If I had a buck for every time I’ve advised would-be authors how to write a best selling book, I’d be, well, not rich, but quite comfortable. Here’s what I always advise.
- Imagine that you had the complete, avid attention of every person on this planet - for thirty seconds. What would you say? Or if you don’t have a message for the world, who is your ideal audience and what message do you most want to convey? Remember, you only have thirty seconds. When you can crystallize a compelling message, you are ready to write. Without clarity and passion, you’ll waste precious time and energy heading down rabbit trails that will leave your readers confused, possibly bored. Important: Say it out loud. Time it. Then write it down.
- You don’t need to find your voice. You already have one - yours. Use it. Write as if you were talking with a friend over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Avoid trying to sound erudite, even if you are. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Don’t copy someone else’s style. Write like you talk - in your normal, every day vocabulary. Let us “hear” you. We recognize and value authenticity when we see it, hear it, read it. And when we don’t, we tune out. Your readers should feel that they know you and that you are speaking directly to them, as individuals.
- Write a shitty first draft. This was the most valuable and freeing advice I received when I began to write Fierce Conversations. No need to agonize over every word. Just get it down. Write down whatever comes up for you, first thoughts, no editing. You can always go back and edit later. What you are writing doesn’t need to sound lofty or inspiring to anyone else. This is your book, your message. Be straight with yourself and with your readers. Radical transparency is required.
So what would you say if you had thirty seconds and the world (or your ideal audience) was listening? I’m really asking. I’d love to know.