Writing a book in slow motion

writing a book in slow motion it's the journey not the destination.

I’m writing a book in slow motion and have been for many years.

What do I mean and what have I learned from this?

To begin, back in November 2018, I wrote a “long read” called: “slow motion multitasking“, in part of which I shared thoughts from Tim Harford around Charles Darwin:

“..who rotated between projects over the course of decades. His article “Biographical Sketch of an Infant”, inspired by his baby son, was published in time for William’s 38th birthday. On the Origin of Species was legendarily long in the making, in part because Darwin simultaneously spent nearly 20 years working on creepers and insectivorous plants. His book on earthworms took 44 years to come to fruition. All these projects were completed in parallel.”

So, for my own slow motion writing of a book, what is the learning here, ie what is my point? Let me tell my story first, then share what I feel the learning is.

Writing a book (very) slowly

In around 2008 I was asked to write a monthly column on Leadership for a business journal in the Cayman Islands. Before then, friends and colleagues had been murmuring to me to write a book. From that point on the murmurs grew in volume.

We are now in 2020 and, beginning a few months after I moved to London in mid 2017, I’ve now written over 1,000 daily blogs in a row on this site.

When I moved to London from Cayman, this life shift involved a number of conscious choices, amongst which was a choice to focus on new areas of work and, aligned with this, new areas of learning, one of which was around writing more.

Some of the changes I chose to make felt abrupt, felt brave, felt a little scary. Others though, were also choices to patiently learn and learn slowly, knowing that some areas of learning would take several years.

In summer 2018, about nine months into my daily blog posts, I then interviewed a number of leaders for a book on a new leadership model, even booking a retreat in September 2018 on a Greek island to take the transcripts and begin to frame up the book. Before September 2018, however, I then “put the book down” and embarked on another project with a brilliant designer and thinker, Alan Moore, before putting that one down after about six months of learning and co-creation.

At the beginning of this month, 1st July in fact, I launched my weekly half-hour interview show, #WhatComesNextLive.

So, a little like the example with Darwin above, I’m definitely “slow motion multitasking”. Will I ever write that book that is “in me”? I think I will, at some point, but in the meantime I continue to learn more, write more, listen more.

The learning?

Perhaps you draw your own, and I’d love if reading this post and the linked reads inspires you in that way.

To close, one thought from me is simply this:

Sometimes the point is the journey and not the destination


Also published on Medium.