Pregnant with a book? These 5 keys will help the contractions and finally birth that amazing baby!
Book Writing Courses mentioned…
Please note: this transcript is auto-generated so forgive any (or many) errors 😲 – click the timestamps to play that section directly in the audio.
I want to get real practical with you today and encourage you to write your book already. If you got a book on the inside of you, an idea for a story or an idea for some kind of helpful nonfiction book, I want to just share with you five keys to get you striking the keys and finally finish your book. There really are very few things that are as satisfying as reaching the end and then taking what you previously had hidden on the inside and making it public for other people to be blessed by to learn from to benefit from writing a book really is a great way to build and develop a very rich, creative legacy.
I was just reading yesterday about one of my favourite writers, E M Bounds. He wrote some of the most influential books on fervent prayer ever in all of history.
His books are like, honestly, they are incendiary, but I read yesterday that only two of his books actually got published while he was alive. And it was after his death that the rest of the library of amazing writing that he had actually was gathered together and made available to the world. That guy is making an impact today in hundreds of thousands of lives because he put the words that were in his heart on the paper. And I encourage you to do the same. I also encourage you to do it now because we have opportunities that Mr.
E m Bounds did not have and like, do it before you die. Come on, write your book already. And what I want to share with you are just a few keys that I have found helpful. It’s how I work. I’ve written many books and published even more.
So I would love to just share with you some things that I believe might be helpful to kick the wheels into gear and get your book written and out to the world where it belongs. And the first thing I want to encourage you is don’t come to your book thinking. I’ve got to write this huge long book and see it like a mountain that you’ve got to scale way off in the distance. You can see the peak. Don’t write your book.
Build your book. That’s my advice. Whether it’s a story you’re weaving or a nonfiction book, you’re conceiving, kiss your reader and kill your excuses. And by kiss. I mean, not keep it simple, stupid, because this is not the stupid way to approach this.
This is actually a way that will take you from once upon a time to happily ever after without any kind of big roadblocks in the way. And this is it. Keep it short and simple. Many people have a book rumbling around in their belly. They’re pregnant with something that they want to bring to the world and bring to life.
But it feels more like indigestion.
It’s just like this thing that you think, oh, I should write a book or one day I will write a book. Honestly, a perpetual pregnancy would be a nightmare. There comes a point where what you have there growing on the inside really does need to come out and let me give you some keys to help you do that. I want to encourage you today that the idea that you have in the womb of your imagination is not some big monster to be feared, but it’s a little embryo.
It’s an idea that will grow naturally and find its way into the world.
If you only give some time, attention and nourishment to it, just tend it. Well, here are five simple steps. Okay. And I realised that we’re just going to skim the surface here. I do have some recommendations of courses that you can jump into if you want to take this a step further and really make it a reality.
But even what I share here, I believe, is going to be helpful to you. Number one, don’t try to write an epic. Now you are obviously welcome to go all Tolkien on me and create an entire world and write 3000 pages of epic. Amazing, awesome fantasy. And if that’s your thing, I don’t want to dissuade you.
But for most of us, the idea of like 100,000 words is a horrifying mountain to climb. And I found that as I’ve already mentioned, I like short. I like sweet. I like simple, because short, sweet and simple does tend to get written and also get read. The way that people consume content nowadays is very different.
Short is the new long. Short. Books are easier to write and easier to read and they actually get finished both by the writer and by the reader. What I would suggest is if you’re going to scale this book writing mountain, just chop it down to size, break it up into rocks that you can hold in your hand. A decent book or a story can be as little as 10,000 words and still make a massive difference in people’s lives.
So carve that 100,000 word tone into ten and create 10,000 word books instead. I mean, that’s just one Avenue to go down. And then if you want to, you can gather those books into a box set of some kind and put it out and repurpose and publish again. You’re going to be able to knock over those pins a lot easier if you do them one by one. And as I say, people do consume in a very different way.
Today, they are more open to short form content than ever before. And the way that a lot of books now are consumed digitally make that even more of a kind of present truth, because there’s something about reading on a device. It’s different than reading on paper. Of course, when you publish a book, you can do both digital and print. But yeah, just the general way in which people consume content has changed.
So don’t be fearful to write short. Now for a fiction writer, why not create a series of short stories? 10,000 words, maybe even less. For a nonfiction writer, stick to one big idea, and don’t stray from that path. Don’t stray from that idea.
And that leads me to the next point. Number two, your one big idea. I think a mistake a lot of people make is to try and stuff everything into one tome into one book. Instead of concentrating their efforts to shoot just one arrow and really hit the Mark, they shoot in all directions and try and tell everything that they know in one book. This may be good if you want to create some kind of market leading never equaled classic.
