97. Success Leaves Clues

In the first of a 3-part series, What Successful Authors Know, you’ll discover a foundation of good book writing that many aspiring authors resist.

While many new writers try to fight against it, most bestselling authors employ frameworks to write their books.

The good news: frameworks don’t lock you in. They’re actually the key to unleashing your creativity so you can write more freely. Listen to this week’s episode to find out why.

To access the frameworks you need to make writing your book so much less stressful, check out Authors Ignited at AuthorsIgnited.com.

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

Nothing but the Words – A special 3-part series, What Successful Authors Know

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.

This week in celebration of the launch of my new group coaching program for authors, I’m dropping a special 3-episode series, What Successful Authors Know.

I created Authors Ignited to give you everything you need to write a phenomenal nonfiction book, including coaching and support from me, and what I’m sharing here.

If you join by Saturday, April 9, 2022, you’ll also get free access to my upcoming one-day virtual writer’s retreat.

Check it out at authorsignited.com.

Okay. Let’s dive into this week’s episode.

The first writing class I took as an adult, oh so many moons ago, was at community college in Southern California where I lived at the time.

That one wasn’t so great for a variety of reasons.

But the second class I took was great.

It was a fiction class taught by the wonderful Louella Nelson.

Lou taught me so much about the essential elements of writing fiction, which also applied to all of the nonfiction storytelling I’ve done since then.

But I completely rejected one piece of advice Lou gave us.

As an experienced writer of romance novels, Lou knew a secret.

Lou pulled back the curtain and revealed that romance books are written by a strict formula.

As in, the characters had to kiss between page X and page Y.

The life of the characters’ relationship followed a timeline that worked for readers and which the publishers could rely on.

Lou wasn’t suggesting we all write romance novels. She wasn’t even trying to get us to all follow a formula that specific.

What she wanted us to know was we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

There are certain models that authors have used for centuries that make it easier to write a book.

Success leaves clues.

When you look at bestselling books, the best reviewed books, the books people continue to buy and read for years and years, you can almost always pull back the surface and find a framework underneath.

This applies to memoirs, self-help books, business books, personal finance books, novels, children’s books—any kind of book you might choose to write.

Like the 3-act story structure for novels and memoirs.

While I was fine with that idea for fiction, which I was writing at the time, I really didn’t see how it would apply to personal development books or professional development books or any nonfiction that wasn’t primarily storytelling.

Y’all, I was so naïve.

Over the years I’ve learned that frameworks of many kinds not only make it easier to write your book faster, but they also free you to write your way.

It took me years to finish my first book because I didn’t want to be locked into anybody’s formula.

But a framework isn’t a formula.

When you change parts of a formula, things explode.

But within a framework you can write your way.

You can be creative with your choices because your framework will keep you from running your whole book off the rails when you make changes within those guidelines.

I use several frameworks when I coach my nonfiction-writing clients.

The one we start with is the SPARK writing method, which I created over a few years of coaching.

Each letter in the SPARK writing method stands for a part of the process I go through with my clients.

The S stands for: Solidify your Subject.

If my clients are torn between ideas or unsure of what they want to write about, I walk them through a process to choose one book idea.

And then I give them ways to validate that idea and make sure there’s a desire for it in the marketplace so they can be confident in their choice.

The P in SPARK stands for: Profile your Person.

As you’ll hear me say over and over again, your book is not for everyone.

When you’re clear about who you’re writing for, it’s so much easier to know what to put in your book and what to leave out.

This step will also be tremendously helpful when you’re ready to market your book.

In Authors Ignited, I give my clients specific exercises to really get to know that person who’s already waiting for your book.

Step 3, the A in the SPARK framework, is to Align your Aspirations.

Of course you want your book to serve your readers.

But here I want you to also get clear about how your book will serve you.

When you can align these two purposes, you’ll know what kind of book you need to write, what you need to include in it, and how you should position your book so you can make the most of it.

Step 4 in SPARK is the R, Ready your Roadmap.

Craft your outline and plan your writing schedule.

At this step, I give my coaching clients more frameworks to choose from.

I share frameworks they can use to shape their overall book and use to shape each chapter.

I have to stress this doesn’t box them in.

They can adjust the frameworks to suit their style, their message, and their writing.

That’s how you not only write a better book, but also write it faster.

And a writing schedule is a part of this step.

Commit to consistency.

Finally, the last step in the SPARK writing framework, the K, is to Keep Writing to the End.

The best way to do this is to get professional feedback all along the way.

I know it can be easier to get feedback from your family and friends, or to just write in a bubble and not show your writing to anyone.

And if you’ve had a bad experience with harsh and unkind criticism, I can understand your reluctance to share your work.

But there are plenty of people who can give you feedback in a professional and kind manner to help you make your book the best it can be.

With feedback and accountability, you can keep writing and finish the book you feel called to write and write it well.

Success leaves clues. These are the steps and the strategies so many of your favorite authors have used to write their books. 

These are also the steps and strategies I share and teach and coach around in Authors Ignited.

Check it out by authorsignited.com, and if it’s a good fit for you, join before Saturday, April 9, and you’ll also get a bonus ticket to my virtual writer’s retreat to help you get momentum on your book.

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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