you with an iPad, get a free mindmapping app (I’m using Total Recall). On a laptop you could use something like Webspiration. Otherwise pen and paper will do. Make a box in the middle of the page, colour it your favourite colour and write the name of your topic inside.


Create a key, so you can colour code (or use different shaped boxes) for 1. MAKE A POINT, 2. BACK IT UP and 3. APPLY IT. All information you’re going to lay down will fit under these categories.


Start firing all your thoughts down in a mindmap, connecting them where you see a relationship. Use the colour codes for when you’re making a point, backing it up, or applying it. You’ll find most items you get down are MAKE A POINT colour.


When you’ve had enough, go through each MAKE A POINT item, adding and connecting as many BACK IT UP examples and APPLY IT methods to each point as you can. Here’s a section of a complex map as an example…

example map

Build the map out until you feel everything in your brain is more or less down there, organised in this way.


Scan over your entire map, highlighting bubbles that seem particularly significant in another colour. Think of them as chapter headings.


The linear order of your book will emerge from the non-linear madness on the page, in an instant.

Try it – let me know if it works for you…

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