Are you struggling to get your book finished? Are you obsessing over how MUCH you want to share with your readers, and how to keep your first (or next book) from evolving into a sprawling 400 page manifesto that either never gets published, or even if it does......never gets read?
The gift of FINITE focus is often the best present an aspiring author can offer him or herself, in the service of actually getting your words, work and wisdom out of your skull, and into the world.
FINITE focus will help you stay sane as you write your book.
It will help you avoid feature creep. (adding unnecessary elements, chapters, stories and anecdotes to your book that don't actually serve your audience, or your end objectives)
It will also help ensure that your ideal audience actually GETS the big benefit that your book promises.
One of my favorite ways of thinking about the advantages of writing a short book comes from a story about the Buddha speaking to his disciples.
The Buddha, as the story goes, taught far fewer things than he actually knew to be true. One day, while teaching in a vast forrest teeming with life, he picked up a handful of leaves and directed his disciples to countanence the many unique and beautiful types of foliage the forest had to offer.
He told his disciples - the things I have seen and experienced are as numerous as all of the life that can be found in this forest. And yet, pointing his students back to his clenched fist - what I actually teach is no bigger than the fistful of leaves I'm holding in my hand.
“[T]hose things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven’t I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.”
It can be incredibly clarifying to use these timeless words of wisdom in your own blog, brand, business and books.
Keep it short. And simple. Outcome oriented. If you feel like too much is creeping in......save it for your next book. Commit to more than one, and you'll paradoxically feel less pressure to publish your first.
And most important - think of your book as a beginning. And as a bridge to immersing themselves in a very specific experience that you choose.....once they've completed reading.
(it could be your coaching, your community, courses, products, programs, events, joining a movement or even a brick and mortar business)
This is the secret to writing a book that changes the world in 2020. And as the Buddha showed us all, sometimes less can be a lot more.
(even when you've got a lot of great stuff to say!)