Note from Krista: This post actually has very little do with fitness, but does have quite a bit to do with many of the mindset techniques we’ve discussed recently on the blog. If you’re not interested, no hard feelings at all.
In case you haven’t heard, my first published book is coming out soon (March 31st, to be exact!).
If you haven’t already, you can pre-order it here.
(If you’ve already pre-ordered it, THANK YOU.)
I thought it might be cool to write a post on how I went about writing and publishing a book for those of you who are interested (and if you’re not, here are a bunch of fitness-related posts).
Why should you care?
Well, aside from those of you who might want to write a book of your own one day, the very same principles and mindset techniques that I talk about over and over when it comes to leveling up your fitness are also the same techniques I used to write this book.
This is one reason I love fitness so much and try and my best to convince everyone else to love it too: so much of the mental toughness you’ll build when working to become a better athlete can also be applied to the rest of your life.
Working to build strength, stamina, and new skillsets through fitness teaches you how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, an invaluable skill to have in any area of your life.
So, with that in mind, here’s how I applied many of those same techniques to writing and publishing a book:
I Committed to a Clear Goal
Although I’ve been writing for the 12 Minute Athlete blog for years and have always been a writer in some capacity (I worked as a journalist and freelance writer before starting 12 Minute Athlete in 2013), it didn’t occur to me until a few years ago to actually write a book.
The catalyst came in the summer of 2018, at a conference for entrepreneurs and online creators called Craft and Commerce. At the time, I was in need of a challenging project—I had been skating along in business for way too long.
At the conference, I attended a talk by author and digital marketer Chandler Bolt, who challenged his audience to write a book. I made the decision right then and there to write one.
Yet deciding to set a goal is one thing—actually working toward that goal is another.
From my experience setting fitness-related goals, I knew that one of the most important steps in goal setting is to attach your goals to a timeline.
So I gave myself an arbitrary timeline of six months to write and publish the first self-published version of the book. I had no idea whether that was enough time—I just knew I needed a deadline in order to make it happen.
I Broke Up the Process into Actionable Chunks
Have you ever set a big goal with enthusiasm, only to quickly feel overwhelmed by just how big it really is?
That’s happened to me with every big goal or project I’ve ever attempted, fitness-related or not. And the process of writing a book was certainly no different.
When I first made the goal of writing a book and set a deadline for myself, I was fired up and excited. I told friends at the conference about it, and wrote about it in my journal.
But unsurprisingly, when I got back from the excitement of the conference and actually had to make a plan to get the book started… I felt sick to my stomach with fear.
Who was I to write a book? What if I couldn’t actually do it, or had nothing to say?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged at the beginning of every big goal. Yet there’s a simple workaround for this: break your big goal into small, actionable steps.
I was aware of this goal-setting process (again, mainly because of past fitness goals I had set and achieved) so as soon as I made the decision to push forward despite my self doubt, I went to work.
My initial chunking process went like this:
- Outline the content of the book (this was a whole chunking-down process in itself)
- Decide on the imagery and design direction for the book
- Learn about the self-publishing process
- Make a marketing plan
Each of these different chunks was then chunked down even further until I was able to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each. I took it one step at a time, making sure to track my process in a detailed checklist and noting any and all small wins along the way to keep my motivation levels up.
I Made Consistency My Number One Focus
With any big goal you have, fitness-related or not, consistency really is key.
Even a little bit of near-daily work toward your goal will add up to big things in the long run.
This is the approach I took when writing my book, as well as the approach I take when going after any long-term goal.
When I was first starting my book, I made a goal of writing 500 words a day, every single day.
If I was on a roll that day and felt inspired and motivated to write more, I could write more. But that 500 words a day minimum kept me going, even when I wasn’t feeling in the mood to write. And pretty soon, it started to add up big time.
I “Shipped” It
If you’re familiar with author and marketer Seth Godin, you’ve probably heard him talk about the importance of “shipping.”
In his book Linchpin, Godin says, “The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.”
No matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, at some point you have to close the door on what you’re doing and move on to the next part of the process. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck trying to do things “perfectly” and never make real progress.
When it got close to the deadline that I’d set for myself to publish the book, all kinds of fears showed up. Fears that it wasn’t good enough, that I should add this, change that, and on and on.
But at a certain point, I had to let all that go and just get it out the door. I had to trust myself to know that I had worked hard on it and put my heart into the book. I also had to tell myself that this didn’t have to be the last book I ever wrote (in fact, I’m already in the process of writing my next book).
So I shipped it. And I’m so glad I did.
What I Learned
I learned so much about goal setting, consistency, and grit during this whole book writing process, all of which I can honestly tie back to setting and achieving fitness goals.
Since releasing the self-published version of the book, I’ve had an amazing response from you all and am also extremely happy to announce that it has since been picked up by Tiller Press / Simon and Schuster, and will be re-released this March (you can pre-order here).
PS. If you plan to get the book (or already have it!), please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Reviews are a big reason books succeed or fail these days, and if the book helped you in any way it would mean SO much to me if you’d take a moment to review it.