Listen to yourself, and do more of what works

You would think that writing a second book would be easier than writing a first one. As I prepare to put my second book together, I haven’t found that to be the case.

While there are lots of new things I learned, as I apply them this time around, it’s almost like they’re bumping out the factors that really worked for me last time. It’s not working. Here are three quotes that have resonated with me:

Eddie Huang writes in Fresh Off the Boat, “I realized the problem with Hoodman wasn’t that I tried to do me, it was that I tried to do everyone else, too. Once we had a hit with my Obama and ‘I Shoot Hipsters’ tees, I listened to too many other people. We looked into ‘developing a line’ and growing the way other brands did when we should have just stuck to our guns. With Baohaus, we stayed true to ourselves and that’s how Rivington was won.”

Sasha Chapin writes, “It is probably the case that, somewhere in the past, you did something that made you more happy/productive/fulfilled, but you don’t do it anymore, for no good reason. Think about that, and do it again, preferably instead of one of your less desirable behaviors. (I got this from Chris Sparks.)”

Ramit Sethi writes, “In short — find what works … and do MORE of it!”

What worked for me last time was keeping the scope really small and my expectations very low—just writing a book, not my first book—as well as focusing (and doing nothing else), and delivering just a digital PDF on Gumroad. 

It wasn’t the most impactful option, but it worked. That manuscript would eventually go on to become Creative Doing, but I had to write it and sell it directly first before I could evolve it.

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