She Thinks Big: The Experience of Writing a Book for the First Time
She Thinks Big: The Experience of Writing a Book for the First Time

141: She Thinks Big: The Experience of Writing a Book for the First Time

Do you ever pause to reflect on something you’ve done for the first time?

Lots of people have a dream of writing a book one day. Maybe you’re one of them and would appreciate an inside view from someone else’s experience writing a book for the first time.

Well, my book She Thinks Big hits the shelves on September 26. It’s been more than a year in the making, and I want to walk you through and pick apart my journey as a first-time writer.

In this episode of Time to Level Up, you’ll get some insights from the experience of writing a book for the first time. I’ll talk about both the good and the bad parts, including overcoming challenges in first-time book writing.

What’s Covered in This Episode About Writing a Book for the First Time

2:58 – The nudge to write the book..and the guilt that came with it

5:54 – When the sinking feeling of fear kicked in

8:52 – My favorite way to face fear and get over the uncomfortable

10:28 – Creating big belief and facing your “frenemy”

13:10 – How I had to narrow down to power up

15:51 – The pieces to forming big plans for big results

18:44 – How to identify big results and the big results I expect from She Thinks Big

22:45 – Why writing this book was big work worth doing

Mentioned In She Thinks Big: The Experience of Writing a Book for the First Time

She Thinks Big by Andrea Liebross

Andrea’s Links

Quotes from this Episode of Time to Level Up

“Writing this book would be not just a great way to serve my clients but also serve myself, in the sense that it would push me into unfamiliar territory.” – Andrea Liebross

“For me, book writing is a business. In writing this book, I was like a new entrepreneur because I had never written a book. ” – Andrea Liebross

“New opportunities create new challenges. If you have big thinking, you’re ready for them because success does not have to be a threat.” – Andrea Liebross

Liked this? You’ll Enjoy These Other Time to Level Up Episodes

137: Nine Fears Holding Female Entrepreneurs Back From Success

138: What Is Big Thinking? Three Parts of Becoming a Big Thinker

96: Going All In On Work Worth Doing

90: How to Switch From Stuck Stress to Productive Stress Mode

Welcome to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, Andrea Liebross. Each week, I focus on the systems, strategy, and big thinking you need to CEO your business and life to the next level. Are you ready? Let's go.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm always happy to have you here. I'm happy to have you here today. I am super curious. Have you ever reflected on your experience doing something that you haven't done before? Have you ever paused, taking what I call a strategic pause, long enough to assess, “Huh, what was my experience with that like? Did I enjoy it? Did I not enjoy it? What were the good parts? What were the bad parts? What just happened?” All of those things.

Today, what I want to do is I want to pick apart my experience in writing She Thinks Big the book, which is hitting shelves on September 26th. If you have not yet gotten on the list to be part of all of the launch day specialness, which includes pre-access to parts of the book, it includes special pricing, it includes some extra content, if you haven't gotten on that list yet, then you need to head over to and do it right now.

While you're there, sign up a friend who is an entrepreneurial woman who you know needs to think bigger. Usually, we can spot other people's need to think bigger before we can spot our own. Be a friend, get them on the list. Alright, so we're going to dive in today to my experience in writing the book, and actually what was interesting as I was outlining what I want to share with you today, my experience is very similar to what I talked about in the book.

So I decided to use the structure of the book as a way to structure the content of this podcast. I want to go through 10 or 12 different pieces of the experience and what I want you to do is I want you to think about how you might be the same person who needs this, just like I was the person who needed to write this book.

I want you to be able to see yourself in some of this. In the book, I explain some, I call them parking lots that you as an entrepreneurial woman might be stuck in. I would say when it comes to this book, I was stuck in parking lot number two. I had this nudge to write a book. In fact, my publisher about 10 years ago, who I know personally, told me to write a book, a former client, I sat down with her actually one day in Starbucks because her expertise is marketing.

We were talking about ways to market my business and she said, “You should write an e-book.” Little did she know that I decided to write a real book, but I had this nudge and I knew that writing this book would be not just a great tool and way to serve women and my clients but it also would be a great way to serve myself in the sense that it would push me into unfamiliar territory.

Writing long-form content, not something I'd really done before. Publishing a book, definitely not something I'd done before. Working with a publisher and all the pieces of that, not something I have done before. You could say that in some ways, my experience writing this book, the learning that came from it was as much learning, if not more, than would come from getting another graduate degree in a sense. This is new territory for me.

