7 Unexpected Lessons I Learned From Writing A Book

10/12/2016 07:58 pm ET

As a leader in the digital marketing field, I know how to write. I know my industry and I know how to keep readers engaged.

Over the years I've learned the tricks of the trade that separate the good copy from the great -- and I've helped thousands of people get better at theirs.

That is, I thought I was a great writer… until I co-wrote a book.

Writing a book opened up a whole new world to me and gave me valuable lessons that I wouldn't have learned anywhere else.

Now I'm going to share those secrets with you. If you've ever thought about writing a book, then now is the right time to do so. You'll learn these seven unexpected lessons that I didn't even know were possible.

The experience has made me an even better digital marketer and writer. Take them to heart and you’ll be well on your way to writing your first book.

Lesson #1: Humility makes us stronger and better at what we do.

You think writing a book is easy? It's not. I can tell you it takes hours of sweat and tears. It also makes you very humble.

That's because the writing process takes time. It takes revision after revision to get it right. It takes being able to take real comments from people who are better at writing. They want to help you improve, but their feedback likely will sting.

The only encouragement I can offer is that the process is humbling in a good way. You realize your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. And you get better.

Lesson #2: You become more organized.

I didn’t realize becoming more organized was a possibility via writing a book, but it is.

Think about the mental energy required to plan a book, even a short one! You need to have an outline for every chapter. You need to understand the trajectory of your book.

You can't just sit down and write, or your book is going to be a mess. Don't write a stream of consciousness book!

Writing a book requires that you map out a plan, and that, in turn, will force you to learn new organizational skills.

Lesson #3: Over time, your writing skills will improve.

There is nothing like writing a book to test and sharpen your writing skills. The thing with writing that most first-time authors don’t get, is that no one does it well on the first round.

The very best authors will tell you that they hid their first book in a desk drawer and never allowed to see the light of day.

That's because writing takes practice, and lots of it. The sheer amount of writing you will do to put together a book will give you more practice and ultimately make you a better, clearer, more engaging writer overall.

Lesson #4: You'll become more efficient with your time.

One thing I loved to do when I was writing my book was to time my writing sessions. Every day I wrote for one hour straight in the morning, and then I took a break.

Creating a daily writing ritual is key to becoming a successful writer because it forces you to sit down with your project and make progress.

Some days are better than others, but the process keeps you plugging away and using your time efficiently.

And time efficiency? Well, that's the backbone of any every lean business.

Lesson #5: You'll develop a better vocabulary.

One invaluable lesson I learned in writing my book is that I don't have to use big words to be a great writer. In fact, big words are usually unnecessary.

What is more important to the final product is clear and engaging language that offers meaning and inspiration to the reader. If you're not doing that, then your book isn't very valuable.

Read and revise often as you write. Exchange those long words with simple ones. Write to your reader like you would talk to him or her personally.

Lesson #6: It's okay to get help.

Did you know that 62 percent of companies pay writers to help them with projects?

I learned that I can make great progress on my own, but I can make even greater progress with a little help.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from qualified people. Other professionals can be helpful in conducting interviews that you don't have time to do or to write parts of your book based on your outlines.

There's no shame in having a co-writer, or even two, like I did. You're empowering yourself to succeed.

Lesson #7: You'll be more confident.

There are few accomplishments that can instill the kind of confidence in you that finishing a book can.

It is no small achievement, and getting through the process -- even if the book is bad -- will make you feel like you can do anything.

That translates into how you move forward. You'll be riding on the coattails of confidence.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a lot of people think that writing a book is too hard and takes too much time.

They are right...sometimes. But you don't have to write a 500-page volume. Start with a short book that just gets you going in the writing process. Short books can turn into larger volumes as you continue in your writing journey.

What is more important is the process. By writing a book for your industry you are gaining valuable skills that I really believe you can't learn anywhere else.

It is the process of churning through that copy and creating something of value that not only will improve your basic writing skills but will give you confidence as you develop as a marketing professional.

Are you ready to write your best-selling book?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS