Finish Your First Draft (Self-Study Course)



Need to write your book, but struggling to actually get it done?

Finish Your First Draft is a four-module online self-study course, consisting of ten lessons, covering all the skills and techniques you need to turn your book idea into a finished draft. It’s ideal for beginning and intermediate authors (fiction, nonfiction, or memoir) who do not yet have a solid and repeatable book writing process.

This is the digital online self-study version of the Finish Your First Draft course. It is delivered through the Teachable platform and you have lifetime access to the content. You will receive all updates to the course content. Should we move platforms or discontinue course sales and maintenance, we will distribute all the files to you for download via Dropbox.




LESSON 1: Outlining Broad Strokes

In Lesson 1 we’ll cover the basics of outlining your first draft. You’ll choose your theme, thematic elements, and worldviews. You’ll create a section-by-section outline, and decide on the transformation your reader will go through, or the character arc for your book. You’ll identify the ‘tentpole’ moments that hold up the book, and start fleshing them out.

LESSON 2: Outlining in More Detail

In Lesson 2 we’ll cover outlining in more detail, creating a solid, chapter-by-chapter outline. Nonfiction authors will start fleshing out examples and/or case study stories. For fiction and memoir authors we’ll be working on characters, setting, and plot.

LESSON 3: Writing Habits

Lesson 3 will focus on writing habits. We’ll put everything in place to help you with writing a specific number of words weekly, and work on writing faster and staying focused. You’ll also be mapping out and improving your writing process for the full book.


LESSON 4: The Beginning of Your Book

In Lesson 4 we’ll focus on the beginning of your book. We’ll get the setup right and make sure you have everything you need before you start (we’ll go through a checklist of exactly what you need, for each type of book).

LESSON 5: Deepening the Beginning of Your Book

Lesson 5 will be all about deepening the beginning of your book. This lesson includes nailing the hook for the book, chapter and scene work, and adding in thematic elements, psychological triggers, and more details, so your book hits all the marketability factors. If you’re a nonfiction authors this lesson is also about making sure your personal story is solid.


LESSON 6: The Middle of Your Book

Lesson 6 focuses on the middle of your book. We’ll look at how to get the center of your book correct so people continue reading, and how to add lots of excitement and value to this section. There will be another checklist to make sure you have everything needed for the middle of the book.

LESSON 7: Deepening the Middle of Your Book

In Lesson 7 we’ll be aligning all the elements of your book, so everything is flowing nicely. We’ll be working on chapters and scenes, and adding in thematic elements, psychological triggers, and more details to make your book more marketable.


LESSON 8: The End of Your Book

In Lesson 8 we’re focusing on the end of your book. We’re going to help you nail the final section, and write an awesome conclusion that encourages people to take the next action step.

LESSON 9: Deepening the End of Your Book

Lesson 9 will help you deepen the impact of the end of your book. We’ll be looking at how you want people to feel as they finish your book and what action you want people to take next. We’ll find out how to create a satisfying conclusion and add in more of those thematic elements and psychological triggers.

Lesson 10: Putting it All Together

In Lesson 10 we’ll be putting it all together. We’ll make sure the book works at both a high level and at a chapter/scene level. We’ll be celebrating our success (of course) and talking about what to do next with this (finished!) first draft.


Will I actually have a finished draft at the end of this course?

Yes! If you commit to studying all the lessons, doing your assignments, writing consistently, and putting in the work to finish your first draft, you’ll definitely have a finished first draft by the end of the course!

How is the course delivered?

The course consists of ten lessons spread across four modules. You’ll get access to the lessons immediately. Each lesson consists of a video and may also have an assignment and/or workbook(s) to complete. Each lesson should take 1-2 hours at most. And, of course, you’ll also be working on your draft at the same time. The lessons will make working on your draft much easier, as you’ll know exactly what you should be doing at each stage.

What are the lessons like?

Each lesson consists of a video and/or an assignment. I use a three step process in my teaching. I share the information, offer an example, and then give you an exercise, assignment, or workbook. As you work through the videos, you’ll be creating your first draft.

Do you provide feedback?

While I can’t read drafts, I’m happy to answer questions in our Facebook group. Posting there allows you to get feedback and encouragement from your peers. This is a course where you’ll be meeting like-minded people and there will be opportunities to learn from each other and collaborate.

Will you re-write, edit, read, or market my work?

No. I am happy to recommend an editor to you. For marketing and business help, please check out our mentorship program for one-on-one guidance from me!

Is this course ideal for fiction authors?

Yes. The course is based on story structure that was originally created for novels. It also uses the principles of my unique Story Symmetry framework that forms the basis of the books Nail Your Story, Novel Writing Prep, and Story Symmetry. The way it’s taught in this course shows that you can apply storytelling to fiction and nonfiction projects!

Is this course ideal for coaches?

Yes. If you’re building your coaching program (or any other business), this will help you create a book that supports and promotes your work. Writing your book is growing your business, and vice-versa. They work beautifully together, and a book will help you really stand out from the crowd because so few coaches have one right now.

Is this course ideal for startup entrepreneurs?

Yes. I worked in tech startups for most of my corporate career and have coached several CEOs on their writing. Those CEOs have gone on to write and publish books that have helped their businesses succeed. Drafting your first book while growing a business from scratch is a great way to make sure your book and business support and promote one another. You can also take this course no matter where you are with your business growth. We’ll help you draft a book that’s highly relevant to your business objectives, whatever they may be.

Do you have a money-back guarantee?

This program is no quit, no refund from the moment you sign up, so make sure you are committed before doing so! To repeat: We don’t offer refunds. By signing up for this program, you are fully committed to both the content and whatever payment plan you choose. You are responsible for all payments under the payment plan you’ve chosen regardless of whether you use the material or remain in the program.


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