When you think about a short stretch of time, 30 minutes or an hour, is your mindset one of scarcity or abundance? It's pretty clear what my 4-day-old grandson thinks: "I am lacking milk. Feed me now!"
Not that I want to say anything negative about this little guy. He's my older daughter's fourth baby and he is adorably perfect. And no, he's not drinking the beer you see in the photo. That belongs to his grandfather.
I ask you the question about scarcity vs. abundance because it's a way of thinking differently about how much time you need to make progress when you're writing a book or a keynote speech.
It's so easy to say, "Oh jeez, I've only got 30 minutes. What can I possibly squeeze into that small amount of time?"
What if you flipped that around and instead said, "I have 30 whole minutes. How can I make the best use of them, right now?" That's what I mean by abundant thinking.
How to use Yes, and...
Another way of saying this is, try thinking Yes, and...
Yes, and... is the signature approach to improv theatre. But it works in other settings.
On stage, Yes, and... means to acknowledge what was already said and then to build on it. Stay obvious. Contribute to the person before you. Remember, the audience needs to be able to follow along. So going off in a new direction is confusing.
Applied to book or speech writing, Yes, and... means to expand on what you've already got. Don't toss everything out. Don't aim for perfection. Specifically, take the key points in your current draft and make them bigger or deeper.
Don't focus on being clever or original. Instead, think about what will resonate most strongly with your reader. As a book coach, I like to say that your book is a gift to your reader. It should offer them an insight, a new way of thinking as well as solve a problem or question they have.
Yes and... What You Could Do in 30 Minutes
If you're pondering how to organize your material into a framework or structure, the 30-minute abundant approach could be:
1. Skim your notes to pull out five key points.
2. Take these chunks and scribble them on five big stickies.
3. Now, stand up and move those stickies around on the wall (standing up gives you a fresh perspective).
4. Keep moving your stickies until you see a way to put your key points in some kind of logical order.
5. Bingo. You've just created a structure or framework for your book or talk.
And you did it in 30 minutes.
Yes, and... If You Want Quick Feedback on Your Book Idea
If you are a regular reader, you know that I open my schedule from time to time to offer Knock Down Sessions.
These are 30-minute phone calls that give you a chance to talk about your book idea out loud. I help you knock down at last one obstacle to getting your book done and give you quick feedback on doable next steps.
If it seems like a good fit, we can talk about working together. There is no obligation. Click here to schedule a Knock Down.
Debbie Weil | Voxie Media
Big Ideas. Short Books. ™
Book coach | Keynote speaker | Architect of reinvention through writing
my private email -> firstname.lastname@example.org