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So, you want to write a book?

At least 80 percent of professionals believe they have a book inside them, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story. And in most cases, that’s exactly where the book stays – inside them. Why? Because writing is hard work.

Many of these professionals start out with the best intentions, only to discover that they don’t really want to write a book. They want to have written a book.

In other words, they want the glory – the signing party, the speaking engagements, the glowing reviews – without the sweat.

Yet the good news is that it can be done. And the great news is that once you’ve done it, reaching your potential audience is easier than ever, thanks to innovations like e-publishing and print on demand.

Having published several of my own books and shepherded other authors through the editing and publishing process, I’ve noticed a pattern among those who actually reach the finish line:

–Just do it. Writing the darned thing requires writing the darned thing. Whether your style involves writing for 20 minutes each morning before breakfast or all-weekend marathon writing sessions, you’ve got to get those ideas out of your head and into a Word doc.

–Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are a trillion books, blogs and articles out there to help beginners through the writing process. Find a technique that makes sense for your personality and lifestyle. Then stick with it.

–Get help when you need it. Once you find a writing technique that works for you, spilling your guts into the project becomes natural. Suddenly you’ve got a 400,000-word manuscript on your hands. That’s when a professional editor can help you trim it, slim it, and make it shine.

So go ahead. Write that book. It is within you…and it’s time you let it out.

Leah Carson does writing, editing and proofreading for businesses and entrepreneurs. Recently she edited a self-help workbook for one author and several novels for another. She has also published her own work through e-publishing, print on demand, and traditional channels.

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