I’m willing to bet that many of you out there have thought about writing a book. You may have even started jotting down a few ideas. Perhaps it’s a fiction book, the next 50 Shades of Grey, or maybe you want to write the next tell-all expose on the life and times of Donald Trump. You might even consider writing the next great self-help book, akin to “The Secret” or “How to Make Friends and Influence People”.
According to a study done nearly two decades ago in 2002, 81% of Americans feel that they had a book in them. This means that nearly 260 million people want to write books in the US alone. Approximately 600,000 books are published in the US each year, and many of those are self-published. Few sell more than a few copies (the average is around 250 copies sold). Yet I’m here today to tell you to write that book that you’ve had on your mind, and to dive into the realm of self-publishing.
Here are 10 reasons you should take that leap and write a book already:
1. It makes you think more clearly
When you first think about writing a book, it may seem like a daunting task. It is an exciting idea, sure, but the more you consider how to actually get started, the harder it becomes. When you actually pick up the pen (or the laptop) and start typing, you will come to realise just what a clarifying effect the writing process can have on your mind.
2. It helps you channel your creativity
Writing is perhaps one of the purest forms of self expression and creativity accessible to humans. We all learn to write from an early age, yet few of us cultivate the skill of self-expression through writing long past our early childhood. Good books, nonfiction or fiction, tap into the reader’s minds by telling creative stories and tapping into psychological forces related to specific emotions. The book you write need not be dry or boring. Think about how you can make it interesting and then go full-steam ahead.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” – Ryan Holiday
3. It gives you a sense of purpose
Every November, nearly half a million people take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The challenge is for writers of all ages, talents, and skill levels to set aside time out of their busy schedules to write like mad over the course of the month. The goal is to reach a ridiculous number of words (50,000) in as few days as possible. Taking on a challenge of this magnitude, or just setting a deadline for yourself in your head on a certain number of pages to write in a certain amount of time, can provide you with an incredible sense of purpose and drive.
4. It forces you to plan ahead
Most people who write books don’t do so as part of their full-time job. They don’t have large advances or massive budgets to spend on marketing and PR. Instead, they have to work on their writing, promoting and planning around their already busy lives. Deciding to write a book requires careful planning and attention to detail. It also forces you to outline a plan for when to publish your book and when to start marketing.
5. It motivates you
Once you have an outline in place for your book and a schedule for how many words you need to finish each day (or how many sections of your book you need to complete) you will be surprised by how motivated you become. Just having a set of tasks to complete which align so closely with a creative endeavour is incredibly fulfilling, and will be very motivating over the course of your writing.
6. It creates good habits
The creation of good habits is a positive byproduct of outlining, planning, and writing a book. By planning out your activities, you develop a deeper appreciation for time and the time you spend on certain tasks. You will make an effort to be more productive, to cut out things that are of less value to you, and to prioritise those things which will help you achieve your next goal or task. All positive things which lead to the development of good habits.
7. It develops new connections
Don’t mistake the process of writing a book with the process of editing a book. When you write on a schedule, you may not feel like writing, but the sheer force of will you employ to get the words out on a daily basis will be a powerful motivating force. Not only that, the more you write, the more likely it becomes that you will develop new connections, thoughts, or ideas that you’ve never had before. As you write, something may become clear to you which has been shrouded in mystery for years or decades of your life. By writing, you will uncover these new connections and change your whole way of thinking.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.” – Thomas A. Edison
8. It makes you more interesting
Writing a book will make you more interesting. Not only will it give you something to talk about at parties, it will help you understand the challenges that many people face when it comes to motivation or challenges at work or in their personal lives. By writing a book, I would argue that you will become both more empathetic and energetic in your interactions with others.
9. It opens up more doors
When you spend a significant amount of time writing something, chances are that you are a dedicated and trustworthy individual. You are labelled a self-starter and someone who can be self-motivated to reach large goals. By telling people you’ve written a book, you will open doors you didn’t even know were doors in the first place. People will want to speak with you, have lunch with you, pick your brain, learn from you. The sky’s the limit.
10. It drives deeper understanding
Ultimately, writing a book allows you to develop a deeper understanding of yourself, of others and of the world around you. I would argue that writing a book is both a selfless and a selfish act in that it allows you to pour your heart and soul into something which may benefit the world as a whole.
In 2002, an author and professor at Northwestern University by the name of Joseph Epstein told readers in an Op-Ed in the New York Times that they should never write that book. A lot has changed since 2002, and looking at the world now I would argue strongly for the opposite. People should be spending more time thinking about, and writing the books they have buried inside. Only then will we be able to develop a truly complete view of the world and of humanity.
What book is on your mind that you haven’t started yet? Comment below!
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?
It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)
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