Some people fear public speaking more than death. I guess that makes me the outlier.
I’m a high school Spanish teacher by day. On the weekends and during the summer, I speak at conferences and events. I work with teachers to challenge how they think about education and to encourage them to incorporate technology in their classrooms.
I love seeing teachers get excited about new practices that they can use with their students. It means the ideas from my sessions are spreading farther than I could take them myself. The reach of my conference sessions is limited, though. I wanted to spread the ideas that motivate me to as many teachers as possible. So, I sought advice from a fellow teacher and presenter. His suggestion: write a book.
I recently accomplished a life-long dream: I wrote and published a book. I have always heard that writing a book is more about who you become while writing the book than the book itself. I now believe that is true. I had started this book before—many times. This time, from start date through planning, outlining, and writing was just a few weeks. What made the difference this time—what did I have to do and believe to get this book out of my head and onto the page?
I’ve always wanted to be writer. In fact, for as long as I can remember, I’ve written.
I wrote in a diary when I was seven. I wrote papers and stories in junior high and high school. I majored in English literature in college. I got a job in marketing where I was able to do some copywriting.
And, because I wasn’t great at being in the corporate world and needed to moan about it, I took to writing in a diary again though, as an adult, it’s called journaling and the writing this time was much less peppy than when I was writing as a second grader.
If you had asked me when I was 21 and fresh out of college what my dream job was, I would have said writing articles for magazines. I didn’t pursue that, though. I think I was intimidated by what I thought of as a glamorous job reserved for up and comers in Manhattan. I was living in the grunge era of Seattle and perhaps I just didn’t feel I fit the part. So, I did other work.
I have been a book author, speaker and a trainer for twenty-seven years. I have written sixteen books—most of them on motivation and leadership. On May 4, almost three years ago, something happened that changed my life. My wife of thirty-two years died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. On Friday night I was married and on Saturday morning I was a widower. Needless to say it was the most tragic and shocking moment of my life.
Not since the invention of movable type has the publishing industry experienced a revolution as dramatic as the one brought about by modern technology and the internet.
When my first book came out at the tail end of the 20th century, it was through a traditional publisher, with a contract secured by a traditional literary agent. Promotion was done through traditional media outlets. Fast forward to current times where tradition has been turned completely on its head. If you are just starting out on the road to publication, here are a few tips to help you navigate the changing landscape.
How does an ant move a mountain?
When I read Dan Miller’s workbook, Write to the Bank, I thought he was grossly exaggerating when he said writing was 5% of the job. The first draft of my first book was almost finished. It had been no quick feat. Surely the bulk of the work would be done when it was complete.
While Dan was emphasizing the importance of promotion, I discovered writing and publishing a book involve many steps. For me, that included a lot of learning.
Learning by Doing
If you’re anything like me, writing about ideas comes easily, but coming up with topics or angles can be difficult. It always seems to start out well, but after several days, weeks, or even months after launching out into the world of writing regularly, coming up with new topics can become mentally draining.
I struggled with constantly coming up with blogging topics for several years. Far too often, the early mornings of my scheduled post day would find me pecking away at my keyboard, writing whatever was on my mind, primarily because I had no idea what to write about, what angle to take, or what problem to solve. I procrastinated on writing, and the blog suffered as a result. It was this way for me in 2011, 2012, and in 2013 I stopped writing the blog altogether—at least for that year.
At the beginning of 2014, I set an audacious goal to write two posts per week.
Sometimes you write because you’ve been changed, and sometimes you’re changed in the process of writing. In this guest post, Jenny Hester shares how crafting a book opened her life in unexpected ways.
I never thought I would write a book. I’m still having trouble saying, “I am an author.” I started blogging more than a year ago as a way to share my new found love of discovering what it takes to be one’s best self. Not long after that, I decided to write my book… what a journey of self-discovery!
I used to have walls built up and you only got to see what I wanted you to see. You only saw what was on the outside, as I typically shared no emotional depth. I look back over this time in my life and I relate it to a tightly wound rose bud. My friend, I was very tightly wound.
Thanks to Tim Bishop, for sharing his thoughts on writing from the road in this guest post. Tim and his wife, Debbie, will be touring through mid-September, writing as they go. Read on to learn about how and why they write.
When writing creeps into your bloodstream, it becomes an innate expression of your life experiences, whether or not it covers your bills. You write because you love it…and because you must. When those inflicted with this “bug” embark on one of life’s adventures, they have no choice but to write about it.