If you like to sequence to a peak pose, work from an intention, are results-oriented, and enjoy visualizations and affirmations, this technique is for you.
It’s called “Setting an Intention for the End” because the first two sessions are all about sitting with and imagining what your book will do/say/be when it’s done.
If you haven’t yet read Start Writing Your Book in Two Hours or Less: A Practical Guide for Yoga Teachers, start there. That article is like the prep poses or warm-up — it will help open you up for these techniques.
Each technique is divided into four 30-minute writing sessions. You can do these sessions on different days, or all at once, or two at a time, or whatever works for you. Also, these techniques are not mutually exclusive! Feel free to mix and match to create something that works for you.
TECHNIQUE 3: Setting An Intention for the End
First Session (30 minutes)
• Set a timer for 10 minutes.
• Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and imagine you’re holding your finished book in your hands. Start with how it feels physically. What’s the heft and weight of it? What do the cover, the binding, the pages look like? What emotions are evoked by the cover art?
• Then, move on to what the book means to you. What emotions went into writing it? How did it feel to complete? How do you feel now that it’s done? What did you learn? How did you change?
• When the timer goes off, open your eyes and write this down, all of it that you can remember.
• When you’re done writing, set the timer for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how much time you have left in this session. You want to leave five minutes at the end for some more writing.
• Now, close your eyes again. This time, imagine that someone is sitting in front of you holding your finished book. They have just read it, cover to cover, and their eyes are shining. They can’t wait to tell you what this book meant to them.
What do they say?
When the timer goes off, open your eyes and write this down.
What you’ve just done is created the feeling-tone of your book, and quite possibly also found the theme. Well done!
Second Session (30 minutes)
• Set the timer for 30 minutes.
• Read over what you wrote last time.
• Set your notebook or computer next to you. Then sit comfortably, close your eyes, and picture your finished book again. You are so proud of it, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever done. Feel that! Then, focus on specific parts, chapters, sections, or stories in the book that you love most, whatever stands out to you.
• Each time a part of the book jumps to the forefront of your mind as something you’re particularly proud of, open your eyes and make a written note of what it is. These are just notes for yourself, so you don’t have to make them understandable to anyone but you. You can write bullet points, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs. Don’t try to write the actual book yet. Just take notes from your subconscious.
• Do this for the entire session, all 30 minutes.
Third Session (30 minutes)
• Set your timer for 30 minutes.
• Guess what! You started writing an outline in the last session (surprise!). Read over what you wrote last time.
• Now, add in any other ideas that come to you, any topics, stories, chapters, sections, or anything else, that you’d like to include in your book. Don’t worry about the order; just note them down as they appear.
• When you are done with this, skim through what you’ve written. Add anything else you think of.
• If you get stuck, visualize a different person who’s just read your book, not the same person from the first session, and let them tell you their favorite part of the book and why. Then, write that down.
Fourth Session (30 minutes)
• Set the timer for 30 minutes.
• Go back to the list you’ve created. Choose one story/idea on the list that excites you right now.
• For the rest of this session, write that story or idea. Write it loosely, without worrying about if it’s good or not. In fact, let it suck. Do your best not to edit or revise as you go, and if you get stuck just stop mid sentence and start over. No one will see this but you; it’s just about getting words on paper in a rough approximation of what you mean.
You have started your book!
To keep going, choose ideas from your list that appeal to you in the moment and write about those. Set a timer if it helps, for 15-60 minutes or however much time you have. Don’t worry at this point about structure or anything else. Just get the words out.
Note: As you write, I highly recommend you save yourself eons of time later and write each idea in a separate document, as though they were each an individual article or blog post, and NOT in one giant document that contains everything. That way, when you decide to move things around, it will not take you hours and hours to find and move each piece.
This can be done in any word processing program, but if you’re adventurous when it comes to new software, Scrivener is a godsend for writers. It will let you organize your work incredibly easily, and it’s cheap. But if the idea of trying a new kind of software makes you want to cry, then just use Word or Pages or whatever word processing program you like.
How was this technique for you? Tell me your favorite thing or ask any questions about this technique in the comments below. I read and reply to every comment. And if you find this useful, feel free to share it with other yoga teachers.
Check out another technique to get you started writing your book:
Technique 1. Feel your way into it — good if you work from your intuition and are a non-linear thinker
Technique 2. Plan you way into it — good if you like planning and structure and are good with details
Technique 4. Start from blog posts, articles, or journals you already have — good if you already have material you want to turn into a book