I’m going to start this book review by noting that the draft of MYSTERY BOOK currently clocks in at 8,473 words, and that I have been working on the draft every single day—which has only been 10 consecutive days so far, but it already feels like the kind of habit I don’t want to break.
Which ties in perfectly with my recently acquired advance copy of Nicholas Dancer’s Day In, Day Out: The Secret Power in Showing Up and Doing the Work.
I bet you can’t guess what it’s about.
I’m not sure we necessarily need another book about showing up and doing the work (we also don’t really need another mystery novel about an amateur sleuth solving murders and doing friendships, if I’m going to play that card), but Dancer’s book is, thank goodness, a good one.
Although Day In, Day Out is primarily designed for small business owners, many of its insights might resonate with a larger group of readers. The section on keeping your options closed instead of open, for example—that’s what I’ve been advising creative types to do since the beginning of the year.
Same goes for the section on saying no to anything that doesn’t get you closer to where you want to go, and the section on using a minute of communication to save an hour of work.
That said, there are some sections in the book that directly contradict each other. For example: early in the text Dancer shares a short story about two fictitious bodybuilders named Brad and Dinky. Brad works on improving his form while Dinky does a bunch of sloppy reps, and although the two of them spend the exact same amount of time at the gym, only one of them sees real results (and it’s not the one named Dinky).
Later, we learn that the act of going to the gym is more important than what you do at the gym: “It might have been your laziest workout, but you showed up. You kept the momentum alive.”
So which is it? Showing up is enough, or just showing up is not enough?
Ultimately—and I’m extrapolating from Dancer’s ideas here—it goes back to where you want to go. Sometimes you go to the gym because you know you can get a lot of physical and mental benefits even if you’re the slowest runner in your BodyAttack class. Sometimes you go to the gym because you want to be the best bodybuilder you can be. Two completely different goals, with two completely different sets of strategies and tactics.
Or, to bring it back to me (because all book reviews are really about the person doing the reviewing): right now I’m working on putting as many words into MYSTERY BOOK as I can, as fast as I can, without breaking my streak.
Later I’ll work on making sure I have the best words in the right places. ❤️