It’s that feeling again.
The heavy knot in your stomach when you think about firing up the Word document that contains your book.
The book that stopped being fun several weeks ago (or was it months?).
The book that’s started to feel like a huge chore.
The book that still has seven chapters until it’s finished.
‘Maybe I should give up?’ you ask yourself. ‘After all, it’s not doing me any good to slave over this thing when I’m hating it. Writing should be rewarding and fun, not a drag. Yep, this book is doing me no good at all.’
It’s an interesting question, and one that deserves a considered response.
Why is writing your book so difficult?
If I asked you this key question, it’s likely that you’d come up with some or all of these answers:
- It feels too hard
- I don’t have enough time
- I’ve lost interest in it
Let’s look at them in turn.
It feels too hard. Writing is hard work because it involves thinking. And thinking is tiring and – at times – tough. That’s why people who’ve published books are so well respected – they have the staying power to get to the end.
Do you want to be one of those people? If so, you have it in you to carry on. Alternatively, you could find a book coach or a ghostwriter who can take some of the load off.
You don’t have enough time. Who does? And yet thousands of books a year are written. Crazy, I know.
You’ve lost interest in it. Here’s where it becomes more interesting, and where I become more sympathetic (see, I’m not so hard-hearted after all).
You have another question to answer here: is it the writing you’re bored by, or the subject? If it’s the writing, see above for a solution. If it’s the topic, and if that topic is what you do for a living as an expert, you can view your troubles as being a gift. Which leads me to the fact that…
Your hardest book is your greatest teacher
The reasons above give us a start, but from my experience of coaching numerous authors to write their books, they ignore the real reason you feel like giving up.
Which is this: you’ve probably lost sight of what it is you’re trying to say. Or maybe you were never sure in the first place.
I know, it sounds strange – even insulting. But please hear me out.
Writing a book is the best way I’ve found to expose the chinks and flaws in my thinking. If I’m not 100% sure of something, writing about it is sure to show it up. Until that moment of putting fingers to keyboard, I could float along in blissful ignorance about my somewhat woolly insights. But not once I try to write a chapter about it – no way.
This often manifests itself in procrastination, feeling fed up and thinking I don’t have time to write. All of which are fabulous ways of convincing myself that my woes are the book’s fault, not mine.
Writing a non-fiction book, whether it be a business book, a memoir, or a thought-leading guide, helps you to understand what you don’t. So take a step back and ask yourself if you really ‘get’ what you’re trying to say.
It might be that you know the facts, but it’s the angle on them you’re not sure of. It may be that your arguments don’t quite add up, even though they seemed okay at first. And it could be that there’s only one area you need to get clear on, not the whole book.
This is where you can let your book be your teacher.
In fact, it’s one of the most valuable benefits of writing a book. Developing your understanding of what you know so you can explain it to someone else in a clear and motivating way – it’s the sort of thing that sets authors up for life. And that applies whether you write your book yourself or work with a ghostwriter to put the words on the page.
Embrace it, and you – as well as your book – will be the beneficiary.
Ginny Carter ghostwrites authority-building books, memoirs, and self-help guides for entrepreneurs, thought leaders, speakers, and coaches.