I Start With “Why Bother With a Book?”
It took a while to write this new book, but not the actual writing process. That’s kind of quick. Instead, I got a bit wrapped up in the content. Who cared? Was it worth it? Why bother? The book I was going to write would have sucked. And it took me a year to get my ideas into a much better shape.
Once I decide I’m going to bother, I write a table of contents.
My books are Driven From the TOC
Possibly also unlike other authors, I spend a lot of time writing my Table of Contents (TOC). I then write the book FROM that TOC. Meaning, I flesh out the skeleton in a very linear fashion.
Here’s an excerpt from the TOC of my upcoming book:
Chapter One: Are Business and Life Really a Game?
The World Right Now
More Busy, More Behind
One Thousand Targets, One Arrow
That Lie Called Work Life Balance
Two Missing Skills (Personal Leadership and Storytelling)
My Weird Obsession with Video Games
How to See Business and Life as a Game
The Three Questions
That Next Level (Later)
Repetition and Echo
I started with chapter titles, and then I filled in what I wanted to talk about to ensure that people got where I was headed and were able to do something with it. When you get a copy of this book, there will be pages of information in between those words. You’ll see a bold headline that says “The World Right Now,” and then a page or two of my ideas on that. Then, you’ll see a bold subheading that says “More Busy, More Behind” and a page or two of words. Make sense?
Every Author is Different
I am weird. I write what will end up being fairly close to the final draft the first time. EXCEPT I have a strange experience that happens almost every time I write a book (9 so far). Somewhere around 100 pages in, I’ll get an even better idea on how to organize the book, and I’ll scrap the 100 pages and start fresh. But what I turn in is usually very close to what I started with (after the 100 page reset). That alone is not like most writers, who love the editing process, and who write draft after draft.
My Writing Environment:Physical
I write anywhere. I write at my kitchen table, at my desk, in bed, at coffee shops, at many bookstores, at Jacq’s house. I have nothing that makes a specific writing environment, and that’s on purpose. If I had to have a very special setup, I’d have excuses why not to write.
My Writing Environment: The Tools
I write on four devices:
- My Macbook Pro
- My iMac
- My Galaxy Tab
- My Samsung Galaxy S6
The words go right into Google Docs. I’ve used a lot of other tools like Scrivener, etc. I don’t care for any of them. Word/Office 365 is good, too. What I look for in my writing environment is the ability to use ANYTHING to write. I can use any browser on anyone’s machine and still get to my pages. That’s what matters most to me.
People tend to obsess over the writing environment. Write on whatever you can use that will take away the most excuses. Write anywhere. Get the words down. That’s what matters.
My Writing Habits
Some people have a “best time of day to write.” Again, not me. I write when I can get some time. Sometimes, that’s in the morning. Other times, it’s throughout the day in between other tasks, five minutes at a pop. Again, you’ll get sick of me. No excuses. I write when I can.
I have a rule of writing at least 2500 words a day and up to 4000 words. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not, once you get used to it. This blog post will top off around 1000, for instance. That’s probably the most important of my writing habits. And lots of people tend to give themselves permission to write “junk” for those word counts. Not me. It had to be juicy. Good. Useful. It might not all get into the book (or post or whatever), but I never write “throwaway” material. (You can give yourself a break on this one).
Should YOU Write a Book?
Books are software. You use them to give someone else a new capability or perspective or idea. Write a book if you want to serve certain people and give them something useful and/or entertaining.
People also use books as a way to establish themselves as “thought leaders,” whatever that means. If that’s your goal, it sure is a lot of work to write a book just to assert to people that you’re smart or worth it or whatever.
I write books because I have ideas that I think would be useful that are bigger than blog posts or newsletter issues. I write books because I think I can give people ideas that will change their success rates with some part of their life.
Whether YOU should write a book is up to you. Never let someone tell you what to do and what not to do in this regard. Decide for yourself.
I’ll Keep You Updated
If you subscribe to this blog, you’ll probably like the new book. I’ll let you know when it comes available (aiming for summer 2017, but might be sooner, if I can turn the book in faster). In the mean time, maybe I’ll share a few excerpts with you here? Is that good?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like dropping me a line. Any time. It’s always me.