Why the Hell Did you Write a Book in 2021
A few friends have asked me how the book is doing, and in various polite ways, why I spent time writing it given that:
- I used to have a publisher I was working with, so they think I did it for money only
- the general state of book-writing in 2021
- the general state of the world
These are great questions, because writing a book is a ton of work and not nearly as profitable as other pursuits.
I did it for a few reasons:
I felt compelled to help
I hear all the time about people having issues working from home. I was talking to a professional contact the other day, and they mentioned that they have heard that one of the main drivers of employees and employers wanting to return to the office is driven by married men who are having trouble working around their wife and kids. That makes me incredibly sad, and makes me want to help those people to figure out how to balance it all, because it will be better for them if they can.
In the book, I have an entire chapter on how to balance family life and work life when do both in the same house. In it is this paragraph:
You hear it so often it is a cliché, but your time with your children goes by fast. The Halloween years, roughly ages 2 - 12, when they want to dress up but before they think it is lame, are powerful in a child’s life, and you cannot repeat them. For most of us, these same years are when we are most focused on earning income. The overlap of so many hours away from your children just when you can influence is brutal and challenging. Working from home is one of the most powerful tools to gain time during those years.
I think figuring out how to work remotely is a potential big deal, a life-changing chapter in your life story, like it has been in mine. I want to help more people try it.
I wanted to know what it felt like to bake from scratch
I’ve worked as an employee, a contractor, a consultant. Plenty of 1099s, W2s, but I’ve never felt like I created something from whole cloth. I’ve never baked from scratch.
For this project I came up with everything, wrote everything, figured out landing pages, email lists, ghost blogging software, twitter engagement (a little), and how to write marketing copy. I designed the cover of the book, and figured out how to generate pretty PDF, kindle, and ePub formats and sell those directly to readers on the Internet.
This is the first time in my life I felt like I made money on the Internet in full-creator manner. I wanted to know what that felt like. I learned a ton, and it felt great.
I published a stupid comedy book a few years ago. I published it because I had written some things for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency over the years (In 2020 year I broke my 6 year streak of having 1 post per year) and some other pieces I didn’t think were good enough to submit. I loved doing it; writing is fun for me even though I know how much better I could be at it. Not all hobbies are for money-making.
I was writing one day in my office and my daughter was playing and I asked her if I should put all this stuff in a book and publish it and she said “yeah, sure”. So I named the book that. She was 3 years old at the time; I don’t always recommend following advice from someone so young, but every once in a while they are great counselors. They are without fear.
If you are looking for true advice from someone who understands the struggle of remote work and has actual useful advice, check out Navigating Remote Work.