For thought leaders and experts, a great model is the gold standard. It showcases your expertise, explains both the concept and the process in the best possible way, and becomes part of your intellectual capital. At its best, it tells you more than you already knew and opens up new avenues of ideas. In your book, it creates the most logical and helpful structure you can use. But what if your model’s turning into a glass slipper?
Your model becomes a glass slipper when you start hacking up your information to fit it – like Cinderella’s unfortunate sisters carving their feet up to fit the right shoe size. The model glistens and glitters and you want it to fit! So maybe if you just leave that out – or deal with that bit in some tacked-on chapter or a slideshow aside – and if you can just find a bit more to say about that… The next thing you know, your information’s reduced to a bleeding stump, with bits of information (or “toes”) scattered everywhere.
The content is always more important than the model. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Take a step back and try these approaches:
Put the model aside to “float”
If you’re in love with your model, you don’t want to scrap it – so don’t. But stop trying to cram your content into it. Let it float off to one side, knowing that it might come back when you have more clarity. Or it might not. But you’ll decide later.
Go back to your content
Gather your ideas in simple, practical headlines – no models, no metaphors. Put it into the most logical order for your clients and readers, in the order they need to understand it and the order they need to use it. Look at the logical groupings within that order. The model that fits will ultimately reflect that.
Take a break and bounce it around
These images rarely come from furrowing your brow, head bent over paper. They come from the bouncy bit of your mind leapfrogging around ideas – on your coffee break, when you go to the loo, halfway down the stairs, walking home. Most people call this “right-brain thinking”, but actually it’s the much-maligned left brain that skips through language to make that logical leap for you. So don’t hammer away at it – wander to the window and munch an oatcake thoughtfully. Work fast and playfully.
Mix up thinking and not-thinking.
Talk to people
Go back to the way you naturally explain your ideas. How do you give this information to your clients? How do you describe it to your friends? In a presentation, you might try to shoehorn information into an ill-fitting model – but when you’re talking to a friend, you’ll both burst out laughing as you try to make it fit.
The right model is going to be your intellectual capital – so find the model that fits. You want a quality stylish snappy pair of boots that will take you places, not some silly scrap of impractical footwear best suited to a hapless minx whose idea of success is to marry into money. So, all together now: These boots were made for walking…
If you want help with your model and the structure for your book, try Month 1 of the Springboard Your Book programme – you can book just the first month to sort out your structure, or the full 3 months to turn out your complete first draft.