Stop asking, “Should I write a book?” – knowing the difference between opinions and constructive feedback.
If you let other people’s opinion throw shade on your vision, your confidence, or your action taking; then their opinion will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.John A. Passaro
Are you indiscriminately asking everyone around you, “Should I write a book?”
Here’s why you “should” stop doing that.
Before I dig into that question, let’s talk about opinions vs. constructive feedback. Opinions are subjective beliefs, usually not grounded in actual information. You’re asking people to have a thought about your situation and 9 times out of 10, the thought they’re giving you is about them not you.
Opinions are easily tangled up in personal beliefs, biases, history, narratives, fears and all the other things that make us human. This makes opinions, on their own, unreliable.
Feedback, on the other hand, is grounded in data, information. There is typically context and parameters provided around the request.
Opinion vs. Feedback
Opinion: “Can you read my manuscript and tell me what you think?”
Constructive Feedback: “Since you’re an expert in the subject matter of my book, can you read my manuscript and advise me of factual errors, especially in the areas of A, B, C and D?”
Opinion: “How do you think I should write my book?”
Constructive Feedback: “Since you’re a person who has written and published a book, can you talk to me about the writing habits, processes, and routines that got you there?”
But really – should I?
Back to the question of – “Should I write a book?”
Let’s be real – if you have the serious intention of writing a book, you will get to work gathering actual information to inform your decision. You will do your homework, talk to professionals or others who have written books. You will ask specific questions and get specific, actionable information in return.
How many dreams, I wonder, are unnecessarily squashed by the dreamers giving away their power to random peanut galleries of personal opinion?
When people ask anyone and everyone whether they should do a thing, if they get enough “no” responses (again, usually based on the beliefs, biases, and fears of others) – might they be tempted to quit on their goal?
Here’s another angle…
Is consulting with the peanut gallery, relying on the random opinions of others before moving forward with a goal? Is it an easy out? An excuse to quit before beginning? Perhaps it’s a reason to stay within the safe confines of the comfort zone, to avoid risking failure, and in the case of books – to avoid being seen.
If you are committed to doing the thing, you will do the thing. You will gather the required information, not opinions, to help you succeed. And if the information makes you change your mind, at least it will be your decision, and a sound one.
Opinions keep you spinning your wheels. Feedback moves you forward.
Speaking of feedback, receiving it from a pro who does it for a living can be a significant time, money, and frustration. You also get the added benefit of learning something new (like writing a book) while producing an end product (like a book). I know this on a personal level, as a student of many passions myself. Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned from being coached, that you might be able to use if you’re considering hiring a book writing coach to help you write your book!