I respect your privacy and will not rent, share or sell your personal information.

How to Conquer Your Fear of Screwing Up the Book You Want to Write, Part 2

conquerfear2 copy(This is the second in a series. Check out Part 1 here.)

So, let me guess.

You’re reading this because you want to write your book, but you are paralyzed with the fear that you’ll screw it up.

As one radio psychologist often said to her callers, “Somebody has to tell you and it might as well be me.”

YOU WILL SCREW UP YOUR BOOK.

. . . the first draft of your book, that is.

Come on. Do you really think Stephen King rolls out a compelling novel from beginning to end in one fell swoop? Every word in place, every scene painted in vivid colors?

Grow up! Of course not.

To conquer your fear of screwing up the book you want to write, you must be willing to do the exact thing you fear: screw up.

As soon as you’re willing to be imperfect and turn out the inevitable first shitty draft, you’ll be on your way.

It’s not your fault that you’re stuck by this “perfection affliction.” If you’re like most of us, you were raised by well-meaning adults who prodded you to ponder, plan and hesitate to take action until everything was in place.

This strategy may have a good use in some cases, but when it comes to writing your book it’s not only a detriment, it’s a dream killer.

In the first part of this series I urged you to conquer your fear of screwing up your book by forgetting about being original.  Now  I’m asking you to do something else.

Give up on perfection

1. Be willing to write consistently without any expectation that it’ll be great.

Published writers who make a living from their work create a schedule and stick to it.  Some have a daily word count goal, others have a time goal. Whatever the case, they turn out the writing knowing that it’s not in finished form.

Like a furniture maker who starts knows that there will be much cutting, assembling and glueing before the finishing stage, so must you see your book as a project that will be rough first and refined and polished later.

2. Be willing to look foolish and fail in front of the world.

Olympic athletes don’t set out to fail. They spend years of physical and mental preparation, training for that one day. On competition day, they get one jump, one dive, or one toss on a worldwide stage where they emerge victorious or fall short of winning the coveted awards or breaking a record.

To live a creative life we must first lose the fear of being wrong. ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Even after your book is finished and polished to its best, you will receive mixed reviews of it.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected over 130 times as Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield were cautioned that a self-help book like theirs couldn’t sell.
  • Stephen King’s high school teacher admonished him for wasting his talent on the horror genre.
  • Seth Godin, author and marketing guru, recently shared that a high school teacher wrote in his yearbook that he would never amount to anything.

3. Embrace your imperfection

Fred Astaire, regarded as the greatest musical dancer of all time, received the following comment from a studio executive after a screen test early in this career: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”

Although Astaire was known for relentless practice in an effort to perfect his performances, when asked about his style he said if you make the same mistake enough times it becomes your style.

Perfection is a mind set that masks insecurity and blinds you to the wonder and awe that emerges from the early efforts at writing your book.  If you insist that your prose be perfect right out the gate, you set the bar so high that you rob yourself of the necessary steps that strengthen your writing skills.

Striving for perfection is very different from insisting on it.  When you embrace your imperfection, you accept your humanness.

When Alexander Pope wrote “To err is human; to forgive, divine” he was urging us to forgive others. I ask you to also forgive yourself for your imperfections.

Draw comfort from the fact that the biggest part of writing a book is the rewriting. When you, your editor, copyeditor and proofreader all take their turns at massaging your manuscript, your finished book will be superior to its rough draft, but never perfect.

Take comfort from Ernest Hemingway’s words

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Have you been blocked by the quest for perfection? How did you get past it?

If you’re ready to conquer your fear of screwing up the book you want to write, let me be your companion on your writing  journey. Tackle the biggest hurdle to writing your book: getting started.

Start now while it’s on your mind with my e-course, Rockin’ My Book. In this affordable 4-week course you receive in your emailbox one lesson per week for four weeks with instructions, homework and encouragement. Feel the joy of being a published author. Enroll in this on-demand course.
The course starts as soon as you register.

How to Conquer Your Fear of Screwing Up the Book You Want to Write, Part I

conquerfear copy

When you start to write your book, you will feel some fear. Guaranteed.

We all do. It goes with the writing process.

You worry about adding to the trite prose that already clutters the market, and becoming the victim of searing criticism in the process.

All this worry paralyzes you, rendering you too scared to get started or get past the inevitable writer’s block.

You may even engage in the fruitless task of editing as you write. This is like running on a treadmill. You’re burning energy but not really going anywhere.

We will cover some of the ways to conquer this fear in this series.  (See Part 2 here.)

Before we start. . .

Consider writing a nonfiction book

  • They are easier to write.
  • They are easier to sell.
  • Customers are already looking for the solutions in your nonfiction book.
  • You are already an expert in something that could become a nonfiction book (more on that later.)

Don’t let me discourage you from writing your novel if that’s your passion and goal right now. It’s just that fiction takes most authors longer to create and without established credibility, harder to sell.

Good news: you don’t have to choose. You can write both nonfiction and fiction, as more and more authors are doing.

