I talk a lot about knowing your why behind writing a book. It’s the single most important step to a successful outcome for your project. Once you determine your why, the next thing is to think about what you want in your life. You might be thinking, Wow, you’re reaching pretty far, aren’t you Lois? Why can’t I just get to writing the book?
It’s too easy to have vague goals. But, most often, vague goals lead to equally vague results. You want results, right? Even if the goal is to sell one book, or just finish what you started, it’s a result. Your goals aren’t going to be like mine. We all have different things we want out of life. We often think of a few things we want or aspire to be, but unless you write them down and act on them, they are merely wishes.
Here are some ways to think about your goals.
Money isn’t everything, but it sure is nice.
- Buy – Things and experiences
- Have – Security and peace of mind for now and later
- Give – To family, charity, community
Write down the monetary goals you want. Is it a vacation home or college education for your children? Maybe one of your goals is a nest-egg so you don’t have to depend on anyone in your later years. Perhaps, giving your daughter her dream wedding or a down payment on a house is what you want most. Or, you want to give generously to charities that mean a lot to you.
List each item on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, put a dollar value on what you want. Is it a modest vacation home in the mountains or a lavish oceanfront mansion? Go down the list and write how much it will cost for each item if you fully satisfied your goals. If you are like many people, you have denied some of the dreams you want in your life. Take the time necessary to explore your thoughts and get down to what you really want.
Of course, not all goals are monetary, yet they are both valid. Here are some other things that we all want to some degree or another.
- Status – respected in field, business community or your own community, popular or sought-after, admired for your achievements, knowledge or philanthropy
- Inner satisfaction – pride in work or achievements, lived your potential or pushed through obstacles, happy or content
- Purpose – make a difference in people’s lives, your field, the community, the world, your lasting legacy
Write down each of these goals, as well and visualize what it feels like. Pretty good, huh?
So, what does that all mean and what does that have to do with your book? If your book is in service of your business and your business is in service of your ideal life, writing a book plays a part in helping you achieve your ultimate goals. The book is a tool, an incredibly valuable tool, to gain credibility, increase exposure and increase sales for your business. Even if you aren’t in business now, being an author means you will be.
There are a lot of great reasons to write a book, but what you are your reasons? Think of what writing a book means to you. It isn’t enough that people have said you should write a book. You need to know why. Write the reasons that resonate with you. Add to that list as new ideas emerge specific to your industry and your business.
Now, go one step beyond the list. What are your desired outcomes? What does success look like to you? Gaining credibility is a wonderful reason to write a book, but you must realize the power credibility brings. That’s where defining the purpose of your book comes in. Setting goals prior to writing a single word ensures two things:
- You write your book with a specific outcome in mind
- You align your marketing of the book to achieve those goals
Once your goals and motivations are clear, the path to attaining the goals and the tools to achieve them become easier to identify. The goals are a guiding star through the writing, publishing and marketing journey. You will catch yourself whenever you veer off course and redirect your efforts more quickly and easily. Even more than that, when you know what you want, REALLY know what you want, you’ll feel a magnetic pull toward your ideal life. You’ll write your book because you can’t NOT write it.
If you need a little more help with goal-setting, check out this post on setting SMART goals and then take a moment to share your goals with our readers.
Ready to write your book but don’t how to start, how to finish, or lack the motivation to get you to the finish line?
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