The process is messy.
When we look back on things, we alter the story. We smooth it out. We tell it in a way that makes sense in hindsight, but rarely how it actually played out.
We see the past through rose-colored glasses. We don’t remember ourselves for who we were or the things we did as they happened but rather see them through the lens of our current reality.
The only way to preserve the truth of the past is to document things as they happen.
The only way to preserve the past as it truly happened is to document things as as they happen.
Had I not been sharing the journey as I went, I would have told this story a different way. I would have told it in a way that was much smoother and made sense.
But that’s not how it went down.
Behind-the-Scenes Audio Recording:
I’m consolidating all three books into one book: Overlap. I recorded the entire conversation I had today that changed everything (watch the video above or read for more context).
🔊 Press play:
Download: MP3 (44.6 MB)
- Fall Asleep Time: 10:45pm
- Wake Time: 4:36am
- Total Sleep: 5hr, 51min
- Run: Yes
- Writing Start Time: 5:46am
- Writing End Time: 12:00pm
- Words Written: 3,177
- Total Words: 28,749
It Started With a Planning Session
Today started like any normal day: I woke up at 4:30am with the intent to write 8,000 words.
I spent the first hour researching, outlining, planning—I think that’s where it all started. By 7am, I hadn’t written much because of the time spent researching, but I knew the clarity I’d have as a result would make up for it in the coming days.
What I didn’t anticipate was just how much clarity I got from this morning’s planning session.
By noon, I had written 3,100 words. Not great for a normal day, but as I mentioned, I spent a good amount of time researching and outlining this morning, so all things considered, I was in good shape. I think it might have even been possible for me to hit the 8,000 word goal had I kept writing for the rest of the day.
But those were the last words for the book I wrote today.
Something Was Wrong
The truth is, I set out to write three books: Overlap, Curate, and Reciprocity. I planned this back in 2015. Months were spent this year preparing, designing, and planning the books.
I broke it into a three-part series, because I thought it made sense.
In the back of my mind, I knew there were some problems and challenges with writing and promoting a three-part series. I’d been pushing those problems off to focus on the writing, but after today’s planning session, something wasn’t sitting right. It was starting to affect my writing process.
“It should all be one book: Overlap.”
I opened the door of my office and walked over to my wife. It was just after noon. After checking in with her and seeing how her day was going, I found myself staring out the window.
“What is it?” she said.
“I’m processing a lot of things right now,” I said, pacing around the room. “Give me a moment.”
I left her office and walked around for a few minutes before returning.
“I need to brain dump,” I said. “Let’s go in my office.”
I had a feeling what I was about to share would be significant—something I’d want to reference again in the future—so I turned on the microphone in the room and started processing out loud.
Here is that raw audio recording again (in case you missed it above):
Download: MP3 (44.6 MB)
In that recording, you hear me talk about everything from the book concepts and target reader, to the marketing plan and how to package and promote everything.
I came to the realization that these three books should be one book.
“Curate and reciprocity are principles that are a part of overlapping.”
I had it all wrong.
I was mistakenly thinking that these three books were for different people when actually the books are for the same person in different stages! Why am I making them do extra work to figure this out?
Each book was part of a natural progression, but it never needed to be broken up into a series.
Getting the Life You Want to Have
This is what Overlap is:
- An extremely practical step-by-step guide to getting from the life you have to the life you want.
- You’ll learn how to:
- Find what you’re actually passionate about.
- Sustainably make money from work you enjoy doing.
- Get more time in a day.
- Increase your focus and get twice the amount of work done.
- Maintain the habit of waking up early so you can own the day.
- Get your family on board with your goal even if they’re scared.
- Get out of scarcity mindset and create an abundant life.
- Produce multiple streams of income.
- Build an audience and make a name for yourself.
- Give to others and leave a lasting impact.
There’s more to it than this list, but off the top of my head, that’s a high-level overview of what these three books—now one book—is about.
It was today that I realized Curate and Reciprocity are principles that are part of the overlapping process. They are steps that should be included in the same book and not turned into separate books of their own.
Overlap is for the person who wants to achieve greatness.
