Writing a book Archives 5 - Book Brand Business

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Nonfiction writers: How to find your ideal reader via market segmentation

How do you compete with all of the other nonfiction writers in your genre to make sure your ideal reader, buys and reads your book? It’s possibly a question that you have mulled over, but not thought much about before you start to write your book.

If you carefully define your ideal reader before you start to write, you will have a better book and chances are you will be hanging out with them and demonstrating that you are the right person to be writing this book as you write. Marketing your book starts before you even start to write it.

This weekend I have been staying with my mum. Her TV habits are very different to mine, I’m a NetFlix chica and after that, I have ‘stuff’ on in the background, for the dogs, as I write. I normally like silence to write in, but in the evenings I like to feel like I have company. Ok don’t judge me, I am a slave to the furry ones and if they want TV on…

Mum wanted to watch a film with Melissa McCarthy in. As luck would have it she stumbled across one just starting. Identity Thief was very silly and quite touching, I’ll admit to thoroughly enjoying it and laughing loads – just what the doctor ordered. We were the perfect audience for this film.

As it was a commercial station we had to endure the ad breaks. I was tantalised by adverts for vaginal pessaries, a lube to create awesome orgasms, and an aftershave with a sexy man which mum drooled over. There were others and all with sex as the vibe. I can’t say that I normally notice adverts but these stuck out and got me thinking more about ideal readers and how to define one.

It could have been an anomaly and mum at 80 and I single (for the moment) were not the intended audience for these advertising slots. But someone somewhere sat down with the viewing figures and decided that at this time of the evening women over 55 who needed a little oomph in their lives would be watching a funny movie.

One of the ways that TV advertisers will work out who their perfect audience (your ideal reader), is through data analysis.

Yeah ok, mop that fevered brow finding your ideal reader through data analysis is that that bad – really!!!

A question for you – how well you know the ideal reader for your book. People buy books because of some sort of outcome, solution or result that it gives them. Go grab a journal and write what comes up for you. Then ask, is that really your ideal reader?

Who is your ideal reader?

How well do you know the wants and needs of your ideal reader? When you write you are looking to connect to one reader. A single reader. Why?

  • Much easier to write because we are speaking to that person
  • It will make a better book, one which creates a connection
  • It is more likely to be read and enjoyed. If we write for one reader he/she will implement what we are teaching, will hear or enjoy what we have to say.
  • When you adjust your voice to your reader, it becomes just as if you were talking face to face
  • It is more likely to sell. There is a place for a book as a personal journey for ourselves, but the reality is that most of us want our books to sell and to be read

It may not seem like a ‘nice’ idea to see your reader as a self-centred creature only out for what they can get, but the reality is that our reader wants to know WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Unless it is a present for someone else, they are not going to buy your book on “better health for menopausal women if they are a young twenty-something. Menopause is far away and is what their granny has.

Although I have to say I wish I had never laughed at my mum as she hot flushed her way through ‘those’ year.

It is easier to write and sell books when you know who they are for.

For clarity, a target market is made up of buyers and readers:-

  • Buyers – people we attract to buy (these will be the reader and anyone who buys for others)
  • Readers – these are the ones we want to connect to and communicate with emotionally
  • Readers and buyers = your audience

Knowing who your buyers and readers are, where they hang out and why you are writing for them, will also help you clarify what to write about

What does the data say about your ideal reader?

You may have heard the term market segmentation?

The objective of segmentation is to identify unique markets with similar attributes and then find segments that are profitable. Common market segment dimensions: –

Demographic and Geographic location – These affect the size of the market and reader’s needs, desires, and usage

  • Demographic – E.g. age, sex, income, education, the size of household, home ownership, etc.
  • Geographic – Where they are located, both physical and virtual

Behavioural needs, attitudes, and buying patterns – These affect the product and promotion variables

  • Behavioural – The processes your reader uses to select, buy, use, and dispose of your books. Or how they think, feel, reason, and choose between different books and authors

Psychological – Urgency of needs satisfaction. These affect the place and price variables

  • Psychological – This gives us insight into who is most likely motivated to buy. We are looking for psychological attitudes such as aspirations, interests, attitudes, opinions, lifestyle, etc. These factors enable us to identify similar groups of people. E.g., businessmen and women aged 35 – 55. After which we will look at defining which groups of people to target. E.g. Female entrepreneurs 45+

Take each of these areas and start to try and identify who your ideal reader might be.

Invest in identifying your ideal reader

How committed are you to act on the information that you uncover? Will you amend your outline, chapter content, the outcome for your book or even the title of the book? What about the marketing messages? If you are not prepared to undertake this work and there is no plan to take advantage of this research, then don’t look at segmentation.

However, if you do undertake market segmentation, you will have a much better book.

When I started writing Healing Osteoporosis Naturally it was a healing book for me. I needed to write to heal, but when I decided to segment the market properly the nature of the book changed. It has (in my mind) a clearly defined place on the osteoporosis bookshelf.

My book is for the postmenopausal women, who have been newly diagnosed, is in fear and needs a map to heal herself and good resources.

Create your action plan for your ideal reader

Once you have defined who your ideal reader is by undertaking a market segmentation review, create a plan for writing and marketing. Test your theories by blogging your book. You will get valuable feedback on your content and you will be able to review your book plan before you start to write or at least early on.

What is driving your decision?

This is an interesting question. Are you trying to make your content fit an ideal profile reader for a particular reason? Sometimes it becomes rather overwhelming to have to think about things like segmentation when all you want to do is write and help others.

Step back from your emotional connection to the content, undertake your segmentation, reflect on it. It does not have to be perfect, just perfect for now. You will probably find as you write that it will become clearer.

Recalibrate your ideal reader often

Things change. Markets change. People’s desires and wants – yes they change too. As you write and undertake further research you will find yourself going off on tangents. Check to make sure they are relevant and if so refine your ideal profile reader.

You will find that when you hang out where your ideal readers are they will ask questions that you may never have considered. If lots of people are asking the same question it’s got to be worth a review – right?

What to do next?

Grab a big sheet of paper and some coloured pens and draw your ideal reader with the four segments that we have discussed. Leave a space and write questions my ideal reader asks. Keep mind mapping and musing.

Things to try

  • Try segmenting around problems and questions
  • Shrink the market and then expand it – which offers you the greatest benefits?
  • Do a not perfect ideal reader profile – what does that tell you?

If writing a book to build your brand and business is

  1. A burning desire and you know you need support, then please message me – a chat costs nothing, and we can check out if we are a good working fit
  2. Definitely on the table, and you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for BIG Book Program
  3. You can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on Amazon

What is your legacy? Should you write a book?

A few days ago I started a new journal for a new month. I like to start 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.

