I’ve talked before about people who pants it when writing a book and those that outline and what the benefits are. So you will know that I love to create a book outline before I write a book. There are too many benefits for me not to do it.
My mum, on the other hand, is a pantser. In fairness, she writes fiction and loves to see the story evolve. I tried that when writing fiction and it didn’t work for me.
I think that the reason I like a book outline is that I can see the ‘story’ or plot of the book come alive.
I am very visual and I like a picture of what is going to unfold. I want to see the journey and I want it to make sense.
Over to you…
Think of a learning style in this context as someone who is either visual, auditory, kinesthetic or in combination with each other. Some people are also big picture and some detail.
I know when I work with clients and I present them with my book outline structure some squeal in delight and others say nooooooo.
The squealers get on with it. They love to dive in and work out, for example, the why, what, how and what if. They love uncovering questions and knowing the key messages.
They also love that once they have done this that they can allow their writing to flow.
Because it’s easy. They have done the hard work, now all that needs to happen is to trust that their muse is with them.
The ‘others’ need gentle coaxing. No document, no obvious structure. Although they love doing the bits, it just has to be in little chunks.
Either way, we get a book outline.
When you try to outline without considering how you like to do things you can sometimes come a cropper. Which basically means none of it will make sense to you. So, find out what works best for you.
When I outline, despite being visual and would like nothing better than lots of post its and coloured pens, I flex my style and follow a process that sees me starting with the scribble and then formalising it. So whole braining it – which we are doing all of the time, it just feels right and left at the time.
This one sounds easy, but often people write a book which is not the right book. Ask the 5 whys – read about why here. Get clear on this and the outline will flow from it, because it will make sense and marry with your message.
Here we want to discover the essence of the book. What does your reader get from reading this book? I find writing a blurb (the bit on the back) helps me to get clarity.
Think of this like you might have a plot in a fiction book. Create a timeline so that you can clearly see the journey you want them to take. Remember to meet your reader at the start of their journey and think of the outcome you want for them.
Remember that although you want an outcome – they will get whatever they need from this book.
Keep the process short, sweet and simple. You can write other books.
You must always write for one ideal reader so that you make an emotional connection. It makes for a better book.
This is not what do you think they are asking. It’s what are they really asking.
When I look in the osteoporosis forums I see the same questions. You will too when you look in the right places.
Write a big list of questions and put them on your timeline in an order that makes sense.
You have a timeline and questions. Next, brainstorm chapter titles and write a short synopsis in the style of – this chapter is about. This is not about detail, it’s more that you want to explore your first thoughts.
I always keep 3 questions I am answering per chapter in my outline synopsis when I am planning and writing. They keep me on track.
Just as you have the list of potential chapters, you will need a list of which snippets of your story go where. It doesn’t need to be much. Map it to the chapter titles and/or questions.
This is what I call a knowledge audit. But rather go through all of your content, jot down what you think you already have and do a gap analysis.
Once you have mapped these steps out, write up a more detailed synopsis. The most important part is to leave it until you are ready to properly create a book outline.
Ok, I haven’t shared all of book outline secrets, but there’s enough there to get you going.
If you want more:
The reason this works as a brilliant first book outline is that once you get it out, your unconscious mind will start to make connections. This makes your complete book outline process much more powerful.
What you might also want to try is a test write. Pick a chapter and see how it goes. What do you learn about your writing process?
Soon I’ll start a new journal for a new month. I like to start each month with a new journal to help me focus on my goals, desires, intentions and vision.
It’s like having a fresh start and a new perspective.
I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy. I am pondering what if I died today what would I want others to know about me? What would I leave behind that has any relevance in the whole scheme of things? Is my legacy even something I want to leave behind when I am dead or does it live in the everyday moments when I have touched others lives in some way?
Will you or I be remembered at all? Does it even matter?
When everyday words come up I like to go and research them to see if there is any new light for me to muse on. I read this and rather liked it:-
Legacy late 14c.,
legacie, “body of persons sent on a mission,” from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus” ambassador, envoy, deputy,” noun use of past participle of legare“send with a commission, appoint as deputy, appoint by a lastwill”
How lovely, I thought to be here on a mission and to be sent to Earth with a commission. Rather than think morbidly about what you leave behind when you are completely gone.
Many people want to write books because they want to leave a legacy, I’d like to reframe that to be a living legacy.
To share their mission while they are still here and to impact others with their written words.
I have no children, no partner or lover. There are friends I don’t see often enough. There are books and blogs that I publish and journal entries that I write will probably have burned long before they are possibly read. Most likely on a full moon when it’s a good time for letter go. Perhaps my books and blogs will be simply consigned to the rubbish when I am gone, without anyone to keep them going.
Who will own my content and who will want to keep it going or preserve my website and musings when I am returned to dust? With no one to pay for my hosting or to complete my Amazon non-resident tax form, how long will my books remain available? (I will find out and let you know.)
But why would anyone want to keep my content alive? Why would I care? Surely there is someone else to pick up the baton – the commission?
My 59th birthday is around the corner and while I don’t feel that this is the end of the line, life can end abruptly.
I have no particular bucket list, places I want to visit, sights to behold, my journey is within. That’s partly why I write. I also write to leave a living legacy because I want to inspire others to write, heal and to inspire others to heal and grow.
