Unleash Your Creative Depths: Write a Business Book Part II: The Question Is “How?”
Updated: Jul 23
In case you missed Part I of this two-part blog, my first book Humanity at Work is to be published on September 8. In Part I, I shared some compelling reasons as to why you may want to take the plunge and write a business book. I cited the importance of getting clear on the “why,” which in my case is about telling stories of real-life and composite characters that act as Sherpas who take the reader on a journey of leadership self-exploration. I believe that learning happens in relation to growing self-awareness.
I then began underscoring the “how”: when my publisher connected me to an experienced book editor, the project catapulted forward, aided by a skilled technical reviewer. Much dialogue ensued to get the ideas from my brain to the flip chart and then onto the page.
Before carrying on with a few more ideas about why and how you might someday choose to tackle writing a business book (or to simply give you a peek behind the curtain), here are a few more thoughts you might find of interest.
First, the learning you’ll sign up for as an author is life altering. That alone is a compelling reason to write a book — full stop! From the academic research and the sizeable (and delicious) reading of the modern-day canon related to your topic, to the many interviews you will conduct with fascinating people, the process is grounded in learning. Second, unless you write and publish as part of your day job, this process requires the learning of a new vocation, that of author and detective to figure out the publishing industry. Admittedly, when well guided and thoughtfully advised by experienced publishing industry veterans and brilliant marketers like the folks at Brainworks Marketing, the layered, nuanced, and intriguing landscape becomes sharper in focus in due course. So, learning abounds, and that in itself is humbling and motivating. The author experience can prove deeply beneficial to you and others.
Thinking about whom the work benefits — in my case current or soon-to-be team leaders at all levels, regardless of their prior knowledge, in all kinds of organizations, large and small — inspired the writing. Showcasing and honoring the insights, hard work and dedication of my clients, associates, and others was a rush. It made the four-thirty wakeup call tolerable, knowing that each morning I’d get to reread instructive stories about people I knew and cared about that I had written the day before. I think the real reason writers love those early hours is you can trick your brain into viewing the work with a healthy detachment, because in the pre-dawn hour I had no idea who had written the stuff I was actually rereading, and then before I knew it new material was flowing onto the page. The process was assisted by gallons of green tea, encouragement from a furry four-legged assistant editor, and the reminder that the lessons learned in the book would serve people in their family, community, and work lives. The eighty thousand words flowed — actually overflowed. You can do the same.
So if you’re sitting on a book idea, write down the argument or point of view to get clear on the “why.” Note the science and expertise that validate the argument. Seek publishing and editorial expertise early, put your learner hat on, and think a lot about the reader. Why does the reader need your insights? What problem are you solving for the reader? How are you going to make the reader’s day easier? Allow me leave you with a few closing thoughts on the process and my rookie author journey.
These three bits came from a trio of writers, the first in a nondescript anonymous online post that said, “Love your topic; you’re going to married to it for years.” The second came courtesy of Zev Bagel, novelist and former president of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. When asked about his best tip for getting a book started, he said “Just write,” implying the maxim “Write every day, regardless.” And when I asked award-winning poet, (and full-time corporate communications wizard and mother of two small children) Jennifer Houle where one should write, she smiled and said, “ Anywhere and everywhere,” and told me about the lengths she has gone to in order to find moments to get in front of her laptop. We can all relate.
Oh yes, I had promised you a lawn care connection to this author business. In those early morning hours, during my regular stretch breaks, green tea in hand, I declared war on the thousands of weeds that make up my small urban patch of a lawn. Never one to be fastidious about lawn care, I suddenly became a hunter of invasive greenery for ten minutes every hour, like I was looking for bad grammar, poor spelling, and misplaced modifiers. My lawn improved ever so slightly in my time as an author, and yours may as well — yet another reason to consider writing a business book.
In the next issue, I look forward to telling you about the some of the folks who made it into the final manuscript, and even a few who didn’t for lack of space but not for lack of their teaching some vital leadership lessons.
Have you pre-ordered Humanity at Work yet?
If not, get it today on Amazon!