Writing is very often a solitary task. We think and write in solitude. We rethink and revise the confines of the booth at the local coffee shop or home office. Alone.
That aloneness allows for productivity, banging out words and clarifying thoughts as they turn into words on the screen. But working with others is a unique experience that may help you become an even better writer.
When I wrote my first book, Do No Work, I knew nothing about marketing. I thought announcing the book on my blog and emailing some friends and family on my list was enough for it to sell.
After I did those things, I expected to relax—champagne glass in one hand, cigar in the other—and watch the sales roll in. Every time I clicked refresh on my sales page the numbers would increase exponentially in some sort of impossible yet glorious parabolic curve.
Books are judged by their covers. Authors know that. It’s why self-published authors spend weeks or even months—getting their covers just right. A traditionally published author doesn’t always have the freedom to choose and nitpick every detail of his or her cover, but the publishing house’s design and marketing teams likely spend even more time creating a cover that will sell. Colors, images, and font choices are all important, but a great cover begins with a great title. In fact, your book’s title may be even more important than the design you choose for your cover.
It’s a phrase I hear almost daily from someone who has an idea for a business: “I’ll put it on the Internet.” I am flabbergasted by the number of seemingly reasonable, intelligent people who think that all they have to do is put their product or service “on the Internet” and then just wait for the money to roll in.
The opportunity of the Internet is that everyone buying anything goes there, whether it’s in the consumer arena or business to business. The great and almost incomprehensible challenge of the Internet is that everyone is also on there trying to sell something. It is the most crowded market in the universe.
The easy part is getting on the Internet. The hard part is having anyone know that you’re there. Everyone’s gaming the same search machines and using the same key words. It’s easy to be invisible in such a crowded space.
A Twitter follower asked me the above question the other day, and her inquiry sparked a blog post. What do you write about when you haven’t endured some sort of crisis? Is disaster a prerequisite for a good story?
I remember sitting in a conference and getting a little ticked off as I listened to a publishing house editor promote the idea that the best and only way to write is from one’s pain—not discomfort or struggle but tragic, devastating pain. Without that kind of pain, she suggested, it wasn’t possible to be an excellent writer.
Last summer, after submitting the final manuscript for my book, I felt completely drained. While part of me was elated for having completed an eight month labor of love, other parts felt depleted. I poured everything into my book, and then the project was over.
Are you holding back because you think your ideas aren’t unique or good enough? Here’s the thing to remember: What is obvious to you, may be exactly what someone else needs to hear.
If you need help putting your ideas together, check out my 8 Weeks to Authorship course. It outlines the same process I used to ghostwrite a book for a major publishing house this summer. Don’t wait to write your book. The the world needs for you to tell your story and share your message.
“The brave are simply those with the clearest vision of what is before them—glory and danger alike—and, notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
—Leopold (Hugh Jackman), Kate and Leopold
It takes a certain amount of bravery to be a professional writer or book author. It isn’t the act of writing itself that feels dangerous. You can write in your journal all day and end up feeling refreshed and lighter for having been so honest with yourself. The security of knowing no one will ever read those words liberates your fingers to fly.
Danger isn’t inherent with the penning, but the publishing.
“How do you get over the fear of putting yourself out there?” I’ve lost count of the times clients and fellow writers have asked me this question.
“How the heck do you do everything you do?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question throughout my life.
Most people expect some simple answer that will fix that part of their life that causes sleepless nights, family fights, the “I wanna puke” feeling and worst of all, shame and emptiness.
Here’s the reality: Success has never been easy. It’s never happened overnight, and, without your best effort every stinkin’ day, it can’t happen!
CONFESSION. I don’t believe in “writer’s block.” I think this label is nothing more than a convenient excuse for us to delay our writing dreams.
Before you lock me up in the loony bin, let me peel off the mask by pull back the curtain. I wrote 6 traditionally published books, coached over 60 authors on their book projects, and ghostwrote 3 books for high-profile clients.
But I’ve also:
Justified watching movies to “research” for my next book.
Avoided a deadline because unloading the dishwasher seemed more thrilling.
Hit the disc golf course to find inspiration for my next chapter
Wasted more than a few days satisfying a “Platform Building Fix” on Facebook and Twitter.
Bottom line. All these activities seemed noble at the time. And yet, they merely created space between my current state and my calling.
Maybe you can relate?