What You Should Consider When Writing a Book

June 18th, 2020 Mathias Lehnhoff

As a business owner, you’re always in competition with other entrepreneurs to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. And that competition can be intense in the age of social media.

That’s why you should consider writing a book.

Yes, a book. Anyone can post an inspirational quote, design a quick infographic, or put together a cheat sheet. But an actual book carries weight, both literally and figuratively.

In other words, a book will give you an instant credibility boost.

Of course, anyone would do it if it was easy. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you ask the important questions before you get started.

However, starting a book is only half the battle. You have to finish it as well. So we’ve dedicated the second half of this guide to help you avoid the dreaded “writer’s burnout.”

Ready to brainstorm?

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Writing a Book

Since you’re reading this, you’re probably still in the early stages of writing. You’re still conceptualizing your book and working certain problems out. Here are a few questions every ambitious writer should ask themselves before writing a single word.

1. Do You Have a General Idea About the Book?

What’s the theme of your book? What’s the central idea driving it? For instance, Rich Dad Poor Dad is all about the value of financial education and its impact on our financial freedom. All the best-sellers and cult-classics have clear ideas. Serious business books are usually simple, with a ton of research behind them. The idea of your book should simple enough to be summarized in three to four sentences.

2. Is Your Idea Worth Sharing With Others?

When you find an idea, you have to ask yourself, is this idea worth sharing with others? There are small, niche markets out there, sure, but if your idea is only of use to a handful of people, is it really worth of entire book? Some ideas better work as smaller pieces of content. No matter how much an idea may seem original and innovative, you have to make sure that it provides valuable insights to your audience.

3. What Experience do You Offer to the Reader?

Writing fiction doesn’t technically require any experience at all. Everyone who knows how to read and write is qualified for the job. However, when you’re writing about something you have no experience with, it shows in your writing and the reader will detect it quickly. John Maxwell’s corporate experience is what allowed him to write his seminal 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. The book wouldn’t feel nearly as authentic if he pulled the rules out of thin air.

What’s Writer’s Burnout?

The first thing all newbie writers should be aware of is burnout. Even the most experienced writers sometimes experience it, new, inexperienced authors are more prone to it.

Burnout has been a hot topic in the business world for quite a while. Gallup, an analytics company, recently conducted a survey of more than 7,500 workers and discovered that:

  • 44% of workers feel burnout sometimes
  • 23% of workers feel burnout all the time

Burnout happens when you start spending too much time on a project, without proper time management and rest periods. Naturally, your mind and body can’t function for prolonged periods without any rest, so you start feeling burnout.

The writer’s burnout works similarly. You start spending too much time on your book, obsessing over every single detail, writing, and rewriting chapters to death.

1. How to Recognize Writer’s Burnout

Naturally, first-time writers struggle the most with burnout. Here how to tell if you’re experiencing writer’s burnout or not:

  • Motivation: When it’s time to work, you feel like hanging around and procrastinating. The lack of motivation lasts for a day. People who write as a hobby or do it on the weekend have it the worst since they are trying to cram writing into an already-filled time frame.
  • Memory: You come up with a great idea for a chapter, only to forget it just a couple of hours later. What’s worse, you start forgetting about regular things like meetings and chores. This happens because burnout causes stress, which negatively impacts on your cognitive functions.
  • Quality: The quality of your writing is all over the place. One day, you manage to get a few great pages finished and tomorrow, everything you write down comes out completely flat and lifeless. When burnout hits, your mood goes up and down constantly.

2. How to Avoid Writer’s Burnout

Burnout can last for weeks and even months. To avoid it, you need to take regular breaks. When things start to feel overwhelming, leave your book for a few days to rest, and only come back to it when your mind starts feeling fresh again. Here’s what to do if the feeling of burnout is hard to shake off:

  • Recognize the seriousness of the issue
  • Step away from writing for a couple of days
  • Keep the book in mind but don’t overthink anything
  • Get back to writing and try to find your voice again
  • If you need outside help, don’t be afraid to seek it out

Burnout may last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Try not to force yourself into writing. However, if you’re working on a tight schedule, do your best to avoid burnout altogether. 

Never Worry About the 1st Draft Too Much

The last piece of advice we have for you today is never to be concerned with the first version of your book. People worry too much about the 1st draft coming outright. Getting caught up in detail can make a person spend multiple years writing the 1st draft. In reality, the process should only last a few months.

In fact, Stephen King recommends you spend no more than 3 months writing the 1st draft.

What many writers will tell you is that after spending more than a year on a single piece of writing, the story starts to feel foreign. Write the 1st draft in one breath, without worrying about grammar, spelling, and other minor inconsistencies. You’ll get to them in subsequent drafts.

We hope you enjoyed our article. Share your thoughts on it in the comment section below.