This is a reflection about goal-setting and why it is so crucial for authors.
You can do all the productivity hacks – deactivate your social media, block notifications on your smartphone, buy a fancy writing desk, go to a writer’s retreat to shield yourself from distractions, or give up other time-consuming activities…
…but if you don’t have a strong “why”, then it will all be for nothing.
Here are some of the barriers you will hit if you don’t know why you are writing your book.
(By the way, these all come from my own personal experience, when I failed to have a strong “why” when I was writing one of my own books).
#1 – Lack Of Motivation
Writing a book is a huge amount of work.
Without knowing your “why”, the initial excitement of starting a project quickly fades once the daily grind required to actually achieve it sets in.
You need to know what outcome you are seeking.
What will having this book mean to you?
Why will it get you to spend time writing, instead of the myriad of other ways you could spend your time?
If you don’t have this, you won’t have the requisite grit to keep going when it gets tough.
Lesson: don’t just set a goal — tie it to an emotional reason for achieving it.
#2 – You’ll Find It Hard To Decide On The Format
There are many ways to write a book.
Depending on your “why”, your message might be best communicated through:
- A work of fiction, with a moral to the story
- A narrative non-fiction book (such as Liar’s Poker, by Michael Lewis)
- A “big idea” non-fiction book (such as The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell)
- An “authoritative” non-fiction book (such as The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss)
If you don’t know what you want to achieve, it will be hard to see clearly what form the book should take. You won’t have a compass pointing to “true North”.
You need to have a stable answer for the question of “what kind of book are you going to write?”
Lesson: If you don’t even know what kind of book you’re trying to write, it’s pretty hard to write it.
#3 – Other Projects Will Have A Clearer Path Forward
Tony Robbins (the author and motivational speaker) said: “Complexity is the enemy of execution”.
That is so true.
When faced with how to spend your time, you will tend to avoid the feeling of ambiguity, and gravitate towards projects which you know more clearly.
Lesson: Without knowing your “why”, the ambiguity can crush you.
How A Writing Coach Can Help
The smart way to proceed when the pathway is not clear is to enlist the help of a teacher who has done the thing already.
Great teachers can guide the student and correct their mistakes before they make them — saving the student a great deal of time and preventing frustration.
While there is plenty of free (or cheap) information out there… a real teacher’s assistance is much more effective. With a teacher, the advice is far more tailored to YOU, and the act of paying money is a vital commitment to getting the goal done.
You may understand this very well already, in other areas of life.
People take private dance lessons to help them improve rapidly…
…or they get a personal trainer to quickly improve their physical fitness…
Well, writing coaches can help with the same thing.
A writing coach can help draw out your “why” for your book, thereby give you greater understanding of your goal, and get you on track to achieving it.