“Dawn, we need to to make a few more changes to the book… again!”
Dawn, reading this email, slowly drops her head in defeat to her keyboard. Not…. again…. she says banging her head with each word.
Ok, let me back up and really set the scene: I’d been working with a client on his book for the last few months. He’s a dynamo in his field, top in the nation. His methods and madness are super unique, super productive, and everyone wants to know his secrets. He was inspired to write a book. And we worked together for a few months until he had a damn fine manuscript.
Then it happened. With good intention and humility, he sent his manuscript to a few trusted people for their feedback. Then he thought of someone else who might have great input and sent out a few more copies. A few of his colleagues decided that he just had to let a few more key individuals see it right away. Next thing you know – it’s in the hands of 15 people and they all have opinions. Lots and lots of opinions.
This story is real. And I’m betting that a lot of you know what I’m talking about. You write a fantastic article for your blog or newsletter. You create a new freebie or a paid program and can’t wait to share it.
You’re. So. Excited!
You start sending it out for feedback before you publish, a few here and a few there. Oh, and a few more after that. Suddenly your Inbox is filled with 653 well-meaning suggestions and constructive criticisms that make you want to hide under a fluffy blanket with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, wondering why you even tried in the first place, because obviously you have no frickin’ idea what you’re doing.
You’re. So. Confused.
I’ve talked a lot of clients out from under that blanket. Helped them work through the resulting crisis of confidence. And I’m begging you now, please, please, don’t fall into this trap. Don’t let too many cooks into your books.
You have a unique message that has the power to change someone’s life in a way that no one else can. It may be small – your article or ebook might be the thing that helps them finally figure out how to organize their office when no one else could. Or it might be large – you’ll touch the heart of a mother struggling with raising an autistic child in a way no one else could.
It breaks my heart every time I watch authors who have composed impactful, unique copy ask for too many opinions, then get bogged down trying to make everyone happy, ending up with convoluted crap that isn’t true to their voice and message.
Yes, there is great value in having someone look at your writing and give you feedback. You should do it. (A good copyeditor is a must, but that’s another topic for a later time). But when you decide to ask for feedback, choose wisely. Someone who has experience/insight to give you valuable feedback – then yes. A mentor, a colleague, or someone you know who would be affected by the topic are appropriate. Your best friend, your mastermind group, and your entire LinkedIn audience – not so much.
Tell your story, write your words, and stand strong in what you want to say. It might not be perfect. It definitely won’t make everyone happy. But that’s not the point. You can touch someone, change their day, change their business, even change their life, because of the unique way you share your message.
When it comes to writing (and everything else), just do the best that you can and stick to what inspired you in the first place. It doesn’t take a village to write your book. Just you. And you’re more than enough!