If you’re wondering what to do with a half-written brand-building book on your computer, you’re not alone!
No matter how frustrated and sad you may feel, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone!
Experienced authors, as well as emerging authors writing their first brand-building book, often find themselves forced to deal with incomplete books. Writer’s block is very democratic and can affect anyone!
Sometimes, the reasons for not finishing your book are obvious. In other cases, however, a little soul-searching may be in order.
In most cases, there are still ways you can put your ideas and previously-written content to work building your brand. Here’s a 3-step plan to salvage what you can from your brand-building book.
Step 1: What happened?
Start by asking a few simple questions:
- Why did you stop? Analyze the circumstances that lead to putting your book aside. Did progress suddenly halt–was their a specific event, obstacle, or problem? Or, did you just find yourself getting less and less done each week? Often, the circumstances are enough to identify the steps you can taken to overcome writer’s block.
- Where did you stop writing? Next, inventory how much work you’ve already put into your book. For example, if you were writing your book chapter-by-chapter, in the order they will appear, regaining momentum may be simply a matter of getting help overcoming a specific obstacle. The more work you’ve done, the more important it is that you explore ways to quickly regain your lost momentum or find ways to put your words to work elsewhere.
- Is your book still important to building your personal brand? Have your goals changed since you started writing your book? Is your book still relevant to your career goals and business profits? The more important your book is to your future, the more important it is that you take action as soon as possible.
An hour, or so, spent addressing the above questions, either by yourself, or with a friend, family member, or experienced book coach, can help you decide how much effort you want to put in saving your brand-building book.
Step 2: What can you do?
Depending on how you answered the above questions, one, or more, of the following alternatives may help you turn your half-written book into brand-building profits:
- Resume writing somewhere else. One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to close the current file and write about something else in a different chapter. There’s also a second aspect to writing somewhere else; if just sitting down at your computer raises the stress level, perhaps you should try writing at home, or in a bookstore cafe.
- Try a different format. This always works for me. If I can’t write what I want to write as part of a chapter in a book, I’ll write a short article or blog post about the topic. Even better, since we often speak better than we write, I’ll prepare an impromptu teleseminar or webinar, record it, and transcribe the recording. This creates a first draft I can add to and edit.
- Make a list. If you’ve been writing from a detailed outline, mind map, or table of contents, put it aside, turn off your computer, and grab a yellow legal pad. Without referring to your outline or table of contents, make a fresh list of ideas and keywords associated with the topic you were writing when you stopped writing. Describe the relevance of the topic, the benefits readers will gain, and the 2 or 3 most important ideas you want to share in the chapter. Be sure to include examples and stories that will add color and credibility to the chapter.
- Time management. Review your writing habits. In particular, How often you’re writing? How long are your writing sessions? and What are your expectations for each writing session? When you’re not used to writing, fatigue can quickly set in, undermining your productivity. Overly-ambitious writing goals can also contribute to writer’s block.
- Review the topic’s importance. If you ran into a brick wall writing about a particular topic, verify that the topic is absolutely necessary to the success of your book. Can you write around the topic, or substitute an easier-to-describe topic?
- Look for help. If a particular topic is giving you trouble, rather than delay your project while dealing with it yourself, explore other writing options. For example, can you locate a ghostwriter to address the particular chapter? (When I wrote the first edition of my bestselling Microsoft Office for Windows for Dummies, someone else wrote the chapter about creating databases with Microsoft Access.)
- Harvesting and social media. If you’ve determined that the book you’re writing is either too unmanageable, or is no longer critical to building your personal brand and business profits, consider harvesting what you’ve written and creating a different type of project. Instead of a book, for example, what about using what you’ve written for an ebook or list-building sign-up incentive? Could you turn what you’ve written into an e-course or a blog post series? Could you use your ideas as the basis of a series of articles or guest blog posts?
Ultimately, your answers to the three questions in Part l will help you determine the best course of action.
Step 3: Taking action
You’re probably self-conscious and sensitive about your half-written brand-building book, which is understandable. (Been there, done that!) But, that doesn’t make the problem go away; you’ve still done a lot of work that currently isn’t making a contribution to your personal brand.
The best thing you can do is to share your problem with someone else–a family member, friend, or experienced book coach. It’s important you get a fresh perspective on your half-written brand-building book, so you can turn your content into a profitable personal brand. There’s no glory in isolating yourself! Opening yourself to new ideas and fresh perspectives from others helps you make the best of a bad situation. Share your experiences and questions about writer’s block and half-written books as comments, below.
Roger C. Parker blogs at Published & Profitable. Download a proof of his new workbook, 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write and Self-Publish a Brand-Building Book.