Here, business guru and thought leadership strategist Mindy Gibbins-Klein, author of eight books and CEO of writing workshop venture The Book Midwife, guides Business Advice readers through the early stages of how to write a business book.
Congratulations on beginning to write a business book project. It’s an exciting time, but many people get bogged down at this early stage in the process.
If you ever want to get your business book out there, you must brace yourself and commit to seeing it through, or it’s likely that you’ll clear out your desk in ten years and find that stack of notes that never amounted to anything.
If you’ve made it as far as to decide you’re going to write a business book, it is probably your drive and talent in business that’s prompted your decision. But keeping this drive going throughout the writing process is something that a lot of new authors struggle with, so how can you keep motivated and give your writing project your all from beginning to end?
Well, it is often the very same thing that stops people in their tracks – that primary rush of motivation when you first have your idea, is not based in realistic expectations, and can soon run dry when your journey doesn’t match your ideals.
Therefore, one of the best things you can do at the beginning is to make a thorough and realistic plan. Using that enthusiasm to fuel your planning process can get all of the hard work out of the way, with the least output.
You know what it’s like, when you’re on that high of adrenaline, and spend every minute thinking, eating and breathing that idea. Use that time well, and spend as much of it as possible making notes and putting your plan into place.
Planning prevents poor performance
When planning your book, put everything you intend to include down in bullet points. Don’t worry if it seems lengthy, as a well-planned book will be made up of several hundred points.
A decent plan functions as both a map that plots your journey through writing, as well as a checklist to work through at the end to make sure you’ve not forgotten any central points.
If you consider yourself past the planning phase, and have half a book, fully-written and awaiting completion, fear not. It will take a little time to sort it out, but it will pay off. Go through what you have already written, and make notes.
Try to translate your prose into bullet points, then take a step back and have a think about the whole picture. What is your whole message, and what is missing? Make up the missing material in note-form, to form a whole book’s worth of notes.
Whether you’re starting out or correcting a half-finished project, a strong plan is the key that will get your book to the finish line. If it’s thorough enough, you should be able to use your plan as a guide, just hopping from one point to the next, expanding and elaborating as necessary.
Live the dream
If the issue is not to do with planning, spend some time thinking. What was it that first motivated you to write a business book? Perhaps you have a perspective you feel is unique, or want to help people who need the sort of knowledge you have.
Maybe you just want to prove to yourself that you can do it. But perhaps now you’ve hit the wall. You may have had expectations about what your book would be, and not reached them yet. It is easy to lose steam and feel discouraged at this stage of the writing process.
So try to focus on why you started in the first place, and do what it takes to recapture that emotion. If you have come to doubt yourself and your abilities, don’t.
Remember – you have a skill that other people are eager to learn. You can be the person to pass that information on, and there will always be somebody out there who wants to learn what you have to teach.
If you are still struggling to write a business book, despite good planning and enthusiasm, a good book coach can personally guide you through the process and help you achieve the results you are looking for. Otherwise, it could be the time for you to seriously consider whether or not you really do want to write a business book.
Mindy Gibbins-Klein is an international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. She is founder and CEO at REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife and Panoma Press.
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