I get this question a lot: Where did you write your book?
The first 2 weeks were spent writing at my home during the day. But the problem was that I was so nervous to write even one word because I ultimately knew other people were going to read them. And because of that I paralyzed myself. In order then, to take my mind off of everything I would turn the TV on, I would check my email, I would call people … anything I could do to distract myself from the pressure I felt to have to write a ‘generation changing’ book in 7 weeks. Then one night it was really late I was wide awake and decided to start writing.
I wrote and wrote and wrote from about 10pm-6am and it was just flowing out of me (this also coincided with the condensing of my outlines). I wrote 23 pages that first night and I was ecstatic! I realized that in the middle of the night no one is awake so I can’t call anyone, can’t email anyone, can’t watch any Cubs games on TV; I could just write with no distractions.
That was the most freeing realization I ever had! From that moment on I totally flipped my sleep/writing schedule upside down. I would write until about 6am or so each night, wake up about 4pm, wait for my wife Brenda to come home from work at about 5pm, we would have dinner and then I would kiss her goodbye and go to Chicago’s only 24-hour Starbucks underneath the world famous Chicago’s Second City Theater at North Ave. and Wells St. Then from about 6pm until whenever I felt like stopping, I would write in one of those big and comfortable leather chairs that Starbucks has. Peaceful. Productive. Wonderful. My middle-of-the-night Starbucks writing time was just what I needed to escape and get away from everyone and everything for those 5 remaining weeks so I could concentrate without distractions. I thank God for that 24 hour Starbucks. It was quite, no one was ever really there from 1am-5am, everyone kept to themselves and like catching lightning in a bottle, I wrote my entire book in 5 weeks in the middle of the night at a Starbucks.
Knowing what I know now I still believe I had to flip my life schedule in order to get this book done. Not optimal, but essential. But, and this is the gracious big but, I’m looking forward to learning from this experience for book #2. I realized throughout my writing that I need silence, I need to be left alone and I need big chunks of time to write as I am not one of those people who can write a paragraph here and there. But I also know for next time though, I don’t have to flip my life schedule because of everything I learned from this first book. I feel confident enough now, that I can tackle another daunting project like this first one during the day instead of at night. I would like a life and be able to write a book; not just write a book.
Lesson #3: Learn what works best for you in regards to your writing environment and style and stick with it. It might not happen at first, but the more consistent you are the easier it becomes.