As I professional business book writer one of the biggest challenges I still face is the fear of hitting the SEND button to a client and waiting on their feedback. I often wait for a couple of days after I’ve finished my final draft (which to the client is a first draft) because once I’ve pressed the SEND button there’s no going back.
Overcoming your fear of sharing
I’ve learned to live with this fear and understand it better. It’s a well-grounded fear to . . . it’s the thought that after all the effort you have put into your draft someone/everyone might not like it, might not think it’s good enough
As a professional writer I’ve developed a whole process to minimize the risks associated with the creative process and the mostly ill-defined wishes of my clients.
Most business people have never written a book before so sharing the first draft of anything you have written makes you feel like the King who wore no clothes, or the ‘imposter syndrome’. Somehow you’re not worthy, perhaps pretending to be someone you are not even though you have decades of experience and knowledge to share.
This fear of not writing well enough, not having something worthy enough, not having something different enough to share stops 95% of business people writing and publishing anything let alone a book.
Knowledge is the 21st century currency.
Think about that for a moment.
95% of business people don’t share their knowledge or insights other than in one-to-one engagement.
What a waste of knowledge. All because they can’t press the SEND button.
I understand this fear. I am professional business historian. Companies pay me to research and write their corporate stories. Every time I have to send the first draft of my manuscript, often something I’ve worked on for 6-12 months, I hesitate, take a deep breath and then press the SEND button.
I mentor business people through the process of writing and publishing their own books and the most challenging part of the whole process is encouraging them to send me their first draft. Many defer this for as long as possible with a variety of reasons (excuses).
5 tips for overcoming your fear of sharing your writing
So, here’s what I discuss with the business people I work with on The Book Adviser program.
1. Hit the SEND button. I am not going to judge you, I am here to help you?
2. I don’t care about typos and spelling mistakes, they’ll get sorted out later on;
3. Everyone can write. I can’t provide feedback on nothing. Send me what you’ve written and we can progress from there;
4. Most manuscripts go through 5-7 drafts. Your first draft is just that. Expect to rework it at least 3-4 times if not 5-7 times. As a professional writer of 15 years I average about 2-3 drafts. It’s taken me a long time to get here;
5. Get ready to ask for and listen to feedback.
At the right time you must share your draft with a select group of people and seek their review and feedback. A key part of this is to be specific about the feedback you are seeking, the timeframe you would like it and how.
While it make you feel good when someone says ‘I enjoyed it’ about your draft, that’s not helpful in creating the best book you possibly can.
I used to fear feedback and at a certain level I took it as personal criticism.
I’ve now turned. I love feedback from colleagues, clients, proofreaders, external reviewers. Firstly, I appreciate the fact that they are willing to spend their time reviewing what I’ve written. Secondly, that they know I appreciate and will listen to their feedback. Thirdly, feedback means that what is finally published under my name is the best it can be.
I’ve learned and continue to learn every day that feedback is the short version of knowledge sharing.