109. Are You Investing in or Sacrificing for Your Book?

If writing a book required no personal effort or investment, everyone would do it. (Well, not everyone, but lots more people.)

Your book will demand certain things of you, of course.

But are you making sacrifices for your book or making investments in your book?

In this episode, find out what your book demands of you, and how to decide if you’re sacrificing or investing and what difference it makes which you choose to do.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @candiceldavis.

Mentioned in This Episode

Authors Ignited: Group Coaching Program for Nonfiction Authors

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Complete Author Coaching (1:1 Coaching)

Episode Transcript

Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your Book Coach, Candice L Davis.

I hope your week and your writing are going well.

Writing your book requires you to give up some things. It just does. You will not get something for nothing. 

But depending on your perspective, you can see “giving up” as a sacrifice or an investment.

An investment is something you temporarily give up with the hope and expectation that you’ll see a greater return at some point down the road. 

I’m currently taking a class on wealth-building, and investing is one of the pillars of the program.

This year, I’ve been slowly increasing the amount of money I invest in stocks each month.

I’m doing that because I expect to get a greater return, a payout larger than the amount I invested, down the road.

I don’t miss the money I could spend now because I expect to have more money to spend later.

A sacrifice, on the other hand, means to give up something for the sake of someone or something else.

There’s no implied return to a sacrifice.

I don’t enjoy the thought of sacrifice.

Think about how it would feel to have your boss tell you that you’ll have to work the next 12 weekends and come to work.

But you won’t get any extra pay, recognition, or acknowledgement for your effort.

Don’t bring up the weekends you worked when it’s time for your review because your boss doesn’t want to hear about it.

There’s absolutely nothing in it for you to work weekends for the next 4 months. Your boss just wants you to do it.

You can show up weekend after weekend, but no one really cares.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that would feel like a pretty big sacrifice.

And I’d be looking for another job.

But no one is making you write a book.

And since no one is forcing you to do it, I have to assume you expect some kind of return for yourself or your readers, and hopefully both, from writing and publishing a book.

If that’s the case, then your book is an investment friend.

Here are some of the things you’ll have to invest (not sacrifice) in order to write a great book.

Your #1 investment is, of course, time.

You have to invest the time to properly plan your book.

Failing to plan your book makes it highly likely that you’ll never finish writing it.

And of course you have to be willing to invest the time to learn about writing, to do the actual writing, and to get feedback on that writing.

Listen. I know there are still people out there selling “write your book in a weekend.”

If you knew how harshly I used to judge them, you might be shocked.

I’m not so hardcore about it anymore, as long as the people they’re selling to know they will NOT produce a high-quality, book-length work over that weekend.

They’re more likely to produce a succinct little pamphlet or a stack of transcripts they can later use to write a book.

If the clients are fine with that, far be it from me to say they can’t do it.

But for those of us who care deeply about the quality of our books, who care deeply about how our books can make a difference to our readers, or who care deeply about creating something that will last, time invested is required.

Now, I started my writing career in literary fiction, which I still write. In that sphere, I knew award-winning authors who took a decade to write each book.

By no means am I saying you need to do that. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.

But if you don’t have 6 months or even a year or two to dedicate to writing a book, you’re probably not going to write the book you feel called to write.

The second investment you have to make in your book is your effort.

Listen. I’ve taken more writing classes, read more writing books, and been coached and mentored by more authors than I care to share.

I had to put in the effort to learn how to write a great book.

There’s no shortcut, friend. You must invest the effort not just in the writing but also in learning how to write a book.

That’s just real.

Recently, I had a conversation with my younger daughter about how people show up for their craft.

She’s a dancer and noticed how some dancers in her community show up on time, every time, prepared to do the work.

Others are more nonchalant, skip training classes, or for reasons known only to them, only give a half-way effort.

The truth is that’s the case in every area of life.

Some people say they want the goal, but they’re simply not willing to put in the effort.

Maybe they’re insecure or afraid. Maybe they’d really rather be doing something else.

Whatever the reason they choose not to put in the effort.

And their results always reveal the effort they put in.

You, my friend, will have to invest effort in writing your book.

Your third investment in your book is your creativity.

Writing a book is a creative process. It’s the act of creating something that doesn’t yet exist.

Figuring out which stories to tell in your book and crafting them effectively is a creative process.

Deciding how best to communicate your book’s message requires you to be creative.

Fortunately, your brain has the capacity to be creative.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never considered yourself a creative type.

You’re already creating in your life on a regular basis.

But you’ll likely have to stretch yourself to be creative in this new way and for a project that’s more of a marathon than a sprint.

And the fourth and final (at least for this episode) thing you’ll have to invest is your vulnerability.

Even if you’re writing the most basic, straight-forward how-to book, keeping it super neutral with very little of your own story in it, there is a vulnerability to writing a book and putting your name on it.

There will be reviews on Amazon.

So what does all this mean for you as you write your book?

It means you can choose whether you want to see the things you pour into your book as investments or sacrifices.

Try on both and see which one feels better for you.

Which one makes you want to get up and write most days?

Which one makes you dread the thought of writing?

Your book requires these things of you. It requires time and effort, creativity and vulnerability.

You get to decide if you want to give them up begrudgingly and wishing all the while that you didn’t have to or give those things willingly and with an eye on the return you eventually expect to get.

That’s all for this week’s episode, friends.

Thanks for listening to “Nothing but the Words.” I’m your Book Coach Candice L Davis. And I’ll see you next time.

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