Stop dreaming, start writing — a manifesto for getting ideas into the world
Everyone has a book in them. And, as the joke goes, it should stay inside them.
That was the opinion of writer Joseph Epstein in 2002 when he saw the statistic that 81 percent of Americans believe they should write a book. His advice was: “Save the typing, save the trees, save the high tax on your own vanity.” In short, don’t write a book and don’t even think about it.
Fifteen years later and Epstein has lost the argument. More people than ever are writing blogs, books and articles. Publishing has been democratised. All we need is a mobile phone and we can share our thoughts with the world at a click of the button. Platforms like Medium harness the latest user experience to make blogging simpler than opening a Word document.
We’re all writers now
The rise in self-publishing has been phenomenal now that traditional gatekeepers have been removed. We’re all writers now.
As James Altucher says a book is the new business card.
There are many benefits to writing. Writing can be the best way to share an opinion, idea or story. Communicating your experience, especially as a business person, can help other people learn. It can also help you to develop your own ideas and arguments.
Writing helps you to build persistence — it’s not easy for most of us and it takes time and practice to develop as a writer. But once you’ve nailed it you’ve got a skill for life — one of the most sought after in the digital workplace.
You might even build an audience. If you’re good enough to make a connection, you could change people’s lives.
Ta-da — I’m writing a book!
I’ve been writing articles for my blog and for print and online publications for years. And now I’m writing a book. It’s a dream I’ve had my whole life, and after years of honing my writing skill, I now feel ready to take on a bigger challenge.
Believing I have something to say is the ultimate ego trip — I’m guilty of vanity as Epstein warned. But also, I believe that other people want to listen to what I say. Over the past year or so, people have been increasingly contacting me after reading my blogs, asking for recommendations. I send them a set of scrappy links — it’s just not good enough.
Austin Kleon summed it up in Steal Like An Artist, pictured. If we’re interested in a subject our first duty is to read and learn about it. There is frankly no excuse for not reading. But if that book doesn’t exist you need to write it.
My shelves are heaving under the weight of the books I’ve bought on innovation. However, there’s no book that explains innovation as I see it, as I work and practise, and as I teach other people.
Helped by Alison Jones’ 10-day business book proposal challenge I hammered out a full table of contents that covers innovation from having ideas, honing them, and most importantly making them happen. This is my take on innovation and I believe it will help other people.
Diverse business thought leadership
My other motivation to write is to get a diversity of voices on this subject. Doing a book category analysis, I was horrified to find that most business innovation books were written by men.
Many female authored books on ‘innovation and creativity’ get allocated to self-help. Without equality of business thought leadership, we’ll never get equality in the workplace. Frankly, it’s time for me to step up as an innovation professional and add my voice.
Ideas into action — a writing manifesto
I believe that ideas are better when other people can contribute to them and challenge them. I’ve decided to use LinkedIn to share my innovation tips, curate past articles, and post ideas for chapters.
So, it’s time for me to put my ideas into action, to take my childhood dream and make it a reality.
Picture credit: Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on February 27, 2017.