I was on a call with a potential client recently, a therapist committed to making a big difference by providing a way for patients who can’t afford her services to get the help they need. She was considering writing a book.
Writing a book is a noble feat and having just written one, I know it can be a daunting task.
A lot of people have a fantasy to write a book; to get their message out in the world in black and white. I must say it’s a very rewarding feeling. But, there were critical things that carried me along the way.
Motivation. Why are you doing what you’re doing?
One of my practices I do every day is to ask myself what’s my motivation for the day. It’s been very insightful. I started to realize how much of what I do goes unquestioned. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Why am I meditating? Why am I writing this blog post?
Asking “why” transformed my conversation about writing a book, and it also transformed my life. I’ve shared a lot about Heather Estay, a dear friend of mine and my writing coach, with the community of entrepreneurs at PitchRate.com. Not only has she written her own bestsellers, she’s coached and ghost written for some very notable clients. The thing I love about Heather is she’s a perfect blend of east and west: a Zen master with a whip. But in our conversations, Heather has a way of getting me to crack the whip on myself. And it feels so good!
When I was stuck in my book-writing processes, I would call Heather. In a matter of seconds my whole world would shift. She always left me asking, “Why was I stuck at all?”
Perhaps it’s because she’s a black belt.
There were a couple of conversations with Heather that had a huge impact on me and really shifted my perception. The first was the difference between writing and editing. I realized that writing is a passion of mine. Editing? Not so much. The other was a question: “Why are you writing this book?” When Heather asked me, I started to give her an answer that many wannabe authors would give… “I have a message. I think it would make a difference. To change the world. It’s a great calling card. Yadda, yadda, yadda.” She stopped me and asked, “Not ‘why are you writing a book’… ‘Why are you writing THIS book’?” THIS book? I’d never thought about it like that.
When Heather began to work with me to uncover the answer to this question, everything began to fall into place. I knew what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. This shift changed everything for me.
Later, I was having a phone conversation with a potential client, and I could hear myself in her as she was explaining all the topics she could write about and what she wanted to accomplish. Interestingly, there were a lot of different ways she could achieve that objective – a blog, a webinar, public speaking, etc. But she had two fundamental questions she needed to ask: WHY write a book and WHY write the particular book she was going to write.
I am a firm believer that what generally has people not write the book they are committed to writing and keeps them stuck are the answers to these questions.
The answers are their motivation. What’s your motivation?