Now, in the book, I actually have a chapter at the very beginning where I talk about the big problem. Now, me, like a lot of people, I was totally fine without writing this book by the way. There was nothing wrong going on with my business or my personal life. Nothing's wrong. I actually already had a lot on my plate. You might want to say consider like we were building a house.

When I decided to write this book, we had not broken ground but we were in the process of building a house. I had two kids that although didn't “need” me as much, they still needed me. I had a whole book of business, I had plenty of clients that I was working with.

In a way, being stuck in this parking lot number two, there's a little bit of guilt that goes along with it. You've got this nudge to do it but then there's a little guilt about it like do I need to add this to the mix and how is it going to impact everybody else? I was feeling very good about where my business was going but I really also wanted to create the next version of my business, which I knew would happen if I were to write this book.

Then the problem of fear kicked in, so I decided I was going to do it. Have you ever decided something you're going to do it and then all of a sudden you have this sinking feeling in your stomach? Yep. That's what happened. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I felt like I was going to vomit at times because there was the fear of the unknown, what was this going to look like? What was the process going to look like?

There was fear of failure. What if this book was a flop? What if I couldn't do it? Fear of lack. That was the part, what if I couldn't do it? What if I wasn't competent enough? What if I was just a fraud? Go back to the episode, I believe it is number 137, and listen to the nine types of fear. Go listen to that one because I probably experienced all nine of them.

But it was time for me to face the fear and it was time for me to create the courage and commitment to do it. It was time for me to think bigger. Go big or go home. This brings me to a chapter in the book that's called Big Courage: Face the Fear. If I think about my own big courage, in my own facing the fear, here's what happened: I actually delayed in a way starting the book.

I delayed the start. I committed to my publisher, I actually think I even put a deposit down in April of 2022, but I told her that I couldn't really start on this process until July. I really got to be honest, I don't even know why I said that. There was a great reason. I know what it was. I was trying to finish up some new copy on my website. Somehow I felt like that had something to do with this.

Now, that was probably just an excuse. I also went into a place where I didn't want to really start writing until my kids went back to school. Even at ages 21 and 18, I guess they were, I had that “Oh, I can't start til they go back to school” thinking. Then I was stuck in the planning of this whole thing and not the executing.

I mentioned this, if you're a person that gets stuck in the planning and not the executing, you get stuck in passive action, I was probably stuck in passive action until January of 2023 because what was happening was that I couldn't figure out exactly how I wanted to structure the book.

I was stuck in this outline phase for what seemed like a good five or six months. Now I mentioned in this Big Courage chapter that there are four ways to solve four facing fear and solve four getting over the uncomfortable. I went with my favorite of the four ways because once I realized what was going on, my favorite of the four ways is seeking support. That's my favorite.

To me, that's the way to press the easy button into the fast button. I sought support. When I recognized that I really was having trouble writing—I wrote probably about 40,000 words and I felt like it didn't feel like me at all. I'd figured out what I thought was a rough outline and I was just stuck—I sought support in the form of what's called developmental editing.

I hope for some episode in the future, I will talk about what developmental editing is, but this is where you work with an editor and they're really not just editing, they're helping you develop the structure, develop the way in which you're going to communicate things.

I sought support through developmental editing. Once I did that, that very last week right before Christmas of 2022, I really hit the ground running in January. That's what I needed. That was a way for me to face my fears and to create courage and curiosity.

Then, here's the next part of the process, the next part of any entrepreneurial journey. In writing this book, I was like a new entrepreneur because remember, I had never written a book. This was a new business for me. Book writing is a business. It was a new business for me. I was a new entrepreneur so the next thing that had to happen is I had to create some Big Belief. That's the title of a chapter in the book.

Big belief is the game changer. It's really the game changer. I go to my tried and true question, “What's the worst thing that can happen?” In this entrepreneurial journey, just like yours probably, the worst thing that can happen was a negative feeling. The worst thing that could happen was that I felt like I didn't know what I was talking about. The worst thing that can happen was that I got stuck, literally in the messy middle.

Now, messy middle is in the title of this book: Entrepreneurial Woman's Guide To Moving Past The Messy Middle And Into The Extraordinary. The worst thing that could happen would be that I would get stuck in the messy middle and I would feel bad. I did, just like every entrepreneurial woman, meet what I call my frenemy.

Now, I'd go into a description about what meeting the frenemy is like, but what happens when you meet your frenemy is that you've got to tell her to quiet down. I encourage you to name your frenemy. I named my frenemy Dolores and I told Dolores that she just better quiet down. She needs to sit down.

