"Write Your Book In A Flash" by Dan Janal

Book Summary:

“Write Your Book in a Flash: A Paint-by-Numbers System to Write the Book of Your Dreams—FAST!” by Dan Janal provides readers with an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to write a non-fiction business book.

Janal gives readers a clear system for writing a book and provides several examples along the way. Whether you are a business executive, thought leader or entrepreneur, this book will act as your personal Virgil and show you the path to finishing that book you’ve always wanted to share with the world.

Here are a few lessons the book teaches readers:

  • How to write a simple outline that makes the writing process faster and easier

  • How to research interesting ideas, stories, and facts so you never run out of ideas or information

  • How to overcome “The Imposter Syndrome” and other limiting beliefs that stifle nearly every would be author

And much, much more.

Author Dan Janal ( source ).

Author Dan Janal (source).

Dan Janal has written more than a dozen books. He is an award-winning daily newspaper reporter and business newspaper editor. He holds a master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University’s famed Medill School of Journalism.

Book Lessons:

1) How to overcome imposter syndrome

It’s not unusual for an author to suffer from a horrible condition known as Imposter Syndrome. Even highly successful people in business and education think they are not worthy of success because there is someone better out there.
— Page 51

It is not uncommon for first-time writers to feel like imposters. They might think that there are better writers or smarter people in the world which is true, but that doesn’t mean you yourself aren’t smart or can’t write.

You don’t have to be the smartest person in the world or write like Hemingway to be an author, if that were true almost no one would write books.

Author Dan Janal says that even Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the hit show “Hamilton” dealt with Imposter Syndrome. He said: “Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the ‘I’m a fraud’ phase. You go through the ‘I’ll never finish’ phase.”

And if you truly are a rotten writer, you can always hire a writing coach to guide you through the process, work with a ghostwriter or have a professional editor look over your drafts.

2) How to overcome limiting beliefs

Here’s a wonderful exercise to overcome limiting beliefs...Think of a limiting belief, and write it in the space below. Think of five reasons why this belief is not true, and write them in the spaces below.
— Page 52

Another obstacle writers will face on their journey to create a book is the self-doubt and limits they put on themselves.

A writer might have the belief that they don’t have anything to say. If this or another limiting belief pops into your mind, Janal recommends that you come up with 5 reasons that prove the opposite.

  • “I write a blog every week, so I must have something to say.”

  • “People respond to my blogs, so they must like what I say.”

  • “My blog readers ask if I’m writing a book.”

And so on.

Another limiting belief is “I don’t have time to write a book.”

Here is what Janal says:

  • “I can wake up an hour earlier to write.”

  • “Instead of watching TV, I can write.”

  • “I can go to sleep an hour later and use that time to write.”

  • “I can write while I’m waiting for my kids to finish their soccer practice.”

  • “I can hire a ghostwriter or work with a book coach.”

If you ever find yourself in a situation where self-doubt or limiting belief start taking over your head, remember to list 5 things you can do to overcome that limiting belief.

3) How to finish and edit your first draft

The research is the easiest. The outline is the most fun. The first draft is the hardest because every word of the outline has to be fleshed out. -Ken Follett
— Page 123

When it comes to finishing your first draft, the most important part is getting it done.

As Janal writes, “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to look pretty. It doesn’t even need to have all your facts and stories. It just has to get done.”

Janal says that writers shouldn’t expect their first draft to be a masterpiece. In fact, many of his first drafts are disorganized and filled with holes, but that is okay.

Like Anne Lamott, the author of “Bird by Bird” the classic book about writing, said, all first drafts are “shitty first drafts.”

However, it is only once you’ve completed the first draft that you can begin cleaning and polishing it.

That is where editing comes in.

But remember that writing and editing are two separate activities.

Jean Feingold, the author of “The Benefits of Concrete Block Homes” said:

“Don’t edit while you write. Writing and editing are two different activities. Just keep writing as long as ideas come to you. When you reach a stopping point, go back, run spell-check, correct any grammatical errors, and repair any holes in your thinking. This first edit is only designed to fix the rough edges. You will do many more edits before your book is ready for people to read.”

During the editing process, your aim should be to cut useless words that dilute your message.

It may be hard to cut words after putting in the time and sweat to write them, but Janal assures writers that it will make their book better.

Janal says that for “Write Your Book In A Flash” he cut more than a thousand words from the first draft.

Here are a few editing tips:

  • “That” can usually be removed. If it sounds good without it, cut it.

  • The same goes for the word “the” and “of.”

  • You can usually cut words like very, just, and only.

Janal writes that a typical editor can cut 2-3% of your draft. However, it is important to remember that editing occurs multiple times on the road to publishing. As Feingold wrote above, “You will do many more edits before your book is ready for people to read.”

So finish your first draft and get to editing!

Conclusion:

“Write Your Book in a Flash” does an excellent job of providing readers with a proven system for writing a business book. It doesn’t debate the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing, but instead, it shows people how to write the book that always wanted to share with the world.

The book answers many questions first-time authors will have, such as how to outline their book and overcome imposter syndrome. Janal provides exercises to empower novice authors and examples to help readers who may be stuck in a rut.

Overall, if you’re someone who would like to write a non-fiction business book, this book is worth picking up.

Rating: 4/5

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