Writing a book is on so many people’s wish lists, especially the wish lists of entrepreneurs! But so many of them can’t seem to overcome their own internal objections, and therefore either never start, or never finish their book.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, half felt they had a good idea for a novel, but only 15% started that book, and another 6% got halfway through. Another survey, conducted in 2002, found that 81% of those surveyed wanted to write a book.
Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps “write a book,” has been on your perpetual to-do list for years. And, if you’re an entrepreneur or speaker, you know that having your own book in print sets you up as an expert and can help you promote your business, so you may even feel an extra bit of urgency.
And yet that book remains unwritten. Why?
First, I don’t want you to beat yourself up over this. You’re not alone. It’s easy to come up with excuses not to do something that’s important to us—especially a project like a book, which can seem so overwhelming if you haven’t written one before.
Reasons I often hear for not writing a book include:
- “I don’t have time”
- “I can’t write” or “I’m not a good writer”
- “I’m overwhelmed by the idea of organizing a book project.”
It’s normal to feel this way. We all have doubts and fears when it comes to our writing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them and write the book you’ve always wanted to write. In this post, I’ll explore the top three mindsets that stop people from writing a book and how to shift them out of your way.
Internal Objections #1. I don’t have time.
Here’s a biggie. Everyone is busy. Heck, I’m busy! We all get it. But that’s not a good excuse when it comes to growing your business. Or writing a book.
Rather than lamenting your lack of time (and believe me, I do that a lot), you should be prioritizing your day to accommodate the important things, like writing your book. Maybe that means getting up 30 minutes earlier for a focused (if short) writing stint every morning. Maybe that means turning off the television after dinner so you can write. Maybe that means setting aside several hours each weekend to work on your book.
I’ve used each of those strategies to good effect. In fact, for my Public Speaking Super Powers, I even took a week’s vacation to focus on my book.
The point is you must make this a priority. Block out the time in your calendar and treat that time as sacred. Pretend it’s an appointment with your most important client, and do not allow anything to get in the way of keeping that appointment.
If you struggle with finding blocks of time, I recommend conducting a Time Use Audit. Here’s how:
- Get a notebook or a piece of paper and a pen and keep it handy every day for one week.
- Each day, jot down what you are doing each hour of the day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed.
That’s it. Then, after you’ve done this for one week, look over how you’ve spent your time and ask yourself these questions:
- Are there any bad time-wasting habits that you can work on ending?
- Are there times of the day that you notice you get more done?
- Are there times of the day that you are more likely to drag your heels?
- Are there any tasks you do regularly that could be put on hold either for a few days a week, or even a couple of months while you work on your book during those task times?
- Are there any things that you are doing that you could either delegate to someone else or hire someone to do for you?
Get your family to support you by taking on some of those tasks that you don’t need to be doing, at least for a little while. You’d be surprised how spouses and children will step up and help you out if you are specific in your requests and give it a time limit.
Internal Objections #2. I can’t write or I’m not a good writer.
So many people claim they cannot write; yet when you look at their blogs, there are hundreds of posts. What it really means when someone says they can’t write is that they don’t like or want to write.
Luckily, you have plenty of options for overcoming this hurdle:
- You can hire a ghostwriter.
- You can repurpose your blog posts into a book. I did that with 57 Secrets for Branding Yourself Online.
- You can interview people for the content. That is how I kick-started Public Speaking Super Powers.
- You don’t necessarily have to write your book; you can speak it. You can use software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, or simply record using your favorite MP3 app and then have it transcribed. I like using HappyScribe.co for transcriptions.
And of course, you don’t have to write this book on your own. That’s what editors are for!
Internal Objections #3. I’m overwhelmed by the idea of organizing a book project.
Ok, so you’re great with blog posts, and you don’t mind writing them, but the thought of writing an entire book makes you stare at your blank computer screen like a zombie.
First, if you can write a blog post, you can write an entire series of books. The process is all the same. After all, it’s just putting words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and so forth.
However, if you really feel you can’t manage a long project, then an outline is going to be your best friend. Start with a broad overview of your project, and then break it down by sections, and then chapters. Make notes about what you’ll cover in each, and then it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.
There are dozens of reasons to write a book. It’s important for establishing your expertise, for growing your audience, and for solidifying your message. But none of that will happen if you don’t write it. So, it’s time to get beyond your hurdles, leap over them, and get your book done.
Audio: Weekday Wisdom, Season 2, Episode 2
The information in this post is based on a former podcast of mine, Weekday Wisdom. You can listen to the episode here: