What I learned from NOT writing my first book. Yet.

During the summer of 2014 I was convinced I was going to write a book. My first book. I had a topic, and I had ideas pouring out of my head. The passion to write a book was oozing out of me. I even made an announcement right here on my blog. “I’m Writing A Book” July 2014

I was gung-ho. I was all in. The ideas pouring out of my head were pure gold!

And then a few weeks passed. And a few more. And a few more.

I was still committed to writing the book. I even made it my “Push Goal” in January when I went through a program to help me determine and define my goals for 2015.

I took my notes from the previous six months and created an outline for the book. I divided the notes into the appropriate sections.

My trusty journal was with me every day so I could capture ideas and thoughts and quotes for the book.

But there was one problem.

The passion was gone.

Did I still want to write the book? You bet! This is something I’ve dreamed of for a couple of years. “I’m going to write a book!”

I tried. I really did. I sat down with my notes and laptop a few times. But I couldn’t move forward.

Without the passion for the topic, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move forward. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t continue.

So a few weeks ago I decided to stop. I told some friends. I told my wife. I told 2,200 friends in a closed Facebook group who I’ve been interacting with for almost two years.

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Do you know what happened? Everyone who commented, and everyone I spoke with, including my wife, congratulated me for being able to set it aside. They know how badly I want to write. They know writing and speaking is what I’m supposed to be doing. They also knew something I didn’t. They knew setting aside the book would help me write more. They knew setting aside the book would help me feel free to be the person I need to be.

You see, the book I’m NOT writing is about encouragement. I’m passionate about pouring into others. The pressure I put on myself to write the book stopped me from being the encourager I want to be.

I was trying to write a book about encouragement, but I wasn’t encouraging anyone. Including myself.

Since setting the book aside I’ve been able to return to the activities that originally spurred the idea of writing the book.

I’ve talked to more people on the phone. I’ve talked to more people face-to-face. I’ve been intentional about touching base with people in real life and online.

I’m happier. I’m not stressed every time I do something on my day off not related to writing the book.

And one other thing has happened. I’ve written notes for the book in my journal almost every day.

So while I’m no longer writing the book, I’m making progress on writing the book. I can’t wait for you to read it. Eventually.

Have you ever set aside a project and reaped incredible rewards? Did you eventually go back and complete the project?

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13 thoughts on “What I learned from NOT writing my first book. Yet.

  1. This is encouragement to me! Helps give me freedom to let go of a thing or two and maybe do a pivot.

  2. I kept saying I was going to start a podcast. I never started it.

    I focused on my blog and the stats have taken off.

    I enjoy writing more then starting a podcast right now.

  3. My first book that I published was years in the making. My second book I wrote in three days. Eventually something triggers you to take that leap and when you hit that you’ll move in lightning speed. Best thing we can do though when we’re not moving forward is to walk away for a while and allow our creativity to come back. Can’t wait to read that book too, eventually.

  4. I admire your strength to put it aside…and the wisdom you gained by reengaging in the activities that spurred the passion in the first place. Great post my friend!

  5. This is exactly where I am with my book. Every time I set a “release date,” I stop writing. Maybe I should put it on the back burner too.
    Thanks for always being an encourager. Looking forward to reading your book one day.

    • No release date. No announcing you’re writing a book. Just keep working on it and eventually we’ll both have books to share.

  6. Great advice Rick. I’ve been beating myself up for a very long time over the slow, often nonexistent progress of writing my book. Setting it aside for awhile sounds like a great idea.

    • It has been a big relief for me. Instead of dreading it, I’m now excited about it again. Knowing I don’t have a deadline is very freeing.