Before we begin, practice healthy creative habits: Clear your space of clutter, set aside some time to focus and spend 2-3 minutes doing your Daily Free Writing before you begin. See Lesson 2 for more about DFW.

The next two days are writing days. If you’ve been skipping the daily free writing, I highly recommend starting. For today we’re going to focus on the MIDDLE.

What’s the job of the middle?

The middle is the good stuff. The beginning is delicate dance between keeping the reader interested, teasing them along and laying down the ground work so you could get HERE. It’s where things get a little crazy. It’s taking it to the next level. Here are some things to consider no matter what kind of book you’re writing:

1. What do your readers EXPECT will happen?

In your writing session today, write a list of everything your readers expect will happen. This is your no-go zone. If you’re writing a book that’s how-to, you need to give them advice that’s far different then what common wisdom would prescribe. If you’re writing a novel or a non-fiction memoir, then this is where you want to avoid all the cliches and easy answers. Anything on this list is an opportunity to completely flip the script.

2. Write for your readers, not for yourself. You might be a little in love with your characters. You might want to protect them. Or if you’re writing a how-to book you might want to stick to easier to explain concepts, things that you’re more comfortable with. BUT if you want to truly delight your readers you have to be willing to go places that aren’t super fun to write. You have to torture your main character. You have to deep dive on painful memories if it’s a memoir. You have to take it to more complicated places if it’s a how-to book.

3. Take a look at what you’ve got and think: how can I push this even further? Believe me, it won’t be enough. The middle, of all places in your book, is somewhere that you can’t gloss over. This is the place for the emotional essay or the clever metaphor to explain a complicated subject. This is where everything happens, the true test of whether your concept is book-worthy.

No pressure!

Try to take this time to be playful, to think of twists without any solutions, in a fully everything-is-a-good-idea kind of way. Write yourself into corners. It’s okay, this is the time to just MAKE IT UP. Try anything. See what comes out of it.


1Daily Free Writing
22 hours focused on writing and fleshing out your middle