Do I Have Anything New to Say?

What can I say that’s new or different from anything that’s already out there?

I hear this question weekly from people who want to write a book and share their stories. They worry that, with all the books, all the blog posts, and all the magazine articles that have already been written, their messages will sound like everyone else’s.

And let me tell you from experience as a book editor and reviewer for SUCCESS Media, that sameness is a risk. It happens—particularly in the self-help/personal/professional-development space where we’re so influenced by what we read and hear from real experts and self-professed gurus.

But it doesn’t have to happen to you. Even if you’re writing about a topic that’s been covered in thousands of books before, you can bring something new to the conversation.

How?

Share your experience, your insight, your story. 

Some of the books that frustrate me most as a reviewer are those that repeat quotes and analogies I’ve heard countless times. Granted, I’ve been intentionally soaking up words and wisdom in the personal-development space since I was 19 (a long time ago). I read a lot of books. So I give some grace when I’ve heard a story a few times before. But when the same quip shows up in 10 books in the same year … that’s frustrating! I want to learn something new! I want to read something that makes my eyes well up with tears or draws out an unexpected laugh or challenges me to look at life from a different perspective.

I’ve heard the stories about the frog, the elephant, and the man who climbed up a mountain seeking the meaning of life. What I haven’t heard yet is your story. And that’s what your audience wants to read.

You’ve had an incredible experience.

You’ve suffered a loss.

You’ve discovered something about yourself that changed everything.

You’ve taken on challenges and won—or lost.

You’ve talked to people I’ve never met. 

You’ve seen things that I’ve never seen.

You’ve learned things that I need to know.

It’s those stories and insights that shape your message and make it unique. What you’ve learned from those events and experiences comprise your message. And that message will be relevant to your readers—because it’s real.

If you want to add to the conversation in a way that’s meaningful, share your story.

What do you wish you’d known before you faced a challenge?

What have you learned that has shocked you or changed the way you approach life?

What steps have you taken to overcome an obstacle or achieve something great?

Don’t repeat platitudes. Don’t rely on clichés. Write the book you desperately needed when you were in the middle of a crisis but couldn’t find. Chances are, if you’ve been looking for that book, others have been searching for it as well.

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Leave a comment below and let me know what story you want to share. And then, please, start writing.

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Alex Pickens - April 27, 2016

Thank you for being so aggressive in your turn around from Margaret’s question to a blog post. I’ve been inspired to blog and often get to the finish line. In my wake are drafts that don’t make it to the tape. I appreciate the entrepreneurial zest you demonstrated by turning a simple question into a conduit for your product.

Enjoyed the read and inspired to apologize less for writing more.

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    Erin K Casey - April 27, 2016

    Hi Alex,

    I’m glad you’re inspired to write more!! That’s always my goal. Writing about your passion or expertise makes it easier to write quickly. Practice helps, too! 🙂

    Reply
Kimberly Fulk - May 18, 2016

Hi Erin!
I am hoping for the same thing. I want to make the reader laugh, cry, and think deeply 🙂
My problem seems to be moving away from college papers and short blogs, to a long story that keeps the interest of the reader.

Also, just getting started with words, any words,

Thank you

Kim

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