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  • Mike Owens

Dream Big and Plan Your Book

Now that you’ve committed to writing your book, you need to know where to begin. Many people begin this course with a book idea already in mind. Is that you? Perhaps you have long been dreaming about your book, rehearsing ideas in your mind, and picturing the characters that have already started to take form. If so, that is a great place to start.

Or you may only have an idea as your starting point. Perhaps you often find yourself reading a book and saying, “I could do better than that!” Now you want your chance to prove it. Either way, you have made a wise decision by getting started with this course.       

Let’s begin by considering five steps toward achieving that goal of writing a book: Imagine. Dream Big. Be Realistic. Be Specific. Make it Happen! 


Step 1: Imagine.

Close your eyes and see the book of your heart written, printed and displayed on the bookshelf in your local bookstore. When you pick up your book, you see your name across the bottom—in large letters. Doesn’t it look great? Now imagine yourself sitting in front of your computer each day. You have a limited time to write. What would pour from your heart? Would it be a tale based on your life? A magical fantasy that speaks of hope? A love story? Or maybe one with a historical setting? Is it an instructional piece that helps others in your field master their skills? A business book that helps you stand out as an authority figure? Imagine the cover art and how it grabs your attention. Next, visualize yourself going to book signings; feel the emotional high and satisfaction you will get from seeing your book in print!


Step 2: Dream Big.

You may be wondering, How quickly can I get my book written and published? That depends. Fairly quickly, if you don’t expect too much. Longer, if you want a more professional book. Most authors want a book that will reflect well on themselves, one they can display and claim with pride. If you set the bar low, you will have low results. But if you set the bar high, the sky is the limit.


Here’s what happens: Your subconscious mind detects the level of importance you place on all your goals. Then your attention, effort, and determination automatically follow the goals you consider to be of highest importance. That original determination can make the difference between success and disappointment.


Step 3: Be Realistic.

Writing a book isn’t easy. But a big part of success is knowing that nothing of real value ever comes easy, then deciding it is worth the effort. People who understand this, and are willing to deal with the inevitable difficulties, are far more likely to succeed than those who give up when the going gets hard. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to sit down at your computer and tap out a bestseller. Why? Very few people know intuitively how to write a novel or formulate their thoughts into a nonfiction book. Every writer needs to learn principles and nuances of great writing, then to proceed with direction, patience, and persistence.                  


Step 4: Be Specific.

General goals may sound good and feel good, but specific goals are the ones that bring success. What is the difference between general goals and specific goals? Let’s look at an example:

General writings goals: “I’m going to write my book, have it picked up by a publisher that will make it a bestseller, then I can quit my job. After that, I may write another book, maybe even several more. I’ll see how I feel.”


Specific writing goals: “I’ve decided my novel will be loosely based on my childhood in the Appalachian Mountains. Or, “I’ve decided to write my book based on my business’s best practices.” “Each day, I’m going to set aside a certain amount of time to write. On evenings or weekends, I’ll look into publishing options. I’ll make a checklist that will help me evaluate the various possibilities, so that when my book is written I will know how to proceed to get it published.”


See the difference?     


Step 5: Make it Happen!

When are you aiming to see your book become a reality? The timing depends on what commitments you are willing to make. The quicker you want to finish your book, the more time you will need to commit. Decide how much time you want to dedicate and hold yourself accountable.


When one of our authors started her first book, she committed to writing two hours every weekday, Monday through Friday. That made ten hours of writing each week. She used a calendar and each day she recorded the number of hours she worked on her book. If it was fewer than two, she tried to write a little longer the next day. If, by the end of Friday, she had fewer than ten hours recorded, she would make it up on the weekend. That worked well for her, and she was soon writing more than my minimum ten hours per week.


One note of caution here: Only record the hours you actually spend writing or editing your writing. Don’t count the time it takes you to dust your workspace or cut roses to put on your desk or to make a new pot of coffee. Don’t count the time you spend snuggling the cat or doing anything else that isn’t truly writing.


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