Ever Wonder Why Write a Book? Here You Go.

by Alli Polin on June 2, 2015

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I sat down this morning to write a blog post because I always publish on Tuesdays. I’m very committed to my blog and wasn’t about to let a week slip by without a post. For the first time in a long time, I found myself staring at my screen, starting a million could-be posts, and dropping them like hot potatoes. None of them felt quite right.

I could claim that my challenge is writer’s block, or it’s just a crazy week and I don’t have the time. The truth is, there is something else I’d rather be doing. Gasp!

My Not-So-Secret Secret: I Write Fiction

Today, I’d rather spend my allocated writing time working on my novel. Yes, I know that a novel won’t land me more speaking gigs or high-paid consulting opportunities. I also know that hardcopy non-fiction books outsell fiction books by miles, yet I persist. So, why write a  fiction book?

There was a time that I spent time each week working on my non-fiction calling card, oh, I mean book. It honestly did challenge me in new ways and sparked my creativity as well. One day, when I needed a break to call forth more energy on my non-fiction project, I made a shift. I never expected to love writing fiction, and I’m not even 100% sure why I decided to give it a try except I felt the need for a new outlet to refuel and recharge.

I’ve always joked about a quest for a hobby and the crappy contenders I’ve tried on for size. However, now that I’ve found writing, it feels a heck of a lot more than something I want to squeeze in during my spare time.

Currently, my novel is messy – I’m moving around whole sections, adding scenes and tapping into the human beings behind the words they speak. It’s as if I’ve left them half-dressed, asking them to hold awkward poses until I can help make things comfortable and flow once again. I’m making empty promises that sound a lot like “Don’t call me, I’ll call you” or “I’ll see you this weekend, I swear.” When did I start to become a bad date?

I also admit that it’s incredibly fun getting underneath the characters, understanding who they are and not only what they do.

That’s when it hit me – my writing is a lot like the other work I do with individuals.  My favorite coaching clients and consulting gigs are about what’s going on on the inside, not only polishing the outside.

I’m deeply moved when people allow me to see their human side, their imperfections, and struggles on their quest for success or greater meaning in their lives.

I love blogging and sharing personal leadership lessons that come from everyday life. Here’s a huge lesson I learned from writing fiction:

You can fuel your fire in more ways than one. In fact, let’s change “can” to “must.”  You must continue to tap into the things that make you feel most alive and bring that feeling of energy and possibility to all that you do.

I’ve worked in change management on both an organizational and personal scale for what feels like forever. Now that my not so secret secrets out, I can honestly say that adding fiction writing to my repertoire is not a distraction, it’s deepening my ability to be quiet, ask soft questions and pause until the answers emerge.

Particularly if you run a small business of your own, you may be asking yourself, why should I bother to write a fiction book when I need to write a book for my business? There may also be a subset of you reading this thinking, I would like to write a novel book too, but it just doesn’t seem practical – especially when I have bills to pay.

Why Write a Book?

If you have the heart of a writer deep inside of you, then may already have your own answer to why you need to write a book.

Here’s what I figure, why wait until you have more time?  Like that’s ever going to happen…

Oh, you’ll also hear it’s hard, most flop in the market and take tremendous effort. Who cares! There are more reasons to write than to become rich and famous. (hint: do it for you.)

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10 Reasons for you to try your hand at writing a book:

1. You love to read. You always long to escape in a book.

2. Stories are powerful. Leaders learn to inspire through stories, not directives.

3. Push your creative limits. Limits are for suckers – challenge yourself.

4. You get to decide the ending. Learn to empower yourself on paper and in your life.

5. You long for adventure. Here’s your chance to go on the wildest adventures ever.

6. Out of your ordinary. Discomfort ultimately brings growth and energy too.

7. Your story matters. It will never, ever, ever be written without you.

8. Do it for you. Do it because it makes you come alive.

9. Discover something new about yourself. Learn what’s hiding in that head of yours.

10. Dreams deserve effort. Move writing a book from your to-do list to your to-done list.

I travel in circles where it seems like everyone has written a book and just this past April, a book I co-authored, Energize Your Leadership, was published. I love writing that help people create personal change and eventually I’ll get back to my non-fiction book on Everyday Leadership sharing Simple Lessons for a Complex World. For now? I write fiction.

Even if you never publish a word, maybe writing fiction could be a gift for you too.

What’s your not-so-secret secret and why do you do it?

(Photo Credit)

(Photo Credit)

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Blair June 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

Wow. So much in this post I want to respond to. Most of all I loved your writing in this piece. I mean I always LOVE your writing, but in writing about your fiction, you showcased a whole new side of your talent. Let’s start with this sentence: “…I spent time each week working on my non-fiction calling card, oh, I mean book.” How true is that! It’s a sad truth that so many non-fiction writers approach their work as a calling card. It forces them to write whole and not very inspired books when all they have to do is send a flashy image to vistaprint for 10 bucks.
And then this: “It’s as if I’ve left them half-dressed, asking them to hold awkward poses until I can help make things comfortable and flow once again.” I’ve never heard it put so well! I love the relationship you are creating with your characters. I am inspired to write and want to hear more about your writing in further blogs. Thank you and BRAVA!