How many times in just the last year have you been interacting with someone online who seemed so full of life to hear that they are now gone? Just like that. I feel like I want to touch the screen and for my hand to be able to feel their warm skin. We have so many friends because of the Internet. There are people all over the world that we meet because of this web of technology. Their stories stored (and possibly preserved) in some corner of a hard drive or on some not so divine cloud.
When friends pass, their Facebook pages stay around to remind us of the stuff we might have done together and I admit that although that makes me sad it also fills my heart. They are not gone, not really, they came on a commission, they had a mission, and now it’s fulfilled. Everyone leaves behind some of their essence in some way.
Part of my legacy is how well I have lived my life. How well I have served my commission on Earth. I feel it is how well I have served as a human – my kindness and compassion.
I wanted once to write a novel and for it to be made into a film. It was a delightful dream and I enjoyed the fun of visualising it and fantasising what dress I’d wear to the Oscars. The only way I’d have a chance of this being my legacy is if I get my finger out and write that book. Phew!
After writing about legacy today, I’ve changed my mind about writing a book for when you are gone. I’d like you to consider writing a book so that it is your living legacy and a part of your mission – now.
What if you could take your lessons, challenges and gifts and turn them into a book that would help others to ‘survive’ current stormy waters. How would that be?
Not everyone wants to write a book to help them heal or to heal the world. But I do believe that many people have inspiring messages that are very relevant for where humanity finds itself.
I’m interested in how you have grown from your experience and how that learning can support the rest of us, while you are here.
This year might have been as Elvis Costello once sang – a bad year for the roses. But our legacy is how we raised our vibration to meet our challenges and how we go on to impact those around us.
One of the reasons I love words and helping others to shape their words into books is that the process of writing helps us to heal our wounds and when our words reach others hearts, they too can begin to heal or heal some more.
This is my legacy. Not what I leave behind when I am dust and stars, but the trail I leave behind when I am alive.
My mission, my legacy, my life’s commission is to support you on this journey to turn your gifts and challenges, your life and lessons into neat packages of love (called books) that you leave for others to consume and find something of what they are looking for.
What do you do each day that leaves a trail? What is your mission? What is your life’s commission?
What should anyone do? Only you will know if writing a book is for you and what kind of book. You can write a book to heal that no one ever sees, one that you publish for family and friends, one that you use to share your story so that you can inspire others and one that does all of these things and around which you build a business – the business of helping others to heal, change and grow.
Legacy is not about being famous, it is about being ordinary, yet extraordinary. That legacy and your mission might be that you are a leadership coach, a therapist, CEO, engineer, bookkeeper, cleaner, consultant, mechanic, mum, dad, carer, dog groomer or a million and one roles we play. The label is not important, what you do, how you do it and the lives you touch is.
Everyone has a story, but not everyone thinks that their story is worthy of a book. I hear stories every day and some will be driven to create change, write a book and impact others.
Others will show me their work and never believe in themselves enough publish. Too often I have seen handwritten scripts that never go further than the journal they are scribbled in. That saddens me, but I understand.
For the ones who know their mission, are driven to put their words down, to speak to others hearts through a book then yes, write your book and make sure that those that need your words can read them, not when you are dead, but now while you are living your legacy.
Do you sometimes, perhaps when tired, wonder ‘why am I doing this?
I know that I have.
About 5 years ago I packed up my life and drove away from a cruel nasty man. I can see in retrospect just how he had treated me – I was bullied every day and it was insidious – I allowed it to happen – it had affected everything, including my thinking.
I had a passion for what I did. That has never left me, but I found it hard because I hadn’t found me. I was an emotional mess.
He was a gift. A big fat shitty gift.
He, in getting discovered (he was living a double and curious life) gave me the key to me.
When I left I took the two dogs and later found another abandoned in the rambla.
Their love supported my journey.
So did my writing.
I wrote a book called The Journey To Self-Love but couldn’t publish – in the end, I wrote it for me, but I did create a journaling book from the lessons and I loved creating that.
My home was a gift. It was a bit of a mess, just like me. But it gave me the right environment to find me. Having the right environment to live in and write in is vital.
But then as I thought I was getting back on top of things my spine fractured.
It freaking hurt.
What hurt more was not being able to move. I felt trapped.
I took drugs for a whole four days and then got a journal and started to write. Two weeks later I started a book on how to heal osteoporosis naturally.
But here’s the thing. When I support my clients to write their books they have usually done the thing that they are writing about.
But here I was with no clue (I say that but we always know) about how to do this.
In my pain I practically did a medical degree, I devoured books on physiology, nutrition, and osteoporosis.
Previously, I’d studied (for two years) crystal therapy with an amazing woman and course colleagues, reiki, angelic reiki, omni healing, naturopathic nutrition and read mountains of books on all things related.
I’d turned around an overactive thyroid in 6 weeks.
I poured myself into natural healing. I went back through time looking for the emotion hooks to the falling apart of my foundations and like the bionic woman, I believed that I could ‘rebuild’ myself.
In that year, because it took me a long time as there were other complications that affected my mental and emotional state, I learned to trust and listen.
Thank goodness for the Earth Angels who supported me. You are always in my heart.
I listened to spirit. I listened to my heart and my soul.
Then came the day when I had to get back to work.
Question after question after question.
So I trusted.
I had the experience, bloody hell I also had qualifications coming out of my ears…I had books, courses, content and my inner wisdom.
Then they arrived blessing after blessing, people who have a message far greater than even they realised.
