This is part 2 in a 6-part series on writing your best
book now. With apologies to Thomas Nelson and Joel Osteen.
You’ve noticed the perfect 3. It’s holding together your
beginning, your complication, and your resolution. It’s in liquid, ice, and
steam. It’s the animal, the mineral, and the vegetable. It makes up the
trinity, the cord of 3 strands, the what was, what is, and is to come.
The perfect 3 defines our lives in a number of deeply
profound ways, a number which is probably even divisible by 3. Our veteran
editorial veep at WaterBrook Multnomah likes to say the best books need 3 legs
to be stable: platform, subject, and writing. Someone recently improved upon
the metaphor by suggesting a tricycle.
Three wheels. Very stable. You can stand on it, if you want.
A bicycle can also get you where you’re going, though less safely. But a
unicycle is always inadvisable. For a number of reasons (again divisible by 3).
Doesn’t mean people don’t use unicycles and succeed at staying aloft. Just
involves more training. More time.
And often laughing crowds.
Now it’s a sad little publishing truism that you do not need
great writing or an excellent subject from a platform author, but that book will
still sell. At least for a while. But eventually it’ll fall down and the other
books will laugh at it. There are also excellently written books from no-name
authors who wouldn’t know a proper subject if they spent all day searching
their cabinets and sock drawers.
Yet what I see most often in the writers I meet at
conferences is some great people with great subjects…and very little writing
ability or platform. I’ve seen people at it so long they despise the words “craft” and “platform.” Without those other legs,
they’re going to remain imbalanced.
But here’s where The Perfect 3 can help. Many things go into
those other two legs besides time.
A strong will.
An eye for opportunity. Great personality. Tooth whitening.
Sense of humor. Confidence. Basically, all the unmentioned things that go into
making a wonderful, attractive, well-rounded person.
Are you weak in any of those things? Me too! (Let's hear it for bladder
So, author, what do you want to do about the rest of those?
Most people don’t have the strength, discipline, and humility to
accept where they’re weak and decide to fix it. Many of those areas will require
assistance that’s too painful. Of course, that's not you, is it?
And despite what my mom used to say about my uncanny ability to
get out of traffic tickets, no one is
The 3 essential qualities that build The Perfect 3 author are:
1) the determination to continually push yourself to acquire new skills,
2) the tenacity to get up again and again after failure, and
3) the humility to learn the essential lessons from it each
Don’t skip corners.
Don’t even look for a shortcut. You
are not a cheater.
Show up every time, do it until you’re done, and do it again
tomorrow with all 3 of those legs (or wheels) of your project:
Researching your subject (& is it a good and needed
Writing (and the rewriting, revising, & macro and
Platform building (and the resulting back-breaking
In the end, your creativity, craftsmanship, and care shows
your audience you’re the perfectly-balanced author you’ve worked to become.