It was a year ago....
You will recall the story... two friends and former work colleagues met for breakfast... one earnestly shared their idea of writing a book, something different, something useful, something that spoke not only to the big challenges NextGen leaders face but also their preferences for more succinct, entertaining, engaging, practical formats.
The other, while certainly interested, was slightly distracted by some lingering jet lag and beguiled by the last croissant.
In the year that has elapsed, our partnership and enduring 'yin and yang' has continued. To celebrate this, we thought we'd share some lighter moments from the project so far. Call them outtakes, blooper reel, or just Helmut and David...
What did the writer say when he glued himself to his book? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
After agreeing the A Career Carol broad concept (Aug)
"I had wondered how so many business leaders found the time to write books. I learned that many of them just give a concept to a ghost writer and let them run with it."
"Well, I don't see the point in that. First of all, I don't believe in ghosts. Second, how do they do it... via some sort of editor facilitated medium seance? I guess they could do the whole knock once for the letter "a" and so forth. Would take forever though..."
"So, agreed, let's try to write something ourselves. Make it the most authentic we can. People we know will know instantly what is our voice. It's also for me a large part of the attraction of the project... can we write something good?"
"The good news is we both like to write. From what I gather, the big initial obstacle is actually taking a concept and converting it into a 30k-40k word manuscript. I don't see that as a challenge for us. Certainly not for me."
"Yes, you have probably written cheques with more that 40k words on them. It's good you know yourself. Self-awareness is so important."
"Thanks.... I think..."
My friend from Prague is a writer. He likes to use Spellczech.
Exchanging the first rough draft of our fable story (Oct)
"I've finished up the first sketch of the fable. I'm super nervous about sharing it. It's the strangest feeling. I'm simultaneously proud of it but also hugely sensitive that it might be rubbish. In an ideal world, I send it to you and you promise to either genuinely and completely love it... or you find a way to erase my memory."
"Really looking forward to seeing how it weaved together. Send it!"
"You know like the the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? I suppose I would be Jim Carrey in this scenario and you would be Tom Wilkinson. And the manuscript might be Kate Winslet."
"I like the idea our manuscript might be Kate Winslet. You think we could use that as a code name for it? Like, how's Kate doing today? You know she always seems to make great choices on the projects and scripts she takes on. We should just trust her to get it right."
"OK. I've got it. I'm a bit busy, so might take a week to get back to you."
"That's just cruel."
"Only joking... first reaction by tomorrow am."
Did you hear about the writer that became a tailor? He had to make an Ernest living, the Hemingway.
On working with a publisher (Dec)
"We have an offer from one of the publishers we pitched the book to! This makes me unreasonably happy. It's just a big validation that we have a manuscript that people in the 'Biz' believe in. Hugely validating. Did you read their letter... 'Ultimately, The Board was keen to comment on the engaging quality to the prose and believes that ‘A Career Carol’ has the potential to succeed within its market'. Love that feedback."
"Feels like we've be accepted into an exclusive club. One we know that we probably don't belong in and somehow they've made a mistake. However, before they figure out who we really are, we should make the most of this. Fill our pockets up with publishing material... ink and A5 paper... maybe those elbow clips to keep your sleeves from slipping and a green visor... is a printing press too ambitious?"
"It's insane how much I want to re-read it. It's almost better than a diploma. Or acceptance into a University program."
"We need to go get jackets with elbow pads fitted."
Why do writers always feel cold? Because they are surrounded by drafts!
On returning the edited manuscript to publishers (June)
"How do we hold that exercise? Do we take view that we must have done a great job with the initial submission for there to be so few changes? Or do we worry that this wasn't thorough enough?"
"I know one thing for sure... this is a (swear word) great book!"
"I know it's so good. I hadn't read it really since March. This last 3 weeks I've re-read it about 10 times. It's something of an out of body experience. Almost like we didn't write this thing. That we are editing it for a more talented friend of ours!"
"Completely. Part of me doesn't even remember writing some of this. I know we did. And it seems so relevant... AI, social isolation, post covid anxiety, social judgments about identity.. so relevant and needed."
"Always trust Kate. She is King of the World. Or wait, was that Leonardo?"
"We can be proud of this I think. Worthy of the Drs Schuster & Oxley name"
What is the longest word in the English Dictionary? Smiles because there is a mile between the first letter and the last.
The end for now.