It's unfortunate that, historically, my life goals seem to overlap with delusions commonly held by small children and the clinically insane.
I want to work in television!
I want to be a writer!
I want to start a Dixie Chicks cover band!*
*my current dream
It would be far less laughable if my plans involved training to become a pharmaceutical sales rep (what is that though?) or perhaps a CPA (someone who works with money maybe? I don't know). If that were the case, I likely wouldn't be so frequently consumed with Imposter Syndrome, and I'd probably be able to afford clothes from the non-sales section at Anthropologie.
And yet, what can I say? At every turn in life, when it comes time to make plans and set goals, I've regularly chosen childish larks and fool's errands over practicality. C'est la vie.
Fortunately, for the most part, this has seemed to work out for me. However, if I'm being honest, I'll confess that there's one goofy dream I've been delaying for quite some time now: writing a book.
I know what you're thinking. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to write a book? Every lunatic with a pen has, at one time or another, drunkenly stood on a table and proclaimed, "AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WILL WRITE THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL!" What makes me any different?
Or perhaps you hear this particular ambition, and you think -- wait, that doesn't sound so crazy. You're a self-proclaimed writer, after all. Don't a lot of writers write books?
And yeah, I hear what you're saying there, but, I don't know, there's something about the act of admitting my lifelong dream to create a real-life book -- one that strangers could potentially hold in their hands, one with pages people can turn with tongue-moistened fingertips -- that just feels...risky.
But you know what? It's a risk that, at this point, I'm willing to take.
Folks, I'm writing a BOOK!
There, I said it. It's out there. Do with it what you will.
In fact, I've been "writing a book" for a while now. By that, I mean that I've had it in my mind for quite some time to release a coherent document of stories and bits of wisdom. I've told a couple of friends and family members about it, and over the years, I've been collecting select pieces of writing in this folder on my Macbook:
If I'm being honest, though, in my first attempt at writing a book there was never really a sense of urgency about the whole project. Other things seemed to always take priority such as blogging, writing for other publications, launching this new website, teaching an e-course, and binging every episode of Jessica Jones in a timely fashion.
But now that all of that stuff is out of the way, I'm positively itching to write this thing. It's like I'm bursting at the seams with creative energy, and I can't possibly hold my ideas in any longer.
Actually, just kidding, I want to avoid writing this book so hard it's not even funny.
As I've lamented many times throughout my writing career, writing is the worst. Like, why do I even do it? Why do any of us do it? It's such an odious task, preferable to almost nothing. For example, whenever I sit down to write, I often think things like: maybe I should do the dishes instead. Or get a flu shot. Or peel my eyeballs straight out my skull. That's how resistant I am to the creative process.
The irony, of course, is that somewhere in between dragging myself to my computer to write and actually creating a finished product, I experience a satisfaction and joy unlike anything else. Go figure.
So that said, it's time. It's time to write this damn book. And to make sure I really do it, I'm wrangling you into the process. That's right, my writing buddy, you're going to help me stay honest! Along the way, I'm going to keep you updated on how things are going by sharing all about my writing process -- the good, the bad, and the I-fell-asleep-on-my-keyboard-and-now-my-cheek-says-QWERTY.
On my blog, my email list, and on social media, I'll be giving you the unfiltered skinny on what it's really like to write a book. Hopefully, it will be a win-win situation in which you get to learn a thing or two about creative productivity and I get to have a collection of humans hold me to my promises.
But more than that, I'm excited to share this vulnerable process of writing a book because it's just not a thing we see that often. Usually, we see the launch -- a piece of writing in its final form with a glossy cover and a whole PR team ready to promote it. While this likely makes great business sense, it also gives the illusion that books are things conjured essentially out of magic.
How often, though, do we get to see a book in its most primitive form, when it's no more than an idea? When that idea isn't even an idea, but rather a nugget? And that nugget is so tender, so malleable, so weak and unsure of itself that it becomes something entirely different at the drop of a hat?
That's where I'm at right now. I've got nothing but nuggets. And I'm just excited to share them with you.
(Psstt...don't worry, though. I still plan to continue talking about creativity, confidence, and life lessons here. I just wanted you to know this would be going on at the same time.)
Now, all of this begs an important question: what's the book about?
I was sort of hoping you wouldn't ask. The short answer is: I don't know. Or, well, that's not really true. I have some vague ideas.
Things I know about the book
- It will be non-fiction (which means no unicorns. I apologize in advance).
- It will be in the style of a memoir (and tough tater tots to anyone who has a problem with that).
- It will be written for creatives. Or ladies. Or everyone. Or people who have always felt a little bit off. Or individuals who just need to be a little bit kinder to themselves. Or some combination of all of those.
- It will be written by me (pretty sure about this one).
Things I don't know about the book
The title (working title is "BUTT CITY, USA" but I have a feeling that will change)
How it will be released (self-published? Actually published? On a series of notecards that I hand out to people on the subway? No idea.)
How to submit it to get published (carrier pigeon maybe?)
How long it will be (shorter than the Bible, probs)
How long it will take me to write (hopefully before my grandchildren can drive)
Whether or not you will like it (I hope you will, but I don't know. Some people don't like shrimp or cilantro, so opinions are subjective, I guess.)
As you can see, I'm in the pre-pre-pre preparation stage of this process. That's how vulnerable I'm being with you. You're welcome.
That said, I'm spending a lot of time this week brainstorming (and don't worry, I'll be sharing the deets on that process with you later), and in addition to that, I'm also dedicating myself right now to digesting as much inspiration as I possibly can. Books, music, podcasts -- whatever might ignite unique ideas, I'm getting after it. I'll be sharing the bulk of those discoveries in my weekly newsletter, so if you want to get in on that, make sure you're signed up.
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I've added a page to this site that I plan to update regularly which details EVERYTHING I'm working on. Hey, curious minds may want to know.
So that's my confession, folks: I'm writing a book, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't know what it's about or what it means for my future or if it's even that big of a deal. I just know I've wanted to do it my whole life, and it's time. I hope you'll join me as I give it the old college try.
What's a creative project you've been wanting to tackle?
Also, seriously, if anyone has any advice on how to write a book, I'm listening...