When she sat down, I could really leave my limiting beliefs that I wasn't good at long-form writing and that I didn't have an exact process in how I coach, because I do have a process. It's a dynamic process that requires client participation, which I recognized, just identifying this as a dynamic process, not a static process was why I was stuck back then in the outline phase.

Because the process, the coaching process is not a straight line, my friends, it's a zigzag. It's a roller coaster. But that was why it was so hard for me, in the beginning, to start writing. I left that limiting belief that I'm not good at long form and then I don't know the process and I found my liberating truth.

My liberating truth was the following, and I continue to write this every day: I'm a best-selling author and I'm a million-dollar coach. That is a liberating truth. That allows me to lift the ceiling where I'm right now from the ceiling can sometimes hold you down. It allowed me to lift it. That was the big belief that was the game changer.

Next part of the process was commitment, and I honestly had to narrow down to power up. I had to realize, and I did realize—I'm going to guess that this happens to you too—that I had to streamline what I was doing. I couldn't commit to everything. I said no to request to be on a bunch of different podcasts. I said no to doing free coaching calls. I said no to attending certain events. I streamlined my day even more.

This was me committing and making the space to write. I created compartments of time. This is how my weekdays usually run. I have my morning compartment of time before I go work out. I go usually exercise for about an hour. I come back, I can get ready for the day. I have a morning compartment of time for coaching and/or behind-the-scenes work in my business. I've got an afternoon compartment for the same.

Then usually around four o'clock, four to six, I’ve got another compartment where I do something that's not necessarily business related. But if that has to be my emergency fund of time, I use it and then I've got my night compartment of time. I had to narrow down in order to commit to writing this book.

I had to streamline things. I had to get super duper organized. I moved from being interested in being a best-selling author to acting, doing, thinking, and feeling like a best-selling author. Same for my business. I had to move from being interested in creating a million-dollar business to acting, doing, thinking, and feeling like a million-dollar business owner.

I did do things that I did not want to do personally to make this work. I did do things in my business to make things work personally. There's a section in the book where I talk about freeing up energy for real commitments because extraordinary commitment fuels big results.

I became extraordinarily committed. It gave me energy. It saved me time and increased my action. Commitment is equal to decision and I committed to being extraordinarily committed. What are you extraordinarily committed to?

Then the next piece of this puzzle in my experiment was what I would like to call part two of the book. It's like part two in the book. In part two of the book, I talked about big plans. The first piece of the puzzle for big plans is getting yourself or creating a big picture. What's the real situation?

I had to get super great at separating fact from fiction. I had to separate what was actually happening and what were the stories in my head. I had to get great at identifying what was really important and what was not so important; what had to be done right now and what could wait. I had to understand what my real situation was. That's the big picture.

Then I had to have a big vision. I had to paint a new big picture. This is what this book did for me, it allowed me, it made the space, it was a container for me to create a vision of what I want my business to look like, how I want to help people, and who I want to be as a person.

My big vision is my painting on the wall of where I'm going. If you read this book, I'm going to bet you that you will understand how to create your big vision, how to paint your next big picture. If you buy the book for just one reason, that should be it, to get some guidance on how to create that big vision.

Then the last part of the big plan section is big action. Big action is when you are working in your zone of extraordinary achievement. I have a multi-page in-depth awesome reference in the toolkit, the book is coming with a toolkit. In the toolkit, I explain how to work in your Zone of Extraordinary Achievement, how to not work in the zone where you could be delegating, how to not work in things that are distracting to you or that wear you down.

You need to go into that toolkit once you get your copy of the book and download the Zone of Extraordinary Achievement and how to do it because that's where the big action happens. That, if you're working in that zone, is when you take charge of your life.

Part two of the book, which really mirrored my experience, was that I had to assess what's my real situation, what's fact from fiction, stop telling myself stories, assess what was urgent and important versus not urgent and not important. Then I had to paint my big new picture, create my vision for the future of me and my business, then I started to take some action and only work in my zone of extraordinary achievement.

By doing this, it brought me to what I labeled as part three of the book, The Big Result. Big result, I identify as having big freedom, a big future, big opportunities, and big work. Big freedom is freedom of time, freedom of money, freedom of relationships, freedom of brain power.

