My name’s Chris Hedges, and I stumbled into writing purely by accident after my mentor looked over my manuscript’s first 8,000 words. I was hoping he would say it was terrible and that I should just give up. He not only told me he liked what he read, but that I needed to push forward to get the book finished too.
However, the idea of writing actually began after receiving some positive feedback from an article I was asked to write for my Toastmasters’ District Newsletter a few years earlier. At the time I had been on disability for nearly a decade dealing with some serious health issues, and I needed to find someway to preoccupy myself; I decided to give writing a try and see where it went. Since then my first manuscript was picked up and published.
I sent a book proposal and a partial manuscript to Morgan James Publishing in August of 2013. I had a conversation with David Hancock, the founder of Morgan James Publishing, and one of his acquisition editors. Then two or three weeks later I had a contract for my book sitting in my inbox. One book submission and one contract offered. I’m batting 1.000 so I guess there is nowhere to go, but down from here.
I chose to write Average Joe’s Story: Quest for Confidence because it was the book I never saw on the bookstore shelves. Every book based on a person’s life experiences that I have ever seen has always been written looking back on the past. I sometimes found it difficult to relate to the author’s journey because I couldn’t overlook how he or she was labeled…billionaire, legendary coach, or world-renowned expert. I think the Average Joe will be able to relate to the story better if the story is not written in hindsight, but rather in real time.
So far my favorite part of being an author is easy, meeting and interacting with people who I admire and find interesting, traveling to new places and experiencing new things. My least favorite part is what may be coming. A friend of mine told me a story about an actor he knows. This actor said, “You had better be prepared for the loss of your anonymity, because once you have chosen to step into the spotlight you never get to take that moment back.”
Regardless of how famous you become by choosing to be a public figure, you are in the public’s eye forever moving forward. You lose some of the benefits that come with the obscurity of anonymity like the possibility that you may not make it through dinner without someone wanting an autograph, photo, or some other form of interaction. I’m not saying I expect to be taking pictures while I’m waiting in line for my McNuggets, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the prospect of losing my anonymity either.
Fortunately at this point in time I don’t think writing the book has changed me, or my life all that much. I think I’ll see the changes with book number two and any subsequent books. The potential success, or the possible lack there of, that I experience with this first book is where I think my life will be changed. I don’t think writing the first Harry Potter book changed JK Rowlings life, but the success that came after it was finally published surely did.
Speaking of successful authors I think about one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell. I love the way he tries to find a new and creative way of looking at the same old questions and subject matter. I don’t think you can or even should try to mimic another person’s style, but I would like to think that the direction of my writing is comparable to his.
I actually just finished reading Malcolm’s new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. I love the way Malcolm always seems to take a subject and find some new and interesting perspective to look at old material. I like the way he makes complex subjects appear very simple by giving you just enough detail to capture your attention without overwhelming you with too much detail. Finally I enjoy the way he makes subjects that could be very boring if told in a traditional academic style engaging through the use of storytelling.
Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to meet Malcolm on my book tour. I’m spending a few months marketing locally in Florida. Then in August I have an aggressive 123-city 20,000-mile book tour planned. It would be nice to meet you as I’m bouncing from city to city, hopefully I’ll get that opportunity.