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Back to School: You Can Keep Writing

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Whether you’re heading back to classes yourself or shipping your kids back to theirs, your schedule is probably about to change if it hasn’t already. When schedules change, it can be hard to juggle everything and settle into a new routine. All too often, things fall through the cracks, and your personal writing time might get lost in the shuffle. There is room in your schedule for a writing routine, you just have to make sure to prioritize the time in your schedule!

Don’t be flexible about your writing time

As you work in school pick-ups and drop-offs, extra-curricular activities, work meetings, and other responsibilities, it can be easy to sacrifice your writing time. Whenever you feel the need to put your writing on the back burner, remember this advice from J.K. Rowling:

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Many writers love to wake up at dawn and write during the quiet hours of the morning. Others work late into the night while everyone is asleep. Some writers are militant about using their lunch break to write furiously in the break room. These routines are very different, but the result is all the same; these writers write.

How can I find the right writing routine?

The truth is, your writing routine will be different from another writer’s. Every author is motivated or distracted by different things, and your daily responsibilities differ from other author’s. For example, Barbara Kinsgsolver, who started working on her first book the day she had her first child, said, “I used to say that the school bus is my muse. When it pulled out of the driveway and left me without anyone to take care of, that was the moment my writing day began, and it ended when the school bus came back. “ (Source)

Agatha Christie, on the other hand, used chore time to brainstorm.

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Make your writing routine a priority

Wake up every morning and tell yourself, “My writing is a priority.” Say it out loud and really mean it. No one is going to force you to sit down and work on your book, so you have to be the one to set aside the time to put words on the pages. Take a look at your schedule and decide when you can truly dedicate yourself to your book. Be realistic about it. If you absolutely dread mornings, don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling 4 am wake-up calls. If you know that your Saturdays will be filled with soccer games, make that your day off.

Wake up every morning and tell yourself, “My writing is a priority.”

Your writing time is important. It is not leisure time spent in front of the TV. It is not a hobby. You are telling your story, and your story matters! Make sure you schedule time to write, even if you have to break it up into smaller increments. It’s ok if you can’t dedicate several hours to your book every day, but figure out how much time you need to work on it each week and then stick to that schedule.

You can write your book in one year, but you have to dedicate time to a writing routine! As you settle back into your school or work routines, make sure you schedule plenty of time to work on your book.


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Create a crystallized message 2

Nonfiction Writing Technique: Crystallize

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writing-bookWhen writing nonfiction, there are three steps that come before you actually sit down to write that will strengthen and clarify your message.

1. What’s the Purpose?

An article is not the same as a blog, is not the same as a web page. Each end product has its own purpose, and before you begin writing, you need to know the purpose of the piece.

You probably have a general idea of what you want to write, and I challenge you to distill it down to a Purpose Statement before you start. Your Purpose Statement should say, “The purpose of this (blog/article/book/web copy/marketing message) is to ___________________.

Complete that sentence. Bear in mind that it’s one sentence, not a paragraph.

Example: The purpose of this article is to inspire others to create a larger legacy through their writing.

2. Who’s the Audience?

If you don’t know your audience, it’s like playing spin-the-bottle in the dark. Don’t you want to know who you’re going kiss before you pucker up? Likewise, you need to envision your audience. What you write isn’t for everyone; it’s for a specific slice of readers.

Picture your perfect reader. What are they looking for? What’s their age, demographic, marital status? Are they male or female, conservative or liberal? How do they identify themselves? Complete this sentence: The audience for this piece is ___________________.

Example: The audience for this article is entrepreneurs who want to create a larger legacy.

3. Why the Message?

Writers not only want to be read, they want to be remembered. If your content goes in their mind but doesn’t elicit a response, then you’ve wasted your time. It will be forgotten as quickly as it was read.

You must create some type of change in the reader. How will they be different as a result of what you wrote? What change, as slight as it may be, do you want to invoke in the reader? Do you want to move them to action? Give them hope? Make them smile? Consider the end result and write down how you want your readers to be affected.

