When writing, you want to both begin and end your project with the bottom-line. In order to write effectively and intentionally, begin with a single theme to your project. What is the boiled-down message? What is the heart of what you want to communicate? Not only will this help you keep your writing laser-focused during the process of writing, but it will also immensely help when it comes time to share your work with others.
When people ask me what the book I’m currently writing is about, I have learned to be prepared with a one to two sentence response. If I have been writing all along with a clear concept, a singular message, then it’s much easier to keep others interested when I share the book’s theme with them.
For example, my first book, a Bible study, incorporates nearly 300 scriptures and covers a wide array of topics, from perspective to stewardship to wise accountability to prayer to intimacy with God, and so forth. But, when I want to succinctly express what the book is “about” I say: Refining Identity is a discipleship journey designed to help people discover and live out their God-given, authentic identity.
Not only is it straightforward and to the point, but the boiled-down meat of the matter places more emphasis on the reader than on me.
Ask not only, “What is at the heart of my message?” Also consider, “How does this benefit my readers? What’s in it for them?” During the process of writing and, later, during the process of marketing, this mindset will guide you to be others-focused, pouring out for others rather than puffing up yourself.
Rabbit trails are easy to go down when writing. But they typically pull your readers’ attention away from the point of the matter. Continually ask yourself while writing: Is this moving my message forward or is this a distraction? Whether you’re just beginning to write on a certain project or you’re wrapping it up, knowing how to boil the heart of your message down will help keep you focused on what actually needs to be said.