Writing a Book Changed my Life. It can Change Yours Too
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In 2013, I was an overworked and frustrated Brand Planner working with a leading ad agency in India. Having to contend with unreasonable expectations from colleagues and the fact that a Planner is not given his true importance used to leave me frustrated every day.This, especially because I had realized that the corporate life was not for me. I wanted to be free from this stifling life and do my own thing. But financial commitments made me carry on in the full-time job for a few years.
And then, one day, I decided that I will write a book. I had had one stint as an entrepreneur earlier and was mentoring a few youngsters on how to set up their own ventures. Given that many youngsters in India were blindly jumping into entrepreneurship at that point of time, I thought there was need for a book that gave a realistic account of the life and journey of entrepreneurs. A book that would be inspiring in tone and content, but at the same time, would not romanticize or sensationalize the subject. Which is why I wrote a book.
From conception to release, the book underwent a year-long journey. Writing it changed my life in ways I hadn’t imagined earlier. This is how.
1. I made a difference to people.
The most gratifying part of writing the book is that I could influence people’s thinking, make them introspect and ultimately, change their lives for the better. When I used to get messages and mails from strangers saying my book made them revisit their priorities and inspired them to take a different path, my chest would swell up. Sometimes, I would even get teary-eyed.
2. It made me an authority on the subject of entrepreneurship.
Get this. Writing a book is a sure-fire way to build your image as an authority on a subject. Note, I did not say it’s the ‘easiest’. Which means that writing a book has its tough parts. There is no guarantee that your book will be a bestseller and make you pots of money. But, if you really love the subject you are writing about and are willing to research it well - acquire enough depth - then you will definitely bring out a great product. And that product will make the world see you in a different light.
This is exactly what happened with me. For a long time since ‘The Underage CEOs’ released, I was flooded with invitations to speak at prestigious fora, participate in panel discussions and adjudge large competitions.
The thing is, people start seeing you as an expert. Invitations to deliver talks and participate in panel discussions are a logical consequence of this. And this, in turn, will help build your personal brand. It will make you stand out from the crowd. In all probability, you will attract opportunities for consulting with companies in that field (if you wrote non-fiction) or who knows, even writing another book! Fiction writers can get into screen-writing: and many have.
3. It gave me a career in professional freelance writing.
Holding a full-time job meant that I never had the time or energy to get in touch with my inner self and figure out what I really wanted to do in life. Every one of us goes through this at some time or the other. Hasn’t this happened with you? The truth is, that every one of us is always capable of doing other things, taking up other fields of activity, than what we are currently engaged in.
And there is every reason we should listen to our inner selves and really figure out how we can start exploring new spheres of activity. The moment I successfully submitted the manuscript of my book to my publisher, I realized how much I loved writing. And what a mistake I had been making by neglecting this talent of mine for many years.
Introspection made me decide that I want to make writing a part of my life from that point on. Combine that with my love for travel and the decision to become a travel writer seemed perfectly logical. I started reaching out to publications and pitching stories to them. In the three years since that moment, I have written for leading publications like Conde Nast Traveller, Scoot, Travel+Leisure, GQ, Christian Science Monitor, Mint, The Hindu and many others.
I started writing a blog on parenting too (I thought we needed to hear the voices of more fathers in a space where the only writing came from mothers). Thankfully, that blog has become extremely popular.
Today, I have extended my repertoire to stories for children and content for brands too. I can’t tell you how fulfilling all this is.
4. It opened up dimensions within myself.
Curiously, writing the book made me realize that I was an entrepreneur. Probably because, from idea to publication to promotion, writing a book is akin to the journey of an entrepreneur. You have to hustle, face ups and downs, live with delays and anxiety, reconcile yourself to delayed gratification and face up to loneliness.
I emerged from this 12 month journey with the confidence that I have what it takes to make it in the big, bad world of entrepreneurs. Which is why, I promptly unshackled myself from my day job and became a freelance writer and independent consultant in Branding & Marketing Communication. That remains one of the best decisions of my life. I have since been able to work on highly satisfying projects, make a name for myself in the market and earn a lot of money. Even if there have been bumps on this road, I have always known that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
5. It helped me forge a number of new relationships.
Researching for the book, pitching it to publishers and promoting it post-release put me in touch with several bright, professional, wonderful people in the fields of entrepreneurship, writing and publishing. This not only broadened the horizons of my mind, but also helped me build lovely new relationships. In a practical sense, I now have a wider network of people to tap into, for professional advice, support and collaboration.
Overall, my life today is drastically different from what it was three years ago. My horizons have expanded. I have broken out of my cage and taken flight. I am a better person and a better professional. Most importantly, I am chasing big dreams. My own dreams.
There is a book in every one of us. There is a book in you. Go ahead, give it a shot.