I'm writing a book, on Twitter.
Read more about it here: https://davecbeck.com/deep-life/
DEEP LIFE will offer a guide to the power and use of our attention to manage our selves. How you attend and what you put your focus on can change your personality, your capabilities, and how you think about your own life. Our brains are far more plastic than most realize, today. Your brain learns what is salient to it from how you attend. As a result, what you put your focus on literally becomes written into you.
Today, few people feel they can control their attention. Being easily distracted, it seems, is just part and parcel of modern life. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Choosing what you attend to can remake you, or lead you further down the path you want to walk. It has certainly had both effects for me and my clients.
This will be a practical how-to book – with enough theory in there to persuade readers to take action, but no more. I will probably share a few life stories too, when they are illustrative. The rest of the theory (and there’s a lot) I’ll hold back until I make time to write an academic-style book or research papers.
I’m selling before I even write a line for two reasons.
1. It gives me a deadline to deliver to. Which given I’ve half-started this book four times might be useful…
2. People who buy now might well be willing to provide a little feedback if I ask the right questions.
If you might be interested in being a beta reader, click on the link in my bio.
This weeks video:
I’m writing a book!
I’ve just started writing a book called deep life. (insert photo about the book here) What the book will be about is how to manage your attention, how to use your attention to become the person you want to become (in bullet points next to the book). So it will guide you through creating an aspirational self, working out what values you really hold and what values you want to hold in the future and showing you how you can use your attention to become that person over a period of time. (flow chart describing the process)
The subtitle is going to change because I don’t like the implication of the first subtitle that I gave, but this is a work in progress, so that’s okay. What I’m looking to do really is help people to align their attention with whatever their aspirational self is. So I’m not writing just for people who want to be like me and implying that there is one right way of being and everybody else is wrong, that’s not what I want to do. So the subtitle is going to have to change.
I’ve just started writing it. (just illustrate this) I’m focusing on the explanatory material first, the kind of content based stuff, partly because that’s the side of writing that I find the hardest. I’m focusing on writing some short, pithy excerpts that help people to realize that where they focus their attention really matters to them. And then later on, I’ll move on to the how tos, which I’ve been doing before and fairly easy to write actually. The book as a whole is intended to persuade people that where they focus their attention really matters and that they should take it more seriously than they do now. Most people have a very passive attitude towards their attention. They might focus at work, or they might have a few hours a week where they focus on things that matter to them set aside an evening for a date or set aside an evening for family time, but very few people manage their attention in a way that helps them grow. And what the book will do really is persuade people that, where they put their attention makes a big difference to who they end up becoming.
Attention leads people to where they end up becoming it controls who you become in the long run. So when, when people are thinking about self-development really, they need to think about developing where they spend their attention , throughout the week and throughout their lives, not in a consciously managed sort of a way, but in a way that trains their brains to automatically focus on the right things on a day-to-day basis. So I’ll talk through some of the neuroscience behind it, some of the older philosophy behind it as well, because that will help a different subset of people understand and. Explain how, what you attend to shapes your brain and shapes yourself in the future, in a way that I don’t think people have put together very coherently yet, so it will encourage people hopefully to manage their attention in a more relaxed manner on an ongoing basis, and then show people how to do it. (If I can illustrate this > show a brain being reshared into the word attention and then yourself)
The way that I’ve structured, the content is around learning outcomes. (illustrate this > content, shuffled around to highlight learning outcomes) What each chapter does is either dive into the persuasive material where I show you why this is important and explain the science behind it (Zoom into the chapter, underline the ‘science behind it’, types of research), explained to you the types of research behind the importance of these topics, or they’re simple how to chapters. So what I’m trying to do is show people what’s important and then give them a really clear way of implementing it. And the reason I’ve structured it around these learning outcomes is as an academic, it’s really easy for me to deep dive into the research material and some of that is relevant to everybody reading the book, but some of it really isn’t. So what I’m trying to do is focus my mind entirely on the learning that I want the reader to have. What’s important to them and then how to implement it in their own lives.
The how to chapters are based on a mixture of research things that I’ve read. And I know work because there are evidence studies behind it practices with my own clients. So things I’ve been doing to help people manage their attention and improve their thinking, learned to learn, to think better over the past year and a half or so, and things I’ve done in my own life or am doing at the moment with my family.
What I’m going to do to write the book is share it through something called ship 30, which is a Twitter, writing community, where people are writing short essays every day for 30 days and responding to each other’s essays as a way of generating engagement on Twitter. (video screen record of Dave’s twitter)
But they’re also providing really useful feedback to each other. So I participated in this once just to practice concise and short writing, and I thought that as a way of writing a book, a way of framing, a book short instant feedback is really useful.
So I’m publishing every day short excerpts from what will become the first draft of the book. So this is very early in the writing stage. I think I’m maybe 15 drafts in which is about three and a half (show the drafts), 4,000 words, probably a 10th of the final total. I don’t really know how long this is going to be yet. And what I’m using ship 30th board is to get instant feedback on how well ideas resonate. I can experiment with things in a way that gets that feedback in a very quick iterative loop so I can change things and then try them again later on a few days later, if something really doesn’t work and I can see what questions people are asking on the back of what I write to check that the structure is working so far.
So one of my favourite things is when somebody asks a question that I’ll be answering the next day with what will come next in the book, sequentially, because that shows that the structure is really working.
So over the course of about three months, I’ll have a full draft of the book and then I’ll start to collate that together into what will be the beta version. (illustrate this, so bits of the ship30 + more = book or something) So I’ll rewrite bits of it, connect it together and fill in the gaps. The bits that I don’t think fit into 150 word segments. And when that’s finished, I’ll have effectively a full draft of the book, a full beta version of the book, and that’s what’s on sale now.
I decided to put this out on the market and see who wanted to invest a small amount of money, $10 in early access to the book. (put a word on screen that says link in the description for those interested) They get the beta version. I asked them for feedback, and then I can iterate the book, following examples from people like Rob Fitzatrick, and Arvik Col, people who have used feedback to change their books and make them more useful for the reader before they publish.
Once the beta is finished, I will distribute it to the people who have paid the $10. I’ll ask a few of them at a time for feedback on sections of the book and change those sections and iterate them and develop the book until I’m happy with it they’re happy with it. And we’ll have a little workshop to discuss some of the things that everybody found interesting, or maybe two workshops, depending on how many readers there ended up being. And then, I’ll finish the book after that, basically.
(what do the readers get back)
The workshop that I’ve run for the beta readers will not just be helpful for me in terms of getting feedback, but it will also be helpful for them in terms of elucidating the points that are most interesting and important to them in their own lives. So the idea behind that is that I give the beta readers something back, they get some time with me, which I don’t normally do live sessions with anybody apart from a few clients. I spend most of my time with my family here. So , they get that live time and the immediate feedback on things that are really bothering them or things that they’re finding difficult to implement from the book and through the questions that they ask and the issues that they’re having I learn what people find most difficult.
And I can then, implement some of that feedback in the second version of the book or the third version for the version as a, as I go through the writing process before I publish. So that the final product that I actually put on the market is ready for people to use and implement in their own lives.