Have you ever had those mornings when you wake up – just itching to write? Your excitement and motivation are at a peak because you have a critical message you want and need to share – and then you stop short, concerned about how you are going to come up with hundreds of pages of text that is well-written, entertaining and informative. Please don’t do that to yourself! Those first surges of the motivated author are important; let the creativity flow and then stand back and work with what the muses have gifted you! I understand your angst; I also know there is a strategic way to manage both the motivation and the fear that stands in its shadow.
Today, I woke up with an intense passion to write, finally understanding that I keep trying to explain the empowerment of strategically planning a successfully published work – when the thoughts that my readers might be looking for are how to take an organized and self-disciplined approach toward that success. There is also the clarity – for sake of discussion this morning – that as my ideal audience you already knows what you want to write about, but are looking for an organized and self-disciplined approach (strategy) to help you consider:
- The primary needs of your audience; writing a book is NOT all about you – it IS about delivering a message that will positively impact and provide a solution to some specific problem(s) your readers are experiencing.
- A method (strategy) to create a well-organized, informative, engaging and entertaining manuscript.
- How to develop a writing style that engages your reader in a “learning process” that helps them retain and benefit from a larger portion of your work.
Today, I hope to benefit you by addressing in detail the first question: How to deliver a “product” that will easily appeal to an eagerly awaiting audience. Whether fiction or non-fiction, your book must be designed from the beginning to cater to a specific target or identifiable demographic. The message and the language must be appropriate to their wants and needs. The task of identifying your ideal “reader” and writing the right content for them is not difficult; it is a strategy – a part of seeing your book as a business.
Identifying Your Ideal Reader
Many writers never take this step, either from the perspective of not knowing how or not feeling it relevant to the message they want to convey. It is actually a relatively easy task if you just take the time to answer a few simple questions:
- Who is most likely to purchase and read your book – and why?
- What information, if you were that reader, would you want or expect to obtain in reading your book?
- What specific problem will|can you help your reader solve?
- How will|can you write your book to create a step-by-step “process” of that solution?
Crafting The Ideal Message
At the end of the day, your book will be much more likely to be successful if you provide value to your readers, educate and entertain them in the process, and deliver your message in a way that is appropriate based on your reader’s age, education, and interest in your topic. This is more easily accomplished if you answer these few questions.
- What is there in the message that I want to share that I am trying to “teach” my readers?
- What 3-5 key concepts do I want to help my readers understand?
- What examples, charts, or graphics can I use to visually support my message?
- How can I help my readers “engage” in actions that will benefit them beyond just reading my material?
Embrace Things Natural to the Writing Process
Be patient with yourself and embrace that a number of things are natural to the writing process. Refuse to leave your motivation standing in that shadow of fear by understanding that other writers experience the same things, but have decided to stand instead in the shoes of the motivated author and forge forward.
- You will be hit with moments of inspired, creative writing. Give in to this part of the process. Do not put upon yourself the burden of writing a book perfectly from start to finish. When you allow yourself the benefit of creative writing, more of your knowledge and expertise will find its way to the book; it can be refined in the re-writing and editing process.
- Unless you have developed a specific outline where you ultimately plug in specific information you want to deliver to your reader, you may find that you have provided too much material. This is fine – you can let the writing flow and these areas can be removed and saved for your next book.
- When you are clear about who your reader is, you will know whether to give them version 101, complete with all the basics, or Next Step, where you challenge them to up-level strategies. The important point here is that you don’t need or want to give them War and Peace – nor do you want to give everything you know all in one sitting. Appealing to the basics first gives you a different audience, but allows you to, with organization and disciplined writing (strategies), to plan for future books.
Kudos to those of you who will take the time to answer the questions put before you in this post! And further, to those of you who will subscribe so that you can receive each subsequent post. The next topic is going to be…
How NOT to get lost in your manuscript by creating an outline. Yes, the process CAN be an easy one.
And remember… the open door policy of Voices in Print, where your questions are always encouraged, when delivered to VoicesInPrint@Yahoo.com.