Example: This article will inspire entrepreneurs to first crystallize and then expand their message.

Now pull the three components together into a single statement.

Example: The purpose of this article is to inspire entrepreneurs to first crystallize and then expand their message, so they can create a larger legacy.

Ready, set, write.

Now that you know your audience, you can write from their perspective, not yours. What do they want to know? What information are they seeking? What new message or perspective can you deliver? Compelling content always meets the need, and your job is to deliver what the audience is seeking.

To crystallize your message, include specific content that achieves the stated purpose, nothing else. Readers absorb focused content, and everything you write should drive toward that message, that audience, that purpose, and that result.

Go BIGGER!

If you want a bigger audience, you need a bigger platform. With a little tweaking, you can extend your message and deliver it through multiple venues, like writing a book or delivering workshops, speaking engagements, and online courses. This isn’t simply an opportunity for you; it’s a service to others. When you share what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and what you’ve overcome, you can change the life or direction of someone else. Someone is looking for what’s hidden inside you. Whether your message is about your business, lessons you’ve learned, or about how to connect on a soul-level with your dog, if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it!

Your legacy is about the lives you touch and the change you create. When you share what you know, what you’ve learned, and what you’ve overcome, you can make a lasting impact that extends far beyond yourself.

What about you? Are you ready to take the next step and learn how to crystallize your message in your book? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Learn From Other Successful Nonfiction Authors

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As a nonfiction book coach with over 25 years of experience, I admit that I didn’t get to where I am today on my own. I’ve learned from the best mentors early in my career and am fortunate to have wise teachers in my life still today. As an aspiring author, one of the best things you can do is to learn from other successful nonfiction authors. Their experience, style, successes, and failures are all worth studying as you work on your book.

Meet Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is a nonfiction author who has written books to share his knowledge, experience, and expertise. Gladwell has written 5 books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Outliers: The Story of Success, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

nonfiction author malcolm gladwell

Gladwell’s style proves that nonfiction authors can be just as entertaining and riveting as novelists. His well-researched books present information in an easy-to-digest manner so that readers can dive into a topic they may not have explored previously. When asked about his writing process, Gladwell said, “I have two parallel things I’m interested in. One is, I’m interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I’m interested in collecting interesting research. What I’m looking for is cases where they overlap” (Source)

Background

Gladwell was born to a Jamaican-born psychotherapist (Joyce Gladwell) and English-born mathematician (Graham Gladwell). He spent his childhood hanging around his father’s office at the University of Waterloo and considers his mother his role model as a writer. However, his early love of reading and books did not lead to a particularly successful college career; his undergraduate grades were not high enough to get him into graduate school. Gladwell has no problem admitting his flaws and failures and talks openly about how his failures have given him the insight and material he needs to write.

Learn from an incredibly successful nonfiction author

It’s always great to see authors helping authors. Gladwell is not shy about discussing his writing methods, how he deals with writer’s block, and how he uses public speaking to promote himself and his books. In this podcast episode he discusses everything from his morning routine to the advice he would give his 30-year-old self. Set aside some time to listen to a bestselling nonfiction author share his wisdom and advice for aspiring authors!

“For every hour I spend writing, I spend three hours thinking about writing.”

 This quote from Gladwell says so much about the writing process. Writing is not just about putting words on paper or a screen, it’s about putting serious thought into what it is you want to say and how you can communicate that message through the art of writing.

Learn from other authors and find the writing process that works for you! Contact us today and we can help you take the next step in writing your book!


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Nonfiction Writing Tip: Use Sensory Language

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Human beings are wired to respond to stories, and we remember things that have an emotional impact on us. Think about it. We can watch an emotionally charged story on the news and remember it for weeks or even months. The same is true when writing a book. When you write your book, there’s a nonfiction writer tool you can use to impact the reader. It affects them on an emotional level, so they will remember what they read.

