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The First Steps for Editing Blog Posts into a Book

Shaunta Grimes

September 2, 2020

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We’re headed into month three of the Blog-Your-Own-Book Challenge.

In July, we planned our BYOB projects. In August, we wrote them — 31 blog posts, all on the same theme. In September, we’ll work to put all those words together into a book.

Here’s what that looks like, at least for the beginning part.

Take a Look at What You’ve Got

My best advice here is to write each of your blog posts onto index cards. Or put them into Dabble as scenes. Or just type them out into a Google Doc.

You need to see all of your posts in one shot.

If you didn’t do it in the planning part, organize them so that they make sense as a cohesive whole. Gather like posts into chapters. Your book probably isn’t particularly long, so you might not have more than four or five chapters.

Put Your Posts Together

The first thing you need to do is take the text of all your blog posts and put them together into one document. I’m doing that in Dabble. You might use Word or Google Docs, or some other word processor.

Just copy and paste the text of each blog post into a single document. Just like you did in the step above, combine like posts into chapters.

Read The Manuscript

You’ll go through your whole manuscript several times this month. But right now, just read through with one thing in mind: clarity.

Keep a notebook near you and take notes about the flow of your book. Where do you need transitions? Where have you repeated yourself so that individual blog posts made sense, that you won’t need in your book?

Figure Out the Gaps

One more thing, while you’re looking at your list of blog posts and your manuscript. Look for the gaps.

Maybe you didn’t finish your writing in August. That’s okay. If you didn’t, just figure out what else needs to be added. If it takes you more than the next two months to get your book done, guess what.

The BYOB police will not come for you. I promise.

Maybe you finished your posts, but there are still gaps in your book. Make a list of the things you still have to write.

Now You Have Your First Edits

Maybe you did such a fantastic job with your writing in August that you don’t have much to do now. Maybe you have a ton to do.

It doesn’t matter. Once you have your list, you can start doing that work.

Give yourself a timeline. Can you finish your edits in a week? Two weeks? A month?

To stay up with our timeline, you’ll want to do these edits in a week. Maybe that will be tough. It will for me. My list is — big. But I’ve set aside an hour a day for the next seven days to work on it. I’ll get as much done as I can.

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