Many people file writing a book into their ‘someday’ dream category. While it’s not bad to have a list of dreams, if writing your first book is something you wish came out of the ‘someday’ category and into the ‘it’s happening’ category, you’re going to need a plan. Like any big project, a book happens because of consistent effort and persistence.
No project is too big for you; you just need to take it one step at a time.
You are capable, smart and gifted. You can write that book. Here are some of the things I found most helpful in my book-writing process. I hope they encourage you to take the next step!
Know Your Goal
Your goal is your energizer throughout the whole process. Writing a book, whether non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc. takes time. It’s a slow-and-steady kind of project with very few rewards until the end, once it’s published. You’ll need a motivation outside of yourself to see your book through from beginning to publication.
Focus your goals on your readers.
What are they looking for and how can you help them find it?
What do you want to inspire in you readers?
What do you hope changes for your readers because they read your book?
Write down the answers to these questions and keep them accessible throughout the writing process. They will be like your compass, helping you stay at the heart of your book.
What Can You Add to the Conversation?
You have something to say, and a unique perspective on your topic. However, it might take some digging to identify what’s already being said, and how you can build off of it.
Take time to do quality research. Including research and insight from experts in your field will always add to your message (but find ways to work it into your writing in an engaging way!).
Then, take that research and make it personal. Your personal experiences are fuel for finding the intersection between a felt need and an answer to that need, which creates resonance between you and your readers.
In most cases, your writing will be more powerful to others if it’s evident you walked their path before, too. Choose a topic and an angle that challenge you. Make your writing process about learning something new.
If your goal is to gain knowledge to share and benefit others, the end result will be a book that is genuine and relatable.
People read because they want to explore and grow. Your future readers will appreciate it if you take them on a journey that is authentic and worth their investment of time and money.
Let People in On Your Vision Early
This may be the scariest tip, at least it was for me. A little over a year ago, when my book was really just an outline, I announced to my blog and social media channels that I was serious about writing a book.
I felt silly. I worried what others were thinking about me. My insecurities were high as I questioned my ability to follow through and feared failing in front of everyone.
However, for me, the benefits of letting people in on the vision early far outweighed the reasons I had to keep my dream secret until it was more polished or ready. And I think benefits can outweigh your fears, too.
Sharing my ideas and plans at the start of my project helped me to:
Shape ideas from input and feedback from my target audience
Create a launch team the rallied behind me, checked in on my progress and kept me accountable to my goals
Practice articulating my message and explain my book to others (this is especially helpful now that I am launching my book)
4. Invite Feedback and Differing Opinions
This tip closely follows number three. While you are building a tribe around your message, it’s also important to step out of that tribe for feedback.
Reach out to people who may disagree or see things differently. Share your ideas with them and your plans for communicating your message. Ask them to help you identify areas for improvement or which ideas could be fleshed out.
The goal isn’t to create an end product that everyone in the world agrees on (that’s impossible, and the attempt would probably produce a book with a wishy-washy message).
Rather, seek differing opinions to bolster your understanding of the subject matter and the nuances that exist.
Writing your first book positions you as an authority on the subject. As an authority, you should be able to address differences of thought with grace and confidence. But that’s only possible if you have sought to understand the other points of view.
I sure hope these tips help you on your writing journey! I’m rooting for you.
If you want to learn more about writing my first book Tell it Well: How to Discover, Own and Share Your Story Well, check out my Kickstarter campaign and help me launch it!