Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Write What You Love

Passion. Desire. Excitement. Exhilaration. You probably felt all of these emotions on your first date with your significant other. But do any of these words come to mind when you sit down to write your book? If not, you might consider how much love you have for your book project. After all, your book should be one of the most exciting things in your life, not one of the most dreaded. If you approach your writing sessions with anything less than enthusiasm, perhaps you’re going about it the wrong way. Of course, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t write your book and get it published. But perhaps you need to shift gears and write what you love.

When you have a passion or desire for something (or someone), your entire disposition towards it is that of excitement and exhilaration. The before, during, and after aspects are all linked with a sense of desire and curiosity. You look forward to doing that thing. You enjoy the process (even if there are some snags here and there). And you feel rejuvenated and satisfied afterwards. That’s how it should be as you write your book.

You know the signs that you’re not really “feeling” what you’re writing: procrastination, avoidance, dread, frustration. But do you know the signs that you’re writing what you love?

How do you choose a genre or topic that’s right for you? And beyond that, how do you write compelling content that you love? I’ll offer two suggestions for selecting the topic of your next book and for writing content you love. 

1. Determine what resonates with you. Writing about what resonates with you is like meeting your soulmate. It’s sweet and fresh, interesting and thrilling. Every moment spent with him or her is one that could last forever. The same is true for the topic of your book. It’s the “aha moment” when you know you’re onto something. Think about those aha moments you’ve had. You know the ones when your head snaps forward, your eyelids pop open pullled up by the rising of your brows, the corners of your mouth reach towards your ears, and your gaze is a focused dreamy-ness that finds you resembling a deer in the headlights. Yep, that’s it. You’ve got it. That’s the aha moment when you’ve mentally stumbled upon a topic or idea that you love. 

Turning that idea into content for your book can be just as exhilarating as the initial moment when the idea was conceived. As with your relationship with your soulmate, you have to keep the love alive. Think about that topic and your content all the time. Jot down notes throughout the day. Read books and articles that are similar to what you’re writing about so you’ll keep the mood fresh and interesting. Talk about it with friends. And if you need help building the content beyond structured writing sessions, consider journaling. It’s a much more relaxed and therapeutic way to approach writing content for your book. For help, get a copy of my book, Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You’ve Been Wanting to Write

2. Know what will capture the hearts and minds of your ideal readers. To know this, you must first know who your ideal readers are. This is like buying a gift for your soulmate. You have to first know his or her likes and dislikes, needs and wants, preferences, fears, and even those things that just freak him or her out. From an author’s perspective, who are you writing this book for? You might find it surprising to realize this, but for most authors, their ideal readers are people just like them. 

Most would never admit to it (which always suprises me), but authors and professional writers most often write for people with similar interests, concerns, challenges, fears, needs, and experiences as theirs. Don’t avoid this most logical audience for your book. By and large, authors write what they know because that’s what they like, have learned, are knowledgeable about, and wish to share with others. So go for it. If you find that your ideal readers are people just like you, then think hard about the words, stories, examples, and tips that caputure your own heart and mind. Give the readers what they want. That shouldn’t be so hard, because, after all, it’s what you want too. And to get to that, once again, I suggest journaling.

Really, it’s not so hard to write what you love. You just have to find the passion and cultivate it. So, what do you love to write?

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