For some reason, my first entry was about legacy. I was 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 last will”

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 but I may well have burned long before they are possibly read. Perhaps they will be simply consigned to the rubbish when I am gone. I’m sure that they will.

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 58th 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 is your living legacy?

What do you do each day that leaves a trail? What is your mission? What is your life’s commission?

Should you write a book?

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 and how you do it is.

What is your legacy and should you write a book?

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.

If writing a book to build your brand and business is

  1. Something you think you want to do, and then consider this 7-day plan your book challenge.
  2. A burning desire and you know you need support, then please message me – a chat costs nothing, and we can check out if we are a good working fit
  3. Definitely on the table, and you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for write a book, create a business you love
  4. You can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on Amazon
https://www.etymonline.com/word/legacy

Journaling, making memories and writing memoir

Journaling has saved my life many times as I poured my heart and soul onto blank pages and shared a whole range of stories, memories and emotions. These have become memoir. More specifically healing memoir.

I haven’t always published because just the act of writing a book can heal the trauma that surfaces through journaling. These healing memoirs are just as powerful as the memoirs that you write for actual publication where you seek to inspire and impact others.

Make no mistake whichever kindof memoir you write, it will change your life forever.

Memories can be healing, revealing, scary, upsetting, fun and a whole lot of emotions in-between. Every experience creates a memory in the library of your heart and soul. When you come to write a memoir and walk into that vast room, you may not know where or how to start – but you know you just have to start.

Personally, I think that when you start the journey into memoir the most important thing is that you allow.

What I mean by that is you allow yourself to wander through the library and enjoy the process of connecting your memories with new eyes. Also allowing whatever needs to arise in the moment.

Often I am confronted with something that triggers a memory, it seems at first disconnected to the memoir, personal story, book or blog that I am writing. And then just like that, it starts to make sense.

In that sense making process, I believe that we can create a sense of freedom.

Everything starts from within. Our beliefs about ‘things’ seem so deeply ingrained, yet when we explore with new eyes and open our hearts to the message that lies beneath we start to liberate ourselves from self-imposed tyranny.

Now I am not saying you will be jumping for joy when you are reminded of events. You may be happy and equally, you may cry. The important thing is that you allow, acknowledge, accept and then take some small action.

Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago I went to a birthday meal celebration and after we headed back to the birthday house for music and chat.

They had an Alexa and while you may think it odd that I was rather fascinated with it, I loved that I could change the music at the drop of a hat and indulge myself.

While everyone was in the garden chatting I asked Alexa to find Nirvana for me. Songs like this take me back to another time when I would have been on the dance floor all night.

In January my spine fracture and stuff like dancing hurts and so to protect myself I don’t. But then a very curious thing happened.

I let myself relax into the words and let the music flow through me. Music and parties were a big part of my childhood. My parents, like many of their generation had regular house parties. They made a huge table of food, there was lots of noisy adults, masses of booze and music.

As the music played and I danced alone, many memories came back to me. I wasn’t at this party, I was back as a child twisting and laughing to John, I’m only dancing. In another memory, I was driving away from a company having just been made redundant – that was Nirvana and very loud. In yet another, I was at a Bowie concert lying on the floor staring at the sun. I was everywhere.

A friend of mine used to be called the phantom DJ because she would constantly change CD’s and stop songs part way through as her excitement for what was to come grew. It was confusing, but funny. I was teetering on the edge of taking her title when the hostess told me enough and to just let Alexa play.

One last song I begged and then I’m going to bed. ‘Alexa play Jolene.’ We all sang and danced to one last track. What a wonderful song to finish a lovely evening.

I haven’t been able to dance all year. This I thought is a memory that will go into my memoir – Healing Osteoporosis Naturally. It’s personal story with how to – a version of memoir. This party and dancing is part of my healing story. I was able to dance and I have come so far.

It’s been a crazy book to write.

The story has been an emotional roller coaster, as I wrote in my journal I changed. Every pen stroke was a piece for healing, something for reflection, an action, and part of the story that I would tell.

It’s been a hard book because of all of the technical research that I have had to do. Although I have trained in nutrition, it was like going to medical school and nutrition school all rolled into one. I must have read over 30 books and countless articles to understand how all of the systems of the body can become unbalanced and impact the bones.

My brain exploded as I made connections and made sense. And then it didn’t and then it did…

I wrote it as I worked out what my root cause was and experimented with nutrition. My life was all about osteoporosis and finding balance in this crazy world.

I was scared. I was certainly pig headed. No specialist doctor was going to shove poison in my body and ignore my questions. Who did they think they were anyway? 

Crying and endless senseless fear invaded the nights when I couldn’t sleep.

But I knew that I had to keep writing. I journaled through the terror and the research. At night when I wanted to get off this planet and for the pain to go away I journaled, reflected and made sense.

I found my root cause and a brilliant doctor, whom I amused with the books and research that I took in. He helped me with tests and bouncing ideas around and his faith in my ability to know how to heal me restored my faith in some of the medical profession.

If I hadn’t started a brand new journal just for this journey, I couldn’t have healed as quickly and I have been able to refer to it to help me stay true to my memories and write my book.

Take your time to write your memoir

Books like this (memoir and personal story) are not quick writes. You need to take time out and I have done just that. While I was immersed in my healing I wrote, researched and reflected. I also set up a website and a support group so that I could help others – that felt good and kept me grounded. My launch and marketing plan have been outlined. I am almost ready to unleash this book and now I am in the right frame of mind.

I’ve left this book for three months so far and will come back to edit ready for the launch soon. The time away has been equally healing. I wanted some time to be me, enjoy life and not be a nutrition, physiology and osteoporosis ‘expert’ (as much as a lay person can be). 

When I come back to this memoir, I am reminded that when I edit I must look beneath the stories and memories that make this memoir and to let whatever arises. There will be another call from my soul to release more.

You may think you are just writing a memoir, but in effect as you work on your book you are creating a pathway to inner freedom.

For you to ponder…

What is the core message of your memoir?

We always come back to the core message. A memoir is not just a story, there is a learning point or points in every chapter, which comes back to the core message.

In Healing Osteoporosis Naturally, I’m supporting people with a process to find their root cause and how to use natural healing to find balance in their lives, heal their bones and their hearts. They are then invited to designed a unique healing plan. Not dissimilar to planning and writing a book…

I’ve used techniques from my coaching in this healing memoir. For example I use a timeline exercise to help writers find the stories and content for their book. When we look at business the timeline enables you to find knowledge, skills and experiences and what you really love and are good at. In a memoir we discover memories. In journaling it’s about memories and making sense – finding the root cause of trauma.

