I recently co-edited three books on leadership with a colleague from Poland. In them, I co-authored chapters with five students or alumni of Saint Vincent College’s Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program and six SVC faculty. One of the chapters, co-authored with Dr. William Hisker, was entitled “Benedictine Leadership” and was adapted from a foundational document we wrote in the development of the Benedictine Leadership Studies program at Saint Vincent. But my primary role in these editing projects (aside from writing some chapters) was to look over the works of other authors to consider for inclusion in the books.
Though I am very proud of these books, editing is much different than authorship and I had never had a book that I authored published until just a few days ago. In late February, Business Expert Press published my solely authored book “The Generation Myth: How to Improve Intergenerational Relationships in the Workplace.” This publication is probably the most proud I’ve been of any of my academic works to date, including the three leadership books that I co-edited noted above.
Part of the reason I am so proud of this book is because, even though it took only two years to write, it represents a summation and synthesis of most of my major research on generational phenomena that I’ve worked on over the past decade. Engaging in such a project where I take many of my prior publications and try to weave together a cohesive narrative explaining my work was exciting, fun and daunting.
It was (and is) also more than a little scary. Before authoring this book, I never thought about book authors being nervous about their work. But, after spending years working on this, I am nervous now that it is published. I personally think the book is great – to me, it’s compelling and has the potential to positively impact organizations. I feel that its arguments are logical, and they are well-supported with research. But, how will it be received by others? What will people think of it? Will they find my arguments compelling? What will the reviews be like on Amazon? Or, alternatively, will anyone even read the book?
I find myself wondering if other book authors have the same questions. I imagine that they do. I know that many of my students get nervous about writing and others reading their work. In workshops that Saint Vincent’s Interdisciplinary Writing Program hosts, other faculty members have shared that they, too, find their students to be nervous about writing.
Some possible reasons students might be nervous about writing could include being worried about writing properly (e.g., grammatical issues). It’s also possible that they are worried about whether their statements are clear and if their audience (often their professor or perhaps their peers) will understand or agree with the points they are trying to make. They may ask themselves, “Does this make sense to someone other than me?”
For students who have these concerns, I think it’s important to know that published authors have these concerns too (at least I do). In just about every article or chapter I have written, I’ve questioned my writing in some regard, but never more so than with my book. Editing is one thing – with the exception of the chapters I co-authored in my edited books, in essence I was making decisions about including other peoples’ work. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I did not write the entirety of those edited books.
But, my new book, “The Generation Myth,” is all me. And I hope readers like it.
Have you ever been nervous about something you’ve created, whether it was a piece of writing, presentation, creative work or other work deliverable? How did you manage your concerns? Do you find these to be common concerns held by many people? I’m always excited to hear from you! Email me at email@example.com, message me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/urickmj/) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-urick-05b775a3/) or leave me a comment below.
Dr. Mike Urick