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Three things I learned from writing a book in 24 days

I recently completed my first book, and it was quite the learning experience. Here are some of my biggest take-aways:

  1. If something is on your to-do list for “someday”, do it as soon as you can.

For as long as I can remember, I have intended to write a book. I just didn’t know when that would happen or what it would be about. When I finally decided what the topic was, and that the time was now, I was amazed at how quickly it came together.

However, the most compelling reason I share this lesson is what happened when I was finished writing my book. That is, other ideas started bubbling to the surface. It seemed as though my first book was blocking my creativity, and I needed to get it out of the way.

Since submitting my book for publishing, I have developed an idea for a second book, and am exploring the possibility of writing a book for someone else. These ideas would never have occurred to me if I hadn’t completed my first book.

2. Flow state is not just for yogis.

I have heard about flow state and even had small glimpses of it, but I have mostly found it a nice idea that remained relatively elusive. So, although I believed it was possible to be in flow, I was resigned to this being the purview of those who were more enlightened than me.

To my surprise, the act of committing to regular writing about a topic which felt important enough to put into a book created a sense of alignment, purpose and productivity which can only be described as flow. There were multiple occasions when I genuinely lost track of time, and the words would flow (pardon the pun) with ease.

That is not to say I spent the entire writing process in flow. There were definitely moments when I felt stuck, overwhelmed, frustrated and even anxious. However, these were interspersed with periods of ease and flow which meant that I submitted my complete draft to my editor more than a month before my most optimistic expectations.   

3. Making a public commitment to something will exponentially increase the likelihood of you completing it.

To increase the likelihood of completing my book, I joined a mentoring program which provides logistical, mindset and accountability support throughout the book writing and publication process.

A key component of that mentoring program was a weekend retreat. On the first night of that retreat, each of the participants announced our book’s imminent completion and unveiled our book cover on social media. We even started accepting presales.

This was incredibly motivating. Knowing that my friends, family, and social followers not only:

(a) knew that I was writing this book; but

(b) had actually paid money to receive a copy

provided an incontrovertible level of accountability.

Thankfully, that feeling of accountability and obligation was far more powerful than the fear of failing that my perfectionism threw at me in an attempt to thwart my goal of finishing the book.

There were several moments throughout the writing process that I doubted my ability, my idea, the value of my book. Without the strong sense of obligation I felt to produce something (anything!) to send to those who had purchased my book, I may have allowed myself to become derailed.

Those doubts and fears may not have been enough to cause me to abandon my plans altogether, but I can see how easily I could have become stuck in a cycle of procrastination and overthinking, leading to a loss of motivation. In this way, my incomplete manuscript could easily have become one of the 97% of “would be” books that are never seen to completion.

Thankfully, I pushed through those fears, and got the job done.

Now that I have ticked that item off my bucket list, I am buzzing with the possibilities of what is next. Knowing that I can do something which seemed hard, but was easier than I thought, has provided the impetus for me to keep moving towards things that seem out of reach.

So, if you get the chance to do something that seems scary but alluring, go for it. You may be surprised by what you find on the other side.

If you are keen to learn more about my book, it is called “Why Being Good Can be Bad for You” and it is available here:

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