About That Book You Were Going to WritePosted Feb 21, 2019
About That Book You Were Going to Write …
Last year, when I wrote Stay the Course, it was pleasant to hear several positive comments about my work. Unsurprisingly, I also had conversations with people who told me they had thought about writing a book.
Almost every conversation veered toward the “why did I bother?” Now that some time has passed, and my book is “circulating,” I wanted to share several reasons for writing it that might offer a broader view of my motivation and some clarity for your personal reflections if you decide to make a go of it.
Most of us have some thoughts about the nature of our work. I swim in the business pool and, surprise, I like the challenges inherent in this community. The book allowed me to think about the larger orbit (my industry) and the smaller orbit (my role in it). Stay the Course also allowed me to express my thoughts about business, and that’s a relief. Think of it when you’re angry or frustrated and you go to the gym or take a run. Feel better afterward, don’t you? Writing provides me with the same outlet, albeit of a more intellectual nature. And there’s a “secret” benefit that I’ll share: I don’t have to pay a therapist for feeling better because writing a book frees the spirit.
The Mirror of Self Examination
Writing a book provides a mirror to how you think about your profession. As the executive director of Thermostat Recycling Corp., I’m deeply immersed in the world of mercury containing thermostats. As a result, I’m also occupied in the world of energy, sustainability, environmental issues, government entities and legal considerations related to my business.
I’m also engaged in the day-to-day duties of running a nonprofit organization. The connection to Stay the Course? It allows me to objectively assess my approach, behavior, actions and thoughts about all these activities. And then it helps me to evaluate my written words and thoughts more objectively against what I do. Here’s proof. Write about what you do, let’s assume it’s a report or a project summary. Whatever your thoughts are on the subject, they will change when you put it on paper (or save it in a digital file). Further proof? Put the writing assignment aside and return to it in a day or two. I can almost promise that you will approach the changes with improved clarity. And probably better results on any actions you implement.
Building character and self-esteem. Writing a book is a huge positive pat on the back. It teaches you something about yourself, and it is still one of the best ways to share an idea or a story. Finishing a book — did I mention that you should finish what you start? — says a great deal about your character, commitment and follow through. It also provides a huge dose of self-esteem to see the finished product in hand, something that writing a blog or an article lacks (except for this blog, of course). You’ll also get criticism. Good. A friend of mine, who is also an author, said it best: “Writing a book proves that you have something substantive to say about your topic and that you’re not just a one idea pony.” He’s right. Another view is to quote John F. Kennedy about going to the moon, “not because it’s easy, but because it is hard.” It’ll toughen you up.
Forget the resume, here’s the book. My previously mentioned author friend is a consultant. He will not meet with a potential client until he sends them his book. He calls it the best business card he ever created. “Would-be clients would always ask, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ I hated sharing that repetitive answer. Only one potential client in 10 years has asked that question after receiving the book. The consultant’s book tells potential clients almost everything they want to know about me.” Let’s be honest, unless you own the business, everyone in theory is job hunting or open to future employment possibilities for that next great position. What could possibly separate you more dramatically from your job-hunting competitors than your thoughts, ideas and vision in a book? And if you do own the business, it will separate you from your competitors that are hunting for the same clients. A book reveals to a potential employer or client more about you than any resume. And you can take that to the bank.