How to Literally Write the Story of Your Entrepreneurial Journey, and the Importance of Writing for One’s Well-being

Yehuda Niv,
Owner & Founder of Niv Publishing, Founder of BooxAI

Yehuda is an electronics engineer who planned on dealing with microchips. After fulfilling an inner desire to write a book, he saw the problems pervasive in the field; he founded one of the largest publishing houses in Israel with over 500 titles annually. The publishing house’s goal is to help new writers, and today he has a startup that wants to change the publishing market through artificial intelligence.

We talked about writing as a tool for conveying ideas, documenting and preserving knowledge, but also as a highly effective therapeutic tool - creating balance, self-fulfillment and growth. Writing the stream of consciousness, or free association writing, is an effective technique in which we do not lift the pen from the paper for at least 7-10 minutes and write down all our thoughts. At first, you may not know what to write and get a little frustrated, but suddenly there are bursts of writing, and then you enter a state of “flow” where the words pour out.

Just like a writer needs to see their protagonist's development, an entrepreneur must be attentive to their path and what may come with it. It is written in the Book of Tao that the path is wiser than those walking on it. Sometimes, only in retrospect can the points be connected - as Steve Jobs once said. Part of listening to the road means pivots, changes and taking calculated risks - as entrepreneurs are familiar with. A bit like entrepreneurship, there is no right or wrong in writing. There is, however, trial and error. One of the barriers is that our education system sanctifies success, perfectionism, and a high score. It does not leave much room for mistakes. And success, after all, is something that came after a great collection of failures.

An essential thing for an entrepreneur is maintaining focus because it leads to the most basic need: energy management, whose more concrete derivative is time management. Subsects of time management are learning to say 'no,' focusing only on something in particular, and taking a chance, despite and alongside the fear. After all, fear's purpose is to protect us, and courage is how we move forward.

We discussed the cost associated with embarking on the entrepreneurial path and the necessary distinction between a romanticized dream of being an entrepreneur and the immense sacrifice involved in actually embarking on that path. Such is one example of when the mental resilience of entrepreneurs is measured. We talked about choosing between the "gilded cage" of high-tech versus self-fulfillment alongside the entrepreneurial cost. There is no right or wrong, but it all depends on the person and their attitudes, values, and perception of the world.

Yehuda told me how being a serial entrepreneur has enriched his current venture, BooxAI, which revolutionized the publishing market by implementing AI. Having experience in the entrepreneurial world enabled him to bring more to the startup, both in terms of knowledge and finances. Moreover, it influenced staff recruitment for critical positions as well as Yehuda's general conduct. We talked about Yehuda's goal of disrupting the book industry’s status quo and allow 2-million Americans to bring their words to life at a fraction of the traditional cost. 

Here are some tips for the budding writers among us;

  1. If you want to write a book (the average length is 30-40K words) - either (a) take a month to isolate yourself and write, or (b) do a calculation of the number of words required per day as a function of book-length and writing period; be consistent, or (C) Get the assistance of a ghostwriter.
  2. It would help if you had a writing partner committed to you and you to them, which would help with accountability. 
  3. If possible, do some writing workshops before settling down to write.
  4. Forget about perfectionism. Just write. After you have something tangible, your work will go through numerous editors and iterations before the final product. Progress is better than perfection.
  5. If you did a writing program - remember that it is just a program, and there is more to life than just that. Modify your plans as you go.
  6. After reading the rules - remember that there are no rules in writing. Everything goes.
  7. A book can be profitable and can not recoup the expenses. Write not expecting a new income stream - do so out of a desire to leave a mark and make an impact.

If you listen to the podcast, you will hear that Yehuda has had a stutter since he was a child. Yehuda recounts how rap helped him significantly and that there is tremendous potential for a technological startup in this niche. Most importantly - his writing helped him find more ways to express himself and understand that people with a stutter are not lost causes. Not hiding one’s limitation and giving it a place can lead to empathy and excellent results instead of interfering.

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