by Christine Whitmarsh
“81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it,” once declared writer Joseph Epstein.
At present, that means over 250 million Americans aspire to write a book at some point in their lives. But a realistic assumption is that only a small percentage will follow through with their aspirations and write their book. That exact percentage would be impossible to count, unless an organization decided to poll people about unfinished bucket list items – a depressing survey by any standard!
Writing (and finishing) a book is a daunting project, even for those of us who do it for a living. To give you an idea of how daunting, this article is approximately 650 words long. Most business or self-development books run around 50,000 words. A book is this article multiplied by about 77.
Writing a book, therefore, requires a clear creative vision of what your book is about, a cohesive architecture for bringing that vision to life, a detailed writing plan, and a committed writing habit to help you follow through to the finish line.
How do you prepare for such a detailed project? What if you’re still figuring out some of the things listed in the previous paragraph? What if you want to write a book but you’re not sure where to begin even thinking about it let alone doing it?
Journaling can be a fun and effective way to prepare to write your book. You’ll also receive the added benefits that come from journaling like reducing symptoms of depression, improving working memory, and improving your mood.*
Here are 3 ways to journal your way to writing your future book:
Number 1: Focus More on Why Than on What
Many aspiring authors get so stuck in confusion about the details of their actual book, that they abandon their book goal before even giving it a chance. As Simon Sinek says – “start with why.” Before you worry about the “what” of your book, get clear on your reason(s) for writing it.
Your “why” should be strong and personal enough to power you through the entire process of writing a book. Once you align with your why, it’s miraculous how all the “what” details start falling into place!
Journaling is a great way to explore your book writing “why” without feeling pressured to figure out the actual details of your book.
Number 2: Brain Dump Without Judgment
Contrary to popular belief, a table of contents is not the typical first step in book development! There are many windy roads of potential ideas to explore first.
I’ve also found throughout my career that writing a book cannot “officially” begin before the author-to-be releases the many ideas that have sometimes been floating around in their head for years. Hence, the brain dump.
A journal is THE perfect place to unload all those thoughts you’ve been carrying around about your “future book.” Get them all down on paper first and then you can attempt to make some sense out of it all. Don’t try to organize or judge your words as you’re brain dumping – freestyle stream of consciousness is the name of the game!
Number 3: Journal Without Judgment
Flash forward to the proud day when you become a published author, and you see for yourself the impact of all your hard work! Imagine with specificity what your readers are telling you about how your book has helped them, entertained them, educated them, inspired them – whatever your goals are as an author.
This exercise also allows you to step outside of yourself and your ego, and help you realize how your book will positively impact others. Journaling without judgment allows you to let your imagination run free, step into the future, and paint a detailed picture of the future goal you are working toward – published author, so you can then plot a course toward that goal.
Christine “Ink” Whitmarsh is a memoir expert who helps authors write life-changing books, taking them through book development, coaching, and ghostwriting services. She is also a bestselling author of five books, most recently the memoir “The Power of the Curve” has been described as an “Inspirational story about a curved journey to personal and professional success!” Christine hosts the podcast, “Your Daily Writing Habit.” When not inspiring authors to change the world with books, Christine is a passionate student of the aerial arts.