Seriously thinking of writing your book?
What’s standing in your way?
The thought of writing your book can be an emotional rollercoaster. I know that. I see it with the clients I mentor all the time. And, if I’m honest, it’s something I’ve experienced too. I put off writing my book for far too long, mainly because I could think of a million and one other tasks I had to do before I could justify investing time in my book (which was wrong on so many levels!).
One day I was literally buzzing with excitement about all the ideas I had, how I was going to make my book stand out from the competition, and how proud I’d be to finally become an author (instead of writing other people’s books for them!) I’d scribble notes anywhere and everywhere. I’d design book covers in Canva, I’d play around with different titles and want to reschedule my diary for the next month so I could completely focusing on writing.
But the next day I’d be right back to square one. I found myself crippled by self-doubt (yes, even though I’ve been a writer and worked in the publishing industry for 20+ years, I still had my own hang-ups). I worried that spending time on my book would take me away from my clients and I wouldn’t keep up with my workload. I even fretted that I hadn’t been in business long enough to write a book… what the heck’s all that about?
But I managed to overcome these habits and kickstart my book idea. I realised I’d picked up some bad habits over the past few years as a freelancer, but when I looked at them closely and realised they didn’t have to be my reality, I finally wrote my book (and the second one, too!).
Let me share with you what these bad habits were, and show you ways to overcome them.
Habit 1: Stop Listening to Your Inner Voice
What does your inner voice know about writing a book? If we all listened to our inner voice, we’d never do anything. Apart from the odd few lucky ones, most people have a critical inner voice which fires up about anything and everything. ‘You’re not good enough to write a book… who do you think you are? Writing a book? You? Pah! You can’t even spell…’ Any of this sound familiar?
Well don’t listen to it. If you’re seriously thinking about writing your book, you will learn to put this inner critic in its place. You are so much better than that. You can try all kinds of ways to shut that voice up – I’m a big fan of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Look up David Childerley and/or Brad Yates and or Nick Ortner if you’re keen on finding out more.
Habit 2: Renounce Procrastination!
This really is a bad habit and it crops up all the time. Procrastination, or excuse-making, is going to keep you stuck. Writing your book just will not happen. So if you use the excuse that you don’t have time – make time. If you’re easily sidetracked and wonder where all your time goes, get into the habit of using eggtimer.com (or something similar) and focus on writing (and writing only) in 30 minute blocks. If you use the excuse that you don’t know how to write a book then sign up to a course or hire a book mentor (I can help with both of these). If you use the excuse that you’re not smart enough to write a book, think about the content you’ve already written, could you sew it together to create a book?
Habit 3: Stop Talking About ‘One Day’
One day never comes. So decide that ‘today’ is the day you’re going to start writing your book. Decide on those first all-important steps to make your book real today. Because as soon as it becomes real in your head (instead of just a daydream) you’ll want to take consistent strides towards bringing it to life.
Habit 4: Write First, Edit Second
Writing your book and editing your book are two completely different tasks. Editing your book while you’re trying to get that first draft written is a sure fire way to stop you reaching the finish line. Instead, write the entire first draft of your book and then get out your red pen. Believe me, I have been down this road, too, and you don’t get anything finished if you’re a perfectionist who wants to keep going back and rewriting sentences, rather than adding to your word count. If by the time you’ve got that first draft finished, you really can’t face editing, then I can help you. https://michelleemerson.co.uk/proofreading-editing/
Habit 5: No More Winging it
Winging it is great for some projects, but not for writing books. One of the first things I do with my Book Mentor authors is to create a plan, a production schedule and decide on weekly word targets. A plan is essential. Your book needs to be broken down into chapter numbers, word counts, paragraph numbers and daily/weekly word count targets before it will come to life. Create a checklist/schedule too and that way you won’t be overwhelmed by the enormity of writing a book. But winging it… not a good idea.
Habit 6: Quit Prioritising Other Stuff
Prioritising other stuff (like spending chunks of your time on social media / watching any old reality dross on TV and that kind of thing) over your book means you will either a) take months and/or even years to write your book or b) never write the book at all. Instead, make writing your book a priority. Set yourself little challenges like: writing 500 words each morning for the next week before you do anything else (well, grab a brew first, obviously – that goes without saying). You’ll be surprised at how quickly your word count grows if you start this good habit.