Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Arrogance of Writing: New Author Talks Turkey About His Foray Into Writing

Former Fortune 40 exec Garrett Miller talks about the impetus for his new book, Hire on a WHIM: The Four Qualities that Make for Great Employees, on the qualities every job candidate must have and every hiring manager must look for. Read Garrett's surprising take on what pushed him to write and keep writing successfully.

AA: With your extensive sales and training background, what got you started writing?

GM: Having time on my hands after a job change and starting a company [Garrett is president and CEO of CoTria, a productivity management firm] led me down a foreign path. I found myself with a very rare commodity time. With this hopefully brief window of time, I decided I would write, and with excitement I poured the first of many cups of afternoon tea and stared. I had dozens of ideas and years of kinetic energy ready to be unleashed onto the keyboard. Then the doubts began to creep in, and my thoughts began to attack me. On what authority are you going to write? Who would ever read your book? Despite the doubts, I pressed on, knowing the creative process would be better than sitting idle and to tell you the truth, I did think I had something of value to say.
AA: What was your next hurdle?

GM: Once I was committed to writing, my second obstacle was what I would say, and whether it was new and valuable in the marketplace.

GM: I enjoyed the process of discovering what I would write about. I pulled back my life's camera so that I was looking at my career from a 10,000-foot perspective and asked, "What did you do well, and what did others think you did well?" The answer came quickly hiring. I hired terrific talent into the company, and others took notice as well. That was a great feeling. So, I had my subject matter; now what would I have to say?

AA: Sounds like the roller coaster all writers go through, but how did you figure that out?

GM: The next step took a few days of hard thinking, and that was figuring out why I hired well and why anyone would care. I began to unpack my experiences and looked for common threads that ran through each of my hires. I still remember sitting alone in a restaurant waiting for my client and just writing down ideas and qualities. I rearranged my thoughts, rewrote them and then boiled them down to four words. Then I played with the words, found synonyms and rearranged them until I had a cleaver acronym WHIM. It was at this point that my book was born. I had direction and purpose, and a foundation on which to build. Most important was a new-found confidence in my subject matter that it was new and valuable. Now I could write with confidence.

AA: That's hugely encouraging for any writer fiction or nonfiction. But the title of this post which is your title is the "arrogance" of writing. What do you mean that?

GM: I still found myself amazed at the arrogance needed to write as a "subject matter expert." When I doubted my expertise, I began to bounce my ideas off people I respected. I listened and watched as they heard and processed my ideas. Most of the time a smile would slowly form on their faces as I described my concepts, and then they would give a nod of agreement. What I valued most was when they challenged my ideas and I had to defend them. It was in the successful defense of my subject that I truly grew in confidence. I was energized by these conversations and reconverted to the subject matter expert I needed to be in order to write with assurance.
AA: That's one of the most encouraging things a writer could hear, especially in an age of easy rejection. What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

GM: Once you set out on this glorious task of writing, be convinced of your subject and the creative process of writing. If you begin to lose your swagger, call on your friends and respected colleagues. Be reinvigorated through lively discussion and debate about your subject matter, and then return, born anew.

Garrett Miller is a Word for Words, LLC, feature author, productivity expert and instructor. His Hire on a WHIM is a must-read for job seekers and hiring personnel. Read more about the book at the Editor's Bookshelf. The book is also available at Amazon, at Hire on a WHIM: The Four Qualities that Make for Great Employees.


Aurora Lopez Cancino said...

WOW!!! I loved the challenging attitude helping him as a writer when doubts crept in (sounds familiar???). So refreshing and inspiring. THANK YOU!!!

Adele Annesi said...

Glad you liked it! I felt the same way!