Blog Posts

Writing SOS – Support Options for Wannabe Authors

By now, we’ve established that writing a book is a lot of work. Which I realize probably does not come as much of a surprise to you. Nobody expects 200-ish coherent pages to magically appear overnight. What you might not expect, however, is that the hardest part of getting a book written isn’t always the actual writing.

In fact, there are all kinds of annoying little road blocks that can stand between you and that book you’ve been planning on getting done. You might feel perfectly confident in your writing ability, but still struggle with where to start, or what to write, exactly, to reach your audience. Or you may have trouble organizing your thoughts so they make sense. Maybe you have a hard time deciding what to include in your book and what to leave out. Or you might have issues staying motivated and making progress, or just finding the time to sit down and writeWhat can writing a book do for me- the thing.

Whatever your particular challenges may be, they can reach the point where they stop you and your book cold. And you don’t want that to happen!

The good news is; you don’t have to be the person who puts in 100% of the effort when it comes to getting your book written. There are tools you can buy and people you can work with to make the process a lot easier and help you feel less alone, ranging from super-inexpensive (and even free) products and services to more serious investments.

At the low (cost) end of the scale, there are tons of books and online programs designed to guide you through the book-writing process. Some of these include templates and/or step-by-step instructions to follow to help you complete your manuscript. Of course, that manuscript might not be particularly original if it follows a template, and that template may not reflect your style or be the best fit for the sort of material you want to present. Still, if you’re looking for a place to start without spending a lot of money, a book or program can help you organize your thoughts and at least get something down as a starting point.

If you need a little more human support, there are writing groups, classes and workshops created around the ultimate goal of helping people get manuscripts written—and some of them are even free. Regular meetings with fellow members hold you accountable, help you work through blocks and give you a place to get feedback (and a shoulder to cry on, when you need one). In some groups (usually the pricier options), there’s also an expert coach or teacher on hand to guide you and possibly answer questions and/or offer feedback on your work. The downside to an environment like this is that it’s not all about you—a good portion of your time will be dedicated to helping all those other people in the group solve theirproblems. The amount of attention you get will be limited…and it may not be enough.

A writing coach or editor can solve that whole “but what about ME???” problem. Coaches and editors are paid to focus exclusively on you and your book, without anything else getting in the way of your ultimate goal. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. You can meet with a coach just one or two times to nail down a tone and structure for your book before taking over on your own. Or you can enlist a coach as a sort of professional writing partner who works through every step of the process with you. You can even hire an editor to help you improve a manuscript you’ve already written. Of course, the more help you get, and the more “expert” that help is, the more you will probably pay for it—but the better and more professional the end result should be.

Finally, if you don’t have the time, talent or desire to write a book yourself, you can put all the pressure to get it done on someone else by hiring a ghostwriter. A word of warning here: When it comes to ghostwriting, you usually get what you pay for—I have seen (and rewritten) some completely unreadable stuff provided by some who represented themselves as professionals but were anything but. So please, do your research, people! References are good, and real, published books they’ve completed which you can look at are even better.

A good ghostwriter will work with you to figure out the best way to bring your book to life, whether that means interviewing you for each chapter and crafting your book using your input, words and voice, or taking your general idea, researching it and writing it up on their own. Or it could be a completely different process—after all, you’re the boss. Of course, since a ghostwriter does the bulk of the work for you, it’s usually the most expensive option. However, if you’re a busy person who wants or needs to get a quality book written, it may also be the best one for you.

The moral of the story is, whatever your budget, skill level and time frame, you don’t have to write your book all by your lonesome. If you’re still procrastinating, I encourage you to pick up a book or a program, or join a writing group, to get in the habit of writing and start to get a feel for what your book could be. And if you decide you want some one-on-one help, just shoot me an email to schedule a free, no obligation (or pressure) chat about the best kind of support to help you get your book written.

By Joel and Lisa Canfield

Joel & and Lisa Canfield are bestselling ghostwriters, expert copywriters, and are apparently married as well. This is their blog where they write for themselves when they're not too busy writing for other people, which, admittedly, isn't all that often. Find out more at (or just Lisa at

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