I trusted that spirit sent me to them and I trusted that they would trust me with their precious words.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here.
That book Healing Osteoporosis Naturally, unlike any other book I have written has taken me almost two years because I wanted to get it out of my head and then I wanted to stop the craziness of my research and healing to bring balance and normality back to my life.
I had to put it to one side and write other things. I needed to be me not this mad woman healing osteoporosis and a fractured spine.
I hereby commit. To publish this book in May 2020. It is not your conventional osteoporosis book – there are some amazing women out there who have done that – this is my version of natural healing and how I did what I did.
You see it doesn’t matter if you write a book in 30,60,90,180, 760, 1099, 2087 or whatever days.
Every book is a lifetime of learning. You just need to write it when the time is right for you.
And in the meantime journal.
Thank you to all of the precious souls who are on a mission to save planet humanity in whatever way they do.
Please share – why do you do what you do?
“We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden”
I recently stated that I was not going to write a book that was not one of my journaling books for a long time to come. It seems I lied to myself. Because I found myself with an outline and 12,000 words written.
I’d spent the summer creating a number of journaling books, one is still in the cooker and a mandala and affirmations book ready to pop, when unbidden a book idea flew in.
Noooooo I cried, no, I do not want to write a big book. No, you can’t make me. Yet amidst my protestations, my fingers walked across the keyboard in delight.
I had one problem with this download of words – why on earth would I want to write this book? How did what I was being drawn to going to support the work that I was doing?
When I work with my clients I ask a simple but powerful question – what do you want to create in this world?
Then we work together to find the right book (or books) to support that vision.
I knew what I was creating – a writing community, where people write to heal and then write to heal the world, in whatever way you resonate with the word heal.
For weeks I found myself writing and journaling and I couldn’t see how this book that I was enjoying writing and bringing to life supported my vision.
So I let go. I let go of the reason and said the why will find me. And it did.
So often I think we try to force why. It has been drummed into us, you must start with why. And to a certain degree, I think that you need to know why something is motivating you, otherwise what is the point?
But I also think that sometimes that we need to let go and let why find us.
That’s not to say you don’t need to know why, more that if an idea comes to you, invite it in and play with it. If you feel like writing, then write and journal. Here’s the important part, when you have done your creative download, sit back and reflect.
In the spaces will come clarity.
When you have clarity, you can define where you are heading with your writing. In finding out about ourselves, we start to gain clarity of purpose.
Your readers will have expectations. Your role as a writer is to make sure those expectations are met, while at the same time fulfilling the purpose of your writing. Getting clear on your “why” will help you to gain this clarity.
Today a business book adds an extra dimension to your credibility as an expert. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise, skills, knowledge, experiences, and wisdom.
A book can support your other products and services and be used as a highly effective marketing tool.
In fact, a book is a blueprint for other products and services.
The business benefits to you could include a raised profile, more speaking engagements, opportunities to collaborate with others and options for you to productise your book into online programs.
Imagine seeing your wisdom, voice, thoughts, ideas, concepts and words in print.
When you are writing a book, you will tap into parts of yourself that you may not have considered.
So when the call comes to write a book, connect with your inner wisdom and allow what needs to surface to come up.
It might be that you need to write this content to get it out of the way or it is valuable content for your book. Either way put your inner critic to one side and play.
There are no shoulds. There is simply write.
Start writing – anything. By writing you will connect to your inner wisdom. The layers of doubt will soak away. Your inner critic will move on as the layers of what needs to be revealed peel away. And you don’t need to write much, you just have to write.
Experiment with your writing. There is no need to write endlessly, perhaps write less but more often? Experiment with subjects that seem unrelated and then allow the dots to join.
Let go and allow. Let your inner wisdom share what it has to say to you. You never know where it will take you.
Ok, this is the harder stuff…
Ask yourself why five times. Each time you answer, ask why again. Link the why questions to your previous answer. Then ask so what?
Here goes. The key to this is once again to simply have a go, you can always come back and refine it later.
So what? Ask this final question.
People are constantly searching for ways to find answers to their questions. Imagine if they could know where to start their enquiry and where to go to find the answers and their resources in a simple intuitive way.
Ok, so you get the idea. Ask your why questions and finish with a so what. These do not need to be perfect, simply a start that you can refine.
The WRITE! program has been designed to help you to give you all of the support that makes writing a book – simple, stress-free and fun.
When something is important to you, you will find time in your schedule, no matter what. Or you’d like to think so until creative constipation blocks you up.
I often start the day with a huge raft of ideas coming at my brain like a runaway bus. They zoom in, I whizz them around, and quickly write them, before they disappear.
Sometimes the speed of this means that, should my dogs demand a cuddle, my thoughts get lost. Like waking from a dream, just the slightest disruption and those last gripping moments slip ghost-like into the mist.
Creative kapow then nothing, blank, zip, zilch.
Other times I can be sat at my computer with a vague idea, or I have a plan to write something, but for some reason, nothing comes.
I was writing something relatively simple recently when a massive block to my creativity flew in and stopped me in my tracks. It took a few days for the flow to return.
I know it was tiredness. This summer was too hot and too long. It simply stripped me of energy and my brains response was ‘computer says no.’
In knowledgeable writers circles, this is called writer’s block. Personally I prefer creative constipation because it feels temporary. Pop in the right ingredients and the words will slip gently out.
But it can be so frustrating!
The problem is that people like me like to have an idea and write and write and write.
