What I Learned About Writing A Book


Question: How do you write a book?

Back in 2008, when I first signed the publishing contracts with Penguin and Random House, I glazed over the clause outlining the expected length of the finished manuscript – a cool 90,000 words.

At the time, there was no way I could grasp the amount of work required to write 90,000 words. It was a mere detail, an insignificant number to deal with at some point in the future.

Flash forward: I remember when it came time to write. I opened a new Word document, and then sat back in my chair as I reveled at the inherent cliché of the moment – a blank piece of paper teeming with possibility, a naive canvas vulnerable to my inexperience.

I smiled, and then wrote, “The One-Week Job Project by Sean Aiken."

Ha, now what? I thought.

Should I write about all 52 weeks? Maybe I should just write about the overall lessons and use stories from the different weeks to illustrate my point?

I had no idea where to start.

Each day I’d calculate how many words I’d need to write. When the day started, I found this process motivating. Yet by the end of the day, and several hundred words short of my goal, I’d be disheartened at the long road ahead.

Writing a book is hard.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life – harder than teaching my first yoga class with only four days experience, more challenging than firefighter training with the relentless rays of the Florida sun insensitive to my hangover… it's even more tedious than organizing 52 jobs in 52 weeks.

It's only when I look back on the writing experience that it becomes easy to acknowledge that the effort was worth it. I think of those first few moments staring at a blank word document and I have to smile.

I’m proud of this accomplishment.

Now with the book complete and ready to hit the shelves, I’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word!

With thousands of books published each week, it’s easy for many to slip under the radar never to be discovered. As you can imagine the time leading up to the publication date, and shortly afterward, will likely determine a book’s success.

If you feel motivated to pre-order a copy, that would be a huge help.

I think it’s a pretty darn good read, but I am biased!

Here’s what some pretty cool authors said after reading an advanced copy:

“I can’t say whether Sean Aiken was a good aquarium host or tattoo artist, but I do think he’s very good at one job: writing."

A.J. JACOBS, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

“A terrific read for young people wondering what to do with their lives, and for anyone looking to change his or her life for the better.”

KEITH FERRAZZI, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Never Eat Alone

“A life-changing, cross-continental, action-packed adventure. After reading The One-Week Job Project, you’ll know how to get the most extraordinary things out of life, and how to score some choice jobs along the way!”

KYLE MACDONALD, author of One Red Paperclip

“A fresh approach to the long-held idea of ‘trying on’ jobs before you ‘buy’ them.”

RICHARD N. BOLLES, New York Times bestselling author of What Color Is Your Parachute?

The One-Week Job Project will inspire a new generation of young people to stay true to themselves and define their own roads in life.”

MIKE MARRINER, author of Roadtrip Nation

Bestselling author Seth Godin says, “The scariest words an author can write are, ‘here’s my new book.’”

I’d have to agree. But then again I haven’t written those words before… well, not in that particular order anyway.

So, without further ado, here’s my new book. I hope you enjoy it!

preorder-canada Penguin Books (April 10/10)

preorder-usa Random House (May 4/10)