Now the Christmas ham has been scoffed, and the new year rung in with glee, it’s time to turn your attention towards your own business and upcoming goals. What do you want to accomplish for yourself this year or quarter?
For many of us, writing a book is high on the business bucket-list.
But while you might see the value a book can bring – like growing your credibility, visibility and chargeability – you might be a bit lost (or even paralysed by fear) on where to start this epic task.
How do you actually make this lofty goal a reality?
What do you need to do to make sure it’s not still side-by-side with the turkey stuffing on your December 2018 to-do list?
Make no mistake
Before we talk about what to do, let’s talk about what NOT to do.
The most common and costly mistake I see people make is to launch straight away into downloading their content from their head – i.e. thinking about what you know, what experience you have doing it, and what you ‘think’ your audience wants to know from you.
You might start mind mapping, brainstorming topics, making long lists, drawing eye-popping thought bubbles or sticking Post-it notes on the wall. But in the context of a book (especially if it’s your first), all this does is encourage messy thinking and many, MANY disjointed and conflicting ideas.
How will you know which ideas are good and which are way off-track? Well, you won’t. So, you’ll try and jam them all in together.
And how could you possibly write all of what you know in one book? Well, of course, you can’t! So suddenly you’re writing two books, then three, and four … but, um, not actually finishing writing one. (Just think of that person who said they are writing seven books right now…)
So, what to do?
Plan your trip
The secret to a successful book – and an enjoyable writing process – is a well-thought out plan.
WITHOUT a great plan, your journey looks like this:
WITH a great plan, your journey looks more like that:
Planning happens BEFORE you start thinking about your content or what you know.
Before you do any kind of writing, mind mapping or long lists, you must spend time working through ONE key question.
Why are you writing a book?
Seems a simple enough, right? Yet, this is often the hardest question to answer.
Your WHY is your purpose for writing and the key to developing a strategy behind your book. It will inform every other step and decision you make from this point forward.
The problem is that a lot of us think the reason for writing a book is to ‘position yourself as an authority in your field’.
This is the RESULT of writing a great book, but it is not WHY you are writing it.
The positioning, the credibility, the profile (not to mention better content) will come if you can create a tangible goal for yourself, something that you can measure, action and truly achieve.
So instead, think about how you’re going to USE your book when you have it in your hands.
What are some of your business challenges right now and how could a book help you? Where are you now in your business and where would you like to be in six months’ time?
Remember you will not have a printed, physical copy of your book until around five or six months later. So if you write a book for where you are at now, then it will be outdated by the time you start giving it out!
Think of your book as the link between your current reality and your future ambition.
Do you want to use it to help you break into a public market? Do you want it to give out at an event you’re hosting in September to potential coaching clients? Does it need to complement an upcoming face-to-face workshop? Are you trying to approach organisations to run corporate programs?
When you do this, when you start questioning your intentions and forward-thinking your goal then you start to deep dive into your own business, your real purpose for writing a book.
Only then do you put together the right plan, for the right reasons, and the right people. and reduce the risk of suffering a hair-pulling, time-intensive labour as you write.
Invest in the start of a book wisely, and you’ll buy back time to stuff your face with ham before the year rolls to an end.