How do you do that? Well, it’s not so complicated. One way to impact your reader is to bring them in close, to make them feel like they’re right there in the room with you. You do that by creating scenes that use the nonfiction writer tool of sensory language.

Sensory language as a nonfiction writer tool

Sensory language is just what it sounds like – it’s the language of our five senses. When you use sensory language, you describe what you saw, felt, heard, tasted, and smelled. You don’t write, “I was sad when my girlfriend left me.” You write, “When she told me she was leaving, she smiled as she whispered the words, ‘I’m leaving you.’ My throat clamped tight. I blinked hard, so I wouldn’t cry, but one hot tear fell and salted my upper lip.”

In this passage, you find four of the five senses: She told me–hearing; throat clamped tight and hot tear–feeling; she smiled–sight; she whispered–hearing; salted my upper lip–taste. The only sense not included is the sense of smell.

Sensory language punches up your writing and engages the reader. It breaks up the monotony and helps the reader to visualize the scene, so they can experience it.

Before and After

Take a look at the two passages below, and notice how sensory language makes a difference.

1. Becky called me and said that something terrible had just happened. She wanted to talk about it, so I asked her to meet me at the grill on the ground floor of my building. It was almost noon, and I was hungry, so I asked her if she wanted something to eat.

Compare that to:

2. “The police just barged in my house,” Becky said. “It was raining, and their boots tracked bits of grass and mud all over my white carpet. Didn’t even bother to wipe their feet. It’s like they used my carpet as a door mat. There were six of them.”

A piece of red hair – I Love Lucy red hair – escaped from behind her ear, and she slicked it back without taking a breath. My watch beeped twelve o’clock, but she yammered on. The grilling onions made my stomach lurch. I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

“Wow,” I said. “I’m so sorry. Can I get you something to eat? I could use a bite myself, and maybe that would make you feel better.”

Her head banged down on the table, and she hiccuped massive sobs. “What do you think I am, a twelve-year-old?” she sputtered. “It’s not like a snack can make me all better!”

Sensory language is a nonfiction writer tool that is easy to incorporate. All you have to do is describe what you hear, what you smell, what you see, what you feel, and what you taste. Drop those elements in a scene and watch your writing come alive!

What about you? Are you ready to put sensory language to work? If you or someone you know has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help make it happen!


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Writing A Book: Don’t Make These Mistakes

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I own a professional publishing company and receive numerous submissions each year from writers who want to be published. I strictly work with nonfiction, so the manuscripts are usually from non-professional writers who have experienced or learned something that will either save lives, change lives, or transform society. As founder of The Book Professor, I created a program that takes aspiring authors who have no writing skills all the way to their first book within one year.

I do, however, also work with those who have written a book on their own without our program and sometimes agree to review their manuscript for publishing.  Unfortunately, this is where the challenge begins. Here are ten common mistakes that send their work to my recycling bin:

1. They think they have a great idea.

Before you start writing, make sure you have an original idea. How do you do that? Research, research, research! Read other books in the same genre and on the same topic, and if you find that your message has already been delivered, then save yourself the time and aggravation of writing a book. Better yet, find your unique angle and write to that perspective.

2. They love their own writing.

Seasoned authors know the value of outside criticism and will seek it at every opportunity. Amateur writers think that if they scored well in high school English, they’re good writers and don’t need any feedback. That’s a big mistake. You’re probably not as good as you think you are, and neither am I. An overconfident attitude produces the kind of sloppy writing I toss aside.

3. They think writing will be easy.

Writing isn’t easy and it never has been. It’s a hard discipline and very few can hack it. If it were easy, you would have already written your book! No one has ever accidentally written a book, and neither will you. You must create disciplined deadlines and be accountable to them. Write all the time; practice makes perfect. As Agatha Christie said, “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

4. They don’t know how to start a book.

Think about how you would start any multi-layered project, like building a house. You’d start with a plan wouldn’t you? Your book project should also begin with a plan that you can execute, which will carry you from concept to cover. You must know what you’re trying to accomplish in order to hit the goal. Begin by answering these foundational questions, then write a book that’s targeted to your answers.