So what’s a gal to do?
Envision your perfect day. Instead of writing for your book or blog, writing in your journal. The perfect day exercise is a wonderful way to start the envisioning process. Connect to your muse and ask what would your best day look like? What would your best day look like if your writing flowed effortlessly each day? The perfect day exercise is one of the exercises in my Love To Journal – Monthly Life Journals.
Remove the shoulds, and ought and consider your can do’s. “Should-dos” are often those beliefs, habits, and ideas that are given to us by other people. “Can-dos” on the other hand are the beliefs, habits, and ideas that you know you can and want to do to become the best version of yourself in the best version of your life — as decided by you. What can you do to support your writing that could become a daily habit that you enjoy?
Pick one. Pick one change or habit to incorporate into your life right now which will help you to get your writing done. You only need to make one change.
Get clear on next steps. Get clear on how you can incorporate this one change or habit into your life. What are the next steps that will help you start to make this change? Then take action.
Here are a few more quick tips:-
Accept that it is just temporary and let it go. I usually head off for a cup of tea and do something mundane like washing the dishes. These just bring some normality back and take my mind of things.
If you get something and even if it feels like nothing connected to what you want to write, scribble the nonsense down in your journal and maybe just maybe you can make something of it later – when you are more relaxed. The act of journaling will set you free. Freewriting is one of my most favourite activities which lets me, through the act of letting go either write out the rubbish or find that one thing that is worth writing about.
Get some fresh air. I find that walking the dogs grounds me. Usually, by the time I get home I either put pen to paper and it becomes something or I just let it go. And I tell myself that it wasn’t important, another idea will come.
Chat some of your writing ideas through. This usually occurs on the walk above, if I ring my mum or a friend. As we walk, we chat and that puts things in perspective and the clutter clears. Talking is great for sorting ideas, including writing ideas out.
It really is about just stopping, let it go and find something to release your stuckness in whatever way works for you. I hope some of my suggestions work.
If you want to read more about writer’s block here are two more:-
Over to you, what works for you?
Recently I had a great conversation with someone who said they wanted to write a book. The problem as they saw it was despite wanting to write a book, they felt that they were being pulled in many other directions.
What about a shorter e-book, an online course, a membership or a retreat?
I asked why not all of them from the book as your blueprint?
This is a common problem. Many people want to write a book, but most never will. The reason is that a book is not essential to them right now.
There is a question I ask everyone who comes on a call with me and that is ‘what you want to create in the world?’
What do I mean by that?
I want to create a writing community where people come to write to discover themselves, to grow and become their best selves and to use that learning to write books which impact lives.
I have a dream, goals and a set of actions that I take to make sure that little by little that’s what I am doing. All of my products and services align with that:-
To create any community, you have to identify your ideal client, who they are, where they are and what they want. This is easier said than done, but if you create your ideal client profile, and have a clear picture of the outcome or result your book will give them you are at least one step closer. And of course, this is something that can be constantly tweaked.
Next is having the confidence in your message, the thing you are here to do. We are often plagued by underlying beliefs and demons that stop us from getting what we want. We can be saying one thing but projecting quite another. We need to work on our inner game and change limiting beliefs into can do’s.
We also need content, and by that, I mean not only products and services but words and stuff that we put out there to raise our visibility. A book is one of the best ways I know for raising your visibility and attracting new clients. A book brings a slice of your wisdom into a neat package for your ideal reader to consume and to get RESULTS from.
Let’s first explore why you ‘should’ write a book and then explore what you can do if this is not feasible or desirable or maybe just not yet.
Let’s explore why you shouldn’t write a book
I adore product development, and the reason I start with a book is that it helps me to become clear about my ideas and process. But using those same principles, I can create all kinds of products and services. What I get from a book is a blueprint.
You still need to know:-
Let’s assume you know what you want to create and who for. Let’s look at what other products and services you could market and sell.
This is a process. Start with what you want to create and then pick one idea that you would like to focus on that will bring you joy for the next 24-36 months.
What questions are my ideal client asking? What can’t they do? What do they want to do? What outcome do they need?
You may be a health coach and you work with menopausal women who are finding it hard to maintain their weight and fight off the hot flushes.
Make a list of 30 questions your ideal client might be asking you.
Create an outline based on the questions and journey you are taking them on.
I’d take the 30 questions, pick 10 which would make great statements and therefore good section, module or chapter headings. Then put three questions under each heading. These are the questions that this chapter answers.
Write a synopsis of each step in the outline.
This gives you clarity. Start with this chapter is about. Follow with why would my client need to know this and then think about how you engage and motivate them. Also, think about what they would get from following your advice and what they wouldn’t get if they didn’t.
Design an e-book based on the synopsis
Now you can create a checklist or 10 rules for [insert your idea]. This then is what people download from your website in return for an email.
Create a mini-course based on the e-book
This can be a cut down version that delivers value and provides a taste of what is to come. It also needs to be designed so that it whets their appetite to dive deeper with a big course or program. A 5 or 7-day challenge is great for this.
Design a 30 day challenge around your course
Now that you have a mini-course, you could tie a 30-day challenge around this or your bigger course. The idea here is that you sell the course which anyone can take as a self-paced product and you can run a live challenge alongside it a few times a year.
Make your big online course
This is your full-on signature course which provides lots of content, a process and support via a Facebook Group. You can tie this in with your live challenges. There is some validity to not creating the course until people are signed up. Then when you know what questions are being asked you can create better content, which you drip feed as you go along.
