(Authored by best-selling author & Southwestern Consulting Co-founder, Rory Vaden)
It is amazing to me to think that in February 2015 my first book, Take the Stairs, will have already been out for 3 years! My new book (Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time) will be coming out in January. This week I put the final finishing edits on this new book that I believe will be an absolute game-changer for the way the world thinks about time and productivity. I love the writing in this new book.
Thinking back, I never set out to be a great writer, though. Honestly, when I first started I wanted to be a speaker. Writing originally seemed like a necessary evil in order to get the chance to speak more. Until one moment when everything changed…
Many people dream of getting to write a book for a major New York publisher but what I never expected was the amount of pressure I would feel to write an outstanding book after I finally got my book deal.
When I first signed with Penguin I set out to write a phenomenal book to share with the world! It was going to be my life’s work. The book, that if I died tomorrow, would let the world know what I stood for: self-discipline and Take the Stairs.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote, and there was one major problem…the writing wasn’t any good!
When I would go back and read everything I had written it just sounded so generic. So blasé. So much like everyone else.
Until one night I had a phone call with someone very close to me. During our conversation, I got so frustrated with this person – whom I love deeply – and the poor choices they were making in their life.
After the phone call, in a fit of emotion, I wrote down all of the things that I wanted to say out loud to this person’s face but that I just didn’t have the courage to.
So instead, I wrote at them.
It was almost as if I was pouring my heart out to them on paper. It was everything I wished I was man enough to say in person but just couldn’t because I was afraid.
Then I went back and read what I had written…
It was phenomenal!!
Heartfelt. Relevant. Emotional. Impactful. Unique. And moving.
That day changed my life.
That was the day that I became a writer.
Because I realized you cannot write for “the world,” instead you must write to a single person.
It can be a message to yourself, to someone you know, or to a specific fictitious character struggling with a distinct set of psychographic challenges. But you cannot write to “people” “everyone” or “the world.”
You can only write to…a single individual person.
I learned the biggest lesson in my writing career: Don’t write to people; write to person.
Pick out a person in your life that you know and write their name at the very top of any writing you ever do.
From that day until this, I never write a single word without thinking of someone specific in my mind that I am writing to…