I'm finally getting serious and writing "The Book" – Escape from Cubicle Nation

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Handsonkeyboard Well, things are suddenly cooking on the book front and I am working with an agent to create a proposal for the book I have been simmering inside my head for the last 8 months … Escape from Cubicle Nation.  (Not surprised by the title, eh?)

I have always known I wanted to write a book, but the process of research and investigation has led me to first identify a unique purpose and message.  There are a lot of great books out there that provide excellent information for starting a business, including The Art of the Start, The Startup Garden, Startup Nation, The Bootstrapper’s Bible, Flying Solo and Six Week Startup.  These are just a handful – I think I have read every book ever written on starting a business in the last few months. 

Where there doesn’t seem to be as much information, and hence where I want to focus, is on the transition period between your first flash of inspiration that you want to do something meaningful and creative with your life and actually quitting your job to start your own business.  There are all kinds of issues that come up in this period which include identifying an idea that you are passionate about, ensuring there is a market for it, dealing with the myriad of financial questions including startup capital, self-funded benefits and cash flow, leveraging learning opportunities and contacts within your corporate job, carving out time from your busy schedule to work on your business and dealing with the intense fear that comes from leaving a perceived "stable" environment and entering the unknown wild land of untested entrepreneurship.  My audience are creative individuals who have grown up in and been quite successful in a corporate environment, but who have become disillusioned with the current unstable and highly dysfunctional state of corporate organizations.

I have learned so much from the hundreds of comments and questions I receive on this blog, and for that I am very grateful. This interaction is the best part of this whole journey.  I feel a fierce kinship with and sense of accountability to all of you out there who have shared your thoughts with me.  I want to write something that is going to be both meaningful and useful, thought-provoking and sobering and that makes you laugh (or cry) in all the right places.

The whole endeavor feels terrifying and exhilarating.  I will do my best to take my own medicine and not write to appease any large and powerful publisher, but rather to contribute something truly unique and useful. 

I share this with you for two reasons.  First, to say THANK YOU for all of your encouragement.  Each email, comment and incoming link gives me courage to take this work one step further.  I feel very honored to have a place on your blogrolls and to see my work referred to in your posts. (And a special thanks to Professor Rao for your door-opening introduction and motivating encouragement to get cracking on writing the book!)

Second, I want to ask your permission to check in occasionally about the book and get your perspectives and feedback.  I think I have a sense of what would be valuable to write about, but I won’t really know if I am on track until I get some feedback from my YOU, my intended audience.  If you have specific ideas for what would be useful information to include in the book, please share it with me!  I will be listening intently.

There is also probably a third, previously unspoken reason to share this with you — ACCOUNTABILITY.  If I know that others are aware of my quest to finish my book proposal, it will help keep me motivated to get it done.  So feel free to send the occasional email that says "So, Pam, how’s the proposal coming?" or "Seems you have been writing a lot of blog posts lately, how about the book?"  I have been known to need an occasional kick in the pants to get things done, so I publicly invite your gentle, or not so gentle, goading.

My goal is to get the proposal done (which includes a couple of chapters) by the end of September.  The clock is now officially ticking!

17 Responses to “I'm finally getting serious and writing "The Book" – Escape from Cubicle Nation”

  1. EllayWest says:

    I need a copy of this because I have been over-run with fear of not being able to do it for myself but each and every time I get a new job (I have been a temp for 5 years), my onlde desire is to go home and make it work from there. I start feeling boxed in and just not alive. But I realized something the other day..I have to quit my job. When and how?…I just don’t know. I have work coming in for my company which is a cros between freelance writing and other biz services but I can’t tackle these projects because I work all week..then I have a 3 and 5 year old to go home to….but I need to quit my job..I need to know how!!!

  2. Murali says:

    Hi Pam, I love reading your blog. Congratulations and Wish you all good luck for the book. But I have one question, do you still think a book is the right form to convey your message?

    Book is a very rigid form and not the best form for a topic like Entrepreneurship. We will miss Interaction, revisions, introduction of new, lively and “contemporary” topics. Wouldn’t it be better to have a living edition, (available through subscription if needed) of the book on the web than a rigid printed version.

    —-

    Hi Murali!

    Thanks so much for the encouragement.

    You are right – a hard copy book is just a snapshot in time while an e-book can be updated. I will continue to comment on and contribute more content to this blog long after the book is published, as well as create some electronic resources which can be updated with new information. As a great lover of books, I still see value in them, as they reach a much broader audience, many of whom are still not totally web-savvy. There is a place for all forms of media, and I look to utilize as many forms as I can to get the message out.

  3. Bob says:

    47 pages of mind mapping tools later…

    Mac: Tinderbox
    http://markbernstein.org/Jul0601/PlottingwithTinderbox.html
    (no windows version yet :()
    Windows: 3dTopicscape.
    http://www.topicscape.com/

    (I lust for tinderbox!)

  4. Bob says:

    Here’s one more Pamela,

    Use a mind-mapping tool. Best list of them I’ve found:

    http://www.mind-mapping.org/mind-mapping-software/1

    -Bob

  5. Bob says:

    Pamela,

    As someone who’s written a related book (Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality) for programmers and am well into my second book, some tips from the front.