Extend your course to create a 90-day program
Once you have the course this can easily be translated into a group coaching program, where your clients have live access to you for 12 weeks. You will have group support and my offer some 121 coaching.
Offer your program as a group event or as one to one coaching
Once the group program has been created this can be offered in many different ways.
Your membership group
Now that you have lots of content you can create a portal to keep it all in and a place for your members to know what is going on. This will give you a regular income.
Forgive me for a moment, you now have enough content written and recorded to write a book. You do… When you get your videos captioned you will also have the transcripts. Transcripts are a pain to edit but you do now have content in a process which you could turn into a book, a journal or planner.
You will have templates and other content to weave in that you can repurpose.
I think the key is to choose the one idea, map out the product roadmap and blueprint and then ask what makes sense for you to create first. Only you will know what that is.
So, what’s it to be, write a book or something else?
There are times when life and writing can put you in a state of anything other than a confident writer. Cast your mind to a time when you simply couldn’t put pen to paper. It doesn’t matter if that is a journal, blog or a chapter of your book. The simple fact is nothing is coming and the more you try, the more vulnerable you may feel.
If you are sharing for public consumption, there is always the fear that someone somewhere will feel as if they have the right to critique your work. This alone can stir a fear storm like no other.
When you hesitate because you don’t feel confident it is because there is a deep reason. It’s not that you are a rubbish writer or that you really think that your work is unworthy. It is because somewhere along the line, something has happened to shatter your confidence.
One of the reasons that many people don’t write either in a journal, blog or book is because they don’t know what to write. They also may ask, who am I to write this? What about nothing I write will have any value.
I’m currently reading a clients first few chapters, she is a psychotherapist, and it’s illuminating reading both her story and the science behind our behaviours. I found myself nodding in several places.
I’ve been there, done that and got the I have no right to be a confident writer teeshirt.
But you see confidence is a muscle just like writing and the more you do it, the more of a confident writer you will feel.
You’ve heard this one a million times. Well, that is because it’s true. Read how to become a more productive writer.
Writing in a journal is a practice. You write about your feelings, gratitude, observations or maybe use prompts, and over time it becomes a habit which you love. What you will love the most is how confident a person you will become, simply from changing your perspective about your life. Learning to become your best self is rather wonderful.
Writing blogs tickles your writing muscle in a way like nothing else. Shorter pieces that need to make a point and tell a story can be hard to start off with and then voila you find your writers voice, and you are away.
Writing a book is possibly where you will feel less confident because unlike a blog which is only a short piece, this is out there with your name and brand all over it. Here’s the thing all first drafts are a bit meh! As you edit and refine your work, it gets better and better. Add in some beta readers, your proofreader and coach, and you will have a beautifully polished piece of work that you will be proud of.
All of these require that you commit to practising. The more you practice the more you will find your writers voice.
You’d never put a raw article out there. You may have some errors – that’s life, but one of the ways that you show up as a confident writer is by editing your work.
In your journal there is no need to edit is there. This is life, raw and at the edges. However, your edit is in the actions you take. And these actions all contribute to supporting a more confident life. When you see the results gained, you will carry on journaling.
The beauty of blogs and books (If you self-publish) is that you can keep on revising and uploading every time you spot an error. I’ve had books proofed and down the line spotted a mistake. A sharp intake of breath, an ‘oh no, how did that happen…’ and a quick edit and all is calm in my world again.
Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. Salvador Dali
How do you know when something is perfect? This is such a good question and one that plagues so many writers. Having the confidence to let go, I think is a feeling and a knowing.
The way I look at it is this…
If I have written a piece like this one, for example, and it is either for a book or a blog, there will be an amount of time I can dedicate to it. By that, I mean, I start it today, and it has to be published tomorrow. That means there is only so much faffing I can do. So how about setting a number of words, i.e. keep your writing short and sticking to it.
What about, writing it, letting it go, reflecting coming back to refine and ‘just’ publishing as is? What isn’t said can be for another article. Plus, you can come back and ‘tart’ it up later, because that is the beauty of self-publishing.
What if your inner critic or inner bully tells you that it really isn’t good enough? Is there someone that you trust to read it and give you feedback. This means you have to open your heart to what they say.
I’ve just done a feedback session with a client, she has written loads for a first draft and has done an awesome job. It’s not perfect, and I didn’t expect it to be – it’s the first draft. However, big congratulations to her for trusting me with her work and that she went with the flow. Together we can polish it ready for publication. Go and find your gentle ears.
Back to your inner critic.
Read your work aloud to your inner critic after taking a break. I bet it will sound great. Decide what changes you want to make, make them and publish.
The point is to know when to let go and do it. Done is better than whatever perfect is. And anyway in whose eyes is it perfect? What will happen as you flex that writing muscle and you get the feedback you will grow in confidence.
To be honest, I look back on some of my stuff and cringe. But hey it’s done and guess what you have something to repurpose – don’t you?
If you are still stuck work on what lies beneath – see below.
You can learn so much from your fellow writers. Read other’s books in your genre and across genres. Make notes of how they say things and use this as inspiration. I always have my journal handy when I am writing so that I can note down something useful.
Reading other writers work also lets you see that you are a great writer too. Ok, some writers are pure genius, but I bet you are as good if not better than a lot of writers.
