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065 - I Suck At Writing!

challenges manuscript Aug 25, 2020

So you know you need a book for exposure and credibility, but you think you will never get it done unless either a miracle happens or you find someone to write it for you. Sound familiar?

Well, this is where many people either make the costly mistake of hiring a ghostwriter or just never write their book and plain ole give up because they suck at writing!

Hey guys! Nicole Gabriel here!

I know that sometimes life takes over and all those ideas floating around in your head that you think one day will go into a book are still all busy in there hanging out taking up space dying to get out!

Did I ever tell you that it took me ten years to birth my first book? Finally one day it literally just exploded out on the pages. And, let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty! I literally page vomited it out everywhere! It was ugly! The words, the tears, the whole thing…just ugly! But, after ten years it came out in just ten days. But it was a mess! It kinda reminded me of the days when I was a fast-pitch high school softball pitcher…when the coach would yell out when I wasn’t throwing em in there hot - “just get it in there and let your team do the rest!” The problem was that I grew up in a pretty affluent area where the girls on the team where hangin out in the outfield with their gloves off checking their nails. I could see these tough girls eyeing them from the plate. I knew I had to get my game on or we stood no chance of winning!

So, writing my first book at this juncture had me thinking…I’m throwing them in there and getting it in over the plate but I needed to be sure my team could handle the rest. There was nothing spectacular about what I was pitching in there!

So, in this case, my team was my brilliant editor. He was tasked with two things: 1. Eliminate redundancy, and 2. Remove anything negative I may or may not have said about my ex husband! Seriously! I actually paid him to do this! Can you imagine? I like to think of it like the famous saying: “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. What happened with the editor stayed with the editor. Of course, it really never even had to go to the editor, but there I was…all the ugly went over and I paid to have it removed and cleaned up. But, I did get it there and broke the barrier of the “I suck at writing” and “I’m not good enough” and I got that baby done! Every book thereafter came far easier.

The thing is, you have a story to tell and you don’t have to be an expert at writing to do that. You can’t let that stop you from writing it and changing the lives or your readers.

What made writing my first book hard was that I really had no goal. I just had a story to tell. So, the best way I could lay it out was chronologically. I just told all the stories of the events I shared and how they happened one after another. But, I never kept in mind a reason for why I was writing in the first place. So, who was I talking to? Basically anyone that would listen. Why was I sharing what I did? Because it was consuming my mind and it had to come out. I was just tired of holding it all in there. I wanted freedom from the burden of “one day I will write this all in a book.”

I’ve been asked over the years if I have a system for writing. Honestly, the best system you can have is to get uber clear on why you’re writing a book in the first place. Then, when you are ready, you want to know you have a team behind you to do the stuff you have never done before…and you honestly may never do again if you aren’t planning to write another book. You know, there are so many big publishing systems out there and I always find it strange when people call me and they’ve interviewed some of them or even hired them and they get assigned a coach that is fresh out of college that has both never written a book and has very little practical real world business experience. These systems are just running people through one after another to put words on pages. Their system is a script. I don’t do scripts!

My goal is not to just get your book done, but to align it with your purpose so that when you do get it done it becomes a tool that works for you, not just sits on the shelf as a personal achievement award. Accomplishing writing a book is no small feat and its something every author should be proud of, but if you aren’t careful it will just become an expense.

There are many moving parts in the process of publishing a book…you’ll need to work with editors, designers, a printer, distributor, and the sky is the limit with regard to marketing. Many systems claim they have world-class services. This is all great, but what nearly all of them is missing is how aligned you are with your why. No one coaches this. Everyone is happy to take your hard earned money and turn around a reasonably ok book. With a clear focus on your why you will not be at the mercy of any system. You will be able to direct a team of publishing experts on helping you achieve the most desirable end result not just for your book, but on how it aligns with your why and the business behind your book.

Many systems out there are designed for the soft cover novel writer that want a basic cover design and a few books to sell to friends. But, there is a huge difference between a print on demand environment and a professional book designed to get you the highest quality image that defines your brand and everything you offer. There is also a difference between being recognized as a professional author and a professional business person or entrepreneur that happens to have a high quality book on their platform.

This is not about writing creatively, but about writing purposefully. The editor is hired to clean up what you do write, but it’s up to you to write with passion and purpose about your topic. And hopefully you’ve done your due diligence to align the content appropriately. You see, no coach is really ever going to know what you are trying to do personally or professionally unless you are clear enough to inform them. When you take the time to research your content the editor can correct how you write about it and the informed publishing coach can watch your back so that all the functional pieces come together fluidly and work as an accountability partner to see that you stay on track.

My best clients come in with a clear goal in mind for their book. They know how to run their business and they are experts on their topic. And honestly, I can easily tell who will be more successful because they understand that this is not about becoming a best-seller or creative writing but showcasing an image in the layout and design that aligns with their brand, their message, their genre, and topic. They also know that this is just one tool to showcase their expertise. The author that uses their book and rides their whole existence on it becoming a best-seller just because they wrote it is the one that fails or quits a few month later. They ride the high from publishing it and sell it for a few months to a year and then move on to the next thing. The smart clients know that this is just one product that becomes a functional base in their platform and other things begin to grow from it. For many it’s a starting point to begin branding themselves…website, business cards, etc. I like to think of it as a tool that allows authors to pivot into a new topic or specialty that perhaps people just really didn’t know they are an expert of.

The reality is that it is expected you won’t produce a book full of errors. And if you do, people will quickly point out all the errors you made before they even get the message in the content. So, you have to professionally edit. Many people want to skimp on the editing and do it themselves, just like they want to skimp on the design and layout. But, this is your image at stake here. If you spent months, even years, on your manuscript the last thing you want is your hard work being spoiled by mistakes. People will always notice the mistakes before they notice your writing style. Professional editing will help make a professional book no matter how bad of a writer you are! And cover design? Well…you only get one shot to make a first impression. You could write an absolutely fabulous book and put a bad cover design to it and no one will even pick it up. At the same time, you could write a lousy book with a great cover and people will pick it up. Your book cover is the first thing readers see and it’s by far the most important aspect to getting attention for your book. Your editor can help you come up with a creative opening line to draw the reader in, but the designer will get their attention before they even pick it up to read that line.

So, it really does come down to teamwork. Even if you suck at writing a team of professionals will get you much further than you can go alone.

I’ve been in this business for many years now and I’ve seen it all. I have a unique position in the work I do for my clients because I have a strong business acumen, I’m the author of multiple books myself, and I do the creative cover design, typesetting and layout, as well as the marketing pieces myself. After many years working in both web and IT (with an MBA in technology management) and brand management with all the top Ad Agencies I have a unique offering for my clients. Basically, the only thing I don’t do is the editing. I have professional connections to help you there. I don’t take on a lot of clients at once because I like to be available for one-on-one coaching and I make sure to serve as an accountability partner to nudge my clients along in the process. And, even the cover design and interior layout I do is a custom job. I don’t do templates.

So, wherever you are in the process, I can help you get your book done…and yes, even if you suck at writing!

OK guys…as always, wishing you peace, love, and light!

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