“You should write a book!” Anyone ever said that to you? Have you thought it to yourself? You know that writing a book and getting published would be a rewarding and meaningful life experience. You kick yourself for not keeping your New Years Resolution and starting your book–it would be selling on Amazon by now! There are often demons (counterproductive internal elements) preventing you from realizing your dream of writing a book and getting published.
Working with authors every day, and having published three books myself, I have met at least TEN of these demons and I want you to meet them too. I will reveal them for the purpose of exposing their agendas and tricks and showing you exactly how they CAN be conquered. In this post we will look at the book-halting demon, “Shy.”
DEMON No. 1: SHY
What if you rather eat staples than put yourself out there for “anyone” to see? You know that if perfect strangers read your writing it will feel like they are reading your mind. People will hear your inner thoughts, form opinions, and judge you by your written words. Not to mention the fact that after you close your eyes and push the “launch” button on your book, you will need to become more public than ever—any author has to work at becoming more and more visible in this huge global-sized market.
Suppressing the urge to write your book in order to “play it safe” is like imposing a gag order on your Self. The demon lurking inside you whose name is “Shy” is robbing you of a rewarding and meaningful life experience. Do not be complicit and rob all of us out here who really want (need!) to hear what you have to say.
Most best-selling authors are introverts. So how did these authors conquer Shy? The first fundamental mindset shift to make is to stop thinking it’s all about you. Shift to “serving others.” Where does it get you to worry about losing your private world or being judged as less than perfect? What a waste of your gifts.
I have interviewed many authors for my magazine column and I have read interviews with enough best-selling authors to know that each believes they have an opportunity to improve readers’ lives through their work. Right now, think of a book you have read that changed your life. Thank goodness that author was not too “Shy” to publish it, right?
Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, if you believe you can inspire someone, brighten their day, help them avoid costly mistakes, or provide a momentary reprieve from tough circumstances, you can have a positive effect on others.
Another tip to help you is to tell Shy to shut up about the enormous size of the audience. Very few people ever come close to feeling prepared to face a huge group of people, all eyes on them. Instead, define for yourself that one archetype of your target reader who can benefit from what you have to say, and write to that one person. In the (excellent!) book, On Writing, Stephen King advises writers to write their entire book with one reader in mind. That is his method.
Can you guess Shy’s favorite trick to play on you? Shy tries to sell “hiding out” with the notion that “out there” you must be perfect. Not true.
My friend is writing a self-help book in which she writes in the introduction: “If I waited to publish this book until I was certain of every sentence, that everything made perfect sense and could be readily applied for breakthrough results, you would not be reading this. No one would, ever. I am giving you all I’ve got. Please—eat the fish and spit out the bones.”
Shy is easily conquered when you focus on giving your best to your reader, reassuring yourself as you write that you can let the words flow, that there of course will be many drafts, that no one writes the final draft first. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”
Do not aid and abet Shy, the thief who pretends to protect you but actually imprisons you. We readers would be most appreciative if you would instead be courageous and generous, and write your book.
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