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Can I Really Write a Book? What to Do When Doubt Creeps In

lisa tener book writing coach
Your Book Writing Coach

Most people who want to write a book never complete it. Some never start. And one of the biggest reasons is self-doubt.

Here are some of the doubts and my responses:

Doubt #1. “I’m not trained as a writer” or the more insidious, “I don’t have an MFA”   Guess what? Many of our most famous authors were not “trained” as writers. However, they knew a few secrets:

Secret #1: Find a teacher or mentor: You can learn the most important rules of compelling writing in one sitting. Then it’s a matter of practicing them, getting feedback until it becomes a part of you. And sometimes that can happen pretty quickly. I had one client send in a train wreck and a week later sent me a beautifully written chapter of his memoir. When I asked what happened, he replied, “I just studied the feedback you sent me–really studied it–and did what you said.

 

Elements of Style
A classic on how to write well

Secret #2: Learn the Rules of Compelling Writing: Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and Stephen King’s On Writing are two classics that offer easy to implement advice that can improve your writing dramatically. My two favorite rules:

* Use verbs with energy rather than passive voice

* Show; don’t tell. Ask yourself: “How can I make this come alive for my readers.”

Doubt #2: “Who’s going to read what I have to say?” “Hasn’t it all been said before?”

No one has said it exactly the way you will. Someone out there (maybe many someone’s) needs to hear it from your voice, your stories and anecdotes, whatever it is that’s special about the way you have to say it (humor, experiential exercises, examples–however your personality comes across).

Doubt #3:  ” I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start” or “I’m so disorganized. How can I ever get this into book form?”

Start with your vision and goals. Why are your writing the book and for whom? What will it do for them, for you and for the world? Think about your ideal reader—the person who needs your book desperately and will read it in one sitting and recommend it to others. What will speak to them? What are they looking for? See it from their point of view.  Once you do some work up front about your vision, goals, audience and features of the book, then you can organize it.

Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book
Here’s how to get started with your book.

I suggest using index cards or post it notes to write ideas and move them around into categories. You may group them into 7 steps, 10 principles, or into 3 parts with 3 chapters each. Play with your cards or post it notes and try different groupings.

For more information on where to start and how to organize, check out my Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book: Turn Your Passion into Profit. It will get you started on clarifying your book concept and organizing into a table of contents and outline. And it comes with a free teleseminar just for those who purchase the product.

YOU CAN DO IT

If you have the passion and desire to write a book, trust that this prompting comes from an inner knowing and sense of purpose. If you didn’t have the potential to pull it off–and do a great job of it–you wouldn’t have the inner prompting to write it. Yes, there are likely pieces you’ll need (expertise, support, clarity, tools), but the universe will bring those along as you are ready for them. Be open to the guidance you are sent–and trust your instincts about what’s right for you.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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Comments

  1. Mike Shaw says

    It worked for me. Lisa’s Quick Start to Kick Start book was like taking the cover off an old motorcycle in the garage, giving it a “kick start,” and riding the open road. I had been floundering for almost a year with a half written manuscript. Within a week of reading Lisa’s book, and taking her free teleseminar, I had revamped my whole project, set up a schedule, and hit the accelerator. Within 4 months, my book was finished and selling in my shopping cart. It’s a niche book- check it out: http://www.rheinberg-filters.info Good luck to all of you who have projects in mind- you will succeed! -Mike

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