After working with many writers and listening to their struggles, their reasons for putting off writing usually come down to one of six reasons: I don’t know enough; nobody would want to hear my story; I don’t know how to get started; I’m not good at writing; it will be too hard; or I don’t have enough time. I have faced each of these struggles myself, and so I’m going to share my advice to hopefully help you clear those hurdles so you can begin writing the book that you carry within you.
I don’t know enough
People hold books and their writers in such high esteem that it is easy to believe that only the elites, the experts among the experts, are worthy of publishing a book. This simply isn’t true. If you know more than the guy next to you, you know enough to help him get started in pursuing his dreams and that means you know enough to write a book. You do not have to be an expert. You simply have to be more experienced than someone else.
The honest truth about waiting for the day when you know it all is a convenient way to excuse yourself from taking a risk and putting yourself out there. There may be a million people out there who are more experienced than you are writing books about that same topic, but only you have your unique perspective to offer, and that’s what makes you just as qualified as they are to write about it.
Nobody would want my story
Right now, there is someone out there who faces struggles you’ve already overcome. They think they are alone. They carry the pain by themselves, feeling hopeless because it all seems so overwhelming to them. They may be dealing with despair, thinking they will never overcome this.
You know their pain. You’ve been where they are. And that makes you the exact right person to bring them hope and encouragement when they need it most. They need to hear that they are not alone, that other people have experienced what they do. Hearing your story can provide someone the insight they need to finally overcome the obstacle in front of them and give them hope for a better future.
I don’t know how to get started
Getting started is as simple as writing a single sentence. Write one sentence that summarizes the story or gives people an idea of what they will learn from your book. If you need help with that, register your email address and you can unlock my secret recipe that makes doing this super simple.
Once you have your sentence, break it down into 5 nuggets. If you’re writing fiction, look at your book as a 5-act play and write five sentences that describe the action that will take place in each of those acts. If you’re writing non-fiction, break the content into 5 lessons you want readers to learn from your book.
Now that you have your 5 acts or your 5 lessons, it’s time to break it down even further. For fiction, take those 5 acts and break them down into 5 supporting scenes. Use 5 sentences to describe the action that takes place during those scenes. For non-fiction take those 5 lessons and break them down into 5 mini-lessons that will help the reader grasp the content.
I’m not good at writing
This might seem like a legitimate objection on the surface. After all, people do buy books based as much on the quality of the writing. Poor writing can make the message hard to understand, and that can mean people reject the book without taking the time to find the message. But don’t let it stop you. There are ways past this hurdle.
The only way to get better at writing is to practice doing more of it. If grammar is a problem for you, there are plenty of places on the web that offer help and exercise. Practice 30 minutes a day and you’ll find you are soon much better at writing. Become a reader. Pick a book and read at least one chapter every day. It doesn’t matter if it is fiction or non-fiction. You will begin to absorb the ebb and flow of grammar in action, and this will help sharpen your language and story-telling skills.
You can also partner with someone who can help you make sense of your writing. Choose a friend or hire someone. The other thing you can do is to record yourself talking out the story. Create the outline as I described above and then talk out the action for the outline or describe the lessons. Then find someone else to transcribe and edit that for you.
If you want to write a book, but you’re not good at writing, there are plenty of ways around that hurdle. Don’t let it be the reason you never got your book out there. If you want help, just contact me and I’ll point you in the right direction.
It will be too hard
Anything worth doing is going to be work. The first time you write a book will be the hardest, but once you know that you can, it becomes easier because you’ve got experience doing it. And there are strategies you can employ to make it easier.
First, don’t focus on the big picture. Break your task down into smaller, bite sized bits, and do each of those until you have finished. Eventually what you have will add up to a book. Second, surround yourself with people on the same journey as you. If you need a group to join, I’ve created a 40 Day Writers Facebook group you can join at no cost. It’s a great way to get the help and support you need to succeed. I’m also starting up a YouTube Channel where you can find useful videos full of tips and advice.
Second, I want to assure you that the work you do in writing that book will be worth every struggle. Remember: Even if you only change one person’s life with that book, you’ll have changed the world.
I don’t have the time to write it.
I get it. You’re busy. You have a life. We all do. The difference between you and the writer who gets a book on the shelf isn’t the amount of time given to them. We all have only 24 hours a day. It’s what they did with the time that made the difference.
There are several steps you can take to make the time you need to write without adding another thing to your already overcrowded plate. I discuss this in more detail in my book, The Write Time: How to find all the time you need to write a book, but I’ll give you a few steps you can start taking right now.
First, examine where you’re currently spending your time. What can you cut out or reduce the amount of time you spend doing? TV, Video games, and time spent on social media are all good places to begin. You might be surprised at how much writing you can get done if you were to cut out even one hour a week of those activities.
Second, create a portable writing kit. Take a cheap tote bag like you might find at the grocery store and put inside it a composition notebook, pens, index cards, and your outline. Take it with you everywhere you go. Whenever you have 10 minutes, pull out the outline and write as much as you can. If you only have 2-5 minutes to jot down an idea, use the index cards instead. You’ll be amazed at how quickly those short little segments of time can add up to big gains.
Third, make yourself an appointment to write each day. Pick a time that works within your schedule, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day, and bring your supplies to your meeting. Let everyone else know that this is sacred time and take it seriously. It’s too easy to put off writing if you can, so don’t let yourself off the hook. You won’t write a book in 40 days with just 10 minutes a day, but you can write one in a year that way. The average person writes 20 words a minute free hand. 20 words times ten minutes is 200 words. 200 words a day for 300 days is 60,000 words – a full length novel!
Get started today
Now that I’ve poked holes in all of your excuses for why you can’t write now, I hope I’ve encouraged you to get started today. Please don’t let your story or your message die with you. The world needs it, and it needs you.
Come back tomorrow
The next post I will talk in more depth about overcoming the obstacle of inexperience and how to find your gift and your message so that you can share it with the world.
Did this help?
What’s been holding you back from writing? Which strategy helped you the most? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.