When I was writing about healing osteoporosis, there were many times I didn’t feel confident. But as I researched and experimented with my body and healing, the better I felt. Typically though I write about writing, journaling, well-being and life. These are things I feel very confident about.
I’m not scared to tackle new and unknown to me stuff, but I do have to make sure that what I say is well researched and checked.
Write about what you know and feel confident in. It does make life much easier.
Allied with above, make sure you research your work. Get it checked and run through your arguments to make sure that they flow and are not flawed. When you present a compelling argument, you need facts to back you up.
These are very real things. You are not an imposter, and the more you practise and find our voice, the more confident you will feel. Never compare yourself with others; it’s a waste of time and energy. Find your voice and express it. Over time you will fall into your flow.
I’ve left this to the near the end. There are many reasons why you may not feel like a confident writer, and so often it is not about writing. It’s what lies beneath the face you display in public. Some of these things are hard to spot. But there can be a pattern to your behaviours – this is when journaling is your best friend. Perhaps you need other support to help you to deal with your stuff – this is also when writing can support you.
When you tackle the below the surface things like imposter syndrome or comparisonitis then publishing your work will be easier.
Please talk to a professional if this is something that needs to be worked on.
I find that becoming clear on my values supports my confidence. Try this writing exercise.
Now, there’s a thing what does a confident writer look like and how can you model that?
Ok, you might not know any writers who look confident, but you will know people who look confident. Write down a list of their attributes and model them as best you can.
Perhaps they show up regardless. Maybe they know done is better than ‘perfect’ and know how to let go. What if they put it out and say ‘what do you think and can you give me feedback?’
Keep practising which is point one and one day you’ll look in the mirror and see a seasoned and confident writer.
That might even be as early as tomorrow morning.
Write about your perfect confident writers day. Write it as if it were already here and you are living it. Not only does this exercise cement your vision, but it also tells you what values you are living by. When you have written it, leave it for at least an hour to reflect.
Then look for value words. What I mean by this is, look for words that really stand out in what you have written, these could be:-
Abundance, Acceptance, balance, beauty, confidence, creativity, calm, determination, difference, energy, empathy, freedom, focus, generous, grace, happiness, heart, ingenuity, impact, joy, justice, kindness, knowledge, love, loyalty, mastery, modesty, navigate, network, open, outrageous, peace, passion, quirky, quick, respect, recognition, safe, spiritual, tradition, tranquil, unique, understanding, vision, vitality, worldly, wise, young, zeal, zip.
You will know which words are your value words.
How can you use your values to change energetically how you feel about becoming a confident writer or a confident anything? Explore in your journal.
For example, if kindness is a value, how can you be kinder to you?
What is the one action you will take after reading this article? I hope it’s to write, let go and put your work out there.
This morning my mind was full of all kinds of things I could do rather than to create some focused writing time.
I had been woken abruptly at 2.30am while in the depths a big dream and in the dream, I was achieving loads of great things. I reached for my journal and scribbled like mad.
Unfortunately this morning after my doggie walk I felt myself being drawn to exploring these other things rather than write two blogs and complete my next monthly life journal.
Luckily sense prevailed and when I considered my week’s goals and I decided priorities first, fun next.
And that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? We feel drawn to shiny objects and unicorn rides rather than the task at hand.
However, I find that once I send my unicorn back to Shangrila, and start writing, my flow and productivity return.
Quite simply you have to make a choice about creating focused writing time and do it.
How do you like to write? In a crowded café, hot chocolate and biscuits to dunk, or in a peaceful place with no noise or interruptions?
What about making your space comfortable? What do you need to make yourself a writing den? What about your desk and chair? What about the energy of the space?
If you have read any of my blogs you will know that I am the quiet writing type. Sometimes I will play loud music before I write, but more often than not it’s the silence that works best for me to focus.
On a tangent when I do other creative activities, I do love music which strangely helps me to focus.
Decide where you want to write. Is this in bed, on the sofa or in the office? Do you like smells, sounds, silence or something else? TV or radio on in the background? What about people? I find it a pain to be interrupted when I am writing, do you?
I love the mornings and for me, this is when I get my energy. Typically, when I wake I want to write, either in my journal or an article for a blog or book.
What I find is if I can get my first thoughts out in the morning, later in the day I can edit just as easily.
However, you may be a night owl and find this is when you have the most energy.
The key is to find what time of day you get the most energy and to capitalise on it.
Try either end of the day and find what works for you. Create a ritual and get in the groove.
What usually happens is when I start my day, I set a silence intention that I want to write something. When I go for a walk, words usually come into my mind.
This works because I have asked, set an intention and let it go. Walking in nature creates space for ideas to come.
My writing inspiration also comes in at tangents, I may hear something on the news or read something totally disconnected to writing, but which sends the data train down many different neural pathways, picking up passengers and then the words flow.
If words come that don’t make sense, I scribble these in my journal and use them later.
Try asking for ideas, set intentions and then let them go. To make this work you need space and time. When you do this you will find that your writing time is more focused.
When you want to get your daily writing done, what happens? Do you stare at a blank screen or have you planned it out so that you know what you are going to be writing about?
If I am writing a book and therefore, I need to focus on getting that chapter done I will plan it out. Before I write I will review the chapter, decide how long I have to write and start at the beginning. Where I get stuck or maybe need to research, I’ll skip these and book time in my diary to come back to these later.
