I am sure most of you who read this want to write a book. In fact, I am willing to bet that over 90% of you have either thought about it or started it. Now that my first book has been published, I figured I would explain how I actually got the beast done. Looking back, it took me about a year from concept to finished book. During that year, I also started my blog (actually, before I started the book). It turns out that the blog really helped me write the book. Blogging turned out to be one of the best methods to get the book done. Let me explain.
Instant Support Group
Staying motivated can be a challenge. Couple that with the loneliness of writing and you can get off in the weeds fast. Luckily, blogging gives you an instant community that is always eager to help. The great thing is, there are so many writers/bloggers out there that are facing the same issues and challenges you are. By blogging, you get connected to this network.
Early on, I had no style. My writing was all over the place. In order to develop a style, you have to write (can you see a theme here). By writing, your writers voice emerges. This voice is in every writer but needs to be nurtured and even coaxed out. By blogging, I found my voice and style since by blogging, it’s easy to experiment with different methods and styles.
It’s so easy to blog that there is no real excuse to not write something. In fact, my first couple of blog posts were all private writing journal entries just so I could get used to seeing my words “in print.” The discipline also comes from people that follow you and encourage you to write more. Nothing motivates me more than “fans” that want more of my writing. It’s kind of addictive in a weird, semi-famous on the D-list, kind of way.
The instant nature of blogging has a great upside (or downside, depending on your attitude). You can actually tell if people are reading your stuff (or not). This is a powerful feature because you get to try different things to see how they work. Books are bad for doing that since they take so long to write and print.
Building Your Following
Part of writing a book is to get the word out. Your publisher will do little to help you with this. By blogging, you can create a following that will be the natural audience for your book. Couple that with the instant feedback and it’s almost like your readers are helping you write the book. I cannot stress this enough. Building your following while writing the book is the way to go. Do not wait till you get the book deal or the book is done. This whole Social Media, Inbound Marketing thing takes time. Tons of time.
My Challenge to You
If you listen closely (put your ear to your monitor), you can hear all the “but Jarie, I have not time”, “but Jarie, I don’t know what to write about” or “but Jarie, no one wants to read my drivel.” These are the most common excuses to not write a book. Remember, 90% of you actually want to write a book but never do. So, my challenge to all of you is go write it. Use the most powerful motivation tool available, your blog. Tell your fellow bloggers about your plan. Have your readers help you write your masterpiece. If you are still stuck or think that a book is just too big a challenge, then do a blog series. If I had known how motivating a blog series was, I would have done that for my first book.
One more thing. Anytime your motivation wanes or some knucklehead tells you your book dream is a waste of time, drop me a note. I know what it’s like to sit in front of a blank screen, wondering if it’s all worth it. Believe me, it is.
Jarie Bolander is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature. He is presently VP of R&D at Tagent, a company working on breakthrough technology that will help reduce medical errors. Jarie also blogs about innovation, management and entrepreneurship at The Daily MBA and has recently published his first book, Frustration Free Technical Management. You can also follow him on Twitter @thedailymba