But in all honesty, those are few and far between. I encourage writers that I work with and especially ones who are stalled or caught in the headlights wondering what to do to just choose one big idea? Consider this idea a bit like a cut diamond. Every chapter you write will highlight one facet of your big idea. One diamond with many facets, not many diamonds, if you know what I mean.
You come at your subject and you’ve got your one big idea. Let’s say it’s prayer, and I choose prayer because that’s what I largely write about. And then you take the facets of that beautiful jewel and you hit each one of them one by one. You highlight each one of them one by one.
Each chapter, as I say, will highlight one facet of your big idea. One diamond with many facets in fiction. Obviously, that may be a little different, but not completely. Fiction is story essentially, and story has a purpose. The purpose is to carry the reader to a satisfying ending.
That’s what a fiction reader is looking for. And so you got to ask yourself, when you’re writing the story and plotting out the story, does this idea or plot point further the story? Does it move the story forward, or is it irrelevant and not required jumping down? A lot of Uber descriptive rabbit holes can really work against you. What you want to do is just keep that story real tight and make every single point and facet of your writing move the story forward, especially if you’re writing short stories for nonfiction in a drill down into your chosen subject.
Every chapter should highlight a specific aspect of your big idea, but at the same time, clearly connect to the whole look at it like the reader as they go from chapter to chapter is turning the diamond in their hand as they read, and by the time they turn the last page, they should have a Fuller appreciation of the beauty of the complete jewel that you’ve shared with them. The one big idea really is the foundation upon which you build. Think of a foundation in a house. This is the big idea that’s the slab in the floor that is actually going to hold the house in place.
That’s what’s going to keep everything in its proper place.
And so sitting at the desk with a keyboard shaming you for the 20,000 or 50,000 words you haven’t yet written is not a great way to stay motivated. And so instead of looking at your book like a mountain to scale, carve it down to small 500 word rocks and knock those 500 words out each and every day, some days, maybe more. But always your 500. I’ve got a great friend, Marcus Arden, who is exercising this very principle and has been exercising it over the past months. And it’s just been so inspiring to see him jumping into the Christian Creative Academy Facebook group, saying he’s knocked down another pin.
He’s knocked out another article. He’s knocked out another chapter. This kind of creative habit really is very pivotal and very powerful to take you to that finished tape in 30 days. If you do 500 words a day, you’ll have 15,000 words. That’s a book.
That’s a book. You could do one of those every single month if you really gave yourself to it in a build the book, chapter by chapter, plot point by plot point. Don’t excuse yourself because you don’t feel inspired. Now I love this quote by William Faulkner. At least that’s who it’s often attributed to.
And he said, I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning. Just keep placing one brick on top of the other until the whole book is built. Number four. Do not edit while you write the editor in you is a critic, not a creative he or she is going to.
I’m talking about the inner critic. I’m talking about self editing. This is not a comment on Editors, if you like. I work with Editors all the time, and I’m hugely thankful for the skill that they bring to my table. But if you are sitting down to write a book, don’t wear both caps at once.
That inner critic, that inner editor is going to cramp your style and cripple your voice. Just lock the temptation to edit as you write in a dark room, somewhere in another room in the house, and if possible, way down at the end of the garden, somewhere out of sight, out of mind, out of hearing range. Yeah, and that way you’ll be free to write from your heart without worrying about whether the words are perfectly constructed or spelled or whatever. My number one writing skill is typos, you just ask anyone who has worked with me.
I’m like the fumbling keyboard hero, but I can’t afford to worry about that while I’m actually getting the words on the page.
Now, when the right time comes, you let the editor out of their kennel. That inner editor like. Again, I’m talking about that inner critic and come back to your work afterwards and go through with a critical eye. But not when you’re first putting the words on the page, and it’s really difficult to allow a painterly word. Smith and a pinikety inner critic is pinnickety a word.
I think it is. It certainly kind of sums up how the inner editor will work. It’s going to pick up on every little thing. And you don’t want that. As you’re kind of working and looking to step into flow.
Don’t let them loose on the page at the same time. Give them their allotted turn at the right time. Write first edit afterwards. And as you’re writing, don’t judge your writing. Don’t second guess.
Don’t return and spin every sentence to perfection. Get real and raw and punch the keys with heart and soul. The Bible says that life issues from the heart and you really want your words to be filled with vitality. Then bring your head to the game. You put your heart on the page, then bring your head to the game and shape that raw material into something more pithy by pithy.
I mean, get rid of the flab, get rid of anything that is not necessary, not needed to make it really punchy and really hits the Mark. Working together in tandem at their allotted time, never together. The writer in you and the critical editor in you are a very formidable team. And then, of course, you can then take that to someone else to cast an expert eye over it on your behalf and do an edit outside of that self production. And then number five.
