"I've Always Wanted to Write a Book, But..." Part 1

It's the comment I hear the most just before people ask me what I charge. There are thousands of executives and professionals out there—CEOs, entrepreneurs, attorneys, physicians, financial professionals—who are dying to have their own books but can't find the time to write them. Now, it's true that many of them also lack the writing skill; that's just the law of averages. But 99 percent of them will never know because they can't find the time to sit down and try writing.  

I have one recent client who tried for 20 years to write her book but couldn't find a way to make it a priority. I coached and "book doctored" her to the finish line. But I can't do that for everyone. So, I'm starting a blog series on writing your book even though you think you have no time.  

Step One: Get the story down.  

Amateur writers think the task of writing the book starts with sitting down at the computer and staring at a blank page. It doesn't. It starts by capturing your personal story: bio, anecdotes, important life lessons and so on. You don't do that at the keyboard. You do that by speaking and having your words recorded.  

So if you're feeling daunted by the task of stringing together 60,000 words, step back and start by rethinking. You don't need to find time to write for an hour every day; you need to find time to record your story. You can do that while you're driving, in bed, or over a quiet lunch. I recommend finding a friend who's an experienced interviewer, maybe a journalist or even an HR professional. Make an appointment for them to interview you about your life, career, lessons you want to share with your readers, whatever. Set aside two hours on a Saturday morning, invite them to your home, sit down, turn on the recorder, and talk. Let the interviewer run the show. You'll be amazed at how much you can get down on tape (or more properly, hard drive).  

Pro tip: If you have a smart phone, download a fantastic free app called Rev. You can use this to record your entire interview on your iPhone or Android phone (make sure your battery is fully charged first). When your interview is done, a touch sends the audio file to Rev.com, the transcription company that I use for all my clients. They'll turn your transcription around in a few days for $1 per minute. Then you'll have pages and pages of your story on paper, ready to use! It's an awesome way to get started.