Discovering the Book I’ve Always Wanted to Write

Will Newman

On Monday, I told you about Sarah, a young friend of mine who I’m certain will become a published author.

She’ll certainly reach her goal at a younger age than I did. At 13 years old, Sarah’s an inspiration for me to finally write my own book, a dream I’ve had since …

Well, let me back up fifty-five years to tell you about my dream.

I’m not sure what inspired me — or maybe I should say possessed me — when at 12 years old I discovered my passion for writing. I just know I turned to pen and paper when I needed a listener when nobody listened to me. My mother’s Christmas gift of a Hermes Rocket portable typewriter fueled my passion.

But by that age, I was entrenched in my professional goal of becoming a scientist. I pursued that goal through college until my career path swerved radically and I became a teacher of severely disabled children.

But all through those years, I kept writing. Poetry. Short stories. Aborted attempts at novels.

A hard realization

Looking back, with the exception of one poem and a couple of short stories, my fiction and poetry were crap.

My last attempt at fiction came twenty years ago when I moved to rural northern California. I tried writing a novel about my town. It stunk, and I knew it did. So I gave up my dream of writing a book.

During that same time, I became a solid copywriter … thanks in large part to the AWAI Accelerated Program. As I continued writing, I got better. Over the next fifteen years I not only wrote successful promotions, I also ghost wrote several books.

Then three years ago, I collaborated with Mark Ford on his book Persuasion. Those experiences pushed me back into my dream of writing a book.

Inspiration from unexpected places

Then Sarah came along. Her passion and persistence inspired me. A little over a year ago, I vowed that it was my time to write my own book.

I knew what it would be. Definitely not fiction. And not about copywriting. You can learn from numerous far more successful copywriters and marketers.

No. I vowed to write about what I call “the best thing I’ve done in my life professionally.”

Big Lessons, Little Teachers is about lessons I learned from my special education students. The first five chapters are in the can … awaiting their second, third, and fourth drafts after I finish the remaining seven chapters.

When I started, I figured I’d knock off a chapter a week. But this project touches too deeply to rush through. So it’s taking longer than I’d expected. But I will have my first own book written by the end of this year.

Do I plan on publishing it? Definitely. How and when remains to be seen, but I know what I have to say is worth sharing.

Thanks to copywriting. And particularly thanks to Sarah.

Let me hear from you

Come back on Friday when I tell you two of my favorite books. You might be surprised at the books on the list and some that aren’t.

Until then, please take a moment to let us know in the comments below who or what has inspired your quest to claim the writer’s life for your own.

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Published: February 17, 2016

23 Responses to “Discovering the Book I’ve Always Wanted to Write”

  1. Hi Will,

    I wish you much writing success with your new book.

    While working as a substitute teacher, I wrote a novel for the Christian market for a teen/young adult audience. I'm hoping to use the skills I learned in the Accelerated program to find a literary agent that might eventually help me find a publisher for my novel.



  2. My eighth grade English teacher lit a bonfire under me for all things regarding writing, then my high school guidance teacher aimed a fire hose at it. I wanted to be a writer; she told me I wouldn't make money, that I was better suited in business classes, so I could be a secretary. It took me nearly 40 years, but I'm back with a vengeance at 56. Hmmm, I need another antagonist in my novel...maybe her name will be Bonnie, like the guidance counselor. ;-)

    Guest (MaryAnn)

  3. Hi Will,

    Congratulations on taking this big step. I can definitely relate, as it took me a long time to find the courage to throw myself into writing fiction. I LOVE the title of your book and look forward to seeing it make its way into the world.

    Great article - thanks!


    Ilona C

  4. I loved writing since I was a little girl. I love history, and English, and writing. I wrote all the time.

    Guest (mia)

  5. Words to lift Thoughts to Inspire They are to my heart, Wonderful Gift Enabling Fire

    I might touch your spirit, true Thoughts to think Actions do Thought and action, joyous link

    Successs enabling, accomplishing view.

    Guest (Leslie)

  6. Hey Will!

    I'm so happy you are going after your dream of writing a book!
    My first realization of being a writer was in my senior year. Being an artist, I scooped up all the art classes available and was curious about the creative writing class. So I took it too.
    And it sure did open a huge door of creativity for me!
    That was six years ago and I've been working on a novel since then.
    Still not done, but we will all get there!
    I'm so thankful to have found out about copywriting.

    Guest (Sarah S)

  7. Dear Will,

    Your story has greatly encouraged me!

    For many years I assisted severely disabled people, and their families, to help them reveal their particular gifts and find a valid place for them in society. So, I truly identify with your story and would LOVE to purchase a copy of your book once it is published!

    As of March 7, 2014 I was diagnosed with leukemia and had to resign my 13 year career. Now I'm gradually building a new career of writing! Thanks for sharing!

    Sincerely, Stephanie


  8. Namaste Will, When you are ready to start your publishing adventure, I offer one piece of humble advise., You will be happy you checked out this site.

    Guest (Robbie Lunt)

  9. Hi Will, I am looking forward to reading your book! My only son (now an adult) is on the autism spectrum and his trials and tribulations are always teaching me something!

    As soon as I learned to read, it was as if I wanted to write too! Poetry, adventure comics, and inspired by MAD, I even tried creating my own humor magazine!

