December 11, 2023
Episode 50: Writing Like a Pro:
Overcoming Non-Writer Doubts
Episode 50: Writing Like a Pro: Overcoming Non-Writer Doubts
Recap & Takeaways
- 01:31 Tip 1: You have expertise
- 02:24 Tip 2: Use an outline to guide you
- 04:37 Tip 3: Embrace imperfection
- 05:29 Tip 4: Set realistic goals
- 06:31 Tip 5: Seek feedback early in the process
- 08:01 Tip 6: Use tools and resources
- 09:26 Tip 7: Read widely
- 10:54 Tip 8: Remember your why
- 13:00 Tip 9: Consider ghostwriters
- 14:00 Tip 10: Stay connected with your audience
Transcript for Episode 50: Writing Like a Pro: Overcoming Non-Writer Doubts
Have you ever felt like you’ve got a book inside you, but there’s this little whisper of doubt that says, you’re not a writer, you can’t write a book. Well, listen to this episode and I will help you silence that silly little voice, knock it off your shoulder so that you can write the book that you feel called to write.
Hello, and welcome to episode 50 of The Author Switch Podcast. I am your host, Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write a lead attracting book in 90 days or less. Now, I’ve talked with a lot of people who think they have a book in them, but who put it off and put it off and put it off because they just don’t feel confident in their writing abilities.
And in this episode, I’m going to provide you with a laundry list of tips and perspective shifts that will help you realize that you don’t necessarily have to be a great writer to write a great book.
Now, the first thing I want you to remember, if you’re a business owner, you have expertise. You know something, and your expertise is valuable.
And since it’s going to form the basis of your book, that is the most important thing. Get your expertise out of your head and into a document or a notepad or something so that you’re starting that book off. Remember, you’ve experienced things that no other expert has experienced because you are the only person who has lived your life and it’s that combination of your life experiences, your experience, your expertise, and who you are as a person that will make your book, unique and special and attractive to the people you were meant to serve.
Second tip is one I’ve said, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, and that is start with an outline. And I will drop a link in the show notes that will put you towards the episode of this podcast that goes more deeply into what an outline is. Don’t think of an outline as constraining rules, think of it as like guardrails or guidelines or a roadmap, because let’s say we’re all going on a road trip to your book, right?
We’re driving along. That’s writing. Driving along that road and Look, it’s the giant ball of yarn. I want to pull over and look at that giant ball of yarn. Guess what? When you have an outline, you can pull over, look at the giant ball of yarn, and then come back and go on your merry way. If you don’t have an outline, suddenly you’re pulling threads out of the giant ball of yarn and then you’re going into the town and having a, I don’t know, a hamburger and you completely get derailed and once you get back on the road you’re like, Where am I going?
This is what an outline does. It helps you stay on track. It frees you to take these little side trips and know how to come back.
There is research that shows people are even more creative when they have rules. Read a really good haiku. And you will know exactly what I mean. Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables, that’s a haiku.
Try to be creative in that constraint, and you will find ways of saying deeply moving things in very few words. And there is a particular haiku in my mind that, I’m thinking of. It’s a poem that’s about a man missing his dead wife, but it talks about a comb. And it’s just, oh, so powerful.
I will drop either a link to it or I’ll post it in the show notes because this will give you an idea of what constraint can do to free your creativity.
Tip number three. Embrace imperfection. You know, you’re going to stop and go look at the giant ball of yarn and then you’re going to come back and you’re okay, so you didn’t get to the end of the book at the same point, at the same timeline.
It’s okay. It’s okay. And you know, you’re going to have some dangling participles and maybe some of your T’s won’t be crossed and some of your I’s will be missing little dots on top of them. That’s okay. Because guess what? You’re going to hire an editor to clean up all that stuff. You don’t need to do it.
You can do it, but don’t do it in order to stop yourself from writing a book. Hire someone. I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since I was a toddler, and I still hire editors to do all my ’cause you need a second pair of eyes. You just, do. You need a second pair of eyes.
