Running a marathon. Writing a book. 2 things a lot of us aspire to. Put another way a lot us keep putting them off. Well I certainly did anyway. For years. Then for different reasons I got pushed into doing each of them. Fortunately for me that was years apart as they have quite a few things in common.
- A fantastic sense of achievement – afterwards
- A huge and sustained effort over months and months
- Lots of help from your friends
- A sense of foreboding – what if I am no good at this?
I was nearly in tears crossing the finish line in the Mall that Sunday morning in April – job done, medal coming, after all those winter weeks of running, running and more bloody running. Funny thing though, 13 years later and I am still running. When I saw the final printed copy of our book the emotion was just as extreme but different. Pride. We had done it, it looked really good and my name was on the cover. Oowerr whodathoughtit? And even now I can feel the temptation growing to go again. I must be certifiable. That’s what cracking a challenge does to you – turns you addictive. I might join a self-help group – AA – Authors Anonymous.
I am not going to tell anybody how to write a book. But I can share what we did. It started out as a marketing initiative – a way for my business partner and I to establish our credentials as ‘experts’ in HR. But we quickly decided we were not going to write a ‘Management Book’ or a ‘How to Guide’. It was going to be a mildly humorous recollection of some of our experiences over the years, in a format that hopefully informs employers, managers and business owners that they are not alone and Employment Law and HR Generally can be challenging for all of us. Just like people really. So that’s what we did. The next step was creating a framework and a ‘voice’. This also helped us decide what content to include. Then there was draft number 1 – which is really 2 drafts because with co-authors you do your bit then they do their bit. Followed by a redraft. Then you show it with fear and trepidation to some ‘friends’ – there then follows another rewrite. We then showed to a couple of fellow ‘professionals’ who did not destroy our hopes. So now we get serious and employ an editor. The first edit was basically to kick it into a shape readers could navigate. Followed by a rewrite. The second edit was more detailed and effectively line by line – does it make sense, is the spelling write. Followed by a rewrite. Editors are very objective – so I found the critique quite an emotional challenge. We then added cartoons. Followed by a rewrite to fit them in. Then our marvellous Roz put it into a publishing format for printing which led to, you guessed it, a rewrite. Then it went to the printer who sent us a proof. Getting real now ….and exciting. Then the day came. Boxes of the book, our book, my book arrived . And they looked bloody marvellous. It was worth it. Now it’s on Amazon and people are buying it. Defo worth it.
So if you think you have a book in you – it will certainly be better out than in – have a go, go on.
Author & Marathon Runner