  • What purpose will the book serve?
  • How is it different from other books published on this same subject?
  • What is the main theme of your story? Secondary themes?
  • What new information or angle does your story present that hasn’t already been heard?
  • Why will people want to read this story?
  • Who is your audience? Define your primary and secondary markets.
  • How will this work impact that audience?
  • What change do you want to invoke in the reader?
  • Why would others recommend this book to others?
  • Finish the sentence: “The purpose of this book is to ­­­­­­­­___________________.”
  • Who would you like to endorse your book? Another expert in the field? A celebrity? Figure that out, then write the kind of book that person would endorse.

5. They don’t exhaust the language or expand their style.

Readers appreciate a varied vocabulary, but are impatient with the repetition of words, phrases, and sentence structure. Be sure that your writing is interesting, that there’s a mixture of sentence styles, that you’ve employed active language, and that your verbs are sharp and distinctive. Language matters.

6. They don’t understand grammar and punctuation.

You may not understand the rules of grammar and punctuation, but that doesn’t mean that others don’t. They do, and they’ll spot your mistakes in a flash. There are strict rules for both grammar and punctuation, and you better sharpen those skills if you don’t want to be dismissed.

7. They won’t invest.

So maybe you’re not good at grammar and punctuation? Hire an editor. Not sure if there are mistakes in your manuscript? Hire a proofreader. If you want to self-publish, then hire a professional cover designer and interior designer. Just because you can do everything yourself, that doesn’t mean you should. This is a specialized, professional industry, and you should work with professionals.

8. They trust the opinions of their friends.

Friends and family are great, but they have limitations when it comes to offering you objective feedback. When it comes to writing a book, their opinion doesn’t count. They are inexperienced, care too much about your feelings, and may only tell you what you want to hear. Seek an outside opinion from a professional editor who is trained to critique writing. But brace yourself—this could hurt! Be eager to make the necessary changes to meet professional standards.

9. They don’t know how to end the book.

Your opening line is important, but the ending can make or break a book. How and where do you stop? Decide if you want to tie your story in a neat bow or allow it to continue. Write three or four endings, then choose the one that is most satisfying. Moreover, be sure to tie up loose strings on all subplots, and revisit those foundational questions to be sure you’ve accomplished your stated goals.

10. They are in a hurry.

Amateur authors often set unreasonable deadlines, then latch onto them for dear life. Come hell or high water, they’re going to get their book finished by Christmas, or their birthday, or by any other manufactured deadline that has nothing to do with the book itself. Know this: by the time you’re in the home stretch, you’re going to be sick of your book. You may even hate it. But that doesn’t mean that you push it out the door just to get rid of it. Pull back and be thorough with every edit, with every research item, with every jot and tittle. Exercise a firm discipline and slow down, so you can produce a professional and polished manuscript and become an author, not merely a writer.

What about you? Are you ready to submit your manuscript? Or, do you have an idea but aren’t sure how to get started?  No matter where you are in your journey, we can help. Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Goals of Writing a Nonfiction Book-Establish a Purpose

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One of the worst things you can do is write a book without a purpose. Your Purpose Statement is the foundation of your nonfiction book. It defines your mission and describes your job as the author: to deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book. It’s clear, concise, and specific. And it’s the can’t-do-without-it guide for everything you’ll write.

Purpose Statement

The Purpose Statement is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a statement—a single sentence, not a paragraph—that states what the book will accomplish for its specific audience.

If you want your nonfiction book to make an impact, it must perform an action. If what you’re thinking about writing doesn’t deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book, then leave it out.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank formula that will help you craft your Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this book is to do action for audience.

What do you want your book to do? Hard question. Maybe it’s easier to explain what you don’t want it to do: You don’t want your book to raise awareness. Seriously.

