Book writing is the most rewarding and difficult thing I do. It’s just you and the page.
For years I tried to write only good sentences. On a good day I would get just a few. Then I learned that I was a better editor than writer. So I changed my system of writing.
Today, I simply write a chapter no matter how raw, rough and horrible it may be. The next day I read it from the start - editing it as I go. And yes - reading it out loud as well.
The following day I edit my edits. When I find myself happy with the chapter I move to the next and the process repeats.
As I reread what I just wrote I realize that it sounds so simple and joyful. It’s not - it’s more painful than anything. When I am in edit mode and being totally honest with my edits - I quickly become convinced that who ever wrote what I’m editing (me) must be a total idiot - the writing is so horrible :).
My writing system is similar to what Hemingway said he did. He was a vicious self editor. Like him, when my schedule permits I write till 11:00 to 1:00 then do something unrelated to my writing. I always stop when I know what’s coming next. That way I’m excited to get up before dawn to write it.
Like Stephen King does, I write every day no matter how late I was up or what I have to do that day. I do this because the process is so painful sometimes - when I take a day off it soon becomes 2, 3 or 5.
I never write for the reader. I only write for myself. I write so that I can discover what I am really thinking. This requires a level of authenticity that is exhilarating and exhausting. An authentic book is one where I sweat each word and sentence. It’s where I speak with a precision and truth that I feel in my soul.
In my view I have come closest to this with Jump Start Your Business Brain and North Pole Tenderfoot. As you probably guessed, my goal with the book I am writing now is to come even closer to true authenticity.
I find that when I create a book, product or service that has true authenticity - a true soul to it - I find a joy that is unmatched. And, more often than not the reader / customer realizes this as well. However, that is a consequence of doing something that I really love - not the purpose of the writing, product or service.
On this trip to Europe I’ve experienced that level of authenticity. At Remy-Martin in Cognac I
As Debbie and I tasted at the family estate - they explained that it takes deep passion and faith in the future to put away Cognac today that you will never drink. Cognac that will be tasted by your children’s children or even their children.
At the Rodin museum I experienced authenticity. As I learned the very deep and real story behind the artist and his sculpture known as The Thinker.
At the little bakery around the corner where I am writing these words - where the owner is here - long before 6:00 AM every day I have experienced that. He clearly loves what he does. He serves me espresso and a croissant with an authenticity you can feel.
Here's hoping that this day, this week you too can move closer to true authenticity in your life and work.