2 good reasons to abandon your book project

Mar 24, 2015 | Writing A Book

“I feel like a failure.”

It’s easy to feel that way if you start to write that book that will boost your career, only to abandon the project. It’s easy to charge that off to a lack of persistence or a failure of willpower or discipline.

Not so fast, my friend. There are at least two good reasons to abandon your book project.

Sometimes circumstances change

Tom Hall got a great start on his book. He conducted some original research and even engaged someone to work with him to get the project done. Then a major business challenge came along and claimed his attention. He put the book project on the back burner.

It stayed there for about eight years. Then he pulled out the research and dusted it off. With almost a decade of perspective, Tom was able to see some things he hadn’t seen the first time. That research and Tom’s penetrating insights became the basis for the book we wrote together: Ruthless Focus: How to Use Key Core Strategies to Grow Your Business.

Many people face challenges like Tom’s. They want to write their book, but life intrudes with new challenges and opportunities. They find that they can’t give proper attention to the challenges and opportunities and still do a good job on their book.

Some of those people return to their book project later and finish it. Others don’t. Either way, changed circumstances can be a good reason to abandon a book project.

Sometimes the concept is flawed

Several years ago I found myself working harder and harder to turn a bad business idea into a good business. I saw the light and stopped when a friend of mine reminded me that “Redoubling your efforts to do something stupid is not a good strategy.”

Sometimes you can get partway into writing a book and realize that the book would be “something stupid.” I’ve had clients discover that their original concept simply wouldn’t work as a book. Another found compelling research that refuted his main idea. In another case a client told me that she “just isn’t the right person to write this book.”

If the book that you originally imagined won’t be a great book, let the project go. Writing a book is hard work. Why put that work into something that won’t be distinctive?