There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges. – Ernest Hemingway
Great leaders often have great things to say; and there is no shortage of advice in the world on how to go about saying it. There are loads of books, blogs, writers’ workshops and gurus out there to help you figure out how to write your story, but simply put – writers write.
Take Ernest Hemmingway. He wrote 500 words a day no matter what. It didn’t matter if he was hung over, beat up or fighting in a war; he always wrote 500 words a day.
I think there is a belief, or more accurately a myth, that if you go find a retreat or a quiet little cabin in the woods that somehow the heavens will open up and a book will pour out of your fingers. I have lots of writer friends and none of them wrote their books that way. I didn’t write my book that way. It is somewhat common to take a week or so to get away near the end of the process and make final edits, but that’s it. I would be willing to bet that there are more books written in Starbucks than there are at “writers’ retreats.”
Our friend Brad Lomenick, a bestselling author who was in Kalamazoo several weeks ago to speak at Catalyst University, was stuck in the airport for a few hours while heading home. What did he do? He spent that time going through his book and marking it up – despite the chaos and the inconvenience that comes with airports. Writers write.
Another misconception that prevents leaders from sharing their internal monologue with the world is the belief that you have to get an agent or have a deal with a publisher before you start writing. Today, that is quite rare unless you are very well-known or have very connected friends. Instead, most books are written in advance of having an agent or a publisher. If you have a story to tell, just tell it. Get it down on paper. Find a way to do it. If you aren’t a great writer, but you still have something to say, find a good writer to help you.
I have a friend who recently felt he had an important story to tell about his life, his faith journey and his mission. He wasn’t comfortable sitting down at a keyboard, so he dictated the whole thing into a recorder and found a transcription service online to get it all “on paper.” Six days later, he had a rough manuscript to begin editing. Three weeks later, he had a complete book – all because he was simply ready to tell his story.
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Not ready to write a book? Write a blog. Publish a column in a trade magazine or newspaper. Email your friends and family your thoughts. Just don’t let circumstances or fear stand in your way if you have something to say. Writers simply have to write.
Question: Do you feel compelled to write something to share with the world? Why not just do it?