You Really Don't Want To Start Writing A Book
If you don't want to find out who you are ...
POSTED BY DEBRA STEVENS ON 25/06/2020 @ 8:00AM
Many of you will know (probably because I haven't stopped going on about it for months and months) that I have been writing a book, and its finally gone to print ready to come out next year ...
You really don't want to start writing a book if you don't want to find out who you are!
copyright: nexusplexus / 123rf
The book is called Being Human (rediscover the skills that will make you future proof), but this blog post isn’t about the book, as there is plenty of time for that later. This blog post is about the journey, the ups and the downs, and the things I learnt along the way.
This bit on its own took over a year, and it taught me that if you have an idea you feel really passionately about don’t give up ..., but if you have any doubts whatsoever forget it. This part tested my endurance more than training for and running two ½ marathons, but I now know how bloody-minded and determined I can be. The feeling I got when I got the email saying "approved!" was one of the best I have had, right up there with, "It’s a boy!", "It’s a girl!" or even, "It’s a puppy!"
The year writing the pitch was hard and sometimes soul-destroying, but the great thing was that I had ironed out a lot of the wrinkles before I even started writing; proof that working on an idea long enough really does make it better.
I loved the first part of this; going out buying the stationery, journal, post-its, cards, pens and everything else I needed to create my masterpiece. I had the perfect 7-month plan to write a certain amount of chapters per month, so many 1000’s of words per day ... of course it would be easy!
What I forgot was that I have a really busy life already. I run my own business, I have a family, and I travel all over the world for my training work. On top of this, I sent my first three chapters to my editor for her initial thoughts and she had way more comments than I bargained for and I found myself basically rewriting them. The result? Five months in and I still had seven chapters to write! The lesson here is that its good to plan, but be prepared for road bumps and speed restrictions along the way.
My English teacher once said to me, "Debra, whatever you do don’t do anything where you have to write for a living. Make sure it involves speaking instead because your writing is terrible (I’m dyslexic) and you never shut up!" He was right, I ended up training and speaking for a living, but you know what? I really loved writing this book. I enjoyed the research and sharing the ideas and exercises I have collected over the years.
The best bit was when I had an aha moment and created something new and really exciting. I know my epiphany will genuinely help you to be a better human, because I have been using it myself and it really works for me.
The feedback and the rewrites!
When you're commissioned, nobody tells you that you will have to write your book at least three times! If you know me, you will also know I am a sensitive soul and struggle with critical feedback. Well, I have had more critical feedback over this book than I have had in 21 years of being a soft skills trainer.
For the first time in my life, I am finally sold on its benefits. I cried angst-ridden tears, gnashed my teeth, blamed everyone, but myself and lost sleep over the feedback I got from different parties. But the book is 100 times better because of it!
I learnt to reflect, ask questions and be brave, which was the biggest and best lesson of all. I can take what I learned, I can pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again if I have to. I am proud of my new-found resilience.
The manuscript has now gone into production, and how do I feel? Relieved yes, but also a little bit sad and bereft. What am I going to do with my weekends now?
It’s a bit like when you have a baby, and after 30 hours of intensive and painful labour, you say you will never do it again, and then, three months later, you've forgotten all the pain, you've dropped most of the baby weight, and you're planning for another one.
Writing a book was a fantastic experience and unlike running ½ marathons, I think I might be hooked and can't wait to get started on the next one. So, to my long-suffering husband Pete ... I'm sorry ... Diva Deb is not finished yet!
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If you'd like to find out more about writing a book, do give me a call on 01908 511 062, leave a comment below, or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.
About Debra Stevens ...
I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.
I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.
I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.
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