On writing my first book...
There are few things scarier than starting your own project. Most of my work has been with Arms control in developing countries; so scary is not really something I use lightly.
My project started as this straightforward guidebook to people who wanted to start a career in development work and did not really know how. As well as being a collection of advice given to many friends throughout the years, it was also pointed out the realities in the field and gave alternatives. Just because you are a charitable person, does not mean that you have to work in charity, you can still give your contribution and have a fulfilling career in whatever field you love the most. Or working with humanitarian issues doesn’t make you more of a humanitarian than someone who is helping others in their time of need.
It had to be a little bit of tough love, because we grew up with lots of views of development work that don’t really relate to what we do on a day-to-day basis. That being said it is important to know that in the end of the day, it is also a profession. So, you do have to be qualified for the job, not just have the best intentions, because in the end of the day: experience and skills will trump intentions. But even though, those are the ones that get you through the door, your vision for a better world makes you stay. That is the greatest motivator and it is the thing that supports you when you having a really bad day.
Which was also a great motivator for me doing this book. Honestly, I knew very little about publishing and what needed to be done. I went for the Do-it-yourself (DIY) route, which meant that I had to finance the book myself, but I also had complete creative and content control. It was tough. I had to research graphic designers, where I could publish it and still maintain really low costs… Pretty much a world I knew nothing about. The end result, though, was completely worth it and terrifying. It is my project, my ideas and if everything fails… My responsibility. That itself was quite daunting, but, I though, it was long overdue. And if I have to fail, let it be big and for something I believe and I have created. I will learn and make bigger and “better mistakes”.
So, my project, hopefully, will help idealistic students who are just starting, like I was one day - starting. Idealistic is a badge for life and I will always carry it proudly and I don’t think we ever stop learning. The book itself is a lot of focussing in skills, where to start looking, what are alternatives, what do on the beginning. The newsletter, twitter and Facebook page are more on general information and discussions on aid and development, plus entry-level opportunities.
It is my second week managing it all (though 15th week of the newsletter, and a month since the eBook release), so I though I would share with you, my friends and welcome any thoughts, comments or encouraging experiences you might have.
My book is available here: https://gumroad.com/l/YJvi
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/doingwhatyoulovebook