This is my weekly edition of the "Making Of A Book" series. I send out another newsletter with top curated reads and stories every Thursday.
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Happy Monday. :)
Last week, I re-realized something.
Writing is not hard. Sitting down to write is hard.
Running is not hard. Putting on the shoes to run is hard.
Eating healthy is not hard. Not feeling tempted when you see a cookie is hard.
The first step is always the hard part. That’s where you fight against a mortal enemy: Resistance. Resistance to sit down, put on the shoes, or walk away from that cookie.
I faced this last week. I was in Phoenix, Arizona for a conference and did not research or write for a few days, because I thought to myself, Well, I don’t have the right setup around me here. Besides, I don’t have enough time. That’s just the Resistance in me coming up with reasons to not do the work.
Thankfully, once I got home, I spent quality time working on the book, and have made a major pivot.
Also, I’m beginning to interview people for my book. If you have 20 minutes to spare, I’d love to interview you. More on this later in the newsletter! Let’s begin.
I spent 3 hours brainstorming with Sterling Valentine -- a.k.a my writing fairy -- on Saturday, and realized something:
Balance is not the central theme of the book. Rather, it’s awareness and agency.
Previously, I envisioned writing a book that would help someone craft a life of balance for themselves by first uncovering the hidden forces that cause imbalance and then using systems to re-build their life.
However, as we were in the deep end of the discussion, I realized what I cared about more than balance was awareness and agency. My end goal is to help the reader go from a zone of living their life on autopilot to a zone of being aware of where they are and taking agency to make changes to get to where they want. While balance is still an important part of the book’s theme, it’s not the first-class citizen anymore.
So with this pivot, I’d like to rewrite the “About Project: Balance” section.
About Project: Balance
Project: Balance is a book about helping you find balance in your life across the three major areas: your personal growth, your relationships, and your contribution to the world. The book helps you do this by first uncovering the hidden forces (personal, cultural, societal) that influence how you spend your attention followed by helping you externalize your goals and build systems to live a life of balance & joy.
Project: Balance is about taking you from autopilot to awareness to agency, and building a life of intention across three major areas: your personal growth, your relationships, and your contribution to the world. The book helps you do this by first uncovering the hidden forces (personal, cultural, societal) that influence your attention, giving you the tools to choose between balance and imbalance, and helping you externalize your goals and build systems to live a life of joy.
💡 By the way, if you're curious why I'm writing this book, read the first edition of Making Of A Book.
The Balance-Intentionality Scale
The major pivot happened because my writing fairy said, “Working with you has made me question whether I’m living a balanced life. It’s making me think whether I should continue focusing on a few areas as I’m doing right now or also pay attention to others I’ve kept aside for now.”
To which I responded, “Haha well, I think it comes down to intention. It’s very possible that as I reach the peak period of writing this book my life will become imbalanced temporarily. It happened last year when I ran my course for the first time. For 6 weeks, I gave up a few things – such as sleeping on time, going to the gym, and organizing events – to focus on something that was very important to me: running my course well. But it was a very intentional decision and I knew it was temporary. Once the course ended, I made sure I paid attention to the other areas. I was intentionally imbalanced.”
As soon as I uttered those two words, he stopped me and said, “Oh my god. Wait. Pause. I think you just landed on a gold mine.”
Thus began our pivot. Eventually, I ended up creating a framework that I’m calling the “Balance-Intentionality Scale.” Below is a simple representation.
Talking about balance without talking about intentionality is like saying you should keep walking north regardless of whether your destination is in the north or south. Intentionally is the inner compass that we all have, and need to use, while walking to our destination. Briefly describing the 4 quadrants,
- Unintentionally imbalanced life: You’ve never thought about what a life of balance means for you. You spend way too much time on one area of your life at the expense of other important areas. You feel stressed and overwhelmed.
- Unintentionally balanced life: You’ve never thought about what a life of balance means for you. But unintentionally, you’ve been living a mostly balanced life (from outward perspective). However, you feel too comfortable and unmotivated.
- Intentionally imbalanced life: You’ve thought deeply about what a life of balance means for you. And, you’re choosing to live an intentionally imbalanced life to focus on one/few areas of your life at the expense of others. You know it’s temporary.
- Intentionally balanced life: You’ve thought deeply about what a life of balance means for you. You’ve crafted your life to achieve such that you feel balanced across the areas you care about. You feel happy and comfortable.
While you get to decide what you want, it’s recommended to stay out of the bottom two quadrants where you’re lacking intention.
So, where do you think you are right now, Reader? Hit reply and let me know.
Better yet, would you like to get on a call with me so I can interview you? Keep reading!
Can I interview you?
So far, I’ve been talking to many people about the book, but haven’t begun a more thoughtful interview process.
The time has come.
If you can spare 20 minutes sometime this week, please sign up for a slot here. You’d be helping me go a long way in
my our journey. 🙏🏻
That's it for now, Reader.
I waited until Sunday night to write this newsletter. Thank god I did so I could capture all the pivots that happened during the weekend.
If you enjoyed reading this edition, it would mean a lot if you forward this to a friend so they too can join the newsletter! Especially a friend who’s an aspiring writer. :)
Have a beautiful week ahead. If you’re also part of my personal newsletter, you’ll hear from me on Thursday!
Soundarya Balasubramani 💚
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao Tzu.
Below is my version of the 12 steps an author walks to publish a book (and where I am currently).
My current goal is to reach the Publishing stage in the journey within a year.
Make someone's day 💫
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