And this kind of sums things up. But it’s an important one because there are lots of books that have been written and never finished or never published in a thorough edit. When you finish, here we go. When you finish finish, I should put an exclamation Mark there in our thorough edit is important. Absolutely.
But left alone for too long. That inner critic is going to Whittle your book down to just a few sentences. Perfected sentences. Your 10,000 words short story is going to become like a 2000 word castrated cat. It just doesn’t work.
You don’t want to Whittle your thing down to just a matchstick. Don’t be too violent in your critical appraisal of the work that you produce. I recommend that you do your edit in three phases.
Number one, high touch and the high touch edit is really just asking, does this flow? Does the book cover the one big idea? Well, or does it tell the story? Well, does it leave the reader satisfied that the promise on the cover has been fulfilled? Is there any glaring omissions that must be added?
And are there any kind of Frankenstein limbs growing that need to be locked off? And by that, I mean, all the flabby stuff that’s really not needed, just get rid of it. It’s a great thing to just chop off things that are not required if they don’t move the story forward or don’t add value, or if they don’t relate directly to the big idea that you are opening up for your readers in a nonfiction book. And then the mid touch edit is where you move through the manuscript to tidy the sentences, clear ideas so that they really sparkle.
Add finishing touches to the pros that you’ve written.
Now in this it’s really with the mid touch edit you’re coming in and doing a more broad stroke edit, you’re getting more detailed, but you’re just looking and thinking. Have I made this point really clear? Are there ways in which I can either expand or contract the way I’ve said it to make it hit the Mark more powerfully? And then, of course, what I call a low touch edit. And this is when you go down into the thick grass of grammar and typos and tidy the details on a very practical level to make the book the best it can be.
A lot of that work can be done just with a simple spell cheque believe it or not. And there are software like Pro, Writing Aid and Grammarly and other softwares that can do a lot of that work on your behalf, even prompt you how your writing can be improved. And believe me, even after all of these kind of layers of editing, your book is never going to be perfect. It really is not. You’re going to find that some mistakes are going to slip even the finest net.
So you’ve got to come to a point where you’re happy and content with good enough is good enough and getting better every day and actually just allow that book to sprout wings and fly out into the world in all of its glorious imperfection if necessary. And I would recommend this. Get someone else to do an edit for you after you have completed your round of editing, get a qualified friend or jump on Fiverr dot com or Upwork dot com and hire some talent to give your tidy the manuscript of once over book writing is really for me anyways.
And again, I can only talk from my experience and my perspective. But book writing for me is journey sharing it’s really creative legacy building.
Just know that this book that you’re writing now may well and I hope not, is not going to be the last book that you write that way. You’ll see it as a stepping stone to the best you can bring and be actually willing to release it into the wide world so that it can actually do some good as long as you’re waiting for it to be perfect. As long as you’re thinking that I can’t put this out yet because it’s not yet fully completed, fully perfect in every aspect you may end up like most books, I would fear to say, just stuck on a hard drive somewhere, never actually finding the very thing it was created for, which is someone’s eyeballs reading it better off to put something out there that is going to potentially help and bless and build and benefit and entertain someone else than keep it hidden on your hard drive.
Waiting for some kind of elusive day of perfection.
If you need some help writing your book, I’ve got a couple of courses that I think can help you if you’re struggling to get your book written. One of them is for nonfiction. The other covers building a book based on the famous Heroes Journey framework for fiction. I’ve got the nonfiction book Writing Roadmap. Okay, which walks you through the whole process of the big idea of building your book concept in great detail.
And I know that this has helped a lot of people kind of get over all of those roadblocks that have stood in their way and take them from kind of blank page to published and selling in the Amazon store for their nonfiction book. And then I’ve got another course that I worked with a tremendous book coach called Bonnie Johnston called The Inspirational Fiction Heroes Journey Boot Camp. You can find both the links to both of these. If you go to my website davidleymartin. Com, click on the link to the blog.
Okay, so that’s davidleemartin.com/latest you’ll see my latest post and there’ll be one there called Write Your Book already. Five keys to get you striking the keys and finally finish your book. If you do that, if you go there and click through to that article, you’ll find some links to the nonfiction book Writing Roadmap and the Heroes Journey course.
The nonfiction book Writing Roadmap is davidleemartin.net. Okay, if you want to go there directly after this podcast, davidleemartin.net/courses/non-fiction-book-writing-roadmap. Oh, that’s so horrible.
Okay, it’s Davidleemartin.net/heroes-journey-bootcamp. Hey, God bless you. Hopefully these have been some helpful pointers and yeah, go write your book already.
Well, thanks for listening. Hopefully, it’s been an encouragement to you today. If you want to connect any further, you can do so through my website. Davidleemartin.Com have a great day.