Now that I’ve pushed you to write nonfiction, let’s talk about the first way to conquer that gripping fear that you’ll screw up your book.

Forget about being original

It’s unlikely that you can write on a topic no one has covered in some way, especially in nonfiction. Even if you did, you have no guarantee that anyone would want to read it.

Instead think about how you can write a new twist on a topic that you and other people are interested in.

The most popular nonfiction topics are

  • dieting/weight loss
  • relationships
  • self-help/personal growth/happiness
  • money/finances
  • dating/sex
  • healthy cooking
  • spiritual/inspiration
  • career/leadership
  • parenting

Find a way to tell us something new or in a different way on one of these topics, and you’ll have the potential to write a bestseller.

Let me give you an example.

A quick search on Amazon indicates that as of the day I’m writing this post the category of dieting/weight loss has 11,487 books, 2,135 Kindle books and over 160 products that are tagged “dieting.”

In spite of this mountain of dieting advice/tips/products, someone is creating another book on dieting right now.  If this upcoming author (maybe you) can tell us a healthy way we can eat what we want, skip exercise and keep our ideal weight, her book will be bestseller overnight.

Put a new twist on favorite topics

When you see new books emerge that give solutions in a new way, you may think, “I could have done that!” You’re right. You could have. You just have to turn your thinking cap at a different angle like these authors did.

  • True stories of inspiration, love and courage are not new. But when Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen compiled stories like these, they enjoyed impressive sales of Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Advice about parenting and pregnancy has been around for many decades. When my kids were born, Dr. Spock was the go-to parenting expert who turned childrearing advice on its head.When the mother-daughters team of Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff and Sandee Hathaway wrote What to Expect When You’re Expecting, their book gave us a fascinating new guide to pregnancy and created a phenomenal self-publishing success story (since the first one of what became a serious was self-published.)
  • From the beginning of history people have sought answers from God. When a former Oregon radio talk show host Neale Walsch wrote the responses he was hearing, Conversations with God won him a 7-figure advance from Putnam-Berkley.

    Repurpose your own content

    You must not plagiarize anyone, even yourself. But there’s nothing wrong with breathing new life into your already-produced content, especially your blog.

    Before it was a trend, for example, I gathered the posts from my blog, Color Your Life Happy, and wove them together with results of happiness research, ancient wisdom and added activities and cartoons. The result was my book, Color Your Life Happy: Create Success, Abundance and Inner Joy You Deserve available in print and Kindle versions.

    This is a popular approach, and one I recommend in an e-course I created to help you get over your fear of screwing up your book so you can get started.

If you’re ready to conquer your fear of writing your book, I’m ready to hold your hand in my 4-week e-course, Rockin’ My Book. It’s an on-demand course, meaning you start when you register. Because it’s an e-course you complete it at your convenience. What makes it stand out from many e-courses is that you will get feedback from me when complete the suggested tasks.

I’d love to have you learn about Rockin’ My Book here and then tell me what you’ve done to conquer your fear of writing your book (or even blog posts, articles, etc.) in the comments.

 

The New Print on Demand: Want a Book with that Coffee?

bookwithcoffee copyPrint on demand ushered in an era of speed and changed our expectations forever. You can upload a manuscript and book cover to a publisher’s or printer’s website and within days get the print copy.

The Espresso Book Machine has stepped it up to another level. Now you can get a full book printed while you wait, before you finish your latte. It’s the only digital-to-print-to-retail process available so far.

Major publishers and printers are already using this machine to service their clients, but now you can print your own self-published book and take out another middleman.

This amazing machine is available in a few university bookstores, libraries and coffee shops in the USA and other countries.

Watch the video to see it at work. Then check to find the location near you so you can dash over with your manuscript to see the Espresso Book Machine firsthand.

Below the video, you’ll see the buzz this machine is creating on Twitter.

Leave your comments telling me what you think the Espresso Book Machine means for the future of publishing.



[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/ThomasNelson/status/299548492412645376″] [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/thecreativepenn/status/300945845455577088″] [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/EdieMelson/status/299216805623365633″] [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/jonathansalem/status/251343995437985792″]

Before you can print your book, you must write it, of course. If you need a companion to get you started on your publishing journey, discover how I can help you here.

Have You Been Fooled by These Most Misunderstood Words in English?

 

Enjoy this infographic from Grammar Net. Then confess in the Comments which of these commonly misunderstood words have fooled you.

[Infographic provided by Grammar.net]

Before You Make Another Move, Get Your Online Presence in Order

Before you market your product or service, get your online presence in order.  Complete an update of your LinkedIn profile, for example. Then to get a visual of your LinkedIn presence,  create a graphic like mine below. I created this on https://create.visual.ly/kelly/ when I learned about it from Guy Kawasaki on Google+

If you don’t like what you see, edit your LinkedIn profile to better reflect who you are and what you do.

Once you’re done, post it on Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and all your other favorite social media sites.


create infographics with visual.ly