2 Reasons Why You Need Help To Write Your Book

Apr 9, 2024 | Writing A Book

The bookcase just didn’t fit in.

When Bill and I lived in the same city, we spent a good deal of time together, mostly investigating the local brew pubs. Then we each moved to different cities but stayed in touch. I was giving a speech in his town and stayed an extra night so he could get together and catch up.

Bill picked me up at my hotel and we stopped at a local brew pub for old time’s sake and some good beer. Next, we went to his house, and he showed me around. It was a beautiful home.

The bookcase was in Bill’s office. It was lopsided and not very well finished, totally different from all the other furniture in the house.

Bill saw me looking at the bookcase. He chuckled. “Let’s go in the kitchen and grab a beer and I’ll tell you about it,” he said.

Bill had always wanted to try his hand at carpentry, and it seemed like a bookshelf would be the perfect project. It was fairly simple, and he needed a bookshelf in his office. But things didn’t go exactly as he envisioned them.

Bill read some books and watched several YouTube videos before he started working on the bookshelf. The folks at a local big-box store helped him select the tools he needed for his workshop.

“It just wasn’t as easy as I thought,” Bill said. He kept running into things he hadn’t anticipated. He chose the wrong kind of lumber because nothing he looked at told him what he needed, and he didn’t know it would make a difference. He discovered that using the right tool is only part of getting it right. The rest is knowing how to use the tool. The books and videos couldn’t tell him all of that.

“I keep that bookcase it as a reminder that things aren’t as easy as they look.” That was Bill’s way of getting the most benefit from a project gone awry, and it reminded me of many of the prospects who come my way.

Two Kinds of First-Time Authors

There are two kinds of first-time authors. Some think they need help, and others don’t. Things generally don’t end well for the ones who don’t.

There’s a Lot To Learn and Not All Sources Are Reliable

There’s nothing about writing and publishing a book that you can’t learn. It’s not rocket science. But there is a lot to learn.

Writing a book is different from any kind of writing you’ve ever done. It’s not only longer; it takes a long time. There will be multiple revisions. And the book is a complex system. Change one part of it, and you’ll have to change other parts too.

There are plenty of books, podcasts, and videos to help you, but many of them are unreliable. Some are unreliable because the authors have bad information or lack experience. Are unreliable because their sales pitches disguised as advice. And some are unreliable because the information in them is no longer valid.

If you want to find reliable sources, look for experience, credentials, and client testimonials. Once you find a reliable source, check their advice against other reliable sources.

Writing a Book Means Developing New Habits

When you write a book, you can’t count on motivation to sustain you. You need to develop good writing habits, which is easier said than done.

Become a productivity scientist. Learn about what works best for you. Look for advice from your reliable sources about how effective writers work. Start by trying what works for others. Keep it if it works. If it doesn’t, try something different.

You may also need to develop habits in other areas. For example, you’ll be more effective as an author if you eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.

If you want to write a book you’re proud of, you must learn a lot and develop new and effective habits. That will be easier if you get help from information sources and from other people. Don’t try to go it alone.

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