Turgay Birand

@tbirand

5 Things I Learned When Starting My Book

All best-sellers looked like this once!

Last week I finally started writing my first book. It’s called “Startup Your Way”. In it, I hope to share my experiences to empower entrepreneurs to do things their way and be responsible to get what matters to them most out of entrepreneurship.

I had this idea rolling around in my head for the last few months and it took many different shapes, from a podcast to a video channel and finally, a book. I settled on writing a book because it is the medium I’m most comfortable with and writing is something I can do consistently for a good length of time.

I do plan to have a YouTube channel and podcast down the line talking about the topics in this book as well, since I believe reaching people on as many channels and mediums you can is the best way. Plus, every medium has the benefit of relaying information in a different way; YouTube’s visual connection and the aural nature of podcasts that let you be in your audiences head are both greatly beneficial. Yet, I think the book will take center stage, not only due to my familiarity with the medium but it also ties in well with what I do at my company EditionGuard. All these years I’ve been trying to help self-publishers get their books up for sale. Now I hope the experience of writing this book and trying to get it in the hands of people will allow me to do that even better since I’ll be directly in the shoes of many of my customers.

The most important thing I wish to do with this book though is to relay two messages for entrepreneurs that are very important to me.

Be an entrepreneur your way

I believe entrepreneurship should be a liberating experience for everyone, instead of becoming yet another trap for the mind, a different kind of rat race. What I mean by this is, many entrepreneurs fall into a cycle of never ending struggle to get more money, more funding, more employees just more more more.

This isn’t liberating at all. Instead, entrepreneurship should be a way for a person to be able to have the time, energy and means to pursue whatever’s valuable to them. Having the ability to be with loved ones more often, pursuing hobbies and side projects, traveling to explore distant places and different cultures..These are all worthy goals that can become possible through entrepreneurship unless one falls into the never ending cycle of “gimme more!”.

Of course if simply getting more is all you desire in life, that’s ok too. However, I do find it highly unlikely that could fulfilling for anyone forever.

Be a responsible entrepreneur

The cycle of “gimme more!” has another profound side effect that I’d really like to draw attention to. It creates one of humankind’s worst enemies: greed. Today, our world is full of trouble all over due to greed. We have a few million very rich people and billions of poor people. The balance of the world is way out of wack. I truly believe there’s enough resources and tools on this planet to sufficiently support every human being living on it.

From my perspective, greed is a crime against humanity and maybe it will even find its way into our laws some day. It is a base and destructive emotion that is inherent in human nature and it’s harmful to everyone, even the greedy person themselves.

By avoiding the cycle of “gimme more!” a person can save themselves from the consuming drive of greed and have the chance to be a liberated and well adjusted person that has both wealth and happiness.

Enough about the contents, on to the tips!

While preparing to write this book, I stumbled upon some roadblocks. I found structuring and starting it was the most difficult part. After that things have been flowing nicely and consistently.

These were mostly due to my inexperience with being an author, so it took some research to figure them out one by one. Here are a few things I came across that helped me immensely and hopefully might also help you when first starting a book.

Create a mind-map with Post-its

I found this to be a great exercise for getting everything in my mind in front of me, then organizing them into chunks of content that evolved into chapters and sub-sections. This method is simple.

Just pick up some colored post-its and a pencil. Then pick the central theme of your book and write that down on one of the post-its. Stick it to your table or wall, any space would work provided you have more space around it. Then pick a different color and start writing anything that comes to mind about your central theme on them. Stick them next to the central theme in a completely random manner, don’t worry about organization at all at this point. Just keep writing the words that come to mind one by one, until your space is full of post-its.

Next, step back from your space and look at these post-its. You will begin to see the relations between some of the concepts on the post-its and they’ll start forming bigger and bigger pieces of content when put together. Little by little, you’ll be able to build up your small topics, sub-sections and chapters which will transform into an outline of your book.

Pat Flynn has an excellent YouTube video that goes over this method, it’s pretty easy to follow.

Find yourself the most comfortable writing medium

In the beginning, I tried to start working on Google Docs, but found it to be very clunky and distracting with its swath of buttons and formatting tools. So I started looking at different tools and apps for writing that would help me focus on just writing. After some trial and error with these, I decided upon IA Writer 3.

It’s a very simple, clean yet focused app that let’s you concentrate on what matters most; writing on and on without getting distracted by anything else on the screen. I especially found the typewriter and focus modes extremely useful, because they helped me immensely to concentrate on just the text one sentence at a time.

Announce a deadline

I announced a deadline for my book release to family, friends and colleagues for that added social pressure. Book writing is a lengthy process that requires consistency on a regular basis, so having people remind you of this time and again is not such a bad idea. And you will have the added benefit of having a small following before you even release your book.

Overdoing this of course may or may not have a negative effect on your motivation, so you might choose to keep it between you and those closest to you. You’re the boss. Just for the added pressure though, I will announce my launch date here: April 10, 2017. Feel free bug me about it now and then!

Just write, don’t edit

The temptation to constantly change and edit what you’re writing can be overwhelming. Instead, change your mindset to focus on simply writing and writing as thoughts come into your mind. Focus on one topic at a time, as small as possible. You’ll find that you have much to say about even the smallest things, so going for those first is the best thing to do. Just focus on getting everything down.

Yourself and your editor will likely be going through the text many times anyway so trying to write everything perfectly on the first go just doesn’t make sense while you’re doing free-flow writing. Like Ernest Hemingway put it:“Sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” You’ll likely sit down at a laptop, but you get the idea.

Set yourself writing goals

Based on your outline, you’ll likely have an idea on how many pages or words your book will be. Set a daily numeric goal for yourself based on these, so you can keep track of your progress. It’s like dividing the book into smaller pieces that make up milestones. Make them small enough so each milestone can easily be completed between 30–60 minutes. This way, you’ll always be making progress and you’ll be able to stay motivated to keep going.

When trying to determine the size of my milestones, I found it helpful to take a typing speed test to determine how fast I type. Then I set a 30 minute daily goal based on that. Here’s a free speed test you can take online. The important thing is to start small, keep gauging yourself and increase your load gradually so you don’t burn out early on.

Happy writing!

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