I was dawdling in my inbox when I came across this line in Esther Perel’s newsletter:
“We have to remember,” my peer told me, “that when people aren’t listening, it’s because they don’t feel heard.”
Great thought, right? It applies to our writing efforts in lots of ways, but here’s one way you might not think of:
Do you listen to you?
Specifically, some of you, like me, have many different tiny people running around on the inside of your brain. Some are brave and kind, many more are anxious and scowling.
In an attempt to calm them, you might be telling these freaked-out minis things like, “Don’t worry! I really want to write my book draft. I have the motivation! This is the year we get it done!”
You may even attempt to order them around: “When you pipe up it derails me and I need to focus. Could you stop?”
But, they do not listen. Why don’t they listen?
But maybe also… before you ask them to listen to you, do all these tiny people in your brain feel heard by you?
What about those especially twitchy ones who constantly change their minds about your entire book topic, just when you’ve made some headway?
“Yes,” you can tell them, “I know you’re scared this commitment will be a complete waste of time. I know you’d rather write no book than get 25,000 words in and somehow realize we’re working on the wrong book. I hear you.”
What happens when you make your little brain people feel heard?
Maybe this is too esoteric for you. How about this, then? Instead of plunging into writing with no prep, write an outline first.
Use the outlining process as a way to make your inner scowly people feel heard. Get all their thoughts out, gather everything, and have a conversation with them as you shuffle your material into an organization.
Don’t outline because you should, or because you want your book’s form and organization to be set in stone (because it won’t be).
If you’re not taking the time to listen to yourself, why would anyone else?
If you want my quick tip on outlining a book, the reel is here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CS-ezIDJ8M6/
PS: If you know you want to go deeper and go from book idea to book roadmap in 2022, that’s exactly what we’ll be working on in Book Breakthrough. I’ll be announcing the dates for the next round after the new year.