David speaks with Anne-Laure Le Cunff, a neuroscientist, writer, entrepreneur, and the founder of Ness Labs, which provides content, coaching, courses and community to help makers put their minds at work.

They talked about:

๐ŸŒŸ Choosing authenticity over Mimetic desires

๐ŸŽจ Embracing individuality

โš–๏ธ Work-life balance as an entrepreneur

๐Ÿ’ช Overcoming self-consciousness

โณ Mindful productivity vs. toxic productivity

โœ๏ธ Going from writing posts to books

This is just one part of a longer conversation, and it's the second part. You can listen to the earlier episode here:

Part 1: ๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Neuroscience, Writing, and Mindful Productivity with Anne-Laure Le Cunff (Episode 92)

๐ŸŽ™ Listen to your favourite podcast player

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๐ŸŽง Listen on Spotify:

๐Ÿ“น Watch on Youtube:

๐Ÿ‘คConnect with Anne-Laure:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/neuranne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neuranne/

The Ness Labs Newsletter | https://newsletter.nesslabs.com/

๐Ÿ“„ Show notes:

00:00 | Intro

01:57 | The importance of intentional planning

06:06 | Choosing authentic desires over mimetic pressures

08:24 | Finding authenticity in content creation

10:18 | Challenges of community building

11:24 | Time management between business building and creativity

15:02 | The struggle of experiencing resistance in content creation

17:38 | Self-consciousness is part of the process

18:34 | Mindful productivity

20:37 | Anne-Laure's challenges in her writing process

22:58 | The complexity of book writing

25:49 | Anne-Laure's childhood dreams: Novelist or Paleontologist

27:35 | The difference between fiction and nonfiction writing

๐Ÿ—ฃ Mentioned in the show:

The Ness Labs Newsletter | https://newsletter.nesslabs.com/

Zapier | https://zapier.com/

The War of Art | https://amzn.to/4aVrbEE

MKBHD | https://www.youtube.com/@mkbhd

Tiago Forte | https://fortelabs.com/

Building a Second Brain | https://amzn.to/44lSqWo

Pygmalion and Galatea | https://theknowledge.io/pygmalion-effect/

Full episode transcript below

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป About David Elikwu:

David Elikwu FRSA is a serial entrepreneur, strategist, and writer. David is the founder of The Knowledge, a platform helping people think deeper and work smarter.

๐Ÿฃ Twitter: @Delikwu / @itstheknowledge

๐ŸŒ Website: https://www.davidelikwu.com

๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/davidelikwu

๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/delikwu/

๐Ÿ•บ TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@delikwu

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Podcast: http://plnk.to/theknowledge

๐Ÿ“– Free Book: https://pro.theknowledge.io/frames

My Online Course

๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ Decision Hacker: http://www.decisionhacker.io/

Decision Hacker will help you hack your default patterns and become an intentional architect of your life. Youโ€™ll learn everything you need to transform your decisions, your habits, and your outcomes.

The Knowledge

๐Ÿ“ฉ Newsletter: https://theknowledge.io

The Knowledge is a weekly newsletter for people who want to get more out of life. It's full of insights from psychology, philosophy, productivity, and business, all designed to make you more productive, creative, and decisive.

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๐Ÿ“œFull transcript:

Anne Laure: [00:00:00] That doesn't necessarily mean that you need an actual community. You probably just need to have a mechanism where you encourage more people to reply to you, and that's it. Like, it doesn't have to be a full-blown community, but if you're craving that connection, that feedback, it can really be as simple as asking people to reply explicitly.

Like, just ask for what you want, really.

David Elikwu: This week I'm sharing part of my conversation with Anne Laure, who is a neuroscientist, a writer, and an entrepreneur. Anne Laure is the founder of Nest Labs, which is an online platform at the intersection of productivity, neuroscience and mental health.

Now, this is the second part of our conversation. So you're going to hear us talking about choosing authenticity over mimetic desires. And you'll actually hear Anne Laure pointing out some of the traps that I've fallen into on my creative journey.

