Writing a Nonfiction Book – Learning the Process

Recently, I’ve been wanting to get started writing nonfiction (history) books.  This is an entirely new urge.  I was always very dismissive of writing any sort of book, a) because I’m lazy, and b) it just seems like an impossible market to break into.  But, for the past six months, the idea has been nagging at me.  I have a few niche historical interests and I’d like to write a book about at least one of them eventually.

There’s only one problem.

I have no idea where to start.  This is currently how my mind sees the process.

Okay, let’s get started with writing.  Okay, let’s do research in order to write.  Wow, there’s a lot of crap information on the internet.  Let’s read scholarly journal articles instead.  Wait, how do I organize all of these articles?  Do I read the whole thing or just skim it?  Let’s spend the next three hours researching various writing and manuscript tools.  Should I be like writing entire chapters or just doing an outline?  Let me write a table of contents.  Okay, table of contents is done.  More overwhelming research.  Let’s add another 22 chapters to the table of contents based on all this new stuff we’re learning.  Read how most authors just pitch ideas for nonfiction books to agents and publishers, not entire books.  Wait, what is an agent again?  Let’s learn more about the publishing process.  Whoa, maybe I shouldn’t be wasting my time actually writing a book.  Let’s learn about the process to write a book and get it published.  Oh, and let’s not forget that writers always recommend reading a lot of your desired genre to become a better writing.  So somewhere in all of this, let’s set aside some time to read some really long nonfiction books.

And there you have it.  In a nutshell, the complete overwhelming nature of the process has just led me to be frustrated and not do anything.  Yet, everyday on the metro, as I ride to and from work, pulling out my Kindle to read, I think to myself, wow, it would be nice and amazing to actually write a book.  Even if it never goes anywhere, just to experience the process.  And maybe hold out that tiny bit of hope for some randomly published book some day.

Have you ever wanted to write a nonfiction book?  How did you get started with the process?