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Episode Info: I used to be a time management enthusiast. I say “used to be,” because time management eventually stopped working for me. How I became an accidental author It all started with an email. It was the kind of email that would trip up most spam filters. I wasn’t being offered millions of dollars from an offshore bank account, true love, nor improved performance in bed. I was being offered a book deal. I had never thought of myself as a writer. In fact, I downright hated writing as a kid. I remember reading about how Stephen King said that when he was a kid, he was “on fire” to write. I remember saying to myself, That makes no sense! Who on Earth would enjoy writing? I had never thought of myself as a writer, but I had fantasized about being an author. I guess that means I didn’t think so much about writing, but I liked the idea of having written. As I considered taking this book deal, I talked to everyone I knew who had written a book. They all warned me that writing a book is extremely hard work, with little chance of success. One author simply said, You’ll want to die! But, I figured, how hard can it be? So, I signed my first literary contract. How I tried to write a book, when I didn’t know how to write a book I didn’t have any idea how to write a book, so I did it the only way I could think of: through brute force time management. I simply needed to find enough time to write this book. So, I used every time management technique I could think of. I put writing sessions on my calendar. I developed a morning routine that would get me writing first thing in the morning. I “time boxed” to try to limit the time I would spend on parts of the project. I fired my clients, I outsourced my meal preparation, I cancelled dates and turned down party invitations. I did everything I could to focus all of my time on writing my book. But it still wasn’t enough. I spent most of my day hunched over a keyboard. I felt actual physical pain in my stomach. It felt as if rigor mortis had taken over my fingers, as I struggled to write even a single sentence. Sure, I had the time to write my book, but I wasn’t getting anything done. My case of writers’ block was so bad that, a few weeks after signing my book deal, I accepted a last-minute invitation to go on a retreat to Costa Rica. With a signed contract in my file drawer and a deadline breathing down my neck, it wasn’t the most logical thing to do with my time. But I desperately hoped that a change of scenery would work some kind of magic on my writer’s block. But a few days into the trip, I still had nothing. Zero! Zilch! My contract said that if I didn’t have my manuscript twenty-five percent done within a few weeks, the deal was off. So, unless a miracle happened, I would write a check to the publisher to return my advance, and I would humiliatingly face my friends, family, and readers to tell them I had failed. Does that sound like a lot of pressure? It was. The chance encounter tha...
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