We talk about embracing individuality as writers and as content creators. We talk about the work life balance as an entrepreneur and someone [00:01:00] building a business. We talk about what it's like to build community and the extent to which we need to build connection through the work that we do. We also talk about overcoming self consciousness in the content that we put out and the work that we do, and the distinction between mindful productivity and toxic productivity.

And finally we talk about Anne Laure journey as a writer, going from writing primarily blog posts on her blog, NessLabs, to now working on a book project and some of the nuances that she's encountered on that journey.

So you can get the full show notes, the transcript and read my newsletter at theknowledge.io.

And you can find Anne Laure on Twitter and Instagram @neuranne. I will have all the links to her platforms in the show notes below.

Now, if you love this episode, please do share it with a friend. And don't forget to leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts because it helps us tremendously to find other listeners just like you.

The importance of intentional planning

David Elikwu: How much of, obviously you didn't manifest [00:02:00] Nest labs, but I wonder like as I look at your journey in building it, funnily enough, this goes back to what we were talking about before about the intentionality. There's a lot of it that perhaps in retrospect, or at least from an outsider's perspective, make complete sense. It looks like you put a lot of thought into exactly how you were gonna build this thing. Everything makes sense. It all fell into place quite well. I think, you know, you are building it, you had a certain number of subscribers within a few months, you started to get some sponsorship money and because you'd put those building blocks in place in advance, by the time you started to hit more serious growth, I think by the second year, suddenly you are able to make, you know, over 10,000 pounds or so. And then from there, then you are able to start hiring people and then you build the community. But actually, you didn't just wait and build the community, you already had some community elements from the beginning. So it's like, wow, you know, you did this so well. And I was comparing that to my own journey, man. I think, okay, on one part I wish I had the personality to build a community kind of thing, because I'm not sure I [00:03:00] do very often, I like to like lock myself in my room and just focus on writing.

But I do need to be, you know, more social in that respect. But I think that can be hard, like coordinating people doing all of those things.

But also from a business perspective and from a, a scaling perspective. One of the things that I've started to find difficult or strange, and I wonder if any of this resonates with you. It might not because you have the community element, but I'd be interested to know is, so my growth wasn't necessarily linear, at the beginning it was linear, but kind of on a small scale.

So the first year I was writing my newsletter, we had like 500 subscribers. And for clarity, this is also the retrospect part, there were definitely a few stages where I had no idea what this was about. Like when I first started it, I sent it to some friends and I was like, Hey, I'm just gonna share with you the things that I'm learning. And that newsletter is still there. Like people can go read it. I just said, Hey, you know, here's what I'm gonna be doing. And then the first 10 newsletters are all completely random. Like I'm just learning a bunch of different things and you just see me talking about completely random stuff. So in that first year, we grew to like 500 subscribers and the next year, we just doubled. So we went to 1000. And [00:04:00] again, I'm trying to figure out, okay, what is this? Is this a platform? Now, there's quite a few people. There's a lot of people. I think by the time we got to the end of that first year, I was trying to avoid paying extra, 'cause you know, a lot of these email platforms, once you go past a thousand, the prices go up. So I was unsubscribing people quite a lot to try and stay under the, the 1000. And then the year after that, I think we got to maybe two, two and a half thousand. And then from there, that was the beginning of last year. And then we went up to like 30,000 or so. So a lot of the growth came like right at the end.

But what's strange is that because of that, the same with the website. So now let's say we probably have about 10,000 views or so a month. But all of these are just numbers. At least that's how it can feel now. And there's a strange sense in which it almost doesn't feel real. Like I have no idea what any of these numbers mean. It can feel like, in some ways it feels less personal when it was a smaller group of people. I still didn't know those people, but I was still writing and knowing that there were people on the other side of that. Whereas now, okay, cool, you have this big number, but I don't [00:05:00] know what that actually means. And I wish maybe there was some community people send me emails and stuff and that's cool. But yeah, there's no sense in which it feels concrete outside of that, maybe that's a good thing 'cause I don't have too many people in my ear, but there's definitely negatives that I feel maybe compared to if there were like an actual community of people having discussions around these things.

