At a conference in 2013, I was challenged to write a book about a subject that I was passionate about. I, like most people, responded with an enthusiastic reply of ‘Yes, I might’, but never did. A year later while looking through my 2013 journey from that conference, a note fell out between the pages that simply read ‘Write The Book’.
What the heck, I’ll give it a try.
So, I pulled out the fresh pack of colored Sticky-notes and began posting ideas, possible titles and some content. That remained on my wall for about 3 months. The only thing that was happening to the notes was that the paper was beginning to curl. I occasionally would look at the wall, nod positively, then switch to some other project needing my attention.
It wasn’t until I talked with a writer friend of mine that he convinced me to really get writing. He gave me some great advice that it doesn’t have to be great, not even good, just write. Get ideas down on paper as fast as you can. You can always organize and edit later. Then he added the best advice that really put the fire to my pen. Pick an idea you know, make the claim that it is the best option, then prove it by researching other options and explain why they are not better than yours.
So I did just that, began writing one of three books that I always wanted to write. I scratch notes in my journal, typed out others on the computer and even recorded others with a voice recorder. I was in the groove and typing like a mad man. I transferred everything to a single document. When I finished and was shocked to count only 12 pages. What, only 12 pages? I never have a book I thought. I need more. No one would ever buy a school paper.
I went back to my friend and asked him how to add filler to make it bigger. He smiled and took a look at what I wrote. And as most editors, out came the red pen and he began circling, writing and adding little marks everywhere. My stomach churned as it looked like more red than the black text.
After about an hour, he put down my ‘article’ face down. Then, took a drink and gave me the big shot of advice and here it is…
“Write what you like, what you know and what you care about. It doesn’t matter how long it is as long as you learn as you write.” He took another drink and continued. “Writing for me is about learning what I don’t know about what I am writing about. So, now its time to learn more and write more.”
I looked at his edits and was very upset. It looked like a paper you would find at a murder scene clutched in the hands of the victim. But there was a final note that gave me more determination to continue. So let me show you and see if it doesn’t help you as well.
The idea is this; the best way to learn is to write a book. By writing, you need to research more than what you are writing about. You need to research facts about supporting information around your claim about your book. You will be amazed of how much content you will create trying to support your idea. So much that you will shock yourself of how much will need to edited out to keep on track and your idea concise.
And in the end, you learn a great deal that you ever realized you would. It doesn’t matter if you ever publish or even if someone else reads you book, because you forced yourself to learn and that my friend is what it’s really about. And if others agree and want to learn, they may just want to read you book too.
Reality, I’m not a great writer, but the experience was an incredible journey in self-education. Now off to write my second book before 2015 ends.
My advice my friend; want to Keep Learning, Write A Book!