The beginning of a new year often brings with it a surge of inspiration and aspirations. For many, it’s a time to set fresh goals and embark on exciting ventures. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, this year could be the perfect time to turn that dream into reality. But before you dive into the writing process, there’s one essential step you shouldn’t overlook: finding your ‘why’.
Why Finding Your ‘Why’ Matters
Writing a book is not just about putting words on paper; it’s about creating a meaningful and impactful piece of work that resonates with your readers. Your ‘why’ is the driving force behind your book – it’s the purpose, the motivation, and the heartbeat of your project. Without a clear understanding of your ‘why’, you risk writing a book that lacks direction, relevance, and connection with your audience.
In a world flooded with content and information, your book needs to stand out. It needs to be more than just words; it should be a reflection of your passion, expertise, and the change you want to bring about. Your ‘why’ is the compass that will guide you through the writing process, helping you stay focused, motivated, and committed.
Defining Your ‘Why’
So, how do you go about finding your ‘why’ for writing a book? Start by asking yourself some fundamental questions:
- What is your ultimate goal? Is it to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, generate leads for your business, become a sought-after speaker, or fulfill a lifelong dream? Your ‘why’ should align with your overarching objectives.
- What drives you? Consider the passions, values, and beliefs that motivate you in your personal and professional life. Your ‘why’ should be deeply rooted in what truly matters to you.
- Who do you want to impact? Think about your target audience and the people you want to reach with your book. How can your words make a difference in their lives?
- What change do you want to create? Your ‘why’ should be tied to a vision of the impact you want your book to have on your readers and the world.
- What legacy do you want to leave? Consider the long-term legacy you wish to build through your book. How do you want to be remembered?
A Personal Journey: Discovering My ‘Why’
I‘m in the process of updating my book; The Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Self-Publishing, how to write, publish and leverage your business book and I’ve had to sit down and re-evaluate my ‘why’.
As a woman in my fifties, I've witnessed the ongoing conversations about gender equality and the underrepresentation of women in mainstream media. One of my personal missions in revising my book is to empower female entrepreneurs to share their stories and stand out. It’s about more than just the book; it’s about inspiring the next generation.
‘If she can see it, she can be it™.’ This powerful message from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media resonates deeply with me. I believe that it’s up to each of us as individuals to make a stand, so the next generation can see us breaking barriers and achieving remarkable things.
The need for change is evident. According to the Australian Women in Media gender scorecard released in February 2023, men still dominate quoted sources and expert voices in news stories, with women often taking a back seat. Gender parity in media representation is not expected to be achieved for at least another decade. As Petra Buchanan, Strategic Adviser at Women in Media, aptly puts it, ‘That is far too long to wait for equal representation of women as authors, sources, and experts in the media. Steps need to be taken now to speed up change.’
But it's not just a gender issue. Diversity and representation matter across the board. A landmark study by Media Diversity Australia found that over 75% of reporters on Australian television came from an Anglo-Celtic background, despite Australia's rich cultural diversity.
My ‘why’ goes beyond writing a book; it's about being part of a movement to change how midlife women are represented in the media. It’s about helping people, especially midlife entrepreneurial women, share their stories, stand out, and be recognised as experts.
Your ‘Why’ Fuels Your Book
Discovering your ‘why’ isn't just a theoretical exercise – it's a practical step that will shape your book’s content, style, and impact. Let me share the story of Jessica Ritchie, who embarked on her book-writing journey at the height of the pandemic.
Jessica had been working on her book for over five years but knew she needed help to clarify her ideas and bring her words to life. We started with a strategy session, where we delved into the beginning, thinking about the end product, and aligning her book with her business ecosystem.
From that session, the outline for Make Your Mark emerged, and Jessica gained clarity on the content and structure of her book. Coaching sessions helped her navigate the challenging times and stay on track. As Jessica puts it, ‘It can feel overwhelming initially, so having someone guide you through the process and provide information when needed is invaluable.’
But what's remarkable about Jessica’s journey is that, along the way, she discovered she was writing more than just one book. Her ‘why’ led her to realise the need for a series of books that would help her connect with her audience on a personal level.
Jessica’s story highlights the transformative power of clarifying your ‘why’ early in your book-writing process. It not only shapes your book but also uncovers new possibilities and directions you might not have considered otherwise.
Writing with Purpose
As you embark on your own book-writing journey, remember that your ‘why’ is your North Star. It’s the guiding light that will keep you on course, even when the writing gets tough or distractions abound. Your ‘why’ will infuse your words with passion, authenticity, and a sense of purpose that will resonate with your readers.
So, as you set your goals for this year and beyond, consider adding ‘write a book’ to your list of aspirations. But before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, take the time to find your ‘why’. It’s not just the first step; it’s the cornerstone of your book’s success and the legacy you’ll leave behind.
You have a lifetime of wisdom, experiences, and success that the world needs to hear. Don’t let your story remain untold.
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