In healing yourself and knowing how you got to this point is a big part of healing – so timelines is an invaluable process, which links to the core message of the book.

I’ve written this book because it helped me to heal and it taught me some valuable lessons for use in my book and business coaching.

However, the bigger message for me is to inspire you to have the courage to write your book, so that you can inspire others to heal and grow.

Do you have a powerful memoir or personal story to write and wondering where to start and if you could turn this into a business? Maybe you want to pivot what you do or add credibility to your existing business. Perhaps you just need to write it.

Start a new journal today, who knows where you will go with it. I’ve been scribbling in mine this morning with a cuppa and feel better for letting my words flow.

If writing a book to build your brand and business is

  1. Something you think you want to do, and then consider this 7-day plan your book challengeYou will know at the end if writing a book is really for you.
  2. A burning desire and you know you need support, then please message me – a chat costs nothing, and we can check out if we are a good working fit
  3. Definitely on the table, and you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for write a book, create a business you loveOver 12 months we will write a book, blog, build your brand and create a business that you love.
  4. Something you are curious about, you can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on AmazonYour lowest cost entry into planning and writing the right book.

PS: Start a new journal today. You will see you life change in many ways, just from daily writing.

What kind of book should I write and why?

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

You are pondering ‘what kind of book should I write and more importantly – why?’ When someone says ‘write a book.’

People say that a lot don’t they? You have so much knowledge, so many skills and what about all of your amazing experiences – they say.

You, delighted that someone might think you worthy of such a role inwardly beam. But in reality, you freak. It can seem like a mammoth task unless there is a more than ‘it’s a nice idea’ to write. Planning and writing a book takes time and resources and so it needs to be justified in some way. You need to know your why. And you want to know how you can use a book to be more than ‘just’ a book.

Exploring why is a good place to start, but something often overlooked is what kind of book one should contemplate writing. It’s worth noting that you can write many kinds of books, you do not ever need to stick to one style or genre (no you don’t!!!).

I believe that there are books that want to be written for different stages of your life.

Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

The how-to manual

The how-to manual book is the kind of book that you would write if let’s say you taught or coached a technical subject, sold software or a product – like a camera. In the early days of my training career in IT I wrote many a how-to book, we called them training manuals. They are extremely valuable. Naturally many people head over to YouTube to find out how to do something which gives you an opportunity to extend the reach of your book.

Think about some of the books you own in this genre. I have one on how to use my camera and some on painting and drawing. In these, there are no stories or case studies they simply show you have to do a particular task.

Take a look at some that you might own and ask is this something you would like to do and is this something that would prove useful to your clients? If you are a trainer, for example, giving a client a how-to book (manual) as part of a training course looks far more professional than a manual in a folder. In addition, because of print on demand either from a printer or Amazon, you can easily keep these up to date. Plus you have opportunities to sell extra workbooks and planners.

A recipe book

I don’t know about you, but I love recipe books, especially those that have stories to go with the recipes. Someone told me that they had read that recipe books sell well but are rarely used. That’s not true in my house as I love to experiment and find inspiration in another’s idea of the perfect dish.

One of the problems with recipe books is that they sometimes are missing parts of the process or the weights are not correct, or horror of horrors the writers fail to tell the readers that their oven or loving hand may produce different results.

While holidaying with my parents, I received a frantic call from a now ex. He’d rung to say his cake had sunk. While I knew that there could have been many reasons why, being so far and not being able to witness how this catastrophe had occurred I was at a loss.

When I arrived home, I invited him to show me the process in action. His job was to prepare the ingredients and then read to me each step as he did it. We got to the eggs; I said for him to wait, he impatient and knowing better, cracked the eggs and shoved them into the waiting ingredients. The recipe had omitted a vital part (whisk the eggs and add them slowly), and his cake mixture was now curdled. Luckily I knew how to ‘uncurdle’ a cake and the day was saved.

This kind of book would suit you if you love to cook, have a story or two, want to either be known for this, are doing it preserve yours or families recipes and you want a fun project.

You may also want to be able to support people who a) might cock it up or b) want to swap ingredients for health reasons and c) are meticulous to detail.

Self-help non-fiction book

In this category it can be any kind of self-help book, be that one on personal branding, how to write a book, healing trauma, training dogs, renovating furniture and a multitude of other subjects. I’ve clubbed them together, whereas on Amazon they would be classified by genre, e.g. business or mind, body, spirit.

The essence is the same that they support the reader on a journey. They differ from a manual which is more about giving instructions.

This is where I believe that you would want to ensure that your book, brand and business are aligned, and you pay attention to what this book will bring you. It has to be the right book for right now. If it takes the average writer a year to ‘knock out’ a book while running a business and juggling life, then this book needs to be focused on what you want to be known for.

For example, with three other coaching colleagues, we wrote a book on Executive Leadership, at the time it was relevant for all of us. Then my life changed, and although I am extremely proud of it, it’s not currently as relevant for me as it is the other authors.

By comparison, I have a book on how to plan and write a non-fiction book and this many years later is still very relevant for me. I have run writing retreats, workshops, have a coaching program and online courses based on it.

What do you love doing, what are you good at, what does the world need and what can you be paid for? What do you want to be known for which is sustainable in let’s say two years time?

What is your right book for right now?

Memoir

A memoir is a slice of your life. Memoirs are written for many reasons, most notably to leave a legacy. Every person has a story or two to tell, but whether they want to tell is another story. It requires is a theme (the slice) and a purpose. If you are writing about another member of the family or another person, then that is a biography.

Again memoirs fall into many categories, trauma, finding yourself, adventure or maybe a dedication to a cause.

These kind of books tend to be written by people who use them to support their speaking careers or to raise awareness of an important issue, but equally to contribute to their business in some other way.

Imagine if you have been on an incredible adventure and what you coach or teach is the skills you used to prepare and get you through that adventure. That would be worth writing about – right?

Biography

A biography is a story about someone else or something else. Perhaps you are a fan of a particular band, a family member was held in a prisoner of war camp, someone made a heroic journey, a person you want to write about suffered adversity, cured an illness, or went on a remarkable adventure.

I see these books about preserving the history surrounding the event and possibly not something that would support your business, but would none the less be extremely rewarding.

Personal story

I’ve separated this from memoir, as I see this as a combination of self-help book and memoir that you would use for your brand and business.

Your book would chart a period of your life (a period of awakening, transition and change), tell a story, offer research, practical experience and advice.

Most importantly it would inspire others personal growth and to know that there is a way.

This could be a cause-related book where you write it to support others and to raise awareness, but which you may not want to build a business around. Alternatively, this book might be a business book, and it could be your business pivot book – it gets you out of what you are doing now and into what speaks to your heart.

