One of my favorite aspects of life is how the experiences we go through teach us lessons that parallel throughout every other area of our lives. I truly believe that life itself is our greatest teacher.
When I wrote and published my first book at the age of 20, I had no idea the lessons that process would teach me.
On the Entrepreneur Before 25 Podcast, I’ve interviewed several other authors about the journey of writing their first book. Today’s article will be an expansion on the top lessons those entrepreneurs have learned along the process.
Share your journey while you’re still in it
Before starting my writing process, I read the book Published by Chandler Bolt. To this day, this is still the #1 resource I recommend people to read if they’re thinking of self-publishing a book. Between reading this book and Chandler’s episode on EB25, he breaks down the process of writing and self-publishing your own book into actionable and realistic steps.
One key part to the process that most people don’t think about is sharing your journey while you’re still in it. In Published, Chandler refers to this part as following the superhero’s journey through the ups and downs. He recommends being as public with your book writing experience as possible. Other’s sometimes call this social accountability.
I embraced this aspect when I wrote my book. I found myself loving and hating this decision everyday until the day of the book launch. I never allowed myself to give up when times got rough because I knew hundreds of people were watching. Because I religiously shared the ups and downs of my journey, something amazing happened! I developed a following of individuals who were engaged and sold out to the process as well. When launch day came, it was a celebration for all of us. In fact, the reason my book launch was so successful was because so many people went on the adventure with me. Within an hour of launching, my book was ranked a #1 Amazon Best Seller in a few categories.
In life, we can be tempted to walk our journey alone. To keep everything bottled up until the entire project is finished or until we have reached our destination. But truly, what would happen if we shared our journey while we were still in it? This doesn’t have to come in the form of emotional/dramatic posts or videos… because let’s be real, very few people like those. But it could come in the form of sharing your findings or what you’re learning in the middle of your journey. If you don’t share them, you might never share because life isn’t about reaching a destination, it’s about the journey and process itself. Authors that I have talked to have said that one of the most valuable lessons they’ve learned is the power of sharing the journey while you’re in it. We don’t know how much we can inspire people in their own journey while we’re in the process of experiencing our own.
Done is better than perfect
We’ve all been in a place of constantly questioning if what we have just created is good enough. In fact, a problem that I constantly run into is that since I am such a planned out and goal oriented person, by the time I finish one project completely I’ve already thought of ten ways it can be better than it currently is.
The point is, “perfect” doesn’t exist. The “perfect” bar is always evolving and changing depending on how much we as an individual are growing and learning. At some point, we just have to release our “baby” out into the world. If you talk to any author about this point, they will know exactly what you mean. No author ever feels like their book is absolutely perfect or even “ready” to be pushed out into the world.
Personally, I’ve never produced a more intimate piece of content than my book. I call Dear Millennial, 200 pages of my heart. I have questioned every sentence and word in that book, asking my motive for saying it, re-evaluating its accuracy or truth, and seeing if it’s good enough to see the light of day. At one point, I thought I was driving myself crazy.
Eventually every creator has to get to the point where they truly believe that done is better than perfect. If you have done your best and created as excellent of a product, service, book (or whatever else it might be) that you can, that is all you can do. And guess what? YOU are the only person on this planet that knows your standard. Chances are, if you have given everything you have, it’s going to come across as excellent work.
The amount of people that start creating something that never sees the light of day because the creator doesn’t think it’s “good enough” is astounding. Jennae Cecelia, best-selling author of Uncaged Wildflower, talks about this in our episode together. She could have chosen to wait for complete perfection, or to push out her work over and over again to the world. Luckily she did the latter and it changed her life and many others as well.
Only you know your standard for perfection. Share your creation with the world and see what happens.
Your book can establish you and your business as an authority figure in your industry
Have you ever been in a conversation with a complete stranger and found out that person is an author? If so, what was your first reaction? If you’re like me, it was immediate respect and a strong sense that this individual is a credible person.
Not only does being an author immediately establish you into more of a credible person, but according to all the authors I’ve had on EB25, a book can also be the best advertising tool for your business.
When you write a book about a specific topic, you innately establish yourself as an authority on whatever that topic is. In the case of Jennae Cecelia and her poetry books, she is now an authority in the poetry industry. Chandler Bolt wrote a book on how to publish a book in 90-days, as a result, he is an authority in the book publishing industry. I wrote a book about millennials, as a result, I’ve established myself as an authority in that industry as well.
When you’re an authority in your industry, it builds trust. Trust leads to people wanting to work with you which leads to sales and ultimately business growth as a whole.
So, when you put yourself through the extreme task of writing your first book, these are some lessons and insights you might come across. I encourage you to keep an open mind and not just apply these to your writing journey, but to your life journey as a whole.