Writing is the biggest obstacle between ideas and personal brands; unless you take action on your ideas and actually write your article, start your blog, or finish your book, your ideas will never turn into career-enhancing SEO visibility and a brand-building published book.
And, it’s not just writing a book! The ability to take action and actualize any idea is, ultimately, what separates:
- Published authors from those who are simply readers
- Keynote speakers from their audiences
- Frustrated employees from successful & fulfilled entrepreneurs.
So, the question is: Why do so many intelligent, qualified, and hard-working people find it so difficult to take action on their ideas and follow-through to success?
Overcoming the obstacles between ideas into action
As an author and book coach, I’ve long been fascinated by books that address the mechanics – or process – of writing. This is because the problem, for most of the people I’ve met, is not a lack of ideas, but a lack of system to translate their ideas into action, and action into completion.
Most entrepreneurs and career-oriented individuals have good ideas, but they fail to act on them. Worse, if they begin to act on them, they fail to complete their projects.
Until recently, my three favorite “writing process” books have been:
- Clark, Roy Peter. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. reviewed here
- Hart, Jack. A Writing Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies that Work. review#1, review #2
- Newkirk, Thomas, & Miller, Lisa. The Essential Don Murray: Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher. review#1, review #2
The above books may not enjoy the fame enjoyed by William Zinsser’s On Writing Well or Strunk & White’s classic Elements of Style, but they have done the best job so far of defining the process of taking an idea and writing about it.
A fresh perspective on the obstacles between a book idea and a published book
Now, however, the above books have been joined by an extremely valuable new resource, Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality.
Scott’s book brings a fresh perspective to the obstacles that must be overcome in order to convert an idea into action, and an action into completion.
Making Ideas Happen starts with an all-too-true observation: Nearly all new ideas die a premature death.
From there, he explores why some individuals and firms translate ideas into success, and why other ideas simply, in his words, “die a premature death.”
7 reasons this book belongs on your book shelf
Since I purchased Making Ideas Happen about 2 weeks ago, I’ve been doing a lot of writing about it for several reasons:
- Universal perspective. Unlike books written by writers for writers, Making Ideas Happen is a “real world” book that focuses on problems shared by all creative types – not just authors, but painters, architects, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Authors are not alone in coming up with good ideas, but not profiting from them.
- Well-researched. Scott Belsky researched hundreds of creative professionals and – equally important – creative firms to observe the common best practices that contribute to success in all types of environments. The stories and quotes that Scott has assembled from all sectors add life to Making Ideas Happen.
- Empathy & style. Good information shared in an academic, or boring, style is rarely read or acted upon. This is an easy book to read; it’s written in an non-judgmental “you” style. The writing is tight, without clutter. Best of all, Scott has invented a new vocabulary 0f entertaining terms to communicate his ideas.
- Process. Like all top-shelf books, Making Ideas Happen doesn’t just subscribe symptoms, it offers systematic relief; it describes practical, actionable steps that readers can immediately put to use.
Since I read it, when I get excited by a new idea, I find myself changing the way I respond. Instead of enthusiastically “improving” the idea, or sharing it, I look for specific tasks I can take to act on the idea.
Making Ideas Happen examples
To give you an idea of the contents and flavor of Making Ideas Happen, here are a few examples:
Most creative individuals jump from one new idea to another, newer, idea. Belsky calls this the exhilaration of new ideas, but few ideas succeed because few ideas are translated to specific, actionable tasks. In his words: ...organization is the guiding force of productivity: if you want to make an idea happen, you need to have a process for doing so.
Implications: this is also true with creating your personal brand. Structure enables us to capture our ideas and arrange them in a manner that helps us (and others) relate to them.
Leadership, both social and self
Another major challenge or obstacle that authors face in building their brand is the ability to accept, structure, and cultivate their ability to lead co-workers as well as themselves.
He speaks of the Creative’s Compromise: the self-discipline and restraints necessary to execute an idea can feel like a tremendous compromise of your very essence as a creative person.
He concludes: The journey to a more productive life as a creative leader starts with a candid self-assessment of who you are, your tendencies, and the greatest barriers before you.
Your journey to a published brand building book begins with your ability to turn a book idea into a published book. Your progress can only go as far as your ability to act on your idea and continue to act on it until you have succeeded. As Don Murray wrote, “Without a first draft, there’s no second draft,” and – definitely – no published brand-building book!
Roger C. Parker shares ideas for planning, writing, promoting, & profiting from brand building books in his daily writing tips blog. His latest book is #BOOK TITLE Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, & Event Titles.