Writers don’t start out being writers. They start out as thinkers. Unfortunately, most thinkers don’t have that sounding board; the ideas are bounced about inside his own skull. It’s not unlike singing in the shower, you sound like you should be in Carnegie Hall, until you’re IN Carnegie Hall and Simon Crowe is holding his head in his hands.
The writers of the “Spotlight on Grace” were all thinkers. They were adept at coming up with topics for short articles and presentations, so they each knew how to be efficient and to the point. They just didn’t know they were going to be writers. How did this book, this writing exercise, this monumental learning experience come about then?
We were sitting in a Panera’s discussing our upcoming plans for a club we all belong to when the discussion turned to leadership. Many of us felt that our club was being singled out for being creative, enthusiastic, seeking and filling needs of the district as necessary, and exhibiting a rapport among members, intelligence, long term planning, and dedication to the concepts and precepts of the parent organization that few, if any, other clubs had. This should have been a good thing, but instead, we were getting censured.
Transition to book writing
The conversations got more detailed and specific incidents came out that had upset our sensibilities. Then the fateful question was asked, “How would you have handled this situation differently?” What was surprising is that each and every member looked at a different aspect to either the situation as it was posed, the long-term consequences of the action, reaction, or inaction taken by the subject of our conversation, or the motives behind the actions. The main overarching theme of all the answers was that each of us would have handled the situation with more grace.
You could see the light bulbs popping up. Slowly it dawned on us. The purpose of our club was to help us transition from club members to professional speakers, trainers, coaches, and facilitators. Our adviser, Sheryl Roush http://sherylroush.com/ said that the first step on this journey was to write a book. We had a THEME!!!! Writing a book together might be just the vehicle we needed to get our collective feet into the water.
The meetings we were having would allow us to get together on a regular basis and provide enumerable benefits to the members. We could each corral our thoughts into a chapter instead of writing a full book. We could get used to how book writing and publishing could be accomplished, therefore, if we decided we wanted to, each of us would have the ability to do a project individually as well. Our newly formed group didn’t have to depend on luck or charisma or contacts from a personal standpoint, we could work with the expertise and connections of the members!
“Spotlight on Grace” project was born! Each member chose an idea to base a chapter on, and each member reviewed and edited the other members’ contributions. We gained a great deal of insight into our fellow collaborators, and a deeper understanding of how our lives intersected. Most importantly, it was fun! The bouncing of ideas around the table, the wide interests and approaches to the same subject were stimulating. This collaboration opened the doors to help us transition from thinkers to writers. Up until now, our writing had been limited to 500-700 words, and now our minimum was 5000! Yet, the words flowed.
We were now writers! But we also learned about publishing, copy rights, corporate law, accounting issues, and much more than just the writing. We even got to the point where more ideas started flowing. We started promoting our book, getting endorsements and testimonials, and marketing our group as a resource for other aspiring writers and professional speakers, trainers, coaches, and facilitators. It is exciting! It is fun! It’s a great start. Get a hold of the book. See what a group of thinkers turned writers can do with some proper collaboration!