Monday, July 27, 2009

Writing for Fun and Profit

Do you have a story to tell?
Would writing a book benefit your business?
Want to preserve family memories for your children and grandchildren?

Eighty percent of Americans say they want to write a book. Yet very few ever do. Why not?

Some people think they don’t have time––and yes, writing a book does take time. But not as much as you might imagine. The average book is about 60,000 words long. If you write only 500 words a day, you’ll finish your book in just four months. (And if you’re like the average American, you spend four hours a day watching TV––time that could be used to write your book.)

Others think they don’t have talent. Of course, if you intend to write a Nobel Prize winning novel, you’ll need outstanding talent. But if your goal is to pass on family memories to the next generation, you needn’t be Shakespeare––your experiences, insights, and information are what count.

The same holds true if you’re writing a book as an adjunct to your business. What you say matters more than how you say it. According to a study done by called “The Business Impact of Writing a Book,” 97 percent of the 200 authors surveyed said publishing a book benefited them and their businesses. These people weren’t expert writers, but they were experts in their professions––and readers valued their knowledge.

Actually, the biggest reason most people never write a book is they simply don’t know how to begin. They feel overwhelmed by the prospect. They give up before they start.

Don’t let your saga die unsung! Here are some tips to help you get past square one.

Decide why you want to write a book. Compose a short paragraph––50 words or less––that describes your objective. Like a company’s mission statement, this helps you focus your ideas and establish priorities.

Determine who your audience is. Are you writing for your family? Your clients? People who share your interest in gardening, quilt-making, or restoring antique cars? Imagine them sitting in front of you as you tell your story.

Create an outline. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, an outline helps you organize your material. Like a roadmap, it lets you see where you’re going so you stay on track.

Write something every day. Even if it’s only a page or two, even if you end up throwing it away tomorrow, make writing part of your daily schedule. As is true of any skill, you’ll improve with practice and it gets easier the more you do it.

1 comment:

Anne Schneider said...

Great tips! Easy to understand AND accomplish...thanks, Skye.