What do you want in a one-year project book?
Writing a book is much harder than writing a blog.
For one, blog posts are short. They don’t have to connect together and transition smoothly from post to post. Book chapters do.
I did not post every thought I had or action I took on this blog. I wrote about a lot of my experiences but not all. So now I am gathering what I can find on my computer and my journal and notebooks in search of all that I have written down this year. I want to know exactly what I was thinking early on in 2011 so I can express my thoughts accurately in the book.
I wrote a draft of the first chapter a while ago one night in a writing frenzy, but now when I am trying to write chapter 2, I am struggling to find the right words. Who knew writer’s block could come so fast?
I think I might need more time to research and reflect before going further, or to skip a part of it for now and focus on another part. I’m not worried, but I just thought I would share for those of you interested in writing a book someday. Book writing is very different from blog writing, though blogging first has definitely given me an advantage.
While I gather my thoughts and do some more preparation, what are your thoughts on what you would like to be included in this book? Would you be interested in reading my experiences straight through with the things I learned along the way and tips I found useful, or would you like there to be more “self-help” aspects involved? Would you want to read say, my experience with talking to strangers, and then a separate chapter from an expert that shifts the focus to strategies on how you can do it too? I’m thinking of how I can make the book flow smoothly but be the most effective at the same time. I definitely want to include interesting and helpful studies that have been done, inspiring or thought-provoking quotes, psychological theories and explanations, some others’ experiences, statistics I can find, and tips I’ve found personally helpful or others I know have found helpful. And I’ll include all that I learned and the realizations I had in more depth. But I’d like to hear your input too and what you’ve enjoyed about other memoirs or books with a self-improvement basis. Because I don’t want to write this just for the sake of writing a book, I want it to write it to comfort and help motivate people.
I was reading several of the reviews on The Happiness Project’s page and it made me think about what other people want in a book. Some are very happy with reading her memoir and can take inspiration out of what she’s done, while others are upset that it was self-centered and her realizations were too obvious. (Realizations often are obvious, but experience really makes you understand the obvious and why certain things are said over and over.)
Then there’s Jamie Blyth’s book Fear is No Longer My Reality which mixes his story with advice from experts. I read it and enjoyed the story but found it was kind of distracting jumping from his voice to the voice of experts throughout the chapters. If I did include expert advice I would want to find a way for it to transition more smoothly and not seem like it was interrupting the flow. I want it to read like a good story that people can read and take away from it what they want.
So please share your thoughts on all this. Thank you and I look forward to the discussions!