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How I overcame fear and the need for perfection to write The Product Launch Survival Guide

I'm on my fifth attempt at writing a book. I've started and stopped over many years. I've asked authors I know what they did to finish their books. I have a folder filled with book writing tips and techniques. I guess I was looking for the super secret thing that all authors know that I've been missing.

I had plenty of excuses. I don't have time in my life right now, I'd tell myself. I just need more research. I'm not a good writer. I'm worried that people won't like what I write. I need better tools to write with. Ooh, maybe GenAI is the ticket!

The first attempt was OK. By the third attempt, I was getting more confident. There was a long delay before my current fifth attempt, and I was stuck. Stuck with the fear of rejection. Stuck with where to start. Stuck with all the excuses I made for myself during previous attempts.

So I opened a document on my laptop and asked myself, why? Why do I feel the need to write a book about something I love? Why would anyone care? What purpose will a book serve me? I'm a stickler for outcomes, so I needed a reason that would result in something tangible.

The list I came up with gave me permission to move forward. I didn't expect to make money on a book. Maybe indirectly, but most business books don't make money. I want to share my experiences launching products to help others. I didn't care how long (how many words) the book would be. And I was happy self publishing.

I created a new document, and I started by making an outline. The outline became sentences. The sentences became paragraphs, and the paragraphs became chapters.

Some days, the words would pour from my head. I couldn't speak them or write them fast enough. Other days would be a desert. Instead of punishing myself, I gave myself permission to take a break. The words will come tomorrow, I would tell myself.

I also ignored all the advice that (mostly) non-authors give. "Your book needs to be at least 50,000 words!" they'd say. "You need a major publisher!" they'd say. Then I remembered some of my favorite business books were written by Seth Godin. They are short books. Seth would even publish chapters on his website (rule breaker).

To be perfectly honest, I hoped my book would do two things: share knowledge and become a marketing asset. I had no illusion of becoming a bestseller. If people liked the book, that would be great. If they didn't like it, bite me.

Now that my fear of failure was behind me, I needed to overcome my irrational need for perfection. Perfection is the enemy of good. I created an image of that phrase and made it my desktop background.

I'm a software guy, so I'm treating my book like software. It will have bugs. Some of the logic will be off. It will be missing features.

You will read it and give me feedback. I will add it to the backlog and prioritize the changes. A new version of the book will get published, and I will do it all over again. That was what I needed to move forward.

My job is to write the words that help people launch products, and I will get help with the rest.

The rest are:

  • Someone to layout the book for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

  • An editor (structure and flow)

  • A proofreader (grammar and spelling)

  • Graphics for a book cover (make it pop)

I found all of the above on Fiverr, and they are doing a fantastic job.

I'll post more on my progress. It's one way I can hold myself accountable and get closer to finishing my book.


Icons made by Good Ware from Flaticon 

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