Picture by Kahrin

I Never Wanted to Write a Book

The triumph and truth of the journey writing “Live LIVE! Creating Community in Music Experiences.”

Katie O'Connell
Aug 15 · 5 min read

“Want to write a book?”

Heck no and let me tell you why…

  • I don’t read. My childhood learning disability discouraged me from picking up a book on my own for years.
  • I’ve got nothing to say. My story is simple and my knowledge is general. What would I have to share?
  • I can’t spell. Ask my brother, he regularly roasts me in our family group chat. Or honestly…just keep reading. In true Katie fashion, you are bound to find a typo.

Then the idea was repositioned, “want to do an experiment in entrepreneurship?”

HECK YES! And here is why…

  • I’m curious. There is so much I want to learn and countless people I’m eager to learn from.
  • I love to create. Figuring ways to pull facts and feelings together to meet the needs of others excites me.
  • I am obsessed with the idea of entrepreneurship. The moment I took my first class in entrepreneurship, I began to fully express my thoughts and ideas in ways that I never had before. It unlocked a sense of aliveness in me I didn’t know I was missing.

Twelve months ago my professor, Doan Winkel, asked me if I wanted to pilot the Creator Institute program with him at John Carroll and write a book. I thought it was totally out of my league. Then I jumped on the phone with Eric Koester, the mastermind behind this two-semester course where students write and publish a book with New Degree Press, and he explained to me the power of a book. Outside of New Degree Press, only about 30 college students publish a book every year and I could be one of them. The point is not to sell a million copies and become a New York Times Best Seller, most people don’t do that nowadays, but rather establish my credibility. He didn’t offer me a “How to Write a Book 101” class, but rather a “How to Become an Expert” course.

Through interviews, stories, and contributions from experts in the music and startup world, I reimagined in-person user experiences. I developed a recipe for a human-centric experience, rooted in community. I happened to write a book in the process. The book serves as my manifesto, my declaration to be a part of creating these experiences in the world.

For all these reasons I embarked on this experiment in entrepreneurship, I am left feeling more energized in this spirit.

  • The process of writing the book gave me the keys to unlock my curiosity. I wasn’t aimlessly asking questions just because, but with a clear purpose. Each question I asked interviewees was prepared with the intention to further define my purpose so that I could ultimately share with others.
  • I fine-tuned my toolbox as a creator. In the journey of any entrepreneur, one is faced with the task of identifying a problem, developing a solution, researching, cold calling, interviewing, funding, branding, and marketing their product or service. I encountered all of those steps in writing my book. I started by identifying the problem I wanted to tackle and it hit close to home. I think many entrepreneurs are often trying to solve a very personal problem in their ventures. I wrote my book all about redefining in-person user experiences to be more community-centric because that was something I craved in my life. But, as I started interviewing others, I realized I wasn’t alone in this journey to want to feel like I belonged in my lived experiences. Through gathering stories and insight I experienced little triumphs and epic failure which shaped my storyline. I learned to shoot my shot, reaching out to creatives who were totally out of my league, and to lean on friends, family, and mentors, for help. It took a community to publish Live LIVE!
  • My entrepreneurial spirit was fed and I have got the bug to keep creating. The maximizer in me sees the good in this project and the potential for even greater. This is only the beginning.

It’s funny and ironic, for all the reasons I didn’t want to write a book, I feel empowered by writing one.

  • I didn’t read and now I want to read every book I can get my hands on. The journey writing Live LIVE! left me with more questions than when I started. I have found that every story offers a different truth to the questions I am trying to answer on my journey. Each story has the power to inspire from a different angle.
  • I felt like I had nothing to say, but then I realized I just didn’t know how to share my story. We all have some sort of knowledge to offer the world, something unique that makes us tick that we can share with others. I have had this fire burning inside me, but it took me some time to find my voice and articulate the curiosity it sparked within me.
  • I still can’t spell so I just own that now and befriend really good spellers.

By no means am I an expert in designing in-person user experiences, but I know more now than when I started 12 months ago about how to create experiences that are exciting, engaging, and human-centric (I have got a book to prove it!). To many, it may seem like a book is this sort of end goal, it is a manifesto set in stone. But, the book is just the beginning of my journey as a creator in this space. There are going to be many iterations as I continue to explore this topic.

What kind of statement do you want to make to the world? How are you going to make it? What will it teach you?

I never wanted to write a book, but I am sure glad I did because it has been one heck of an introduction to a new chapter in my life.

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This post is part of a blog series where I share stories from the journey writing my book, Live LIVE!, and expand upon themes within the book. If you’d like to join me in this discussion, please feel free to email me at katie@ventureko.com or connect with me here on LinkedIn. You can find my book on Amazon.

Katie O'Connell

Written by

I am on a purposeful adventure and sharing stories along the way. Learn more about my experience and projects at www.ventureko.com

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