11 Lessons From Writing A Book
“Writing is hard for every last one of us… Coal…
2014 is here. How crazy is that? A simple minute, 11.59 to 00.00, but with it a switch from one year to the next. Even though in reality it’s just a brief moment, the new year is a great marker – a catalyst to wipe the slate clean, reset, change.
I suppose the first part of this post is just an attempt to personally distill and clarify some thoughts by writing them down. The second part is a fun goal-setting exercise that hopefully you’ll join in with.
Quickly looking back, last year was amazingly crazy, and it brought with it a lot of learning. There’s been specific questions on my mind recently, which are: What did it mean? How, specifically, did it change me? What can be applied from those lessons? It’s easy to look back on 2013 and come up with attempted half-answers that are loose, vague and un-actionable. But there’s also real, actionable, tangible stuff that I would not be aware of were it not for last year. Some of the main lessons that I took away from the year of living on a bike are:
Stop Being Intimidated
Intimidation is in our mind. Obviously there’s times when there’s good reason to be hesitant and nervous, but so often those moments are fabricated within ourselves and by missing out on the things that intimidate us, we miss out on great, unforgettable experiences. It’s a disservice. The things that scare us are those we should face in order to grow. Finding a way to turn the anxiety into excitement is a massive game-changer.
Grit beats skill. Determination and stubbornness beats experience. Literally and metaphorically, it’s really easy to bike a long way – you just have to keep going and eventually, lo and behold, you end up in the right place. But more generally, it’s the number one lesson I took away from talking to people like John and Martha. Keeping going is the easiest way to make something happen.
Build a Routine
If you wake up and think “I’ve gotta ride today”, then you’ll probably fail. But if you wake up, know that the bike ride is part of the routine, and think about how – even though it might not be that fun setting off into the cold or the dark – by the end of the ride you’ll be refreshed and loving it, then suddenly it sounds much more tempting. The way we frame things in our minds affects our chances of success.
Roll With The Punches
Sh*t is probably going to go wrong. Whether that’s a puncture, a snapped chain, or a run of bad luck in life. It sucks but it’s already happened and time machines aren’t real yet (maybe 2015). Move on and work it out – the process of working it out will probably be intrinsically worthwhile and may lead to a hidden gain.
Set Ridiculous Goals
Most people set goals that are based on past experience, and on what they know will be a guaranteed success. Setting moonshot goals, that seem so far removed from something you have experience of, is a great way to learn quickly by default and do something that might shock you. Diving in at the deep end, acknowledging that you don’t know it all, and being cool with that can be a valid approach.
With the festive season, some of those have fallen by the wayside recently, but with 2014 acting as an incentive, it’s time to implement these lessons and embrace the future. What can be done in 365 days?
AN EXERCISE: FOUR WORDS
If you had to base the next 365 days on four words, what would they be? Chris Brogan posted recently about taking three words and using them as a central focus for goal-setting the coming year. Not enough range, buddy. Settling on four instead, it was fun to think about which words to choose, and which areas to step into the new year with. Give it a try! In the end, an in no particular order, these four came to mind:
Consistent. Adventurous. Build. Adapt.
Consistent – Blogging and building a great site relies on consistency. Specifically with this site, the aim is to press the publish button consistently, every couple of weeks or so. Simple really.
Adventurous – Last year was epic in so many ways, and experiencing that kind of lifestyle has shifted my values and mindset dramatically. It’s an aim for this year to contain more adventures, and for that type of learning to continue for the foreseeable.
Build – Disposable things aren’t appealing anymore. I’d love to use this year to build the foundations for a committed future (relationships, business, adventures, lifestyle etc).
It’s totally true, it happens all the time, and it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. There’s going to be a pivot in the coming months on VagueDirection.com which will highlight some adventurous content that isn’t directly connected to last years ride or even cycling. It will introduce you guys to some fascinating people and their stories, which I hope will inspire, amuse, teach, shock and maybe even move you. Adapting beats going stale.
So that’s my four words. What are yours? It’d be awesome to discover what you’re aiming for in 2014, what adventures the year has in store, and which words you’ll focus on this year. Let me know in the comments down there ↓
Happy New Year!