Writing a Book – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.
The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Usually…later in the week, a second post will expand on the theme and/or summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme. But I took a little detour last week, which you can read about in my personal blog entitled #Significance (click here).
Prepare for Distractions
There are 2 ways to look at this, but each starts with the following premise: distractions will come. When they do, your stance is either, “Don’t care. I WILL stick to my schedule come hell or high water,” or “I just can’t possibly fit everything in, so writing has to take a back seat.”
As a general rule of thumb, I try very hard to take the first stance because otherwise it is too easy to ALWAYS be distracted and never get any writing done. But last week I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Writing will have to wait” in terms of my blog. I also had to cancel last week’s Business Is ART podcast, which was very unfortunate because my guest was going to be my publisher. But between an unexpected 2-day jury duty that ran from 8am to 6pm (the subject of #Significance) and rehearsal for a musical I wrote, am producing and am appearing in, as well as a TV appearance to promote the show, there just was no left-over time or energy to get it all done.
Sometimes, you have to give up and give in…just don’t let it be permanent or frequent.
Determine Your Publishing Route
I mentioned this in Part 1 of this post and said I’d provide more in the next. I lied. It’s too long much to include in this post, as it turns out. So, I will provide a 3rd post that will be exclusive to this topic. But to repeat you will need to determine if traditional publishing, self-publishing or a hybrid-publishing model is best for you to pursue. More to come on that!
Don’t Expect Perfection
It’s OK to aim high and aim for perfection…so long as you know it is not achievable. You can drive yourself nuts writing, re-writing and re-writing again while striving for perfection. Remember, your review team and edit team are there to help. The objective is NOT to hand them a perfect manuscript. The objective is to hand them a manuscript they can work with, and that they can help you to improve.
Don’t Blabber On for the Sake of Filling the Page
Trap – “I must fill the next 3 pages in order to meet my word/page count objective.”
Better – If you’ve said it, you’ve said it. Ever talk to someone that made the point 2 minutes ago but are still going? Don’t be that person.
Best – Add a little color to it. Describe something in a little more detail if you can make it interesting. Set the emotional tone. Don’t JUST stick to the facts. Make it interesting. But don’t describe the numerical code of the particular shade of blue when simply saying “royal blue” will suffice.
People Love a Story
Some of the best advice I received from one of my mentors was to tell a story. In my case, I was writing a business trade book, which can be exceptionally boring. He advised telling a story along the way. I actually tell many stories in Business is ART but there is one central story that is carried throughout the entire book. This helps to make it not just informative (snore) but hopefully also entertaining, even humorous (applause). My goal is for anyone to be able topic it up and enjoy it even if they couldn’t give a darn about strategic and business planning.
Don’t Go Crazy Seeking Tips
Plug “how to write a book” in your search engine and you get more results than you could possibly read. Look at 2 or 3, preferably written by people that have done it and maybe even more ideally by people who have done it in your genre. Learn from their experience, apply it to your plan, and then move on. Don’t keep reading more because after awhile, it all starts to sound the same.
Be wary of the many, many “experts” out there that just want to sell you something, sharing some high level tips in exchange for getting you to buy their “How to Write a Book” book. Hey, if you find my blogging interesting and want to buy my book Business is ART I would love for you to. But Business is ART isn’t about writing a book and neither are my business consulting services.
Be wary of what the individual is really trying to sell you by offering a little “free” advice that isn’t very informative unless you are willing to shell out a few bucks for the real juice.
There are large portions of people out there who will say your book is crap. They learned nothing. They could do a better job than you did. Etc., etc., etc. But here is the thing. They didn’t. You did! Let me say again…YOU DID!!!
I looked at writing Business is ART this way – if it helped just one person then mission accomplished!
Don’t Be Afraid to Call Yourself An Author
You don’t have to sell a single book to call yourself an author. You have to WRITE one. I kind of think you have to make it available to others as well. But you are an author. Get used to saying that. It was VERY difficult for me to start saying that and even more so to describe myself on my various social media profiles and on my website. But it’s the fact. I am an author and so too will you be. Embrace it. Don’t say it with an embarrassed tone. And don’t let the critics’ follow-up question “how many books have you sold?” bother you. Just say, “Enough.”
You Aren’t One and Done
Get started on your next book as soon as possible. I’ll admit to you I have not gotten beyond the idea and rough outline stage for my next one. But, at least in my mind I have a valid reason. In my case, following the book are two additional products: online training videos and a software to automate the planning processes and templates described in the book. So in a real sense, I am continuing to build on the book. As soon as those products launch, believe me I am off to the races on the next one.