You might think, I think I do want to raise awareness. Actually, you don’t. If you write a book to raise awareness, you miss an opportunity to change lives, save lives, or transform society.

You could write the most captivating, awareness-raising book in the world, but at the end, your readers’ response will be, “Well, that was interesting. Now I know about that.” Then they’ll shut the cover and promptly forget about it. Or maybe it will stick with readers a few days, and they’ll think, “Somebody should do something about that.” But that’s as far as it will go. In the end, you’ve spent your time, energy, emotion, and money to write a forgettable book.

You want to create change in a specific, targeted audience, and you can use this formula to write your Purpose Statement:   

The purpose of this book is to action for audience so they can result.

Here are a few examples that my clients wrote:

Example 1—Nancy Nelson, Lessons from the Ledge: The purpose of this book is to guide women in crisis to dig into their resilience, to push past the pitfalls, and to reframe the pain so they can thrive instead of merely survive.

Let’s analyze Nancy’s Purpose Statement in light of our formula:

The purpose of this book is to guide (action) women in crisis (audience) to dig into their resilience (result 1), to push past the pitfalls (result 2), and to reframe the pain (result 3), so they can thrive instead of merely survive (result 4).

Example 2—Craig Hughes, The Self-Driving Company: The purpose of this book is to inspire small business owners who are spread too thin, cash-strapped, and feel trapped by their business to take action that moves them from their current all­consuming, hands­on approach to the freedom of a self-sustaining enterprise.

Let’s break it down:

The purpose of this book is to inspire (action–part 1) small business owners who are spread too thin, cash strapped, and feel trapped by their business (audience) to take action (action–part 2) that moves them from their current all­consuming, hands­on approach to the freedom of a self­sustaining enterprise (result).

Example 3—Terry Lammers, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: The purpose of this book is to show (action) business owners who are seeking an exit strategy (audience 1) and people who want to purchase a company (audience 2) the critical steps and the resources needed to buy or sell a company. (result)

Practice these techniques when writing your own purpose statement for your nonfiction book, and watch your audience be motivated to change!

 


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Writing a Nonfiction Book: Where To Start

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Have you ever heard of the saying: “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail?” It might sound cliche, but I think its applicable to many situations in life. Whether your goal is to become financially secure for retirement, lose weight, purchase a home or more recently set a New Years Resolution—it all starts with a plan. You have to know how you will get to that goal.

Writing a book is the same way.  If you’re one of the millions of people that say “I should write a book,” but then never sit down and create a plan on what your next steps should be, chances are you won’t ever write your book. But, with a proper plan in place and some tips on where to start, you can finish your book within 1 year.

Make a Decision

Before I can follow a new process, I have to make a decision to do it. I have to say to myself, “Nancy, this is something you need to learn, and there’s no way around it. So make the decision, be committed, and get started.”

Do you know what the hardest part about writing a book is? It’s making the decision to do it. You’ve probably had the idea for your book for a long time. I bet it’s been percolating in your head, banging against the doors to come out. At times it probably drives you crazy, but books don’t write themselves, and the only way yours is going to get written is if you make the decision to do it. You have to decide to write your book then figure out how to start writing it. It’s your story. Only you can write it.

Whenever I travel, it seems I am seated next to chatty types, and it’s fun to get acquainted. On one particular flight, I sat next to Don, and when he asked me what I do for work, I explained that I help people who aren’t writers become authors of high-impact nonfiction books.

“Really?” he replied. “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

I hear that a lot. A lot of people say they want to write a book. “Then why don’t you?” I asked.

“I’ve never really looked into it,” he said.

His answer spoke volumes. Don had flirted with the idea of writing a book, but he’d never taken it further than just that — the idea of writing a book. People tend to glamorize the writer’s life and don’t realize that it’s a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of time. Don never made the decision to write his book, so in all likelihood, it will never get done. If he cannot make the decision to write a book, he’ll never know how to start writing it.

Contrast that to Bryan. When I ask Bryan why he hadn’t written his book, he said, “Because I don’t know how to start writing. I have all these ideas, but I don’t know what to do with them. This is where I get lost.”

