Recently, I’ve gotten the same question over and over from my consulting clients: “As I start planning and writing my book, what books should I be reading?”
I love this question because it gives me a chance to tell clients something they need to hear: YOU CAN DO THIS ALL ON YOUR OWN!
In truth, what other authors and bloggers say you should be doing doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that you take the time to get what’s in your head out on paper, no matter how disorganized or disjointed it seems.
The fact of the matter is, there’s no better way to stop the creative flow than by reading any material that shepherds you into doing things a certain way. It is vital that you remove any filters that could hinder your creative process. Reading books about creativity and how to jumpstart it can be helpful as you’re trying to figure out what to write, especially if they contain writing prompts. But if you have an idea and an inkling of how you want the book to turn out, reading will do nothing but slow you down, or, in the worst case, stop you completely.
The problem? Writing takes confidence and a whole lot of drive.
I have a daily battle with my clients’ Imposter Syndrome. It gets into your brain like one of those gross slugs from pretty much any alien movie and shifts your perspective drastically. An idea you were once excited about suddenly becomes a burden as your mind churns with questions like:
- “Does anyone really care what I have to say? “
- “Am I qualified to do this?”
- “Who is even going to read this thing?”
When clients show signs of Imposter Syndrome, I ask them to take a breath and remember that the right move is to go back to the genesis of the idea. That’s where the purest, most clear, and often most productive thought comes. It’s the point where you come up with something untainted and are able to see a line between the book and a felt need that needs to be met.
After that thought process wears off and the excitement fades, it’s natural to fall into a state of analysis, which often leads to analysis paralysis.
Am I saying that all reading on the subject of writing is worthless? Absolutely not. But what I am saying is that reading a book about taking action is simply not the same as sitting and doing. The things that come out of you are far more valuable to your process than the things others will tell you that you simply must do. Those suggestions and guidelines can quickly become boundaries you’re afraid to cross, which become huge, unnecessary hurdles you’ll need to scale in order to write your very best stuff.
As an editor and writer with more than twelve years in the field, my recommendation is to simply sit down and write. Try writing at different times in different locations. Try your bedroom, your couch, dining table, a library, coffee shop or even an outdoor space. Take some breaths, take a sip of coffee (or wine, I’m not judging) and just have at it. I guarantee that what comes out will bring you far closer to meeting your creative goals than you ever imagined.
Once you start to get into the flow, your content will quickly take shape. As it does, take some time enjoy it. You’ve gotten through the hardest part. The rest is cake.
- As you think about writing a book, several books on the theory of writing will be recommended to you.
- Reading is great but, at this stage, it’s not as important as actually writing.
- Find a safe space and a comfortable routine that works for you.
- Once you get into the flow and your vision becomes clear, only then think about next steps.
Need help with getting this done, or with figuring out next steps? I hear you! Contact me today and we can explore how we can partner to make sure your unique voice is heard.