On Writing Your First Book - Christine Kane

As a first-time author on the verge of launching a book around my Soul-Sourced™ philosophy and mission, these are the stories of what I learned through the book writing process, from my first idea to final publication.

You’re going to hear the #1 book writing law you can’t escape plus, I’ll discuss the top book writing rules you’re likely already following … then tell you why I think you should totally consider breaking them.

My goal is to help you hone your own style and claim your freedom to approach the deep and often challenging endeavor of writing a book in a way that’s aligned with you. Because just like everything else you do, this experience is teaching you something that goes far beyond just writing a book.

Don’t worry, my action-minded friends, we’re also going to talk about the wide variety of ways you can get the writing part done, and I’ll share some of the choices I made and strategies I used in my process.

Listen in for my confessions around what worked and didn’t work for me. I’ll also share stories from my clients, talk about the lessons they learned, plus you’ll hear what one client said to spark my book writing journey in the first place. Maybe it’ll spark you, too.

Episode Transcript

There are a lot of angles and gray areas to consider when you’re talking about being true to yourself and your soul.

Welcome to the Soul-SourcedTM Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host. Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Okay, here we go. We are on episode number 18 here, my friends. And I’m going to talk about writing on this episode. In particular, we’re going to talk about book writing. So as I record this, my book is coming out in about three weeks or so. It is called “The Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur an Unconventional Success Plan for the Highly Creative, Secretly Sensitive and Wildly Ambitious.” And some of you saw the message that I sent out about how I’m going to be hosting a virtual retreat in December. It is called The CLiCK Retreat. And what the name CLiCK means is that when the strategy track of your business aligns with the Soul Track of your business, everything clicks and you succeed in a way that’s aligned with you and in a way that expands you to your core.

And right now my team and I are mapping out a three-day adventure for you all online. In the past, you used to have to be in one of my, uh, $1,500 programs to even come to CLiCK and you had to travel to Asheville and we sold it out every time. And usually coming to Asheville involved changing planes and all kinds of extended travel. But in December, we’re going to be making this happen virtually on Zoom for you. And the admission is where it gets fun. If you preorder two hardback copies of my book, one for you, and one for a friend who has a business or wants to start one or a side hustle, and you can give it as a Christmas gift or holiday gift, whatever is your jam for someone in your network, you will be able to join me at CLiCK.

So if you do that, don’t send your receipt in now or anything. We’re going to be announcing the details during the launch week of my book, but that’s the skinny right now. And the retreat will happen during the first weeks of December. We will send out those dates soon, but it’s all online and it’ll be fun and deep and a roll up your sleeves, kind of workshop-style thing, which is my favorite way to teach people, get that work done in the room, the stuff you keep telling yourself you need to do, and you keep not doing so get one book for you, one for a friend for a present, and you’ll be good to go.

Now, speaking of books, let’s dive into today’s topic and that is writing your first book. So given that the advice out there on book writing is vast and littered with opinions. I’m going to do my best to speak here from experience rather than opinion, though, I will admit I can be kind of bitchy. So I will bet an opinion or two will rear its ugly head. But in general, this episode will be kind of a combo of coach who has supported many authors through their first book with a little side of confessions of a first time author kind of thing. Because aside from the many eBooks I’ve written, this is officially my first book. And what I’m going to do here is first, I’m going to share one book writing law that you cannot escape. And then we’re going to go through four book writing rules that you have probably heard and believed forever, and we’re going to break them, but only if you want to, because the rules are there for a reason. And I want to give you a way to look at things from all angles in particular, honoring your own style, which is the most important thing.

So in other words, if you’ve ever wanted to write a book, or if you’re in the middle of writing one, my goal here is for you to be able to think more clearly and less judgy about how you consider your options and approach this very deep and often challenging endeavor of writing a book. So maybe I should have officially titled this podcast Four Book Writing Rules You Can Break and One Book Writing Law You Can’t Escape, but that’s just too damn long. So we’re going to dive in and we’re going to start with that inescapable law cause we might as well just get this one out of the way.

And the inescapable law is this, the idea of writing your book is so much better than the actual writing of your book. And we’ll just leave it at that.

