in life

Writing the Book that Needs to be Written

“The bigger and more important the goal (in a life-fulfilling kind of way), the louder and more insistent the “inner critic” becomes. Inner critics (also referred to as gremlins or saboteurs) are those voices that try to bring you down or protect the status quo with phrases like “you are not experienced/smart/unique enough to reach that goal” or “you can’t do that-who do you think you are?” We all have inner critics. Learn to notice the difference between these voices and what you know to be true.” - Jenny Blake, Life After College

I’ve been able to shut up my inner critic time and time again. When I thought I couldn’t make it on my own after losing my job early last year, I motivated myself into becoming a (knock on wood) successful entrepreneur. When I thought I’d never find the perfect women to marry, I walked down the aisle last year and committed the rest of my life to my beautiful wife. When I thought I’d never be able to get physically fit, I’ve dropped 20 pounds in the past 5 months (I’ve still got a ways to go).

Silencing the gremlins is something, admittedly, I’m pretty damn good at. I firmly believe that anything you want to do, you can do. It’s a simple lesson I share with everyone I consult with, speak to, and call friends.

So why, then, is there this one hurdle I can’t overcome? Why is this one big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) so damn tricky for me to get started on? Why can’t I write a book?

My partner Sam Davidson has done it (several times – his latest book “Simplify Your Life” just released this week). My friend Jenny Blake is out there promoting her book (quoted above) “Life After College“. I’ve literally sat back and watched those around me turn good ideas into brilliant books.

So what’s held me back? What does the inner critic say when I tell myself I’m going to write a book?

  • You don’t have a good idea. This is probably the biggest obstacle that holds any writer back – whether it be a book or a blog post, we tell ourselves that if our idea isn’t innovative or unique enough, it doesn’t need to be written. But, and I’ve said it before – the thing that makes your writing unique is that YOU wrote it. The idea may not┬ánecessarily be novel, but you/I offer a perspective that is shaped by our own personal experiences – and that’s what makes a good idea.
  • You’re not a great writer. You’re only a bad writer if you convince yourself you’re not any good. It’s not about being the most eloquent author, it’s about writing with passion, emotion, and connecting with your readers. Besides, there’s always copy-editors that can help you polish.
  • You’re not going to make any money. If you’re writing a book to be a millionaire, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write because it’s something you’re passionate about it – and if you hit it big, consider it an added perk.

So, inner critics silenced. Today, June 3, 2011 – I’m openly committing to writing a book.

I will write 500 words a day, with the first benchmark at 30,000 words. Which means, 60 days from now, I’ll be well on my way to seeing my name on a book jacket.

Some days will be tougher than others – but I’m not going to focus so much on the quality as I am simply getting my 500 words a day in. I’ll worry about the critiquing and editing later.

How can you get involved?

I want the entire process to be as open and transparent as possible. Thus, I’ll be sending out a weekly email highlighting my progress and giving a behind the scenes look at the ups and downs, lefts and rights, and hurdles to overcome while turning this into a reality.

Why should you sign up?

  • You’re at all interested in being a part of my journey from blog writer to book author.
  • You’re interested in writing a book yourself and want to keep each other accountable.
  • You’re an avid reader of Life Without Pants.
  • You think I’m a cool guy.
  • You like getting emails that don’t suck.

Sign up below – and starting Monday, let’s embark on this journey together. I look forward to every single one of you being a part of this. And here’s to continuing to silence our inner critics.

Add Your Voice



    • Don’t say “some day” – that’s what’s been holding me back! My goal is to force myself to make time for the writing and worry about getting it all together/editing once I actually have something to work with. We’ll see how it goes…

  1. I signed up, Matt, because I think you’re a cool guy, and I like to support fellow writers. Good luck with your goal; I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  2. Hi Matt!nnI signed up to follow your journey. I’ve written two books myself and published them myself, too. I’ve also written two that remain in binders on my shelf. nnAnd I’m currently writing my first ebook in public, a chunk at a time on my blog. nnSo I click with what y0u’re doing and I wish you luck. nnAlso, I like the style of your writing, your use of the word Gremlins, and the fact that you take no shit from fear. nnMe too. nnBrave on.

  3. Matt I am so proud of you and your quest to write a book! In fact, I’m dying to hear how it goes so yes I’ve subscribed. Use my email for good and not evil though. #ShakesFistnnHonestly, watching you start your blog, grow into this amazing person with lots to say. It’s been great and you’ve inspired me to take a new look at what I’m doing with my blog. I’ve let it stagnate awhile. It might also require a redo ;)nnEither way looking forward to your updates and as always am here to cheer you on. nSkype call soon, ok?nn@Alisaanu00a0

    • Alisaan. You rock. This means so much and I really appreciate the kind words. Any time I can inspire someone else, even a little, I know I’m doing something right.nnAnd yes, let’s set up a call soon. Just give me a day/time and we’ll make it happen!

  4. Awesome. I’ve been in the “I want to write a book” swimming pool for forever myself. Just a few weeks ago, I started forming a mastermind group at and now there are several of us committing to writing our books and holding each other accountable. Good luck with your journey and can’t wait to read it!

    • Best of luck with your book writing journey as well, Laurel. Stop by from time to time and we’ll be sure to hold each other accountable for making it a reality!

  5. Big congrats Matt! Putting this out there to the world is a huge step — the newsletter where people can follow your progress will definitely provide a huge boost of encouragement at every phase. Looking forward to seeing where you take everything!

  6. I’m a little late to this party, but glad you’re doing this! You’ll no doubt produce something awesome. I’m in the process of publishing my first book, too — lots of us know what you’re going through! Hope you keep us posted on the blog.