I forced Claudia to do something she didn’t want to do. She was scared, but I still made her do it.
She had written a lot of inspirational posts about yoga over the prior year. This was in 2010 or 2011. I forget.
I had her print up all of her articles and put them down on the ground. Admire them. Love them.
Then I had her gather up the ones she loved the most and make one pile.
Then I took a stapler and stapled them all together.
“There!” I said, “Now you have a book.”
But its just a collection of blog posts, she said.
Here’s the thing:
- Very few people have read your blog
- The people who search “yoga” on Amazon have never heard of you.
- This is JUST a first draft. Rewrite it so it goes from a collection of blog posts to a real book.
Write more chapters. Build seamless connections between the various ideas. Do other “book” things. You’re going to have at least ten drafts before you have a book done.
d. You’re only going to charge 99 cents. I’d pay you 99 cents for a curation and rewriting of all of your best work. You aren’t asking for much.
I then took a sexy picture of her, doing a yoga pose on a rock leaning right over the Hudson River. That became the cover.
A few weeks later, we uploaded to Amazon. She actually made several changes to the book (with new uploads) after the first upload to Amazon.
For almost a year her book was #1 in the Yoga category on Amazon or, if not always #1, always in the top ten.
Was it a masterpiece! Was it “War and Peace”? Probably not. Was it her first book?
Yes! Now she was an author. A bestselling author. Since then she’s written two other books, both bestsellers. One a Wall St Journal bestseller.
She’s working on another book right now.
It’s easy to come up with excuses:
- it’s just a collection of blog posts.
- it’s not perfect
- there are smarter yoga people out there than me,
- people are going to hate me if they see what I have to say
And many more excuses.
In fact, some people did hate her. Yoga people have a strange way of hating people.
One woman wrote her and said, “you still need to work through ‘samskaras’ from other lifetimes.”
Ok, so now put that in the list of excuses to writing a book.
Then burn that list. Actually set it on fire.
Her book became an incredibly valuable resource for people just starting yoga. Over 20,000 people bought it.
So ok: what happened? It’s a specific technique and you can use this technique for creating anything.
List the ten components you need to do something: a book, a website, a business, a spouse, whatever.
What did she need to write a book? The body of the book (50,000 words), a cover, 10 rewrites, and a distribution platform.
With brute force you can create the first draft of anything.
Example: let’s say you have a design for a jewelry item. Go to shapeways.com and print it up right now using their 3D printer and then set up a store on Etsy and now you can take orders, sell jewelry, and not even carry inventory.
You have a “first draft” of a jewelry store made up of your own unique designs.
I love excuses. If you don’t have any excuses then nobody will hate you.
If nobody hates you then nobody will like you either (I’m sorry, that’s mostly the way it works).
If you are afraid what parents, friends, family, colleagues think then that’s a good start you’re about to embark on an exciting journey. Bon voyage!
Come up with as many excuses as possible. Then burn them. You have to burn them.
There’s scientific proof on this. But I forget what it is or who the scientist was. Maybe Einstein or Stephen Hawking. I think the ashes that come out of your burned pile of excuses are called “Hawking Radiation”.
I don’t know. I didn’t get to the end of that book. The “Brief History” one.
SPRINKLE IN VALUE
You need to move beyond the first draft. Claudia wrote new chapters. Tied together chapters that didn’t stand alone in a book. And added more value. Then she rewrote. A lot. Now it’s a book!
You don’t have to upload to Amazon. But that’ s a good place to do it. A trusted site where people buy books.
Maybe nothing would happen afterwards. Nothing magical. No angel would come down and bless you.
But you did it! And now you can do it again. And you can love it. And get better. And give permission. And love more. And give more. And create more. CREATE.
So many times we are afraid to permit ourselves to be flown away on a dream.
Now she had a book done and published. A dream come true. She told me, “I can’t believe I wrote my first book.”
She’s working on her fourth book now. She gets better every time.
That’s what happens. When you do something once, it might not be good. And then you get better. The first time Michael Phelps swam he almost drowned. Then he got a little better.
In 1994 I wrote a book of short stories. I had this one idea: It should fit in the palm of the hand and can be read on a bus, since I used a crowded bus to commute to work then.
So I stapled together all of my short stories and wrote some new ones. Then I made it so you can read it in just one direction, then turn it upside down and read it in the other direction (i.e. you’re always reading the right hand page and ignoring the left hand).
I then went to every store in town and asked them to sell the book for 25 cents. I wanted it to be the price of a video game. Maybe I sold 100 copies. I forget.
It didn’t matter to me if anybody read it. I DID IT.
One time I had an idea for a website. A dating website. I outlined it. Outsourced it to India. Launched it. Failed. Started another one. Failed. Started another one. Failed. Ten times. Succeeded.
I’m not suggesting you do something bad. I’m not suggesting you do something scary. I’m not suggesting you get a lot of people to hate you.