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Find your tent poles

tent with polesOne phrase in this week's podcast particularly caught listener Bec Evans's ear: 'find your tent poles'. 

It is a GREAT metaphor: it conjures up a vivid mental image, it makes you think 'Huh?' and the almost immediately 'Oh, I see!'

Here it is in context: Mark Levy talking about how you create an original book that will position you as a thought leader in your field rather than simply being an echo chamber for what everyone else is already saying. 

He recommends starting by taking an audit of the things that have caught in your filter: the stories, ideas, images, facts that for whatever reason have stuck with you and which you find interesting and energising. He calls this your 'meaning and fascination' pile. And then:

You take all your meaning and your fascination and you put it down on paper. You put it into your computer. Then you look at what it is you’re most excited about in life and then you now look at your audience and say, “Where do they most need help? What could they be most excited about?” You find a place from column A and column B where they coincide and you say, “Here’s the thing that I can help them with based on what’s honest for me that would truly, truly help them.”

Now you take a lot of the fascinations and those kinds of things that you’ve written about and use them as tent poles in the book: if people don’t know the idea of tent poles, it’s from the world of entertainment. It’s from circus. There’s four tent poles that hold up the tent. Books and shows and things, they all have tent poles. There’s main ideas that these are the things holding everything up. You say, “Okay, here’s the book I want to write and now what are the main ideas or stories or things from all this stuff I’ve laid out there. Now let me put it down. How do those things support my umbrella thought? The big idea at the top. Now what do I need to write to fill in in between those tent poles and those fascinations.”

Genius. You can listen to the whole interview here... 

This entry was posted on 06 April 2017 at 17:22 and is filed under writing. You can leave a response here.

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