If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, but you thought, “I don’t know enough” or “I’m not experienced enough,” I want you to let go of that idea. You know more than someone with zero experience. You have more experience than someone who has never done it before, and that makes you legitimately qualified to write a book on what you do know.
You don’t have to be an expert
One of the mistakes people make is in thinking they have to have a degree, or a certification, or be some kind of recognized expert in the field in order to write a book. It’s understandable. Book authors are held in high esteem, and for good reason. They are the thought leaders of the world. However, they are people just like you and me. They don’t know everything about their topic, and they don’t need to. Neither do you.
You will never know everything there is to know. There will always be someone with more knowledge than you. There will always be someone with more credentials than you. However, no one out there can offer the perspective you do. No one else out there has the unique combination of life experiences, skills, and talents that make you who you are. That means no one else is qualified to serve others the way that you can.
Serve Those Who Know Less Than You
Just as there will always be people who know more than you do, there will always be people who know less than you do. Seek to serve those people. Be a mentor to them and encourage them on their journey. As you serve their needs, you’ll gain more experience that will help you develop your expertise. You’ll become a specialist in that field, and one that is sought after by those desperate for help getting started on the path to pursuing their dreams.
Moreover, serving them will bring you blessings in other ways, too. You will learn from them. They have unique expertise to offer you, experiences of their own, perspectives you don’t. Every encounter with someone brings you knowledge and helps you grow in wisdom. For every one blessing you give to others through your decision to step up and serve you will reap a harvest of 3 or more in return.
You have a unique perspective to offer
When you’re thinking about writing in a field of study that has a lot of competition, it can be daunting to think of trying to compete with everyone else. This is where you can begin to say to yourself that you don’t have the experience, that you don’t know enough, that you don’t have enough credentials to enter the field. But the reality is that you can offer something no one else can: Your perspective.
Just because you’ve walked the same path as someone else does not mean you’ve seen the same things they have seen. Even if you walk it at the exact same moment in time, you will have a different experience because of what you observe that they overlooked, what you bring to that walk that they don’t in terms of other experiences and insights, what your feelings are at the time, and what thoughts come to you during that walk. All of these are valuable, and can provide important insights to someone trying to understand the things you are teaching. Don’t discount the value of offering your perspective.
There is an Indian folktale about 4 blind men who are put into a room with an elephant. One grabs the elephant’s tail and describes it as being thin and tapered with long hair at the bottom. Another grabs hold of the trunk and describes it as being strong but spongy and moist at the end. A third grabs hold of a leg and describes it as being wide and fat and strong like a tree. Still another grabs the tusk and describes it as being smooth and hard as a rock. These men argue among themselves as to who is right. The truth is they are all right, but they each have a different perspective to offer.
Every person is limited in the amount of any object that they can see. This is the reason why art is so valuable – it provides multiple perspectives of that same object so that the truth about the object becomes clearer the more perspectives are shared. Sharing your perspective helps the picture become clearer to your readers, even if they’ve read other books on the subject.
Give your heart away
While other writers may offer more knowledge, you can beat even the most knowledgeable consultant if you’ll give your heart to those who read your book. Pour yourself into it. Share your hopes, your dreams, and your struggles. Let them know that you understand where they are and are sincere in your desire to help them get there. Provide them insights into the obstacles you faced, both personal and professional, and how you overcame those. Lead them with you on your journey to the knowledge you’ve gained.
This kind of disclosure can be frightening. You might fear being judged for your weaknesses, but people know the kind of courage it takes to share openly and they will welcome it. They will be drawn to that book even more than to other books because they will see themselves in the pages of it. And they will remember the lessons you teach them long after they shut the covers of the book because of the way you presented it.
Don’t over promise and don’t undersell
It can be tempting, when you’re writing a book, to think you need to make big promises. It’s one of the reasons that people tend to focus on credentials and experience and things like that. They think the more of those they have, the more people will be interested in the book. However, if you don’t have those experiences and you don’t have that knowledge, over promising what you can deliver will result in bad reviews by readers who rightly feel cheated.
You can’t fake it. Your readers will put your story to the test. They will try the things you recommend, even if you’re writing fiction. So be accurate in what you tell them and base it on experience. You don’t need to apologize for what you don’t know, but own your limitations.
Don’t undersell yourself either, though. Own every ounce of the experience you do have. Speak freely about it, and add in other things from your life that might be beneficial to the goals of your readers. Remember: Only you have the experiences and the perspective you do to offer them. And that’s worth a lot!
Help is not far
If you need help figuring out what you could offer someone else, contact me or leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to help you sort through what you do know to find something that other people might value. If you already have an idea for what you could write and just need help getting started, sign up for our email list and you’ll get instant access to the recipes I use to write that first sentence that will form the basis for your book.
Are you ready to start writing? What challenges are you facing? I look forward to hearing from you.