Judging a Writer by his Book

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Seems like everyone I know is thinking about writing a book (even I’m working on a project right now).

Maybe it is the age of my peers.  They’ve spent lifetimes learning and are itching to share their hard won experiences with others.  It’s part altruism and part self-congratulatory chest puffing.  But these are impressive people so something good might come of it.

Or perhaps the democratization of writing through social media is encouraging people to think bigger.  With a few blog posts under their belts and a modest following on Twitter, they have the confidence to tackle something more substantial.  Wouldn’t it be great if what they created was based on research so that it would really add to the world’s body of knowledge?

Then there are the self-promoters who want to raise their profile and grow their business.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  A book can be a means of demonstrating credentials.  Being an author is like being a professor – you now carry the aura of an expert.

Whatever their motivation, I tip my hat to anyone who has the gumption to write a book.  The effort scares the heck out of me – do you know how many words you need to come up with?  Tens of thousands!  Imagine that the next time you struggle with a 140-character tweet or 500-word blog post.

More terrifying still is that once published, these words become a permanent measure of your intelligence, erudition and humour – for better or worse.  So, best be clear on why you want to write a book, honest about your talent and convinced that you have the determination to see it through.

But don’t dismay if you can’t seem to get started on the book you’ve always meant to write. You are already an author of sorts.  Your experience, values and opinions are passed on to others every day in the way that you live.  So why not start thinking about your actions at home and at work as writing a book for others to read?

Each day is another chapter in the book of your life – and that’s the most important story of all.