1. You know your subject matter better than the average person

You also spend time educating yourself on some of the lesser-known or more confusing aspects of your subject matter. This is especially important for those who are interested in writing nonfiction, but may also apply to those interested in other genres, such as historical fiction.

One of my favorite ideas to communicate is that books don’t make experts, experts make books.

2. You believe your story/subject matter is robust enough to justify a book

Similar to the first idea, you are not only knowledgeable in a particular niche, but are also able to clearly communicate it and build a conversation around it. There is a difference between writing a keynote speech about a topic, for example, and writing 300 pages around it. Are you able to break your story or idea into smaller, digestible segments?

If you’re interested in fiction, this means you really feel like you can stretch a story idea into a complete narrative arc; you have the setup or backstory, the conflict, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and a resolution.

Either way, consider outlining your book or writing a few sample chapters to get a loose feel for how “malleable” your idea is.

3. The idea of writing a book won’t leave you alone

This one is probably the most exciting and terrifying moments in the creative journey, especially if you’ve never really written much of anything before. This is the part when you start to explore the idea of calling yourself a writer and start integrating that in with your default identity.

When you have an idea for a book, it is often quiet, but persistent. It always shows up as that voice in the back of your head, nudging you to play around with it. I would always write short, little quips in one of my notebooks just to see how it feels.

If the idea of writing a book makes you anxious, yet curious, Elizabeth Gilbert—the author of one of my favorite books, Big Magic—says, “It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”

4. You’re aware of the kind of reader or audience that would benefit from your book idea (if you wrote it)

I believe this is one of the most important pieces, next to your book’s idea and its market positioning. Who is going to read it? The last thing I would want to have happen to you is spend months, or even years of your life, writing a book that has no target readership.

Are you writing this for a specific person? Are you writing this to the person you were 10 years ago? Think of this as a twist on that old idea of a tree falling in the forest when no one’s around to hear it—if you’re going to write a book to communicate a story or message, who would you want to be around to hear it when it happens?

5. BONUS: You have an end goal beyond the book

This is the one know one thinks about, because they’re all thinking of the book idea (not that there’s anything wrong with that; I would rather someone spend 5 years than 5 minutes crafting the perfect plot).

But hang with me for a second. Let’s say you wrote the book, it got published, and those who have read it LOVE it. What then? What happens after? There’s this misconception that an idea starts and ends with a book, but that, my friend, is what we call a false peak.

Think about the goal(s) you have for yourself, your lifestyle, or even your business if you have one. How does a book fit into that and how could it benefit those goals?


⭐ Let’s keep the conversation going! Email me at lauren@laurenericksonofficial.com 

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