Ten Things I’ve Learned About Writing a Book

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, I’ll be releasing my first book, On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.  It’s an exciting time for me as I pursue this goal and dream.  I’m certainly not an expert on the whole process of writing a book, but I’ve learned some things along the way.  Here’s a glimpse into what I’ve learned so far.

Ten Things I’ve Learned About Writing a Book

  1. Writing a book is possible.  I never thought about writing a book.  After all, I’m an engineer.  After I started blogging, people started asking me, “When are you going to write a book?”  I never thought it was possible for me.  Crazy how things change.  Now, I’m getting ready to release my first book project, and I have another one in the works.  If it’s possible for me, it’s possible for you too!
  2. Writing a book is scary.  Once I started thinking about writing a book, fear began to grip me.  Do I really have what it takes to write a book?  Will anyone really read a book I write?  I guess the second question still has me wondering a bit.  I also fear what people might say about my book.  A little fear may be healthy, but I’m learning to have courage as I move forward with my first book project.
  3. Writing a book takes time.  I started working on a book about short-term missions.  I created an outline, and I sent it out to a few trusted friends for feedback.  I received some great feedback, but I realized along the way that I needed to try something a little smaller before I ventured into this topic.  I shifted gears to my current book project, On Track.  It has taken time to pull everything together, to come up with new material, to proofread it, to re-write it, to re-write it again, and to get it ready for publishing.  A book doesn’t just happen.  It takes time to write a book.
  4. Writing a book takes a community.  I have been so blessed to have friends and contacts who have helped me with things like cover design, editing, proofreading, and endorsements.  Now, I’m developing a launch team to help with releasing the book to the public in the next few weeks.  A successful book release definitely requires a community.
  5. Writing a book requires a thick skin.  I’m learning how important it is to get honest feedback.  There have been a few people who have challenged me with feedback on this project.  Their feedback has required me to consider changing things like the cover or like my approach to my topic.  The feedback has also forced me to reconsider things like my release date and my release strategy.  As a first time author, I’m especially appreciative of the feedback – even the feedback which was hard to hear.
  6. Writing a book is fun.  So far, I’ve had a blast with this first book project.  The process has tapped into the creative side of my brain.  I’m excited to see what happens in the coming weeks as my book goes public.
  7. Writing a book is a learning experience.  I am learning new things every day about writing and publishing a book.  I’ve learned about sizing for cover art.  I’ve learned about the importance of editing.  I’ve learned about formatting.  I’m learning about ISBN.  The list goes on.  When I get through this experience, it feels like I could write another book just about the experience of writing a book.  I’m looking forward to using what I’m learning on my next book project.
  8. Writing a book is addictive.  Despite all the time and hard work, I’m excited to keep going.  For me, there is something therapeutic about writing, and another book project seems like a natural next step.
  9. Writing a book provides new opportunities.  When people hear that I’m writing a book, they have a lot of questions.  My book project has provided many new opportunities for conversation.  I get to share with people about my book.  I share what it’s about.  I share why I wrote it.  As the book approaches the release date in April, I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities.  This is exciting!
  10. Writing a book is not what it’s all about.  From the list above, you would think that this is all I do and all I think about.  While the book writing process has consumed a lot of my time and thoughts, it’s not the only thing.  I’m learning that it’s important to keep the whole process in perspective.  Life is still happening around me, and I need to participate.  Writing at times can suck you in.  It will consume you if you let it.  While there is definitely a need for concentrated efforts when you are writing a book, it is also important to stay in touch with the rest of your life while you write.  I have a wife and two kids.  I don’t want to miss out on them and their activities.  If you plan to write a book, you have to find your balance.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?  What’s holding you back from writing your book?

Or have you ever written a book?  What have you learned about writing a book? 

On Track will be sold on Amazon.com, and there will be a special discount available for subscribers to the Stretched Newsletter.  Check out this post to find out how to sign up.