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Book Writing is a Full Marathon

by Mike Kowis, Esq.
Author of 'Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors'

Engaging College StudentsWriting my first book was nothing short of a full marathon. By that, I mean the process takes a serious commitment of time and effort to reach the finish line. If you have written a book, you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t yet done so, then buckle up Buttercup! It can be a long and emotional journey, but well worth it.

When I started writing my award-winning debut book, Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors, I gave myself a whole year to write and publish it. Writing a book was a long-time goal of mine, so I publicly announced it on Facebook as follows:

[Mike Kowis] is WRITING A BOOK about teaching based on my experiences teaching night classes at the local community college during the past 10+ years. It took me a whole year to select a topic to write about, so I’m truly excited to finally begin this book … hope to finish it by Labor Day 2013. So far, I have drafted the first 10 pages (including the outline). I just hope I can see it through to the end b/c I’ve wanted to write a book for many years. Wish me luck!

Okay, I’ll admit the one-year time frame that I set for this goal was completely arbitrary, but I needed the pressure of a deadline to motivate me to stay on track and finish. Looking back, 365 days was too ambitious given that I also had a full-time legal career, part-time teaching gig, and a family to raise. Not to mention that I knew absolutely nothing about writing books.

Fast forward to one year later, and I was more than embarrassed to admit to my friends and family that I had only written 57 pages thus far. As expected, I took some friendly criticism for missing my initial deadline. While most of the reactions I received were positive and encouraging, a few folks seemed almost happy to see me fail and were convinced I was wasting my time. Luckily, I am the type of person who loves to prove someone wrong and I used this criticism to push myself forward. I got up, wiped the egg off my face and repeated to myself, “I got this. No problem.”

At the end of year two, I found myself with 80 pages and perhaps the worst case of writer’s block known to mankind. Despite my best efforts, I could not think of a single word to add to my manuscript. Not. One. Word. As a tax attorney, I write daily and have never experienced writer’s block. So I was completely shocked and frustrated when this happened. I also felt depressed because it was the first time in my life that I doubted my own ability to complete a goal. Until that point, I had accomplished pretty much everything I had ever set my sights on from both a professional and a personal level. I remember thinking how could this be happening to me? To get help, I turned to my muse and editor (Geoff Smith of Brooklyn, NY) for developmental edits. Geoff worked his magic and gave me fresh ideas to explore. Soon, I was off and running again.

Things were finally looking up at the end of year three with 113 pages completed, but then I came down with another bout of writer’s block that stopped me in my tracks. Once again, I turned to Mr. Smith for developmental edits and then headed toward the finish line.

My four-year journey finally ended when I published the book on October 21, 2016. Wow… what a day! I felt just like a proud Papa when I finally got to hold my creation in my hands for the first time.

Obviously, not everyone’s first book journey is as long and arduous as mine. However, an aspiring author would be wise to head this advice. Be aware that book writing requires a significant investment of time and the journey can take an emotional toll if you are not mentally prepared for possible set-backs and delays. The good news is that the journey is totally worth the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to create the book you have always dreamed of.

Author's Website:
Author's Twitter: @MikeKowis
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