The Most Important Step to Finishing Your Next Book Project
by Ernie Ayon
You have an idea for your next project and you’re excited, ready to get started. You may even have some notes and outlines already written down. But wait! Before you go further, you should pause to complete this critical first step:
Define your aim.
- What are you trying to accomplish with this project?
- Who is your target audience?
- About how many pages (or words) do you want it to be?
- And most importantly, when do you want to finish it?
Spend a few minutes to think through these questions and provide honest, realistic answers. What you will find is a renewed sense of focus that will help you direct your creative energies and produce better results.
One of my favorite quotes says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will end up somewhere else.” It’s important to have an idea of the scope of your project to prevent it from spiraling out of control or turning into a Frankenstein. For example, I have set a limit on the number of pages in my current project because I know that if I don’t, it could easily double in size as I try to pack in more information or expand on ideas. I realized that I don’t have to include everything in this book and that my audience will shy away from it if it’s too long.
The next biggie is the issue of time. There is certainly much to be said about not rushing a project and ensuring a level of quality. However, even those projects with a higher quality requirement need to have a time cap. If the work normally takes you six months, perhaps you can extend this one to nine months. Either way, put a deadline on it and force yourself to work to that deadline by setting up a few checkpoints and sharing progress updates with an accountability partner.
By the way, establishing your project’s aim by defining the scope and setting timeline goals will not only help keep your project under control, but it is also a great way to break through writer’s block and help you get started. After thinking through what you want to accomplish, who its audience is, and when you need to finish it, you will be able to focus on the really important parts which will then build momentum. Once your expectations are clear, you will worry less about those aspects and use your mental energy to let the creativity flow.
Ernie is the author of SHARK Belief, the ultimate formula for achievement and success at anything. His vision is to empower 1 million high achievers to reach their goals by teaching the 6 elements of the SHARK Belief formula to entrepreneurs, athletes, and leaders around the world.