I am officially an author. On July 17, 2012 I published my first book on Amazon Kindle. It took two years to write, and a majority of it was done using a mobile phone or an iPad, while standing on the train from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt Germany, during my long commutes to and from work.
Yes, two years is a long time to write a book, especially when edited down, was only about 120 pages. or so. The first year was kind of a wash because I just kept rewriting the first 2 pages over and over. It wasn’t until the following year where I actually took it seriously, created a solid outline (a plan) and dug in.
The goal of this book was not to write a bestseller or change the world. It’s certainly not a feel good, Oprah Club, curl up with a cup of tea, kind of book. (In fact it’s a little bit “shocking” but more on that later.)
It was simply to just write a book, finish it and publish it. It was purely an exercise in completion. In my post about creating a 20 year plan for myself, writing a book was one of my 2 year short term goals. Well… mission accomplished.
It almost didn’t happen though..
My biggest problem in writing this book was not that it was all that difficult. The book is nonfiction, so a lot of it was just documentation of facts. It was simply a problem of time. I never had any, or so I thought…
On average, I spend about 4 hours a day just in transit, either sitting on a train, a bus, a streetcar, or waiting to catch one of them. Much of this time however was spent standing up, shoulder to shoulder in crowded, sweaty, stinking rush hour Deutsche Bahn commuter hell.
When I am not in transit, I am either working full time as a consultant, or spending what remaining time I have with my wife and daughter. On busy work days, this family time is often times very limited. My wife and I get up at 5am and are pretty much comatose by about 9pm.
Free time to just sit, clear my mind and write is a rare luxury.
Luckily, with the help of my 20 year plan and the pressure it put on me to reach my goals, I realized that you can’t write a book if you don’t start writing. If you decide that you don’t have time, you won’t have it. Most likely, you never will write your great novel, because the number one problem why most people fail, is because they just never START.
It became clear to me that if I were to ever leave any kind of legacy of the thoughts and helpful stuff in my head, much less just reach a life long goal, I needed to start writing and I needed to start NOW.
One thing you’ll notice about people packed in like cattle on trains with nothing else to do, is that they all kill time by messing around on their cell phones. Playing games, texting, listing to music, talking. In my case, it was either checking email, reading ebooks on the Kindle app or taking notes with a program called Evernote.
Because of the convenience of cloud computing and applications like Evernote, Dropbox and Google, you are now able to record and access your data virtually anywhere you have an internet connection.
Evernote is an awesome program because it allows you to write and organize notes, format text, add photos, and even has a speech to text function, so you can just talk to it if you don’t have time to type. I use it a lot for work and recording ideas, so… DUH! why couldn’t I use it to write a book? If this was all the time I had to write, then I would have to use it to my advantage, so there the book began.
If I was lucky enough to have a seat, some of the book was done on my laptop, but much of it was done via my phone or iPad, in Evernote, standing, and taking advantage of any short bursts of inspiration and optimizing my time.
- Sometimes it was a phrase or a quote.
- Sometimes it was via voice recording and speech recognition.
- Sometimes it was a photo I snapped of something to remember.
- Sometimes it was a clipping from a website, blog or a quote I heard somewhere.
- Sometimes just a sentence.
- Sometimes a paragraph.
- Sometimes a whole chapter.
Once the outline was solid, the rest was a matter of filling in the gaps, like paint by numbers.
Eventually when I did have some free time to sit and analyze what I had accumulated, I realized that I had enough info to assemble an entire book and the rest was history.
The next challenge was formatting my book for Kindle, but i’ll leave that for another post. The point being, chunk by chunk, over a period of time, an entire book was written, completed, published and a lifetime goal was achieved.
I am currently working on my next book, which I am hoping will come together much faster. The goal for this next book is to become a best seller.
You can do this!
If I can figure out how to write a book using a cell phone, standing up on a train, you can do it too.
- If you are sitting on a plane, a train, a car or stuck in traffic
- If you are sitting on the toilet, or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep
- If you are sitting in the coffee shop or standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
…you can write a book.
Take advantage of what little time you do have and just start something. We all have more time then we think.
The average american watches between 2 and 7 hours of TV a day. Imagine what you can do if you apply just half of that time to taking action and applying it to achieving something you’ve always dreamed about.
Sure, it might take you forever to do it, but doing, regardless of how little, is better than not doing.
It’s your dreams we’re talking about here.
Do you have a similar story, thoughts opinions or ideas? If so, leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.
About the Book: The Whole Shocking Story!
If you are curious about the book I discuss in this post, well… um… it’s a marketing book about how to start an adult design business. Yep.
You might be shocked to discover that before I was doing the Mad Men marketing consultant thing, I cut my teeth in the design world by starting an adult design business, which, interestingly enough, actually got to be pretty successful.
After getting married and having a kid, I decided to put the business to rest and move on to other things, however, it was such a crazy story that I thought it would make a great theme for a book. In reality it is about marketing strategy (with an adult twist of course) so it can be applied to any businesses, not just adult.
Due to the theme of the book, you can probably figure out why I don’t necessarily want to go shouting it from the rooftops as my premiere literary debut. It sure aint Shakespeare… but I guess if crap like 50 Shades of Grey can become a best seller, maybe my book IS Shakespeare?? Plus I guess I couldn’t write a post about writing a book with a cell phone while standing up on a train without at least sharing the whole shocking truth.
So… if you ARE interested in checking out the book, “Shocking Secrets of Adult Design: Uncensored Marketing Strategies for Starting a Profitable Adult Design Business” it is available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.
If you actually DO read it (God help me…) do me a favor and leave a review of it on Amazon. It might help me sell one or two.
Sean Earley is an American digital consultant, podcast host, speaker, publisher & music producer. He advises Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs and organizations on innovation, new technology, strategy, communications, marketing & design. He is the host of several podcasts and makes regular appearances on international media platforms where he discusses the latest trends in technology, culture, business and politics.