Writing is messy and it’s great. And it’s hard. And will often make you question your sanity. Having ideas, Well, we love that shit. Don’t we, we can pop out an idea a minute. Writing is a whole different animal. Now with that out of the way, we will move on to the first rule of book writing. And this applies mostly to nonfiction writing and probably more so for those in business. But the first book writing rule is often some form of don’t write your own book. It’s a waste of your time. And there are many ways that you’re advised to make this happen. You can hire a ghost writer. In other words, get someone to write it for you. And this, by the way, can be super, super pricey because a good ghost writer is worth every penny they charge. You can also sign up for one of the services that will set you up with audio recordings and they will interview you.

They kind of pull the book out of you and then the person who’s interviewing you is also a writer. They go ahead and they write it for you. So Tucker max started the company scribe, which does exactly that and they do a great job. So I’ve heard. And so I’ve witnessed and they’ve released some great books. Most notably would be David Goggins “Can’t Hurt Me”, which became a best seller. In this process, we’ll take your time of course, but you won’t have to sit down and write your own book for hours every morning and deal with that heavy load of organizing an outline on outlining all your thoughts and the drawback of course, is that no one could write a book like you could. And some of you might think, well, that’s a good thing cause I suck at writing. Um, but some of you are going to write your own.

You’re going to want to write your own book. And that’s my key here. And there are other programs and services out there that will teach you how to write your book in 40 minutes or two weeks or whatever. And behind a lot of this is the belief and perhaps even the truth that most people don’t read books anymore. And most people just want the information and they want a book. They can read on a plane ride from LA to San Francisco and then just be done with your book. The problem with all of this is that it’s all other people’s take on the world. And it’s people telling you how it is and how to do it for success, but how you want to write a book really depends on you and your style and whether or not you want to slog through lots of writing and rewriting or whether you want to hire a writing coach and give yourself the time and the space to do this.

I just want to make sure you consider your style and your preferences here. And with that said, I did choose to write my book and I started by making a big, giant mess of writing. And in the middle of that mess, I met with one book writing coach who told me, and I’m not kidding, told me how bad it all was and how bad my idea was. And at the time that Idea I had was pretty bad just to give her a little bit of credit, but then a few months later with more messy writing under my belt, I hired a different book coach who was great for me. And I will talk about her in a little bit, but it made all the difference to have someone be able to look at my mess and not tell me what a mess and how bad the idea was. She could help me shape it. And some of us need that person to bounce things off of.

Then when I got further, along after, I had worked with this book, coach, I hired someone who, who was a client of mine at the time. And I asked her to be kind of my catcher’s mitt. And she used her editing and ghost writing skills to organize me and give me feedback and help me rewrite my messes. And she kind of stuck with me through the end of this thing because my creative process is pretty messy. But the bottom line here is that if you want to have someone else write your book, then go for it. If you want to take three weeks off and go smash keys as one author and guru described it, then do that. And if you want to take time and write a book, the old fashioned slow, boring way that makes people tell you you’re wasting your time because no one reads books anymore. Then you get to do that too. No one is right and no one is wrong. Just stand in your decision and go for it.

People tend to judge how something should be done in retrospect. So it’s like, well, this worked for me in my book, sold a hundred thousand copies. So this is how everyone should do it. But what about the hundreds of authors who did it that way? And they didn’t sell a hundred thousand copies. I really believe that you have, have to start with your style because that way, even if your book doesn’t sell a hundred thousand copies or whatever, you’re aiming for, you at least were true to yourself. And I know that that’s counter to what the strategists would say, but that’s what being Soul-SourcedTM is all about. Right? And that brings us to the second rule. And the second rule is the whole strategy around why to even write a book.

And there are many oft shouted rules here in the zone of why to write a book. And the top one is that if you run a business, your book has to be a strategic leader generator, and it should act as kind of a business card. The top of your funnel. Like if you have a business where you teach attorneys how to make untold millions of dollars, becoming estate planning attorneys, and you want to sell people into that program, your book would be very strategic. It would be called something like the million dollar lawyer, and it would teach the basics of your method. And then to find out more people would go to a webpage and then they would pay you $25,000 to join your program that teaches them everything. James Altucher one of his many articles about writing. I remember him saying never to read books like this, but to definitely write books like this because they make money.

So because my company is called Uplevel U, were I to not have broken this rule, I would have written a book called Uplevel and it would have strategically led to people buying into a program of some sort. And I didn’t do this. In fact, I tried to write that book for about a year, following the strategists advice, and it bored the living shit out of me. I couldn’t do it. I hated every writing session. I couldn’t stand it. And I just, I dropped it. I couldn’t write a book called Uplevel and I, I just was tired of it. And so I stopped and that’s where Soul-SourcedTM started coming out of me.

