Here's an inside look at the process of turning a blog into a book - a great way to repurpose your content and increase your reach to new audiences. My guest Wayne Pratt talks about his process, what he's learned, and the advice he has for other bloggers looking to write a book.
Wayne Pratt is a speaker, author, and life coach who has been helping people achieve their dreams for over twenty years. (Before it was even called coaching) He lives on a lake near Kingston with his amazing wife, Elizabeth, and is the proud dad of his daughter, Bethany.
Buy Wayne's Book - 31 Days: Getting From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be
Connect with Wayne Pratt
Katherine Burrows, Big Impact Ghostwriter
Katherine Burrows helps purpose-driven experts make a bigger difference by getting their big ideas into books and out into the world to multiply their impact and their profit. She is known internationally for her intuitive understanding, perceptive observations, and ability to write accurate descriptions.
Katherine hosts The Write Connection podcast, which is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business book to create authentic connections with your prospects, clients, network, and communities.
Katherine’s personal alchemy of literary storytelling, human psychology, business marketing, and unwavering passion provides her with the unique and powerful insight to bring out the authentic character of the expert and their business in a voice - YOUR voice - that will improve lives, influence others, and even change the world.
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Intro: This is The Write Connection. This podcast is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business content to create authentic connections with prospects, clients, partners and colleagues. In today's episode, Katherine talks with Wayne Pratt. Wayne is a speaker, author and life coach who has been helping people achieve their dreams for over 20 years before it was even called coaching. He lives on a lake near Kingston with his amazing wife, Elizabeth and is the proud dad of his daughter, Bethany. Now the host of The Write Connection, Katherine Burrows.
Katherine Burrows: Hello, Wayne and welcome to The Write Connection. How are you today?
Wayne Pratt: I'm spectacular.
Katherine Burrows: Well, that's wonderful to hear.
Wayne Pratt: How could I not be when I'm talking to a big impact ghostwriter.
Katherine Burrows: Well, there you go, speaking of writing I've been reading your book 31 days, Getting From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. And that's a book that you wrote based on your blog. So I've got a few chapters that jumped out at me that I wanted to touch on today you could tell me a little-
Katherine Burrows: Start with the origin story?
Wayne Pratt: Absolutely yes, I love origin stories.
Wayne Pratt: My mother wrote a book that she didn't think she could sell. So she wanted her boy to try to sell it for her. So she signed me up for a Jack camp [inaudible01:34] course thousand bucks, but that was fine. And I took the course it was eight modules all good. And one of the parts that talked about was that the empty page kills writers. He said that content shouldn't be a deal killer, the content's there. And then he said, the thing that lit me up is just, if you have a blog, you have a book and then he said it again, if you have a blog, you have a book. And I had been blogging at that point for eight years and the light came on and then I went and curated the top 30. Actually it turned out to be 31 and I had Presto in 18 months a book. So it took 18 months or 10 years, depending on how you measure it.
KATHERINE BURROWS: Okay. So a couple of the chapters that really caught my attention were your chapter about someday aisle do you wanna talk about that?
Wayne Pratt: Sure. It's both incredibly true and follows along. David Whitley spoke about some aisle as of this visional place somewhere in the future and that people never get there, cause it's always someday aisle and that just hit home. So I wrote about someday aisle,
Katherine Burrows: Right. And how we can make someday today by changing our mindset.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. Or starting a process that makes it less hypothetical. Someday aisle is designed to keep it out forever. So you never have to judge or evaluate it where once you put real goals and real steps in place, then you have to do it
Katherine Burrows: Right. Avoid procrastination and that kind of leads into the next one that I wanted to talk about coaching the movie, so of course you yourself are a coach.
Wayne Pratt: Yes.
Katherine Burrows: So you coach people on how to build new habits?
Wayne Pratt: Yes. Which by the way, where the coaching, where that chapter comes from is it is the next step after motivational training, motivational training is fine, but at 4:00 PM you go back to the same wife, the same house, the same apartment, the same dog and the same job, unless you actually make action steps and live in them, nothing is going to change. So that is why the action step and the accountability of the action step is the most crucial part of all coaching.