Now, when I'm in the process of writing the book, I actually was choosing, it was a choice on how I wanted to spend my time, my money, my brainpower, and who I wanted to communicate with and help me on this journey, but the way I see this is the result of writing this book—and I haven't experienced this just yet because it's not released—the result is that it's going to give me even more freedom. It's going to allow me to do more things and serve more people, have more time, money, brain power.

It forced my brain into thinking differently. The result of writing this book, the experience of writing this book, I am on the verge of even bigger freedom than I experienced while writing, which is like creating my big future.

Now in this chapter on big future, I mentioned that there are two kinds of stress. There's stuck stress and there's progress stress, and I've got several podcast episodes on that if you haven't listened, but I had to start to figure out how to enjoy the stress of writing the book. Otherwise, I was going to be in stuck stress.

I had to eliminate the thinking, which keeps you in stuck stress, the kind of thinking that's like when this happens, then everything will be amazing. No, that's not helpful thinking. It keeps you in stuck stress. When this book is done, I'll be the world's better. No, not true.

I had to access my genius brain. I had to solve some problems, like the back cover of the book. There's a photo of me on the back cover of the book. We had to rework that photo 20 times in order to get it to fit right. We had to position me differently. We had to move the text.

I'm accessing my genius brain right now as I prepare for this launch and figure out what the launch is going to look like and what do I want to do around it. I really had to access my genius brain in connecting with what I would consider some big-wig people on endorsements.

Big freedom allows you to then create a big future and forces you into what I call progress stress. I totally experienced stuck stress, but quickly moved to progress stress. I was living out my big thinking. Then hopefully, what's going to happen in my big results are big opportunities.

This book is going to create my next challenges. This is like the Expanding Spiral of Entrepreneurial Evolution. Each time you travel around the bend of the spiral, your knowledge, capabilities, and experience grow. The messy middle part of your growth is always the same size but it proportionately feels smaller and less overwhelming as you evolve.

The overwhelm I felt in the beginning was still there in the end, but just proportionally, it was a lot smaller because I had spiraled up. I had moved myself and my writing skills up. Check out if you've got the book already, if you're listening to this after the launch, that Expanding Spiral of Entrepreneurial Evolution, it is an awesome graphic. It explains visually how new opportunities appear, how those new opportunities create new challenges, and how, if you have big thinking, you're ready for them because success does not have to be a threat.

The last piece of what I experienced in writing this book is what I call The Big Work, the work worth doing. There's a podcast episode on that. I think the title is even The Work Worth Doing. This writing of this book has been such, such, such work. But it was so worth it. I saw myself grow. I saw my ideas expand. I learned what the publishing world is like, that's like a whole graduate degree right there.

I am confident in saying that even if I don't sell one copy, this was totally work worth doing. It has given me new insights and new platforms. The next two episodes from this podcast, when you get to listen to Episode 143, which is around why did I write this book, I'm going to go into more detail about why this book was the work worth doing.

Because whatever you're experiencing for the first time, whether it's writing a book, starting a podcast, opening a business, hiring a team, they're all new experiences along your entrepreneurial journey and I bet if you stop and you take that strategic pause, you will see why it's the work worth doing.

Okay, my friends, head over to, get on the list, get special access, get special pricing, get an invitation, a free invitation to a coaching session I'm doing in October, the She Thinks Big Insider Session with Author Andrea where we're going to take what's in the book and implement it. You want to be there for all of that. You want to at least know about it. So

If you're listening to this after the launch, I'm sure if you go to that website, there's going to be all sorts of amazing things. Thank you for listening today to my experience about writing a book. But what's your experience? What are you learning right now? The same three principles, big principles apply. You've got to have a shift in mindset, big mindset. You've got to have a plan, big plan. You've got some big results coming your way and you have to embrace them.

Alright, my friends, share this episode with someone who's experiencing the desire to do something different. Share it with them. Be Different, be a big thinker. We're creating more and more big thinkers in the world because what would the world be like if we had all those big thinkers? Okay, until next time, remember right now is the time to level up. You need to be there. See you soon.

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I'm Andrea Liebross.

I am the big thinking expert for high-achieving women entrepreneurs. I help these bold, ambitious women make the shift from thinking small and feeling overwhelmed in business and life to getting the clarity, confidence and freedom they crave. I believe that the secret sauce to thinking big and creating big results (that you’re worthy and capable of) has just two ingredients – solid systems and the right (big) mindset. I am the author of best seller She Thinks Big: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide to Moving Past the Messy Middle and Into the Extraordinary and host of the Time to Level Up podcast.