And that brings me to one of the other things people like to say about why to write a book, which is that you have to have some glorious and profound purpose to that book, like a big giant save the world “Why” behind writing your book. In my experience, not everyone, not all my clients need that impetus. You know, that whole like millions of people out there must have my unique wisdom because I’m here to save them all. And it’s just like, Oh, okay, shut up. Fine. We get it. You’re 28. And you went to your first Tony Robbins event. Okay. See there I went, I was bitchy. It was bound to happen. I predicted that that would happen. So there was my opinion, but if you are, the point is if you are somebody who feels that way, great. But for many of my clients, the idea to write a book is not usually this grandiose “Why” it’s usually this tiny seed that gets planted. And in my experience, if you go in and stomp all over that tiny seed and that tiny seed, by the way, is usually this little kernel of magic. And if you go in there and you get all like, here’s my, why that seed loses the magic because you’ve just dumped a whole bucket of ego fertilizer onto it and you burn it and I’m not really doing well with this particular metaphor, but you get the idea.

And let me share how this worked for me. So this whole thing that I call the soul track of business is something that evolved throughout my work as a coach. I started to see how much these, these old rules and shame and all these old, old, emotional patterns were sabotaging my clients in their business strategy and even in their smallest tactics sometimes. And as I went deeper and deeper, especially when I got to work with someone for a longer period of time, like I’ve worked with some of my clients for seven, eight, nine years. I could see how much was keeping people from reaching their really deepest levels of success, simply because of how they framed something or how they had been told something had to work.

And when that person was given a different perspective and when the mindset began to loosen up, their strategy would work better. And then their results would really sore. And I wouldn’t talk about it except with my clients in the room. And usually the ones who had been working with me for a while. So for me, the why of my book started when one of my clients, it was Carolyn Canelle, Hey, Carolyn. She walked up to me after one of our masterminds and she got right up in my face and she said, you know, Christine, this Soul Track stuff, it really works. You have to stop hiding it and only sharing it with your clients, cause everyone needs this.

And over the years, people kept saying that to me, they’d say things like I started working with you because I just wanted that strategy stuff that you teach, I wanted the Strategy Track. But as it turns out, I needed the Soul Track more than I knew. And I resisted because I had no idea how to teach this in a book. As you probably know, in your own work in business, it is so different to just teach to someone on the spot when they have a specific thing and you coach them through it, no matter what your business is, all of us do some form of coaching so much easier to do that than it is to turn all of that into a framework where anyone can see themselves in your words, when you’re not able to sit in front of that person and explain it all based on what they’re facing at that moment, it’s just, it’s a very hard thing to do. And I knew that the Soul Track worked, I knew how important it has been to my clients.

And I also knew that even though it would be hard to write about that, I was probably just going to have to sit down and do that. And so I did, and that was my why. And it was this a little tiny seed that felt a little bit magical, but it was never a big giant “Why” that took me over. I talked about it with no one I shared with no one that I was writing a book at that point, I just started in and began to work through this stuff I had taught for years and years and years.

Let’s move on to the third rule. And this one is one that I, I break all the time, but it is a favorite marketing and sales rule. And this rule is that you have to be divisive and you have to scare people. And I’m going to read right now, I’m going to pull out a direct quote from a blog post written by a famous podcaster and author.

And this is a blog post that went viral several years ago. And for good reason, it’s this really kicky list of a hundred things. And it’s in question and answer format, but it’s all about how to start a successful business. And one of the questions in that big, long list of a hundred things was this. And I’m quoting now. It says, “what is the best way to sell anything? Fear and agitation. Get them afraid the world is falling apart and then get them agitated.” This is the only way to stop it. Now, and I’m not quoting anymore before you get all agitated yourself. Just remember that this author is not the only one who says this. This is common sales and marketing and these days political wisdom. And yes, it does indeed work. My problem with this is the underlying philosophy, which is the whole idea of something, quote, unquote, working.

When we say something worked, what it often implies, is that I pulled something off here. I got away with something. And so often that something is counter to who you truly are. And I have gone back and forth about this, this particular rule, because many of the people that I admire and even guys like Seth Godin and, and Brian Clark, will tell you to be divisive in some way, shape or form when you’re selling. And here’s where I land on that. If you are that way naturally, then go for it. But if you’re not that way, and then you follow this rule or any rule and you pretend to be a certain way. Like if you put on sort of a costume, just so you can get a sale, that’s an energetic form of prostitution. And, and ultimately it just whittles away at your authenticity. Even if it does quote unquote work.

