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.
“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!