I am so excited. Today was phenomenally productive!
I got woken up a couple times in the night, so my sleep quality was low and I wasn’t able to get up early enough to run (changed the alarm). I thought that would be a downer on the day, but it wasn’t enough to keep me down.
Today, it felt like something was unlocked.
- Fall Asleep Time: 11:00pm
- Wake Time: 5:30am
- Total Sleep: 6hr, 30min
- Run: No
- Writing Start Time: 5:45am
- Writing End Time: 4:45pm
- Words Written: 6,139
- Total Words: 37,080
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 ↓.
Planning Is Important
Instead of 8,000 words a day, I changed my goal to: write as many words as I can by 3pm.
Well, today I sort of blew past that, breaking 6,000 words.
The first half of the day was fairly average to mediocre. I actually only had a little over 3,000 words by 1pm—but something was still slowing me down. I blamed the lack of a run, but I felt like there was something else.
The past two days had been very low in terms of writing output (3,000 and 2,000 words respectively), and I really didn’t like that. I knew spending time on the planning was important, but I didn’t feel like it was quite there.
Know Where You’re Going
Today, I called Cory into my office. Cory does video production at seanwes and he’s a great sounding board. I talked him through the entire book. This took nearly an hour, which hurt a little bit given how precious the time is, but I knew it was important to do.
I told him the whole story and showed him the rough chapter outline. I needed to talk through the book with someone who both understands and knows my concepts enough to think at a high level, but is also a target reader for the book (someone who wants to achieve greatness). Cory is the perfect candidate.
I walked him through each of the chapters. I knew most of what I wanted Overlap (Part I) to be about, but I wanted to make sure the order made sense to someone else. I needed everything to flow and I also wanted it to set up Curate (Part II) as the natural next step.
That hour spent talking with someone who was a candidate for the book and investing in the structure was by far the best investment I could have made.
I realized this was the primary reason the past couple of days had felt so aimless and unproductive compared to the start of the project. In the beginning, I had a lot of ambition and I knew how I wanted the book to start.
But after the first 30,000 words, I really needed to get a solid idea of where the book was going and how it was going to get there.
I really did need to spend these past three days on the big picture and focused on things at a high level.
The word count might have been lower, but it was a productive endeavor.
Don’t Break the Chain
I have a love-hate relationship with the word count metric.
- The word count is an incredible motivator for me.
- It has also been the sole thing I judge the day’s success by.
If I write a lot of words, the day feels like a success. If I don’t write a lot of words, that may have been for a very good reason, but I still feel like the day was more of a failure.
I need to remember to define success by putting an X on the calendar.
Show up every day.
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
Don’t break the chain. That’s all that matters.
Run Until You Walk
After that meeting, it was as if the floodgates had opened. 3pm came and I said, “Cory—I know I said my new rule was stopping by 3pm, but I’m just in such a zone today. I’d really hate to stop that just so I can write the journal. I’m thinking about going until I can’t anymore and milking this for what it’s worth. It would especially make me feel better about the lower word count the past few days.”
Cory and I have this thing we say: “Run until you walk.” It came from some of our very late nights spent cranking out as many as 48 video lessons for a course in one day. We were maybe only a little bit delirious that day. “Run until you walk,” means you go until you simply can’t go any more.
“Run until you walk,” Cory said, and so I did.
Where There Is No Vision…
6,000 words feels so great. It feels like I’m me again.
I know where I’m going now. Parts II and III still need more fleshing out when I get to that point, but I have all of Part I, Overlap, mapped out and I’m excited to get everything out of my head onto the page.
The path forward feels clear. Today’s word count reflects that clarity.
- Decide the day before that you are going to have an awesome day tomorrow and you will.
- Time spent preparing is not wasted. It may take time, but it also saves a lot of time spent heading in the wrong direction.
- Don’t underestimate the power of having a clear vision and knowing where you’re going.
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