I write and publish books, primarily for new authors. I got a chat message during a Zoom networking event this morning. One of the attendees wanted to connect with me after the Zoom meeting. We exchanged contact information and set a time to connect via phone.
Ironically, I was at another networking event tonight, and as everyone was leaving, another person requested that we connect tomorrow to talk about writing a book. She has lots of questions – also!
I asked the first lady this morning about what she wanted to write about. She told me several things.
Sometimes, it makes sense to write about a few topics. However, who is your audience? What value are you adding to them? Is it better to have a small e-book that introduces your physical book – something free to give away? Maybe your book should be three or four different books.
Regardless, passion drives many things we do. I asked about which topic she had the most passion that should be in her book. Writing becomes much easier when you have a passion or love for it. Writing to write is difficult. I tell writers that they should write daily. I have not missed a day of writing, usually over 500 words/day, since 2015. I have written and posted daily since January 1, 2020.
An author is a bit different from being a writer. Both write, but there is an expectation of a bit more in a book than an article or blog. When more material is presented, the organization, the connection to the audience, the value being offered must be maintained chapter after chapter.
We see this a lot in adventure, mystery, and other action books (or movies). I read every night before retiring. I used to read in bed decades ago. I learned that reading in bed is nice, but it sends conflicting signals to the brain. Pick a place with good lighting that is comfortable.
I have found since covid-vacation started that I feel wonderfully refreshed with a seven-eight-minute nap or ten to fifteen minutes of casual reading. Then, my mind is taken somewhere else, and when the alarm goes off, I am heading off to tackle the rest of my planned activities.
Sometimes an author creates so much excitement that it is impossible to put the book down. My most memorable time reading was in the mid-70s. I heard the alarm go off and realized that I had been reading all night long and never went to sleep. My most recent time was last night. I start reading a bit before midnight, and I looked two hours later and decided that I could finish the book later.
Writing a book should be something that creates excitement and energy. How do you start? That was the question posed this morning. She was aware of the 1-3-5-7-10 method. The author has one primary focus with three main themes. Each theme (section) has around five chapters that delve into seven details on each subtopic chapter. It is an excellent way to develop depth and organization.
I prefer the interview style. I ask people to tell me about the first car they ever owned. Everyone can do it quickly and easily. It was an emotional part of their life. They know that topic so well they do not have to think about it. They can talk at length about that car and the next car, etc.
When writing using a method like the 1-3-5-7-10 method, the writing is relatively easy when you identify the total scope of work. However, the editing is nearly as long as the writing – sometimes longer. As a result, editing becomes a struggle, and the book may never get published. Time flies by, and there appears to be no progress.
When writing using an interview method, the organization can be developed like the 1-3-5-7-10 method, but the writing becomes speaking. Each topic (chapter) becomes a question. Under each chapter, there are bullets in the order you want to tell your story (or develop the theme of that chapter). The bullets keep you on point.
The interview is recorded. You look at another person (a friend, spouse, accountability partner), and the two of you are connecting – one speaking and the other listening. The body language of the listening tells the speaker when they are connecting with their audience (the listener).
When an interview is recorded, it is the style that lends to minimal editing, especially compared to recording a presentation done in front of an audience or sitting in front of a monitor and letting your fingers find the keys. When you know a topic well, the interview style allows you to define what you want to talk about, lay out the framework (questions and bullets), and speak to one person.
I always insist that personal stories be included where appropriate. So, for example, if I were talking about my first car, I would include a story about driving over the high bridge in Corpus Christi, Texas, and hearing a loud clunk, feeling the car jolted, and watching my left rear tire pass me and roll to the bottom of the bridge. Or the time when another car I was driving on the crosstown expressway in Corpus Christi flew up, and I had to drive with my head sticking out the driver’s window until I could find a place to pull over and address the issue of a hood raised and blocking my vision.
Stories sell! They are part of you. They connect with your audience. For example, it might be about a product or service you offered, and your client or customer had an experience that describes how well you helped that person or company.
The difficulty of writing your first book becomes much easier when you know what you want to write about, learn how to organize your thoughts, include short stories that entertain the reader, and record it as an interview rather than typing it from scratch.
The lady I chatted with this morning is thinking about this article’s main points, and we will talk again next week.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com