Make a Plan

That makes perfect sense to me. If you’ve never written a book, how would you know how to start writing one? Writing is hard work and the publishing industry is complicated. Some people sit down and start writing first, but they soon find that all those ideas that have been rattling around in their head have no form, no shape. What comes out is like a spaghetti mess — a bunch of threads that aren’t connected to one another. It’s frustrating. They know they have a message, but they don’t know how to get it down on paper. That’s not how to start writing; you need a plan before you put words on paper or on a screen.

The problem with the “write first” approach is that it’s like trying to build a house without any plans. You have no blueprint to follow, no foundation poured, and you have no idea what the house will look like when it’s finished.

I don’t know a lot about building, but I know you never put up the walls first. They have to be attached to something solid, so you pour the foundation first. But even before that, you need a comprehensive plan, or blueprint, that shows where each room will be and what features it will have. Before you pull out your hammer, you have to have a plan.

The same is true for your book. If you want to save time, energy, money, and frustration, you begin with the end in mind. You take the concept for your book and turn it into a concrete plan.

To do that, we start with the foundation. Perhaps you know the topic of your book, but do you know what you want your book to accomplish? The book must have a purpose, or there’s no reason to write it. Believe it or not, the purpose isn’t always easy to figure out, at least not without some concentrated effort.

I like to start with these Foundational Questions:

  1.  Why do you want to write this book?  What is your motivation?
  2.  What purpose will the book serve?
  3.  How is it different from other books published on this same subject? What new information or angle does your story present that hasn’t already been heard?
  4.  What is the main theme of the story, as you see it now? What are the secondary themes?
  5.  Who is your audience? Be specific. Define your primary and secondary markets.
  6.  How will this work impact that audience? What change do you want to invoke in the reader?
  7.  Why will people want to read this story? Why would they recommend it to others?
  8.  What is the pivotal moment in your story?
  9.  Write a Purpose Statement for the book that begins with, “The purpose of this book is to …” and list the primary and secondary purposes that you have identified.
  10. Write a two- to three-paragraph synopsis of the book.
  11. Write the copy that you envision appearing on the back cover of the book.
  12. Who do you want to endorse the book?

These questions will help you crystallize your message and figure out how to start writing. Beyond that, you need a process you can follow that will get you on the right track and keep you there. In my Group Coaching classes we create a BookMAP, which is a visual representation of your entire book. We map out all the contents of your book before you write a single word. Then, when you are ready to write, you follow your BookMAP, and even if you only have 15 minutes, you can write something to contribute to your book.

Let us show you how to start writing and finish your book in just 1 year

A new year is upon us, and you can make 2019 the year you finally write your book that will establish you as an expert in your field, raise your credibility, and attract a following. We’re here to help! In fact, a new Group Coaching class begins in January, and you can join now. Make 2019 the year you finally write your book!


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Writing a Book is an Investment-Go Public To Stay The Course And Finish

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Writing a book is one of the best decisions a person can make. The power to change lives, save lives and transform society is one reason why I decided to become an author, and then later help others learn how to write a book. But before I became an author and a book coach, I had to learn how to set goals and stay accountable to them. As a book coach, this is one area we help our students learn what to do.

On a recent group coaching call, our conversation went like this:

“How many of you think of yourself an author?” I asked.

No response.

“None of you? You’re all writing a book, and you don’t consider yourselves authors?”

“I don’t really know how to write,” one client said, “so I don’t think of myself that way.”

“People who write books are authors,” I said, “and since that’s what you’re doing, that’s what you are. I have a challenge for you this week. Tell at least five people that you’re writing a book, and see if it changes your view of yourself.”

When you tell others that you’re writing a book, you add another layer of scrutiny. They’ll want to know all about it: what it’s about, how it’s coming along, when it will be finished. They may offer their opinion about what you’re writing—which could be either encouraging or discouraging, depending on what they say. But you can bet your boots that they’ll ask you about it again and again, until your book is finished. Even if you don’t like the questions, you’ll be accountable to finish your book—or else suffer a bruised ego and a slight humiliation.