Anne Laure: What are the negatives exactly? Except that the numbers don't seem to meet mean anything concrete.

David Elikwu: Well I think it's more that sometimes it can just feel like writing into a void. Like I have, I know what the schedule is. I have to write this stuff every week, and that's just all that I do. I just write stuff and just send it out and I have no idea, you know, once that happens, who knows? Maybe someone will email me.

I have one really cool person that I'm not even sure if it's a male or female, I don't even know this person's name, but every time there's like a link broken or something is wrong, they will send me an email so that person I know is alive and that is a real person. But you know, relative to the total number now, that is just a number. Like, it doesn't feel like, [00:06:00] oh, a scaling and magnitude of real connections and relationships built. I think that's, the part that I'm talking about.

Choosing authentic desires over mimetic pressures

Anne Laure: Oh, that's so interesting. Yes, that that doesn't necessarily mean that you need an actual community. You probably just need to have a mechanism where you encourage more people to reply to you and that's it. Like, it doesn't have to be a full-blown community, but if you're craving that connection, that feedback, it can really be as simple as asking people to reply explicitly.

Like, just ask for what you want, really. It's just sometimes I think because I've been, I've definitely been guilty of this, where we sometimes have that mimetic desire of looking at other people approaching their work in a way, and we feel like, oh, I need to do this. For me, it's been YouTube. I've been banging my head like for the past three years, trying to figure out how do I create a YouTube channel? How do I do this? How do I stick to a schedule? How do I, you know, it's only very recently that I [00:07:00] managed, again, through writing in my notebooks, and I had this aha moment where I realized. I don't want to be a YouTuber. I actually don't want to be a YouTuber, but because there are so many content creators that I deeply admire who also happen to be YouTubers who create this amazing content on YouTube, without thinking, I just thought, yeah, that's the next step I need to, to create a YouTube channel. I need to publish a video every two weeks, and I need to translate my written content into those high quality videos. And I was really struggling with it. I really felt out of my comfort zone, not in a good way, in a way where I just really was dreading having to go and sit in front of the camera and record that content. I had to script everything, and then I realized. Oh, I don't want to be a YouTuber. Wow. And that removed a really big weight of my shoulders.

So that's why I'm suggesting for, in your case, exploring other options. Because if you were, you were saying, I don't know if I want a community, I actually kind of like just writing and doing my [00:08:00] thing. And it's like, maybe you don't need a community. Not everyone needs one. And maybe there are other ways to get that connection you're craving that is still aligned with who you are as a creator and not just applying what other people have been doing very successfully, but that just may not feel right for you.

David Elikwu: I think you're completely right I'm very grateful for you sharing that.

Anne Laure: Oh, sorry. That turned into like a little coaching.

Finding authenticity in content creation

David Elikwu: It's good. This is perfect. This is exactly what I need. And it's funny 'cause usually I would think I'm aware of those things, but I think in this context I it's more just because, because it's grown like really quickly. I think that's the part where there's just this gap between what I think this is and what it actually is.

And I think also, this is the other part that I definitely think is the case, when just a year or so ago when I had like 2000 subscribers, I would look at people that had like 20,000 plus subscribers and be like, wow, the lived experience of what it would be like to have over 20,000 subscribers must be completely different. Life must be different. Everything was is a whole new thing. [00:09:00] And it doesn't feel any different. It just feels like I'm still here in my room just writing stuff and nothing's really changed. So there's that part of it. And then the other part is. Which I do think is legitimate and it does link to what you're saying, but it's just more, yeah, just wanting a sense of like fellowship outside of what you're writing and I think when I started at the beginning, it was kind of like, okay, there's a few dozen of people that I actually know and a few hundred extra people. I don't know those people but that's fine. When I'm writing stuff, I have people in mind that who I actually know that I'm thinking about as I'm writing and as I'm sharing things, I kind of, I'm intentionally sharing things with this group of people, whereas now because that shift was quite sudden, it's like, I have no idea who these people are. We haven't had time to get to know each other. It's not like a slow process over, over time of, okay, you know, I've had loads of discussions with people, if you get what I mean. Like, I think very early on there's some people that they would reply to a few different emails and you kind of build relationships with people. You don't necessarily know them, but it's a, a slow process. [00:10:00] Whereas now, man, I'm just sending this number of people this email, apparently it goes out to tens of thousands of people who knows. Random people will email me just random stuff. Sometimes I get just bizarre emails. I have no idea what's going on. But yeah, it's, it's a very different experience in, in one sense.

