Why did Bury My Heart at Conference Room B take 8 years to write?
I needed to make a compelling case about a complex issue. There is a duality to the reader: They are both manager and management. As a manager, they’re concerned about themselves; as management they’re concerned about their company. There is constant tension between these two roles and to reach a reader both ways at the same time took awhile to figure out. There’s a lot of process in this book—diagnostics and examples—but the why has to be written well before the how is done for the right reasons. I didn’t write it just to explain; I wrote this book to persuade and there’s a lot more required to do that.
Before I started writing the book I read every article I could find about highly productive writers – the Stephen Kings and such. They all said the same thing: No matter what, get into a pattern of writing and write every day. And here I am running a company, traveling hundreds of thousands of miles a year. I would write for a couple of days, get in the zone and not be able to write again for a month, then have to get back in the zone. One of the more amazing things about writing a book is that there is not necessarily any connection between hours input and pages output. Anyway I did a lot of writing in our offices, in my library at home, in hotel rooms around the world. In the time I spent waiting to get onto planes, waiting for planes to take off and waiting for planes to land I could have written War and Peace.
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