My Journey To Writing My First Ever Novel

Reading Time: 6 minutes

‘You know you should check out coach.me – I’m told it’s a really good place to find coaches that are cost-effective for you to work with’.

Amir had sent me a video saying this and it seemed to light up a bulb inside my head.

‘Dude, I promise you that I’m going to hire a writing coach from coach.me within 24 hours or I’ll send you $200’.

‘Haha ok – but you don’t need to send me that money

‘I do, for me – you can do whatever you want with it – send it to a charity, send it back to me or whatever. But if I don’t send it then this won’t happen.

That evening as the day moved forward and I’d forgotten about what I’d said, time was passing and I was growing aware of the $200 price I’d have to pay.

I jumped onto coach.me and spent 5 minutes looking around.

Coach Me

Quite quickly I found the highest-rated coach on the platform, and decided ‘fuck it’ – I’ll take the plunge – and then let’s see what happens.

Whilst my heart pounded, and my nerves tingled, I slowly pulled my American Express from my phone holder and tap tap tapped in the four-digit passcode number.

Boom. Several hundred $ spent. I’d ended up spending more, and very nervously so – on a writing coach than I would have lost with Amir.

But, the timing somehow felt right.

Ever since starting this newsletter back in October of 2019, I’d gotten almost 100,000 words into writing a newsletter without commercial reason at all.

And that was to exclude almost 50 blogs I’d written which spanned perhaps 70,000 words as well.

Writing, it seemed, came naturally to me.

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I looked at the plan I’d written up for the book.

‘Becoming an MP’ – where MP meant a Maximum Producer.

It was a spin upon something I’d read from an interview that Tim Ferriss had in Tools of Titans.

The idea was that the greatest way to achieve results in life was by becoming a maximum producer – and the book would focus upon multiple rules to doing this, all centered around the things that I had learned.

After this, I started writing the first few thousand words.

And again.

I struggled.

The meeting was just around the corner.

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‘What can I do for you, Deepak?’.

I was sitting there on a call with a shaved head early 40-something man with glasses on looking at me.

He had worked with 6 writers to get them through the writing of their first novels.

6 writers!

That was 6 damn books.

The idea of it seemed incredible to me.

I cast my mind back to Amsterdam in 2014 when I was living there, feeling depressed and alone, and unsure of my life.

On the surface, everything seemed fine, and yet, in reality, I’d spend parts of the days crying, and feeling intense pain, trying to figure out what I was doing with my life.

I’d tried to write a book then; a motivational non-fiction type of book, that lasted around 3,000 words and not more.

Before that, there were the 100s of rap songs I’d recorded and probably the several thousand fragments that I’d written.

‘I want to write a novel. I feel like there’s a book in me. I’ve got books inside of me’.

And then we launched into a conversation about thoughts on a book, and what my ideas and interests were.

Then I showed him ‘Becoming an MP’ – and outlined that I’d already made a start and was a couple of thousand words in.

And so began a dizzying journey with Chris Myers, my writing coach.

It had taken me 20 weeks to write 91,000 words for this newsletter. The days of writing these newsletters would literally be days.

Writing just one newsletter or post like you’re reading it now would take me several hours and by it’s end I’d felt like I’d accomplished a huge amount by the day’s end.

In hindsight, this was simply to do with practice.

Everything had changed.

I’d been recommended several books to read –

  • Stephen King’s memoir ‘On writing’.
  • Stephen Pressfield’s book ‘The War of Art’.
  • Anne Lamonte’s ‘Bird by Bird’.

Look Inside

I read them all and then started doing some extra-curricular reading.

‘Save The Cat’s guide to writing a novel (which actually threw me off), as well as beginning to read fiction again – ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King – a 40-hour monster.

And so, with the support of Chris and the simple deadline of – 2,000 words per day, I got into the world of writing.

Becoming an MP turned into a semi-autobiographical account of some of the events of my life growing up. And then from there, it became completely fictional.

I’ve got to say, I never thought writing a book would be as ‘straightforward’ or as ‘quick’ as it has been. Granted, I’m still coming toward the end of the first draft and it needs to be heavily edited and improved, but I feel a deep sense of accomplishment.

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I’ve written, to date, 72,000 words, and it’ll end up being around 80,000 I expect by the end of version 1. And then it’ll need to go through a significant editing process over a solid 2-weeks to work through the many kinks.

And with the vantage of hindsight – I’m not someone who suddenly picked up writing mysteriously – I’ve been writing heavily since I was 14 years old when I started writing my first rap lyrics – and now at 34 – it means I’ve been using (heavily) the written word since I was 14.

There’s something that’s deeply satisfying about being able to (as I will) get a book published and ‘thwack’ a big wad of pages onto a table and say ‘I wrote that’.

Not that I’ve done it yet – but I definitely can’t wait until it’s done.

So the plan is that once I’ve finished with this book, I want to take two weeks ‘away’ from the book whilst the editors go through and make basic grammar and editing changes that don’t interfere with the plot of the novel.

After that I will come in and read, editing as I go through the entire novel, which I expect will take me another 2 weeks.

At that point perhaps I’ll ask the editing team to come in again and look at it once more and perhaps add further comments – but this part isn’t quite as clear yet to me.

Btw, in those 2-weeks of downtime, I’ll continue immediately with the writing of another novel/novella I have in mind that I’ve already made a start on.

This one is based around boxing and I want to get it started and finished within 14 days which means I need to write a minimum of 3,000 words per day – which will be my aim.

So 42,000 words – unless I end up finding its ending before I get to that point in the story.

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At this stage, it may also be worth telling you about my process.

It’s actually relatively simple.

I write first thing in the morning – it is the first thing I do.

Once (as I have more so lately) found my flow state – I’ll write around 2,000 words in 65 minutes.

Even I’m surprised by how much content I can push out in a short period of time.

I think that because there’s so much to pack into my day, it really forces me to focus.

But yes (like now) I wake up, power up my Macbook from hibernation, open up Google Docs, and with sometimes a cup of tea, sometimes just water – I start typing away.

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It’s crazy to think that writing this newsletter has gotten me all the way to novel writing.

And as mentioned in a previous post – the continuation of this newsletter has really come from a small bet I placed with Ravi telling him that if I ‘don’t restart my newsletter’ I’ll send him $200.

Now the new desire is to get this up to 100 days of content.

I’m excited by that also.

I’ve made mentioned this before but I’ll make mention this again – the process is as follows:

  1. I write a first draft (i.e now)
  2. Lydia adds images/fixes grammar etc
  3. I’ll come back to it to tighten things up / add more content
  4. Then it gets shipped

Well – that’s everything for today – now let’s see what tomorrow brings 🙂

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