BOOK WRITING TIPS FROM A 3-TIME AUTHOR
By Jen Mueller
So you want to write a book… I know the feeling. I’ve been there and gone through the process three times.
It’s easier than you think, if you’ve got a plan in place – and are willing to follow it.
I’m a fulltime sports broadcaster and a business owner. I didn’t have spare time to write a book. I made the time because it was important to me and my business. I know it’s hard, I also know it’s possible. The hardest part isn’t getting started, it’s sustaining your efforts and being comfortable with the final product. It’s your name going on that cover, after all.
Here’s how I’ve approached the writing process for all three of my books.
- Create a habit. Writing an entire book can feel overwhelming. Continuing a habit feels familiar. Start writing at the same time on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing. It could be a blog post for your website, newsletter articles, presentation materials or even a journal entry. Get in the habit of writing at the same time, at the same place on a regular schedule. It’s easier to piggyback off that habit when creating content for your book.
- Develop a point of view. You are unique and different from everyone else in the world. Make sure your writing reflects your unique point of view. Here’s something else you should know, your point of view resonates with a large number of people. You’re not the only one who’s ever felt the way you do – which is great news! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to be willing to take the wheel. Share your personal stories. Know there’s an audience waiting for your perspective. What they don’t need is a book that sounds like every other book they’ve ever read.
- Recognize additional content/stories. As good as your stories are, you’re probably going to need supporting material and additional content. Right now you’re thinking, “How am I going to fit everything I want to say in one book? I might need to make this a series.” Trust me, after you’ve written about three chapters you’ll realize you need more material because you’ve written 10,000 words… and have another 28,000 to go. You’re not going to start the book writing process with every story you need. You will find some along the way. Those stories and the additional content is easier to identify when you know what point of view you’re taking. When you’re locked in on your message. You’ll find inspiration (i.e. stories) everywhere.
- Keep writing. You are going to come face-to-face with writer’s block. It’s a real thing and it means you’re a real author. It also means you need to keep writing. Fall back on the writing habit you created. Force yourself to write at the same time on the same schedule, even if you don’t feel like it, and especially if you don’t think the writing is any good.
Here’s the thing about writing a book – you can’t agonize over every word because every sentence isn’t going to be your best. It’s about the overall quality not the individual paragraphs. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to be a good writer, but I’ve seen a lot of writers derailed by their pursuit of perfection. Stick with the process. Write. Your first draft of anything is rarely your last, but you can’t get to your final revisions without writing. A lot.
- It’s about the audience. The writing process is very personal, so is seeing your name on the cover of a book. Just remember the pages between the cover aren’t about you. They were written for your specific audience. When you lose sight of that, you’ll start second-guessing your content, your concept and the overall creation of your book.
Don’t forget the reason you’re writing the book in the first place. What doesn’t your audience know? What do they need to hear? What haven’t they thought about? Give the audience something they need or want and you’ll stay on target and deliver a quality book that you’re proud of putting your name on.
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished as an author, but it wouldn’t have happened without my friend Karen Lynn Maher. Her workshop provided the framework (and the kick in the pants I needed) to complete my first book. Without that title, I wouldn’t have completed two others.
My latest book The Influential Conversationalist provides conversation strategies that develop leadership potential. It’s a unique look at business communication, career development and leadership based on a career spent in sports broadcasting.
Conversation skills increase your profile, so does writing a book. I know you’ve got one in you.