When things are not going as planned, what should you do about your book project?
In this training, I’m going to share with you how you can handle it when your book project turns out different than you planned.
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Oh no! Things Are Not Going as Planned
You maybe have a book that you’ve had in your heart for years and you have been dreaming about publishing it. Or maybe you’ve just gotten the book idea today and started working on it.
Whatever your situation is, I believe that you have all your plans. You have outlined of your book, you have done extensive research and maybe you even have the first draft of your book. But then you decide that something major needs to change.
Have you experienced this?
“Oh no! Things are not going as planned, and now what am I going to do about my book project?”
This recently happened to me with my current book project, Broken Crayons Still Color.
I was planning on having ten main chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion. That’s a pretty good length for a book, as it’s typically ten chapters. However, the way that I’m doing this book is that I’m also making corresponding videos for every chapter. So I have a video for the introduction and a video for the conclusion, which makes it a 12-week book study.
The Turning Point
The other night, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I thought, “Is this too long? Is this too much?” And I dreamed about this all night! It was as if God was speaking to me in my dreams. Does God ever speak to you in your dreams?
So I woke up with this heaviness in my heart so I was asking myself, “Do I need to change this book project? Do I need to shorten it?”
If you’ve ever written something of significance and then you have to drastically edit it, you know how painful this can be. I already had the first draft and every week I’m going through and finalizing, editing, and finishing that first draft. So I pretty much had it done. So my thought was, “You mean I need to consider changing it?”
What to Do?
With books sometimes we have a plan and I believe that it’s really important to have an outline and have a plan of action. But it is also important to be willing to see, pause and think for a moment; “Is it going to turn out different than I thought?”
Here are some tips on how I dealt with this unexpected change.
Pivot and Shift
Whether it’s in business or it’s for your writing and publishing, you need to be willing to change. Don’t be stubborn or too much of a control freak.
I can be the person that likes to be in control and have my plan set, my outline done, my first draft all set and nothing is changing. But I encourage you to be willing to change. I like to say pivot and shift.
So when you’re working on a project, whether it’s a book project or something else, be willing to pivot and shift if needed. But sometimes you have to be aware that pivot and shifting can just be procrastination, you know? It can just be a way to delay your project or to put it off.
So you should also watch out that you are not making this as an excuse but to improve your project.
Look at the Current Market
For me in particular, I had to be willing to look at my current project and look at the current market.
I went and looked at a lot of book studies and they tend to be around six to seven weeks in my genre, Christian Living. A lot of Christian book studies or Bible studies tend to be around six to seven weeks. Although my book is not a Bible study it still falls on the same category.
Then I thought, “Whoa, twelve weeks; that’s a long time.”
So looking at the market made me willing to cut it back to eight weeks (and now it’s 7 weeks). So there will be six main chapters with an intro and a conclusion.
I was able to reorganize everything within 20 minutes and some of what I was putting in some of the chapters that I cut out is now going to be in the video training.
It seems like things fell into place once I was willing and once I surrendered my control and my plan. It doesn’t have to be exactly what I thought it was going to be. It can be something a little bit different.
Hold On to Your Manuscript Loosely
Have you ever seen those pictures, I think it’s a meme on Facebook, that’s been shared so many times? It says, “We often think success is going to look like this [a straight line up].” And many times when we’re writing a book we think the same.
We think that it’s just going to be a straight line up and that everything will go as planned. But the truth is, many times it ends up turning around and going all different ways than we originally thought.
Have your manuscript, have your idea, but hold onto it loosely. I believe in the power of divine direction; divine guidance. So if you’re a Christ follower, God may even begin to guide you in a different direction, like He did with me.
When you’re willing to pivot and shift it can be so powerful. It probably depends too on your personality, how you normally handle projects. But whether you’re a planner or whether you’re more spontaneous I think we all can benefit from holding our manuscript a little more loosely and just seeing where it goes.
Having an outline? Yes.
But be willing to pivot and shift when necessary.
A Little Encouragement
Take a deep breath, and know that you will cross that finish line if you keep taking the next right step.
Don’t get discourage if it takes a little longer than you think, or if it takes a different twist and turn than you think. It will probably only make your manuscript even better.
I believe that for my book and video project, working on this will only make it better. It will only make me focus in on these core eight weeks that I’m going to be creating, instead of twelve. Then I can make them more powerful and even better.
I’m excited to see the end result. I’m excited to cross my own finish line because it’s a lot of work! It’s not easy running a business and doing a big project like this, but it’s so exciting and definitely worth it.
“Fear is excitement without breath.” – Gay Hendricks
Many times when I’m worried about something and am not sure how it’s going to turn out or like on this project, cutting out four chapters of my book that I’ve already written feels so painful!
But remember to breathe, because then that fear can turn into more passion and excitement.
If you have not taken my free training yet, I have a free webinar all about the three book writing formulas every nonfiction author needs to know. It helps you choose your book topic, outline your book, and choose how you will write your book. It is a jam packed take action webinar, and you can sign up for free at ShelleyHitz.com/Formulas.
Thank you so much for joining me in this training and I will see you next time. In the meantime, keep working on your manuscript!
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