Around 80% of people say that they would like to write a book. But how many actually do? I guess it depends on your motivation. Like any other project writing a book requires planning, hard work and commitment as well as passion. Timing is also important, but if you really feel that you want to do it, then now is the time. If you wait for the perfect moment, it may never come!
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance”.
Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Many of my clients say to me “But just how do I get started?”
Preparation is essential. Think about what you want to write about and why. Most successful authors are on a mission to share something with the wider world. A book is a great way of spreading an idea or a brand far and wide. Your subject area is likely to be a personal passion that has also become your area of expertise. Put together a chapter outline, as this will guide you as you write and help you break it down into manageable chunks. Techniques such as mind mapping can be helpful.
As well as a passion, a book is also a product, so think about your target market. It can be tempting to believe that you are writing it for everyone, but if you really think hard, this is not usually the case. The more specific you are, the better the book will be.
It is also helpful to think about what you want to do with your book once it is complete. Having a book positions you as an expert on a particular subject. This will help to raise your profile, build your brand, bring in new business, generate publicity and speaking engagements and provide you with a product you can sell from your website or at events.
Once you have completed your planning, you may want to develop some rituals to put you in writing mode. I once met an author who said that whenever he felt ready to write, he picked up his key, which was, significantly on a plastic key ring shaped like a bunch of bananas, and went off to unlock the door to his den in the back garden.
Start writing and worry about the rest later
If you just wait for inspiration to descend, you may have a long wait. Simply start by writing about whatever aspect of your particular subject moves you right now. In the same way that when a movie is made, the ending is sometimes the first thing to be filmed, you do not have to start at the very beginning. It is also essential to allow your creativity to flow – without judgement. You can dot the i’s and cross the t’s later!
You may be full of good intentions but when life gets busy it can be hard to stick to a regular writing practice. Establish a routine by setting aside a particular time every day or each week that is right for you. If you feel at your most creative at 5am when the rest of the world is still asleep, then go for it.
Writing is by nature a solitary pursuit, but you still need support as you progress on the writer’s path. You could stay at your PC and interact within a website forum or if you prefer some face-to-face contact, then you may want to get together with a trusted friend, attend a community group or find a coach.
Author Richard Bach said “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”
Just remember, don’t wait for ever…Carpe Diem!
Photo credit: Photo by Margolove