The Investment Tether

Psychologists tell us that when we pay for something, we place a higher value on it. But I don’t need to tell you that. If you’ve ever purchased movie tickets in advance, you know the push that gets you to the theater in time for the show. But if the tickets were free, there’d be no push.

It’s not only the monetary investment in your book that will keep you going. Writing your book is also an emotional investment. There are a lot of ups and downs in the process, and if your material is sensitive and pulls you back to unhappier times, you may relive those moments as you are writing. Writing a book costs time, money, energy, and emotion, and while it’s worth it in the end, it can be tempting to give up before you’re finished.

I was at a conference recently where one of my authors, Terry Lammers, was being interviewed about his experience writing his book. Even though Terry’s material is rather serious, he’s not! The interviewer asked him what the process was like, and I wanted to clamp my hand over his mouth when he answered.

“It was a lot like getting tased,” he said.

The audience roared. I grimaced.

“I was rolling along at a pretty relaxed pace in the beginning,” he said, “just answering some questions and figuring out the purpose of my book. But then I started writing, and it was like Nancy had a taser that jolted me every week to keep me writing. I actually wanted to quit because the deadlines just kept coming, week after week. But by then, I’d invested too much time and money to stop.”

I guess that’s one way to look at it!

The bottom line is, if you invest in your book, you’ll be more likely to finish it.

What about you? Are you ready to set the goal of writing your book and learn how to be accountable so that you finish? If so, please contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Writing a Book-Time, It’s Not On Our Side

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Writing a Book is Possible-Even With a Busy Life

Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

For you music buffs out there, can you name that tune? I’ll give you a hint. It was first recorded by R&B artist Irma Thompson in 1964 and then later that same year, it was re-recorded by one of the most influential rock groups in our culture. If you guessed “Time Is On My Side” by  The Rolling Stones, then you’re right! Whether you prefer the original version by Irma Thompson, or undoubtedly the most popular version by The Rolling Stones, the lyrics are still fantastic and bring back some great memories.

You might be thinking, what does that song have to do with writing a book? More than you might realize. In fact, the excuse of “I don’t have time right now” is one of the biggest objections I hear from people who put their book on hold. In other words, they believe that time is on their side, and they don’t need to write their book right now. They’re too busy with life and will wait till the time is right. What’s the rush?

Yes, there are some seasons in life that can require more from us mentally, physically, and emotionally, but if you’re waiting for your life to be uneventful so you can write your nonfiction book, then it probably won’t ever get written.

You Will Never Be Less Busy

It doesn’t matter if your passion is about a new business process that can save time and dollars. It can be a memoir about overcoming pain and suffering, or how to connect on a soul-level with your dog: if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it! People don’t buy books; they buy solutions.

Someone is looking for what’s trapped inside of you, but you’re not sure that now is the right time to jump in and write your book. Guess what? You will never be less busy than you are now! This year is going to pass by anyway, and you may as well have something to show for it.

If you were sitting in front of me instead of reading this blog, here’s what I’d say to you:

Time - You will never be less busy

 

If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today and we can help you with the next step! For more information on our class offerings, please visit us at www.thebookprofessor.com.


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Use Your Pain: Writing to Heal

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Life is hard. It’s also good, but it is hard at times. I know that you don’t leave this earth without some scars, but you can use writing to heal. While I’m blessed and thankful to be alive, my life hasn’t always been easy. As a nonfiction book coach, I’ve learned how to write an inspirational nonfiction book when it hurts. And I’ve worked with clients who have overcome unspeakable hardships and have chosen to write through their pain to heal themselves.

Writing to heal has a way of freeing the emotional knots of trauma and releasing pitted anxiety. Before I became a professional book coach and writer, I was an avid journaler and still am today. Learning to write through my own personal pain has freed my soul.

