First, happy (almost) New Year!
Second, ’tis the time of looking both back and ahead. This year, I loved this process…until I dug into my business and asked myself, “What do I want to create? What have I created?”
Like many of you, I’m an entrepreneur, and much of the fun in being an entrepreneur is coming up with new ideas for content, offerings or programs.
I love playing with new ideas…until I did my year end reflection and spent a month sorting through Scrivener, Google docs, random folders on my computer, actual manila file folders with labels like “stuff for social media” or “blog ideas,” and four or five notebooks.
I sorted and organized ALL the ideas I’ve had for courses, workshops, blog posts, and even books.
OMG! It’s been a lot.
Though I don’t want to send my muse on a permanent vacation, it is definitely time to act on some of these ideas and bring them to life.
To help me decide, I asked myself a few key questions (which are below).
Out of several ideas, one book idea survived the “Great Idea Culling of 2023.” Hopefully, it will come to life this year.
Like me, do you have multiple book ideas sitting in folders and files waiting for you?
I’m going to guess that as a creative human, you probably have more than one book idea lying around.
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to deciding which one to write, start with yourself.
Take some time and ask yourself the following questions. Maybe grab a notebook and write down your answers. This first question is about YOU, the author.
Question #1: Why do you want to write a book?
Think about both your external reasons for writing (extrinsic motivation) and internal reasons (intrinsic motivation). External reasons might be to build your audience or reach, or establish authority.
Internal reasons might go deeper, like to leave a legacy, but they don’t have to. My why for my first book was because I’d always dreamed of writing a book. That’s it. But it was enough to get me through the sometimes grueling process. My why for my first nonfiction book is to both build my reach and to provide a resource to my clients.
Make sure your why is strong enough that you’re willing and able to take your beautiful, perfect idea and let it get messy and imperfect.
Because that’s what will happen when you remove it from the perfection of your imagination.
The creative part of writing a book is NOT a linear path – we think of it as this nice thing called “The Writing Process,” but it is incredibly iterative as you move between idea development, structuring those ideas, drafting, researching, finding new ideas, restructuring. It’s more like a spiral.
It’ll get ugly and hard and frustrating before it transforms back into what you’re imagining now, so make sure you’ve got your why drilled down to get you through the hard parts.
Next, get your list of book ideas.
For each viable idea, ask yourself:
Question #2: Why THIS book?
Question #3: What is it about this idea that lights you up?
Question #4: Why are YOU the best person to write THIS book?
Once you’ve answered them all, consider that it might take a year or two (or possibly more) depending on your publishing path to complete this book. Are you excited enough about this idea or do you feel strongly enough about it that you can sustain your efforts and focus on this ONE idea for that long?
Does this idea energize you? Or is there any energy of “I should” write this book?
The BEST book that you can write is one that lights you up, that excites you, that you feel passionate about sharing with the world.
Hopefully, these questions will give you some clarity so that you too can take action and bring your book to life. If you’re ready to organize and develop your content because you’ve figured out exactly the right book to write, I can help you get your book organized and ready to write.
If you still need help deciding on which book you want to write, you can grab a “DECIDE” idea clarity session where I’ll help you drill down your ideas, so you actually write the right book for you and your audience.
If you’d like, share your why in the comments and Happy New Year!