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Teach. Don’t Write.
Just a few quick follow up points to my blog post yesterday on why you ought to write a book, and why you really ought to write it right now.
I don’t get a ton of feedback on my blog posts, or from those of you who are on my “newsletter” list.
(more of a sporadic email here and there rather than a newsletter these days, as i’m sure you’ve noticed 🙂
But, whenever I write something about writing….or more specifically, about self publishing, the feedback goes UP exponentially.
Which is awesome.
Because I love writing about writing.
And I love feedback.
And I love knowing my content connects.
And if I finish two more drinks before this blog post is done, I may say I love you too, which would be weird and probably wildly inappropriate.
So instead, I’ll tell you this.
If the idea of publishing a book scares you……
Teach. Don’t write.
Think of yourself as a teacher, not an author.
Everyone has unique life experiences that have real value to others.
I can’t begin to tell you how many different things I’d happily pay Amazon 2.99 to learn from someone who has touched or tasted or seen some side of the world that I haven’t.
I don’t care how poetic the presentation, or how pretty the prose.
I just love to learn new things.
When you see yourself as a teacher, some of the pressure to be picture perfect in your presentation goes away.
Your job, if you take it seriously, is merely to communicate with clarity and do your best to convey important information in a way that your audience will understand.
That’s what a teacher does.
And if you are writing non-fiction, it’s what the best books do, too.
When I was in my early 30’s, I became interested in meditation.
I had some experiences with “altered” states of consciousness from experimenting with LSD and other psychedelics in college years, and remembered some of the epiphanies and insights from those experiences quite fondly.
Wanting to try to re-capture some of the magic of those moments, but not willing to take any drugs to cheat my way there, I threw myself into reading books on just about every form of mediation under the sun.
Many of these books were beautifully written, by shiny souls who could wow you with words and magically finesse a phrase in ways I remain envious of today.
But I learned very little about the actual experiences I sought to seek.
They claimed to be teachers masquerading as writers to reach the masses….when in truth, they were just really talented writers, pretending to be teachers, without much to offer outside of the pretty prose.
Eventually I stopped seeking. And reading.
I moved on to other interests.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a “book” that changed my life.
It’s a book of instructions, on a very simple, but super specific meditation technique, that has allowed me to re-visit many of those states of consciousness I had forgotten about so long ago.
The formatting sucks. It’s got a world class terrible title. (something like “The most rapid means to eternal bliss”, even though the title page isn’t even in my copy)
The copy I have is printed in a really cheesy bluish font that feels fake and foolish.
The tone and tempo is borderline obnoxious.
The author makes super grandiose claims about his method…and then proceeds to repeat the basic instructions over and over and over again….in slightly different words, as if he’s talking to a 6 year old child. (he even tells you that he’s repeating himself, and the same basic set of instructions, while doing it)
The truth is, it’s not even HIS method. Rather, it’s just A method that he learned from more well known Yogi’s that worked wonderfully well for him……and is easy to export in a simple and straightforward way.
And yet…..when you read the DO this, then do THAT, then do THIS, and DON’T do that, and continue to do THIS, watch out for THAT approach that he uses, it’s impossible to not feel like you’ve been given a set of instructions that may be valuable to explore.
And for me, this poorly formatted and minimally edited E-book has done what no Oprah-esqe approach could – teach me something that I truly treasure, and open up an avenue of excitement and exploration in my life that i probably will practice and pursue in one form or another until the day I die.
So stop worrying about whether you are a writer or not and just start writing.
Take what you want to create and just express it in the way that’s easiest to understand.
Do it honestly, authentically and with passion and purpose and a sense of simple sincerity.
You may not impress everyone. But no one ever does. And it’s so much easier to start.