It’s for the person who wants to achieve greatness and is willing to do what it takes to accomplish it. This single book will give you exactly what you need for navigating the steps to getting there.
Again, this is for anyone who wants to achieve greatness.
- The first half of the book contains core fundamentals that will radically change the life of a person who is not where they want to be.
- The second half of the book contains the principles of curation and reciprocity—which will multiply the success and profits of a person who is established.
Professionals practice the fundamentals over and over. They know the power of basic principles and that you never outgrow them. While this book may be valuable for the beginner, it will be invaluable for seasoned professionals and established business owners. They will not only be able to find and patch holes in their process by reviewing the basic principles in the first half of the book, but undoubtedly discover gems in the second half that will completely change the way they do business.
New Content Breakdown: Overlap: 50%, Curate: 25%, Reciprocity: 25%
I had outlined around half of Overlap before this change. I didn’t know what would be in the second half as I left that open to seeing where the story went. I’m now realizing the natural next steps are the principles found in what was going to be the second and third books, Curate, and Reciprocity.
I don’t know how long the final book is going to be. My original goal was an intentionally-lofty 80,000 words per book. That was just a goal, not a delineator of success. I know the consolidated book will not be three times the amount the first was originally going to be.
I also know that the new, consolidated book will be comprised of three parts, with Part 1 on Overlap being roughly twice as long as each of the other two individually—so a 50/25/25 breakdown.
Curate, and Reciprocity I was thinking would already end up being shorter anyway. There’s just less to go into. I was figuring I could find ways to expand them by looking at different angles and perspectives, but by bringing everything together in a single book, I think the concepts will all be better served.
Just Show Up and Start
The process is messy.
It starts with showing up. Just start doing. Set a goal. Any goal. Whatever you do is forward progress. You can’t edit what you haven’t written.
You don’t write because you have something to say, you write to find out what you have to say.
I found out what I have to say and I now know how I want to say it.
You have to start. You have to take a step. MOVE.
I moved in the direction of writing three books. It wasn’t necessarily wrong, I just have greater clarity now on how I want to package everything—and putting it all in one book makes sense.
(Again, I explained in much greater depth in the 30-minute audio recording above).
Taking actions got me to where I am today. Everything is so obvious in hindsight, but I couldn’t have known before I started.
You can’t steer a parked car.
What I’m Writing Isn’t Changing
Iterating in public is awkward sometimes. I wish I had a cleaner story for you—a better story. But this is just how it happened.
What I’m writing isn’t changing at all. Only how I’m packaging it.
I realized these books are for the same person and there’s no reason to break them apart.
This is purely a marketing and positioning change. You have to give people what they need in a package of what they want. If the package doesn’t look like something they already want, they won’t buy it—even if it contains something they need.
That was the problem with Curate, and Reciprocity. The principles are so incredibly important—people need them—but they’re not what they want.
That’s why I have to put this all together.
Ugh. It’s so messy. But you know what? Three books was messy. It was too complicated.
No one wants three books.
I was making people do work. They had to learn why there’s three books, what they’re about, who they’re for, and if there was anything in it for them. It was terrible!
I knew they were all vital to overlapping, but I was making my audience figure out how and why.
That’s it. One book, for the person who wants to achieve greatness.
Add me on Snapchat to see behind-the-scenes: 👻 seanwestv
Daily Journal Entries:
- Writing a Book in a Month
- Day 1 – Getting Started Is the Hardest Part
- Day 2 – The Second Hardest Day
- Day 3 – It Really Does Get Easier
- Day 4 – Nope, It’s Just One Book
- Day 5 – Writing a 100,000-Word Book in 15 Days?
- Day 6 – Don’t Break the Chain
- Day 7 – Writing Comes Easy When...
- Day 8 – How to Make Money
- Day 9 – A Deadline and a Reward
- Day 10 – It’s Starting to Feel Like My Life
- Day 11 – Tracking Time Usage
- Day 12 – Writing a Book Twice as Fast
- Day 13 – Don’t Squander the Early Morning
- Day 15 – I Finished the Book!
Learn more about the book: OverlapBook.com