    As an adult I always put off writing as a career, figuring I could always write once I'd learned or done something else.

    Well, I've done plenty. Now it's time to write!


  10. Hi Will, Yes, I have lived a writer's life, but the federal agents (remember Edward Snowden)at the Data Collection Center have always attacked my computer while communicating with producers or agents or managers. But I prefer to write fiction not factual articles or ads. I've tried several times. So I'm always looking for stories to tell at a campfire.

    Guest (Mark Wagner)

  11. Hi Will! I've been an AWAI member for years because I just wanted to write. Because I was working a regular job full time I never really worked at it. Now I am retired and have all the time in the world to do what I want. You story has inspired me to sit down and do it. Every journey begins with a single step, now is the time to start walking! Thanks and much success in your writing adventure!

    Guest (Cathy)

  12. Hi Mr. Newman, I was intrigued to have learned that you discovered your passion for writing at the age of 12 years old. My passion for writing also was uncovered when I was young in the 3rd grade.I recall my teacher giving us an assignment to write why we love our community for a local arts and cultural festival. At the age of eight,I was excited in the anticipation of other people reading my words. I won 3rd place and was proud of myself. My parents were happy but it was just another school project to them.I really have a love for writing and I believe through my life story of trials and tribulations I can create inspirational and motivational stories to inspire our young adolescents and teens.


  13. Reading various books as a child was exciting! While my siblings were out hopping around playing freeze tag, I'd be somewhere in my grandmother's house, lost in a book.

    After starting my family, time rarely permitted me to enjoy a great read. That is until, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

    During the 2nd rnd of chemo my three children ( 2,6,& 10 yrs old) & I, unexpectedly became homeless.

    A med leave from work granted time to sit and write the most compelling memoir of my life!

    " Till I Grow, " describes in more detail of what I've just shared, and thankfully the story ended in triumph, because throwing in the towel would've been too easy peezy :)

    Guest (Ms Rayshawn McAuley )

  14. I'm just joining the ranks to become a copywriter. I'm a clinical psychologist who has been able to write dissertation and for some reason my book has been put on the back burner for some years now. I want to conqurer the art of copywriting and will move forward from there. You are really encouraging and I read whatever you are writing.

    Guest (Dr Jackson)

  15. Hi Will, a wonderful article about something dear to my heart, writing. From grade school I could not get enough reading, living at the library. All my writing teachers were the awesome authors I read so much. Recently retired, a month now, I'm looking toward copywriting. I have one book of poetry, two pub. novels, one book of short stories/poetry, and just finishing third novel, plus ghost wrote one. I so look forward to your book, definitely want to buy and read it. Good luck, K*


  16. Once again I thank you Will, you are an inspiration to me. I will finish this book. I am writing a book that starts from my parents lives and continues to run through the life achievements of my wife and family farming experiences. We started with great hopes and achieved great things. We are still together after 49 years. Now retired and trying to learn to write. I have wanted to write our story for it needs to be written, regards Dave E. All the best with your book. My wife doesn't want me to write our story.

    Dave E Australia

  17. So Happy you have decided to write a novel and you will be sahring it with us. I am thinking about what I should write about but for now I am busy with my blog and trying to get people to look at it. It is called teach me how to study for all students struggling in school and especially parents of stuggling learners. It is keeping me busy looking for good ideas.

    Guest (Barbara)

  18. I am inspired by God and my fellow human beings. I have two stories to tell and am writing them mostly simultaneously. I don't have a working computer yet so I am writing long hand. I have vacillated between getting an agent and maybe getting it ghost written. The first one is "Autobiography: Going Blind as an Artist and Having a genius for a grandmother and mother." The second one is: "A Book to Remember" and it is religious. I have been journalizing and it comes from that. I use the bible as part of it. It is heavy on meditation.

    Guest (Diana)

  19. Will,I'm excited about your book. I want to read it. So hurry up and write it. I love the title,"Big Lessons, Little Teachers". I have a brother who's downs syndrome never got in the way of teaching me what's important. The sentiment of those words resonate with me. Can't wait to see what you can do in a whole book.

    Guest (Julie)

  20. Yes, Will... I write -- and hence need to continue writing -- for mainly one reason >> "A.E.I.O.U." >> i.e., Albert Einstein I Owe U. After all without him, my vision's nothing. And if a picture's worth a thousand words, vision's worth gazillions. But, more importantly, concise and simple treatment of the most complex is the upshot for which we writers need to strive.

    As when general relativity, for example, renders space and time inseparable, so too the writer's purpose and aspirations.

    [FROM WILL:Chris, You've piqued my curiosity. Please tell me more. Email me if you're more comfortable. Will]

    Guest (Chris Morris)

  21. Thanks, Will. Your book sounds wonderful. I don't have any regular contact with special needs people, but I've substituted for them at school a couple of times and read a one or two books that give insight to their world. I find the subject very intriguing and one we should all seek to understand and embrace, and teach our children. I have great admiration for those who work in this difficult area day after day. Thank you.


  22. I have been following and sometimes printing your posts. I appreciate the way you present the information. I am learning a lot from you, so thanks for the time and knowledge.

    Guest (Tonya Claybaugh)

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