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Blair,

Your feedback means the world to me. I admire your writing greatly. Anyone who has not yet found your work should head over to http://www.blairglaser.com

Thanks!

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Terri Klass June 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

Fantastic post and inspiration, Alli! And whatever you write, I will definitely want to read because you make everything come alive through your musical words.

Writing fiction can be transformative and help each of us understand who we really are and what is most important to us. When my younger daughter was in second grade, we got to read her journal writing at a back to school night. My husband and I were taken back while reading this dark story she wrote. We came to realize that she had some fears back then that she worked through them by writing. Writing was a powerful way for her to evolve.

Thanks Alli for sharing the wisdom of writing fiction!

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 9:42 pm

I love that story, Terri! For many, writing a story frees them to access parts of themselves that they’d otherwise keep hidden. Sounds like your daughter tapped into something truly important and it enabled her to work through it.

Always appreciate your support and connection!

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LaRae Quy June 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

This post really speaks to my heart, Alli, because I’ve always wanted to write fiction as well.

I tried to write a fiction book when I retired from the FBI because everyone said I should and I thought it would be fun…I quickly learned that I am not a fiction writer 🙁 and (at this time in my life) find writing non-fiction more rewarding. However, I’m still waiting for the day when my fiction-time comes around….

All best 🙂

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm

I’d love to hear a fictionalized tale of life in the FBI. Your non-fiction work is so compelling I can only imagine your life during that time.

I’m not so sure my novel is a masterpiece but I feel good about it and I think it holds an element of truth for many working women and stay at home moms too. We’ll see what I choose to do with it. Once it’s polished, I’ll start the quest for an agent.

Thanks, LaRae!

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Ingrid June 3, 2015 at 12:15 am

Writing fiction is incredibly satisfying. I have found that my characters take on a life of their own. The story becomes easier to write as they do so. It’s a lot of fun creating characters that may or may not have some of your own skills and knowledge, or that of your family and friends. If you want to write fiction, I agree with you Alli, just go ahead and do it!

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm

You are absolutely right, Ingrid. The more I get to know the characters, I don’t have to wonder about what they’d do, it’s clear. The main character is definitely not me, but I can relate to her and she does feel familiar – almost a composite of so many people I’ve met through my life with some pure imagination for good measure.

Thanks for your encouragement!

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Jon Mertz June 3, 2015 at 7:06 am

Alli,

Writing is such a wonderful practice and what a great thing to write. Fiction is engaging and also seems very challenging to do. Congratulations on your work and writing! Just as it is motivating to you, it is to me as well!

Jon

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Before I started blogging, I never thought that I’d love writing as much as I do. In college, I predominantly took liberal arts course with tons of writing and it’s paying off now.

Love how communities of people can motivate each other! Appreciate your work, writing and insights!

Thaks, Jon!

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Chery Gegelman June 3, 2015 at 7:39 am

Alli – It is helpful to know that others get writers block and start and scrap things.

I love imagining you creating your characters and giving them depth. I can’t wait to read what you are creating!

My not-so-scecret secret(s). I’m exercising. I’ve always loved swimming, but not always had a pool. I try to grab the pool here when I can have it all to myself. It is sooo wonderful. I’ve been doing yoga for a year, and body pump now too. Great variety. All enjoyable, challenging and growth causing!

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:47 pm

What a fantastic not-so-secret secret! Sounds like you’re feeding your heart, body and mind these days! How cool to take on new challenges, feel the stretch and use it as fuel to keep on expanding!

Appreciate you, Chery, and the energy that you bring to everything you do!!

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John Bennett June 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Your writing flows wonderfully and paints clear and honest images. There is no doubt in my mind that those same two characteristics make your efforts in fiction enjoyable to you. I wish you the best in your continuing efforts – fiction or non-fiction.

I heard a comic on SiriusXM radio today talking about the wide use of “non-fiction.” He wondered why anyone would ever characterize any piece of writing as “NOT NOT TRUE.” I never thought about that until hearing the bit on radio.

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:49 pm

That’s interesting! Non-fiction as Not Not True… And in truth, that’s not what it is at all!

I still feel the pull of non-fiction but am enjoying tapping into a more creative side that I’ve left dormant for far too long.

Huge thanks for all of your support, John!

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Karin Hurt June 4, 2015 at 8:22 am

Beautiful insights. I’ve got a leadership fable lurking in me somewhere. Oh yeah, and then there’s that childrens book 😉

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Alli Polin June 4, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I pitched “I’m not a Leader” today during #PitMad on twitter.

Here it is:
Eli tells his Mom “I’m Not a Leader,” and Amy thinks he’s right and should drop out of the class election. She wants to win!

It’s still a story that should be told. Not giving up on it despite other projects. Telling!

Thanks, Karin!

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Cynthia Bazin June 8, 2015 at 8:45 am

LOVE everything you do Alli! Whatever you write, I will be first on the list to read it. Thank you for being AWESOME Alli!

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