Recently I was helping a writer who had become stuck whilst developing her first book. She was incredibly well-qualified, bright, full of ideas, experienced with a wealth of knowledge and she wanted to get it all into her book. She had a comprehensive contents list, broken down into multiple sections, headings and sub-headings. On paper it all looked good – detailed, intelligent, well-researched. But she was stuck. She was bogged down in the detail, the nitty gritty, the technical. She was stuck because of how much she knew, and the immense challenge of getting it all down on paper.
In natural horsemanship we have a phrase: The horse doesn’t care how much you know till he knows how much you care.
I asked my client to change direction completely, forget how much she knew, forget all the things she thought the reader needed to know before they could go forward, ignore her structure so far. I asked her to imagine just one reader, a real person who she knew needed her help. A real person with problems, issues, difficulties – a real person with a pain that the writer could solve. Then think through clearly how, for just this one person, she could solve their pain. How she could demonstrate she understood and had a solution.
The author smiled – she was unstuck in her writing. She knew she could write for just one person and sincerely help them. She also knew that the problems this one, real person had, were shared with many of her clients and potential clients. She understood that by writing from her heart, not her head, she could get unstuck and write a book that helped people. And at the same time demonstrated, by omission, just how much she knew.
It really doesn’t matter how many degrees you’ve got, what matters is that you care about your reader and they can see that in your writing. You want them to learn, discover and achieve their own successes after they’ve read your book. The reader needs to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.
If you need help getting unstuck with your writing get in touch. We can have a chat and I’ll quickly help you unstick your writing so you can share your message with those people who you can help.