Are you a procrastinator? Are you looking for the perfect phrase, word, idea? Are you stuck? Wouldn't getting unstuck and moving forward be a fantastic goal.
Make a decision to go forward or eliminate vs. the one that you have practiced—to do nothing.
Moving from wannabe author to the real thing is totally possible this coming year. Moving from wannabe speaker to the real thing is totally possible this coming year. Moving from wannabe anything to the real thing is totally possible this coming year.
Is there a book in you? Most think there is. And most don’t get them out. You could have the makings of a fantastic novel, a creative young adult series, and exquisitely illustrated young children’s stories. Cookbooks, health, space, romance, intrigue, how-to or business book may be lurking in your creative closet.
You just may be able to take your career to a whole new level with the creation of a book. Adding to your professional credentials, if done right, could position you as the expert in a specific field. A book could talk you to a whole new level, a different type of professional business card. Amazing doors can open with book in hand.
Many wannabe authors, speakers, or whatever, practice the art of one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, three to get ready, three to get ready … and they never go. They keep reaching for one more thing; one more piece of information; another interview; another who knows what. Sometimes, it’s just another excuse. Their book never gets written, much less published. Their quest for the perfect book has become the enemy of creating a good book, even a great book.
Perfection and Procrastination go hand-in-hand. Break the bond and move forward today.
Step 1: Choose a spot … any spot that is yours and yours alone. It’s the “Do Not Cross … Author at Work” sport. Authors need their space and time. Space will contain all the ingredients you need to support you. Think computer, phone— if necessary, pens, pencils, paper, files with reference items that you've collected, notes you've saved or made to support your topic, other reference books, a favorite snack (I confess—I've written an entire book with M&Ms and Cheetos being the reward each time I finished a chapter), beverage of choice, toys, etc. Your space. Claim it and let others know that when you are in your space, it’s a “Do Not Disturb … Author at Work” sanctuary.
Find time. Some authors have to work specific hours; others are more loosey-goosey. Do what works for you, but do it.
Step 2: Just do it … even if what you get down looks like gibberish. Is it a cliché? Nope, it’s a start. You can’t move forward to publication until you've got some words. So dump them out. Think of it as a giant puzzle. Sometimes just finding all the edges takes time. As in a puzzle, colors begin to gather, segments within it come together, and it does come together if you persevere. The more you organize your thoughts, stories, stats and general info, the better it is when it comes to the first dump. The general topic, sub-topics, stories/facts/stats to support the topic all go into magic piles.
Where you choose to “dump” is your choice. Some still write all by hand … if you having been procrastinating or dragging your feet—it’s best to bypass this method and either pick up the latest version of Dragon’s Naturally Speaking where you can literally put on a headset with a mic and start talking or glue yourself to a favorite spot and just start writing—writing anything to kick start your creative juices.
With Dragon’s program, your works get transcribed to your computer, and then you clean up spellings and missed words after your dictation is done. Here’s what you don’t do with a speaking program: watch it as it unfolds on your computer. Guaranteed, it’s the kiss of author death. You will want to stop. In fact, you will stop. Your creative juices vaporize as you start to correct spelling and do a first run at editing. DO NOT DO THIS. You need everything flowing when you are in your zone—you don’t need to make the written word perfect … yet.
Step 3: Get help. You may need book coaching to goose you. You may need to get the big picture in place where you can see the book, even virtually feel what it will look like. Do you know your title … or do you need some help in creating it—don’t be surprised, titles can change as a book progresses … and it can be as firm as a slab of cement. If it’s firm, a mock up of a cover might be the visual encouragement that keeps you going. You will need an editor—content or grammar? All authors need editors who edit (this is not your friend or sister, although they can be readers) … all authors no exceptions.
Plan on engaging other professionals who create books—interiors and exteriors. Will illustrations or cartoons enhance your work? Unless you are a pro in book design, book covers, illustrations, etc., don’t go down that path. Don't expect to do it cheaply—what does that say about you and the quality of your work?
Step 4: Make up your mind. It's a new year ... changes are everywhere. What’s it going to be—your first book? A new book? A workbook or Teacher’s Guide to accompany one that you have already written? How about a stellar speech and/or workshop that will take you new places and create new places to see your book? Or an audio program? Do you see a video version of your book or creating Exercises and Projects for readers to use and enjoy? The paths you choose can be multiple, which makes it exciting for the Author.
Your book can do amazing things ... you need to bring the amazing you to the party and invite the pros in for the journey.
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord Indie/Fab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Unplugged, a two and 1/2 day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2015, the dates are August 27-29th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at http://togi.us/authoru. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.