Tuesday 3 November 2009

Learning to write big things

Right now I am writing a book. So far it’s been a fascinating learning curve for a novice book writer. I have written one book, which I give away for free (here), but I cheated and wrote that on the bus from Fort William to Arrochar and didn’t put any pressure on myself to see it as a book until it was finished. I’ve also written about a third of an ebook about weight optimisation (sounds better than control) for climbers on my phone. I might try and finish it on my phone just for the novelty!

But this time round I’m putting a bit of pressure on myself, not just to finish it, but finish it quickly. I’m about a week away if I was locked away in a room without distractions. But unfortunately my computer serves me up distractions constantly. At least the Scottish autumn doesn’t serve too many good weather distractions. And one hour on my board equals four on the crag.

In school I felt sick at the thought of 2000 word essays. Project climbing taught me how to ride the wave of those random days when inspiration and energy coincide and make a jump of progress. It also taught me that even the bad days when everything felt ten times harder than it should resulted in valuable progress, but you only realise it in hindsight. So I’m lucky that my background has given me a lot of advantages for getting it done. 

Both my blogs got me past that awful feeling of sitting down to write and staring at a blank page for two hours. The medium tends to teach you how to just say what you need to say. My emerging book is turning out like that, which I like. It’s also arranged a bit like my blog - point by point and easier to digest than a massive chapter. Easier to write too, so it should be with you soon. 

Thanks to everyone who’s asked about it - I’ll talk about it plenty as soon as I’m done writing. For now I can tell you it’s called ‘9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes’. It’s a book about improving at climbing, but it does what all the others don’t. The books out there at the moment lay out all the possible ways and exercises to improve in front of you. They are the map. But nearly everyone gets lost and strays off the path. So my book is the compass - it shows you how to navigate through the sea of possible improvement activities and how to decide which ones you need to focus on, and which are the big priorities to keep in front of the smaller ones.

Talking of training for climbing books - The best thats out there right now is still The Self Coached Climber. I reviewed it ages ago on my other blog. But I realised it was crazy I wasn’t selling it myself, especially because you’d get my free book How to climb hard trad with it which is obviously compliments it quite nicely. So I am now, here.


  1. Hi Dave

    Do you have a publisher lined up or do you intend to self publish first?

    Some interesting tips on self publishing below


    These are interesting times for the independent writer. I've just started working on a book idea so it is encouraging to hear that you are getting through yours!

  2. I've been left thoroughly confused by the four training books I've read so far - there just seem to be so many contradictions!
    I like the idea of a book pointing out what most climbers are doing wrong, I'm certain I'm one of them.
    Looking forward to it!

  3. Hi Dave,

    I'm really looking forward to reading your book. Read your review of "The self coached climber" which made me buy it afterwards and I think it helps me a lot (thanks for that, btw), but nevertheless I often feel unsure about assessing my climbing and structuring my practice sessions (thus I often end up "just" climbing/bouldering) and working out the areas on which I have to focus most - so I guess your book sounds like the perfect support for me.


  4. I really hope you have some way of backing up your phone memory - sounds like an accident waiting to happen!