I’ve been coaching a client who has written three chapters of his book. Today we had the ‘But who am I to write this?’ question and it’s one that many first-time authors ask – sometimes to their detriment (the word document goes back into the folder named ‘book’ and never sees the light of day.)
The answer to my client were these questions;
- Do you work in the field about which you are writing about?
- Do you genuinely have a desire for the reader to succeed, by sharing your knowledge?
- Are you an expert in what you do, and does your core message align with the key message in your book?
- Are you confident that the reader, if they implement your advice, will reach their desired result?
I could hear the mental shift take place as he answered the questions. Did he need to hear them? Absolutely. Does my soon to be author live and breathe what he is writing about? Yes. But somewhere along the path of authorship, telling his target audience how to do what he does seems a step too far. The ‘who am I to say this?’ whisper gets louder and in comes the crippling self-doubt. The fear of publishing something that states an opinion, or tells readers what to do is all too common.
So how do you overcome this? How are you able to dispel those whispers (or shouts in some cases) and keep the belief that what you’re saying is not only relevant but of value to your reader?
Well, first of all, answer the questions I’ve outlined above. What were your answers? If they were yes, then keep going! What you’re writing about will genuinely help your reader and could have a profoundly positive effect. If you’re still unsure, turn the tables – put yourself in the shoes of your target reader. Imagine you’ve just picked up your book from a bookshop. Really imagine yourself as that person, with their struggles or questions (or whatever the book is helping them with) – would you like to learn the information your imparting? Would it help you with your current situation? If the answer is yes, then keep going!
Doubts are just the egos way of stopping you from playing big.
Having them is natural – getting over them takes courage and it’s critical to push past your resistance of being ‘seen’ and allow yourself to be heard. Don’t let fear beat you, it’s far too common and it’s what stops greatness from taking wings. Having belief in yourself and pushing through the barriers of self-doubt is what sorts the successful people from the unsuccessful ones. Do you think that pioneers of industry have never had doubts that their product will succeed? Of course, they have – but what makes them pioneers is the fact they forged ahead; they felt the fear and did it anyway.
“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac
So, when you’re writing and you hear those whispers… remember to dig deep and see them for what they are – just fears way of keeping you small.
4 quick writing tips to keep your writing on track (and on point)
- Write from a place of authority
- Believe in your message
- Have a genuine desire for your reader to benefit from your knowledge/expertise
- Never underestimate the power of your message and how it may impact – for the better – your reader.
So, remember, keep those self-doubts in check and quash them if you can (the quicker the better).
I’ll end on a great quote by Seth Godin that pretty much sums up my attitude on helping clients become authors – “Here’s the thing, the book that will most change your life, is the book you write yourself.”