‘I want to write a book.’: It can be a wish or a plan.

A lot of people have said, “I want to write a book someday.” They’ve repeated it in their own heads. Out loud. To me. To their dog.

“I want to write a book someday.” It can be a wish or it can be a plan.

Fellow writer and business buddy Zita Christian said to me, “Writing your first book is like cooking a whole Thanksgiving turkey. It’s easier if you get some practice first.”

“What, like first you should roast a chicken?” I asked.

I chewed on that, as it were.

YeahFirst you should roast a chicken.

As in: a lot of people who would like to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, soup to nuts, but are overwhelmed by the idea of it, would benefit from tackling a smaller project as practice.

Especially if they’ve never cooked in their lives, or haven’t cooked anything since that meal they turned in for their “Creative Cooking” class final, senior year of college.

#amirite?

***

So! What does it mean to roast a chicken in the realm of book writing? In Be About Something (my book), I recommend writing and publishing at least a dozen blog posts on your Big Idea to help you think it through. So, “roasting a chicken” could mean writing articles.

But it could mean other things, too, like

  • Research

  • Interviews

  • Talking things out with a trusted thought partner

  • Writing Big Ideas, but not publishing them (yet).

You’re trying to create something great, like a satisfying meal, but you’re also checking in with yourself throughout the process.

How does it turn out? How does it feel to cook it? Do you even like cooking? Do you want to make something else next time?

You can answer all of these questions by writing and publishing shorter works like articles and blog posts. Good practice. Less time commitment.

Even if you don’t publish, you get benefits from researching and writing notes to yourself, because you learn your process and the environment you need to be most productive and creative. And you figure out if you care about your topic enough to continue to pursue it.

***

Bottom line: The people who wish to write a book “someday” turn into the people who actually write the book by breaking down that big BOOK goal into smaller tasks.

Then they can practice those tasks, accomplish them, and move on from them.

The “moving on” part is important. Once you’ve roasted a chicken enough times, you need to let yourself recognize you’re ready to do the whole Thanksgiving meal. That can feel scary, and if it does, I can help you.

  • outline

  • figure out how to organize your research

  • make a plan for writing

But whatever method you decide to use to get the book done, make sure you’re allowing yourself to practice, accomplish, and progress.

Maggie

PS: When you decide you’re ready to write that book, read my detailed rundown of what it’s like to partner with a ghostwriter. What is a Ghostwriter and Why Do You Need One?

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