5 Things I Learned from Writing My Book

5 Things I Learned from Writing My Book

That wonderful moment when your book is published and you hold it in your hands and you hope that other people read it and find it useful and are glad you wrote it because it helped them…

That very long sentence fragment should clue everyone in on how excited I am about my new book! Special shout out to Jim Webb and the terrific team over at Great Potential Press, who made the publication a reality.

Here are five things I learned from writing my book:

  1. A plan is essential.

A blinking cursor on a blank page will not help anyone’s writer’s block. I learned from Todd Kettler that a robust outline makes the first draft much more smooth. This is what’s called an understatement, folks.

Find an outlining plan that works for you. For some of us, it’s digital. For other, it may be sticky notes. I used neon colored index cards because I’m a paper lover who is slightly addicted to cool school supplies.

  1. Discipline trumps inspiration 99.5% of the time.

I created a spreadsheet with how many words per day I wanted to write in order to complete the first draft. While I wasn’t perfect, when I disciplined myself to write and actually did it, inspiration came. Inspiration rarely came when I let myself get out of the habit. Guilt would eventually lure me back (also: a deadline), but guilt is a sore substitute for disciplined habit. Disciplined habit is the food of inspiration.

Inspiration is, in fact, a habit. You can develop the habit of being inspired.

  1. You will find out who your friends are.

People say you find out who your friends are when something bad happens to you (and that’s so true), but you will also find out who your friends are when you see who celebrates with you when you achieve something on your “must do before dying” list. It’s not about buying the book: it’s about being genuinely happy that you achieved your goal.

I hope to celebrate with others as they achieve their goals, bookish or otherwise.

  1. I have trouble surrendering my vision.

Publishers control way more about the book than the author does. Who knew? I struggled (mightily) when I found out that having a publisher (even an experienced, solid, good one) was like an arranged marriage in some ways.

Cover design? Their choice. Price? Their choice? Layout? Font? Paper? Size? Where it’s sold? I think you know. There were some things I’m still desperately unhappy with, but I had to let it go(ish) and learn to trust that I’m not the expert. Okay, so maybe I never actually accepted that part. It would have been the same with any publisher. This is in no way a criticism of mine, but rather of myself.

It was ironic that I was writing a book on perfectionism, and I wanted it … perfect.

  1. If there’s a book in you, you should get it out.

I cannot begin to express the calm peace I feel with all of those ideas out in the world – my idea bread upon the waters. I have wanted to write that book for a really, really long time, and now that it’s here, it’s as wonderful and rewarding as I’d hoped it would be. Reading reviews like Lisa Conrad’s is indescribable. I know negative reviews will come, but I can live on these initial positive reviews for quite a while.

If you have toyed with the idea, do it. Write. I’ll cheer for you when you do.

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