The faster you write, the more money you make. Imagine doubling or even tripling your productivity -> you could triple your free time and finally remove that pressure from your life.
"Learn the secrets of one of the most successful and prolific ghostwriters in the world."
All readers are entitled to the 20K a Day cheatsheet. Where would you like me to send yours? (And the time tracking spreadsheet)
Since writing 20K a Day, I have made some minor adjustments to my dictation and transcription process.
I sit out on my dock for ninety percent of my recording sessions. If it’s raining, I’ll sit on the porch of the restaurant where I live. Sometimes the tropical storms are too brutal and I can’t record outside. On those rare occasions, I can sit in my room and record.
I still rely on my Rode SmartLav+ for all my recordings. It is my primary microphone and I recently purchased a second one as a backup. I connect the microphone to my iPhone 6S for all my recording sessions. I record the majority of my podcasts and 100% of my books using this setup.
I use the same microphone when recording all my videos as well. It does a great job of capturing my voice and minimizing the background noise. You can usually find one for sixty to eighty bucks and it’s worth every penny. You can go cheaper if you need, but you will have to replace a cheaper microphone sooner.
I’m not an official Rode spokesman, but all of my microphones are made by Rode.
I record my sessions using the free Rode Recorder app. I know there are fancier apps out there, but so far I haven’t found an app that integrates with my microphone as well. This app is awesome. I save my perfect settings once and the app works like a dream every time.
I name each recording before I start following the convention I teach in 20K (ChapterNumber-BookName-Chapter/SectionName) and then load my saved settings. After a recording session, I upload all my new files to a special dropbox folder in MP3 format. This ensures that my files are backed up on the cloud as quickly as possible.
I then go into my computer and organize the files into folders for each project. I also create a quick Dragon Dictate transcript to go next to each file.
The biggest change to my workflow is hiring a full-time transcriptionist. I can’t recommend Outsourcely enough. This website is my new favorite place for hiring talent. I posted an ad looking for someone and received over two hundred applications. I only hired one person, so there are LOADS left for you to hire.
I share the dropbox link for my dictation folder with my transcriptionist. The files immediately enter the workflow. I get back edited Word documents within a few days. This flow allows me to generate one hundred thousand words per week without even sitting down at the computer.
Working with a full-time transcriptionist is one of the best moves I’ve ever made. It is far easier than editing software transcription files myself.
I’m so happy with the talent that I’ve been hiring from Outsourcely, that I scored a special coupon for you. It only cost me $19 to hire my first worker, so this coupon is easily enough to fill your squad with amazing talent.
The coupon is embedded in the link and will be applied as soon as you sign up for an account.
RataType has the courtesy to make learning to type fun. They start with discussing hand position and posture. The more you type, the more these little issues matter. Unfortunately, they don't have any lessons/games loaded up beyond that. I love their typing test, but after twenty minutes it will be time to move on to the next site.
Typing Club makes learning to type fun. This is my favorite typing site because they don't make it boring. Learning to type sounds awful but they have great games to help get you over that hurdle. From the very first lesson in the Typing Jungle, you know you are going to have a good time. And you never need to worry about running out of activities - there are a whopping 664! If you actually complete all of them you will be the greatest touch typer in the world.
If you like your cereal without milk, you are going to love Typing Study. This is a no frills way to improve your typing. No time is wasted with cute icons or fun games. It's all drills, drills, drills. You can use any language you like, so if you're not using an English keyboard this is the place to start.
The free typing solutions above are all wonderful and work on any operation system, however I know some people feel more comfortable with paid software. Below are the best paid options out there (but really the free stuff is better).
The top software for mastering typing. This has been the standard my entire life and is the only software on this list that works on Mac. Comes with ten fun arcade games and will drastically improve your typing.
If you are just beginning to learn typing, or are a bit of a kid at heart, this software aimed at kids is a great place to start. It's a lot of fun and has some pretty cool games as well.
This is the adult version of Typing for Kids. It's got plenty of fun games, but it's not quite as silly. Take a look at the adult version to see if that 's a better fit for your more serious learning style.
I love stats and Typing Master Pro loves them as well. This software goes the extra mile and analyzes your efforts to find areas of weakness. I can already tell you that certain keys still give me trouble after all these years...