If you have experienced something which is life-changing and now want to coach and consult in this area, a book that is written like this is a) very rewarding to write and b) adds credibility to your brand, c) is something you can build products and services around and d) will inspire others to change.

Healing non-fiction

This is a book, which may never see the light of day. Imagine if you have been through a crisis of some kind and you want to move on. While there are many therapies that you could choose, writing is known to support healing. You could argue that journaling would serve the same purpose, and it might. However, with this book, you are following the flow of planning and writing a ‘normal’ non-fiction book, but instead of writing to publish, you are writing to heal.

Typically you would work with a coach who would guide you through the process, each week you would meet to discuss the chapter, and you would pour yourself into your book.

The very act of talking and writing with purpose enables you to explore your story, gain perspective and heal.

I have worked with many people in this way. The book never gets published, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences in the field of writing to heal I know.

Healing fiction

Like the healing non-fiction, this is what I call creative life writing. You would take an aspect of your life and write it from a purely fictional perspective, being very careful to protect the innocent and litigious.

Practically all fiction will contain some of the author’s life experiences or experiences that they have heard of or witnessed. This style of book will allow you to go on your journey while you have the pleasure of fictionalising and being creative in your expression of the tale. You could use some of the planning tools available for non-fiction books and then let the rest flow.

Using an event like NaNoWriMo, which is an annual write-a-thon is a perfect way to get 50,000 words out, and your mind cleared in a more artistic way. Imagine if you took some aspect of your life and wrote it in what I call a wicked way, where you get to be the master or mistress of your over-fertile imagination, anything could happen. In this way, you will see life from a new perspective.

I’m currently doing this and while I had a plan, what is flowing out of me is about betrayal, forgiveness, trust and finding love again. Who knew I needed to learn this…?

Fiction

Unlike healing fiction, the purpose of this is to entertain. Your purpose is very much that you want to write stories around a theme or for a particular genre, think 50 Shades, Harry Potter, Confessions of (now that is showing my age), The Tudors, murder mystery, thriller, psychological, children, teens, romantic comedy or historical. The list is endless.

You might do this because you want to build a career as a fiction writer, you love to write, or it’s your retirement dream.

Whichever you choose, remember it will only get written if it speaks to your heart. Where writing is concerned nothing gets done if it feels like you have been airlifted into purgatory. Check out the first 10 steps to your book – you may feel inspired.

Have a think and let me know what you are thinking of writing and why. Drop me a line and let’s chat about your book project.

Schedule Appointment

PS: If you are thinking of writing a book then here’s a run through of my online course Plan your non-fiction book

You can get it as part of the Navigate Bundle which depending on when you click this link you will get for £27 or £99 – bargain!

Productivity tips for the determined writer

Is productivity something you crave for? For me, productivity is about the feeling I get when I am in flow and the stuff on my to-do list is done. Because when it is done, I can reward myself with something that feeds my soul. Naturally, with three dogs that something is often a rejuvenating walk to clear my head, which also increases productivity and is indeed one of my tips.

For writers, bloggers and authors, some of the biggest fears or challenges that comes up is around productivity, or at least I hear are:-

  • Either the book project seems overwhelming, and you keep putting it off – “someday I’ll write a book”…
  • Or you start with enthusiasm, and then it just grows and grows, and because there is no real plan or support it stalls part way through (this is VERY common)
  • Or you “can’t find the time” which is often a symptom of feeling overwhelmed by how much writing there is to do.

Here are some of my top tips for overcoming that feeling of overwhelm. Let’s get your book written – and in a way that doesn’t take over your life and makes the process fast and enjoyable.

A few productivity questions

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting things done?

  • What is one thing you could do differently today to become more productive?
  • Describe your current to-do system and how effective is it?
  • What tasks do you outsource and what would you love to outsource?
  • What do you do and how do you feel when you don’t complete all of your to-do’s?
  • What areas of your life that hinder your productivity need more attention (sleep, health etc.)?

Kill perfectionism

“Have no fear of perfection. You will never reach it.” Salvadore Dali

Firstly it’s ok to not reach others ideas of perfect. What is perfect anyway? Think of this, when you create a perfect piece of writing and go off to reflect, what happens? If you are anything like me, you will have discovered more things to add or a different way to say something.

Better done – perfect at the time – than striving for perfect forever (there is no such thing).

Strive to do the best you can know that in the moment that it is perfect and you can come back and smarten up later. At some point, you have to accept done and move on. If not you may procrastinate.

Turn procrastination into productivity

Perfectionism creates procrastination. At least it is one of the things that does create procrastination. Here is a simple productivity tip that works for me – the procrastination list. I make a list of all of my excuses and then reframe them. Then I write one action I can take to move them off the I can’t do list. Try it.

Making time to write – Set boundaries

I hear this a lot – I have no time to write… If you want to create a book, you need to create time to write. It starts with putting boundaries around your writing time so here’s a process you can work through.

  1. Get rid of something. Maybe look at what else you are doing – social media, television? Can you find an hour a day? Can you take a week off work or from the family where you can go away and write?
  2. Decide and commit to your writing process. Create a commitment statement and set an end date on the book – your publication and launch. Something to work towards.
  3. Set very clear boundaries, e.g., 8-10 every day and 8-2 on Saturdays. 6.00 to 6.30am every weekday.
  4. Put these in your diary! Use software like wunderlist, or recurring appointments in your calendar.
  5. Stopping is just as important as starting. So when you reach the end of your writing time – STOP. If you find you can commit more time then re-word your commitment. It’s better to achieve what you set out to achieve and feel great about it than over-commit and feel bad.

Set people boundaries to increase your productivity

As much as you love the people in your life, they may not support your writing and may for whatever reason, hinder your productivity.

You may think I am joking, but let me share a little tale. I once had a partner who would go out of his way to disturb me. Tired of his constant interruptions, I would take him my I am writing note, show it to him and explain the door would be closed, the note up and I would come out when I had finished the task at hand. He would deliberately ignore this. In the end, I put a lock on the door. I also went and worked elsewhere if he was home.

Not everyone will be as determined as him, most of the people in your life will understand your request and a simple system likethe note on the door will work.

Once you have completed what you needed to do, you can spend time with your important people. The most important thing is that you do not lock yourself away and get annoyed, explain, create a system and encourage them to be a part of the after party.

Get rid of distractions

This is sooooooo critical! Get rid of all of your distractions.

