A few weeks back I got an email from a friend at church with a really good question:
“Just wondering if you ever get depressed when beginning a book or new project?”
She was wrestling through the process of writing a curriculum. Her question was timely for me; it forced me to articulate for myself the ups and downs of writing (or of working on any major project for that matter).
Here is part of my response:
“I love your question, and to be honest, I have had a lot of similar experiences. New ideas, books, projects, or whatever are a bit of a roller coaster for me. I get super excited and can see the finished product in my head… but the reality of the hard work can be daunting. Then, throw in the ‘What if it sucks?’ question and it gets even worse, because suddenly I’m not focused on the vision for the project, but on what other people might think. That’s a horrible spiral because there is always someone who won’t like what you do. That’s the nature of creating something and putting yourself out there. It’s always easier to criticize than it is to create.”
After many months of work and many years of study and life experience, I’m excited to release my second book Authority: The Leaders Call To Serve on Tuesday.
I’ve read and re-read the book a hundred times as I’ve gone around on that roller coaster. Finally, I’m ready to share it with the world. It’s not perfect, nor will it ever be, but I hope and trust it will nevertheless be helpful. When I’m writing and working on a big project there is a continual nagging voice that tells me to give up. It’s too much work… The content stinks… No one will read it… And on and on.
As I near completion, I’m thankful this ride is almost done… or is it?
The genius of Seth Godin
I’ve been a big fan of Seth Godin for a while now. I describe his writing as the proverbs of business. He can communicate things in 50 words that would take me a lifetime to think through and process. He boils it down to the few most poignant sentences, communicating business truths that I will think about all day.
Yesterday was one of those days, as he published a very timely article for me titled: The Roller Coaster of Shipping. This picture shows the ups and downs of the book writing and publishing process. I’ve ridden this roller coaster (illustrated below) the last few months, and thanks to Seth I now understand it better. I would highly recommend his post for anyone in the middle of a big project waiting to be shipped.
I love Seth’s last line, and the wisdom he has for finishing the roller coaster… which is really just the beginning. After describing each of the numbered points on the graph, he concludes his articulation of the journey with these words:
“9. Life. And this is the long haul, the book in the world, the hearing about a book you wrote ten years ago that’s still impacting people. The crepe paper grand opening bunting has been taken down and there is no one left to write a snarky review, because the book is on its own, touching, spreading and being.”
If you’re at the beginning, middle, or end of your ride, hang in there! The process may not always be pretty but the satisfaction of shipping is worth the effort.
Stay tuned for the official announcement and release of Authority on Tuesday. I’m hopeful its content will be a blessing to you.