As most of you know, Doug and I started a podcast, and on Monday, we recorded episode two. If you’re wondering, I made Doug laugh aloud once, which is one of my secondary goals while we record.
In the show, Doug and I both talk a little about our respective processes of writing a book. Doug’s book launched last week, and mine will be released in late spring.
If you were to ask any author what the best advice is for writing a book, most of them would say the same thing:
Write, write, write.
Which is absolutely true. You can’t create something if you don’t find the discipline to sit down to do it. In Doug’s case, he worked writing into his morning routine. He made an appointment with his laptop every day and he kept it. That’s how he has been able to write a new blog post almost every day of the week for the past few years.
I’m writing this, per my usual, at 10:30 on Tuesday night.
My process for writing a book has been much different. I sit down to write, get antsy, stand up, pet the dog, pour more coffee, scratch my armpits, shave my legs, pluck my whiskers, turn my hat on backwards, flip over the vinyl record, write three words, stand up, vacuum the office…..
Hell, I once tied myself to a chair with panty hose in order to keep myself put. But it just put a knot in the panty hose and freaked my roommates out.
Ultimately, what allowed me to finish my book was external accountability. I found someone to meet with once a week and that meeting kept me accountable to the process. But I had certain pieces of the book that I would finish during the week, without necessarily following a set schedule. I couldn’t keep a daily appointment, but I could keep weekly accountability…..to someone else. And that made a big difference.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I needed to work with my personality, instead of constantly trying to be something I’m not. I am never going to be Type A. I am never going to use a checklist. I am never going to be a linear thinker. I’m never going to be a morning person.
For a long time, I felt bad about many of my natural tendencies - sure I was creative, but I was messy, disorganized and scattered. I tried using a planner for a hot minute, tried to train myself to become a morning person, tied myself to a chair with panty hose - but in the end, I’ve had the most success when I’ve worked with who I already am.
When I stop trying to force myself to be someone I’m not, good things happen.
When I work with my personality instead of against it, I can find the slightly better version of myself that I’m looking for.
Most days, that’s all any of us can ask for. But we can stop feeling bad about all of the things that we’re not, and all of the characteristics that we think will make us a better version of ourselves.
The best thing you can do, is do you, whatever that looks like.