That time I decided to write a book

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I’m going to write a book.

I’ve had this thought for roughly a month or so. I recall having my epiphany when I was watching hiking/camping videos by Homemade Wanderlust earlier this year with the wifey while she was preparing for her Ozark Highlands Trail adventure. The specific video we watched covered how she could afford her lifestyle as a YouTuber, and part of the answer was that she self-published a guide on hiking tips that gave her passive income. I thought, “Hmm, that would be a good challenge. I already write some stuff now, I would just have to organize my stuff and make it a book out of it. The income would be cool, but not really the driving factor. Yep…I’m going to write a book!”

The book I want to write is about leadership, specifically squadron command. The subject is Air Force-centric, but the lessons contained therein could be applied to any mid-level manager. I did some market research (read: asked some FaceBook groups) if they knew of any recent books on squadron command, and most pointed me to Commanding an Air Force Squadron by Timothy Timmons…which was released in the year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Three! I actually remember reading the book when I was a Lieutenant, probably part of the CSAF Reading List. There were a few more recent books that were recommended, but all of them came from an academic institute such as Air University or via an Air Force Fellows program. My reaction was that I didn’t want to have any filters on my thoughts and ideas. I definitely need some editing and professional writing guidance to sharpen my writing, but only the kind of help that would enhance my words, not try to make them “official”. So my plan is simple: by the end of 2019, I will write a book about squadron command from my own unique perspective and my writing style. That might be an aggressive timeline, but I’m giving myself a finite goal to work towards (and find the help I need along the way, more on that later).

I get that writing a book isn’t the same as blogging…or is it? I found two resources to help shape my initial plan: Jerry Jenkins offers a bunch of free guidance on how to write a book, and I picked up How to Blog A Book by Nina Amir. I’ll be reading this material in parallel with writing to help guide both my writing and how I use Project Rise as my online platform to share my ideas on leadership. In addition, I’ll be setting up a private Facebook group for those who shared interest in my idea and want to contribute. Or they just wanted to watch me crash and burn, which is at least entertaining! Point here is that I’m organizing my plan and looking for teammates with similar perspectives to join me.

One of the first steps to writing a book is to develop an outline. The following outline isn’t complete, but I’m using this week’s post to kickstart this task.

Working Title – Enter the 24 Chambers: Squadron Command ain’t nothin to f**k wit’

Purpose – Provide perspective from a two-time squadron commander on how to accomplish a successful 24 month command tour. By successful I mean you have made your squadron and the personnel within your squadron better, not your personal achievements.

Outline

Intro – Will start with a captivating story to hook the reader to want to read the book.

  • Prior to taking Command
    • Things to do prior to taking command
    • Do you have a leadership philosophy?
    • You were selected for command for a reason, so remain YOU
    • How to handle the actual change of command
    • The first 48 hours
  • Start of Tour/First 3 Months
    • Day 1 to End of Tour…BE AUTHENTIC!
    • Resist the urge to make changes…unless it makes sense for teamwork
    • Leadership triad expectations
    • Using Social Media to your advantage
    • Teaming up with Fellow Squadron Commanders
    • Squadron PT isn’t always about working out
  • 6 Months
    • Shaping Commander’s Calls
    • Strategic alignment to Wing priorities
    • The Ops Directive
    • Purposefully including morale events
    • How to deal with “hot spots” in the squadron
    • Do you need an off-site? If so, what kind?
    • Helping other mission partners shine
    • What kind of officer mentorship can you authentically provide?
  • 12 Months
    • Climate Assessment Survey…be ready for punches to the gut
    • Your first OPR
    • Look on the horizon for the big events to rally the squadron around, both ops and morale
    • What is your normal presence around the squadron
    • Find projects outside of your squadron command role
  • 18 Months
    • Don’t go into coast mode!
    • Review leadership philosophy
    • Now is the time to set up your replacement for success; don’t leave trash
  • End of Tour
    • Sq/CC isn’t about you, it’s about your opportunity to shape the next generation of leaders

 

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