Today is Saturday, and I tried an experiment. I decided to allow myself to sleep in a little more and have a leisurely weekend morning.

I would then see what I could accomplish in less time with greater focus.

I really surprised myself.

Over a period of 5.5 hours, I managed to crank out 5,348 words.

Video Recap:

  • Fall Asleep Time: 10:30pm
  • Wake Time: 7:30am
  • Total Sleep: 9hr
  • Run: No
  • Writing Start Time: 11:00am
  • Writing End Time: 4:30pm
  • Words Written: 5,348
  • Total Words: 53,111

What’s all this about?

I’m writing a book in a month and I’m journaling every single day to share the process. The book is called Overlap: Getting from the life you have to the life you want.

You can learn more about the book at OverlapBook.com.

Below, you can view the complete list of journal entries ↓.

50,000 Words

I officially passed 50,000 words today. That feels pretty great.

You don’t just try to sit down and write 50,000 words in a sitting.

Just write a few words a day and repeat. Show up every day.

The time will pass anyway, why not accomplish something?

A book is smaller than you think. A book is just a collection of things you’ve written. Write a little every day and eventually, you’ll have a lot. A book is just a lot of things you’ve written.

Focused Time

My experiment today was a great success.

I slept in, I had a leisurely morning, and I still wrote more than my average word count for the past five days.

The writing was great too. The words I wrote today were good. Not perfect of course, but very good.

It is a myth that fast writing is bad and slow writing is good. Both can be either.

It’s all about your focus. When you’re in flow, you can write fast and you can write well. The two are not mutually exclusive.

If anything, it showed me just how much more productive I could be if I carved out more focused time for myself on the other days.

Getting my back against the wall has always proven to be a profitable strategy. I only had a few hours and I needed to hit my writing goal, so I did.

I think I’ve given myself too much time. I have too much freedom and so I don’t perform as well as I could.

If I were locked in a room with a bluetooth keyboard and an iPad and no wifi, I would be more productive. I know it for a fact. I get distracted by email, my phone, social media, and notifications.

I allow myself to be distracted because I want those distractions.

When you’re in deep focus and doing hard work, you crave distraction because it provides relief. The best distractions are when someone else needs something from you because then you can convince yourself that you were doing the right thing.

You weren’t doing the right thing. You should have prevented the interruption from happening in the first place.

Almost every distraction I allowed—even the “good” distractions where I did something productive—was something I could have handled at a later time and everything would have been fine. No one was bleeding to death or in dire emergency.

When I’m focused, I’m productive. When I’m not productive, it’s because I did not setup my environment to facilitate focus ahead of time. I know it’s my fault.

Today’s experiment reminded me that I can be more productive. All I need is to get my back against the wall, limit the amount of freedom I have and set a deadline.

A Deadline and a Reward

Speaking of deadlines, I set new one for myself today.

I surpassed 53,000 words today. I’m anticipating that the book will be around 100,000 words. Part I has 18 chapters. Parts II and III collectively will have around 15 at my current projections.

I’m guessing there are another 45,000 words or so left to write.

My average word count in the past five days has been 4,438 words. I know I can do better.

I decided to set a goal that requires I write at least 5,000 words a day:

If I finish the book by July 19th, we get to go on a trip.

Someone asked me how I was going to reward myself when I finished the book. I hadn’t really thought about that.

I’m not very good at celebrating. I just planned to write the book and then get back to work. It’s not that I was trying to be masochistic, I just enjoy working hard and find hard work to be its own reward.

I suppose I am somewhat of a stoic. The nice thing about it is I don’t experience failure emotionally. Failure is just data. It means something did not produce the desired results. It also means I don’t experience success emotionally. I suppose that may seems dull to some, but I am incredibly happy in all moments.

I do know celebrating is important. It helps when I think of it not just as a reward for myself, but also for my wife. She’s been very supportive, so it will also be a reward for her support.

I need the challenge to stay focused more than I need the actual reward, but I’m sure a trip will be fun. It will make up for not having traveled during the book writing.

50,000 words down, 50,000 words to go.

P.S.,
Add me on Snapchat to see behind-the-scenes: 👻 seanwestv

Daily Journal Entries:

Learn more about the book: OverlapBook.com