You have to be a disaster before you become the master. I first heard this from John Lee Dumas a while ago, but it really helped me get through February this year.
You see, starting to write my upcoming book has been a massive grind. This is my first time going down the traditional publishing route, so it feels like a huge deal. (I shared my excitement and worries with you in episode 624 — if you haven't already, check out that session too!)
I wrote and self-published my first three books, and the experience I gained with Let Go, Will It Fly, and Superfans is truly coming in handy right now. But it didn't make starting this process any easier.
Today, I'll share the steps I took to finally get in the groove. I'm on the dance floor now, and I love it!
If you're struggling to get started on a big project or sick of grinding it out, listen in on this episode for my best tips!
SPI 664: The Disaster Grind
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host. One of his biggest problems is that when he sees a button, he wants to press the button. Pat Flynn.
Happy Friday! Pat here, and I have a thought. A thought that I wanted to share with you that came to mind because it's taken about a month and a half to get to this point in what I'm about to tell you. But that month and a half was a grind. It was a struggle. It was a lot of questioning and was a lot of self-doubt.
But in about a month and a half after consistently doing the thing, I've just gotten into a groove finally. And of course we all wish we could get into the groove or the flow or just comfortable with the thing, whatever the thing may be. And I'll tell you what the thing is that I'm working on in just a second.
But I always forget that, right? We, we wish that we can just pick up the laptop, open it up, and start writing, and bam, our novel, our book is done. Or go back onto the field or the golf course having not played for a while, and then boom, you just hit par. Or, or even better, it doesn't work like that. In order to get into the groove, and this is especially important when you're doing the same thing over and over again, or you have a task that is required to be done repeatedly over time to help you get to a goal, you just gotta start and get messy, and I've talked about this before, but you gotta be a disaster before you become the master. Thank you to John Lee Dumas, which is where I first heard that. I don't know if he made that up, but whoever made that, thank you because I love that quote. You gotta be a disaster before you become the master.
I have to preach that to myself every time I start something new. So what is this quote unquote new thing? Well, it's not totally new, but it was me picking it up again and that is writing. Writing not in the sense of emails and blog posts. Those things I have just sort of, they're en, they're like riding a bike to me, but riding a book.
You might know that I'm in the middle of writing my next book, and this is my first traditionally published book, which is in my head, making it a lot bigger of a deal than maybe I should make it now. It is a big deal. Of course, there is a publisher now who will want it to be a certain way, and I'm always conflicted as to, you know, well, how much am I gonna give them or how much am I stand my ground on and, and we haven't even reached those parts yet because we're still working on the manuscript. The goal is to get this manuscript over to the publisher by summer, hopefully even before then, before the official start of summer. Well, I started in February and it's been a grind and I think they call it a grind because the wheel is spinning and you gotta get that rust off before you start to see the shine.
Right, and I'll tell you, it was tough and I think what made it even worse is that I know that I've written three really good books in the past, starting with Let Go, which was a little bit easier. This was back in 2013, and that was just a memoir. That was just me recalling things that I've already written in blog posts about my story.
The next book was Will It Fly? in 2015. And then later in 2019, Superfans, and I'm grateful that Will It Fly and Superfan still continues to be evergreen. I wrote them to be as such, the technology is gonna change, but the principles behind building a business and building a community like I talked about in Superfans, is always gonna remain true.
And I think it's even more important now, especially with things like AI and ChatGPT coming and all those sorts of things that are a lot of the skills that we have almost are irrelevant. It's the soft skills now, the communication, the presentations, the storytelling, all that kind of stuff. Anyway, I'm on a tangent right now.
Started writing in February. It was an absolute grind, but I kept going and I got some help. Big shout out to Jeff Goins who's been my collaborator on this, who's been really pushing me, who's been asking me the right questions, who's been helping me take these ideas and these stories, and this framework and the structure outta my head and onto, you know, a messy folder, and he calls it clay, right? It's like, clay. We're gonna get all the clay out and then we're gonna mold it together into something great, and then we're gonna pop it in the oven and then bam, pottery or whatever it might be. Well, in this case, it's a book, right? And it, oh man.
There's days you you want to give up. And there's good days in the grind as well, right? Have a great day of writing or you're equivalent to my writing, whatever it is that you're working on, podcasting perhaps, or filming video or golf. You might have a great day, you might shoot really well and then you go, man, I'm over that hump now.
