I've been writing my fifth Dorset button book, Dorset Button Inspirations, and I thought it might be useful to share my process for writing a new book. First I get a brainwave idea. The one for this book was 'I wonder how many things I can come up with to use Dorset buttons for. 101 uses for Dorset buttons!' By the morning I had 104 and the beginnings of a new book.
There is usually a gap of 2 years between books because that's how long a new book takes from conception to printing. The first stage is mainly played out in my head, with samples being made where I'm exploring a new technique or something I'm not sure of. I do most of my best thinking when I'm walking. It gives me time to play with ideas and new projects without having to make something over and over again. A project will normally spend at least a week being constantly made in my head, working over possible problems. I also write a lot of lists on my phone. Project ideas, to do lists, contents and materials. I may do a small amount of writing at this point, especially if I'm planning on making the project into a kit.
During this stage I start mentioning to people that I'm writing a new book, and talk in broad terms about what the book's theme is going to be. At that point I'm usually asked when is it coming out, so I give a rough deadline, which gives me the impetus to start writing.
The writing stage starts by making the project, and photographing each stitch and movement I make. This forms the basis of the pattern. I then crop and alter the photos so they're clear to look at. I also reduce the file size at this point, so the final PDF file isn't too huge.