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I’m on sabbatical right now as you read this, and I thought it would be a good time to share my experience with writing my first book. After several years of sitting on the back-burner, I finally set aside time to write my book, Overlap.
The Overlap book is about getting from where you are in life to where you want to be—purposefully.
It’s about picking the next thing when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s a guide to transitioning from what you’re doing now, that you don’t like, to what you really want to be doing.
We hear phrases like “do what you love” and “pursue your passion,” but those clichés are hardly actionable. When you boil it all down:
- What do you literally need to do?
- How can you build a business for yourself?
- How can you start your own thing?
- How can you create financial freedom for yourself?
Overlap is a down-to-earth, step-by-step guide on making money from scratch. It is extremely practical. It’s for the person who feels stuck in their current job, who feels like they don’t have enough time, is overwhelmed at all the possibilities, and is unsure of where to even begin.
It’s a guide to overlapping from your day job to your passion.
Writing a Book Requires Extreme Mental Focus
I set aside an entire month to write Overlap and managed to write it in two weeks. This was back in July of 2016. Two weeks isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things. But writing a book isn’t easy. In fact, I can say with full confidence that writing a book is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
Nothing else has come close in terms of mental focus required. The amount of mental focus required to write a book is intense. Getting to a place of focus once is hard enough, and you not only need to do it repeatedly, but you have to maintain that focus for an extended period of time.
Getting focused, staying focused, and repeating it day after day after day was more mentally challenging than I ever expected.
Knowing What to Expect Makes a Huge Difference
The hardest part of doing something difficult the first time is not knowing what to expect. At least the second time you do something difficult, you know what to expect going in. That makes it easier.
When I write my second book, it will still be a challenge, but I’ll know what to expect. Once you’ve done something complicated, you can think of it as a single unit.
For instance, if you’ve never created an online course before, brace yourself. It is a tremendous amount of work and your endurance will be tried. Creating a course is like running a marathon. There’s just such a long way to go—and when you’ve never done it before, it feels like it will never end.
It feels like you’re going to die. But once you’ve made it out the other side and can look back, you now know exactly what it takes. You can think of it as a single unit. That’s what it was like when writing a book for me.
I had written the book, and when I looked back, I knew what it took to write a book. What I didn’t really think about too much was what comes after writing the book.
The Editing Process Took Weeks, Too
I knew I’d have to edit my book after I wrote it, but I don’t think I really understood how much work it would be. I mean, I knew it was a lot of work, but I planned to hire a professional editor.
I thought, “I’m going to delegate this. Someone else is going to take care of it for me.” However, what I didn’t fully account for was the fact that even though I hired a professional editor, several weeks of my time would still be required, several more weeks.
I wrote my first draft in July of 2016. After letting the book sit for six months—I wanted to come back to it with fresh eyes—I edited the draft myself before sending it to the editor I hired. That took an entire week of full time work to do and I had to take off from all of my other work to do it.
Most of us don’t read a book in a day, so if we’re making good progress, we might read a book in a week. Editing it definitely takes a lot of time. For me, it took a full week just to do that first pass.
I passed it off to the editor. He had a lot of feedback after spending a couple months on the book. Once again, I was blindsided by the amount of work left to do.
Editing means cutting, splitting chapters into multiple chapters (which then leaves chapters that are too short that you then need to add to), and making complicated decisions.
Once again, I had to take off of my normal work to spend another full week working on further developing the book. That was something I didn’t expect, and I spent a few weeks writing the book initially.
It takes extra weeks to edit a book and develop it until it’s ready to print.
The Hard Part of Writing a Book
Coming up with the idea and outline for your book is the hardest part. Writing the book is the hardest part. Editing the book is the hardest part. Marketing, launching, and selling your book is the hardest part.
Every part of writing a book is hard. It’s a prolonged period of difficult work. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I’m very excited to finally get this book out.
It hasn’t just been this past year working on the process of writing a book. It’s been the past three, four, or five years of developing this idea. At one point, working on it, writing 20,000 words and then scrapping it, and coming back to it.
It’s been a stew that’s been setting on the back burner. It gets tastier and tastier. It’s getting refined. The ideas are spinning over and over.
I’m getting to know the person I’m writing this book for better and better over the years, and I’m really exited to finally get this out.
How to Finish Your Book
If you’re thinking about writing a book or you’re working on a book, you have the potential to be an anomaly. What doesn’t make you an anomaly is saying that you want to write a book.
81% of people say they want to write a book, but less than 1% of people actually ever write a book.
It’s a cute thing and a clever thing to say. You sound smart. 97% of people who start writing a book don’t finish their book.
How do you finish your book, if you actually get to the point of starting it? You’ll never finish something you don’t set aside time for. And you won’t make time for something unless it’s important to you.
I certainly didn’t have a month to write this book in 2016. It’s because I set aside the month of July back in October of 2015. I made a commitment to myself, to my team, and to all of you publicly.
I believe strongly in the Overlap book. It is my thesis. It’s the message I have for the world. It is everything we’re about at seanwes condensed into a single place. I feel okay dying have written this book. That’s how significant a contribution it is to me. Feeling that way is the only reason I’ve been able to finish it.
Writing Overlap may have been the most difficult thing I’ve done, but hearing the impact it will have once you read it will make all of it worth it.
Check out the book at OverlapBook.com. Grab the special pre-order bundle while it’s available.
Self-publishing and investing in having it be a clothbound, hardcover book is expensive. I’m putting a lot of my own money, tens of thousands of dollars, into making this happen so I can get the book in your hands.
I’m going to do it no matter what, but every little bit helps and every pre-order makes a HUGE difference. Thank you for your support. I’m looking forward to getting this book in your hands.