Everybody wants to write something.
At least, that’s if my conversations at networking events and catch-ups are anything to go by. Once they’ve heard what I do for a living, people will often mutter something along the lines of, “I’ve got a really good idea for a book, but I haven’t got time/I don’t know where to start/I’m not sure I could do it”.
(Delete as applicable).
So if that’s you, take comfort in the fact that it’s a lot of others, too.
Would things change if I told you about a magic ingredient that would not only help you start a new writing project, but see it right through to its rewarding end?
Believe it or not, that magic ingredient actually exists. It’s even got a name.
(Try saying it out loud. Go on. There’s a reason I didn’t say that particular word in my latest podcast episode).
Specificity is the magic glue that’s going to hold everything together as you plan and execute that book, blog, or story.
The reason is simple. Specificity is the enemy of procrastination, because it gives you both a reason to start, and a plan to keep going.
So let’s get all specific about specificity for a moment:
What’s your idea?
What are you planning to write? Are you starting a blog that tracks recent life changes or a new hobby, are you writing your life story, or are you sharing your expertise in a business book?
What’s your message?
Why are you writing this book or blog? What are people going to take away from it after they’ve finished reading? Try to boil this down to one clear message.
You won’t necessarily have to state the message in your project. Its main purpose is to help you focus your thoughts, so that everything you write speaks directly to that message.
That sense of purpose is going to make your book or blog a really compelling read.
Who’s your audience?
Who will get the most from your story and experiences? Will your business book appeal to first-time entrepreneurs who need some support, are you writing your life story for future generations, or do you want to inspire people to change their lives with your blog?
Pinning down whom you’re writing for means you’ll understand more about how to write for them.
If you’re after some extra motivation, you could even picture your ideal reader as you write. You’re doing it for them!
What’s your structure?
Now’s the time to let loose on the page with carefree abandon!
Grab a blank piece of paper (or open a crisp new Word document if you’re more refined), and just write down everything you can think of about your idea.
Don’t restrain yourself, and don’t try getting it all to make ‘sense’ – that’s going to come later.
When you’ve finished, put your piece of writing away for at least a day, then go back to it. Use these scribbles to form your project’s sections and chapters.
What’s your schedule?
How much time can you spare to write?
(If your instinct is to say “none” then you’re either Mark Wahlberg, or you’re not being completely honest with yourself. We can all make time for the things we really want to do).
I speak to a lot of people who think they need to set aside full days to write, so if all they can spare is half an hour every other day, they’ve failed already.
I’ll counter that by managing to write three books and weekly blog posts, just by scheduling in half an hour every morning to write (excluding weekends, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to those). Crucially, I completed each half-hour before I opened my work emails and got started for the day.
So try setting yourself small, unintimidating targets that actually fit in with the way you like to manage your days. The only rule is this: when you sit down to write, know what you’re going to be working on, and what you want to have completed by the end of the session.
(If you stick to that half hour per day, you’ll be genuinely amazed at how much you manage to get done in the space of a week. I promise).
With the specificity taken care of, now go forth and create!
If you need any help turning your ideas into a motivated plan, just let me know. I’ve wrestled with the writing demons and won, and I can help you do the same.