Challenges of community building

David Elikwu: So as you have been building, I think you've also had some difficulties with scaling actually as well. I think you said you had one course that you did where suddenly hundreds of people show up and actually that's like a freak out moment where, okay, there's a bit too much and you kind of retreated a bit from there.

What has the rest of that process been like? And also have you found a difference because you've hired people, you have a team that does some writing, that does some of the community management. Does it feel like there's a distinction between the amount of time that you spend, like building in terms of building the business and all of that to how much time you can spend writing and creating? Does that feel like there's overlap in a positive way, or does it feel like, oh, these are distinct personalities.

Anne Laure: it feels more like a pendulum for me, and [00:11:00] I still haven't figured out the exact balance that works, but I can tell that there are some months where I feel like I'm spending too much time working on the business, and I don't have the mental space to think strategically, to be creative, to have big ideas. And it usually starts feeling not so good after a while.

Time management between business building and creativity

Anne Laure: And so I try to make adjustments and that can be working with my team to be a bit clearer about our objectives for the next couple of months. So I don't have to be there for every single tactical decision because we have a little bit of a roadmap for the next couple of month, or sometimes it means hiring some help with things that I've been doing. And I used to edit my own videos and then I hired someone who started helping me with this for the community management. I used to do it all on my own. And now I have someone absolutely amazing who's helping me with a lot of the Day-to-Day queries. [00:12:00] So I can just show up for the online meetups that we have and I can teach some little courses in the community, but I'm doing the stuff that only me can do, that only I can do. And my community manager is helping with a lot of the Day-to-Day management.

And other times I get so focused and engrossed into the creative process. And that has happened with writing the book that I'm working on at the moment, where I can also feel like, ooh, wait, I'm feeling a little bit disconnected from what's going on in the business right now. Actually, I have no idea. Are we doing okay? Is that, is everyone happy? Are community members okay? And then again, I switch back that, that focus and the pendulum goes the other way. And then I try to be a bit more involved, I will talk to people, maybe I'll run a couple of surveys with the newsletter and the community, just asking, Hey, do you like the content? How are you feeling about the community? How are things? How is everyone doing? I will get back [00:13:00] into it.

But I'm not really good, I really admire people who are very good at sustaining this balance over a long time. For me, I've never managed to do this, so I know it's going to feel more like seasons. I'm going to have two, three months where I'm really into research, writing, creating, and I'll think at a very high level about big ideas. And then I'll feel like, oh, I'm itching to get back into the nitty greedy of the business. And I'll be building sequences in my email management system and thinking about how our Zapier connections are working between the community and our membership management system. Those kind of things where you would think after all of these years, I should not be touching, but I like it too. I actually enjoy that part too. And it's a way for me to really stay connected to how the business is working. And especially for a business where the community is so important. I wanna make sure people are happy. And I can only know this if I'm actually involved in talking with people.

[00:14:00] So yeah, it's this constant dance. I'm literally dancing between those, those two states, and I can never manage to maintain that balance over six month or one year. It just doesn't work for me. So I'm embracing the seasons really.


The struggle of experiencing resistance in content creation

David Elikwu: And you've written about mindful productivity. I would love to know how you apply that to some of these different projects. Okay. So I'm thinking specifically of, you mentioned just before, so first of all, we were talking about our general writing practices and what that's like and the balance between whether it's journaling or actually intentionally trying to write stuff.

