At Round Table Companies, we know that writing a book begins with being brave. Why? Because the task of telling your story can be hard.
Like many things in life, writing a book takes a certain amount of courage. Not only is the project itself difficult, but before you even reach the blank page, you may have fears circling inside your mind, creating doubt and worry that hit the brakes on your excitement and discovering your book’s full potential.
But don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many, if not all, authors face the same abyss: to write or not to write. Believe it or not, though there are five common fears of writing a book, there are also solutions to how one can turn those fears into fuel for telling your story.
Fear #1: The timing isn’t right.
When a friend says they want to do something but it’s “just not the right time,” what is your reaction? Do you think, “Absolutely, you’re right, you should wait on doing that.” Or, more likely, do you say something like “That’s an excuse. There’s never going to be a perfect time. You should do it!” Most of us would say the latter. Why? Because we know that when we say things like “the timing isn’t right,” we are really expressing fear of completion.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a book but felt that if you just reached another milestone, or if you just waited until life slowed down, or if you just procrastinated to the last second, inspiration would suddenly spring forth from you like a fountain and then you would be able to finally write that book and tell your story.
Leanne Rozell, author of the upcoming RTC book, Praying for That Man: A Love Story from Above, stated, “Writing this book has been a life goal of mine, but other things always got in the way.”
So many of us have put off a project or book because “the timing wasn’t right.” In an article from The Cut, people have confessed outrageous ways in which they have procrastinated instead of writing (including buying a puppy and teaching oneself Morse Code).
Whether you are a natural-born procrastinator, or you are trying to squeeze something in with your jammed schedule, the fear of poor timing doesn’t have to hold you back from telling your story. For Leanne, it was a matter of finding the right team to hold her accountable and give her direction towards the finish line. She admitted, “I would write and delete and start over. So I thought, Enough! Enough procrastinating. Enough of other things getting in the way. Enough starting and stopping.”
Despite the fear of completion, poor timing, or procrastination beyond potential, you can still write your book. But first you have to make the decision to be brave and say, “Enough!”
Fear #2: I will not make a positive impact with this story.
It is universally known that great stories have the power to transform those who read them. The fear that most authors have is that their own story will not have this positive impact on others. They wonder, Will my story be able to transform lives?
And if it doesn’t make an impact on readers, you may think, Does that mean the book has failed? That I’ve failed?
According to a HuffPost article, the odds of becoming a best-selling author are bleak. Being an author means enduring the process of failure. Wondering if you will make an impact. Wondering if your book will make it to the finish line, be published, and be read and appreciated.
Although these fears may be valid, failure is a part of the writing process. Like anything you learn to do, you often learn most from failing. But authorship is not only about sales or the impact of the masses. Most writers and authors will agree that the process of writing a book is self-transformative. The greatest impact of writing a book is what happens to you, the writer.
For Kari Warberg Block, writing her book was meant to impact others but also gave her an unexpected journey: “[My goal was] to awaken that unstoppable force that lives within an entrepreneur once they discover their purpose and find their muse. What I didn’t expect was how healing, fun, and magical writing this book would become. It validated the choice I made in hiring RTC.”
Do not fear your story will not impact others. Rather, fear the person you may never get to be if you don’t tell your story at all.
Fear #3: Telling my personal story might change the way others view me.
One of the greatest vulnerabilities is telling your personal story to an audience, because it is letting others know parts of yourself that maybe you have kept hidden. Failures, dreams, doubts, victories, and setbacks. Some of these moments we don’t even like to look at ourselves, much less invite others to do so, too!
Because being vulnerable in storytelling means being authentically you. And sometimes that means uncovering parts of yourself that you may not have known before. This kind of vulnerability paralyzes many authors from ever writing their book. They are trapped in thoughts like, What if a friend or relative reads my story, and they don’t recognize the person in between the pages? Will they think I am not who they thought I was?
RTC executive editor and author Gen Georget (whose book Solace was voted Ottawa’s favourite book of the year) puts it this way: “I am nervous about what people are going to think, and I am nervous about putting that very authentic part of myself out there and possibly having people prefer who I was before. I think it is pretty human to have that fear, but that is the lesson that I have been going through—I am realizing that I have to be okay, regardless of what they feel . . . [because writing this book] feels a lot more like me.”
When an author worries so much about what someone might think, they can leave out authentic parts of themselves and their personal story. Without this vulnerability, something is often missing in the book—its heart.
Cody McLain, RTC author of From Foster Care to Millionaire, says that telling his personal story was a foundation for making deeper connections with an audience: “I’ve seen how using story gives people something to hold on to.”