Katherine Burrows: Coaching being a longer term commitment than just listening to a motivational speaker.
Wayne Pratt: Correct. And as I said, the ballroom is beautiful. The guy's wearing a $3,000 suit. The binder that comes with it, with the DVDs is simply elegant. You take notes, but if you go home at four o'clock and put that on your shelf, you have what Jack Canfield calls shelf help, it doesn't change much.
Katherine Burrows: How true?
Wayne Pratt: The other thing is the accountability and the action step lets you know, a month or a year later, if you still want it, you're allowed to change your goals. So yes, that's why it's important
Katherine Burrows: And accountability in the next chapter 15. There you talk about purpose and packaging and about mastermind groups.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. Mastermind's is actually a Napoleon hill concept. And the idea from him was when he was listening and writing from these a hundred men that built his book, it's like the six to 12 people that he was sitting with. It was like another mind was created and his language was a mastermind and this mind was actually stronger than the six or eight in the room. So yes, that's why I think the mastermind is incredibly powerful. It also means that the coach slash facilitator can use the people that are in the audience to build you and encourage you as well as just talk.
Katherine Burrows: Yes. And provides accountability too.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. And they tend to be every couple of weeks to a month. So you are on the hot seat to use the language so that you know that you're going to have to answer what you did based on what you said you were going to do in front of eight people you're with and no one wants to be embarrassed, so that's why mastermind work.
Katherine Burrows: The psychology of social pressure.
Wayne Pratt: Yes.
Katherine Burrows: In chapter 22, you moved on to talk about sharpening the saw.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. That is Steve Covey metaphor and the bottom line is when you are on this journey, you're usually self-employed and we were trained go. And we didn't take the time to restore and encourage and strengthen us. And usually that's achieved by a breakdown and this is futile, don't do that. So sharpening the saw, which by the way in analogy is that if you took an hour, the person didn't have time to cut down the whole forest because he didn't have time to sharpen the saw cause he had to cut down this whole forest. And the man said if you took an hour to sharpen the saw you cut down a lot more forest.
Katherine Burrows: That's very true.
Wayne Pratt: There you go and the most famous quote of that is about the Sahara forest, have you heard of it?
Katherine Burrows: I don't think so.
Wayne Pratt: That's cause it's now called the Sahara desert they were that good.
Katherine Burrows: And sharpening, the saw for entrepreneurs can be things like setting boundaries-
Wayne Pratt: Sleeping well, setting boundaries, spending an afternoon without your phone, committing to people you love that don't work for you or you work for them. A really good non interrupted meal, a day's drive all these things can sharpen the saw.
Katherine Burrows: That's interesting that you say that because I do find that driving helps me process information so not that I feel that I'm distracted while I'm driving, but it's just percolating in the background
Wayne Pratt: Yep.
Katherine Burrows: So you've created this book from 10 years of blogs.
Wayne Pratt: Yes.
Katherine Burrows: How did you feel when you started to look at all that content?
It impressed me. One thing that I found that was a hard job is in 10 years you changed your fonts and your whatever a whole bunch. So you have to make sure that every one look the same as every one of the other ones. So there's actually a fair amount of work but the other thing that's kind of neat is a lot of people like journaling. Journaling's all the rage right now and this sort of forced me to journal by going back, the power in the journal is twofold. One, writing it down and then reading it later. A lot of times you don't get the chance to read it later. So yes, this connected for me.
Katherine Burrows: And how did you pick those 31 entries out of all the 10 years? What was the criteria that you use to select them?
Wayne Pratt: I used [inaudible08:47] board.
Katherine Burrows: Okay.
WAYNE PRATT: No that's a joke. No, don't go there.
Katherine Burrows: Not the answer I was expecting.
