Business leaders and entrepreneurs usually dream of writing their business books. As far as dreams go, that’s a very achievable dream, yet many don’t manage to turn it into reality because they treat it like a business process.
Don’t get me wrong… writing a book is a process alright, but it’s not just bricks and mortar.
The idea in your mind and the reality of the book always suffer from an unknown static- the kind that infiltrates cross-connections and sends a buzzing sound ringing through your eardrums…
because writing a book is like taking a curvilinear jump into the unknown, it’s answering that midnight call that doesn’t let you sleep…
Many (essential) parts will be undefined in the beginning
There is always something hazy and undefined when you plan your book, and you might think you will deal with it when the writing begins, but when you finally start writing you might find that it is the firecracker in the dynamite shed!
No matter how many times I write for my authors, even those who have the whole story and outline planned- I always see that shocked look that says ‘how-come-what’ s-perfect-in-my-mind-doesnot-come-out-that-well-on paper’.
The biggest obstacle in writing your business book is believing it will be ‘right’ the first time.
There is a reason writers spend months and years refining their ideas into a book. What you write in the first go is the first draft, and a first draft is everything you don’t want your book to be…
If you’re going to write an authoritative book, then this is not exactly a problem, it’s a massive support!
What Does a First Draft Do?
Writing the first draft helps you get the words out of your head and onto a blank page at the least; it purges your mind off the highbrow ideas and gets you to write what is required.
Writing it is the first step in creating the book you’ve always wanted- a book that adds value to your readers and makes them believe that it has given them a solution to one critical problem.
Most writing happens in revision, and by that, I don’t mean simple edits I mean changes that affect chapter and sections mercilessly, that turns your narrative around and bolster the weak spots to create a book that stands out.
This takes time and dedication.
Usually, the people who want to write such books are very driven individuals with a lot on their plate.
That’s why many times when they plan to write their business book, they are so hung up on getting it ‘right’ the first time…
I blame those movies where they show a writer starting his book in the opening scene, the story unfolding in the whole film with wisecracks from the narrator/writer and then the final stage where the last page is written with a flourish. Writing it all in one go…without any revisions happens only in movies- it’s the ultimate illusion.
What’s the Solution?
Just change your perspective. Your first step into writing is to understand the lay of the land and the first draft helps you do just that. It’s an essential step in writing your book, but your book is much more than that.
Over time I’ve discovered some techniques for business writers to help them chart their authoritative opus
1. Chalk out the building blocks: Your book has some main ideas. Start with them. Write each one down in detail. Write everything you want to address in each idea. These will form the basic blocks of your book.
2. Plan your anecdotes: Anecdotes connect. They add a smile; they make your reader nod in agreement. Use them well because they help cement your ideas into your reader’s mind. Plan them out. Think of how many fit a particular block and write them all down.
3. Don’t go linear: Now the business of writing really starts. Once the first two steps are done, you can plan your chapters to ensure a flow. Usually by this time the writing jumps start happening. You’ve written your building blocks and planned out your stories. Your mind will begin churning your ideas, and you will see connections that you might have missed earlier.
A client wanted to write about a particular process he had adopted in his business and how it had helped him turn it around. He wanted the book to talk about the process and how it can help other companies in the same sphere. It was a brilliant idea, but when he planned it in his head, he saw it go step by step. When we started detailing and writing the changes, we found the gaps and then we realized the best way to go forward. Hint: it was not linear.
Many times your story is told better through your ideas. Reading through paragraphs and chapters that detail, “we did this, and then that happened then we did this” for a five year period can be a long read and you can lose your reader mid-way.
Find the main points and string the story along.
4. Create the hooks: Business books need to be exciting, or they will lose the interest of the reader faster than boring fiction. Hence, I truly believe in the value of hooks. Every chapter ad preferably every subsection should start with a hook to drive curiosity and entice the reader onwards. Some unused anecdotes can also become your hooks. Remembering that this step comes much later in the writing process will stop you from throwing the earlier attempts out of the window.
5. Review and revise: Reviews help polish your book to perfection. Don’t slack on them. By all means, show it to friends and family but don’t be swayed by all opinions because this book has to be your voice, you can’t please all. Your revisions need to feel right to you. Enjoy the process of revising but don’t get stuck on it.
If all this seems hard work and it definitely is, then you can always take the help of an experienced ghostwriter to help you. They will write it for you (in fact I too have ghostwritten books for businesses and professionals) but do remember that ghostwriting requires an extremely collaborative approach and you need to set aside time for discussion and brainstorming.
Writing an authoritative book requires time and commitment. Be ready to give it all that it deserves and then you can truly bask in its glory.
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