Archives for December 2013

Do You Have a Book in You? 5 Questions to Plan Your Writing

I was at Panera last week doing some work and overheard a woman say to her friend, “You should write a book about that. Seriously! What a great story you have.” The other woman agreed and they moved on to other topics. Sadly, that book will probably never be written.

Do you have a book inside of you—a message that has been stirring inside for years? While it’s good to wait to write until your message is fully developed (see my interview with Eric Smith for more about this), the reason why most books don’t get written is because desire to write doesn’t translate into a plan with time set aside to write.

Did you know that writing just 500 words per week (this blog post is 640 words) translates into a 40,000-word manuscript (about 176 pages) in three months?

There are many good reasons to write a book. Besides the ten reasons I provide here, the most compelling reason for me is the encouragement and power others receive to enter into the truths you share when they read your expertise and experience in book format.

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Five Tips for Reviewing an Editor’s Feedback and How to Protect Your Voice

If you have someone else edit or proofread your writing after you have gotten your content where you want it to be, here are a few tips to help you process the feedback you receive.

1.   Read it as a reader, not the writer. If your editor has tracked changes that he or she suggests, select the option to show the “Final” version, not “Final Showing Markup.” At this point it is important for you to read your book as a reader would, not as the author. I also recommend reading it out loud. I find it helpful to hear how it sounds through my ears and not only in my head. It’s much easier to hear when something is not flowing as it should.

2.   Focus solely on the content. Avoid getting tripped up by how the text is presented or formatted. That will be taken care of after the manuscript is complete. Focus on the words since they are your words and only you can ensure you’re saying what you want to say.

3.   Make changes as needed. If you see anything along the way that you want to tweak, make those edits. But be sure “Track Changes” is turned on or you may end up paying for another full edit because your editor can’t clearly see what you changed. Keep in mind that the purpose of this round of edits is not to make major changes (that should have been done before sending your manuscript to an editor) but to review the manuscript as a reader and tweak if needed.

4.   Look at your original only if you run into a problem you cannot fix quickly by viewing “Final Showing Markup,” “Original,” or “Original Showing Markup.” Editors work hard to make sure every change is for a specific purpose: to make the message more focused, organized, and powerful—not to lessen the impact of what you’ve written. But every once in a while they miss something. They misinterpret what you’re trying to say or phrase it in a way that does not represent your voice. It’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that every word in your book represents you and your content accurately.

5.   Recognize and protect your voice. Even the best proofreaders can cut deeper into your manuscript than what is appropriate. One of the authors I’ve worked with shared the following in an interview with me:

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Trust Takes Time, but Time Doesn’t Build Trust: Are You Leading Wisely?

Today is my first full day back in the USA after spending a year in Europe, Africa, and South America with my family. When we were searching out places to invest our time, a friend told me, “The best amount of time to invest is either two months or two years.” I now know how wise his counsel was.

In my Trust Transformation Seminar I teach that there are five elements required to build trust intentionally. The last element is Time. Maybe it should be the first element because before you step into a relationship—professionally or personally—a decision is required:

Will I stick around long enough to build trust and grow trust?

Trust takes time, but time doesn't always build trust.

Trust takes time, but time doesn’t always build trust.

I find two temptations rather appealing:

  • Assume others will trust me just because I feel I’m trustworthy.
  • When the going gets tough, move on.

Both of these avoid the commitment that it takes to build trust: Time.

It’s dangerous to assume that Time will automatically build trust. It actually allows a lot of unperceived distrust to come into the relationship. That’s why you can have a great friend for a decade or more, have an argument, and the relationship ends. Or why leaders think they have many devoted followers but discover they have only a faithful few during a time of crisis or risk.

Time doesn’t automatically build trust, but trust requires Time: having the patience and perseverance to stick around long enough to build, grow, and enjoy trusted relationships and results.

So what can you do about it?

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11 Ways to Make Writing Your Book Efficient and Fun

Here are eleven great ways to make writing your book more efficient and fun:

1. Dedicate a specific time to write and prioritize it. If your book is a priority for you, then other things will have to become a lower priority. For me it seems like everything is number one priority so I try to do it all and multitask to the max. But this really doesn’t work that well. Two things really help get your book done: dedicating time to write and having assurance along the way that you’re doing the right thing. You can get both of these things at my Write-Your-Book Workshop in January in St. Paul, MN.

2. Write when you are at your best. Past jobs I’ve had have forced me to be “on” at any given time during the day or night. But as I’ve paid attention to my natural disposition and preferences, I’ve learned what time of day works best for me. When do you work best?

3. Focus only on your book during your writing time. Multitasking is a myth. Trying to do a number of things at the same time is not helpful for any of the tasks. In fact you will perform each task more slowly and less accurately. So devote your full attention to your project and you’ll make greater traction faster.

4. Let the words flow. Don’t get stuck in the weeds. Check out my post “Increase Your Writing Speed: 5 Ways to Write More, Faster.”

5. Flow within your outline, not outside of it. When I say to let it flow, it’s not a free pass to write about anything and everything that comes to mind. It is permission to let the ideas flow within the constraints of your book’s structure or outline—the part of it you are writing at that time.

But if you happen to step into the flow of another part of the book besides the one you had planned to work on, go with the flow. Use the natural energy you have to fuel that part of the book.

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