Top 5 Things I Learned While Writing My Book (#215)

I believe there is a book in each and every one of us. We have a unique voice and an incredible story to tell—a story filled with experiences and lessons that the world should read. However, the task of book writing is daunting that most people don’t even take the first step. This is why I decided to record this episode because I wanted to share my top 5 learnings while I was writing my book. It was indeed a long journey, but truth be told, it was a fulfilling experience.

Full transcript below

Episode timestamps:

[1:25] A little background before jumping into the episode
[3:27] #1 – Road map
[5:19] #2 – Consistency
[6:53] #3 – You are going to change course—and that’s ok
[8:08] #4 – Go deeper
[9:25] #5 – You need a team
[13:04] Outro

Watch this episode on video format:

You Too Can Get Unstuck

My new book, OWNER SHIFT – How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck is a philosophical memoir that reveals the secret to why so many entrepreneurs get stuck and how they can SHIFT to get free once again.

It tells the story of how I found myself in the Valley of Uncertainty, a place where many entrepreneurs end up stuck, confused and feeling sorry for themselves, like I did.

It was a place I hated but didn’t know how to climb out of.

Until a messenger that I barely knew and wasn’t looking for showed up and put me on the path that eventually led me out of that Valley and into a future that I owned and made my property.

Want to get a preview of OWNER SHIFT? CLICK HERE

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TRANSCRIPT

Mike Malatesta 00:05
Hey, everybody, welcome back to this special solo episode of the HOW’D IT HAPPEN podcast with me alone in the studio. Mike Malatesta here, and today I’m going to talk about the five top things that I learned writing my book, OwnerShift, which you can see in the background. OwnerShift, subtitle, How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck. A lot of people ask me about that. But that’s something for another podcast. So let me tell you about the top five things.

I thought for a long time that I could write a great book all by myself. And it’s the same thinking that I’ve used to do a lot of things in my life; I always figured that if I wanted to do something, I would just do it, I would figure out a way to do it. And I would learn how to do it, I would work harder than other people to do it, or I would grind my way through it, I would do whatever was necessary in order to do it. And I thought that same way, when it came to writing a book. I started writing a book over 10 years ago, maybe close to 15 years ago. I had this idea that I was going to write a bunch of books, so I started writing, which I guess is the first step to writing a book. And I would write some stuff, and then I would put it away, and I would write an article or I wrote a story about this, and I would put it away, but there was no real organization or structure or plan to actually completing a book. There was a lot of effort put into writing, but nothing put into actually completing the book. I even hired someone a long time ago, or I did like an online course to try to make my way through the book. But after a few lessons, I got tired of it. And then I just stopped doing it. So eventually, I had a file cabinet that was pretty full of stuff that I had written. Sometimes I typed it, sometimes I wrote it in a notepad, sometimes I wrote it on a yellow legal pad. Sometimes I had notebooks that I would carry around and write, but nothing really ever stuck. I had no system. And so now that I finally have completed my first book, and it’s out there in the world, and hopefully, someone besides me thinks it’s good or great, that would be nice. I know a lot better now why I dragged my feet all those years and for so long. I’ve learned a lot, and I wanted to share the top five things I learned, because maybe knowing them will help you write the book that’s inside of you.
So, here’s number one: You Need a Roadmap. I needed a roadmap. There is a formula to writing a book, and I had no formula, until I hired Scribe Media, I hired a company called Scribe Media — you can check them out — and they gave me a formula. They kept me organized. They got my thinking in line, they established discipline in me, they set short goals for me, that built up over time. And they were there as friendly faces and friendly voices for when I was off track or needing assistance or just needing confirmation that something I was doing was worth it. The investment in Scribe isn’t nothing. I mean, they charged around $12,000 to put me through what they call their Guided Author Program, meaning I write the book, and they guide me through the process. But in retrospect, the amount of time and energy that I had wasted previously trying to do it on my own made the investment in Scribe seem like it was a bargain. And yeah, so you need a roadmap and Scribe — and there are others out there — can help provide a roadmap if you can’t build your own like I could not.