Writing Heals Wounds

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I don’t mean that I’ve always been a professional writer, but I’ve always loved to write. In fact, I’m not sure if I would’ve survived my childhood without my journal. The minute I started writing to heal, I felt immediate release from anxiety and depression, which began to leave my body soon as my pen hit the paper. Years later, I discovered that there truly are some physical and emotional benefits of writing.

Researcher, author, and scientist Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas, explains in his book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, that excessive holding back of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can place people at risk for both major and minor diseases. More than simply a catharsis or venting, translating events into language can affect brain and immune functions. The subjects he tested had an increase in germ-fighting lymphocytes in their blood and lower stress levels. Writing was found to reduce anxiety and depression, improve grades in college, and aid people in finding jobs. He also reported that months after people had written about traumas over 70% reported that writing helped them to understand both the event and themselves better. (Source)

I don’t know about you, but I’m always fascinated when science backs something I’ve always believed. That sort of validation helps to reaffirm my God-given calling of helping others tell their stories.

What about you? Nobody really knows what you’ve been through.  But they see how strong you are, what you’ve endured, and what you’ve lost. You’re a survivor, an overcomer—not by choice but by necessity. You know what it feels like to be thrust into a situation you neither asked for nor anticipated. Like a snap, everything changed, and you had to learn how to live life on a new plane. The worst part was that there didn’t seem to be any real help, no guide to get you through, and you felt all alone.

Through writing, you can overcome and heal. Who else can you help today? If you or someone you know wants to learn to how to write a nonfiction book, please contact us today!


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Vocabulary for Online Writing Classes

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Your manuscript is comprised of words, and the ones you select are critical to how well you communicate with your audience. The vocabulary you select will either make or break your manuscript. A strong and varied vocabulary is an important writing tool that all writers should strive to have.

We use words to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions. Sometimes our communication is successful, and sometimes it’s not. Your job as a writer is to select the words that communicate exactly what you mean, without the possibility of misinterpretation. A wide vocabulary allows you to do that. Without a good working knowledge of words and their meanings, your written communication will be muddied or poorly understood.

If you don’t have a strong vocabulary, one way to develop it is to use a simple but effective writing tool: a thesaurus.

Say you wanted to describe how you felt on the day your first child was born. You might use the word “happy.” However, we use the same word to describe a wide range of pleasant feelings, don’t we? I’m happy when I have a cup of coffee in the morning, but that’s not the same happy I felt the day my daughter was born.

I highly recommend a writing tool called Visual Thesaurus. Simply type in the word you want to replace, and the results pop up in mindmap format. Click on any of the displayed word options, and they will expand to give further meaning. In essence, you drill down until you find the precise word that means exactly what you want to say.

I looked up the word happy because I wanted to describe how I felt when my daughter was born. Some of the selections included blissful, joyful, content, glad, bright, elated, euphoric, etc. The term that really struck me was blessed.writing tool

 

Next, I wanted to describe how I feel when I drink a cup of hot coffee in the morning. I don’t feel blessed, or euphoric, or bright, or gleeful, I feel content. I am content with my cup of coffee.

The words blessed and content are both variations on the word happy, and yet, they actually have different meanings.

A nimble working vocabulary allows you to say exactly what you mean and to be explicit, rather than vague. I caution you to choose words that your audience will understand. In other words, keep it simple. If the reader doesn’t understand your word choice, you may feel intelligent, but you will lose your audience, and that’s not good communication. A thesaurus is an excellent writing tool because it helps you brainstorm and then drill down to the perfect word, but you do not want your readers to need a dictionary just to get through a mess of overcomplicated words on each page. So when choosing your words, remember that you are writing to communicate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

 


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inspirational people

Making a Difference with His Nonfiction Book

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I hope you are following our mission to find 117 Solutions in 2017 because you will meet many ordinary, yet inspirational people, who are working hard to make this world a better place. Tom Hofmeister is such a man.

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