Feel the Fear and Write Your Book Anyway
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Feel the Fear and Write Your Book AnywayStop procrastinating and start sharing your healing knowledge, with tips from the winner of the Hay House UK Writer’s Workshop 2016 and author of Stronger Than Before
So many of us know we have healing wisdom to share, but our lack of confidence around writing stops us in our tracks. We dream of writing a book but keep self-sabotaging: we can never find the time. We keep it as a dream, but never make it a reality. You may be an expert in your field, but if writing isn’t something that comes easily, you’ll keep letting life get in the way to avoid making a start. Or you can feel excited about writing but wonder if you truly have anything unique to say when there are so many books already available. There are endless ways we hold ourselves back from bringing our books to life.
So how do you break the cycle? It’s easier than you think. Follow these seven simple steps to see your book idea take shape. Then get out your journal or laptop and get writing!
- Start Where You Are
We want it to be perfect, so we never even begin. To shake off the burden of all your fears and the expectations you place on yourself, accept that it’s not going to be perfect right off the bat. Give yourself a small task and work your way up from there. Try writing a single paragraph that encapsulates what your book is about. If you struggle for clarity in the beginning, write a few paragraphs and then start to hone them down into one. Your ideas will crystallize as you do this and it’s a great rehearsal for when you go on to write and edit your book.
- Understand Who Needs Your Help
When you focus on who you’ll serve, it’s a lot easier to set your self-judgment and fears about writing aside. And you’ll want to make your book truly helpful, so start thinking about your ideal reader and the biggest problems they face. Your book isn’t really about you, it’s about who you can help, so make sure you understand your reader’s issues and the questions they want to have answered. Don’t assume, do some research. Join online groups and ask questions. You know your subject, but also know what your reader really wants. This will also assist you in developing chapter ideas further down the line.
- Play at Planning
If creating a structure for your book feels a bit daunting, lighten up the process by creating a mind map for it. Set out your central idea in the middle, then draw branches from it to all the main topics you want to cover and then draw smaller branches to the information for each topic.
If that doesn’t get your creative juices going, use post-it notes or index cards to write down each one of your ideas. For this technique, you simply write whatever comes to mind—teaching points, statistics, exercises, examples, anecdotes—on a note or card. Just do a complete mind-dump of all your ideas onto the notes. You can organize them into themes and chapters later. The beauty of cards and post-it notes is that you can spread them out on a table or stick them on a wall, so you’ll have a beautiful visual representation of your ideas and it’s easy to move them around to see which ones fit together well.
- Get Specific About Your Niche
Let’s overcome that objection about there already being too many books on the market by digging deep into why your book would be different. After doing your research, you’ll know who it is you best serve, so could you refine that a little more? A general book on mindfulness may not get a lot of traction these days, but if you took that same idea and applied it to a specific niche, would there be a market for it? For example, you could write a book on mindfulness for busy nurses or a book of 5-minute calming exercises for performers with stage fright. Don’t get too hung up on finding a previously untapped market, just write for the people you know. They’re the ones you can really help, and it’ll feel easy and natural to write for them.
- Know Where You’re Taking Them
Every self-help book needs to offer a transformation, taking your reader from where they are now to where they want to be. Right now, you may just have a jumble of ideas without a clear journey, so take some time to think it through. You know what your reader’s problems are, but what are their aspirations? How do they see their life unfolding when their issues have been resolved? You need to identify what causes them pain, give them relief from that pain, and show them a vision of what life would look like on the other side of it. And that transformation should take place in very clear steps. Do you have a four-step program to help them or is it a set of seven different realizations? Understand the journey you’re creating before you start to write it.
- Set Aside Time to Write—and Stick to It!
Not much happens in life without a deadline and writing is the same. There’s always some other call on your attention—an errand to run, a sudden piece of work that can’t wait, an appointment you’d forgotten—and somehow the writing never happens. If you genuinely want to make your book a reality, you’ll need to schedule regular times in your diary for writing. Keep yourself on track by deciding a realistic amount of words you can write in a sitting and stick to it. If you wrote 500 words—around a page—each day, for fivedays a week, you could have a 50,000-word book written in around five months. It’s easily achievable if you’re committed and consistent.
- Write First, Edit Later
Nothing kills the flow of writing faster than trying to fix it as you go. Decide on the topic you’re going to cover that day and just go for it. Don’t try to make it perfect. Get something on paper and enjoy exploring your themes. Leave the tweaking for another day. Writing and editing use different parts of the brain; your right brain is the creative one that sparks ideas and your left brain is the analytical part that puts those ideas in a logical order. They’re like oil and water—they really don’t mix in the writing process. Set your right brain free so it can fill you with inspiration while you write and leave the editing for another day when your left brain can take charge, analyze what you’ve written, and make improvements.
Now that you have an overview of how to begin writing your book, do it now. Book a planning session in your diary and have fun playing with all the ways it could take shape. Your readers are waiting to hear what you have to share—don’t put it off any longer!
Click here to buy Alison's first book with Hay House, Stronger Than Before: Take Charge of Your Healing to Survive and Thrive with Breast Cancer.