What I Learned From Writing 40,000 Words in 14 Days
This past July, I took on what was probably the most challenging and time-consuming experience of writing my first complete book. Lead or Be Lunch: The Power of Earning Influence was my way of getting out the tools of the trade that I have picked up in my time as a leader and trainer of people. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge and experience and felt compelled to share this with others, and it was time to put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and I felt that this would be a fairly simple process. I had a deadline approaching, and was certain that I would hit it.
I have never written a book before. Sure, I’ve created articles and written various keynotes and speeches that I have given at various conventions. I hold weekly sales meetings that requires creating content to share with my team. But, writing an entire, one-hundred-plus-page book was new to me. I needed to figure out a title for the book, a title for each chapter, the number of chapters, the pages per chapter, and just how I wanted to come across to readers. Should I speak in an articulate and professional manner? Should I just speak casually and not worry about grammar or slang too much? I like to read, and read various sales and leadership books. How did I want to come across on these one hundred pages to a complete stranger who may read this book?
These were things that I had not really thought about. Believe it or not, I was not really into English class in high school. I wasn’t the type who liked school. I don’t hold a degree, and am not too keen on every single punctuation rule out there. (I may have some grammatical issues in this piece.) But I knew that I wanted to write a book, and have it published.
In the end, I decided that I wanted to base this book entirely around leadership. Leadership on a large and small scale. I wanted to sound genuine, to come across on paper in the same manner that I come across when I have a conversation with someone. I wanted people to know that I was a man of God, an ordinary, everyday guy, who was not expected to make it but somehow did. I wanted people to hear that in my tone, in my diction, in the quotes and references that I used, and in the title of each and every chapter. I kept this in the forefront of my mind as I wrote. Which brings me to another thing that I learned in these two weeks.
Writing is hard.
It is extremely difficult to process what you want to say and type it out in a manner that your reader will identify with and easily understand. I tend to be a bit long-winded at times, and being concise can be an issue. I actively had to study famous authors who were known for excelling at this, and form my own style.
Writing about my story also required me to do a lot of soul-searching. I sat and thought about my past, about how I started my own company in my bedroom twenty years ago. I reminisced on where I have been, on the places I have been, and the people I have met, and then I begin to think about where I am going.
You see, I set out to write a book in the hopes that it would help someone, but as I went on, I realized that writing a book helped me as well. It forced me to study on topics that I did not fully understand when referencing outside sources. It taught me how to break writer’s block by getting up and going on a walk, or by listening to music. It taught me to be a stronger writer and to read even more than I already did. Writing is tough work, it is mentally exhausting at times, and it is a lot of fun.
It was a nice break from the sales world when I took the time to sit down and start typing. It was extremely busy during those two weeks, and I was booking (no pun intended) as fast as possible, racing to meet the deadline. But I finished it, and so far, I have received great reviews on it. I thoroughly enjoyed working on the project, and look forward to future books in the years to come!
I encourage and challenge you to write. Write anything, anything that comes to your mind and heart, put it down somewhere. Write about a topic that is important to you, you may be surprised at what you learn along the way. I set out with a specific destination to reach, and learned that the journey was the best part.