How to Write a Book: Actually, How to Write Four Books, Maybe More

So much for focus: as I'm working through my zero drafts, it's become clear that I have at least four books in process. This wasn't my intent at all, but when I'm called to write something, I write it. And when I've examined my recent writing after the fact, I clearly see four different projects.

The first project is the book I'm working on with Jerry about his training techniques, in which my role is to share my experiences with those techniques. Going into the zero-drafting process for the project, it seemed that it would be simple to keep my focus narrow. However, I've practiced Jerry's techniques for long enough now and seen such substantial changes in my life as a result that it's challenging to not write about it all from my current perspective, now three-and-a-half years into the process. I still recall the exciting unfolding-into-the-unknown that were my initial experiences, but they're far enough away now that they're not easy to tap into.

I say it's challenging, but I also see that there's no need to fight too hard against that challenge. The deeper-into-the-process writing--the kind of stuff about meeting potential that we explored on Training Tiger Woods--points to an obvious follow-up to the first book. This material is far too valuable to throw away, but including too much of it in the first book only muddies the waters.

The third book is a little too personal to speak of publicly right now, other than acknowledging it for the sake of this piece. (Ooooh, intriguing!)

The fourth book has the working title of How to Write a Book, and I'm working on it right now as I write this, as well as every future time that I write about the process of writing these books. My operating assumption here is that I'm learning enough through this process that I am immediately discovering things of sufficient value that I can teach others. Writing about it as I learn can only amplify the teaching potential. Declaring that there's a book in this material adds in the power of intentionality. (That said declaration may also interest people and draw attention to the writing is a side benefit not to be ignored.)

As I progress with the work, it'll be interesting to see if the zero drafts ultimately come into a sharper focus without much energy from me, if I need to discipline myself into creating that focus, or if I can simply continue to allow the zero drafts to progress as they progress. The process of discovery has me fascinated, if perhaps feeling a bit trepidatious. I vow to keep on plugging, regardless.

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