posts a blog have a prologue? (Note: I was originally writing this for the start of a post… it turned into a post of its own!)
Seven weeks ago I announced that I was writing a book. At the time I thought I was going to write something like Flow to Your Dream: A manual for living. I figured I’d share some philosophical insight or “life hack” each week connected to the philosophy. The posts gradually transformed into being focused on a different, but connected, book I have in mind. Flowing to My Dream: One man’s journey to effortless living. (I’m not sure how I feel about that subtitle but… we’ll flow with it for now. 😉 )
A few things happened in the past couple weeks which made me shift directions. The first thing that happened is someone recommended I write a manifesto for Flow to Your Dream and that has been… quite the process! Words keep coming out of me. I want to make it short but I also want to get everything out so it’s going to take me longer than expected.
The second was committing to writing at least 500 words a day. I haven’t missed a day in over 2 weeks and there have been many days where I’ve broken 1,000 words. Some days I write the manifesto, some days I get some specific philosophy or “life hack” out of my system, and some days it’s pure journaling. The last week it’s been becoming more and more “pure journaling”.
The final thing was running into “Scribe Writing Book School”. It’s a free course Tucker Max put together in response to people being stuck in the house due to COVID-19. While clicking through videos, articles, and blog posts related to the course I ran into the idea of writing as therapy and how… you shouldn’t write a book (that you want other people to read) that’s mainly therapeutic. I don’t think this is the post I read, but it’s close enough “How Much of Your Story Should Be in Your Book?”. I’ll quote some important sections.
This is going to sound harsh, but it’s the most important thing you’ll learn from this book (and I will repeat this many times):
Your readers don’t care about you, your story, or your book.
They’re not buying or reading your book for you. They are buying it and reading it to get something they want. So yes, this means that your readers only care about what your book will get them. They view your book and you and your story in terms of that lens only.
[The point about therapy is a little further down]
Your book should never be a place for you to dump your emotions on the reader. If writing the book is therapy for you, that’s okay. But you should not ask the reader to be your therapist.
These three events made me realize that I’d rather focus on “writing as therapy” for now. I mean… I absolutely want to write a book that people will want to read and will get a lot of value from but I also think a lot of the writing I do on my way there will cross the line into “too much story”. That should be OK for blog posts, but as I organize the writing I publish on the blog and the writing that stays hidden in Google Docs I’ll want to edit it into something that is entertaining and delivers a lot of value. It’s going to take me awhile to figure out who the audience for my book is and what I’m trying to achieve by writing it.
Even just reflecting on all of this right now has led me to a different subtitle…
Flowing to My Dream: How I kicked bipolar’s ass and learned to surf the waves of mania
Has a nice ring to it… lol
Moving forward what you’ll get is a selected piece of writing from two weeks ago which I refined over the previous week. I actually had a piece of writing selected that I was going to try to edit today but I ended up writing this prologue instead. Now I’ll spend this next week editing it, while still getting in my 500 words a day. Then next week I’ll post it and have another selection that will go through the editing process.
I’m excited about seeing what next week’s post turns into!