No, I know that was to be silly. A couple of things one and all kidding aside I did actually pray about it. It says, who will speak to others? Two, what still resonates? Sometimes things are a snapshot. They speak to that moment. I think this book, I read it during the pandemic again. I'm going, wow. How did I know? So the other thing is what's still spoke in my spirit a year, 2, 3, 4 years later. And the other thing that's kind of neat about going from 180 to 31, 31 is a nice number that it isn't like picking your favourite child. You still have a good chunk if that makes any sense and I picked the one that I thought showcased the way I was becoming, if I could be so bold
Katherine Burrows: For sure and it gives you a variety of topics that appeal to a wider audience.
Wayne Pratt: It is all over the map.
Katherine Burrows: Did you have a theme in mind when you picked these entries?
Wayne Pratt: Yes. This is the funny process. Wayne, I didn't understand the core, didn't understand the theme of your book. It didn't seem to flow when I went its eight years of talking work with it. So no, the theme is what struck me that day it's like looking at a photo album. You don't ask for a theme of a photo album. They were just the pictures that spoke to you. So now, as I said, some people liked the book, some people liked the book and then said, but some people didn't like the book. But basically what I wanted to do was give people a snapshot of what I was thinking. So they could get a little into my mind and either have a good afternoon or learn a little bit more about this Wayne who might or might not be hired as their coach. So it also meant I didn't have to give anyone coffee cups or more pens for Christmas. Everyone got a book.
Katherine Burrows: Books are always a good gift, books are my favourite gifts to give and receive and that fits with your subtitle, getting from where you are to where you want to be.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. And the other thing is that sort of a little weird, but if you read biographies, Steve jobs or whatever, you know how the book ends. So you read through the rough pages where he did something stupid or you whatever, but you know it's gonna turn out cause you read the end of the book. So I wanted to take people who might be discouraged or a little plaintiff or a little bit unclear of how it was going to work out and encourage them and I think I was able to do that.
Katherine Burrows: Yeah. it's definitely some very encouraging wisdom and you've brought in some other experts in different schools of thought and provided examples from other books that people could read to continue on that inspiration.
Wayne Pratt: Yes. And one of the reasons I wrote a book is Kingston has two colleges and two universities. So even the Janitors have Bachelor of Arts so that you had to prove you were a better of an author just so you had credibility.
Katherine Burrows: Well, that's good. I mean, I always tell people that being an author improves your credibility and authority. So I'm glad to hear that to your experience as well.
Wayne Pratt: I also came on this podcast to encourage others, to find their book. I think it's important. And I think I can be a bit of a champion, a bit of a flag waiver for others that it is possible. You don't have to write a 300 page tone, you just have to get those three pages a day for a year or whatever down. It's not fatal and you're taking the little bites. I wouldn't have been three years writing a 300 page book and that's what we thought we had to do in 1980, that's what publishing was about and the world has changed and it's a lot easier.
Katherine Burrows: Right? And your book is 88 pages. So that's a great point.
Wayne Pratt: Yes, the other key is if you want to really make an impact and you use a bigger font, cause if you only have 40 pages, just use a bigger font.
Katherine Burrows: Yes. And you've got Lovely Illustration by Ophelia [inaudible13:13]
Wayne Pratt: yes, that actually is how it became a book, this sat in my word processor for two and a half years and it was both true and meaningless. It had no hook. And there was a girl in our church who was quite a graphic artist and she got me. And so she could take my chapters and make a snapshot, an original picture of a cartoon of every single thing I was trying to create in their mind without that's just a really dry book.
Katherine Burrows: Yeah. It certainly does really add some character to the book, to have those illustrations beside each chapter. And you've also left some space for people to journal their responses to your chapter as well.
Wayne Pratt: That is a neat story. The original book was 67 pages and I had some book publishers, very sophisticated people tell me that it wasn't really a book because it didn't have your name on the spine. And at 67 pages, I couldn't get the book thick enough to put my name or the title on the spine. So I added 25 journaling pages so I could get my name on the spine. I went back to [inaudible14:26 and said here, this is my book.
Katherine Burrows: Well, I guess that's one way to put your name on the spine for sure.
