116. When Writing Your Book Is Really All About You

It might seem selfish.

It might go against everything you’ve been taught.

But the truth is writing your book can’t be all about how you can serve your readers.

Any project that requires this level of commitment has to also serve you. Period.

In this episode, discover why becoming more self-focused can help you write a better, more fulfilling book and write it faster.

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.

Today I want to talk about this idea I keep hearing in online-business and motivational-speaking spaces.

It basically boils down to this idea that everything you do should be in service to others.

These are the messages I’m hearing:

  •   Your purpose should be in service to others.
  •   Your business should be in service to others.
  •   Your work should be in service to others.

At a conference I recently attended, one of the speakers built a solid case for living full out.

She encouraged the room full of hundreds of women and about six men to let go of shame and blame, ignite their passion, seize the moment, and uplevel their mindset.

All good. No issues here. She was doing great.

But then she went down this “service” path, and she lost me.

“Your business should be about service,” she said. And she said more than once. “You need to serve. You need to serve.”

Now, granted, she’s accustomed to working with a lot of men, but as a speaker, you need to know your audience.

And the reality is that the vast majority of women I know do not need anyone to tell them they should focus on serving.

They spend all day and well into the night serving.

They serve their kids and they serve their parents.

They serve their spouse or their partner.

They serve at work or in their business.

They serve at church and local charities and their kids’ schools.

They serve, serve, serve.

Telling women to make their lives about service denies the fact that we too have needs we hunger to meet—and some of those needs are self-focused.

So what does this have to do with you writing your book?

Let’s bring it together.

Recently one of my clients in my group-coaching program, Authors Ignited, said to the group, and I’m paraphrasing:

 “I have to focus on what my book will do for other people because what it can do for me just doesn’t motivate me.”

My heart broke a little bit when I heard those words, but I felt it.

She has been convinced her true motivation can only come from taking care of other people.

Back in the 80s, popular culture focused on greed.

Now there’s this moralistic attitude against any focus on self.

The pendulum, friend, has swung much too far.

Let me let you in on one of the best-kept secrets of human motivation.

Everything we do, we ultimately do for ourselves.

We give generously to the mother holding a sign on an off-ramp because we like the way it makes us feel to be in alignment with the values we say we hold.

We stop and help the woman broken down on the side of the road because it’s important to us to be the kind of person who stops.

We volunteer at our kid’s school because it’s required, and we don’t want the other parents to think poorly of us.

Why? Because we don’t want their opinion to make us feel bad or have a negative impact on our kids. Once again, all about us.

You do the things you do to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and avoid getting kicked out of the village. It’s *all* about you even when you serve.

The only reason what your book can do for readers is more motivating than what your book can do for you is that you’ve been taught to deny your personal interests.

Traditionally, women have been directed into lower-paying service that we’re supposed to do so we can, yes, be of service.

We have sacrificed a lifetime of higher wages. We have sacrificed our health. We have sacrificed our goals and dreams.

We don’t need to be told to serve.

Listen. Don’t get me wrong. I highly recommend you develop a clear vision for how your book will serve your readers.

You have to give them a reason to buy your book.

If you expect people to buy something from you,  there has to be an exchange of value.

But don’t discount your focus on how your book should serve you.

I constantly teach that you should have two purposes for your book, one for you and one for your readers.

But more and more, I’m finding many—certainly not all, but many—of my clients who were socialized as women have a hard time with the self-focused part of writing their book.

They can articulate it, of course.

I want my book to get me on bigger stages.

I want my book to help me get better media exposure.

I want my book to attract more clients.

But when it comes down to it, the goals they have for themselves aren’t compelling enough to keep them writing.

This is a problem for me.

I want every author, regardless of gender or background to understand this.

Your book is for you.

It’s not only okay for your compelling reason for writing a book to be about you, it’s helpful.

It can be difficult to measure the impact your book has on your readers, especially in the early days, soon after you publish it.

But it’s fairly easy to measure how your book is serving you.

Did you get the sense of fulfillment you expected from finally writing your book?

Are you landing more speaking engagements?

Are you getting more “yeses” to your media pitches?

Are you attracting more clients?

If your personal book goals, don’t motivate you, I want you to ask yourself why not?

Why aren’t your goals and desires as important as those of the people you serve?

I’d argue they are.

Why aren’t you as deserving of the time and attention you pour into crafting a transformative book as your readers are?

I’d argue you are.

If you want to write your book to get rich, go for it.

If you want to write your book to be seen as an authority, you can do it.

Providing value for your readers will always be a requirement of making your book serve you, so don’t worry. That’s part of the deal.

If you’re looking for a compelling reason to get started writing or to keep going all the way to the end, go look in the mirror.

You are the compelling reason, friend.

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

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

Enjoyed This Episode?

Learn everything you need to know to write a phenomenal book. Subscribe on your favorite podcast player below.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Spotify
RSS Feed