Should You Read While You Write? Insights From a Book Coach
As a book coach, one of the most common questions I get asked is, "Should I read while I'm writing?" This question is not as straightforward as it may seem. Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin, both essential for anyone who wants to improve their craft. However, how and when you incorporate reading into your writing process can significantly impact your productivity and creativity.
Understanding the Relationship Between Reading and Writing
Before we delve into whether you should read while you write, it's crucial to understand the relationship between these two activities. Reading widely and regularly can help you become a better writer. It exposes you to different styles of writing, broadens your vocabulary, enhances your understanding of narrative structure, and provides inspiration for your own work.
However, reading while in the middle of a writing project can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can provide fresh ideas and perspectives that can enrich your work. On the other hand, it can also lead to comparison and self-doubt or even unintentional plagiarism. An author friend I know ran his work through a plagiarism checker and it threw up some content as being possibly plagiarised. It was purely because he read extensively in that subject area.
The Pros: Inspiration and Learning
Reading other authors' works while working on your project has several benefits. First off, it can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. Seeing how others have tackled similar themes or structures might spark new ideas for your work.
Secondly, reading is an invaluable learning tool for writers. By analysing other authors' works – their characterisation techniques, narrative structures, and dialogue styles – you can gather insights that will help improve your own writing skills.
Lastly, reading widely helps you stay current with trends in literature and publishing. As a book coach, I always advise my clients to keep abreast with what's popular in their genre or field; this knowledge could be instrumental in making their work more marketable.
The Cons: ‘Comparisonitis’ and Unintentional Plagiarism
While reading during the writing process has its advantages, it also comes with potential pitfalls. One of the biggest challenges is the risk of falling into the trap of comparison. Reading a brilliantly crafted novel while struggling with your own manuscript can lead to self-doubt and 'comparisonitis'. This can be crippling to your creativity and productivity. Remember, if someone else has done it, there’s a market for it so you’re probably on the right track.
Another risk is unintentional plagiarism. If you're deeply immersed in another author's world, their unique phrases and ideas might inadvertently find their way into your work. This doesn't mean you're consciously copying, but constant exposure can lead to unintentional similarities.
Striking a Balance: Tips from a Book Coach
So, should you read while you write? As a book coach, my answer is yes – but with some caveats. Here are some tips to strike a balance:
1. Read Outside Your Genre: To avoid unintentional plagiarism and keep your work original, consider reading outside your genre while working on a project. This way, you'll still gain inspiration and learn new techniques without risking too much overlap with your own work. If you do read within your genre, you may wish to keep this to your research phase ahead of knuckling down to write.
2. Set Aside Specific Times for Reading: Instead of interspersing reading throughout your writing time, dedicate specific times for each activity. This separation can help maintain focus on your project when writing and allow you to fully enjoy and learn from other works when reading.
3. Use Reading as a Tool: Instead of just reading for pleasure or inspiration, use it as an active tool for improving your craft. Analyse what works (and what doesn't) in other authors' writings and apply these insights to your own work.
4. Seek Professional Guidance: A book coach can guide you in incorporating reading into your writing process effectively without falling into the common traps mentioned earlier.
In conclusion, reading while writing can be beneficial if done right – it's all about balance and intentionality. As a writer, never underestimate the power of a good book, not just for the pleasure it provides, but also for the lessons it imparts. Happy reading and writing!
The Entrepreneur's Guide to Cultivating a Powerful Writing Habit for Business Success
In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, effective communication is often the key to success. One powerful way to communicate your vision, expertise, and insights is through writing. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a leader, or a coach, crafting a book for your business can establish you as an authority in your field and amplify your influence. However, the challenge lies in developing a consistent writing habit amidst the myriad demands of running a business. In this blog, we'll explore actionable strategies to help you cultivate a sustainable writing routine that aligns with your entrepreneurial lifestyle.
1. Embrace the Power of Consistency
Successful writing, like any other skill, is cultivated through consistent practice. As an entrepreneur, it's crucial to carve out dedicated time for writing amidst your busy schedule. Start small – commit to writing for just 15 minutes a day or 90 minutes a week. Pick something that you can slot into your current routine without too much disruption. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration. Consistency builds momentum, turning writing into a natural part of your routine.
2. Set Clear Goals and Deadlines
Entrepreneurs thrive on goals and deadlines, and writing should be no exception. Define your writing goals, whether it's completing a certain number of chapters, hitting a word count milestone, or finalising a specific section. Break these goals into smaller, manageable tasks and assign deadlines to keep yourself accountable. This not only provides structure to your writing process but also ensures steady progress. I’m a big fan of using Trello to break tasks down and set dates.
3. Create a Dedicated Writing Space
Establishing a designated writing space can signal to your brain that it's time to focus and create. This doesn't need to be a lavish home office – a quiet corner with minimal distractions will suffice. Consider investing in tools like noise-cancelling headphones or ambient music to enhance your concentration. I love my Amazon playlist of focus music for those moments when I need to get things done. Having a consistent writing environment can trigger a Pavlovian response, making it easier for you to slip into a writing mindset.
4. Morning Rituals: The Power of the Early Hours?
Many successful entrepreneurs attribute their productivity to early morning rituals. If that’s you, consider incorporating writing into your morning routine. The quiet hours before the chaos of the day sets in provide a serene environment for creativity to flourish. I have done this on occasion but I am not an early bird. If you’re like me, identify when you work best and have the most energy. Use this time to outline ideas, flesh out chapters, or edit your work. A morning writing routine not only jumpstarts your day but also ensures that writing doesn't become a neglected task. If you opt for another time of day, ensure it’s scheduled so you don’t skip over it.
5. Make Writing a Priority
Entrepreneurs often juggle multiple responsibilities, making it easy for non-urgent tasks like writing to be sidelined. However, treating writing as a priority is essential. Schedule it into your calendar just like any other business meeting. Communicate your writing time to your team or family, ensuring that you're not disturbed during these dedicated periods. By making writing a non-negotiable part of your schedule, you send a signal that your book is a significant investment in your brand and business, which it is.
6. Use Technology Wisely
Leverage technology to streamline your writing process. There are numerous tools and apps designed to enhance productivity and focus. Consider using writing software like Scrivener or Grammarly for a seamless writing experience. Set up project management tools to track your progress and stay organised. Embrace dictation tools for hands-free writing during hectic moments. By incorporating technology strategically, you can optimise your writing workflow and make the most of your time.
Building a writing habit as an entrepreneur, leader, or coach requires intentional effort and dedication. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can transform writing from a daunting task into a powerful tool for business growth. Remember, the key is consistency. Whether you're outlining a business strategy, sharing leadership insights, or crafting a coaching manual, your words have the potential to resonate with your audience and elevate your brand. So, set aside the time, create a conducive environment, and embark on the journey of becoming a successful author in the realm of business literature. Your book could be the catalyst that propels your business to new heights.
If you are ready to add a book to elevate your business then book a call and see how I can help.