How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into Reality
At least 95 percent of people who want to write a book never get started -- don't become one of them.
I've done a lot of publishing- and media-related things since I was 14 years old. But what I love best is helping people write and publish their books. And while those can be creative pursuits, most people I currently work with are entrepreneurs, coaches and other experts who are hungry to ignite their visibility, credibility, market reach and profitability.
However, a lot of folks get stuck in the dreaming phase and don't even start their books. Some haven't even made the decision of whether to write their book — maybe it's fears of negative feedback from strangers and loved ones or a simple lack of understanding of the writing and publishing process. Here are some tips you can use right away to start writing your first, or next, book.
1. Make a decision to write your book
This is part of one of my nine essential book writing steps, and it sounds cliche. But it's true. So many people think about writing, but never decide to just do it.
I was a book coach, editor and writer long before the pandemic, but the pandemic brought a lot of people to me with regrets. Some were women in their 60s who told me they regret not writing their books. Some of them worked with me to do so. Others gave in to their fears and doubts and are still wishing and thinking.
So, make a decision. If it's no, that's okay! At least you know now. If it's yes, it doesn't even have to be today or this year (though writing a book doesn't require you to give up your life). Decide that you will write your book by 2023, 2024, etc. and that you will do what it takes to make that happen. Whether that's hiring a coach, an editor or joining a writing group.
2. Commit to a writing schedule
The second thing that's really important is to commit to a writing schedule. And this is the part that many people can't stand when I mention it.
Committing to a writing schedule does not have to mean you're sitting at the computer three, four, five or even 10 hours a day like Stephen King, John Grisham or other great novelists.
I like to recommend 25-minute stretches, which are also called Pomodoros. So, you could write for 25 minutes.
But that's not enough.
You need to put this on your calendar as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. It could be one day a week, two days a week, three days, five days or seven. You could do one 25-minute stretch with a five-minute break or more sessions. The important thing is to commit to a schedule and stick to it.
3. Start writing your book at any point of it
The next thing that's important to do is start writing your story where you feel comfortable. A lot of people ask: Well, Stephanie, what do I write first? Do I write the beginning first or the end first? My answer always is, just start writing wherever you feel the inspiration.
As a writer, I write my introductions and conclusions last. So, the best thing you can do is just sit there and write what feels comfortable to you.
If you're writing a business book and want to tell a story about a particular client, then sit down and write that story. The point is to get that first draft out, and it doesn't have to be in order. You can work with a coach or an editor to get everything in the right order.
Just start writing wherever you feel the inspiration or the passion.
4. Don't question yourself as you go along
This step has a lot of don'ts in it. Don't question yourself as you go along. Don't edit. Don't send it to your friends, your general business or life coach, your family members, etc.
Just write your first draft. It may not be great, but it's not going to be nearly as bad as you think it is.
But if you sit there and second-guess everything and send it to a bunch of people — even well-meaning and well-qualified people — you're going to get frustrated and stop.
I've met too many people who were doing great on writing their book on their own, which is really awesome because most people can't write a book on their own. And they sent the chapter or chapters to some friends and family and got such negative feedback that they got frustrated and quit.
And then they came to me a few years later saying, I need to finish this book, what do I do?
So, avoid second-guessing yourself and asking others not involved for feedback.
When I coach people through writing their book, if they really insist I will look at their work during our sessions. But most of the time, I encourage them just to write. And then at the end of it, we can go through a separate editing process or I can refer them to another editor if they want another set of eyes on it.
But it's important to get that done with as little internal or external interference as possible.
Summing it up
Writing a book is not for everyone. But it is possible for those who make the decision to do so and are willing to sometimes feel uncomfortable during the process. It's important to set a schedule, write as much as you can without stopping and not second-guess yourself. With the right systems and support, you can become a published authorpreneur.
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