I’ve done a lot in my online music education business over the last 4 years. All of it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication. I just figured out how to make it happen and took it all one day at a time.
But, for some reason, when it came to me writing a book, it was a different story. I felt a calling to write my book Make A Note: What You Really Need To Know About Teaching Elementary Music for years, but when it came to actually putting the words down, it was hard for me. I can’t even pinpoint exactly why, but my hope with this blog post is that by sharing my experience, those of you music educators with something to share with the world will find the confidence to write your book.
Start With the Idea
You know that idea you’ve been wanting to share with others for a while now? Yeah, that’s what happened to me. I realized there’s so much you don’t learn about being a music teacher until you get in there and do it. After having conversations with colleagues and teachers, I found out they felt the same exact way. Then, I realized I might have an idea for a book.
Do you have an idea? Is there something you’re passionate about? Do you get asked the same questions over and over? If so, the world needs to hear what you have to offer. You have a fresh experience and ideas that are truly unique to you. It took me a while to figure this out. But, I’m so glad this idea of mine never died.
You’ll Feel Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is something that can be felt in many areas of life. When I became a teacher, I felt it. As a mom, I’ve felt it big time. When I started my business, oh it was definitely there. But when it came to writing a book, the imposter syndrome kicked into high gear. All of a sudden the “who are you to write this” thoughts entered my mind.
But, from talking with Sarah Gulish and knowing how this was a passion of mine, I knew I had to write this book. You see, there will always be others more qualified, with more credentials, or who have more experience. But, they’re not you. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing an apple to an orange. Although someone could, already has, or might do so in the future, write a book similar to yours, they can’t possibly present it in the same way you can.
Start With An Outline and Go From There
When I started writing my book, the “knowing how” was so difficult. I didn’t know what to put where, how to format it, or even where to write it. So, I just began putting my thoughts down on a Google doc. After brain dumping everything in my mind and what I wanted to include in my book, I started seeing the different puzzle pieces. I began moving them around into chapters and then sections until it all began to make sense.
How you structure your book is up to you. The amount of chapters, sections in the chapters, or even the number of pages depends on what you need to say and how you want to piece your book together.
After you have an outline created, you’re ready to begin writing (which I’ll go into more detail about in the next section). Then, when the writing process is done, you’ll add a title page, table of contents, any book reviews, a copyright page, and any other pages you want to put into your book. Look at examples of books you have laying around at home. Google what pages to put where (which I did a lot of). Then, ask your publisher (just like F-flat books) to help you with anything you may need.
Writing the Book
Obviously the biggest part of writing a book is to actually write it. Remember that outline and brain dumping I mentioned already? After doing this, I was able to fill in the sections one at a time. The main piece of advice I received from Sarah Gulish was to “write first and worry about editing later.” Why? Well, when you just begin writing the words will just flow out of you. Of course, there will be errors and edits that will need to be made, but that comes later.
I noticed early on that I had to be in the mood to write. When I record a podcast or write a blog post, I can just do it easily. But, when I scheduled time to write my book, there would be some days where the blinking cursor wouldn’t budge an inch. I knew in my head what I wanted to say, but I quickly realized what this writer’s block I hear so much about really is. So, of course, schedule out time in your day to write. Then, if you sit down and the words just aren’t flowing out, know that the next time you try they usually will.
What Comes Next
After finishing my book, the first thing I did was take a huge breath. It took me 6 months, and it may take you a shorter or longer timeframe to write yours. Give yourself grace and know that your book will be finished in your timing. For me, I had life circumstances that kept me from finishing it when I wanted to. All of a sudden, I became a quarantine schooling mom of 3 boys while still running the other parts to my business full time. Things got a little hectic around here, to say the least.
Now that the book is finished, it’s time to move on to editing it. I went through the whole book 3 times on my own looking for what tense I was using, spelling and grammar errors, and ended up moving sections around and taking sentences out. Then, I handed the book off to my dad, who offered to edit it for me and is one of the most avid readers I know. I thought about hiring an editor, and probably will for my next book. But, after seeing the edits and re-reading it again and again, I felt confident that it was finished. Along with my dad, my husband proofread it and 5 music teachers from my membership site got a free copy and wrote me a review.
The next step is to schedule it to be published. There are 3 ways to publish your book. Those ways are as an eBook (I HIGHLY recommend publishing with F-flat books), to self publish, or to use a publishing company. Through my research, I realized that authors choose one way or do a combination of two methods. For me, I decided I wanted an eBook and a physical book. It really is your choice to make.