Tip number four. Tip number four, set realistic goals. I know a lot of writers who they hear, oh, you know, so and so wrote a thousand pages a day, or 500 words a day, or you know, words, pages. Whatever, whatever the goal is, and I talked about this in a recent podcast. I actually did, and I will drop a link to that. I can’t remember if it was The Author Switch or if it was Coffee with Carma, but I did just recently I talked about how set realistic goals for you, and then just continually iterate how you are setting your goals because you’re going to set some goals and then you’re going to find that they were either underambitious or overambitious.
You tweak them, you’re going to find it again and eventually you get to that nice happy medium that is perfect for you. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Don’t compare yourself to other authors. They’re living their life, and it’s completely different than your life. Find goals that work for you and your life.
Tip number five, and that is seek feedback. early in the process. You want to, and there’s different ways you can do this. You can actually work with a book coach who can provide you feedback with every chapter that you write. You can employ beta readers who will read your first drafts.
In fact, here’s an idea that I’ve actually seen implemented. He’s a horror author. I can’t think of his name in the moment. But what he did, this was many years ago back when forums were still a big thing and there weren’t blogs and stuff. He had a forum that you would subscribe to and every day he would post whatever he’d written that day and the book actually eventually got published.
It’s called Master of the Moors, I think. I will look it up and I will put it in the show notes. But it started its life off as him just writing as he was going and posting it and then getting feedback because people comment Oh, I really like the way the person did this or I really like the way you describe the Moors or whatever it was.
So he was going through his process and getting feedback from his potential readers while the book was happening. And then because he had built this community around his book, a publisher picked it up, they polished it up with an editor, and now it is a full fledged book. Book. Yay!
Tip number six.
Use tools and resources. Now, I am a heavy user of tools and resources because I have dyslexia. Spelling’s not my strong point. That’s why I really depend on MS Word’s little spell check feature. I also have Grammarly layered on top of that. The free version. And through using these tools, I’m able to create better content that has the T’s crossed and has the I’s dotted and doesn’t have dangling participles.
And this is all because I use these tools. And now that, and these are tools, by the way, that are using AI. And here’s another thing. If you’ve got ChatGPT, Guess what? You can plop in, I don’t know if you can plop in entire chapters, but you can plop in entire sections and say, Hey, Chat, can you proofread this for me?
And it will proofread it for you. So there are tools out there. Some are free, some are low cost. There’s Hemingway, that’s another app that has a free version and a paid version. Use the tools. They will help you not only become a better writer, but they will help you become a writer if you don’t think you’re a writer at all.
And of course, there’s resources, resources meaning read books, hire a coach, join a mastermind, join a writers group. These are all things you can do to help you write a better book.
Tip number seven, read widely. Writers write, but they also read and they read widely. Just recently, I went to six different bookstores in one day and came home with a pile like this.
I actually posted a video about it. So I will put a link to that video in the show notes as well. Where I shared the books and like some of them were marketing and some of them were fiction. I had one Western, some science fiction, a fantasy. I had a book about persuasion and a book about marketing and PR.
I mean it was like, Okay, so that was really two, two sections really. There was like my genre stuff, and then there was my marketing and sales stuff. But if you go to my book shelf, you’ll see books about science, you’ll see books about marketing, you’ll see books about writing. You’ll see books about psychology.
I love psychology. I have a growing collection of faith based books. I read widely. I read diversely. And by doing that, I see different points of view. I see different ways of writing. And I become not only a better writer, but a more well rounded human being. And the more you can experience through reading or going out and experiencing, the better writer you will be.
Tip number eight, remember your why. Why are you writing this book? Yeah, I’m sorry, but if the only reason you’re writing this book is to make a buck, don’t do it. You almost never make money off the book itself. You might make money by growing your business. Absolutely, people will read the book and want to work with you or buy your stuff, but that’s not.
If that’s the only reason you’re writing a book, you’re, You probably won’t finish it because unless you are one of those rare people, or maybe they’re not so rare, who are motivated by money and money alone, that’s not going to be enough motivation. So you need to dig deep and find that why. Why this information?
