I posted about one of my goals in the speak it forward group now I am going to post about another one in this group. That goal is to write a book. I started writing a newsletter in a small town weekly newspaper and that went pretty good but I would like to write a book sometime about gardening. One of the main problems I have is self confidence. I feel like if I know it then it is common sense and everyone else should know it too and therefore not buy my book. Has anyone felt like this and how do you face and conquer it? Thank you to all who answer!
Jeremy, I have felt this way, too. One thing that helped me was to remember that what I want to write about (or coach, or speak to people about, or even to do) is part of my wiring. It comes easily to me because it is how God made me. But He made everyone unique. What comes easily to me and seems like common sense is very difficult to some others, just as what they know and can do seems completely mystifying to me.
If everyone else knew what you know, then they would all be doing what you do. Since they're not, you have something unique and valuable to offer.
I would tell you to write your book anyways and then have some friends look at it, critique it, and perhaps proofread it, and give you their feedback on it. I will tell you that common sense does not make the book unneeded, because what might be common sense to you is not to someone else. As an example, Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover doesn't have anything in it that you couldn't get from listening to his radio show -- except for some budgeting forms in the back. However, it has sold millions of copies.
In the gardening space, you might be surprised how many people are completely clueless when it comes to the topic. Your book could be great for beginners, and it sounds like you have a platform developing from your newspaper writing that could help your book launch.
Best wishes moving forward, because this is the best time ever to start projects like this.
I want to echo Randy's and Cam's comments about not devaluing your knowledge, and taking for granted that what you have to offer is common knowledge. It sounds as if you have a God-given passion for gardening, which is why it comes so easy to you. Be grateful for that gift!
It may help you to keep in mind a specific person who represents everyone for whom you can write the book. Take me, for instance. I know nothing about gardening, but my wife enjoys it. When we move to a house, there's a likely chance that she will want to plant a garden there. And because we enjoy doing things together, there's a likely chance that I will join her.
Being a guy, I do not want to be totally oblivious to the what's and why's of gardening while we're out there. Call it male pride. I want to make a real contribution to the project. So I would probably seek out some "Dummy's version" resource to bring me up to speed on what I should know about gardening (tools, soil, nourishment, etc.) before I step out there. Write a resource that can help me (or some other person who suits you) in order to give me the info I need to solve my problem.
Hope this helps!
You've gotten some great advice already, so I'll try not to go on for too long.
Never assume that what seems "common sense" to you isn't helpful to others. I am an intelligent person who knows a lot about a lot of things, but I'm 100% clueless about gardening. I think plants need water and sunlight, but beyond that, I'm lost. We moved into a house a couple of years ago that has a TON more plants and landscaping than we had at our previous house. Maybe it's not "gardening" in that exact instance, but it's at least plant and tree care. I've thought so many times to myself "I wish I had a person who knew about this stuff to ask questions." I don't know what most of the plants in my yard even are, much less how to care for them.
Now, I may not be your exact target market, but I'll just speak from my own experience. If you asked me if I wanted to read a book about gardening, I'd probably say "no". I've got four little girls, a wife, a full-time job, and a home to take care of. An entire book about gardening probably won't make my list of ways to spend my time.
But if you asked me if I was interested in a short guide on how to manage and care for common plants and trees I find in my yard, I would be interested instantly. Now, maybe you want to write more specifically about "gardening", such as a flower or vegetable garden. I'd just say, as you think about an audience and what you want to write, think about what problems they have. Don't just offer a book on a certain topic. Offer a book in a topic "area" that solves problems your potential readers have.
Definitely don't underestimate the knowledge you have in this area. And remember, it's not just what you know about gardening that comes into your book. It's all your other interests, skills, and expertise that allow you to write something on the topic that is totally unique.
I am currently reading a new book called "The $100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau. I couldn't recommend a better resource for thinking about how to take your interest/skill and turn it into something meaningful and profitable.
Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.
In a really great book titled "Get A Life", Reggie McNeal explains that in order to learn some things, we first need to unlearn other things.
In my business, I see things that are obvious to me. My "unlearning" is that not everyone sees everything the way that I do. When designing a system or process, things just fall into place for me, and I can get annoyed when others "don't get it". The real truth is that others need to learn what is expected. So, I need to change roles and be the "teacher".
If you write a book that explains gardening, you will have many followers. Don't assume that your knowledge and expertise is common sense. If it were common, we'd all have gardens!
Suggestion: Get Seth Godin's book "Poke The Box". His view point is similar to mine. We won't know what we can or can not do if we don't try.
Keep us posted on your progress.
If you spend 1 hour a day reading or listening to information on a particular topic and do this for 90 days, you will be in the top 3-5% regarding knowledge about that particular topic. Maybe even the top 1%.
Or think about it this way...over 50% of people in the USA do not read even one book a year. Most Americans read less than 4 books a year. If you read 3 books on any topic, you'll know more about that topic than the vast majority of people.
Hopefully, these strategies will give you confidence.
You've received so much great advice here -- you can see you're not alone! I read something written by Stephen Covey once... THE Stephen Covey of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" success. He talked about the "imposter syndrome." He feels that twinge sometimes even though he is highly regarded as an expert. The only way I know to get over it is to push through and do it anyway. Produce the highest quality product you can and put it out there... then market the heck out of it. The feeling may never entirely go away but at least you're not stuck with regrets thinking, "I wish I had the courage to..."
What you know feels like common sense to you because you know it, but trust me, as a voice for brown thumbs everywhere, there are plenty of people who wish they had your knowledge.
Best of luck,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all who have replied! The advice you have given me is great and I appreciate all that has been given to me. I am going to check out the books that have been recommended as soon as I can get to the library. On a side note In my garden I am planting nothing but heirloom variety vegetables which means no hybrids. Although I was late getting them planted some of my rarest plants are coming up and I am getting excited for the finished product. Thank you again and may God Bless each and everyone of you!
Jeremy, I have no idea what that means! :) But that's the awesome part about the connected world we live in. Pour out your passion about a given topic and you'll be able to find other people who feel the same way. Best of luck as you move forward!
I can already tell from your response that you know way more about gardening than I do!
So, press forward with the book, and knock it out of the park! :)
I've felt this way lots of times, but my wife keeps reminding of the truth. Most people don't have a clue about the things you think are second nature. So just write a book you're proud of and get it out there!
Due to some unfortunate circumstances I have not been able to write my monthly lawn and garden newsletter and I almost gave up on it completely but I didn't thanks to all of you. I talked to the editor of the newspaper and she was excited to geit it going again too. I e-mailed it to her tonight! Thank you again!