I was sitting down with a friend today who was asking for advice about a book she was writing. She was struggling with what many authors struggle with, and that is how to turn her stories into something exciting and captivating for the reader. In other words, she needed to find her message or “hook.”
She was facing a common challenge that many people face in all areas of business. That is figuring out how to proceed when you don’t have all of the answers. I’ve dealt with this quite a lot myself and continue to deal with it. That’s because there’s NEVER a point where you’ll have all the answers. It’s a continuous journey.
My advice for her and the rest of you is to remember this formula: Act first, then Analyze, then repeat.
Where some people get stuck is they try to analyze everything from the start and they never take action. They trying to figure it all out ahead of time, but it’s almost impossible to figure things out until you start taking action.
The other alternative is some people just blindly do things without ever stopping themselves to see if what they’re doing is really working well. They end up spinning their wheels but going nowhere.
In my friend’s case, she had already started writing the first few chapters of her book. So she had the “act” (or take action) part down. But after looking at it so far, it could use a lot of improvement since it lacked anything to really captivate a reader.
What she needed to do is STOP writing and analyze what she was producing. She needed to look her work as well as study other people’s books to figure out how she can make her’s better before continuing on with the rest of the book.
If she would just keep writing and writing without ever stopping to analyze what she was producing, she would have ended up with a complete book (better than nothing), but the quality of her work would have been sub-par. She would then have to go back and rework everything she had produced.
I advised her on taking some time to read similar books, analyzing what they do well, and go back over her own work to tweak a few things to make it more engaging.
She’ll likely have to keep repeating the entire process of acting, analyzing, acting, analyzing, etc. until she gradually finds her groove and how to present her message.
They say an airplane is off course over 90% of the time, but in the end it gets there because of constant course corrections. It’s also like the positive and negative terminals of a battery where the charge goes back and fourth between two extremes. You don’t want to get stuck on all action or all analyzing, but maintain a steady flow back and fourth.
So don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. Be sure to take your first steps and THEN analyze afterwards, and then get back into action. It might be a bit more work compared to what you wish it would be, but I promise it’s all worth it in the end when you find the path that’s right for YOU.