  1. Turn off your internet, turn off your phone and anything else that vies for your attention
  2. Createa distraction-free environment. Have a place that is just for you and your writing and really own it (see below)
  3. Tell people around you that it is your writing or quiet time and you don’t want to be disturbed unless the house is burning down – put your poster up (see above)
  4. Start with a clear head before a lot of “reactive” junk has got in there. That’s why I like to write in the mornings before doing anything else. Not always a fit but try it
  5. Write after a morning walk or meditation, again so that you have a clear head

Time yourself for greater productivity

This may sound very rigid, and most creative people will find some resistance to doing this, but I really urge you to give it a try. I find it freeing. It means I am not checking my watch or the clock on the computer, and I have the security of knowing that I will be reminded automatically when the time is up. Plus when you know that you can write let’s say 1000 words in 50 minutes, you will know how long it will take you to get to your first draft.

  1. Pick a time – set your alarm – write for a 50-minute block
  2. Because you have a clear structure (your outline and chapter framework), it’s easier to do this. You don’t have to write in the order of your chapters, go with what inspires you that day
  3. Pick a section of your book – not a whole chapter, but a small section that you know you want to write and it feels good to put pen to paper
  4. Write until you have it down, or as much as you can in the 50-minute block
  5. Don’t edit, don’t stop, don’t “research”. Just write and keep writing until you get to the end of your time block
  6. Takea break, change state (i.e. get up and do something else) and repeat

Create your right environment

Some people can block out their environment, and some people are very affected by what is around them. Either way creating the right environment will help you write more and will set you up in the right frame of mind. I like to write in silence in bed. If I am in the office, I will often wear headphones and listen to Focus@Will.

  1. Make it free of distractions
  2. Choose somewhere that is calming and right for you – in bed, in a cafe, at your desk…
  3. Music or no music? Music to get you into a frame of mind – calming or rocking?
  4. Smells – oils, herbs, flowers…
  5. What are your visual stimuli? A view, light, airy, natural light, flowers, pictures, vision board, your cover, your reader, your book title…
  6. Declutter your desk and space
  7. What is YOUR right environment and what can you do to create that today? (no excuses)

When I am in bed, I am usually joined by my three dogs, who certainly know when they think it’s time for me to get up, but before that, it is quite soothing having them sleeping around me as I write.

Compiling or creating?

Different activity / task if you are compiling or creating. When you’re writing from scratch I suggest you DON’T edit, you just pick a piece and write. But when you are compiling, e.g., from training materials, or a blog then it’s a different process, and you will want to be critical as you go through.

  • Work from your knowledge audit and make the decision (or follow your intuition) about what you will work on that day
  • Mentally prepare yourself for writing in a particular way
  • Use the same process if you are editing – chunk your work and edit in blocks
  • Creativity is personal, BUT the reality is that you just need to get it down and then let it flow

The knowledge audit is a document in chapter order that tells you if you need to write from scratch or what you already have that you can repurpose. We also use it to create a research list for each chapter.

How long is my book?

A very common question! How long does my book have to be? How many pages? How many words? There is no good answer other than “as long as it needs to be”.

Typically a non-fiction book for kindle might be between 10,000 and 20,000 words. For print around 30,000 to 50,000. You have already looked at your timings in your action plan log (if you have one) and will have a good idea of how many words and how long it will take you to write. Now we want to focus on getting them written.

Let’s break this down into words and hours.

How much can you write in an hour – 500? 1,000? TIME YOURSELF! 

So, 500 words per hour, 20,000 words = 40 hours.

If you are writing five hours per week, this is eight weeks. You might need to speed up or allocate more time.

Now imagine if you are writing three hours a day…

Go back to your action plan log (if you have one) and put some concrete dates in. Decide on your weekly “word target.”

By working out how much you can write, knowing how much and what your deadline is you will become more productive.

Outsource

If you really cannot do a particular task and hate it with a vengeance, outsource if you can. Ways to outsource your writing are:-

  • Record your book with Dragon Naturally Speaking (ok you are talking your book)
  • Work with a ghostwriter
  • Transcribe it from other recorded content

Perhaps there are other tasks that get in the way of your writing, make a list and find someone else to do them.

Model other productive people

Modelling is a way of adopting other peoples ‘ways of getting things done’. Make a list with three columns one with people who succeed do this, one with people who fail do this and one with what I will do differently.

Understand how you like to do things

The biggest productivity tip is to understand you and to accept that what got you here may not get you there or maybe it will.

We often forget just how great we are at getting things done and how we have completed tasks in the past. When our lives become cluttered, we tend to compromise. Go back and look at other things you have completed, what were the success ingredients? How can you model you in that state again?

Also when you understand you, you will see common things that you do to avoid jobs you don’t like, perhaps these need to go onto your outsource list?

For example, if you love lists and steps, you may be more of a logical thinker, and if you love brainstorming and creating by the seat of your pants, you may be more creative.

You can combine both of these…

  • Create a plan in whatever way works for you – creatively or logicall
  • Pick a chunk to write and write it your way

Knowing your preferences is a big part of becoming a more productive writer.

Don’t fight the process, everything, even chaotic creativity is a process. Celebrate and make it work for you. Flex your style, stop resisting and go with your flow.

That’s it for today; I will be back with more tips another day. Until then happy writing.

If writing a book is

  1. Something you think you want to do, and then consider this 7-day plan your book challenge.
  2. A burning desire and you know you need support, then please message me – a chat costs nothing, and we can check out if we are a good working fit
  3. Definitely on the table, and you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for write a book, create a business you love
  4. You can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on Amazon

The ten first steps to writing a book

What is it I wonder that first calls us to this activity called writing a book and then stops us from taking the next step? Many, many people I know have written books, but huge numbers have not stepped into the pleasure of bringing their knowledge, skills and experiences alive in this way.

I can certainly understand why. I recently committed to NaNoWriMo, (Google and sign up for next November – go on…) which is an annual write-a-thon for budding novelists. It’s something I keep putting off because simply there is some fear around writing a book which is not non-fiction. It’s an unknown and a stretch out of my comfort zone.

Non-fiction isn’t easy either. I have a book due for release early in 2019 called Healing Osteoporosis Naturally. It has been the hardest book to write yet. Even harder than doing my MBA dissertation, which at times it has felt like.

The amount of research has been phenomenal, but more so because I have lived my healing journey as I wrote it. This is something most people (not me) do not tell you about when you write. You go through a lot of the experiences again because writing has a habit of triggering memories that need to be explored and addressed.

Having said that writing a book can be and is incredibly healing and cathartic. Please have your journal handy for these moments.

The process of writing this book also helped me to find my root cause, to be able to guide my doctor towards appropriate tests and to then craft a nutrition, supplement, and exercise plan for natural healing. It has been a tough journey, but given what I now know, I for one would not have it any other way.

There are other reasons that writing a book is not easy and they include lack confidence in your message, it’s not the right book, you feel that you are not a writer, and you have not aligned your book, brand and business. However, if writing a book is something you HAVE to do, you will always find a way – wont you?

