So You Want To Write A Book

At my book signings frequently someone will share their desire to write a book. I listen to their idea and wonder whether they have what it takes. Writing a book requires more than an idea, but passion, commitment, skill, ability and time. For some these requirements might come naturally but others will have to work at one or more. In any case writing like genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. I generally advise the aspiring writer to be prepared to put in a lot of work, and to begin with a book proposal or at the very least an outline. This is where your idea begins to take shape. According to Stephen Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People if you begin with the end in mind you will be more productive. Every book begins with an idea, but you can’t copyright an idea, though you can copyright the expression of that idea.

Is there passion behind your idea? What is your passion? If you have something to say, it’s easier said with passion, and like a magic carpet ride passion will help deliver you to that end. Most often the idea that inspires a book grows out of passion. A life without passion is empty. Author and blogger Chuck Gallozzi defines passion is a burning desire that creates commitment to a person, project, or life. A world without passion is a world without Mother Teresa, Mozart, or Michelangelo. Every great endeavor has been fueled by passion. A writer has to have passion for writing or at the minimum a passion for his subject. If you believe you lack passion, it is possible to discover your hidden passion and develop it. Gallozzi offers a 12 step program for Developing Passion. Step 11 is to share your zest for life with others. What better way of sharing but through a book.

With passion comes commitment, and as Personal Development coach Sid Savaraa advises getting your hands dirty. Metaphorically it suggests being proactive with a hands on approach. He suggest taking the following 4 steps:

• Commit Time To It. Find your prime hours, the times you are most productive – and if possible, commit to spending that time on yourself.
• Write It Down. Start by writing down your goals with a timeline.
• Spend Some Money. Invest in your writing, attend conferences, take courses and subscribe to writing periodicals like The Writer and Writer’s Digest.
• Do Something. Write. And how do you write a book? One word at a time, then one paragraph, one page on and on. A writer writes.

Commitment will take hold as this process unfolds and you will find yourself immersed in your writing project, and with time, patience and a daily ritual of writing you may at times achieve a flow or as some writers say receive a gift. One day you may only write a paragraph and the next you’ll produce a chapter resulting from a flow, a psychological term where one gets lost in his work. Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Flow is something you work up to and ultimately achieved through a daily ritual of writing.

Success doesn’t come over night.  Writing that book may take months even years.  And when you have written the final page of that first draft, don’t think you’re done. Here is where you sharpen your writing skills and ability through self editing more clearly articulating your thoughts and honing your craft.

Next: The Book Proposal

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