If you prefer to learn from a book, this is one of the best options out there. You might be old school like me and prefer a book in your hands. This book has some pretty solid reviews and won't break the bank.
This Chrome extension blocks all those distracting websites so you can actually work at your computer again. Set which sites to block and for how long. Turn off all those sites that feed the procrastination monster.
If you want a tool that really covers all your bases, Freedom is excellent. Will block you on ALL your devices, so that your phone doesn't distract you when you're trying to work on your computer.
If you are a writer like me, then distraction-free writing sessions are critical to your income. This little program let's your write and do nothing else. The included calendar tracks your successes.
This program is one powerful distraction blocker. Once you set up this program, it throws away the keys. You cannot change your mind later - this is for the serious anti-procrastinator!
Windows only tool that takes distractions seriously. Create in-depth plans and track your progress over time with beautiful charts. Includes a scheduler, break reminders and a pomodoro timer.
Background music can be great to work with...until you hear that chorus that you simply must sing along with. This is a beautiful noise machine to block out the world without distracting you.
Wrike has always been my favorite project management tool. When you attach target dates to your projects, you can see a calendar months in advance and see exactly where your business is going.
This Windows only writing program will keep you in the zone and block out all distractions. Watch your progress bar fill as you get closer and closer to your word count target for each session.
This promises to be an awesome online writing tool, but unfortunately its not quite ready yet. Because the software is web-based it will work with any computer, but I do wonder how they will deal with other distractions on your computer.
Toggl purports to be the ultimate timing and tracking tool. People who use it, swear by it. There's a lot to be said for great time tracking and I'm starting to really love this little tool.
Similar to Hemingway, readable checks to see if your writing is boring. But it goes one step further and checks to see if you are too smart for your own good. Make sure your audience can actually understand what you are saying.
A powerful app that works on all your devices, so you can start writing on your computer and finish on your phone or tablet. If you like a blank page and love Markdown, then this is the tool for you.
I talk about this in the book more than enough. It's the main software that I use for dictation and transcription. The best auto transcription tool I've used.
This is a great Pomodoro time and wonderful little app, unfortunately it only does blocks of 25 minutes. I prefer custom time blocks when I'm writing, but for other tasks this timer is ideal.
Writing tool for all Mac environments. Comes with amazing music and backgrounds to keep you fully engaged with your writing. I recommend trying this tool 100%.
The workhorse of my writing world. All of my books and projects end up in Scrivener at some point. This is where I write and organize my master drafts for every single project.
If you haven't grabbed your copy of 20K a Day yet, now is a great time!
This is hands down my favorite book on outlining. If you know what stories you like but can’t figure out why, Libby is there to show you. I rarely recommend other authors but I have no choice with this book. It’s that good. She explains why the events are the least important part of a story. I finally understand why a great action movie can leave me bored at the end and I don’t even care of the hero survives.
Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, her explanations of character arc will improve your writing. Your stories will become more engaging and your page reads will soar. Get better reviews and make more sales using the “Pants Off” outlining method.
If you want to really deep dive into story writing, this is another great book. It’s longer than Pants Off, because it goes so much deeper into explanation. If you want to be a serious fiction writer or get into screenwriting, then this book is a must-read.
This is the book that inspired Libby Hawker when she wrote Pants Off. Think of this as the original, uncut version of the same material. If you have the time, patience, and dedication then this is a book absolutely worth reading.
Most transcription services charge per minute. In this video I shrink a video from 31 to 25 minutes. That’s $6 I would have paid for someone to truncate silence. That’s $12 per every hour of recording that would go towards silence. Over time the savings can really start to add up. Inside of Audacity, just click on the “Truncate Silence” effect.
Inside Scrivener, I can track my word counts as well as my overall progress. This is the real file for 20K a Day. As you can see on the left side of the page, all my chapters and sections are perfectly organized. All of these tiny sections are waypoints for my dictation and allow me to stay perfectly on track.
A hilarious and irreverent coloring book that is definitely not kid-friendly. This book is printed via CreateSpace, so it's a great way to see the customer experience. I use the same platform to print all my paperbacks.
This book lets you feel like a kid again...while clearly being a naughty adult.
A hilarious idea and one of the first adult coloring books to push the humor boundaries. Now there are hundreds of imitations, but this is where the story really started. If you need to laugh while you relax, this book is a great place to start.
