For the past two weeks I was on vacation and off-the-grid, so to speak. I had an amazingly fun time camping followed by an incredible trip to the Dominican Republic. The back-to-back trips were exhausting, but I was fueled on adrenaline, a bit of Red Bull and the feeling of excitement. Needless to say, both trips including a lot of eating, drinking, sleeping, hanging out at the beach and having a great time laughing amongst friends and family. Then we’d rinse and repeat the cycle every day for the past 14 days.
On our very last day at Dominican Republic, I received an exciting update from my publisher. With my limited WiFi, I did my best to open the email and I’m glad I did. They sent me my first draft of my book cover and I was immediately amazed at how awesome it looks! I submitted my design concept just before I went away on my trip and their creative designers worked their magic to create this:
Ontop of that, the day after I got back from our vacation, I submitted my final edit for Living with the Dragon and the book is near completion! Here’s a teaser from a later chapter titled, Finding Purpose:
“In the rapid pace of our lives, it’s often easy to take these meaningful experiences for granted. In peaceful moments of solitude, I like to reflect on how fortunate and blessed I am in my life. I’m not a man filled with desire for monetary wealth and outer glory. I find the riches of learning about myself and my purpose in life much more fulfilling than material goods because I can now begin to see myself as having self-worth and being capable of love. I smile when I think about my purpose. It provides me with a target in life to work towards. How I get there is up to me and not driven by the shame of my youth filled with angst, fear, and anxiety.”
I must say that book writing has been an extremely fun and exciting experience. I want to share with you some of the questions I get about book writing and steps I took to get on my way.
What made me decide to write a book?
I’ve always enjoyed writing whether it’s creative writing stories when I was a kid or writing love letters as an adult in my relationships. It’s a form of expression for me and book-writing was simply an expanded version of all my creative thoughts transcribed onto paper. I also felt that my peers didn’t really “know” me despite all the years of friendship, thus my book would give them a good picture of who I really am and why I am who I am today! I find it exciting and motivating to be able to share my wisdom with them and readers who I’ve never even met before! Finally, I feel it’s my responsibility to share what I went through in my life with others who are also struggling with their personal challenges. Call it my raison d’être.
How do you even write a book? What if I’m not even a writer?
I was fortunate enough to piggy back off my ex-wife’s online writing program to teach me how to write a book. I’ve also attended book writing workshops (some are free) to get me started. The concept is a lot more structured than you might think. I’ll get into the details in later blogs, but essentially, think of book writing as a pyramid and you work your way down. You have a starting idea (which is the top) and the you create tiers with expanded headings and ideas which gets bigger and bigger as you go down.
Then, find a topic that you’re passionate about and brainstorm. Book writing isn’t an overnight process and there’s some days that may feel more daunting than others. The key is not to get discouraged and to remain focused on the objective. One of the hardest things is to get started. Once you have your initial draft, the ideas flow much easier than you think.
One of the key steps in writing a good book is working with someone who has experience with the process. For me, that meant working with a publisher (I chose Tellwell which is a self-publishing platform company). This takes research on your part and depending on your end-goals, you may also choose to self-publish. If I didn’t have the expertise of Tellwell (this is not a promotion for them, because there are many other self-publishing groups that will have very similar models), the process would have taken much longer and also cost a lot more.
Finally, let your creative juices flow! Writing can take a long time but when you feel inspired, you will want to write! And don’t worry about grammar, spelling and structure too much because that’s what a good editor is for!
What are some of the more enjoyable experiences in book-writing?
Think of it as building a house or baking a cake. Bit by bit, I can start to see the book take shape and that’s been the most exciting part (and sharing it with you!). Telling my friends and family as well has been exciting and also telling people that I’m an author! The other day, I went to a print store to make a hard-copy of my manuscript and the cashier asked, “what do you do?” I replied, “I’m an author…” and it was such a fun and exciting moment for me to see his reaction. Not many people can say they met an author before and the excitement also gets passed on to those I meet.
What’s been the least enjoyable experience?
Receiving my manuscript back from my editor with all the corrections I need to make. It’s their job to make corrections and I am very thankful for that otherwise my book would be one big grammatical mess! Reading her comments about my mistakes was difficult, yet I know that she is simply there to help me get the best finished product. My first review and edit was also quite time-consuming for me, but I saw it as an opportunity to get even more creative with some of the corrections and additional content I made.
Any advice on book-writing?
If you’ve always wanted to write a book, but feel intimidated to do it, just overcome that fear of the unknown and take the plunge. It’s really exciting. Your book will be your creation that you can be very proud of. Do something different from the norm and write a book and share it with the world!
If you have any more questions about book-writing, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org