94. The Courage to Write Your Book

You can do all the prepping and planning in the world, but once you actually sit down to write your book it can still be really  scary.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, a memoir, or a personal or professional development book.

No matter what kind of book you’re writing, fear can stop you from actually completing it. 

In this episode, discover how to muster the courage to write your book in spite of the fear.

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

Mentioned in This Episode

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

Complimentary Consultation Call

Complete Author Coaching (1:1 Coaching)

Episode Transcript

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

I hope your week and your writing are both going well.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an event called Command the Stage Live. This program is designed to help transformational speakers develop their ability to connect with their audience from the stage.

It was hosted and run by one of my clients who also happens to be my coach, Patrice Washington. And it was a gathering of about thirty women and one brave man who came together to practice what they had created in terms of their talks.

I’m saying “they,” but I was one of those people. It was a great opportunity.

We each had three minutes, so we really had to watch the clock and get our talks done within our allotted amount of time.

But what stood out to me most from that event, was how much courage each person had as they took the stage.

Now, there were some people who seemed like they were born on the stage. They did a great job. It seemed to come quite naturally to them. But that does not mean that it didn’t require courage for them to do it.

Many of these women and men told stories they had never told publicly before, and some of those stories were quite personal. Some were quite tragic. Some were even quite embarrassing—or could have been in a different circumstance.

But they told their story with the ultimate goal of helping someone else, and that required courage.

Many of us were nervous. Many of us were afraid, but we had to get up there and do it anyway.

Even the most fragile, emotional, vulnerable storyteller still went through with it. They still told their story. 

They may have had a few tears that fell along the way, they may have had to pause to gather themselves, but no one got to a point where they couldn’t get through it. Everyone did it.

That’s real courage, taking action in spite of fear. 

And I know from my own experience, and from the experience of coaching my clients, that it can take that same kind of courage to actually write your book.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel or memoir, a how-to book or personal development book.

The genre of your book is irrelevant. You’re still putting a part of you on the page and sending it out to the world. And people are going to have their opinions about that.

That stops a lot of people. There’s an underlying fear there that stops a lot of people from mustering up the courage to do it anyway.

In this episode, I want to give you some ways to muster the courage to write your book.

#1. The first thing I want you to do is to keep showing up for the page. 

Keep showing up for your work. Keep showing up for the goals you set for your book and for what you want your book to do for your readers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing every day or you’re writing every Saturday. Whatever your schedule is, stick to it. 

Even if you’re sitting there looking at your outline and not producing any words.

If your commitment is to write 30 minutes every morning at 6:00 a.m., sit there. Give your brain the chance to make those connections, and do it even when you’re afraid.

That consistency will make showing up for your book more normalized for you and will help you build the courage you need to write your book.

#2. The second thing I’m going to say, and that I say all the time, is to lower your standard.

Do not expect the first draft of your manuscript, what you’re typing from your outline, to come out great.

We all want to strive for excellence in our books—at least everyone in my writing community does.

You may even strive to produce the best first draft that you can, but don’t expect to produce excellence when you’re just writing the first draft.

Remember that excellence happens through the revision process.

Lower your standard for what you’re creating so you don’t have to be so overwhelmed with the idea of creating gold when you sit down and type your first draft.

#3. The third thing I want to suggest you do is identify and acknowledge your fears.

Almost all of our fears around writing come from a fear of judgment.

You may be afraid of what your mother will say when she reads a certain story in your book.

You may be afraid people will say, “Hey, we already have a thousand books on this subject. We don’t need one more from him or her.”

You may be afraid of the judgment you’ll see in Amazon reviews or the judgment you’ll feel if not enough people buy your book.

Those are all very common fears. They’re all fears most authors have to deal with. In other words, you’re normal with a normal human brain.

But as you identify and acknowledge those fears, it’s important that you show yourself some compassion. I suggest you write out your fears and journal about them.

And in that journaling, also write to yourself about how it’s okay for you to have those fears and to write your book anyway, in spite of them.

It’s so important to allow yourself to feel okay about being afraid. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s perfectly normal, but you can’t allow it to stop you.

#4. My fourth piece of advice is to free yourself to really write with abandon.

And how do you do that? My suggestion is that you question every thought that comes up and that might get in your way—every obstacle thought. Talk back to those voices.

So if, as you’re writing, you have the thought that this really isn’t good, respond to that thought.

Your response might be: “This really isn’t good, but that’s okay. I’ll fix it later.”

Don’t just allow your brain to run amok with negative self-talk about you or your book or your writing.

When you respond to that negative self-talk, and allow yourself to course correct, you can free yourself to write with abandon each writing session.

And keep in mind as you’re writing that no one has to see anything that you write until you say they can.

So you might include a story in your book that you decide later to completely take out. You’ll remove it from your manuscript before it even goes to the editor. You have that power and that control.

No one ever has to see what you wrote until after you decide they should. So even if you can’t spell very well, and you don’t know grammar all that well, so what? Your editor will help you fix those things.

So keep in mind that what you write in that first draft is really just for you. There’s nothing to be afraid of there because no one else is going to see it.

#5. My fifth and final tip is to get some support.

I had the best coaching call with my group coaching clients today. It happens to be all women in that group. And they all showed up for each other today with encouragement, support, ideas, and resources. That is invaluable.

Yes, you absolutely want to get feedback. That’s important. It’s incredibly important.

But this support, particularly if this is your first book, is hugely valuable.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have support throughout my entire writing career.

I paid a lot of money for that support in the early days of my writing career by joining private workshops and getting mentoring.

I’ve built a community of writers around me—which happens to include my husband, who’s a brilliant writer—who support me in my writing endeavors and understand what I’m going through when I’m writing a new book.

Get that support so you can find, muster, and tap into the courage it takes to write your book.

You have done other hard things. I know that you have.

Writing a book is no different. You will have to be courageous about it. And I know that you can.

That’s all for this week’s episode, my friends. For more writing tips and inspiration follow me on Instagram at Candice L. Davis.

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach Candice L. Davis, and I’ll see you next time.

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