And then also you talked about video recording, and I know that you recently challenged yourself to record, I think it was like 10 videos in 10 days or something like that, but just personal. And I saw some of them on Instagram, you just sharing random things and it brings to mind this idea that, I don't know if you've read, I think it was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

He talks about this idea of resistance. And I just really love that concept and it happens to me, I face that a lot where you just have this strange, the resistance that stops you from connecting with the muse or it stops you from doing the things that you need to do. Where some of them are incredibly obvious.

And funnily enough, this is where my Bene Gesserit reference came from, where I was like, there's times where I'm sitting at my desk or I'm sitting in [00:16:00] front of my laptop and I'm just not writing, and I know I need to write. And when I finally do start writing, it's gonna be great and there's never a problem. But it's just hard to get over that initial bit of resistance and start doing the thing. And I think video can be the same way where I don't necessarily think I'm a video first kind of person. I would also love to be a YouTuber, funnily enough. I think about this a lot. Well, I remember it a lot, but I used to record videos on YouTube a very long time ago, and I used to be a YouTube partner a very long time ago when you had to like apply and I think M-K-B-H-D and I are probably around a similar age and I remember seeing his videos, but you know, when people would like repost those videos of when he's a kid, like I was also a kid, so we were both kids. It was not like, oh, we're adults doing this thing. And I would just post these random videos and I used to get paid money, like when I was in university, I was getting like a few hundred pounds a month, but again, this is like over 10 years ago now. And then one day, I don't know if I just got self-conscious or something, I just stopped.

And funnily enough, [00:17:00] okay. In retrospect, I also was not putting my face in all of these videos. They were just random videos. Some of them were fitness videos, whatever. But it's funny how, yeah, like I had that lifetime, a lifetime ago and now, I'm way too shy to even like, you know, post stuff. I do try to now, so I've done a few random ones, but they're always like unedited. I just turn on the camera and I just start saying stuff and then that's the end.

But I wondered for you, with these different projects that you've had with trying to do video with your regular writing and then also with writing the book, have you faced some forms of resistance and how have you balanced the productivity of, you know, as that pendulum is swinging, like how you focus on writing and being able to stay productive as you're doing it?

Self-consciousness is part of the process

Anne Laure: Yeah, I am always a little bit self-conscious about the work I do because who isn't really? I think it's just part of the process where evolutionary speaking we're designed to fear being judged by other people. So it's just a very natural reaction. Anytime you're putting yourself out there and you're saying, Hey, this is me, this is my [00:18:00] work. You're a bit scared that people are not going to like it, and by extension are not going to like you. So I definitely still have a little bit of that resistance that you're describing, but I also know that doing research and writing and connecting with people in this way is what I love doing. Every time I feel rewarded, when I manage to overcome that resistance. So it's again, constantly little dense. I feel the resistance, I overcome it, I feel really good about it, and then I still feel the resistance the next time I wanna do it. It never really goes away.

Mindful productivity

Anne Laure: In terms of balancing this with my productivity. I think really for me, the main thing, and this is the main thing about mindful productivity versus toxic productivity, is that I'm embracing this dance. I am embracing those seasons. I'm working with the resources that I have in terms of energy and confidence that way that they and I'll sit down. [00:19:00] And I'll really try to listen to those different signals, work my way through them when necessary. If I feel a lot of resistance, then maybe instead of forcing myself to do the work, I'll just take a 10 minute break and journal and try and figure out why is it that I'm feeling so anxious about that particular project. And then very often I can figure out that maybe it's just it doesn't feel very aligned with what I want to be doing or maybe it's scary for very good reasons, maybe I care a lot. I care a lot about this project. It's a big one. So I'm, I'm a bit scared and just knowing that just labeling the emotion really helps diffuse it a lot. And I can feel like, okay, oh, you just care a lot. Okay, let's do this. We're still scared. I'm still scared, hasn't changed anything. But let's do this, we care.

That's what being mindful to me means. It's really being able to look at your emotions and your thoughts, but not judging [00:20:00] yourself for them, and then being able to still do the things that you want to do while taking into account how you're feeling and how you're thinking versus some other approaches that are really based on pure willpower and effort and pushing through and being gritty and just do it where the result really is that most people end up burning out. Sure, they will be able to do some of that work in the short term, but long term it's not sustainable if you just keep on pushing through and ignoring those feelings.