Let’s explore some steps that I recommend my clients consider when that yearning to write a book calls.

Step one: What is your goal or intention for writing a book?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It might be for healing, fun, a legacy for your family or for your business.

Sometimes books will never be published, people will write them to get ‘stuff’ out of their system. I have worked with many people in this way and it works as a healing process. If this is you then this is a worthy goal, being published is not always the end game.

Writing for fun is a delicious goal as it takes you out of every day life and lets you explore other aspects of you and the world.

The goal should never be to be filthy rich, sailing the Med on a yacht from your royalities, although this might be part of a bigger goal that you have. You would need to be a prolific writer and exceptional marketer to sell enough books. Or perhaps like me you dream that your first novel becomes a film…

A goal or intention like building your credibility or to refine your processes and to inspire others may be more effective.

These all lead to raising awareness and more of the right clients Or maybe to use this in your coaching/teaching/speaking practice as giving your clients a book rather than a workbook does look more impressive.

If this is your first book, perhaps you could keep it short and use it to work out how you write and use this process to work out how you would run writing a book project for the future.

Step two: Who is your ideal reader?

When you know whom you are writing a book for, writing becomes easier. You are answering questions that your reader is asking. You are taking them through a process to reach an outcome. However, more importantly you are connecting emotionally to this reader.

I always have a picture of my ideal reader so that I can keep reminding myself who is the one person I am writing this book for.

Step three: What is the subject area?

Ok, so you know why you want to write a book, now you have to decide which of your many expert subject areas you want to write about. This is where you focus and make conscious decisions. The right book for right now needs to be birthed.

Consider this, if writing a book is going to take you a year; what do you want to be known for in a year?

Which book about what will give you what you want? Which books is in the vision that you created for yourself?

You may have lots of ideas, brainstorm each and reflect on how each feels. Again perhaps a shorter, but a deeper book? After exploring, feeling, envisioning and reflecting you will be able to choose THE book.

Step four: Give it a working title and write a blurb

Do this for no other reason than it says I’m writing a book about x. This first title and blurb (the bit on the back of the book) will change, of course it will. This is your stake in the ground and it will bring it to life.

Perhaps create a mock cover and wrap it around an old book. Place it where you can see it and get used to seeing your book as a finished published article.

Step Five: Create an outline

There are many ways to do this, a list or a mind map are the most popular. In my course Plan Your Non-Fiction book I have a process that gets this out of your head in detail. For now, the easiest thing to do is choose one of your ideas (the right one of course) and start brainstorming.

Start with the outcome you want for your ideal reader and consider the process or journey that they will be going through.

After you have the broad outline of the journey, you can add in subheadings. Remember to take notes while you are doing this. You can come back and flesh this out at any time.

Step six: The chapter synopsis

The synopsis is a short form explanation of what this chapter is about. If you are looking for a publisher, they will expect a synopsis, so have a go at writing one now. It is also a clarifying step.

Step seven: How will you write it?

I write in WORD. I’ve tried Scrivener but this only works for fiction for some reason. Having said that I am tempted to try again as it is many years since I used it for non-fiction. What is important is you use a product that works with you. WORD is a favourite, as I love the ease of the style sheets and navigation pane. Having said that I do not like WORD on my Mac and so I always do the final editing and layout on my Windows version.

This question is not just about technology, because you may like to write long hand first. You may like to write in a linear fashion, or you might like to chop and change chapters.

You must also consider where you like to write. I like silence, writing a book in a busy and noisy coffee shop will never work for me.

Step Eight: Set up a writing schedule and daily word count goals

I get up and write first thing and then it is done (I’m writing this in bed with a cuppa). As soon as I put my fingers on the keyboard I feel inspired, you may not. Knowing how you like to get things done is important here. Can you get up one hour earlier for five days a week? Or could you do that for three and one on the weekend?

The other thing that works for me is to commit to at least 1000 words a day.

This means that I can get a short 30k book written to the first draft in a month. One of the ways I do this is to blog for 30 days.

Remember to celebrate your word count success and have a reward waiting for you when you write THE END.

Step nine: Write do not edit

This is one of the hardest things for me to obey. I’ll write say three chapters, and then I’ll reflect and edit, and the do the next three or four. I like fresh new and exciting, and I like to reflect. When working with my clients, I work out what their writing style is, and we find a way that keeps them motivated so that the book gets written, despite my advice to write and don’t edit.

When you have a first draft, you must take time out, because then the BIG edit starts. This is where the magic happens.

I rather like this stage because I like to sort messes out and make sense of things. I can’t promise to not feel frustrated but there’s something satisfying about bringing it all together. Remember we are often our own worst critic. I bet when you have a first draft, and you review it, you will be amazed at your writing.

Step ten: The Big edit

Have an editing plan and follow it. There are lots of different ways to edit your book, which will support you in getting a great final draft. But this is never the final draft because you will have word blindness and you must hand it over to someone else to review, and you absolutely must have a proofreader.

When I was doing the dissertation for the ILM Executive Coaching course, I sent my draft off to the tutor who said you haven’t answered part two. Confused I almost argued back. What I had done was write a short synopsis, which flowed, and made perfect sense to me, but was just that a short synopsis. I had reading blindness. Thank goodness it was just a feedback session – phew!

When I do developmental work for clients, they will come to me with a book in a mess, and my job is to deconstruct the book and put it back together in a way that makes sense. Seeing a mess come together for both of us is satisfying and motivating.

Other steps

There are many more steps to getting this book ready to be published, and for that to go smoothly(ish), you should have started with a plan. I’ve left this to last because so many people’s books fail because they do not plan, please don’t be one of them.

The plan will keep you on track with much more than we have discussed here.

Another vital step for me is the humble journal and pen. A journal is a deeply reflective tool which will help you to get ‘stuff’ out of your head and a place to record your journey.

An invitation or several invitations

Start here with the my book exercise

If writing a book is

1.   Something you think you want to do, and then consider this 7-day plan your book challenge.

2.   A burning desire and you know you need support, then please message me – a chat costs nothing and we can check out if we are a good working fit

3.   Definitely on the table, and you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for write a book, create a business you love

Thank you in advance for bringing your wisdom to the world

Whatever you decide to do, in whatever way, I believe that we are keepers of incredible wisdom and all of us can touch others lives in profound ways with our message. Do one thing today and share your wisdom with someone else. You never know where they take that and what that might create in the world. 

Thank you if you got the end and have commented. I’d love to have your feedback.

Should I write my personal story?

There are so many ways to tell a personal story (non-fiction). A word, picture, song, dance, poem, conversation, a look on your face, book (fiction, memoir and non-fiction), video, art, tapestry, social media, presentation, recipe and the list goes on.

