The “Why” Powering Your Book and how it might change during your project.
Every client book project begins with the same question: “Why do you need to write this book?” If the new client is still at “want” instead of “need” – that’s fine, I can work with that too.
The point is, I need to know from day one what the engine is that will power your book project from start to finish. There is no discussion of the book idea itself until all parties are clear on why the book needs to exist.
For some authors, it’s personal – a story they MUST get out and onto paper. For others, it’s a lesson or lessons they’ve learned that they believe can benefit others. And for select authors, it’s the big idea – a notion that can potentially change business-as-usual in our world.
Every “why” holds equal weight, even when there appears to be a sizable gap in the number of potential lives that can be affected. Because when a book is ultimately published, all bets are off. An “I just need to write this book for me” book has the capacity to unexpectedly strike a chord with the masses because of some universal lesson woven in by the author. Suddenly the personal legacy book is rivaling the impact of the paradigm shifter. Every book has this potential.
But in order for that to happen, the book must have readers. And before that, it must have its first reader. Before that, it must be published. Finished. Edited. Written. Started.
Like Simon Sinek, I “start with why” and make my authors do the same. Your “why” needs to be personal, powerful… and flexible. There’s another intriguing piece one client learned recently – your “why” might actually change during your project, especially if your project is rooted in a personal mission. As you change, the things attached to you are bound to do the same, with books being no exception.
What do you do when the “why” powering your book changes?
First, don’t panic. You’re on a creative journey right now. You’re not balancing your checkbook or changing the oil in your car. Expect surprises and challenges and adopt a mindset of turning them into opportunities for growth rather than roadblocks.
1. Discover something new about your story, subject matter, or yourself as the author.
2. Uncover a layer of tenacity and mental toughness you didn’t know you had.
3. Surprise the people who thought you couldn’t do it (starting with yourself).
You started this book for a reason – and a good one! Trust in that and make the decision to keep going.
If you’re realizing that your initial “why” no longer applies, give yourself a moment to pause. Yes, STOP writing your book, especially if you’ve temporarily lost contact with your “why” for doing it. Then, like you did at the beginning of your project, figure out your new “why.”
Once again, it doesn’t have to be earth shattering. It just has to be strong and personal enough to get you through to a place a lot of aspiring authors never see – a completed manuscript. Clarity and connection with your “why” – from book development through writing, editing, publishing, launch, and long-term marketing – is your secret weapon. It’s your defense against mindset landmines, “writer’s block,” faltering self confidence and all the other NORMAL (read that word again) parts of writing a book.
Write down the “why” powering your book. Make it visible in your work space – your writing cave. Let it fuel you and give you the fight you need to finish what you started.
As I tell my authors: You’ve got this, keep going!