When it comes to blogs, I will have asked the questions, set the intentions, go for a walk and when I come back I will do one of these depending on how I feel.
I am a typical planner, however, I usually go with what feels the way to write in the moment.
Typically planning your writing, that is outline a piece will help you to create better and focused writing time.
I never have a problem booking in writing time, because I love writing, however, when it comes to my Spanish homework, I tend to procrastinate and yes, you have guessed I write instead…
What I do is look at what time I waste by watching rubbish TV or scrolling through my social media. Although there is an argument for some downtime. Just not an entire evening eh?
I am good at being firm with myself and I turn things off and put my phone in the bedroom and get on with what I have to do.
What are your rubbish activties? Make a list and shock yourself with how much unproductive time you spend. Decide to replace this time with focused writing time.
This seems so simple, so why doesn’t it work?
I hear people saying I must find the time, create time or make time. They also talk about trying to find, create or make time.
Time is finite, you cannot find, create or make time. There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. You know the rest of the formula. Once time has gone that is it – but you know that.
If this is the right book or blog you will mark time in your diary and do it. If it is the wrong book or not a priority, chances are you won’t put the time in your diary.
I get it, I understand and like you, I have commitments. Like you, I can make some great excuses.
When something is important to you, you will find time in your schedule, no matter what. So, is it time to rethink the way you approach your writing?
So what can you do?
Look at the suggestions and make it work for you. What can you add in or take away?
Good luck with getting your writing done.
Remember to connect with me when you are ready to get your book, planned, written, published and productised. We will work together and make sure you have a book you love which raises your visibility and positions you as an expert in your niche.
Are you trying to write a book and struggling? Or even any piece of writing? Inspiration is everywhere. Know that and know that if you are open it will find you.
I was recently watching Killing Eve. The script is brilliant. Earlier the same weekend I did a binge on The Good Place – another brilliant script. Programs like these fascinate me. Where do the writers find their inspiration and do they have any spare?
I find inspiration in all kinds of places and I am sure that you do too.
Let’s look at where the inspiration to write a book might come from.
This might be conversations in the pub, over a coffee, with friends around the dinner table, with your higher self or with clients. You may have done some research and found a gap in the market which means that you can leverage your knowledge, skills and experience to boost your brand.
Or you may have had an awakening that has shaken your life, and you find that you have a message that you have to share. You may or may not build a business around this.
The first book I wrote was called Six Weeks To A New You. It was a workbook. I was studying nutrition and thought that I wanted to move out of marketing into this world. I didn’t, but some 25+ years later some of the content proved useful for a different book project.
I wrote this because of conversations with friends who wanted help with their health and lifestyle.
For you, this might a conversation that leads to be a pivot book that takes you in another direction
Next, I wrote two books on marketing; one was how to market for small businesses and the other a marketing review. These came about because I was a marketing consultant and they made my life easier. I used them for client work, coaching and workshops. At the time they were available as PDF only.
For you, these are books to clarify your processes, for coaching and training and for your personal brand.
Next came a book on Natural Fertility Planning (NFP). A friend was struggling with getting pregnant, and as I tried to support her nutritionally, I learned all about NFP and was fascinated, so much so, I started a fertility business alongside my job. Last year I gave all of this content away to someone struggling to get into this space.
For you, this might also be a pivot book, but consider the life of the content…
It was while I was doing an NLP certificate training course that I could see different ways to expand my personal journaling, writing to heal coaching and the way in which I wrote books. Some of the planning and writing techniques I use today have their roots in NLP. While doing this training, I also enrolled in a year-long ILM Executive Coaching course.
What NLP and executive coaching gave me were additional tools to support my and others personal growth. These courses came at a time in my life when things were not as wonderful as I would have liked. My journaling expanded, I learnt more about me, and I developed my own exercises for journaling, reflection and creative life writing which helped not only me but many others that I worked with.
Both of these courses combined with my love of writing as a healing tool helped me to create another book called Writing to Heal. This book supported my coaching, workshops and out of it I also created an online course (also undergoing a massive review).
For you, this could be a book which supports lifelong work and interests.
While I was coaching people in both life and business, I saw a way that writing a book could facilitate healing. It struck me that people would either write their books as a healing process and/or use them to build a brand and business around this awakening.
As coaching merged into helping write books for personal reasons and into books for brand and business reasons, Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend was born. I like to have my processes documented and easily available. This book also forms the basis for coaching, online courses, workshops and retreats.
For you, this could be a book around which you build your brand and business.
While teaching and coaching I had the good fortune to be asked to work with three other trainers on a program for executive leaders. Sadly the training company, despite the amazing feedback and reviews decided that this wasn’t the direction for them and pulled the course.
The four of us got together to preserve the content and wrote Navigate Executive Leadership. The course was inspired by one of our authors who has been very ill, and we wanted him to have a legacy book.
For you, this could be a book which preserves your knowledge, skills and experiences which you can use to build your brand and business.
Another book, yet to be published has been the hardest to write. It is a book that I never expected to write. Healing Osteoporosis Naturally came about because my spine fractured. The first thing I did after screaming in pain and crying a lot was to journal. I knew that journaling would support my healing journey.
Then I encountered an unfeeling sausage machine medical industry hell-bent on giving me drugs and ignoring me. This fired me up and given that I had a background in nutrition – I’d already trained in naturopathic nutrition – I knew that there was a better way.