It starts with your experiences and without them how can you begin to share?

Experiences shape us. Every experience resides in our cells. Some stay suppressed, although we may think that we have worked them out, our bodies know differently, and we may end up with some kind of dis-ease. These dis-eases become stories for us to work with, in some way.

You may not become unwell, it may be that you are surrounded by events that affect you, family or friend and your involvement changes the course of your life. Others go on wild adventures, just because they can.

At some point, there is a call to write your personal story. I know when my spine fractured that this was a journey that I wanted to share. It took a month of journaling to get clear on why I would want to share this personal story.

It certainly had nothing to do with how to write a book. But I had a calling to help other people going through what I was – even though I didn’t know what the conclusion would be. I knew that I wanted to heal naturally and that I would find a way.

I look at stories from a perspective that says some are there for inspiration, some are for us to heal, expand and transform from, and others for content for something else, such as books where we can impact and inspire others.

It can be extremely confusing to know which is the story and where to start it.

When I look at my life there are so many things that I could write books on. you probably feel the same. To make matters worse I am interested in a wide variety of subjects, qualified or trained in all sorts. I have healed myself and dealt with many demons. It could get messy… I could be writing forever…

Where and how should I start my personal story?

Which part of your life’s journey, why that part and what is the point of sharing? Think about this – stories define who we are, how we make meaning and they can own us or we can own them. They also tell others a lot about who we are and they, in turn, can make meaning.

Stories are soul food. I needed to write this story first to help with my healing and then to support others.

Which story test

There are a few things that I do when working out which story and where to start it.

  • The core message of my brand and business
  • Relevance to my vision
  • Purpose for writing it
  • The heart spot test (where vision, reader, content and strategy come together) – we will talk about this another day

Core message and relevance

When thinking about the story you want to share what is your overall core message? For me, mine is about inspiring others to discover who they are, find their voice and have the courage to write and share their story. While I have other books published what I didn’t have was the kind of story that I am referencing here. 

This book is relevant for healing, teaching, coaching and because I am passionate about natural healing (and having my voice heard).

What is the core message of your book and how relevant is this story to who you are, what you do, where you are going or what you want to create?

Healing Osteoporosis Naturally takes the reader on a journey from understanding how their bodies (and life) became unbalanced and they lost bone density, through finding their root cause and creating a unique natural healing plan.

This is my cause related book as well as a book I can use to demonstrate how to write personal story. While I have no intention of becoming an osteoporosis counsellor or a nutritional advisor, I do believe that the industry needs to change and that’s something I want to be a part of.

Your books purpose

You may be sharing a personal story because it will help you to do many things including aligning your brand and business.

Before you panic and think, but I want to write this story because I want to write my story and it’s not to build a brand or change the world – I just want to write it. Or it’s for my family. That is its purpose. The process of writing a book has a purpose, you will heal, change, grow and you will learn many skills.

What is your books purpose and what is the purpose of writing it?

Where and how to start your personal story

The question is do I go back to how I came to be in a position to be woken up? That is do I write about my life pre wake up call? Or do I start with the kick in the teeth? Ask yourself how relevant your backstory is to the overall story? Could you if you didn’t spend a long time leading in, refer back and weave in short snapshots of backstory?

Personally, I felt that it was more impactful to start with the shock of a fractured spine because the story is about how oblivious I was that this was going to happen. Osteoporosis is called the silent dis-ease and it can creep up on anyone – even you. I hadn’t realised just how out of balance I was.

Resist the urge to start your story too early.

This event meant that I had to physically stop and heal. I could hardly walk or breathe. Because of the nature of how this happened the emotional fallout was pretty intense and is one of the keys to the story. What is interesting is as I pick my story apart I can find many books I could write if I were involved with other kinds of businesses or wanted to change direction.

For the reader, where the story starts should leave them wondering what happens next, emotionally connects to them, raise more questions and address a need.

Let’s explore…

Later in my story, because I did go back in time to find out why, I realised that an accident was the key to what changed the course of my life. Could I have started the story here?

It depends on what the core message of your book is and how you want to build your brand and use your book.

Imagine that I am a nutritionist. I might have used my story for a recipe book rather than a how-to heal book. If I was a yoga teacher and breathwork healer I might have used yoga and breath as a way to show how to heal. 

So many stories…

You see so many of us have so many stories. The key is to understand which stories are there for our healing and growth and which are there for us to share and inspire. Then to consider our core message, and how the books core message is relevant to our vision. Next to think about which stories should go in the book (core message and relevance). And then consider the purpose.

There are many books that are written for cathartic reasons which never see the light of day. I work with many people doing just this. These are writing to heal books.

I know from experience that these often morph your life path into a direction that you might not have consciously planned for. The truth is that was always your purpose and the book is the thing that often lights the way.

Should you write your personal story?

You can write a personal story for any purpose. It can be as a pivot out of what you are currently doing, you can use to build your brand and business, you can use it to heal, for your family and as a legacy.

Only you will know. Just don’t be surprised if what starts as a personal healing book turns into something you want to build a business around.

Courage will come as you write and heal.

Got a personal story that you want to write, but not sure where to start, book in for a call and let’s explore.

Do you have a living vision for your book, brand and business? No? Yes? Maybe?

Before I left for Spain a few years ago, I had a vision. It wasn’t anything to do with my business. It was a book, a novel no less that was going to be turned into a film and the rest as they say would be history.

As I drove from Wales to my mums in Spain, I played fantasy revenge novel plot lining while thinking about the less than nice husband I’d left. This was to be my novel. As there was no radio and two bored doggies in the back of the motorhome, I was left with nothing but my vivid imagination. And it was fun.

I’d packed what I could, but there wasn’t much room for my things. One thing I kept was my vision board. If nothing else I wanted to be reminded of my yearning to write novels, funny ones with an underlying message. I still do have this vision.

The trouble is, as yet I haven’t taken much action. I have written a first draft of the above story through the eyes of a puppy that I rescued once I got here. It was incredibly cathartic, but that was all. It may resurface, who knows?

The reason that creating a vision was at the front of my mind was that last week I repurposed a planner. I’d designed it for a course and a personal branding book that I haven’t touched since leaving the shores of the UK. I was clearly a very different person as the planner is no longer recognisable.

Repurposing it was, however, a great opportunity to think about how I now like to plan. Asking what works for me and inviting a living vision into my life.

I realised that having a vision which I regularly review is important to me and I wanted this vision to live in me. I wanted a living vision. Having a vision statement feels felt stagnant and inflexible now.

Using my planner in this way and testing it so that I would actually get things done has meant that my vision has come alive. It flows and it feels like it is living.

