At a webinar this week, I was shocked to hear that the moderator, and the two co-hosts, all hate to write. Ironically, these smart, articulate men were talking about writing ebooks. As many of you know, I’m writing a new edition of Write Like You Talk–Only Better, which will be soon available in print and for e-readers.
That’s it for the commercial. Stick around for the fun.
You see, fun is what writing should be, according to people like me who choose this path. Then again, people like Dave Williams think doing cool things with web cams is a hoot.
Because I want Dave to see how comfortable writing can be, after the webinar I sent him an almost-final draft of the book and my post on what’s involved in competing with the oncoming flood of self-published ebooks. It’s a lot more difficult than snapping together Lego blocks, one of Dave’s metaphors.
We set up a time to talk, with a web cam of course. I even practiced looking at the camera while I talked, though as usual my eyes mostly stayed on my keyboard. That will change as soon as it becomes fun. And once I’ve figured out how to fake a glamor shot.
In addition to our lively discussion about how well ebooks can work for businesses that are based on expertise, Dave generously shared some suggestions for the web page about my workshops, which has an embarrassing conversion rate. I fixed it immediately. To say thanks, I am writing this advice for you, Dave.
As he explained in the webinar, the Lego blocks that make up an ebook can come from transcripts of the podcasts, videos and webcasts, the spoken communication that Dave and the guys call fun. So let me start there.
1. Focus on the golden 20 per cent.
Remember the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s principle, as in 80 per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your clients. This also applies to anything you record. Other research too. Instead of transcribing the whole she-bang, note what the timer or other indicator says when there’s something you might want to use. Have that part transcribed, which I bet will be about 20 per cent of the total.
Selecting what you want to transfer from talking into writing is a big step toward getting it on the page. And think of the transcribing and editing costs you’ll save.
2. Have a snappy theme that’s relevant to your readers.
Express this in a clever working title that you may fine tune a million times before you finish. Your theme describes what you want to build from the blocks. If you want to sell books and gain respect for your expertise, you can’t randomly snap together blocks. Like Lego, you need a plan for a robot or castle. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a structure that fails to impress and probably collapses, as I know from my Lego experiences when my kids were little.
In addition to guiding you and unifying your content, this theme will help you write, or at least collaborate on, the ebook promotion. Yes, the writing does not end with the book, so you’d better start having fun if you want to feed the ravenous content marketing machine.
3. Write like you talk.
Okay, I promised no more commercials, but you really have to take this seriously. Just think about the best podcasts, videos and webinars you’ve done, then write like you’re having a conversation about them. No peeking at transcripts, though you should indicate where you want to insert those sections you decided to keep. What’s important is there for the picking from your memory.
By going back to talking, your first and favorite way to communicate, your writing will flow. You’ll intuitively know how to connect those blocks. You’ll remember most of the rules that matter. You’ll be your natural social self.
If you still can’t go from mind to mouth to mouse, even after you’ve practiced with the worksheets in my book, record yourself. As with the transcripts, look for the golden 20 per cent. That is your content.
You are not back in school with a teacher waving a ruler at you. You are sitting in that lovely office where you have so much fun talking. No one is judging. Just write like you’re having a conversation, much as I’m continuing the conversation with you.
Follow these four tactics and there is hope for you, Dave and the other guys who hate writing. Just like there’s hope I’ll get comfortable talking to the camera light on my monitor.