By Jim Smilie
By committing to as little as 15 minutes a day, anyone can be an author.
That was the message of Alexandria author Christee Gabour Atwood while speaking to the Rotary Club of Alexandria Tuesday afternoon. “There is so much knowledge and experience in this room, and you have a chance to share it,” she told the crowd. “That is how we build a legacy.”
Atwood has published 15 books to date. Those titles range from a variety of training manuals like “Succession Planning Basics” to humor books such as “In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands.” Her most recent book, “Calling Home,” is a personal reflection on the emotions of missing a lost loved one.
Her message Tuesday was based on her book “The 15 Minute Book: A Step-By-Step Workbook to Create A Non-Fiction Book 15 minutes at a time”.
The first step is to decide on a topic. Atwood encouraged audience members to think about what unique skills or abilities they have. From there, a person can build a book based on teaching that skill or explaining it to others. Once the topic is selected, Atwood said writers should brainstorm keywords and ideas related to the topic.
Atwood said she often uses artificial intelligence (AI) apps on the internet to help generate keywords. Once she has a list of keywords, she looks through them for themes and main ideas. “Those become the chapters in the book,” she said. The next step is to convert the keywords into questions, and then start answering the questions to create the main content.
Sticking with the 15-minute timetable, Atwood said it’s important to budget at least 15 minutes each day to work on the project by answering questions about the keywords. Once the questions have been answered, the next step is to write transitions to make the thoughts flow and lead from one point to the next. Once that is done, all the book needs is a summary to close it out. “In the summary, you tell us what you told us and why it’s important,” she said.
Atwood encouraged everyone to think about the unique skills and experiences they have and to invest 15 minutes a day into writing them down. “This is important to do so tomorrow’s generation doesn’t have to start at square one,” she said.
For more information on Atwood, visit her website at https://www.christee.net.