Back in the day you’d open your bottom drawer and under a pile of papers and candy wrappers would be a half completed manuscript with a coffee mug stain. Today you’d search your hard drive, but find the same thing.
The vision you once saw so clearly, a completed book, is now languishing. Why? The ‘why’ is the answer. The process of writing a book can be so long in the execution that the ‘why’ becomes distant and disconnected.
My book was due to the publisher January 17 and it was about 2/3 done in mid-November. My business was in full swing. I played with schedules, sometimes putting aside a half a day for writing, other times trying to write for an hour each day. I felt the deadline breathing down my neck and in a fit of desperation I booked a hotel room. I told my family I’d be back when the book was done. As I squinted into the California sunshine after 4 days starting at a screen I was triumphant. I told my BFF to remind me never to write a book again.
What did you want to accomplish? Why were you writing the book? What pitfalls did you want to help others avoid? What did you want to add to your readers’ lives? How did you want to inspire them? Clearly during my time at The Carlsbad Inn by the Sea I lost my ‘why’. I was knee deep in the how.
To move your book from dream to done without relegating it to a bottom drawer or retreating from society, reconnect with your why. I could give you a big list starting with writing down your ‘why’ and getting accountability partners, and those are all good things, but the most powerful thing you can do is this:
Before you put your fingers to the keyboard to write, close your eyes and picture your book. Picture the reader picking it up. Picture them smiling or wiping away tears as they read. Picture the highlighter in their hand. Picture them texting a friend, “you have to read this book.” Imagine the change in their lives as a result of having read your book.
As my friend Mark Minard said to me on the phone today:
Take one year to do something you’ll talk about for the next 20 years.
Move from dream to done.