Wayne Pratt: So you see you're only an author if your name's on the spine.
Katherine Burrows: Good advice. So what skills would you say that you needed to turn those blog entries into a book?
Wayne Pratt: The first thing is I come from a line of storytellers and a book if it's not a textbook is at the end of the day a story. So I wanted to make sure whether these stories could speak. Some people said I used my voice so authentically, they actually heard me talking as they read it and I think that was what I was shooting for so what I wanted to do was let them get into the book with me and one hopes, one did that.
Katherine Burrows: Yes. That's a beautiful compliment for someone to say that it sounds like your speaking voice, because I think that's what we're really aiming for, especially in a business book, but in any book really where it sounds like you're chatting with a friend and someone who like a coach has some wisdom to share, but is doing it in a friendly and fairly casual manner.
Wayne Pratt: Yes.
Katherine Burrows: And how long did you take to get from sort of deciding to write a book to the finished published product?
Wayne Pratt: Actual writing 18 months.
Katherine Burrows: Okay.
Wayne Pratt: From when I decided this was a book and not just amuse 18 months and that was writing and rewriting and editing and making sure that the cartoons actually spoke exactly what I wanted to say, yes 18 months.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. Would you have any advice that you could pass along for other coaches or entrepreneurs who are looking to turn their blog into a book?
Wayne Pratt: Yes, I would. One state it verbally actually decide with your mouth that this is important to you and hear yourself saying it and then once you've said it take a snapshot in your mind of when you said it, so you can go back and when you have something else to do or you'd rather be at a party or the hockey games on. That you can say hey, I said I was going to write this book and right now it's just a blog. The other thing is and I wish I had actually got in a cyclopedia or something. We all had this 1980s version of what a book looked like. And now it's not true. Thanks to fundamentally Amazon and you can't even use that word in some publishing circles, cause it's a swear word to them. But the bottom line is it can be a lot less formal, it can be a lot less edited. Sometimes it can be junk sadly enough. But then again, they had junky books before Amazon too honest but the thing is, this is going to clearly communicate, especially by the way, if you're over 50, if you're 30 or under, this is your communication device right here.
Katherine Burrows: Yes. Our phones for sure.
Wayne Pratt: Our phones, but those of us who are 50 or older or still see a book as creating some kind of nuance, a sophistication, a way to communicate that I don't believe, as I said the journaling can do on its own unless you're right for the globe mail and that's another story.
Katherine Burrows: Well, thank you so much. This has been a really huge pleasure. Talking about your book, reading your book itself. It definitely made me smile and made me stop and think, and I feel a little bit wiser for having read it so thank you for all of that.
Wayne Pratt: Thank you Katherine, you're very kind. The other thing by the way is they want a copy of the book. They can go to 31 days.ca and they can either get a book signed by me or they can get it from Amazon and they can actually look and see what the book is on the look inside thing. I wanna encourage authors I really do, the other thing is that this isn't even my first book, this is my second book. The first book was a bucket list I had to write a book, the second one I actually wrote because I thought I had something to say so the audience could decide whether I do or don't.
Katherine Burrows: Okay. Well I'll definitely put that link to your book in my show notes. And any other offers you would like to make or ways to contact you you'd like to-.
Wayne Pratt: I'd like to encourage as I said, authors or young entrepreneurs I wrote this for entrepreneurs, especially the young one. When I say young that they just started into a business. I don't care if they're 50, but they've only opened their business a month ago. And email@example.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts again, if you're about the book or what you thought of the book. And also if I encourage you to help write yours, so firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Burrows: Wonderful. Thanks so much for being on The Write Connection today, Wayne.
Wayne Pratt: Thank you Katherine, It was a privilege.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Write Connection. What did you think of the show today? Give us a rating and leave us a comment if you have a question for Katherine, reach out to her by sending her an email, The Write Connection@KatherineBurrowscreative.com or visit her website, Katherineburrowscreative.com. And don't forget to follow Katherine on social media thanks again for listening to The Write Connection.