I thought about that first book that I had written, it was a process, and I needed somewhere to start. I knew that I had to heal the imbalance that had occurred in my life as well as my body and so I started to write this book as I created a healing process for me. It was if every book I’d ever written was coming together to help me get well.
What I noticed in the many forums I joined searching for answers was hoards of scared people. People overwhelmed by information, who didn’t understand themselves, how this had happened and what to do. With nothing else to do, apart from learning how to walk again and ask for help, I researched, experimented on myself and wrote.
Healing Osteoporosis Naturally has been one of the hardest books to write; it’s currently on hold in the editing stage as I take time out to work on other projects around my core business. This book will be published in 2020 ready for National Osteoporosis awareness month in May.
The great news is that 18 months later my bone density had increased by 2.2% and was almost normal. Phew!
I have written because I feel so passionately about healing through nutrition and writing. This is not a book that I want to build a business around unless you count writing to heal as part of this.
This is a book that has simply called to a deeper part of me, and I know I have to help others with the skills and resilience that I have. Who knew that what started all those years ago would come together in a book that has had such an impact on me?
For you, this could be your passion or cause project, something that calls you outside of what you do for your business. It will be a healing project, and it could be a pivot into a new business.
I have written other books which are not published, and these are what I call my healing project books. They cover leaving a man who was living a double life and how to do that in a planned way. A book on my journey to self-love and currently I am writing a fictional piece which covers betrayal, forgiveness trust and finding love again.
You can see that books come to life for many reasons. Each of these books were relevant at different times in my life, and practically all of them are still useful in some way. Natural fertility planning as you can imagine is no longer useful having passed that window…
I have a few questions…
When I talk about healing, this also covers healing people, organisations and ‘stuff’ that is going on that needs addressing.
The book that you want to write, how do you know it’s the right book for right now?
I’d love to know what you want to write, what inspired you and your hopes and dreams for this book.
Please do connect with me when you are ready to be supported in your writing adventures.
Book in for a book planning session (2 hours) and let’s get your book out of your head and planned.
This week I read a great post from someone who said how dreadful his experience of writing a book was. He wrote his book. He sweated over his book, eventually, he published and then he felt deflated. He thought writing a book would be:-
Sadly, he didn’t enjoy the process and I don’t know why. I know when I first started writing books I was like a possessed banshee and had to get it done as quickly as possible and it took practically every waking hour.
These days I take much longer to write my BIG books. A book I am writing called Healing Osteoporosis Naturally will have taken about 2.5 years by the time I publish. So far, I have improved my bone density by 2.2% and a whisper away from normal and I want normal before I publish.
I threw myself into the process and then when I had a great manuscript I moved onto something else. When I come back to it, I’ll see it with fresh eyes and I’ll enjoy completing it.
What works for me: If I do things in chunks and take time out I see my project with fresh eyes and perspective and that is when it’s more enjoyable.
He also said that it wasn’t fun. Again, I have no idea why it wasn’t fun, but I can guess that he reached what I called the hump stage when quite simply you have had a gutsful of your book.
I recently had this with Blog Your Book In 30 Days. Again, towards the end of the book, I knew I needed to stop and do something else. When I started this book, it was great fun and then one day it wasn’t.
My clients feel the same way and my advice is to do something else so that you give your brain a chance to refresh itself. Makes sense right?
In the space from this book, I also created a journaling book called Colour My Life, it was great fun and I did it in a day. I’m have also completed a monthly life journal book for my journaling business – that was fun too.
The reason books become stressful is that you don’t take breaks from it and put too much pressure on yourself to publish. Now, it doesn’t make sense to delay your book for years, unless you want to prove a health point, for example. All you have to do is write your book in chunks. When you get to a certain stage stop and do something else, like the cover design, lead page or your marketing plan.
What works for me: The bottom line is writing a book will take time and energy and if anyone tells you it doesn’t, they are lying. It pays to be realistic about every project you take on and do it in chunks.
Well… Your book is a product and I think what a lot of people do is that they don’t maximise their products. As a self-published author, a book for me is a blueprint that I use to create other products from, and I sell alongside related services – coaching – online courses – programs and workshops.
It takes a lot of effort to constantly sell a book, but if you are selling a well-rounded portfolio and you use your book to position yourself as an expert that is when it will pay off (over time).
If your book is important to you, then you will create a marketing plan, a product roadmap and take consistent action to promote it.
What works for me: We all have different priorities and a book for me is the blueprint I talk about and becomes part of a product portfolio.
If you create a blueprint, which for me a book outline is, you can use that to create lots of other products. If for example, you started with an online course, when you get your captions done you can also get a transcript and that you can use as the basis of your book. You can do the same with a program if you record your sessions.
You could make the whole thing simpler by creating a workbook rather than a full-on book, that you use when you deliver live training, consultancy and coaching and you can sell alongside your online course and program. Later if you feel inspired then you can turn it into your BIG book.
More and more I am writing simpler books and this latest round of writing journaling books has been refreshing and fun. Will they make me money? Yes. How much is too early to say as I have not started to promote them or my journaling business – it launches soon. However, you’ll be pleased to know that I do have a plan.
And finally. Before you throw your book project out of the window or decide to not even start, ask yourself why do you want to and if you don’t what else could you do with that knowledge?
And if writing a book feels like hell, don’t do it. You can build your brand in other ways. Life is not meant to be hard, is it?
Book yourself in for a pick my brains session and we can thrash your ideas around and come up with a plan of what to do next.