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  • Nick Powills

How Writing a Book is Much More Difficult Than It May Sound, Maybe

Writing a book is hard – don’t do it to make money. Find another purpose.

Five years ago, I decided to write a book. That book, “Sticks & Stones,” came out on March 5, published by Inc. Magazine. That March 5 publish date, though, was not born yesterday. It was born out of a ton of labor that got me to this place.

Five years ago, when I decided to write a book, never did I expect the process to be so exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Five years ago, I sat down at the computer and started to write.

The original plan was to write a book called, “I will always be the fat kid”, starting from the idea that although I had lost some weight (down from a 305 I once saw on the scale), when I looked in the mirror, thought about eating food, and looked deep into my soul, I still was the fat kid.

So, I wrote. I wrote stories. I wrote advice. I wrote and wrote and wrote. About 200 pages (single spaced) later, I had a book.

Or at least I thought I did.

Rather, I had a whole bunch of ideas that were nowhere near ready for publication. I started to learn that the hard way.

I took my jumbled manuscript and sent it to publishers and agents, only to get rejected one-by-one. My wife told me she loved the book – or loved that I was taking a comedic approach to writing a business story – but that wasn’t good enough. Deep within the pages of the book, I wrote about defeat and about being told I wasn’t good enough while searching for positivity in my life – and here I was being rejected yet again. Or, was I?

Finally, I got a glimmer of hope from Inc. Magazine as a publisher through its partner Green Leaf. No, they weren’t saying, “Nick, you are an amazing writer”, rather, “Nick, we like the idea. You may have something here, but now you need an editor.”

Handed over to an editor, I was guided to really focusing my idea and then, rewriting the entire thing – start to finish, over and over and over again.

While that year-long process was brutal, it was also great for me, my thoughts and my organization. It helped me see what others need to see. It helped pull ideas out of my head.

About six months prior to the publish date, I found myself in a room of executives. We were told to go around the table and introduce ourselves. The first five said who they were and then made the statement that they wrote a book that was either self-published or ghostwritten. My initial reaction was, “Shoot, I should have taken an easier pathway.” My second, though, was, “Hell no, that would have been a mistake.”

The process of writing a book was long, but the reward was the trophy at the end of it – saying that I stuck to the process and completed it. It also allowed me to be vulnerable with my story – to figure out the equation that I feel drives success (Foundation + Momentum = Velocity).

A few months ago, I was walking through the airport with a few co-workers when one said, “How cool will it be when your book is displayed in the book store?” To which I said, “Look how many books are on those shelves, unbought.” Writing a book is hard – don’t do it to make money. Find another purpose. Mine was to hopefully inspire a few others to find fuel in their toughest moments – and I am glad I have taken at least the first step in doing so.

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