I won't have to worry about the grind anymore cuz I'm past it. And then next day you're back and you, you, you're, you took like three steps back. Right? And that's so dishearten. Because then you feel like it's even, it's an even up more uphill battle, but then you keep going, you keep grinding. The rust starts coming off more good days than bad, and all of a sudden you're where I am now, which is in a groove, and I love the groove.
I'm on the dance floor now and many days I put on the right song and boom, I'm doing the three step. I don't know what I'm saying now, but all that to say and, and again, I just finished a writing session, so this is why this is fresh on my mind. It's taken a while to get here, and now it's the opposite, right, where I'm writing really well, and then I have an off day here and there, but I am trying to get through it every day.
So this is just some encouragement and, and a little bit of a personal story and something that I'm going through right now. that whatever it is that you know you need to do repeatedly, keep doing it. Even though in the beginning it's going to suck, and then it's gonna suck a little less, and then it's just gonna get better.
It's just naturally going to do that. But as you suck, you're gonna tell yourself you suck and you're gonna stop. That's most people, but that's not you , you are going to keep going. So whatever it is that thing is that you know is in your mind right now, I want you to put those, I suck stories aside, and I want you to bring in the, I'm in the grind right now.
The rust is coming off and it's going to look shiny in the end, but you gotta be a disaster before you become the master, right? And I think about this from all the other books that I've written. Besides Let Go again, which I've, you know, had a lot of practice on. Will It Fly? that was a, that was my first quote unquote real business book because it wasn't just my story, it was actual strategies and tactics and other people's stories and things like that, and it, and that made it fuel very heavy.
And there was a lot of rust. It, it just was like I was carving stone, not putting clay together, but I had a, a big weight that was just, I had to carve from, and I'm grateful that I had people like Azul from Authors Who Lead who coached me through that and helped me chisel the right book out of everything that was going on, and that was a year and a half of a grind before I finally got the groove. With Superfans a lot of the rust came off during presentations. This book, superfans, was actually a presentation that was then converted into a book, and so I had a lot of the structure. I had a lot of the stories. It was just a matter of taking those stories and putting them onto paper or onto Google Docs, but the thing that helped the most was actually setting deadlines and getting into a daily writing routine.
I did that in November of 2018. I remember that specifically because November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writers Month, and I used that month, which is a big challenge all over the world. People are using every day in November to write a novel. Well, I decided to write a business book and take that from my presentation Superfans, which was very popular.
And still today. It's just amazing how I still get asked to speak about that and even get paid to do that sometimes, which is wild. But that book was a grind. First week, because I was public about it as well. I held myself. I had you hold me accountable. We could probably go back into time on my Instagram and find those posts where I was sharing my daily writing count.
And I remember the very first day, or prior to this challenge, I announced this challenge. I'm gonna write a book in November. It's like October right now. And I tell everybody, Hey, I'm gonna report. Because this is what I do. I just work in public, right? Sort of like what I'm doing right now with Deep Pocket Monster.
I report every day how many words I'm gonna write, so everybody, I want you. To guess how many words I'll write on day one, and we'll do this every day of a contest. I did a little giveaway for people who were closest to my word count, so it was a little game. I gamified it a little bit. People were following along, and of course, when people are involved, they're invested.
So this was all part of marketing as well, even before the book was written. Yes, you need to market your book even before the book is written. What am I doing here today? What have I done for the last six months? Talked about my new book before it's even written. I walk the walk people, and I remember that first day people were guessing 1700, 2000, 5000 words.
Pat, you're gonna write so much. You've written books before. This is incredible. You're gonna be awesome. I can't wait to see the book. First day, I think I wrote like 300 words, and in a one hour writing session, and then I asked the next day, Hey guys, how many words do you think I'm gonna write? You saw day one was a little bit of a struggle, but hey, you believe in me, right?
How many words do you think I'm gonna write on day? 400, 350. You all switched your belief in me real quick, but that's because of day one. But then week one went by, numbers started to get a little bit bigger, and then the next week the numbers got even bigger, and then I was in a flow 2,500, 3000, 4,000 words per day.
Then by the time my birthday came around December 6th, 2018, Guess what? I'd finished the very rough, but still first draft and it was because I got through the grind. So get through the grind. Take that rust off and shine. I know you could do it. Thank you so much and make sure you subscribe if you haven't already.
Look forward to seeing you or hearing or having you hear me on Wednesday. We have another interview coming up. You're not gonna wanna miss it. I'll see you then.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.