Be brave in telling your personal story. Most of the time, you’ll find that being vulnerable doesn’t push people away but rather connects you on a deeper level. Your personal experiences make for a unique and authentic story that cannot be replicated.
If you are going to be vulnerable, you need a safe space to do it. A place that honors your story and guides you through the process. When writing your book, you don’t have to feel alone or overlooked. Discover all the ways RTC has to support you in writing your book.
“From weekly coaching calls to feedback, editing, and book cover design, my first book was created with support from a team of people who listen with their heart and make magic happen with their talent.”
Fear #4: Writing a book isn’t the right way to reach my audience.
So you’re afraid that books are old school. That, in this digital age, a book might limit your paths towards reaching a wide audience. Why write a book when you can start an Instagram or YouTube series? You think: no one wants to sit down and stare at large blocks of text anymore. Thumbs are meant for scrolling, not turning the page!
And yet a quick internet search will tell you that anywhere between 80 to 100 percent of people want to write a book. Despite the articles and advice about why you shouldn’t expect to be a best-selling author, in 2019 there were over forty-five thousand working writers in the US.
Even in the digital age, print books remain the most popular book format in the US (compared with e-books and audiobooks), and adult nonfiction showed the largest growth with a 5.4 percent revenue increase.
There is value in using a book as the medium to reach your audience. Why? Books are a foundation for a larger journey. They are a door to other worlds. Many authors with books go on to give interviews, do book signings and readings, travel on book tours, build an author website, get invited to speak at events, guest lecture at universities, and—as this Forbes article points out—even establish more support for their brand or businesses.
A book is definitely more than just a book.
It is a journey the author gets to experience one step at a time: from brainstorming to drafting to revising to publishing and beyond. This journey isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding beyond measure.
Just ask RTC author Ross Buhrdorf, who built a $3 billion company and upholds a growth mindset in whatever he does, whether in his relationships, his business ventures, or his book. “I realized early on it would be disingenuous to hold back,” Ross said. “I wanted to open all the doors.”
Do not be afraid of this journey. Venture through your doorway and ask yourself, “What next?”
“RTC has taken our wine, Dueling Pistols, and transformed it into a living, breathing story that we are proud to share with our consumers and business partners. RTC’s creative process and dedication to this historical fiction story were evident throughout the creation process and in the final product, which we launched in podcast form.” —Anat Gotfried, Terlato Wines
Fear #5: Do I have a story to tell? What makes me different from all the others?
Perhaps the greatest fear of all is not about the timing of books, the impact, or even the value. The greatest fear of all is believing that you don’t even have a story to tell in the first place.
Think of it. There are approximately eight billion people on this planet—with the potential to share their story. That’s eight billion stories! And these eight billion people come from all different places, celebrate different cultures, hold different perspectives, and think different thoughts. Each person holds an entirely different story than the next because they are different from one another.
And maybe you’re sitting here reading this and thinking, Okay, so what? We’re all different. What else is new?
Precisely that: storytelling is built on details that are different from one another. The more specific you are about your own details, the greater the connection you’ll have to the story. The greater connection you’ll have to others.
Annie Rose, a staff editor here at RTC, writes, “Human beings have used storytelling throughout time to create connection, facilitate healing, and coax transformation. The connection through storytelling is unique, depending on who is telling the story. Unique points of view and voices make up for an experience unlike any other any time someone opens up the pages of a book.”
We all have a different story to tell. This article gives you some simple steps to see what kind of book is brewing within you. As you make a list of what you have to tell the world, you will see that your notes might expand into stories. Suddenly you may have more than enough ideas of what you want to say to the world. If that's too much, start with our Quiz: What Kind of Book Should You Write?
Sometimes we just need a little help sifting through the details and picking out the ones that truly spark connections with others.
Travis Tooke, author of Jiu Jitsu For Life: Lessons Learned on and off the Mat, said that he had wanted to write a book for several years but just didn’t know how to get there, how to put his story into a workable, readable book.
“When I met with the team at RTC about my idea, they seemed to understand right away what I was trying to do and how it should be done. Over the course of a few months, the book started to take on a life of its own, and the experience of reliving these stories has been amazing.”
Maybe for you, like Travis, all it takes is another pair of eyes or hands to help guide the details of your story to take shape.
Once that happens, it will have a life of its own.
All you have to do is be ready to say “yes” to your story and live alongside it.
Are you ready to write your book? Take our assessment and discover for yourself!