This post originally appeared on BlogHer.
In September, I released my first full-length published book titled Open to Your Intuitive Intelligence™: Reflections on Nature and Wisdom and to say I am excited is an understatement. Along the way I learned a great deal about what it takes to start and more importantly complete a project like this. Whether you are looking to publish as part of your business or for professional gratification, here are some lessons learned.
I had always wanted to combine my photography with the work that I do professionally. It had been a sparkle in my head for a long time. Yet, whenever I would start to entertain the idea I would run into nothing but resistance from people telling me it couldn’t be done. Too hard, too expensive to do full-color, no one will want to buy it, etc. I found this disheartening and for a long time I let it hold me back. That is, until I got the support of my entire mastermind group behind me. I just knew it could be done in a way that would work and serve the world. So I set about starting the project. From the get-go it was a very personal project to me. To be honest one of the reasons I really wanted to do it was to surprise my mother because she always loved my photos and my writing. However, during the process of creating this inspired project, she got ill and died. I really wanted to give up on the whole thing. Yet through the love of my mentor, friends, and colleagues I got back in the saddle and wrote.
You can read the entire story of my personal journey on my book’s website but I wanted to share with you some of the key things I learned about how to start and finish such a project.
I waited a long time to get started. It was an idea I had in my head for years, yet I waited for someone else to tell me – get started girl! If you have an idea and a burning desire, just get started. You never know where it will lead or what form it’ll ultimately take, but you owe it to yourself to start.
It is unlikely you are ever going to get rich from a book whether self-published or traditionally published. Therefore, do not throw out all your income producing activities to write it. That said…get down to business and write! Find yourself manageable chunks of time whether daily or weekly to focus on and move the project forward. For me it was a daily practice in wisdom. I didn’t do a whole lot on any one day (at least during the early stages) but I did keep at it. The journey of 100, 200, 300 pages begins with just a few words.
Do the Research
Finding the right way to publish my book so it was up to my standards of quality but actually cost-effective to produce was a journey. I tapped experts and colleagues who had been down this road before. Your project will likely look different than mine, but there is a far chance that someone has walked that road before you. Find them, Google them, and ask around. It takes time and homework to evaluate your options and yet it is a very necessary step if you plan on celebrating in the end instead of sitting at home with a lot of expenses out the door but nothing to show for it.
Pick Yourself Up When You Fall
I totally wanted to pack in the project after my mother got ill. I didn’t care about it any more. I sobbed a lot and then I sobbed some more. Luckily for me I had some dear friends and colleagues who encouraged me to come back to the project after the heaviest lifting of immediate grief was past. It took me about 9 months before I began again in earnest, but I DID. That is the most important lesson you can learn.
I could never have done this project alone…on an emotional or practical level. Surround yourself with people – a coach, mastermind group, writer’s group – who will support you constructively and objectively, but lovingly. Then, when it comes time to kick it in gear for the final mile, invest in a good editor, designer, and any other support people you need to make a top notch product a reality.
Go the Extra Mile
I’ll be honest, the last mile or so to completion is difficult and long. Just when you think you are complete you are not. Deadlines get pushed, more edits show their face, and steps you didn’t even know you needed to complete show their face. It is absolutely worth it to keep persevering and put out a quality project. There is no such thing as perfection, but the little things do matter and quality is king.
So I’ll shout a big self-serving Yahoo! for my own completion…and now I want to hear your success stories, challenges, nightmares, or questions on my blog.
Credit Image: jacob-davies on Flickr