Good old square one. It’s that point when you’ve got an a killer book idea burning within you, but you aren’t sure where to begin. It’s overwhelming. So much so that you’d like to go back to bed and stay there.
Painful, right? You feel like it shouldn’t be this hard. But, this is normal. Because a book–and getting a book published–is a B-I-G project. The enormity of it and the list of unknowns can be daunting and block your creativity. And when you’re trying to write a book, the last thing you need is writer’s block.
Below are some tips for dealing with this stubborn moment, or series of them. First off, I’ll say that it’s best not to try and understand all the moving parts at once. There are resources like Your Big Beautiful Book Plan that can guide you for the long haul (as well as something else Danielle LaPorte and I have planned… see below), so you don’t have to fully grasp every stage and prescription up front. Instead, just take action with at least ONE of the following four things.
1. Start Writing
Write. Write. Write your heart out. Get your hands moving. The process of writing, even if you don’t use most of what you put down, will get you where you need to go. It will sharpen your skills, your points of view, your characters–everything. At the same time, remember that you don’t need to be a perfect writer. You’ll get better as you go. Guaranteed. And, you can always find an editor or ghostwriter later to polish your work.
2. Figure out what you really want to say
Easier said than done, right? Ha. Sometimes it is easy, like when you’re already teaching a course on your topic, or creating a book as an offshoot to a business where you offer your clients clear steps.
But sometimes the best laid format plans fail. Beyond getting on your knees to pray (which I do!), asking your dreams (uh huh), studying your competition (which is just smart business), again, the best way I know is to write yourself through it. Preferably butt in chair at the same time every day. When you write regularly, your subconscious says, “Oh! She’s taking this seriously; I should too,” and automatically starts clarifying your ideas. It’s like you’ve given her the directive and she’s coming to the work table with renewed vigor. Helpful, ya?
A good place to start is by asking her/yourself these questions: What do I want my readers to take away from this book when they’re done? How do I want them to feel at the end? Message clarity is key to writing a powerful proposal and book.
3. Get to bloggin’
Posting your writing on your website for the world to see… talk about a good way to clarify your message! Even if your best friend is the only one who reads your first post. Make a list of topics that fall under your big beautiful book idea and start banking samples until you’re confident about putting them out on a regular schedule (as Danielle did when she first started). These posts can eventually be reworked as chapters in your book.
Here’s another reason to blog: publishers may come looking for you! That’s what happened to Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation. http://www.escapefromcubiclenation.com/pamela-slims-blog/ Her blog blew up the day Guy Kawasaki linked to one of her posts and she went from something like 100 visits to 20,000 in 24 hours. Penguin/Porfolio came calling and asked her to write a proposal. Sweet.
It happened to Matthew Gasteier, too, when his blog “FU, Penguin: A blog where I tell cute animals what’s what” http://www.fupenguin.com was found by agents and publishers once it hit big.
4. Connect with other writers
A network of writers–online or in person–will be your source of everything from inspiration to practical tips and tricks. (Danielle LaPorte and I will open up enrollment for a new membership community later this week. It’s called: The Beautiful Writers Group, where you can connect with other writers and build your creative momentum! Stay tuned, and continue to let me/us know how we can best serve your writing needs in the comments below. Believe me, we’re listening!)
Okay. Gotta go take my own advice and WRITE my book:) I’m currently slogging through a tough patch, but loving the practice because every day it gets clearer and easier. Trust me. The sooner you try one or two of the things I’ve outlined above, the sooner you’ll be out of that funky “where do I start?” or even, “where do I got next?” phase, and headed toward the promise land.
P.S. Danielle and I are putting the finishing touches on the format of the group. If you haven’t shared your thoughts with us already, let us know below what you’d most like from us below!