Hello Lovelies, ok I know that not all of you want to write a book, let alone in 18 days, but this post by guest writer Kelly Exeter is about much more than putting your thoughts onto paper.
It’s more about * Not Procrastinating * and *Going After Your Dreams*.
Now whether that does involve writing a book – perhaps spilling the beans about the family history. (Disconnected. A Memoir) for the grandies to devour one day, or whether it’s to travel the world before your joints get too creaky (as mine have started to do), or whether it’s to lose weight, start exercising, whatever … Kelly suggests tips and ways to make things happen NOW.
Are you like me, guilty of putting things off? I’ll check out Facebook when I should be watering the garden, or I’ll answer emails instead of getting my head around the next post for Lifestyle Fifty. I know it’s important to seize the moment and make time to do things despite leading a busy life because time doesn’t expand, not even when the kids are grown up, not even when you’re retired. But, ahem, I don’t always heed that advice!
This helpful and entertaining post by gorgeous Kelly, above, is so much more than about writing a book, but since she’s written one, and in only 18 days to boot, these are the strategies she employed to Just Get It Done.
So don’t die wondering. Find ways to get out and do what you want to do with the rest of this time you have left on this earth and read Kelly’s words of wisdom on the subject too.
Don’t sit around dreaming – just do it! Over to you Kelly …
How to write a book in 18 days
I’m a big believer in synchronicity – I believe it’s the universe’s way of sending me a message.
Late last year a few synchronous things happened to send me a big message.
First I read Matthew Michalewicz’s book Life in Half a Second. Apart from providing a wonderful blueprint for success:
Clarity > Desire > Belief > Knowledge > Action
what I also noticed (and enjoyed) about his book was that it was only as long as it needed to be.
I’d been wanting to write a book for ages but was a bit put off by the fact that I’d started reading, but not finished SO many self-help/inspirational type books recently. And the main reason I hadn’t finished them is because they seemed to contain a lot of padding (I assume to get them to the length publishers needed them to be). I just can’t read padding – it drives me nuts.
Matthew’s book is relatively short and made me realise that (given I wanted to self-publish), I didn’t have to meet any kind of publisher mandated word length requirements. I could make my book exactly as long as it needed to be.
The second synchronous thing was this book popping up in my Twitter feed. I immediately devoured its core message that if you’re a writer who is willing to work hard, write lots of books and engage authentically with your audience, then you could actually make some kind of living from this writing game. Even better you could do it by taking your destiny into your own hands rather than spending years waiting for someone to pick you.
In other words: write your book and publish it on Amazon already. Just get it out there.
The third synchronous thing was an idea that wouldn’t stop nagging at me.
A lot of people I knew were having really shitty years in 2013. Having experienced some shitty years myself, I’ve developed certain ways of looking at things that allow me to walk around with a smile on my face even when life is taking the piss. I really wanted to share these ideas in a book. And If I was going to do it, it needed to be ‘now’as the new year was on the horizon.
So the universe was telling me loud and clear: Write a book Kelly. Write it NOW.
So I did. And strangely the fourth synchronous thing associated with the book happened after the fact. I heard it said in a podcast and it floored me for the fact that it neatly summarised the exact approach I took.
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So here it is – here’s how I wrote my book in 18 days.
1. I simplified my life
I didn’t start the book till my business had shut down for the Christmas break. I now had two weeks where clients wouldn’t be emailing me and I didn’t have any work to do. It was also a time of year that most people took a break from blogging so I didn’t feel the need to split my brain trying to come up with words for more than one writing project.
2. I applied myself like it really mattered.
This wasn’t hard – because I’d committed myself to a firm deadline. My editor was expecting 12,000+ words on 3rd January. That gave me 12 days to write and self-edit the first draft. So I broke things down – 8 chapters plus an introduction … 1000-2000 words per chapter.
I wrote the book outline on 24th December and then gave myself Christmas Day off. Then each night for the next eight days, I did the research for a section, then the next morning I would write that section. I tried not to write during the day in order to give my brain a rest and also to spend time with my family (because in theory, we were on holidays!) But I was thinking about the book all the time and figuring out ways to improve things. By January 2nd I had a first draft. By January 3rd I had an edited first draft that I gratefully deposited in the hands of my editor.
By January 6th I had that draft back and it was time to do some final editing and design the advance copy of the book. By January 11th I did the final final edit and the book was done, ready to put in the hands of advance readers.
Those 18 days were pretty exhausting and of course by this time I’dreturned to work and didn’t feel like I’d actually had any time off at Christmas.
But it was a small price to pay.
On January 23rd I pressed ‘publish’ on my first book on Amazon. I expect to publish another later this year. And another early next year.
I think a lot of us spend a lot of time sitting around, dreaming and hoping that one day we’ll have the time to achieve our dreams. To do the things on our bucket list.
Don’t sit around dreaming.
As you can see,I’m the not the sitting around dreaming type. If the universe is pushing me in a certain direction, I don’t agonise too much or wring my hands at the lack of time I have, I just find the time and go for it.
If the universe is wrong and the thing I’m trying is not going to work out, I want to fail fast so I can move on to the next thing.
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So here are my three big tips for being someone who won’t die wondering:
- Stop worrying about what other people think.Because, for the most part, people aren’t thinking anything about you, they’re too busy thinking about themselves! And if people ARE thinking about you … who really cares? What other people think about you is none of your business.
- Stop fearing failure. Think to yourself ‘what’s the best that can happen’ instead of ‘what’s the worst that can happen’. I’d much rather try something and fail, and be able to look back and think ‘well I tried’ than look back with the regret that comes from never having given a dream a go.
- Do it for yourself. We spend a lot of time living up to the expectations of others and trying to achieve the things other people think we should. This is a crappy reason to do anything. Go after the goals your heart desires because there is nothing more energising in life than going after something with your whole heart. It is supremely scary, but incredibly rewarding.
Thank you Kelly! So Lifestylers, why not commit to doing something significant this year and tell us in the comments – What Are You Going to Just Get Up and DO or GET DONE in 2014?
Mother, runner, writer, blogger. Serial over-committer. Kelly Exeter believes a busy life need not be a stressful life. She blogs about embracing the busy by living intentionally at A Life Less Frantic. Her new book ‘Your Best Year Yet – 7 simple ways to shift your thinking and take charge of your life’ is now available on Amazon here.