One year after I dropped out of college, I had written and published a book. People who knew me in school were reasonably surprised. I was never a good writer by traditional standards. English was my least favorite class, and I avoided writing at all costs throughout high school and college. I got Cs on most of my papers, and often didn’t put much time or thought into writing them.
If I hated English so much, why did I write a book?
I was sick of not creating.
In the year following my escape from the educational conveyor belt, I had begun to realize that I had the power to create my own reality. Books like Think and Grow Rich and The Four Hour Workweek opened me up to the idea of challenging myself to build my life around my own individual interests and desires rather than sitting stagnantly in my comfort zone.
Now that I was out of school, I was ready to create that life for myself. I was learning so much about business and success, the book inevitably spilled out of me. Creating something for myself had become a reality that was going to happen one way or another, and it all started with the content that I was selectively and intentionally taking in.
I was ready for a challenge. School was a drag for most of my life, and I wanted to sink my teeth into a meaningful project. I was sick of half-assing projects that I didn’t care about to get a grade that I also didn’t care about.
Now that I no longer had assignments to do and teachers to impress, writing seemed like an exciting prospect. Instead of writing a book report on a book my teacher forced me to read, I was now writing about a subject I had freely chosen to learn. It was fun. The act of writing helped me develop a much stronger understanding of the concepts because I was engaging with them on my own accord.
When you create on your own terms, the entire game changes. Learning becomes a meaningful and enjoyable experience interspersed with genuine growth and development. It’s no longer a check mark. It has much more depth to it because you chose to do it, and you are free to stop at any point without any repercussions.
What did I learn from writing a book?
The whole process took me less than 90 days. Before I started, the project seemed impossible. I struggled to picture myself at the end of the process, with a published copy of my own book in my hands. But I started anyways, trusting the process (here’s the main resource I used to learn the process).
After starting, all I had to do was keep myself consistent. I had a writing schedule that I outlined at the beginning that would allow me to write, market, and publish the book within 90 days. I stuck to it for the most part, and when I slipped up for a day or two, I made up for it the next day.
It was difficult, but it wasn’t complicated. It was not nearly as hard as I thought. Big tasks like launching a book or running a marathon seem daunting and impossible to do when we focus on the big picture. Breaking it down and taking it step by step is what allows us to focus on small chunks at a time without getting overwhelmed. At that point, consistency is what creates the end product.
There will always be people who love what you say.
I’d always been timid in sharing my opinion or trying to give advice because I knew I could be wrong. The truth is that no matter how young or inexperienced, everyone has a unique story to tell. People learn from stories, so telling your story will inherently be valuable in some way to some people. But you can’t see this in action unless you take that first step and share your story and your ideas with people.
Some of the proudest moments of my life have been when people reached out to me after reading my book and told me directly how much my words had affected them in a positive way. That never would have happened if I didn’t have the courage to share those words in the first place.
While positive feedback is great, avoid getting sucked into it. Creation is a constant battle. Every minute you’re not creating, your ability to create is diminishing. The excitement and flattery of even the greatest accomplishments wears off quickly. Don’t be complacent. Appreciate compliments, take what feedback you can, then move on. Never stop creating.
There will always be people who hate what you say.
Say things anyway. In the end, share your story for you, not for anybody else. The act of displaying your thoughts builds resistance to fear and internal confidence. It exercises your creation muscle, so you don’t get stuck in the habit of only consuming. You learn how to add value to yourself and to others.
Practice being OK with receiving negative feedback. Don’t get sucked into it. See it for what it is, take what you can from it, and move on.
Ever thought of writing a book yourself? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you just went for it? It might not be as impossible as it seems.