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Three Things I Know Are True: Writing Books


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I’ve been attempting to find “true north” in a lot of things lately. This new series explores what I believe in different areas of work and life. Your answers may differ; the point is to find what’s true for you.

Today’s topic is writing books. Here are three things I know are true.

1. The basic process is easier than most people think.

As I’ve explained before, it’s not that hard to write a book. A book is composed of a number of chapters and words. If you break down the process in a logical manner, you can see approximately how many words are required on a daily or weekly basis to achieve the goal in whatever time period you set.

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Win the Way You Won Before


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When you encounter a setback and need to regroup, think back to a time when you won. You mastered a skill, navigated a tricky negotiation, or otherwise came out on top.

Can you use the same skill or strategy now? Can you adapt that skill or strategy to a new situation?

Sure, circumstances may have changed. But you haven’t always lost or struggled, so think about that time when you got it right.

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There’s Always Time to Write a Book


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Some inspiring insight from Laura Vanderkam:

"I have never believed that book writing needs to be all-consuming. It wasn’t for Toni Morrison writing The Bluest Eye at night after her kids went to bed and let’s face it, we’re not likely to produce anything like The Bluest Eye no matter how much time we spend writing. Books are projects like any other.

Incidentally, you can make time for the rest of your life too. I’m always amused by the lines in book acknowledgements in which authors (generally, male authors) thank their families for putting up with all their missed dinners. Not only am I not missing dinner, I’m generally cooking it."

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To Be Happier, Go to the Library


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If you liked the Japanese tradition, here's another one from this side of the Pacific:

“Older people often draw as much happiness from ordinary experiences — like a day in the library — as they do from extraordinary ones.


Personally I'm still a fan of jetsetting about on international trips, so I don't think you have to choose between travel and "ordinary experiences"—but yes, a day at the library can bring a lot of joy.

Link: Affixing More Value to the Ordinary Experiences of Life

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Giveaway: Brand New Book By Zen Pencils

Every Friday is giveaway day. Comment to win! Our good friend Gavin Aung of Zen Pencils has built an unconventional business doing something he loves—making art and inspiring the world. A compilation of his work will be offered in his first book that debuts worldwide on November 11th (i.e. next week!). He also offers free…

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