How I Wrote Two E-Books in One Week
Table of Contents
I love gamifying life. Whether it’s through something like The Atlantic Challenge, Adventure Roulette, or Karol’s 48-hour e-book challenge, coming up with mini challenges and games makes achieving new things a lot more fun.
This past week, I decided to see if I could reach an arbitrary goal of writing two e-books in a week. I set the goal & sure enough – went ahead and did it. Here’s how.
I Got up Early
I started work every day this week between 6 and 7:30am. For a night owl who tends to end up nocturnal quite a bit, this is a huge deal.
It’s also allowed me to be done with my primary aim by noon almost every day and then use the remainder of the day to work out and finish up secondary tasks. What’s a primary aim? I’m glad you asked…
I Made It My Primary Aim
Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked with a concept called your primary aim. Your primary aim is the number one thing you’re working towards over a given time frame.
If you know what this is on a large scale, having a primary aim will help you order your life. If you know what yours is on a weekly or daily level, having a primary aim will help order your days.
I started something recently that has really been helping me to keep up with this approach. Every night before I go to bed, I write down my primary aim for the next day. Then I make sure I do it (ideally before noon the next day).
I have other goals that I track with the Way of Life app, but the primary aim is the tools that matters the most.
Last week’s habit report. Killed it on the primary aim, workout and almost perfect on the writing. Meditating happens a lot easier when I do it in transit somewhere & handstands are fun – I need to do them more. — Got any habits you want to build? Grab the @wayoflifeapp, take a screenshot of your week’s habits and tag me in it next week. I’m gonna give it a shot on a weekly basis and see how this goes. Who’s in?
I Knew The Content Cold
This was probably the most important point.
If I’m honest here, I’ve been kicking the content for these e-books around for the past two to six months (SIX!). That’s entirely too long to wait to put something out there. But this has given me the distinct advantage of knowing the content cold. I could talk about it in my sleep if I needed to.
One of the books had already been partially written and I had pieces of related articles strewn about. I tore this down and rebuilt it to be better, clearer, and more focused. This meant that a lot of the writing was done, but needed to be rewritten and organized.
Just as knowing your topic cold makes it that much easier to speak about, knowing your topic cold makes it that much easier to write about. If you don’t have to stop and think about what type of content you’re writing – you don’t have to take nearly as many breaks to put it all together.
I can not overstate how much this helps.
I Kicked Work into Gear
I grabbed a beverage (or ten) and got to work. When it came to the work that I absolutely needed to do, I went 100%. It was awesome.
I Used Scrivener like A Boss
This piece of software might be the best thing you ever come across if you’re a writer who wants to take bits of pieces of articles and turn them into a fully fledged book. Get this sucker here. It’s the best way I know how to organize & get a book from idea to pdf flat.
I Had Someone Else Set My Deadline
Both books had to be done by the end of the week. To be honest, I was wrapping up the first one by the time we got around to setting the deadline, but having it set made it that much easier to keep the momentum going.
I Did Some Deep Work
So much of the time I get distracted by the little stuff. Emails. Tweaks. Blog changes that don’t really matter. Random tasks I should outsource.
For this week, I shut off a lot of channels that weren’t moving me forward and I focused on doing some deep work. I got two to four hours of writing in every day. Good, solid writing – not the disjointed one hundred words here, one hundred words there stuff that seems to plague me so often.
Side note: when you sit for two hours and just write, with no distractions whatsoever, it’s amazing what you can produce. It’s crazy hard to remember this all the time though.
Having the books as my primary aim helped me to keep my focus and make sure that I got this stuff out of the way early in the week.
I Hit 90% and Got It out of My Hands
I know myself well enough by now to know that if something hits 90% and doesn’t go anywhere, it will stay at 90% forever. I’m terrible at getting from 90% done to 99% done, so I outsource that part and send it to my editor. From there, once the big edits have been made, I take it up, give it a once over, and finish the last 1%.
However, I know that if I try to keep control of it from 90% to 99%, I’ll never get it done. The perfectionist’s dilemma kicks in and I move onto something more interesting and less intimidating.
If you’re writing something – be it a book, a blog or something completely different – get it to 90% and get it out of your hands.
This is yet another case study that shows that it doesn’t take nearly as long to do things as you think it does.
For what it’s worth, this seems to be how many of my projects get done. Lots of work, six months on the shelf, one week of frenzied clean up, reorganization, and rework. This is how I put together the manifesto as well.
If you’re curious – both books are nutritional protocols, which in and of itself helped me keep my head in the same zone the entire time and prevented productivity loss due to task switching.
The IMPOSSIBLE book is called The FPC Protocol and it’s a nutritional protocol that helps you gain muscle and burn fat at the same time. Next level stuff.
The UPG book is The Paleo Fat Loss Method and it’s designed for people who are new to the paleo diet and who are looking for rapid fat loss.
Photo credit: Quentin Meulepas