In this very special podcast episode, I share some of my history with depression and exactly how I overcame this debilitating disease.
In this podcast episode, I share the story of the time my home address was shared on the Internet. Fortunately, after a member went on a killing spree they deleted all the evidence, including the post about my family.
Networking is the most important skill you can use to turbocharge your business. Here are some of my most popular articles, blog posts, and podcast episodes on networking.
Finding an editor can be a bit of a challenge. The prices can be absolutely extravagant. I usually look for new editors on a forum called KBoards. Here you can find up and coming editors, that haven't raised their prices into the stratosphere yet.
Grammarly is the secret tool behind all my editing. I use it for every blog post and book that I work on. I never thought that I would pay for a good Spellcheck, but Grammarly is so much more!
Just like books, movies start with rough drafts and sketches. Here you can see how they layered in sections of CGI as they built the movie. Outlines and rough drafts are the key to building out a successful book. Although they are hard to find online, I once saw an entire print of the movie The Wolverine that was just wireframes. They create this to test the story before investing millions in animation that people might hate.
You can share a good outline or rough draft with your most trusted beta readers to ensure that your books and stories are on the right track.
One of the first places to look for beta readers is on LinkedIn. A quick search for “manuscript critique” found over 3.000 results within my network. -> https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/index/?keywords=manuscript%20critique
There are loads of groups on GoodReads for beta readers and early reviewers. People on GoodReads tend to leave the harshest reviews, so grinding through their critique process will ensure that your book is rock solid.
Here is one of the GoodReads Beta Readers Groups -> http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group
Facebook also has loads of groups filled with writers and collaborators who love to help each other out. There are loads of writer’s groups, but I prefer to look for actual readers for my books. The user experience is my primary concern.
Here is a good Facebook group -> https://web.facebook.com/groups/1662819743977604/
Day 1: 2 Hours
Mixed in with a long work day, I spend two hours on my dock recording 20k.
In the first session, I didn’t have my notes and was simply freestyling. I focused on the introduction and a few writing stories to get the book started.
I’m not sure how I will approach the outline part of this book. I already teach a great deal about non-fiction outlining in Breaking Orbit and Pants Off Outlining is the best fiction outlining book I’ve ever read. I use this method to outline and I would rather you get that from the source than my interpretation.
With recording podcast episodes and training videos for my upcoming Network Empire course I didn’t want to push too hard.
I recorded for approximately two hours total and generated 15 audio files. From two hours on the dock, I generated 1 hour and 43 minutes of audio. According to my word counter I recorded 17,954 words. The Word files generated by Dragon Dictated were a total of 557kb in size.
My file system generates 32 words per kb. In the future, I will simply use file size to estimate how many words I have recorded.
I need to hit 625kb if I want to hit 20k a day on this project.
The good news is that I’m recording 174 words per minute, even with all the pauses as I think about how I want to construct each section.
If I block out 2.5 hours per day I’ll be performing at about 2-3x my writing speed by hand.
Before I can fully endorse this method I need to see the actual quality of my writing samples during the editing phase.
Day 2: 42 Minutes
One of the challenges of recording outside is that other people really like to get involved. One of the strangest things I have discovered is that people here yell all the time. At 5 am, there were two people talking right next to each other. They were shouting loudly enough that it messed up my podcast recordings 100m away on my dock.
The same person who works for my building was near me shouting throughout the day. Even during my sunset recordings. It’s frustrating, and we’ll see if this problem occurs again on day 3. That’s when I’ll have to say something.
My recording setup is strong enough that people can talk loudly as much as they want. It is only shouting that causes a problem.
My recording session was cut short when I found my daughter playing unsupervised on a rickety, broken down boat. I had to carry her back to the house and find out why her nanny decided that a 3-year-old should be playing by herself as the sun is going down.
Life always gets in the way of our projects, but I want to keep you on the inside. When I attempted to record more on my porch, the same guy was shouting by the pool. Twelve hours later and he’s still messing with my rhythm.
I then tried to record sitting on my bed, but it was simply too hot and depressing. The whole point of this experiment is to record outside.
This book is not my full-time job right now. I just started a new contract to work on a massive video game website for a percentage of the action. I cannot spend five hours a day recording, but I do need to get this job done.
This book will launch on December 1st – no matter what it takes.
