Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why in the world am I writing this book?!!

I once lived in Paris--the photo at right is the Eiffel Tower at night, all lit up for summer tourists. I learned the streets and shops and favorite places to get cheese and a baguette for picnics in the park.
My most important guide was Plan de Paris, a small red book with detailed maps. With these maps, I could navigate the city with ease. A no-brainer, perhaps, for a journey through a foreign country. But how many of us use maps for the journey of writing a book?
Maps are essential in book-writing. It's a process of mapping out a dream, a belief, a story, a theory. You're mapping it for yourself, first. Then for a reader.

And the most important question you need to ask yourself, to create this map for your book?

Why am I writing this?
Sounds unimportant, perhaps. But in my experience teaching over 2000 writers how to plan, write, and develop their books, it's become one of the most important questions. It helps you create a map because it gives you clarity on your own reasons for writing the book.

Books are long-term committments. Find out the reasons for the trip, before you begin to travel, and you'll have a great map to refer to if you get lost.

So, why are you writing this book? Some initial questions might be:
Is it for fun?
For the family legacy?
For money?
For credentials for your job?
To have a book to sell at your workshops or business?
Because you have an amazing story to tell—one that won’t let you alone?

And here are the most important questions to ask
Now you have begun to think about your deeper reasons for beginning this journey. It's time to home in on three aspects of the book-writing: self, reader, and the larger mission of your book.

Take a minute to consider the questions below.
Why do I want to write this book?
Why do I think a reader will want to read this book?
What is this book’s purpose (greater good or mission it could fulfill)?

Read posts below for more information about these three questions and what they mean to your book.