Why The 5-Hour Author Happened
I’ve always been interested in how things are made or how they came to be. So I’m sharing this story with you. Unfortunately for me, I played the leading role in this one.
In one way, the creation of the 5-Hour Author is a typical story of how I had a problem and just spent some time figuring it out… and then fixed it.
On the other hand, it’s a little crazy how this all went down. So I have decided to share it with you.
It all started when I was doing my first book, mostly alone, and mostly the hard way…
You see, authoring a book didn’t come easily to me, and I spent more time than I probably should have figuring this stuff out. So I spent a lot of time, yep, you guessed it, sitting in front of my computer.
That’s not unusual, right? Well, at age 40, I guess my body didn’t appreciate the long hours of inactivity. I’ve always been a healthy dude…
So, what happened next was I got sick, not from stress, but physically sick from (what I believe was) sitting at the computer, you guessed it, for hours and hours and hours at a time…
And not taking breaks like you’re supposed to.
Without getting into too much detail, I literally developed all kinds of weird issues internally, and after a few months of tests (of all kinds)… supposedly nothing was wrong with me.
But I was not okay.
Fortunately for me (and admittedly out of desperation), I was able to connect with a natural-healing doctor who pretty quickly identified a low-grade infection in my gut. (This is the simple way of explaining it; I won’t get into the details here.)
So after a few months of juicing and eating only good, raw food (along with regular trips to my chiropractor and a few natural remedies), I began to heal my gut and finally started to get better. Whew.
Anyway, I really believe all that sitting messed me up. So what did I do then?
It Was Time For A Breakthrough
The old me and the new me had a long talk, and we figured out that this sitting in front of a screen all day every day would not work out so well in the long run.
So I let my entrepreneurial spirit run wild and began reverse-engineering the authoring process (that I’d already spent too long trying to figure out). I now focused on finding ways to shortcut the process and all the crap that comes with trying to publish a book. I just wanted to come up with a simple process that I could use to author a great book much, much faster.
I did this because I knew a book was the best platform to share my message, get a little more credibility along the way, get some celebrity status (if I were lucky) and maybe one-up a few competitors.
So I wasn’t going to throw in the towel. But how do you author a book and not write for long hours?
You can now!
After much tweaking and lots of thinking sessions and trials, the 5-Hour Author was born as a quick (and effective) way to become an author and share your unique knowledge… with people you can actually help.
So I started off by deconstructing the process used by the most successful writers because I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel—I just wanted to make the wheel move much, much faster… And ultimately what I figured out was how to harness the magic of writing just like you speak without all the time commitment. Here’s how it went down…
First, What I Was Doing Right
One of the first things I discovered when I got into writing was how to write the way I speak. This method of writing resonated with me because I felt it was the best way to harness my unique voice and, frankly, it was the most natural to me. In studying writing, specifically direct response copywriting, I discovered quickly that this type of writing style was for ME. One of the writers I am fascinated by is the great Gary Halbert. I really love his edgy style and his overall approach to writing. The biggest takeaway I got from him and other writers were so simple it could easily be discounted. It was just ‘be yourself’ and ‘write like you speak.’ For me, the end result was writing that is authentic, usually conversational and even informal at times. But it was me, and it worked.
I really believe that writing like you speak is the only way to write. When you make the decision to write like you speak, it’s much easier to find your unique voice (and style) and, more important, you’ll capture all your best stuff and effectively communicate your message. The stuff that people actually want to read about!
Although this writing method was working for me, I needed to figure out how to write faster.
Here’s What I Uncovered
Of course, I knew that writing was time-intensive and required lots (and lots) of editing. But what I found out was interesting. Even people who LIKE to write struggle with the writing process because they try to EDIT while they are writing. I also found out that the best writers go to great lengths to keep themselves from editing while they write. See, the best writers in the world already know that editing while writing is a huge NO-NO that leads to many unproductive sessions and adds more hours to the writing process. But WHY it’s a no-no is not because of the unproductivity it brings, though that is a good reason; it’s because when you try to do both at the same time, you’re interrupting the flow that’s important to the creative writing process. The deep thinking and focus that you achieve when you don’t edit while you write are the SECRETS to tapping into your expertise and sucking your unique knowledge out of your brain. When it’s done effectively, all your best thoughts and ideas will come to the surface.
No surprise, I was constantly editing while I was writing and interrupting my flow and killing my creative thinking, thus not getting my best stuff out of my brain. And it gets worse; after analyzing my writing I found out that I was spending much more time editing than I was actually writing. I did find out this is normal, which made me feel a little better, but it was depressing nonetheless.