    First and Foremost: block out an absolute-must do daily block of time and write! Every. Single. Day. The alternative is writing binges that are very, very painful and deprive you of the chance to do your best work.

    Outline: At least for me, the outline is the connector between vision and first draft. You probably have one now, but how does it feel chapter by chapter? As part of the process, list/brainstorm who you want to interview, releases you’ll need.

    The Net: You are going to end up with a few thousand (more) bookmarks – clear space for them, set up folders by chapter, investigate integrating with your blog via del.icio.us (google daily links).

    The Blog: You need to work out an understanding with your editor about how much, what form content from the book is going to spill over to blog. See your contract! For book 1, I posted 19 of the interviews in raw form over a 19 week period – but not much else. For book 2, (working title Clear Blogging) I’m holding back content from my blog, then will mix in other stuff too closer to publication.

    Castingwords.com – They are very very good at transcribing interviews CHEAPLY. Use them to make your interview transcription pain go away.

    Hope this helps,
    Bob Walsh

  6. Pamela Slim says:

    Wow everyone, thanks so much for the great support!

    I will carefully make note of your suggestions and be sure to send signed copies of the book once they are fresh off the press.

    How did I get so lucky to have such a raucous, creative and lively group of cheerleaders?

    All the best,
    -Pam

  7. Margherite says:

    Save me a place in the line! Right now I’m most interested in how to downselect one out of the dozen or so passions I’ve developed since I stopped putting creative energy into a toxic corporate environment for the sake of a paycheck.

  8. Leah says:

    YEAH PAM!!!!! I am with the rest…where is my copy!!! As a side note…I was introduced to this company called BzzAgents…you may want to look into it…they work with Penguin books publishing…but have also done some great Word-of-Mouth marketing for other incredible authors…actually I just got done reading The Ice Cream Maker by Subir Chowdhury…great book. Anyway…just thought I would throw that out there!

    Also…I honestly wish your book was ready now…oh how I wish somewhere in the endless sea of start-up books and business information there was someone who was directing us through the VERY confusing transition phase. Here I am sitting in my typical day to day job wondering how I will ever walk through that door and not look back!?? How do I get myself to that point…where do I start…where do I go from there…why do I feel soooo lost in this maze of information!? Great ideas…just don’t know what to do with them all. Also…maybe if you could touch on the aspect of actually acquiring funding…how do you make that proposal if you all you have is an idea!? For me…I am trying to create a non-profit…but without the actual non-profit status…how do I get funding from people who want that tax deduction!? These types of things would be helpful! I can’t walk out the front door of my current job without a decent foundation for the new one…right!?

    Anyway…thanks again Pam…you are truly an inspiration! I can’t wait to get my copy of your book! (Oh gosh…and please do sign them…that would just be too cool!)

  9. Mary Hunt says:

    Don’t be afraid to self-publish if the traditional route doesn’t work.

  10. Carla Golden says:

    Congratulations, Pam! You go, girl! I am affirming for you that the words will flow easily and effortlessly and your book will be a best-seller. Please know that for me and my book as well. Right now, I’m still working at drawing to me my right and perfect agent.

    Carla

  11. Hurrah for you! I second the comment above — where & when can I buy my copy?

    As someone in that transition, I think it is an under-served space & look forward to your wisdom.

    On the idea front: Another piece in the transition that is equally frustrating to me is doing what seems to be the right things, putting out a product or call to action to get started and watching the tumbleweeds blow by. While a small list or teleclass group isn’t going to make me millions, as a “newbie” I wonder what’s missing to convert the prospects I do have into customers. Most of the information out there from marketers assume you have a list of zillions or can create a list of zillions in 30 days and magically place a call to action and earn thousands.

    So, for me, it is not only a transition fear, but the doubt kicks in and I extrapolate the fear into — if I had a call to action to 100 people and 0 responded, how the heck to I replace a corporate peon salary in my own business…ever???

    So, congrats — and do continue to “use” us, your loyal blog readers to keep you motivated and on track.

  12. robert says:

    Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah! I dibs book #1.

    Am with you all the way on this very exciting venture.

    Do it! Rock on!

  13. Way to go, Pam. This is needed material. Remember a book is like driving at night on a country road: You can only see as far as the headlights. I am sure you will enjoy the process.

  14. Jason Clegg says:

    Sounds fantastic! I’m sure you’re approach to writing such a book will provide a fresh perspective. Keep us posted…

  15. Escape from Cubicle Nation, The Book

    I am ready to buy Pamela Slims book as soon as I can place an order. I love the wit and…

  16. Pam,

    I’d like to pay for my autographed copy now please!
    We really need this book. Stay focused and know people care about you and your message.

  17. Anna Farmery says:

    I am with you 100%. I was a Corporate Director and left this year to follow my dream The self-doubt is just surfacing..not that I don’t believe in what I am doing but because I was brought up to work. Here I am, coming up with inventive ways of keeping the money coming in – cleaning my neighbours house, selling CD’s on Amazon…and I keep thinking wouldn’t it be easier just to go back to the big pay cheque at the end of the month. Then I think about my energy levels, my happiness, my freedom, my rising passion….and I think I will explore a little longer…but can’t wait to read your book and find out the secret formula!

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