One of the highlights in a speaker’s life is to write a book. This is a goal that I have always had but never was able to work it because there were too many things I had to attend to. Just like any other person, I had meetings to attend, speaking engagements, consultancy projects, dealing with operations and basically a million other things that scream for my attention every day. And so, the book project constantly gets pushed back again and again.
Until one day, I decided that I had enough of the delays and procrastination that I turned the book-writing project into a MUST. This dream can only be a reality until I take massive action on it. To do so, I needed to make myself accountable for it. So I did something unprecedented: I told the whole world on social media that I will finish the entire manuscript for the book in 60 days.
60 days to write a book, am I kidding?
The short answer is NO. However, here are some reasons why I think I can make it:
1. I have already been conducting a 2-day training workshop on this topic already. The flow of the book will be pretty similar to the workshop except, in the book, I get to talk about a lot more things.
2. I already know what needs to be written. So, I just need to sit down, be totally undistracted and write it.
3. If I were to ensure that I write every single day for the next 60 days and assuming that I continued to produce 500 words a day, there will be 30,000 words — a good amount of content.
So, I announced my challenge on 13 September 2016 in facebook:
"I am going to make a public commitment. I will start writing my book on Solution-Focused Leadership and finish it within 60 days. I will make a short post about it every single day for 60 days so that there will be a public pressure on me to finish it. At the end of 60 days, the manuscript will be out."
Why make a public declaration? Why not just do it by myself?
Actually, the answer is really straightforward, I had to apply one of the lessons that I have been teaching in High Impact Teams program, which is about “Accountability”. Being a speaker, my biggest accountability partner is my clients. By putting myself ‘out there’ and giving updates, will actually force me into making it happen. There is something magical after I announced my intentions. All of a sudden, I had the motivation to work hard to make it happen. If I were to secretly work on this on my own timeline, I believe the book will probably take 9 to 12 months to finish because I will likely work on it when I have ‘more time’. We all know that we never really have a lot of ‘more time’.
What was the journey so far?
First of all, I must say that many people came out and encouraged me on it. One of my mentees, Coen Tan, was inspired by it and started his own 60 days challenge to write his book.
One person just told me flat in the face that he will never do this because it will make him so embarrassed if he couldn’t do it. But I reminded him that it is where accountability is important — it ensures that we do what we have said.
Where there are ups, there are also downs. Here are the difficulties that I have faced:
- Most of the writing starts at night. I can only start writing around 9.30pm because that is the time my kids will be asleep.
- Writing will go on usually for another 2 to 4 hours every night. Most of the time it will pass midnight. This has proved to be tiring, after a long day of work.
- I need to conduct research on certain topics. That means that on some of the nights, I was unable to write as much as I had wanted.
As of today, after 19 days of writing, I have managed to finish up to 15,338 words.
Firstly, I believe that one of the best ways to get things done is to ensure that you make yourself accountable to your stakeholders. Whether it is a personal goal or a corporate goal, ensure that you announce your intentions and make it clear.
Secondly, track your progress rigorously. Nothing ever happens when you don’t act on it. Ensure that you have a tracking mechanism and put it in front of you every single day to ensure that it is constantly being done.