So I dug a little deeper into how to effectively write without editing. The basic concept is to throw ALL the rules of writing out the window and just write freely. That means you don’t worry about grammar, sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation—anything. You don’t do any editing at all; you just write. And when we let go of these rules, the results are truly liberating.
After adopting this new technique with my writing, I was instantly more creative and productive.
For example, my favorite writing tip to keep me in the flow state came from Neil Strauss. It’s a simple thing he calls “To Come” or TK. Anytime you don’t know what you’re going to say, or you’re stuck on anything at all. You don’t stop what you’re doing or take the time to research or even think about it. Just type “TK,” which means to come—this is the stuff you’ll fill in at a later time. The reason it’s TK and not TC is because there are no words or spell-checking associated with TK. So you can easily go back to all your TKs in any word processing application and finish your work at a later time.
But this edit-free experimentation was more than a new way of writing (and thinking). It led me to a much bigger breakthrough.
Actually, it hit me like a ton of bricks. “What if I just decided to write like I speak but do it literally, actually just speak what I want to write then edit what I said?”
Here Comes The Breakthrough
Since I already was writing like I speak and not editing while I write, what if I just went ahead and skipped the writing and went right to speaking?
Well, that’s exactly what I did.
I realized that the natural thing to do was to draw out my best thinking through my voice by just talking. I love to talk (ask anyone who knows me), and truth be told, I have always been a better verbal communicator anyway.
So after some necessary testing and tweaking, I found I could draw out what I wanted to write (my best stuff) through my voice. This was really a natural next step for me because I already was writing like I spoke; now I just added rocket fuel. Plus I felt like the shackles that attached me to my desk for long hours was suddenly removed. On top of that, this new way of thinking and doing was a pathway to more freedom and productivity because I was able to get content out of my brain at lightning speed. But I was also able to avoid the huge editing trap that I constantly fell into.
What I did was take the best practices of writing, married them and simply added a much-needed time shortcut. Instead of writing the way I speak, I chose to speak the way I wanted to write, so I could be 100% sure to draw out my best thinking but in less time. By choosing to write like I speak (literally) and just record everything I say, I could harness ALL my creative gems in one shot. One way to do this is using Rev Voice Recorder (more on this in Chapter 9) and then submit the file to be transcribed into writing.
That’s (in my opinion) why this process works so well. It’s the intersection of all the best ways to get your unique knowledge and perspective out of your brain and into a book the first time around. You really need to just speak and record everything you say, and then transcribe it into writing.
When done effectively, there is less editing because you just let it flow…
Of course, the process of recording what you want to write is not a new concept. In fact, people have been doing it for years (including me), but I never went deep enough with the process or applied it to the creation of a book. One catalyst that helped me get clear on the power of recording your voice was hearing Dean Jackson of I Love Marketing talk about his book-creation process.
Sharing what I learned with others.
I applied this same type of “breakthrough thinking” to my entire book-creation process. Of course, this process wasn’t called the 5-Hour Author originally. It was just the process I used to write my own books faster. But after putting this process to the test, I realized that it was entirely too valuable to keep to myself. After I made a few more tweaks, I had a process that I was proud to tell others about. And there’s no better way to get the word out than through a BOOK…
Once I decided to share this process with others, I had to come up with a name that was fitting and had the marketing muscles to make everyone want to get a copy. The 5-Hour Author name is perfect because it clearly explains the main benefit you’ll get, it’s descriptive and it ignites curiosity.
But There Is A Catch
Of course, the key to making this work is the SETUP. As you know, all forms of writing have a period of brainstorming and planning, and the 5-Hour Author is no different. Nothing weird, but there is ONE major caveat: You MUST be prepared before you begin free-flow speaking. This doesn’t involve scripting out what you’re going to say—not at all. What I mean is you’ve got to set up the outline of what you want to say and in what order. By doing this you’ll be able to quickly and painlessly create the right flow for your book and speak freely. This process allows you to break up what you’re going to talk about into bite-size chunks so you can easily follow a logical path.
The other catch is obvious, but I’ll point this out just in case there are any knuckleheads who get a copy of this book. This process won’t work unless you actually know WHAT you’re talking about. That means you’ve got to be an expert on the topic you want to discuss.
Stay tuned, because I’m going to show you how to follow the setup process (in great detail) in Chapter 8, Step 1, of the 5-Hour Author.
One More Thing
I still like to write, but sitting for long hours is unhealthy. So I had to find a way to work without sitting as much. Naturally, one way I have done this is by taking more breaks. The other way that works for me is using a standing desk and a treadmill desk. C’est la vie.
Now let’s get into some of the key benefits of being an author. Come along…