On book writing: it’s not for me, and it’s an identity crisis for me

book writing

Oh hey.

Nice to see you again!

A while back, I took a breather from writing these “Karen’s Notes” so I could focus my writing energies on finishing the content for my book, The Accountant Marketer.

I meant to be intentional about it, explain what was happening, set some time frames. Maybe I’d take three months, or six, or the rest of the year.

It turns out I ended up taking nine months away from writing these. I wrote the last one in February. So I understand if you forgot all about them and are wondering why they’re suddenly appearing again.

I’m back because the book is done. It’s in the editing phase right now, and we’re looking at publishing in 2023. I’m hoping for May, because I feel like it’s a better month for a book launch than the summer, but if I’ve learned anything through this book process it’s 1) not to rush things and 2) I need to do everything I can not to hold the process back.

This week I met with the owner of the book editing company who is helping me move into the publishing phase of the book. We talked about how long things have taken, and why, and what I’ve learned along the way.

Here’s what I told her:

The right way is the long way. I’ve always believed this (for PF as well as for me personally) and the book process has been no exception. Lauren even told me I was probably the author who has taken the longest of all of her clients to get to the publishing stage. I heard that and didn’t even mind. I’d rather it done right than done rushed, and despite desperately wanting to get this book out there, I needed creative space along the way, and I gave it to myself.

Every book is an identity crisis. This book isn’t “personal” in the way a book about my life experiences would be. It’s a book for accountants who know they need to be involved in marketing and want to do that in the best way (and perhaps even come to enjoy it a little). And yet the process of writing a book, any book, causes you to look within. Figure out what you want to say. Cut out the extras, the fluff. Listen to the feedback from the people the book is for. Stand outside of it and look in. When I heard all authors take a long time but basically I’ve taken the longest, I thought you know what? That’s okay. The whole world shifted with an unknown virus and is still readjusting and reeling from it. I’ve completely changed the organisational structure of my business. And I’ve had some serious, major, life-and-identity-changing crises and trauma in my life which have required a great deal of reflection, therapy, and space to work through. Writing a book in the midst of all that changes you.

I don’t have to be like that other author or that other company. In the early days of my book process, seeing what others are doing (especially as it’s proclaimed on social media) used to really bring me down. I’m not writing fast enough. This is taking too long. They’re winning at life (or business or being an author) and I’m not. But now I don’t mind so much. They’re allowed to take as much or as little time as they need, too. Some people write a book in a few months. Some take a lifetime to do it. The point is not what they’re doing today, but what I am doing for me.

This book is not for me. I tell this to our clients all the time. “Your marketing is not for you,” I say. “Your brand is not for you. Your website is not for you. It’s for your clients, your audience.” I know this, I believe this….and yet the editing process of this book shocked me into the realisation of what that feels like to actually apply, in my own marketing. I sent a different chapter to 13 different clients, asking each one to provide feedback and suggestions, specifically about what I could cut out. Without exception they all said “cut out or reduce significantly the stories about yourself or PF”. When one or two people out of 13 tell you something, you take it with a grain of salt. When almost every single person says the same thing, you realise you’ve missed something. I have so many stories to tell I forgot for a moment the book was not about me. It says a few things about me – and I didn’t cut out everything – but it’s FOR the accountant. And the edited book is better, clearer, sharper because of it.

So I’ve made great progress. And we’re nearing the finishing line.

And it’s still not ready yet.

But it will be. And it is good. And I appreciate you being with me along the way.

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Road trippin and tomb hunting in the northern Irish countryside with one of my life besties. It’s a satisfying thing to climb these hills and watch the clouds move… and explore the old tombs which are older than the pyramids. 

Here we go. 

#adventures #roadtrip #northernireland #sperrins #tombs #giantsgrave #satisfyinglife #trekking
What will you do when you’ve arrived?

One of the things business owners tend to focus on is getting the business to run without you.

Systems, team, leadership, pricing… you work so hard on each of these and it often takes longer than you expect.

Maybe you have a vague idea of what you’d do with all that free time once it appears, but I’d guess just as many of you aren’t 100% sure what that will look like.

Every day is so full you don’t have to time to pause. “I’ll spend more time with my family”, you tell yourself. More holidays, more of whatever fills you up.

It might be cooking or DIY or reading, but equally it might be writing a book. Coaching. Speaking. A second or third business of a new kind. 

Which means NOW is the time to start thinking about it.

That can feel overwhelming, if things aren’t “sorted” yet. You still have team issues, or the systems and tech are taking longer than expected to deliver results. You’ve lost some clients, or are struggling to get new ones.

The fact is, all those things may be indicators you’re closer than you realise.

These issues will get sorted – and the moment they do, you could hit a point where you have that spare time. You have a little more energy, or money, or space and freedom. For whatever. 

Now what?

What’s that “whatever”?

That’s when you start looking at your personal brand.

It’s different from your business brand. Instead of being focused on an audience, buying a service; instead of being something which summarises an entire business including clients and team, now you have the opportunity to consider what summarises YOU.

What you care about. The message you’d get out to the world if you could. The kind of people who think the way you do.

If this is even a *glimmer* of a thought in your mind, I’d love to hear from you. I’m working on a live workshop event in the UK, and I want to make sure we cover what would be the most helpful for you, right now.

Before everything is “sorted”.

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