Two Books in Ten Months: My 40th Birthday Writing Challenge

by Brian Cormack Carr on August 13, 2012 · 10 comments

in Publishing, Real Food Revival Plan, Vital Vocation, Writing

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If there any verifiable signs that you’re heading into a mid-life crisis, one of them may well be the decision to write your first two books by the time you’re 40.  When 40 is just ten months away…

Here’s what’s up: I’ve always known it wasn’t a question of if I’d write a book, it was a question of when.  Love writing, always have.  I’ve been writing all my life, and not just shopping lists and job applications.  I used to draw stories on my toy blackboard before I could even write words (as I remember, they were all about an amazing superhero called BAM! and I had to rub each picture out before I could draw the next one, so unfortunately no evidence remains of his short-lived yet incandescent existence).

I even won a couple of short story competitions when I was at school, and I was very briefly a roving reporter for my student newspaper.

When I graduated from University, I was offered a job as a trainee journalist in my home town, but I turned it down in favour of moving to the big city and becoming a filthy capitalist (or, as my job description at the time described it, a “Trainee Retail Manager”).

Fast forwarding through several life and career changes, I started this blog in 2009 to promote my then just-launched coaching practice, and quickly found that I enjoyed the blogging every bit as much as the coaching.  Perhaps that shouldn’t have been such a surprise.  I usually get pretty good responses to my writing.  Several blog readers have even contacted me to ask if I have anything published that they could buy. Beleive me, there’s nothing quite like an email that begins “I looked for you on Amazon” to make you want to pull your finger out!

So at least I know I have some kind of audience out there, right…?

Over the past couple of years, the pace and volume of my writing (and hopefully the quality) has increased steadily.  I’ve been writing for this blog, and in other freelance writing gigs with Paleo Diet News, Careershifters, The Coaching Academy Blog, the Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network, and Squidoo.  I even do an occasional bit of writing in my day job at BVSC, The Centre for Voluntary Action.

Recently, I decided to collate a few of the articles I’d written for those external sites into a single document, just for my own records.  It took a while, and the file was large.  So large, in fact, that I remember pondering at the time “Wow…I’ve written at least the equivalent of a book here,” a thought quickly followed by another: “Hey…why don’t I just write a damn book?”

So that’s what I’m going to do.  

Except…I have too much to say to fit into just one book.  Because of the way things have evolved in the past year or so, I’ve found myself gathering a lot of information, and forming a lot of opinions, in two key areas: firstly, life purpose and career design (the original subjects of my coaching practice and this blog) and latterly, real food, cooking and ancestral health (as a result of my own dietary experimentations and my work with clients – and as one of the original contributors to the Paleo Diet News website).

The solution?  Write two books, one on each topic – which may well be crazy, but should at least be entertaining.

The books are (or will be):




Snappy titles, huh?  Well, they’ll do for the working drafts at least.  Click on the images above to find your way to the dedicated website for each, where I’ll be publishing the first drafts of the books, post-by-post, as I write them.  Yes, really: not only am I going to write two books before I’m 40, I’m also going to write them in public and I’m going to give the first drafts away online for free.

Well, if you’re going to have a mid-life crisis, you may as well have one in style.

I want to acknowledge two particular sources of inspiration for this madcap initiative: Nina Amir, whose book How To Blog A Book inspired me to publicly blog the first drafts; and Joanna Penn, whose excellent podcast and website The Creative Penn have helped me to chart out a (hopefully!) workable path to my goal.

I’ll be blogging about my progress – and the lessons learned – here on (yeah, like I needed another website to maintain –  although at this stage I’m just thinking “bring it on!”)

I’ll also be sharing information about all of the useful writing and publishing resources I find and use along the way (and probably also about any resources I find to help me get by on 3 hours of sleep a night).  So if you want to set yourself a similarly crazy challenge for your mid-life crisis, look no further…

Wish me luck…and let me know what you think: is this idea cracking, or just crackers?

Image courtesy of

Thanks for visiting! You can find more of my writing in my Amazon bestselling self-help guides How To Find Your Vital Vocation and Real Food Revival Plan both of which are available worldwide in e-book and paperback formats. Find out more here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim Swart August 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Awesome Brian!!! I look forward to both of them 🙂 The force will be with you!!


Brian Cormack Carr August 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thanks Tim! 🙂 Great to see you here….


kimberly shaffer August 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Wonderful news!! I have sat in the warmth of your cyber shadow for several years now; considering I was just promoted from Technical Support Specialist to Grievance and Appeal Administrator ( a bump up 5 job grades!), I think it safe to say that I have learned much from you! C0ngrats to you my friend.


Brian Cormack Carr August 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Kimberly, I appreciate that. Well done on your promotion – well deserved! 😀


Belinda Pollard (@Belinda_Pollard) August 27, 2012 at 2:03 am

Brian, for my midlife crisis I coloured my hair and bought a pair of high-heeled boots. 😉

Yours sounds like a more useful response.

Go for it!!!


Brian Cormack Carr September 1, 2012 at 6:28 am

Thanks Belinda – I’m not ruling out a new hair colour and high-heeled boots either! Nice to see you here 🙂


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