I’m doing something I never thought I’d do again. I’m writing a book.
Yesterday morning, an idea became a project, and a friend became a co-author. Our book, Minimalist Parenting, will come out next year. And the world has shown me yet again that when I listen closely enough, remarkable things happen.
Before I was a blogger, I was a writer of books. My first book, published in 1996, was about how to create something called a “web page” using “Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML.” I wrote a number of web publishing how-to books including a popular For Dummies title that went into six editions.
I’ve always loved writing, and it was a singular thrill when I held my first book. What I didn’t love was the isolation of the book-writing process. I was in touch with my Indiana-based editors every day, but otherwise writing was a solitary endeavor (painful for an extrovert like me). No blogs to offer community, no Twitter and Facebook to keep me company, no IM so I could distract my husband with silly messages. Few of my friends even had email.
Loving to write doesn’t guarantee that one will love the writing life. But blogging changed everything. My writing was now linked — literally and figuratively — to a community. My work underwent a fundamental shift: A finished piece was no longer the end goal — it was the beginning of a conversation that would go places I couldn’t predict. An extrovert writer’s dream come true.
So why would I possibly write another book? Especially now, when social media is turning the conversation into the end goal? And book publishers and sellers are facing an uncertain market?
In fact, I think this is the best time to write a book. From a practical standpoint, books have entered a new era. E-book readers, wifi, mobile, search, social media, and the online marketplace have become such a part of everyday life that there has never been more potential for a good-quality book. That we’re in the “middle place” between paper books and electronic publishing means an even bigger opportunity to connect with an audience.
More importantly, I finally have a coherent parenting story to tell. I’ve been at this parenting gig long enough — and have learned enough hard lessons — to see patterns emerge, along with hints of cause-and-effect. (I’ve talked to plenty of parents of adult children and know that I’m still at the beginning of the trajectory, but at least I can begin to make out the arc.)
Finally — and this is the clincher — I won’t be doing it alone. I have the great good fortune of a co-author I not only admire, but also love. I’m working with a publisher that has its finger on today’s book market and its eye on the horizon. I have an agent who has a wider, deeper view of my potential than I ever could. I have a family that’s mostly-settled and mostly-happy, which opens up space for me to be creative and focused. And I have you — for guidance, brainstorming, wisdom, experience, and those crazy moments when I need to blow off steam or ask for comfort or share exciting news.
I’m writing a book. Finally, it’s the right moment.
Christine and I had the amazing luck of sharing this news while at the Blissdom ’12 conference together. Thank you to everyone who expressed such excitement about the book, and such confidence in Christine and me as a team. For the full book scoop as we write, visit Minimalist Parenting, follow @MinParenting on Twitter, or like Minimalist Parenting on Facebook.