Visions work when they are living

How does a living vision work?

At the start of every month you take the time to write about your perfect day. I like the perfect day exercise as it allows me to play with my imagination. You may to choose to write it in another way and it is important that it works for you.

I sit for a while and tap into my writing muse and allow him or her to share their thoughts around what perhaps a perfect day might look like. Then I start to write without censure.

What I wonder would be in your perfect day?

Would you be head banging to Nirvana while swigging a cheeky vino, a designer beer or perhaps a real ale at the end of your Thursday. Because of course you’d only work three days a week.

Maybe you are spending a few hours walking around your estate with your dogs and partner as you plan your next product launch. Perhaps you are discussing some other investment or early retirement and driving around Europe?

Is there a beach, a mountain, a city or maybe all three in your vision?

What about how you work and your business?

You could have only the right kind of clients who always pay on time, who love working with you. and telling all their influential friends that you are awesome.

There could be reinvention, diversification and innovation. All you have to do is let your imagination free.

I get that there could be flights of fantasy. Like the novel I haven’t written, but the truth is just by focusing on it has mean that I am doing NaNoWriMo this November. So something is working.

What I found with my living vision was that with each iteration it felt more real. And I found myself being able to be realistic with priorities, timeframes and what I could and wanted to achieve.

Living visions require us to use our imagination, but also to consider how this makes us feel and what has to happen to inspire action. I have found myself far more productive and I can see products, courses and books coming alive far more than at the beginning of the year.

Stuff is getting done.

You may have a book that you want to write and it could feellike it is a long way away. You may consider that you don’t have the resourcesor the time. You may even be unclear what the book is really about.

A living vision will help you to envision this book, which will get you questioning if it aligns with your brand and business. The more you play and ponder the closer you will get.

A perfect day could be that you find a way to write your book while you build your brand. That might mean creating an outline and blogging your book. In your envisioning you see yourself getting fabulous feedback which allows you to refine your outline and as your ideal customer gets a feel for you, more work comes in. The perfect day is your eureka day and you have the right idea and content.

A perfect day might be further away and it’s the day a publisher says yes and later you are a bestseller.

My invitation is…

My invitation to you is to allow your imagination to feed your monthly, weekly and daily planning. Write often about your perfect day and allow yourself to dream. As you create more of a living vision the more you will live your vision.

Remember to take action appropriate action, consider your priorities and if your priorities change then one would hope that’s a move in the right direction.

If you find yourself procrastinating it may well be that this vision and subsequent action plan are not aligned.

The living vision is working for me and I hope that it does for you. I wonder what I’ll think in a years time when I look back on my first perfect day exercise.

When you have stuff on your mind please book in for a sounding board session and let’s see if we can get you closer to what you want.

Don’t write a book until you consider how you will do it

Writing a book may seem like a stretch too far or it may seem like a walk in the park. It is often a matter of perspective, planning and resources.

I use lots of different ways to write my books, and I always start with a plan.

Consider different ways to get your message out there as you write a book

There are many ways to write a book when I talk about writing a book I am referring to content that could become a book. You may start with an e-book of between 5000 and 12000 words which you use as a lead magnet. This could go on a blog which you have planned as a book and in this instance, you are blogging your book. I realise that you write blogs differently to books, but with a bit of imagination and editing of your base content, you will have a great head start.

There are many benefits in doing this. You can build your list, brand and test your content on your ideal customer first.

Action: Plan and outline your book, this can become a blog plan and form the basis of a short e-book that you give away. Then start blogging your book.

Consider tools that can support you

What other ways can you write a book? Here are ideas.

  1. Once it is planned and outlined you can speak it with Dragon Naturally Speaking.
  2. You can make a series of recordings and send them off to rev.com to be transcribed.
  3. Not exactly a tool, but you can hire a ghostwriter to write your book for you.
  4. You can also cowrite your book with a coach.

All of these do require you to make some effort, but will reduce the amount of time to get it done.

Action: Investigate which of these would work for you.

Never underestimate how long it will take

You will I am sure you will have heard of people who have written books in 30, 60, 90 180 days, however, the truth is for busy people it will probably take anything from 6 months to 1 year (365 days or longer).

There are many reasons, time and commitments, overwhelm, motivation or something happens out of the blue that changes the deadline. Or it could be that it is not aligned with your brand and business.

When a book is not aligned with brand and business there is often little motivation to carry on. You may also have too much on and asking if this ‘extra’ stuff serves you is a great question.

Action: Be clear about why and what value it will bring. Be realistic about your time commitments. Work out how long it will take to plan, write, edit and publish and put that time in your diary. Commit to doing it; soon it will become part of your daily life.

When you are ready to write your book (however that looks), please connect and let’s chat about how we can align it with your brand and business. We can talk through the plan and find the best way forward for you.

Don’t write a book until you consider these #1

I know what a strange thing to say. Don’t write a book.

Writing a book is a fantastic experience. Though you may not feel that joy as you plan, write and edit it. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and downright annoyed with your lack of motivation and increased the ability to procrastinate.

No fear help is at hand. Consider these 3 things that you need to know, keep an open mind, change your mindset, smile, walk, breathe and remember if it was that easy, everyone would be writing a fabulous book. They are not, you are.

Your book, brand and business must be aligned

Books often fail to get written because your brand and business are not aligned with your book. Every business has a core message, and the book needs to echo that.

Business is about where you are and where you want to go. Brand is who you are and what you want to be known for. Your book is a vehicle for your message. It forms part of your delivery system.

Action: What is your core message? Is your business, brand and book aligned? If not why not, where is the disconnect?

Are you doing what you really want to?

Consider your business, are you doing what you love, are good at, which the world needs and you will get paid for?

Many people start to write a book only to find that it drags up ‘stuff’ that needs to be dealt with. This happens to successful people. Suddenly they see in putting pen to paper they have a different yearning.

This needs to be addressed first.

Action: Answer these four questions, am I doing what I love and am good at, what the world needs and what I can get paid for?

Create a business you love, build your brand and then write a book

Getting clarity about what you want means that the book that you write will be the right book. Remember the book is a vehicle. Out of the book you can create many other products, services and programs.

But if the book is created inside the wrong business, it will either never get written or will simply languish on your been there done that list.

Naturally you can do lots of brand building before you write your book, however, it would make sense to consider what you want to be known for as part of the planning process.

Action: Go back to basics and consider where you are, where have you come from (lots of skills, experience and knowledge to harness), who you are and what you want to be known for. Will your book support your business and brand?

If writing a book is something that you would love to do, but you are not sure about starting it now as you feel ‘stuck’ in other areas of your business, book in for a sounding board session. This is designed to support you with ideas, issues, clarity and a way forward.

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