I personally don’t want my business to be a series of things that I get away with. And that just makes me feel because I have to keep finding new tactics and it just leaves me on edge. And then I just want to take a nap. And when it comes to writing a book, it’s the same thing. The advice to be divisive or aggressive, or make people scared. That is great advice because it does sell books and it does get you media coverage. And it can even influence people who read your divisive book, because that’s a methodology in the language of influence. It does work, but at the end of the day, I’m, I’m not that person. And if that makes my book fail, or even my business fail, because I’m not scaring the shit out of you. Well, then I get to be used as a case study for people to point at and say, you know, look, there, Christine Kane tried this. And it was a spectacular failure.

The only divisive focus in my book is actually, it’s where the whole book opens up, where I am interviewing someone for the role of director of operations in my company. And I interviewed this guy who had worked for all kinds of big name coaches and gurus, and a lot of different famous people, very impressive. He had just moved to Asheville. And by the end of our interview, he essentially predicted my demise if I didn’t change my ways. And so he became sort of an antagonist right there at the start of the book, but essentially the topic of soul in business is kind of inherently not easy to get aggressive or divisive about. I mean, what am I going to say?

Sole-SourcedTM! Fuck Yeah!

I mean, it kind of defeats the whole purpose, but what I can say about this topic is that it, It is Soul-SourcedTM is very very hard to write about. It’s not just kind of a think positive kind of thing. It’s not a scary, scary tactic kind of a thing. There are a lot of angles and gray areas to consider when you’re talking about being true to yourself and your soul and walking that line of yeah, you know, what you have to sell, but here’s a few different ways to think about money and selling. And each time I wrote something that was even kind of a line in the sand sort of deal, I would think of a former client who that line in the sand didn’t work for and I’d have to kind of rethink how I wrote it. So divisive works if you are that way, if you think in black and white rock on, but if you don’t, all I can say is find a way to write your book that doesn’t necessarily follow that particular rule.

So the last rule of book writing that we’re going to cover here is probably the most over prescribed book writing rule ever. And that is this, that you must write an outline before you do anything. And then you must follow through on that outline doggedly to the very end of your book. And I will confess that this rule plagued me. I cannot describe how counter to my process it is to begin in the left brain and then just start outlining a book about being Soul-SourcedTM of all things, because that just not going to come from the left brain and in my own attempt to avoid outline, I had written piles of notes and pages and all kinds of scattered words and stories and chapters. And I was pummeling myself with trying to figure out how on earth I would write an outline. And that’s when I hired a really phenomenal book writing coach, her name is Mary Carol Moore.

And during our first meetup, she listened to me talk about how hard outlining was. And then she very calmly said something to me that was a lifesaver. What she said was that some people are outliners and some people are what she calls in liners, which means that some people begin with the left brain process of outlining. And then they find their way to the more right brain creative stuff of writing. And some people begin with the writing and then they find their way to the left brain outline as they do the writing. And that eventually those two types, each one of them has to find their way to the other side. So the outliners have to find their way to the right brain and the end liners have to find their way to the left brain and the plan and the strategy. She didn’t say it exactly like that, but you get the idea, which in my world was exactly like the Soul and the Strategy Tracks.

Not everyone approaches these two tracks in the same way. Some people start their businesses with a well laid out plan, and then they move in and they adjust and they go in that way. And some people start with the idea and they let the business itself begin to shape their plan. And this is a good stopping point, I think. The big message here is that in all things you do, there is a greater gift that comes from it. And that gift is to honor your style. We live in this world where there are so many rules and methods and steps and strategies. And to some degree they can be very helpful. Yes, I am not trashing rules and strategies, but too many of us have used these in a way where we stop trusting our lives and our businesses and our writing to show us who we are in all of it. And things tend to work better when we trust that our lives and our businesses are showing us at all times where we need to grow and learn and expand and how we best need to do things like writing a book. So trust that.

I hope this episode helped you in your writing and in your book writing, if it did, please hit the five star review there on Apple. That would be amazing. And leave a review, if you feel inspired to do that. And of course, if you preorder two of the hardcover copies of The Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur, you will be able to join me at my click retreat in early December. I will be sharing more on that as our time draws near to that. And as usual, thank you so much for listening and I will see you next week.