One night in Auckland

books Jul 14, 2011

I was sitting in front of my computer laying out a book. Not the one I paused before going to New Zealand. But it was the same 6x9" size, black and white too. It was about The Essential 8

I could feel how successful the book was going to be. 

And then I woke up. 

Four in the morning in a boring bedroom in Auckland, staring at the ceiling, I thought, "Guess I'm writing a book." 

Before this moment, I definitely wanted to teach more graphic facilitation and visual thinking, but I didn't have any particular ambition to write a book. But in the dream? 

I could feel how successful the book was going to be. 

 This afternoon I ventured over to Queen Street and St. Kevin's Arcade. I sat down with a flat white at Bestie Cafe. I opened my skechbook and got to wrestling this book idea. 

My thoughts -- 

After about 3 cycles of this, I came to this: I'll write the book on graphic facilitation first, and get it out of the way. Then I'll create the visual thinking book. 


2012 Update: I wrote The Graphic Facilitator's Guide over the '11/'12 winter break. I hunkered down and wrote and drew the book in 3 months, and spent 6 more weeks with my editor refining and proofing the book.

☝️ I know that timeline sounds ludicrous. Do not give yourself a 90 day deadline.  It worked for me because:

  • I had 16 years of experience
  • Loads of ideas on how to teach this role
  • And pretty much ate/slept/wrote/drew those few months. 

I was ready. 

2016 Update: My visual thinking book, The Idea Shapers, was a very different experience. That book was a bear who, for three years, tried to kill me. 

It was such a bear because: 

  • This book was not about a role in a room. It was far more internal and abstract. 
  • Visual thinking is so engrained in me and it took a lot of thought and work in how to dissect the mental, visual, spatial processing that going on and make it learnable. 
  • I launched the book with a Kickstarter campaign that slathered on layers of stress. 

Pro tip: Do not do a book campaign on Kickstarter until the book is done and late in the editing/proofing stage. 


I am exceedingly happy with both books and proud of them. 

And it all started in that dream in Auckland. 


Image source | Left: Adobe Stock, Right: Sharon McCutcheon 

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