Would you love to write a book?
Imagine seeing your name on the cover. Giving copies of your book to friends. Having your own author page on Amazon. Raking in the royalties.
Eighty percent of Americans dream of becoming an author, yet few actually pick up a pen. The ideas sound better in their head than on paper. And who has the time?
Bradley Charbonneau didn’t have time to write, either, but then something happened to change his life forever.
His father died.
Bradley realized that it was now or never. He only had one life, and it wasn’t going in the direction he’d hoped. If he wanted to become the writer he’d always dreamed of being, he needed to start now.
He began with one small decision.
He would write something every single day.
And since then, he’s written every day for over 2000 days. His daily efforts have resulted in 11 books, with 2 more on the way. Writing every single day gave him the courage to close down his company, move his family to Europe, and become a full-time writer. His latest book Decide is out now.
In this week’s YBTV interview, Bradley shares the power of a daily writing habit.
What You’ll Learn
“I am quite addicted to writing books, and I kind of can’t stop. And now I’m just this machine,” Bradley admits frankly.
Becoming a writing machine didn’t happen overnight. About six years ago, Bradley was put up to a challenge.
A challenge to write every day for 30 days straight.
“Which at that point was super-scary,” Bradley says, “because I was writing zero days in a row.”
But then something magical happened. “I got through 30 days, and I never stopped.”
If you’re someone who’d love to write but can’t seem to find the time, Bradley understands exactly what it’s like to be in your shoes. He’d wanted to be a full-time writer for ages but never had the courage to do anything about it.
He jokes that he was a closeted writer. “I was scared of admitting that I wanted to be a writer partly because I didn’t want to be a failure,” he says. Once you tell people you’re going to do something, they expect you to do it.
The first 30 days weren’t easy.
“In the beginning, writing used to cost me energy. It was a pain. I had to think about it. I had to worry about it and procrastinate.”
But he found that “writing is a muscle, and you can train it.” The more he wrote, the easier it became.
“What happens after a while is that—just like with running—you get to the point where you don’t feel it anymore, and you’re just cruising. I got to that point, I think, within two weeks or a month.”
What helped him most was deciding to make writing a daily habit. It left him without any wiggle room.
“My day starts usually with writing, and if I don’t write, it’s sort of like I didn’t have breakfast … and I can’t get started without it.”
He’s not worried about whether what he writes is any good.
“My rule per day is to hit publish [on his blog]. And so I want a certain level of quality, but remember, I’m just publishing for myself. I’m not publishing for The New York Times.”
He thinks that fear and perfectionism often hold people back from putting their work out into the world. “They want to get it right,” he says, which is why an author’s first book can take years or even decades to come to fruition.
Here would be my tip. Go force out the WORST book you can possibly write. In fact, … say, ‘I’m gonna write the worst, dumbest, most boring story known to the history of … literature….’ Go write that one, and then you can work on Book #2.”
He’s published everything he’s written over the past 2000+ days, “and that can be pretty scary,” he admits. But each of those posts has the potential to become part of a future book.
He’d written four children’s books before beginning his first “serious” book, Every Single Day. It was a book about the power of a daily routine. “This is what changed my life, this every single day habit,” he says.
I think the decision-making process takes so much out of us, when we’re choosing to do this or choosing to do that, or we can’t figure it out…. It takes so much energy. Whereas [if] you just make the decision, then you already are ahead of the game.”
Today, his writing routine fuels him. He’s completed another book, Decide, about the power of making a clear decision. His next book will be Spark, about working on projects with your kids. And he has another book coming out in January called Create.
“Once I put my mind to it, once I decided that this was going to happen, I [knew I] would succeed,” he says.
Want to start writing? Take Bradley’s free 10-Day Writing Challenge.
Jump to Topics of Interest
03:31 How the decision to write every single day changed his life
04:20 The importance of making a clear decision
05:40 Making time to write
06:48 Setting realistic standards
08:44 Going public as a writer
10:39 The importance of getting something out there, even if it’s not as good as you’d like
12:34 Story about his mother’s neighbor, an artist who’s 104 and still creates every day
14:32 Writing as a source of energy, rather than something that drains you
16:26 Bradley’s book Every Single Day
19:59 Bradley’s upcoming books
Bradley started writing and never stopped. Today he’s the author of 11 books, including Every Single Day and Decide. His writing journey was sparked by the death of his father in 2015, which woke him up to the fact of his own mortality. He realized he wasn’t living the life he thought he was supposed to live, so he decided to do something different. He was going to write every single day. Read more by Bradley.