They say that everyone has a book somewhere inside them, and no, they aren’t talking about crazy nights at the library with your frat. A better way to put it is that everyone has something to share with the world. In some cases, it’s a detective crime thriller or a post-apocalyptic science fiction story. Those are great, but they aren’t what I want to talk about today. I think that even if you aren’t creative, you still have a story to tell. Maybe instead of a novel, it’s a how-to book or a book of insights into your business success. Sure, the word “novel” by its dictionary definition is a fictitious piece of work, but what November really is is national book writing month, and there’s plenty of room for professionals of every field to hop on board the word train.
Choo choo, friends.
Really? A book?
I know, I know. Writing a book seems like an awful lot of work and your a busy professional. That’s undoubtedly true, but that’s the beauty of national novel writing month, you aren’t going to waste a lot of time on it. You’re going to take a couple hours a day for the next thirty days, and you’re going to put words down on the page. It may not turn out exactly like you hoped, it may outright suck, but if you spend the time, you’ll at the very least learn a lot about yourself and how you really feel about the industry you’re in and the way that it operates.
Okay, so where do I start?
There are a lot of answers to this question, and all I can really give you is the one that seems to work for me. To get started, you have to outline, outline, and then outline some more. I know we’re coming into this a little late, but you’re going to spend tonight’s writing time outlining how you want your book to go. Break it into sections like introduction, industry history, personal history, and so on. From there, break down those sections into further sections, and from there, drill down even deeper. Before you know it, you’ll have a great expanding tree of sections, chapters, experiences and anecdotes you want to share.
Do you have to keep to this early outline exactly? No, of course not, but it will be your roadmap for when you start to veer off course. With this outline, you can always add more later if you want to expand, what the outline really does is gives you the bottom. You HAVE to write AT LEAST as much as you originally map. If you get stuck on one section and you just really don’t know where to go, look at your outline and bounce to a section that you’re excited to tackle. If you outline right, there will be plenty of those.
How about the rest of the month?
The rest of the month should be relatively easy. Well, not easy, it will be a challenge, a grueling one at times, but all you have to do is focus on the word count. Sit down every day and write 2,000 words. That may seem like a lot, but you’d be amazed how easy they start to flow once you get into the zone. If you want to take a day off, write 3,000 for the two-days prior, thus staying on track and EARNING that day off. If you start to get overwhelmed, remember that it’s only 30 days and embrace the challenge. Also, be sure to sign up at nanowrimo to take advantage of all the daily advice and encouragement they offer.
What’s the point of it all?
I understand, personal benefit and introspection only goes so far in the business world. You want to know that the ROI of taking the time to write about your outlook on business may be. Well, believe it or not, the ROI is there, and here are just a few examples of where you can find it:
Social Proof: Writing a book (and for this point, it doesn’t really matter if it’s published traditionally or digitally as long as it looks professional) is amazing social proof when you’re talking to new or prospective clients. It proves that you aren’t some fly-by-night or phone, you have invested the time and effort into your profession. You have then sat down and shared all of your experience, and people have found it valuable enough to read (hopefully). It shows that you care, and that will always be important.
Learning: No matter how much you know, you can always know more. It’s a fool indeed who thinks he knows everything. In writing a book, you’ll be forced to research and delve into the nooks and crannies of your industry that you had previously ignored. In trying to share and teach, you will be made to learn, and that kind of learning usually lasts you a good long time.
Content: If you’re involved in the marketing of your business (and if you’re reading this, you must be) then you know how much of modern digital marketing revolves around producing quality content. Having a book chock full of unique content will be good fuel for your content engine for months to come. You can write blogs about it, share snippets, release chapters as blog posts, and more. Of course, if you want to try to get it traditionally published, you need to wait until you hear back before you start releasing it to the world for free.
It’s one month…30 days. Set aside two hours a night (you can always watch less television or give up an hour of sleep) and just start writing. Don’t worry about the quality, you can always go back and edit that later. The goal for this month is to produce as much long-form content as you can over the next 30 days. At worst, you have a bunch of content that you can parcel out and include in your blogs and newsletters. At best, you’ll get it traditionally published and be awash in wanna-be clients banging down your door. Either way, it works out pretty well for you.