David Elikwu: Okay, so tell me about what the process has been like of writing the book. First of all, how did the book come about and how has it been writing that?

Anne-Laure's challenges in her writing process

Anne Laure: I was very fortunate that after my newsletter reached a certain number of subscribers, I actually had publishers starting reaching out. I don't know if they have some kind of tracker somewhere or, but really it was around the same time when I was around 45,000 subscribers at that time. And in the same month I got [00:21:00] three different publishers who reached out asking, have you thought of writing a book?

And funny enough, as a kid, I actually wanted to write books, but I wanted to write novels, so I would've never thought that I would be writing a nonfiction book. And even on top of this, writing a nonfiction book in English, which is not my first language. I thought, you know what? I would actually love to write a book, but this sounds like a very big challenge, but let's explore this.

And then I knew a few people who had written books, including Tiago Forte, who wrote Building a Second Brain. He's been absolutely amazing in helping me navigate this and sharing some of my questions about what did I feel like? What are some of the challenges? Why did you do it? Would you recommend I explore that path, et cetera. So that's how the book came about. I then put a book proposal together that, which several publishers liked. So it was really, really a great process. Very new, very anxiety inducing, to be honest, because it's very different from writing a [00:22:00] newsletter.

When I write a newsletter, I can send it and if there's a little mistake somewhere or if I change my mind on something. Nobody's going to be that angry. I can always the next week say, oh, by the way, I wrote this last week, but turns out there's a new research paper that came out that says that things are a little bit different than what I thought so. And that's okay, it's the internet. Everyone is expecting things to evolve quite quickly.

But a book, whatever I write in there, feels very permanent and I can't go and run around and ask people to give me back their copies because I wanna change something in there. So I have to take this very seriously.

And what was the second part of the question? I felt like there was a second part to the question. How did it come about?

David Elikwu: So, yeah, how come about and how's it going? Like what's the process been like? Because I can imagine a book is a much bigger project than writing a post. Some posts might be quite short. Maybe there are only 800 to a thousand words or so. A book, well usually is quite a bit longer than that.

So I was interested to know how you were finding that as well.

The complexity of book writing

Anne Laure: Actually, that has [00:23:00] been the main challenge for me is going through writing those more short form self-contained pieces of content. It doesn't have to be that short, but even when I write a research paper that's 50 pages long, which can be the case with the references, sometimes it's still this self-contained, you know, piece of content has this like short introduction, the body of the article, a conclusion and that's it.

Same for the newsletter. Whereas with the book it's 70,000 words, it has to have this red thread, this narrative running through the book where everything connects together, everything makes sense. There's point A at the beginning where you meet the reader where they are and you take their hand and you bring them to point B. That is quite far away, like 200 to 300 pages far away, that's where you wanna bring them.

And not only needs to make sense, which is one challenge in and of itself, making sure that you're not repeating [00:24:00] yourself, that everything builds on top of each other. That on the, those ideas that they're connected, that's one challenge that you already have a little bit with research papers. What you're not supposed to do with research papers is making them interesting and entertaining as well. With this kind of book, you also want it to be interesting because you want, ideally for some people to finish the book. So that's that added layer of complexity where asking someone to finish a 500 word or 800 word article is not the same ask. I was telling them, Hey, read my book. This is an entire thing. So you need to make it extra helpful, extra clear, extra interesting, a little bit entertaining while still being factual, while still making sense. It's difficult. I've been actually really enjoying it, but I can tell this is a completely different skillset than the one I've been using for the newsletter.

I'm currently writing the third draft of it, and I'm [00:25:00] hoping to finish in a month or so. And then I'm very much looking forward to discovering the next steps, which I've been trying not to worry about. I've been trying to take this step by step because everything is so new. But the next steps of choosing the title, designing the cover, building some sort of marketing campaign around it. How do you launch it? Do you announce it more in podcasts or do you partner with people who have newsletters? Do you do it on Instagram? All of this completely new to me. And I'll have to learn all of this on the spot.

