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3 Lessons I Learned from Writing My Book

Every book tells two stories. One is a story of what the book is about (i.e. the actual content), and the other is a story of how the book came to be. Let me tell you about the latter and the lessons I learned along the way.

 

It was in September 2018 when I officially started writing my book, with the guidance of my ever-patient book writing coach, Karren. I wrote almost every single day. There were many stops and starts along the way… due to lack of drive, lack of funds, lack of direction, lack of inspiration, lack of time and so on. This is one of those projects which I literally and figuratively took one step at a time. If you’re familiar with the Filipino word ginapang (directly translated to English as crawled), that’s how I felt. Every single page, every single detail of the cover and the layout, every peso spent, every story, every word.

 

Some things take time, but there is a reason for it. 

It took 4 months to write, 1 month to edit, 1 month to lay out and proofread, and 7 months of I-don’t-know-what-I-was-waiting-for phase. Since the time the dream was planted, it took more than 15 years to breathe life into it.

 

Yes, it took that long.

 

There was a time when I wanted to rush into getting the book published and printed, but it didn’t work out probably because I had the wrong reasons. There was a time when I was hopeful that a publisher will accept my manuscript because I thought I had a winning cover letter. There were times when I felt like no words were coming out, so I took a break. There was a time when I cried because I did not know where I’d find the resources to make it happen. Oh wait, there were many times I cried.

 

All these gave me experiences and lessons that I bring with me to this day. The book was launched on the month that I wanted. It was the time when I had gone in a full circle of sorts in my career coaching. It was the time when I felt more confident about myself. It was the time when I had just enough projects, enabling me to manage my time and focus on the book. It was a special month to me also personally. It was the perfect time.

 

Looking back, everything was well-orchestrated by God. It was definitely worth the wait, the sacrifice, and the experience.

There will be roadblocks and detours. People will come and go. Some roads will be more scenic than others. Other times you may find yourself going in circles and not making any progress. These are what I call the in-between moments of life. I tried to rush through the “in-betweens,” hoping to find a shortcut or a quick fix but it didn’t work. I discovered that the best way to go through this phase is to embrace and invigorate each moment.

Excerpt from Thirty-Something and ReTired

 

 

When you’re ready, you’ll know!

When I was scrolling through one of my email accounts (the one I rarely check), I saw an email that said something like, “Do you want to be an author?” I was hesitant at first, but ended up opening it anyway. Within just a few minutes, I sorted my schedule and made a decision to register and reserve my slot.

 

The same thing happened when I finally decided to publish and print my book after 7 months of I-don’t-know-what-I-was-waiting-for phase. One night as I was brainstorming for my website overhaul, it was as if I heard a voice whisper to me, “Go and publish your book.” I was surprised and immediately sent a message to my coach and publisher to again ask about the next steps and the costs. From then on, I did all that I can to push through with the final phase.

 

Yes, there are moments when I knew I was ready and I didn’t have to think, but simply had to trust my gut and my God.

You can create all the plans you want, but there will always be things that are beyond your control. There are many factors that remain uncertain and many big leaps you need to take. But with each unpredictable day, week, or month that comes your way, there is one thing that’s constant and predictable that you can count on—God is with you, and He will never forsake you.

Excerpt from Thirty-Something and ReTired

 

Be clear with your goals and go back to your why.

 

In the process of writing, I considered the option of publishing it as an ebook, not only cut down on costs, but also to launch ASAP and start generating income which I can use to print copies. At some point, I had to decide on other matters that affected the finances such as the printing specifications and the selling price of the book. I was honestly tempted many times to go the (relatively) easier route of publishing an ebook or getting it printed using the most cost-effective way (digital printing). But it didn’t feel right. I knew that if I go that route, I wouldn’t be fulfilled knowing that I went the easy way just so that I can finally tick the box that says, “write a book.” To me, it was more than that. Writing a book is not part of my list of things I just want to do for the sake of doing it, or for the sake of putting it on my resume (or Linkedin).

 

So I did in a way that was aligned with my goal and my purpose. The book is my way to reach more people beyond those that I interact with through coaching or workshops. It is my way of bringing people closer to their purpose and their long lost dreams. I want every reader to find joy in touching, holding, reading or even smelling the pages of the book. With that in mind, I made a brave and bold move to print the first 500 copies, on cream paper, with illustrations inside, with a beautifully embossed cover. Yes, every single detail of it is aligned with my purpose and my goal.

I am building bridges to connect and reconnect people with their purpose, passion, potential, and their long lost dreams. In writing this book, I have found one of my lost dreams. It is my hope and prayer that I can help you find yours, so that you can also retire from believing that meaningful work only happens when you’re older. Yes, you can be thirty-something and retired—doing the things that are aligned with your mission and purpose in life. 

Excerpt from Thirty-Something and ReTired

There were surely many other lessons along the way, but let me leave you with these three first. Sometimes I feel that the story of how my book came to be, and the story within the book itself are one and the same. It’s a story of lost dreams, new-found hope, renewed faith, and the courage to keep going.

 

To find out more about the book, visit bit.ly/thirtysomethingandretired

 
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