I will run the audio files through Dragon Dictate to get my word count shortly.
If my speaking speed is the same, 174×43 = 7482.
Even on a bad day with massive interruptions, I’m hitting numbers that most authors only dream of.
Day 3: 1 Hour and 27 Minutes
My first writing session was destroyed when I had to abandon my dock. The tide came in with a vengeance and water was splashing all over me.
I retreated to the empty restaurant on the beach. During the chapter on dealing with distractions, the staff decided to reorganize every single table and chair near me. They were smashing around and making so much noise that I could no longer record.
Very stressful and annoying.
After retreating to my house, I sent my girlfriend out to explain the situation in their language. One of the additional challenges of living in a foreign country is that many people don’t speak English. My girlfriend is a wonderful enforcer.
She discovered that even though I had my iPad and a microphone clipped to my shirt that I was simply insane and not actually recording anything. I learned a valuable lesson today about assumptions…
Part of starting a new writing habit is training people not to disturb you. This is the first time I have ever recorded in that location, so they needed to be trained, and I am sure that they will not distribute me if I have to record there again.
My sunset session was a slice of perfection. Right around sixty minutes into my session, my throat was starting to feel sore, so I ended.
My body appears to be locked into recording for an hour – any longer and I start to feel worn out. I came home feeling amazing after this session, and I am well pleased with my progress. Based on my notes I am 60% of the way through this new book.
So far dictation seems like a true blessing. I can’t wait to start editing later this week.
I attempted to take a panorama photo with my phone but failed both times. I am obviously doing something wrong. Instead here are three photos from today’s sunset recording session. This is pretty close to a panorama shot.
What could be more wonderful than dictating a book 3x faster than writing it…all while enjoying a slice of paradise?
Todays word count: 174×97=16,878
I realize that I haven’t had a 20k day yet, but I also haven’t spent even two hours in a single day on this book yet.
It’s now the morning of Day 4 and I already have 42,314 words completed. It feels pretty good to create a book this quickly.
Day 4: 1 Hour and 28 Minutes
My first session this morning was a slice of paradise. Fifty minutes of content watching the sun rise. I tried to take pictures of the crabs that scuttle around near my feet when I record at night, but the camera on my phone doesn’t have the resolution I need or the ability to zoom.
Tomorrow I will bring out my DSLR and get better pictures to share with you.
Here are two pictures I took at the start of my session, walking up to my little recording dock. As you can see the sun is right in my eyes in the morning. Even though it’s quite early, that bright sun really starts to cut through.
I live in the tropics, so I’m always very close to the sun.
There were swarms of these red bugs, and in the back of my audio, you can hear mey\ squashing dozens of them that landed on me. I was not going to be deterred by a little nature and recorded for just under an hour.
According to my calculations, my morning session generated about 8,700 words.
While it is tempting to push myself into recording for longer sessions, the risk of damaging my throat is too great.
In order to get in extra book time, I spent sunrise recording for 20K instead of recording podcast episodes.
I will try to get in two more sessions today.
The main limitations on my word count are the weather, external distractions and my body. If I get sick or hurt my throat, I won’t be able to record podcast episodes or work on my other projects that I need to finish this week.
I have to very carefully balance my goals with what my body can handle.
Day 4 was my Monday night session. I recorded two sessions of 45 minutes each.
Day 5: 1 Hour and 14 Minutes
It was a crazy day. For some reason, I thought it was Monday, but then I discovered it was actually Tuesday. That through me for a loop and the whole day was a little weird. I nearly took the whole day off, but then I saw a beautiful rainbow and couldn’t resist recording. I was in the absolute ZONE for this session.
The sky was so amazing that I had to take another picture. My rainbow turned into a DOUBLE RAINBOW.
I couldn’t believe it when that double rainbow turned into a triple rainbow. I didn’t even know those existed, so I had no choice but to complete the entire section in a marathon recording session.
Day 6: 1 Hour and 4 Minutes
My dictation phase is now complete. I didn’t record a conclusion because that will change based on the rough draft. A final morning session was all it took to cross the finish line. I recorded the entire book in less than eight hours over the course of six days. Talk about efficiency! What a magical journey.
Dictation Complete: 79,302 words
If you've made it this far without actually reading 20K a day, you have one more chance to get it right now!