Second thing is: You Need Consistency. Once I got into Scribe’s, programming, they gave me the formula. I wrote every day for almost a year. I kept a spreadsheet of it that I’ll share at some point; it had the number of words that I wrote in the time that I wrote every day, and I would write in the same spot and generally at the same time every day as well. I kept at it, I probably missed seven days during that one-year-or-so period. And it wasn’t like I was committing the whole day to it, these were short sessions, generally an hour or less. So, they didn’t have a ton of pressure. Usually I’d write between 250 and 1000 words. And when you break a book down — a book is maybe 40,000 words or so; they’re all different lengths, but mine is about 40,000 words. And if you look at it and you think, oh, my gosh, 40,000 words! How am I going to do that? It can be pretty daunting. But I was able to, using the Scribe system, really focus on 250 words as a goal. And so if I got to 250, which I pretty much always did, because that’s only a couple of paragraphs, I was happy. But if I exceeded it, I was even happier. So having that small chunk actually really helped to get me, you know making consistent progress towards the goal. In other words, it was very manageable. The need for consistency was very manageable.

Number three is You’ll Probably Change Course. The book that I was writing at the beginning was not the book that I ended up with, it wasn’t even close> I had this completely different idea that I would write all these stories that were kind of disconnected, but each had a lesson. And it would be kind of like 365 lessons; you know, stories with lessons that you can learn from, and I still think that can be a good book. And there have other been other books written like that. But as I was going through the process, I started to get some interesting comments from the editors at Scribe, such as it doesn’t sound like a book; it doesn’t sound like the story that you need to tell it; doesn’t sound like there’s cohesiveness to it; it doesn’t sound like . . . and it was over and over and over, not in a bad way and also not in a judgmental way either, because for their job is to make sure you write a good book. So I took that advice back, and I thought, you’re right, there are some stories here that can go into the book, and some that are going to have to go into another book or never see the light of day. And so it just evolved. I didn’t get discouraged by that. I didn’t stop, I just evolved. And that’s something you should know, is you’ll probably change course. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Fourth thing is You Need to Go Deep. The advice I got from the Scribe editors over and over and over again was that you’ve got to go deeper with your stories. You’ve got to include things that maybe aren’t fun, aren’t pleasurable for you to talk about; you have to really, really want to tell a good story, you have to be a little uncomfortable telling it and, you know, I was sort of glazing over a lot of the stories in my book while I was writing it, particularly stories that embarrassed me, or stories that I wasn’t proud of, or stories that showed my weaknesses, or stories that showed when I didn’t know how to do something, or stories that just showed that maybe I wasn’t always making good choices. And I didn’t want to go super deep with those stories, because they didn’t make me feel good. But working with Scribe and their editors, they just push you to go deeper, and maybe even scare yourself a little bit. I didn’t like it. But I do think that the book is much better and the stories are much better as a result of that guidance. So you need to go deep if you’re going to if you’re going to write a book.

And number five is: You Need a Team to Accomplish Anything in Life. You pretty much need a team if you’re going to be at the top of your game. Even if you’re going to be near the top or in the middle, you need a team. Everybody relies on a team, and writing a book is no different. Writing the book might be the hardest part of the process, but it’s just one part. There are so many decisions that need to be made. As you’re working your way through writing the book, you’ve got the title, and you’ve got the subtitle, and you’ve got the cover design, and you’ve got the page layout, and the font and typeface, and the pricing, and the marketing, and the list just goes on and on and on. And you know, maybe some people can manage all those things on their own, but I couldn’t I needed a team I needed a really good team. And I was able to get a lot of that help from the folks at Scribe and from others that I reached out to, two or three that became known to me during the process who had a special skillset for promotion, or they had a special skill set for writing, the kind of things that you need to write to promote the book, or they had connections with people who could help me promote the book. And, yeah, you need a team, you need a really great team.

So those are my five top things that I learned writing my book: The first is you need a roadmap. The second is you need consistency. The third, you’ll probably change course. The fourth is you need to go deep. And the fifth is that you need a team. And I’ll leave you with this. All of you. And I’m pretty certain that I’m on the right path here. What I’m saying is all of you have a book inside of you. You all have a wonderful story that can help people, that can inspire people, that can entertain people, that can you lead people, motivate people even if you believe in motivation. And there’s no one story out there that’s just like yours; you’re just like your DNA, you know. you are an individual with a very specific story that can change the world or can change a person and you should think about writing it. You should really think about writing it.

Thanks for joining me today for this special solo episode, I’m really happy to have this book behind me in terms of writing it, and now in front of me in terms of promoting it and sharing it with everybody. So if you are interested in buying the book, you can get it on Amazon. Of course, you can go to my website, mikemalatesta.com to get it or you can just keep listening to my podcast and sharing that as well. All of those would be a gift to me. I hope I’m providing value to you with each and every episode. And if you’re interested in the book, you can find OwnerShift — How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck on Amazon, you can find it on my website, MikeMalatesta.com or wherever you like to buy your books. Thanks for listening

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