Why is it so freaking hard to write a book?
It’s only words on a page, after all. And we’re experts in what we do. Surely, with a bit of effort, we could all produce a bestseller we’d be proud of.
But somehow it doesn’t feel like that, does it? We’ve all spent hours at our keyboards procrastinating in between making cups of coffee and surfing Facebook. Heck, I’ve done that twice so far on this blog post and I’ve only written a few lines.
So if we want that author status and we know a book is the way to get it, how do we get over the ‘I don’t wanna do it’ hump?
You’re in the right place to find out. This is the second in my series of the 6 essentials to get right before you type a word of your book (you can see the first one here – and it’s a zinger, believe me).
The second essential is (drum roll) …
Get your head in gear before you begin
What gear are you in?
Is it neutral, idling at the lights before you zoom off (and when will that be)?
Or is it in first? You’re making a start but it’s still slow.
Ideally you want to be in sixth gear, cruising the motorway of inspiration and eating up those miles at an effortless pace. You’ll be at your destination before you know it.
So how do we get into high gear? What’s the secret? There are a number of tacks you can try, but let’s look first at the reasons many people give me for not writing their book. As a book writing coach and business book ghostwriter, I hear plenty of them :)
- I don’t have time (the big one)
- I can’t write well enough
- I don’t know how to get my outline clear
- It’s all been written about before
- I might not finish it
Recognise any of these? They don’t have to get in your way.
How to oil those gears
There are ways of getting unstuck. Here are my favourites, which I’ve tried and tested both on myself and my clients.
Map out your business book journey
Thinking about what you want to say, and then saying it, are two different brain activities. That makes it tiring and difficult if you keep moving back and forth between the two. But when you know the points you want to make in each chapter before you begin, your writing is so much easier.
Give yourself a head start by spending a decent chunk of your time creating a detailed book outline, with bullet points for each element of your content, before you begin.
Be brutally realistic about the task
How long do you want this book to take? Give yourself a date when you want your manuscript to be finished, and work out how many chapters you’ll need to write a month to achieve it.
Remember your first draft will take the longest, and you’ll need to allow time to create a second and third draft as well (maybe more).
I’ve found with my coaching clients this helps them to get real with the amount of writing they’ll be tackling each week. It’s tough love, but it’s so helpful.
Give yourself a big hug for doing this. You’re creating valuable work that’s going to help people for years.
No-one said it was easy. If it was, everyone’s bookshelves would be groaning with their own titles. What you’re doing is special, and will make you stand out as an expert way above those who’ve never taken the trouble to do the same.
So give yourself rewards when you finish a section or reach a milestone. Be your own best friend.
Which leads me to …
Getting a driving partner
OK, not that annoying back seat driver type, but a friend who’s along for the ride.
Someone who can support you and – most importantly – give you accountability. Just knowing you need to answer that question, ‘So, how’s your book coming along?’ can be a powerful motivator!
Which is also why a book coach can make the difference between your book being started, and getting finished. My coaching clients always say this is the biggest benefit of working with me – they actually get to have a book.
Know your six essentials
Now you know the first two essentials for writing your business book, you’re better placed than most authors to write the best book for you.
And the best thing about these essentials? They help you write the book as well. So stay with me for the next instalment in the series …
In the meanwhile, what gear are you in right now with your book?