Productivity Coach Practices What She Teaches to Write Book
Linda Stacy of Living Bluprints is an expert at guiding others on how to manage their time and live more fulfilling lives. That turned out to be extremely useful when she decided to write a book in addition to keeping up with her own busy life. She relied on the same tactics she teaches to her audiences to finish The Whole Package Professional: The Definitive Guide to Productivity, Success, and Fulfillment in Business and Life in under a year.
The book helps readers to figure out new systems, be more productive and find more joy in their lives. Linda recently shared her writing process:
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been building my coaching and training business over the course of about three years. Like many entrepreneurs, I didn’t start with the clearest vision of what my business would look like, but I was deeply guided by something internal. I’ve been blogging for about three years and knew that there was a book within that content. Many factors added up to the plain reality that writing a book would be key for the success of my business. The book has forced me to craft my point of view. Having it complete has allowed me to better understand my market. Finally, and perhaps of greatest importance, the book establishes my expertise in the field. Ultimately, the inspiration to write this book came from the knowledge that doing so would enable me to build a business and do work that matters.
I started writing in January of 2015. I thought I was going to ‘blog the book’ but had difficulty crafting an entire picture with that approach. Around May I thought I might design it to read like a cookbook. Then in June, at the monthly meeting of my local National Speaker Association, Steve Shapiro, a successful innovation expert, was our guest speaker. His session covered a ton of great material for professional speakers, but his comments about book writing were golden. Two of his books were published by big houses. He contrasted these with three ‘small’ books, which he self-published. He has sold 10s of thousands of the small books! I decided to take the Steve Shapiro route and finished phase one of the book by November 2015. Phase one is to do with Shapiro’s recommendation print a small run and solicit feedback – this is where I am now. In the first quarter of 2016 my book will graduate to the next level, where it will go through an additional copy-editing and layout phase, and finally obtain a barcode, an ISBN, and Amazon presence!
How did you stay motivated through the project?
Two key factors kept me motivated. One was/is that I am highly motivated to have a successful business that I love – a business that has significant positive impact on my clients and audiences. I have studied other successful entrepreneurs with a similar business model and know that a book is key. Secondly, I was highly motivated to have a book printed for the Massachusetts Conference for Women, where I exhibited in December 2015. I wanted a product to sell and a product that would help establish my credibility. Because exhibiting was a large time and financial investment, I did as much as I could to make it a success for me.
What is your method for writing?
I am a commuter with a full-time job (outside of coaching and training business). My early process involved downloading and categorizing all of my blog posts to identify key themes. The themes turned into an outline – an outline that was basic (large content areas that I filled between for cohesion) and that shifted several times throughout the writing.
Writing itself happened in any available chunk of time I could find. I used the same methods I speak about in the book – methods that allow for focused work (including setting a timer and writing for 25 minutes without interruption and not letting myself be distracted by email, Facebook, the phone). I’d then break when the timer went off and re-engage for another 25-minute burst.
I found that writing was easier if I didn’t let it get away from me too much. Even 25 minutes a day allowed me to stay engaged in the project. I did a lot of writing on the train. On days I didn’t go into the office, I would go to the local community college library, where it was quiet and opened early. I found spaces that supported this very important goal and made it happen.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the project and ‘getting it right’ from the outset. I was very concerned about the content resonating with any audience and that my point of view would be one that no one cared about. But the more I am exposed to what it takes to be successful, the more I realized that without risk there cannot be reward. I’ve gotten more comfortable with the fact that my message won’t be for everyone and that anything I create will always be a work in progress.
As mentioned before, Steve Shapiro’s message was key for me. When he encouraged the small book, part of his recommendation was to get an initial edition ‘done’ and then send it 50 people to solicit feedback. By taking a similar approach, I have tons of people offering me their feedback. The book is going to be amazingly better than it would have been with only my eyes and those of an editor. This process is expediting the elevation of the book in a way not otherwise possible, given my limited schedule.
What words of advice would you have someone who wants to write a book?
Go for it. Read everything you can about the process and talk to everyone you know who has published. There are so many ways to write a book.
As you write and expose yourself, be open to feedback, take the edits in stride, and take heart knowing that your willingness to adjust is key to creating a great product.
My purpose in writing a book is very much aligned with a larger goal surrounding my business. I’d say if you are going to write, do it for something beyond the book itself.
The Whole Package Professional: The Definitive Guide to Productivity, Success, and Fulfillment in Business and Life is available at: http://www.livingbluprints.com/contact/. Indicate in the “message” field that you want a book, and the author will arrange delivery.