How to start writing your book.

How to spend the first forty hours of writing a book to accelerate research, gain confidence, and create momentum.


Since releasing a book six months ago, even the thought of writing is exhausting. (Tip #1 for writing a book: don’t commit to do it in 5 months while working full time)

Then two weeks ago, for some (unknown & uneducated) reason, I committed to writing a 30 page eBook in 3 days to launch with a friend’s course on writing. Suggestions on how not to make stupid decisions like this in the future are warmly welcomed.

The coffee didn’t stop flowing for 48 hours, but I pressed through my writing block to finish on time and am now thrilled I was finally able to get some of writing process on paper. I’m now giving the eBook away for free for a limited time (here), but here’s a little taste… 

The First Forty: Introduction

…After committing to a publisher to write a book, I had a problem. Actually, make that three problems.

One, I didn’t know how to write a book.

Two, I wasn’t sure I could write more than 1200 words about the subject matter—much less a book.

And three, I didn’t think of myself as an author—nor did I have the confidence that I could become one.

Little confidence. No real writing experience. And not a clue how to start writing a book. Yet—I knew the importance of the message and the value it could be for many people—not to mention, I was now committed to delivering a 40,000 word manuscript.

What I did have, however, was 1200 words that people seemed to like sharing online (from a previous article that went viral)—and a research process.

This process was something I created for myself several years back when I started my business development company. At the time, I needed to develop a certain altitude of expertise and in a bit of desperation, I created this lifestyle integrated approach to research. It ended up doing all I needed for me as a business owner and more.

Fast forward a couple years to me having no clue how to start writing a book. I thought it could be time to pull this research process off the shelf and see how well it translated to my new creative endeavor.

As it turns out, it was exactly what I needed to start the book and to accelerate my research process. But what really shocked me was how much confidence this process gave me as a writer—and even how much momentum it gave the project.

I handed in my manuscript less than five months later and survived to tell about it—which I attribute much of the credit to this simple 30 day, 40 hour process for getting me started.

I now call the process “The First Forty” because it’s become the steps I take for the first 40 hours of almost any large endeavor I take on. Looking back over the last 4 years, I’ve started a business, developed other people’s businesses, learned to design and code the front-end of websites, and write professional copy using this lifestyle-approach-to-research. And of course, I can now add “written a book” to this list.

…“The First Forty” is a guide for authors—helping them be more intentional with what they consume, who they admire, what they think about themselves, and who they spend their time with. This guide, if walked out effectively, has the potential to accelerate your research process, build creative confidence, and cultivate momentum around the process of writing a book.

The process invites you, over the course of 30 days, to…

• Spend 3 focused hours deep diving the project
• Spend one hour a day for a month consuming content
• Interview relevant influencers
• Start a mastermind group or engage in intentional conversations with friends
• Target negative thoughts & recite positive affirmations daily

Not too arduous sounding, is it? (Download the ebook free)

Hope it helps!

PS. The First Forty focuses only on the important (and often hardest) step to any creative process of actually getting started. However, “The First Forty” is part of the much larger journey of writing a book. In fact, the content you’re about to read is actually a small part of a 46-week video course designed to walk you through the entire process of writing a book that some friends of mine just released—called Author Launch.

I believe “The First Forty” is a great way to get you started—but in my opinion, there is no better guide for the comprehensive process of writing a book than Author Launch. The goal of the video course is simple. At the beginning, you have no book. One year later, you have a book—all because you engaged in the community, completed the assignments it gives you and had the support you needed to make this book a reality.


Though I’m thrilled to be a contributor to Author Launch—along with several of my personal writing heroes including Donald Miller, Jeff Goins, & Ally Vesterfelt—but I’m also genuinely angry at the founders. I’m angry because if they had only launched their course before I wrote my first book, it would have been guaranteed to be far easier. (Learn more about Author Launch here)