150th Nest City post!


Nest City Graphic


On April 24, 2012 I started to blog pieces of the book I am working on, Nest City. I declared it a slow release, bit by bit, however long it took.

150 posts in, I am exploring Chapter 7 of 11, essentially two thirds of my way through. With each post, I tighten my writing and I see more clearly the plot, the direction the writing is taking. With each post, I also see more clearly the direction I am heading on this personal journey.

As I head into the last third of Nest City, I realize that this part of the book is the least defined. All the writing I have shared about discerning direction and destination, being on a learning journey and exploring emerging thresholds is alive and well for me personally. I do have a sense of direction for this last third, but I have no idea what I will have to say. That will emerge, and that process will be a learning journey along the way. I will continue to share that as I go.

I have grappled with the decision to publicly work on my book as a blog. Other writers have asked why I would dare to ‘publish’ my work in such a non-traditional manner, why I would give it away. Or why I would give away my chances for traditional publishing. 150 posts in, I do not regret this decision. I am giving a lot to readers, but I am gaining so much myself – and my writing is too.

With each blog post, I learn something about me as my writing is taking its shape. I could have done all of this privately, but then I lose the support I receive from readers. More importantly, for me personally, I know much more about what the writing will say when it does appear in ‘book’ form, as one comprehensive piece of writing, than if I did this privately. I know much more about the layers of meaning that I am exploring.

So writing and exploring with an audience matters.

To mark this milestone, I have launched a separate publication, Nest City News, an email newsletter series that explores the the human drive to thrive in cities. The purpose of this publication is to deepen the relationship between myself and readers, where we support each other in our work to improve cities. I make this commitment to subscribers – I will share my latest thoughts with you before I post them here on my website. I will share your stories as you share them with me. And, of course, as my writing appears in other formats, subscribers will be the first to know and have first access. You can subscribe in the form to the right. Next edition – March 15, 2013

Thanks, everyone, for your support as I blog along.

Nest City News Overall Small



Destination and emergence


Over the course of the last nine months, I have been sharing bits of the book I am working on – Nest City: The Human Drive the Thrive in Cities. I made a decision to share the book on my blog while I was working on it. Five chapters and 126 posts later, the decision to share this work before it is officially in book form is one I revisit over and over in my mind.

For each post to appear on my blog, I have to hit this button:

'publish' button

The word ‘publish’ is rather official. A recent author acquaintance of mine cringed when she heard I was sharing what I was working on: “Why are you giving this away?” Another author friend says, “Good for you. I blogged most of my book before it turned into a book too.”  Others have warned me that publishers will not look at the book now that it has been ‘published’. I am of the opinion, still, that writing here is serving me and my readers well in several ways:

  1. I learn in bite-size pieces. I get to dive into small passages and sort and sift around in my being to seek out what I am learning.
  2.  I write in bite-size pieces. These are small pieces that serve to help me wrap myself around a thought. Blogging helps me discern the pieces I have to work with, that will later shape up into book form. This is essential time to practice the craft of writing.
  3. We find each other. By sharing the pieces of my exploration, fellow explorers and I are able to find each other. As I share, I reveal myself to my audience, and my audience reveals itself to me.
  4. We build supportive relationships. I am receiving feedback from readers: the odd comment here on my blog, an email, a ‘like’ or comment in facebook or Linked In, or new followers on Twitter. I am hearing about how my writing supports others and the work they do. In return, readers are supporting me too by using my blog posts on their webs sites, as they teach, and simply by giving me feedback on what resonates for them.
  5. We grow our understanding – of selves and cities. The more we explore individually and collectively, the more we learn and improve. We are expanding our consciousness.

I don’t know – yet – what my writing will add up to. I do know that my writing, when published as a book, will not read as it does here. While I have a destination in mind – a published book that we can lay our hands on physically and digitally – I do not know exactly what it will say and how it will say it. I have a frame that I am using here, with chapters and the like, but I an open to that changing if and when that makes sense. With each post, my sense of direction gets more clear. Even what the book will say gets more clear. But the real book to come is in the process of emerging.

The very process by which we create our cities, through the interplay of destination (chapter 4), a learning journey (chapter 5) and emergence (chapter 6), is in play for me as I craft the book. I have a destination/direction; I am on a learning journey; I am about to explore the thresholds that each of us, and our cities come across as we emerge.

The next series of posts will explore the role of emerging thresholds as we organize ourselves and our cities for continuous improvement.

_____ _____ _____

As I dive into sharing parts of Chapter 6 – Emerging Thresholds, here are some plot helpers for Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book that I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:



Universal support to blog the book

I am always amazed at how the Universe sends me what I need after I make a decision. In last week’s post, I declared that I would publish Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities here, in the blogosphere.

Shortly after this post, I heard from a friend and colleague (and fellow blogger), Brenda Herschmer, about her recent experience in self-publishing.  We haven’t connected in a while and we will reconnect in person to chew on our publishing decisions.  In addition, in my email in-box was a link to Nina Amir’s upcoming book, How to Blog a Book.  After exploring her book a bit, I headed off to her web site and blog to see how she did it.  What does it look like to blog a book?  What am I getting into?

I realize that this has been a really big, liberating decision to step into the world of the professional writer.  I choose to do this as serious endeavour, which means that the time I spend each weekday writing “the book” will be shared.  It will be alive and public each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  It means that I will have to promote my writing right away.  It means that the consulting work that I do will be even more focused and strongly connected to my writing; these two aspects of my work life will become even more connected.

I am really looking forward to this new professional challenge.  I have no idea precisely where it will take me, but I have no doubt that it will take me where I am supposed to go.  Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book led me to Gina Trapani’s blog, lifehacker.com, and the story of how her blog turned into a book.  After posting 12 times a day every week day for 9 months, an agent called her.  To be honest, I don’t want the kind of life that tethers me to a computer to post that frequently, but maybe I will surprise myself!  What I can commit to confidently is to publish 4 pieces of Nest City every week, Monday to Thursday.

Please join me tomorrow for instalment #1 of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities.