Which of these scenarios best describes you?
Scene A: You wake up refreshed to start your day and can’t wait to sit down to write another chapter (or four!) of your latest book. You adore the writing process and can easily enter your “zone” where time just stands still and your fingers move like the wind across the keyboard.
Scene B: You wake up refreshed to start your day but you do everything else on your to-do list first instead of writing a chapter of the book that you know will boost your business. Procrastination is your friend and the “reasons” you give yourself for not writing are simply excuses.
Writing a book is certainly a great way to boost your credibility, increase your name recognition, and increase your profits but it’s also a mirror we can use to deeply examine our greatest fears and work habits. If writing a book were easy, everyone would be published. Acknowledging and understanding these fears and habits can greatly improve the writing process which, in turn, will make life much easier when you decide to write your next book.
1. Examine your work habits. Are you a procrastinator or a “get it done” person? Are you an early morning person or night owl? Can you work with music or podcasts playing in the background or do you need total silence? Every writer has a different method of working and you might just discover something new about yourself during this process. Maybe you prefer nature sounds or white noise as opposed to music with lyrics. Or maybe you can focus better in a coffee house setting instead of in complete silence. No matter what your preferences, use those to your advantage to be more productive.
2. Discover your fears about the writing process. Do you dread that blank page staring back at you? Do you fear hearing negative feedback or reviews? Do you fear hiring an editor only to get your manuscript back terribly marked up or changed considerably? Remember that once upon a time even big name authors had to start with a blank page and editors who changed their words. Start your manuscript with a chapter outline and remember that you’re paying an editor good money to make your book its best.
3. Analyze how disciplined you are when it comes to writing. There’s no right or wrong method here but knowing if you can work in the zone for hours on end or if you get easily distracted and need to take breaks makes planning your day much easier. If you need to take breaks, incorporate the Pomodoro method into your day. Simply set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on your writing until the timer goes off. Take a 10 minute break, then get back to writing for another 25 minutes. It’s a simple method but you’ll be amazed at how focused you’ll be during those writing sessions.
4. Is writing your passion or do you fear this will be a wasted effort? What if you don’t make sales or the response from your audience isn’t as glowing as you had hoped? This is a valid fear, especially if you’re depending on this book to increase your earnings, but you’ll be prepared to conquer this fear by doing market research prior to writing the first page. Is this book topic something your market needs and wants? Can you offer a different spin on this topic that others may have already written about? Whether you feel a passion for writing or you’re certain this will be your only book, you’ll always benefit by doing research.
5. Acknowledge your insecurities and admit your weaknesses. No one is perfect nor can you be an expert in everything so if anything about the writing process or the marketing activities scares you, embrace that fear and either conquer it or hire an expert to help you through it. Under this type of spotlight, you may be surprised at what makes your knees shake and what you can handle like a champ. Just don’t let these insecurities sideline your book.
As you can see, writing a book is a wonderful self-discovery tool in addition to a business-builder. Take these discoveries and work with them during this process; you’ll only improve your business and your work habits going forward.