5 Truths to Contemplate Before You Start Writing Your Book
"Writing a book is easy and will impress most of the people you meet."
After reading that in an article lately I gave a moment’s thought to retiring my laptop and getting a job at the local bookstore.
I suspect it’s because of the people who write the “easy” books to “impress” the people they meet that having written a book impresses fewer and fewer people.
I love books. They house some of my best friends, they remind me of some of my favorite reasons to be alive, and they teach me everything from how to make a serenity fountain to how to make money as an entrepreneur.
I’ve written books and I’ve coached clients through the book writing process. Birthing a book is a lot like birthing a baby, and helping someone else birth a book is like being the other parent and midwife all in one.
Which is to say that it isn’t easy. And in my circle anyway, so many people have written books or are writing a book or want to write a book that having written a book doesn’t impress very many people.
Which is not to say that writing a book is no longer a worthwhile business endeavor. Far from it. I do believe that everyone has a book inside them just waiting to come out, and I can personally testify that a book is one of the best marketing strategies available to entrepreneurs, but before you sit down to write yours here are a few truths you’ll want to explore.
1. It’s not the Big Easy.
But then, very few worthwhile endeavors are easy. It doesn’t have to be hard either. What it is, is work. You can treat that work as drudgery and dread the sight of a blank page, you can treat it as a means to an end and just try to get through it, or you can immerse yourself in “doing the work” and know that what you learn will be applicable to many other areas of your life and business.
Related: 7.1 Steps to Writing Your Book
2. It’s the ideas, not the words.
I can tell you how to write an “easy” book. Just collect a lot of other people’s ideas, package them into a series of clichés and platitudes and hire a service to design a book cover with your name on it. Easy, right? And maybe people will be impressed when you use that book as a “calling card.” But it isn’t likely that they’ll be impressed when they read it -- if they ever read it.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to do the work to collect your original ideas into one place, even if the words aren’t smooth and perfect (at least in the first draft) you’ll not only impress people who read your book, you’ll make a lasting impression that invites permanent change. And that kind of impact is what creates income and opportunity.
3. It’s the process, not the product.
People may not be impressed by the fact you have written a book. But the process of writing a book, if you’re willing to do the real work, will make you more credible, more eloquent and more articulate than you ever thought you could be. You’ll learn a new level of thinking, of speaking and of sharing your ideas that will impress people even if they never know about that book you’ve written.
4. It’s not going to be what you thought it would be.
If you’re willing to skip easy and write for impact, rather than to impress people, your book will likely be a lot more than you could imagine. When I wrote Just Blow It Up: Firepower for Living an Unlimited Life, I was packing years of coaching and consulting with entrepreneurs into something that I could hold in my hands. My goal was to share my process for what I call “blasting thru brick walls” or eliminating the “can’t beliefs” about starting and growing entrepreneurial businesses.
I’ve been surprised to see that book used as part of college courses, purchased in bulk by direct sales organizations, adopted by sales departments, and presented as recommended reading for managers and directors in large corporations. If I’d been trying to write for those audiences I’m sure I would have failed. But because I was writing what I knew, what I believed with all my being, and what I had used thousands of times to help myself and others achieve their wildest dreams, that book found a life, and direction, of its own.
5. Your book is you, or it’s nothing.
A fancy book cover with your name on it is like an expensive suit. It might nail the first impression, but if you can’t back it up with substance and value it won’t generate ongoing business or referrals. If you do the work to bring yourself, your experience, your lessons and truths into the world, your book can do far more for you than be a way to impress the people you meet.
Ever since she was a little girl, Dixie’s least favorite word was "can’t." It still is. She's on a mission to prove that anything is possible, for anyone, but she's especially fond of entrepreneurs. She's good at seeing opportunities where other people see walls, navigating crossroads where other people see dead ends, and unwrapping the gifts of adversity and struggle. Dixie also contributes to Huffington Post and is a senior managing editor for The Good Man Project.