When I talked about my book idea with my colleagues, I felt the fire and the passion of what I want to share with my readers. I sat down to write an introduction, a ‘what this is about’. I wanted to write something that rang true, that would incite joy and possibility and empowerment.
But when the moment of truth came, my writing felt stiff and formal. It turns out this happens a lot. We set out to write the introduction, but it all seems too big. Too much to gather in one chapter. An introduction is a sort of stand and deliver moment. It should explain what’s to come.
But you may not know what exactly will be in your book, so starting there, while it seems to make sense, actually clogs up our ink. Still, it’s helpful to have a clear rallying cry about your book. This will galvanize and energize you throughout the writing process. It will also give you a way to easily communicate what your book is about, should you choose to talk about it with other.
I suggest writing a manifesto to serve as this rallying cry. Write the introduction after you’ve written the book.
Draft your book’s manifesto now
A manifesto is about what the impact you’re committed to having for your audience. A manifesto is a stake – what you’re taking a stand for. Try this exercise that I use with my clients and that finally worked for me to carve out what I wanted to say.
(Note: if you have stage fright or dread public speaking, imagine that for the sake of this exercise, you are released of that fear.)
Imagine that you’re in a room full of the specific people you wish to reach. You’re on stage, looking out over your audience. They’re smiling at you, sending love and appreciation. They are eager to hear what you have to say.
You have five minutes to tell them what you want to share. Answer these three questions to get to the heart of your work:
• What do you want for them?
• What must they know now?
• What do you want them to do with the knowledge you’ve given them?
Imagine yourself speaking to your people, from your heart, as if this were your one and only opportunity to do so. The time is now. The need to share your work is urgent.
Feel free to speak it aloud and record it. You can play it back later. Use Dragon Dictation software, ‘voice to typing’ in a Google doc or other recording device. Or just speak it, then type like mad what you’ve written. You can also set a timer for 10 minutes and free-write your answers to these questions.
Conjuring up a direct and sincere communication with the people you’re writing for can lead you past insecurities that are common at the beginning of writing a book.
Drafting your manifesto can help you focus on your work as a gift to your people instead of a reflection on how great you are. Your manifesto will help you get out of your own way and hush your inner critic.
This may take several drafts, and it may take time. Don’t worry about it. Get the gist of it out and keep going.
You can write a manifesto or rallying cry for any project, not just a book. Try it and see how it impacts you and your project.
Excerpted from my book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Writing a World-Changing Book.
Books are powerful. Books can change lives.
Women are powerful. Women change lives.
Women writing books = power pair. Women’s books change the world.
Women’s voices are ringing more loudly and truly than ever.
Now is the time to bring your truth, your expertise and your power to light.
Now is the time to access and express your wisdom. The world needs it more than ever.
The world needs you more than ever.
Write. Write it now. We need it.
What is your book’s rallying cry? Share in a comment below.