If you’ve ever moved, you know the feeling. Before you can enjoy your new home, you must unpack a lot of boxes.
We moved to Hartsville, South Carolina, and we’re unpacking. We’re almost done, and we still haven’t found things we know are here some place. The unpacked boxes are unlabeled, or the label says, “office stuff” or “kitchen stuff.”
We won’t know what’s in any of the boxes until we unpack them. You’ve got the same problem when you start to write a book.
The Journey to Decision
Most of my clients don’t just wake up one morning, decide to write a book, and get right to it. Instead, they think they might want to write a book someday. They do little with that thought, but it’s always there reminding them of what they could do.
Then something happens. Maybe they read a book and think, “I could do better than that.” Maybe they think something like, “Gosh, I just turned 40. I need a book to boost my reputation and fees.” Or maybe they ask, “What’s next on my bucket list?”
That’s when it’s time to unpack that box of great book ideas they’ve been filling up for years.
Unpacking the Box
Your brain stores all your idea in a mental box, labeled something like “Great book ideas!” You may think it won’t take much to write the book. You’re wrong.
The first thing is to get everything out of that box. When ideas are in the box in your head, they seem more finished and polished than they are in real life. Your brain is a giant neural network that connects all kinds of ideas. Connections go in all directions. A book is different. It goes in a straight line. You must line up your ideas so that that straight line makes sense.
The other reason to unpack the box is that you can’t do anything with your ideas until they’re on a page or in a file. You can’t put them in order or connect them or determine what’s missing. You can’t link key points with stories and research.
When you unpack the box of ideas, you’ll discover something amazing.
Unpacking the Magical Box
That box of ideas in your head is like the magical boxes in fairytales. No matter how many ideas you take out, there are always more. Take out all the ideas you’ve got now, and you’ll find there are still more ideas you can work with.
The box is magical because human beings are naturally creative. You and I and everyone with a brain are naturals at making connections and coming up with ideas. You unpack your box so you can find even more in it than you’ve put there.
That box of book ideas in your head is a magical box. Unpack it so you can do something with the ideas you’ve already got. You’ll discover even more ideas in that box than you put there originally.