Becoming a Book Author: My Greatest Learnings So Far

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been in full stream writing my new book on Connectional Intelligence (Macmillan, Feb 2015). It’s been a whirlwind process, lots of work, research, mind share and it’s been one of great learning experiences of my life. 

My experience has made me think a lot about the writing process and what it's all about. Authoring a book is so much more than writing, it's about believing in yourself, generating new ideas, gathering insights, and trusting the process despite challenges that come. 

It’s also made me more aware to practice what I preach.

As I write this book, my big questions are: How do I connect intelligently to get this book into the world? How do I marshal what I know that much more quickly? How do I find and take on supporters? How do I influence the greatest number of people? How do I propel connectional intelligence beyond networking and entertainment and toward a loftier purpose – improving other people’s lives, building sustainable societies, creating the futures we want? In short, how do I get behind this newfound connectivity in ways that are targeted and un-serendipitous, and that get us all to the places we want to go?

Here are some of my greatest real-time learnings from these questions: 

1) Trust the process.

I have to stick with writing process to make it work – breakthroughs don’t happen in an instant, they happen out of years of hard work. 

2) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

There are always little things that get in the way, but they are usually just politics, mindless emails or the ego, focus on the work at hand that really matters. 

3) My schedule is never fully structured.

Sometimes disorganization is okay and the creative process takes shape over time. Since I normally crave structure, I am learning that being in less structure can both keep me more creative and drive me crazy.

4) It's lonely.

Working on new material for the first time is hard and lonely, having supporters is really important to keep me going and energized that there is a larger purpose. 

5) Accept full responsibility of decisions.

There is not someone to “fall back on” when you are authoring a book, it’s about showing up and delivering 100% all the time. 

6) Choose more and choose wisely.

There are plenty of ways to use my time and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by how much information and how many connections are coming at me. Instead I am focusing on what I care most about and what will have the greatest effectiveness for my work.

7) Accept spending more time sleeping on friends couches than in fancy hotels.

This work isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work, involves a lot of travel, international Skype calls at odd hours, early morning emails, and taking care of my health.

8) Believe in yourself despite rejection.

Nothing happens easily, it takes time to find supporters and collaborators for any new ideas. 

Those are just of my few learnings so far, I’m sure there will be many more. 
 

What are you learning about the challenges you face in your life? Any big decisions you are facing? How do you think about “connecting intelligently” to the big challenges that are currently present for you? Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy journey and one of the best learning experiences of my life. 

Wanna go from irregular blogger to tribe leader? 10 Easy Ways to Make it Happen

In my last two posts, I've talked about how to become a writing genius and how to get organized about your writing. Yet we all know writing is only as important as its contribution to others. How can your writing have positive impact on others? How do you convert your writing into a faithful following– and build a movement around what you want to share or teach?

As a writer myself, I believe that Facebook “Likes” and Twitter retweets don’t do much for the people I am most passionate about reaching. Digital natives who understand social media know that there are much more complex and diverse strategies out there that can help any writer convert their writing into their tribe.

Here are my 10 tips to convert your writing into your tribe.

1) Answer these questions for yourself:

  • What is your brand?
  • What are your messages?
  • What do you believe in?
  • Who is your audience and what do you stand for?

These answers are the backbone of your writing strategy. They shape who you spend time writing for, the topics you share, and where you share your writing.

2) Once you decided on your brand,

start a website.

Your website houses your content. It should answer the questions:

  • Who am I?
  • How you can join me?
  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I so important?

3) Use your channels to increase the

presence of your work.

Use search engine visibility and your presence on major platforms and networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) to share your work.

4) Use Twitter to connect with

like-minded individuals.

Follow the content of leaders who you align with. Make twitter lists of people whose writing you like and share their work. Retweet and share your writing with those you admire.

5) Make sure to use Google Analytics!

Keep track of what people are sharing and engaging with. Sometimes a hot headline can make a big difference.

6) Use video.

Hands down? Visual communication is golden—it’s a great way for people to understand who you really are and what you’re all about. Share a video on your website about who you are and what you’re writing about. Don't worry–I'm launching some Bollywood videos soon šŸ™‚ 

7) Create an email marketing

list.

Collect email addresses at every chance you get. Use sites like StreamSend, MyEmma, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact. My fav? Mailchimp! You'll find more about its wonders by signing up to my Generational Alchemy Library on the right hand side here. 

9) Add Google Alerts

Set up a Google Alert for hot topics you want to follow. And google alert your name! You’ll never know otherwise where it might show up.

10) Set up your own office hours

Office hours are a great way to set aside dedicated time to connect with others professionally.  Make intentional dates for on conversations with people about your writing and try ohours.com

A version of this post first appeared at Levo League.