- Writing a Novel: 5 Lessons to Learn About Entrepreneurship - January 7, 2018
Success. They’ve got it. You want it. Not just the type of success that comes with a two-story house, a garage and a boat, but the kind with three houses, a garage for that boat, and you’re pretty sure the Sunday night Hallmark movie is about their legendary rise.
It’s that success that’s eluded you from the day you started your career. You’ve done everything right, taken advantage of the opportunities presented to you, even coached others on how to enjoy the moderate success you’ve had. But it doesn’t have that epic ring to it when you tell people.
So what is it that “they” have? Is it their toothy grin or sweeping hair? Or is it just luck that they’ve been in the right place at the right time?
No, it’s not them. It’s you (kind of). The choices you’ve made haven’t brought you major success because they aren’t going to.
The kind of greatness you’re capable of achieving isn’t established by comparing yourself to them. To achieve that success, you need to change your perspective and think like them.
Finding the inner strength to accept your lot in life isn’t the last page of your novel. It isn’t the happiness that you crave, the freedom you need, nor the empowerment you can use to establish your celebrity.
To take that final leap to greatness, you need to write your book. I don’t mean a collection of thoughts you write down in hopes to sell a memoir of your life’s story of hardships, I mean a true novel of fiction; science fiction, romance, historical drama, the list goes on. Writing a novel that includes a plot, a hero, a villain, drama and a climax.
Dive in to your muse
Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business isn’t easy. There are many lessons that one has to learn in order to be successful. We all learn them at different speeds, but in the end, I know I wouldn’t have started four businesses without writing a novel first.
Related: 7 Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Understanding and using a plan saves time and frustrations
My first manuscript took years, the second book half that time and my third novel less than 90 days. A formal course in writing a novel taught me that my first novel was so bloated that it was actually a heap of stories interlocked like a rubber band ball. It was so interwoven that I’m still pulling out elements to create their own stories. By the time I wrote my third novel, I understood the rules. I started out by establishing the high level concepts into a cohesive structure and then after that, the story fell into place.
Lesson 1: A plan doesn’t have to be complex. Understanding high-level concepts will help you establish the steps you need to take to set your business off on the right foot.
No character is too important to sacrifice
Do you know one of the fundamental tenants of Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead?” No one is too important to let go. Any character may exit the comic or show at any time if it’s the right thing to do for the story. Compelling? You betcha.
Lesson 2: No character or element is too important. That means poor performing or quarrelsome employees and suppliers can be replaced, even if they are your best. What matters is your story because it is your business, not theirs.
Write what you love
You must have heard this a thousand times. Write what you love. For me? Give me a time machine and I’ll show you the world. I love science fiction. It allows me to explore things I can’t with other genres, and it makes it feel like I’m not working when I write. It’s pure joy. And that joy is translated into the written word, which the reader feels.
Lesson 3: Writing a novel and creating a business on ideas that you love will never feel like work. Your output will increase and quality will transform. The best part? Your joy is infectious. Your clients and employees will catch it soon enough.
You can’t do everything
I could have easily slapped a stock photo on the front page for the cover, but I opted for a more unique process. Upon the reference from a friend, I contacted a lady who knew another lady, who… well you get the picture. In fact, the work they collaborated on was epic. An amazing team, and all to my benefit.
Lesson 4: In the beginning, everyone tries to do everything themselves. Just remember, as you are an expert in your field, so too are there experts in fields that you know little about or don’t care to explore. Those experts can be great additions to your team.
It gets easier after the first reader
I was terrified to let someone read my first manuscript. The interesting thing, however, is that after I released my white knuckled grasp on the disk, I realized it’s OK to share my ideas. The next time I gave my novel away, it wasn’t nearly so difficult and now I’m constantly looking for people to read my work, before and after publication.
Lesson 5: Once you start your business, it’s going to get easier. With every new client, you will find it easier to approach the next one until you’re speaking in large crowds, your adoring fans surrounding you. You can then leverage your first company to establish more down the road.
You don’t have to be Shakespeare or Stephen King to benefit from these steps. Let your consciousness flow so you can learn the lessons; the morals of the story that you need to achieve your success.
Are you ready to be the hero of your story?