Why now? Why your audience? I mean, I’m writing a book a month next year. And yes, I have my business reasons. I want to do this experiment about how to jumpstart the Amazon algorithm. I want to see if I can improve my lead generation through books. All these different things. But honestly, the real why? Well, there’s two real whys.
For me, I’ve got these books in my head that say, will you get off your duff and get them out there? So I’m going to get, I’m going to lock 12 of those out because I have way more ideas for books than 12. And even more importantly, I’ve got all this really good information that I want to give to you, my audience, my readers, and you aren’t benefiting from it if it’s in my head or in my hard drive.
Honestly, it really isn’t. If I want to help you make a change, a transformation, and make a difference in your life, I’ve got to get my information out. And one of the best ways to do that is with a book. So dig deep, find out what your why is, and then remember it. Because it will keep, it will pull you through the hard times of writing a book.
Tip number nine, you can always consider ghost writers or ghost authors. If you really, really feel that you cannot write this book, but you know it needs to happen, hire a ghost writer. If you need help finding one, ping me, DM me, because I have friends who are ghost writers, and I can point you to a ghost writer.
In fact, in some cases, I might even ghost write the book for you. There are people out there who, that’s their livelihood. They write other people’s words. And they’re really good at it. So if you really can’t get out of your own way to write it yourself, and you know it has to happen, hire a ghostwriter or co author a book.
That’s a little bit more challenging because then, you know, splitting the royalties and all that kind of stuff can be hairy. I would rather hire a ghostwriter, but these are options. There are options out there to have other people write your book for you.
Tip number 10, and that is stay connected with your audience. What I mean by this is share your writing process because then you’re gonna get little notes on Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever, Twitter, probably not Twitter. Definitely Facebook and LinkedIn. Possibly even Instagram, where people are gonna follow your journey, and they’re gonna cheer you on.
They’re gonna cheer you on, and those little notes saying, Go! Go! Even someone like me, who loves to write, loves those little cheering moments, because I have my down times too.
And here’s a bonus tip. Talk your book. Seriously, you can do actually do what I’m doing right now. And that is recording myself talking in front of a camera.
And then you download that stuff, transcribe it and massage it into a book. So you’ve got the tools. You have a computer, you might have an iPad or something like that. You probably have a phone. Phones usually have a dictation device in there somewhere, and you can record yourself saying, okay, chapter one, blah, blah, blah, blah, chapter two, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I recommend having each chapter be its own file, heck, every day will be its own file. And then you, you can, there are tools. Usually AI generate. You can have a human being transcribe your audios. It will be more expensive. It’s actually more cost effective to use one of the AI transcription tools. If you use Descript for editing your video, which is what I used. It’s awesome. I love that software. That one automatically transcribes for you. I also have HappyScribe. I’ve used a thing called Trint, and basically you upload your audio or your video, and then you push a couple buttons, and then AI goes, blah, blah, blah, blah, and transcribes it. And most of these services have an interface where you can listen to the audio and edit the transcript at the same time. In fact, it was because of the rise of these types of tools that I was able to finish Public Speaking Super Powers. Because part of the reason why it took me eight years to write that book, was because it was taking me a really long time to come up with the money to pay for the people to transcribe or transcribe it myself.
Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, transcribing myself was painful. Painful. Cause you gotta pause, hit return, blah blah blah, oh, awful. Just use one of the AI tools. It’s easy.
And one other way to dictate your book is to use MS Word’s speech to text feature. You can literally open up a Word doc, push a couple of buttons and then talk to your computer and it will type out what you’re saying in real time, live, while you’re there, which means you can actually tell it, no, no, no, back up, do this.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, talk your book. And when you talk your book, your book becomes more conversational and is more infused with who you are, which is a benefit for a book.
So there you have it. 10 plus, at least one, two bonus tips on how you can overcome your doubts about your ability to write. Because honestly, it’s not your ability to write that makes a difference in your business with your book. It is the information that’s in the book. Everything else is icing.
This is the end of this episode of The Author Switch. This is Carma Spence saying, ciao for now.