Most of the work I do before I begin the actual writing of a nonfiction book is geared around setting myself up for successfully completing it. As I’ve written about before, taking the time to get uber-clear on exactly what it is you’re looking to do before you start to do it helps prevent getting stuck further down the road.
For me, one of the most important parts of the pre-writing process is getting clear on my personal WHY for writing a nonfiction book and then crafting a mission statement based on what I discover.
By “personal why,” a concept Simon Sinek writes about in his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (and related TED Talk), I’m referring to my purpose for wanting to tackle the project.
Taking the time to explore and reflect on the meaning behind your wanting to write your book, both for yourself and for your audience, will help you tune in to your purpose which can then be a guiding beacon along the entire journey.
To get clear on your personal why for your to-be-written book, take some time to reflect on the following questions:
1. Why are you compelled to write it? Dig deep here and think about all the reasons why you feel called to take this on.
2. What do you want people to get out of it? What do you hope your reader will experience / how do you hope he or she is transformed through reading your book?
3. What do you hope it will do in the world? What is your greatest hope for how your book can positively impact on the world?
4. What is your highest intention / greatest dreams for your book once its completed? If your book could be whatever you dream for it, what would that be?
Now that you’ve answered the previous questions, use your responses to craft a VISION or MISSION STATEMENT for your book.
A solid mission statement that truly captures the essence of your vision for the book will be invaluable to you as you move forward. Because writing a book can be a long process. It’s messy. It takes serious endurance. And it’s easy to get lost, especially the further into the journey you get.
When I’m working on a book, I always have my mission statement scrawled out on a post-it note and stuck to the side of my computer. And I refer to it all the time. It keeps me focused and grounded. And most importantly, it keeps me moving forward.
In my next post, I’ll talk about researching your book idea.