David Elikwu: Exciting. I guess that's the, the crinkle, crackle career.

Anne Laure: Exactly, yes.

David Elikwu: Oh, one thread I didn't wanna let go of is you mentioned you originally wanted to write fiction you said.

What kind of fiction were you interested in writing and have you still tried writing at all any fiction until now?

Anne-Laure's childhood dreams: Novelist or Paleontologist

Anne Laure: Yeah. As a kid, I was, I really thought I would be either a novelist or a paleontologist. Those were the two carriers I was considering. And [00:26:00] I wrote a bunch of novels as a kid. I even sent them to publishers in France. Some of them came back to me with feedback. At the time, it was before you could email your manuscript, so I actually had, she's amazing. The internet is amazing, really. I was maybe 15 or 16, and I was managing this online forum for young writers in France and this anonymous person, who was much older than me, like maybe in their thirties or something, had access to a printer at work and printed my manuscript for free for me at the time because I didn't have the money to print so many manuscripts and posted it for me to different publishers because they really liked my work and I was quite young, didn't have the money to send it. And I never really knew they had a, a pseudonym on the forum. So never knew their name, never knew anything about them. They just said, Hey, I'll cover this for you. And I know they did it because then I received [00:27:00] replies from publishers with feedback, so I know they did it.

So thank you for reminding me of this story because I completely forgot about it until now.

I was really bad at the time at editing. I loved writing the first draft, and I really struggled with rewriting and rewriting and which you're supposed to do. You're supposed to write maybe three, four or five, maybe 10 drafts before you have a good novel. I feel like what's been really helpful with the book that I'm working on right now is that, because I'm already working with a publisher, that's how it works, it works in nonfiction.

The difference between fiction and nonfiction writing

Anne Laure: In fiction, you write the book and then you send it to publishers, and if they like it, they publish it. In nonfiction, you write a book proposal, which is a dozen of pages explaining what it's going to be about, and then the publisher says, I want this book, and then you write it. And I don't like disappointing people. So now that a publisher has says, I want this book, I'm going to finish it, I'm going to write it, and I'm going to make it as good as possible, whereas with fiction, I never [00:28:00] managed to get to that stage where it was good enough to be published. So yeah, that's, my story with novels.

And in terms of what I was writing about, it was a lot of fantasy, kind of like science fiction mixed with the modern world.

So one of the stories, for example, was reinventing the stories of Pygmalion. I don't know if you know the Greek myth where this artist falls in love with a statue that he's sculpting. And I used that story but transposed it into the modern world with a plastic surgeon and a woman, where he was trying to, you know, sculpt that woman to be this, this ideal creation, which kind of a creepy story, but that kind of stuff. I loved writing that kind of little bit creepy kind of stories. Yeah, so that's what I was writing

David Elikwu: That sounds like such an interesting book. I really wanna read both of these. I wanna read the fiction one and the nonfiction one. That's so cool.

But I love it though because I think that's important and I think a lot of people today, maybe they only read nonfiction. And I think having that balance of inputs helps [00:29:00] you to be more creative, it helps you to appreciate the world better. I read a lot of fiction. I also write fiction also, some fantasy and sci-fi as well. And so I think, yeah, it's been a really important part of my creative journey.

So hopefully you still get to publish that one day. If you're still interested in it, maybe you see how the first book goes and then you kind of put the other one over the top.

Anne Laure: Absolutely. Again, I think it's, great that we live at a, a time and an agent with the internet where really, whatever you're interested in and you're curious about, you can explore it and there's no expectation really anymore that you're going to follow this very linear career. So if you want to write nonfiction and a novel and do research and maybe learn how to paint or do whatever, really just you can do it.

David Elikwu: Thank you so much for tuning in. Please do stay tuned for more. Don't forget to rate, review and subscribe. It really helps the podcast and follow me on Twitter feel free to shoot me any thoughts. See you next [00:30:00] time.

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