It’s January, the season of unrealistic goal setting!
But, you say, it’s practically February—I’ve already given up on my New Year’s resolutions and lowered my expectations for 2023!
Poppycock. The desire to achieve a big goal—like writing a book—is still there. And while finding the time and discipline to write can be a challenge, what stops many people is fear, indecision, and lack of confidence.
To get your book written, the mental game is just as important as the butt-in-chair game. Three tips to level-up your mindset…
Tip 1: Understand your purpose.
Why are you writing a book? Maybe, like many of my clients, you are trying to grow your business. (Cool.) Perhaps your goal is to leave a family legacy. (Sweet.) It’s possible your lifelong dream has been to become a rich and famous author. (Hey, we can all dream.) Or you might simply feel compelled to get your book out—it’s a message you can’t keep inside. (Yes!)
Having clarity of purpose keeps you going when you feel like crumpling up your pages and playing trashcan basketball all night.
Tip 2: Decide once.
Have you ever had that experience where you’re sitting in a restaurant looking at the dinner menu and can’t choose because there are simply too many options?
We make loads of decisions every day, and each one takes mental energy. Decision fatigue is real.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of asking each day “Shall I write?” But that saps our energy and brings a weight of “I know I should do this” that adds to any guilt we might already feel for not doing it.
Instead, decide once that you will write every day. Or every weekday. Or every weekend day. Make it nonnegotiable. When you decide once, you can redeploy that daily decision-making energy into doing energy.
Tip 3: Shift your mindset from THE book to A book.
A book is a big project. It can be intimidating. We often think we have one shot to get it right. It must be insightful, comprehensive, beautifully crafted. It must be perfect.
No, no, and no. You don’t need to write THE book. You need to write A book—one that achieves your purpose.
Your book’s message might be insightful, but it may also just help reinforce an important point for your reader. Or it might help them feel seen and understood.
If you’re writing a textbook, it indeed might need to be comprehensive, but for most general nonfiction readers, a focused message sticks better. Don’t feel obligated to cram in every morsel of knowledge you’ve been dying to share. Save some content for your next book. (See what I did there?)
As much as a beautifully crafted work of literary art might appeal to our aesthetic preferences, for some books, clarity takes precedence. It’s more important for your reader to understand your point than to be wowed by anaphora and parataxis. Plus, every time you write a book, you learn something about craft, which means your next book can be even better.
Take the pressure off. You don’t have to write THE book. Writing A book is more than enough. Really.
Is this your year?
If this is your year to write a book, the job will be easier if you understand your purpose, decide once, and focus on writing A book. And if this is not your year, that is a valid choice as well! Pick the right timing for you.
Last year our team at Clear Sight Books helped Jim Whitehurst, Matthew Holten, Tina Larsson, Matthew Thomas Baker, and Jason Greer get their books in focus and into the world. (Some were multi-year projects.) Many other clients made steady progress towards building their content and writing their books.
If this is your year to start your book, or to finish it, we’re rooting for you.
Ready to write but need some help? Here we are. Email email@example.com.