I’ve always believed that a story idea is a magical butterfly that flutters around and lands on the one person that has the magnificence—that perfect combination of experience, perspective, emotions, heart, mind, and desire—to bring the story to life in such a way that reflects the writer’s soul and captures the reader’s heart.
If a story idea has landed on you, there is something about you that the idea deems worthy. That butterfly has chosen you.
Did you catch that? You’re already equipped exactly as you are today to write the book because the idea—that little golden butterfly—has landed on you. It chose you. Peacefully connect with it, believe in yourself, and get pen to paper or start hammering away on the keyboard to bring it to life.
If you don’t nurture the idea to help it grow, if you choose to put a million excuses in front of writing it, that butterfly will soar to someone else and leave you. It’s not that you weren’t good enough. It wanted you to write it, but it’s because of one simple, yet overlooked, concept: every single thing we do in life is about more than just us. It’s about other people. Your story or book idea—it isn’t just about you. If you don’t move on the golden butterfly, it will flutter to someone else who will take action because it needs to grow into more.
There’s a reader out there who needs the words within the story idea on your heart. It’s not fair that they should wait for you to finally move into gear before that message gets delivered to them.
In my opinion, books change lives more than any other physical item. People find their life answers in books, whether fiction or nonfiction. Something clicks within, the light bulb goes off, breathing makes sense, and they realize they are more powerful, capable, beautiful, and stronger than they ever once thought themselves to be. Sometimes, they simply live vicariously through the characters for a moment and that brief confidence and fierceness allows them to take action at that point in their life on something that they may have never done before, and the ripple effects last a lifetime.
So, if there is a book idea on your heart, there’s a reason, and I truly believe it’s more powerful than you may realize.
If you have yet to help your golden butterfly grow, here are five steps you can take today to kickstart your book writing so it doesn’t flutter away:
1. Establish your message.
What is the message you want to deliver through your story? This will serve as your theme for the book and will be your guiding light for the journey to come, revealing what direction you should take your story to deliver that end message to the reader, including what you should add along the way and what doesn’t belong. Dig in deep if you want to make the biggest impact.
Books last far past our time here on earth, so if you could leave behind one message, what would it be? Can you build a story or book around that?
2. Pinpoint your book’s purpose.
My favorite scene in the movie Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley is when she closes the book she’s reading as she’s walking around the homestead and exhales like that book was the singular best thing her soul could have consumed.
What do you want a reader to walk away with when they read the final word of your book? What will make them close the book and hold it to their heart like they’re trying to shove it in there to make it a permanent piece of their being?
3. Identify your target audience.
Pick one person that you have an emotional tie with to reflect your audience. Maybe it’s you when you were younger, or a co-worker, or a friend’s sister.
Put their picture up next to your space and write as though this story is only to them. How will your book change the life of the person reading it? What do they need to hear? What do they want to learn more about? What evokes their emotions?
Write as though your story is for that one person. Besides, if your story positively impacts the life of only one person, you’ve already reached success.
4. Dedicate yourself to writing.
Ask yourself, “What am I doing today that gets me closer to my writing dream?” Your only job is to bring your story from your soul to the papers right now. One word at a time, bit by bit like a puzzle. Truly, writing one word per day is better than not writing any, so maintain that perspective. Setting consistent habits like writing for thirty minutes per day is even better.
Even if you’re just writing in your journal, you’re exercising that writing muscle. And if you are writing in your journal every day, I can guarantee you’re a better writer today than what you were yesterday. No one writes every day and doesn’t improve in the craft, so you already have a leg up as a good writer.
Writing in your journal also helps shape your voice—your combination of experiences, perspective, feelings, tone, and strengths. Embrace your unique voice. If you have a dry sense of sarcasm, weave it in. Don’t try to fit in a box or write like you think you have to write to be successful. Your book should feel authentically yours and the best writers have a tone that feels genuine to them.
5. Get serious about your ideas.
Grab a notebook or open up a new note on your phone and every single time you have an idea, or if an important message comes to your mind, jot it down. You will think in that moment that there’s no way you’ll forget it, but you will.
Books can be built out of anything. A word someone says. A quote. A sentence. A song. A dream. You are constantly getting pegged with inspiration, even when you don’t realize it.
Get serious about capturing every bit of gold you write. Whether that’s in a journal, a letter to a friend, an email to a client, a social media post or video—whatever it is, capture it. There’s the start of content for a book someday.
Most of us are writing every day in some way or another, so repurpose it. Your future book is further along than what you may realize.
Writing success comes from discipline and perseverance, which stems from how badly you want it, how much you believe that this golden butterfly selected you out of all the people in this world to carry the message to the right person. There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to writing the story that’s on your heart.
The only wrong thing you can do is never pursue it. Maybe it could save someone’s life. You never know the timing of the right words in a human’s life.
If you’re feeling the nudge of a fluttering wing, don’t wait. There’s a reason. And it’s much greater than just you being an author. There’s another soul who needs it.
Pen to paper, fingers to keys—one word at a time. Your golden butterfly is waiting.
Lauren Eckhardt is an award-winning and best-selling author and CEO, ghostwriter, and book coach. She founded Burning Soul Press in April 2020 as a one-woman show and within months, it quickly grew to a six-figure company with an amazing team that supports global clients in helping them reach their author goals. A multi-passionate creative, Lauren specializes in helping people write stories (fiction and nonfiction), publish books, and harness creative strengths into digital businesses. Keep up with Burning Soul Press on Facebook.