At last! At long last! 3 months, 30,000 words, less than $200 … and a lot of swearing … oh, and ChatGPT (my faithful “co-author”).
That’s how I wrote my new book which is called: Enhancing Your Creative Potential: Re-Inventing Yourself For Relevance in the AI Age. It was a labour of love.
I like to be creative. It helps me negotiate the stresses and strains of the 2020s. Creativity is something you can put your all into. So that past and present melt away, leaving you in the present moment.
Creativity is essential. Pretty soon computers, AI and automation will be able to do a lot of ordinary jobs, leaving only creative people employed.
Here is my video of how ChatGPT and I wrote a 30,000 word non-fiction book for Amazon KDP.
How did I get the idea?
I asked ChatGPT (the free version) for 10 ideas for a non-fiction book that would be popular with Gen X men.
Why Gen X men? Because I’m a Gen X man.
(Who are Gen X? We were born in the mid-to-late 1960 to early 1980s, so if you’re in your 40s or 50s now, you’re Gen X. We’re the “latchkey” generation, as we were left to fend for ourselves by our hard-working parents. We were trusted to travel to and from school and let ourselves in when we got home. We weren’t spoilt. We didn’t have phones until adulthood. In short, we’re cool AF.)
One of the titles ChatGPT came up with was “Enhancing Your Creative Potential”. I was sold immediately. As soon as I saw that title, I knew I had to write that book.
I initially started writing it to be just for men because I thought that would be a better keyword but I soon realised that was unnecessary. Also, as I delved deeper into the concept of creativity, I realised that it transcends gender and is relevant to everyone. Thus, “Enhancing Your Creative Potential” became a book for all. Creativity is for everybody.
Why did I have to write this book?
I just knew I could help people with this book. I keep seeing people with their heads buried in their devices, unhappy, directionless, and demotivated. We need to do something. In a world filled with technological disruption and uncertainty about the future, creativity offers an essential outlet for self-expression and growth.
I have seen how creativity has helped me in so many ways. Playing guitar in the evenings gives me something to do and allows me to meet interesting people. Designing t-shirts and book covers gives me the pleasure of artistic achievement. Writing books and blog posts improves my powers of communication and emotional intelligence.
The more I looked at the various aspects of creativity, the more I could see potential benefits for everybody. Whether you’re painting a picture, taking a photograph, playing an instrument, or writing a play, creativity develops hand-eye co-ordination, improves cognition, enhances problem-solving abilities, and nurtures critical thinking.
Creativity isn’t just about making pretty things. Sometimes it’s hard. I had many painful moments in the last three months! Creativity is also about fostering resilience.
Creativity involves working on yourself and working with others, enhancing self-knowledge, empathy, and connection.
How I got ideas for the book with ChatGPT
I explained the beginning of the process in my last blog post: Write a Non-Fiction Book for Amazon KDP with ChatGPT.
The process of writing a book goes like this: Idea; Plan; Research; Write; Edit. ChatGPT was my constant companion throughout this process. But I quickly realised the pitfalls of using AI to help me. ChatGPT’s idea for the plan wasn’t great. It came up with a very boring-looking repetitive plan of 10 chapters. I immediately trimmed it down and added a few chapters of my own.
I keep all my prompts in the same few chats but, despite this, ChatGPT still gives you a lot of repetition. You have to use your human intuition every step of the way.
I got most of my good ideas from ChatGPT by mistake. I would ask ChatGPT for ideas on some aspect of creativity and it’s output wasn’t helpful for what I was asking for at that moment, but it gave me ideas for other parts of the book.
I asked ChatGPT to give me stories on how creativity had helped people in history. I gave it the example of how Albert Einstein came up with his ideas on relativity by imagining travelling on a beam of light. ChatGPT then came up with lots of similar moments of history where people have had creative insights.
I discovered, along with ChatGPT, that journaling is central to enhancing your creativity. So, I asked ChatGPT what would I put in a creative journal and it came up with “creative prompts”. So, then I asked ChatGPT for some examples of creative prompts. And it came up with some awesome ideas.
When I started writing, I was thinking about my own creative output: music, writing, photography, digital art. ChatGPT is very good with lists. So I got ChatGPT to come up with lists of creative outlets. Here it came up with mood boarding, mind mapping, collage, and ideas of creative disciplines that I knew about but I would never have thought of. Then I asked ChatGPT to come up with prompts for these creative disciplines and it came up with even more great ideas that I could add to the book.
So, with ChatGPT, it’s all about the prompts. I must have asked ChatGPT hundreds of questions, all in all. Most of them didn’t come up with much. But, I asked questions about ChatGPT’s answers. And then asked questions about those answers. And, through persistence, I hit gold!
Finishing up, writing conclusions, and editing
So, this book that I hoped would be 15,000 or 20,000 words or so, finally ended up being 34,000 words as a result of ChatGPT’s ideas.
I then discovered yet another awesome way that AI could help me write my book. I bought the “Plus” version of ChatGPT which is $20 per month. This allows you access to GPT-4.0 instead of GPT-3.5 in the free version. I didn’t notice any difference in the chat bot’s performance, to be honest. However, the reason I upgraded to the “Plus” version was to get access to the plugins that augment ChatGPT’s performance.
One of these Plugins is called AskYourPDF which allows ChatGPT to analyse the data of huge PDFs. In the free version there is a pretty short character limit for the prompts. With the upgrade and the plugin I was able to get ChatGPT to read my whole book (in a matter of minutes) and write a conclusion for me.
After a few prompts I got a great last chapter, summing up the ideas in the book eloquently. I then got ChatGPT-4.0 with the AskYourPDF plugin to write actionable bullet points for each chapter. Again, ChatGPT performed this task very well.
And, then, I got it to write several sales pages in several different styles (very salesy, casual, quite salesy, etc.)
Although, I did write 85%-90% of the book myself, but as far as the chapter bullet point synopses, the concluding chapter, and the sales page – I pretty much took a backseat. And, I’m not ashamed to say that.
Finally, I got a human being to edit the book. A friend of mine recommended a freelance editor who had reasonable rates. She was very good at identifying some repetition in the text. I finally got the word count down to just over 30,000 from 35,000.
Writing a book with ChatGTP – you can do it!
Writing my new book, “Enhancing Your Creative Potential,” with the help of ChatGPT has been an incredible journey filled with hard slog, challenges, and ultimately, a sense of accomplishment.
ChatGPT played a crucial role throughout the writing process. Although it occasionally led me down uninteresting paths, it sparked numerous ideas, especially when I asked ChatGPT questions about its answers.
While I can proudly say that I wrote a significant portion of the book myself, I gladly let ChatGPT take the lead in crafting the chapter synopses, the concluding chapter, and even the sales page. The combination of AI and human collaboration made the final product better than it would have been otherwise.
Writing “Enhancing Your Creative Potential” with ChatGPT has been a fulfilling, enriching, and eye-opening experience. I hope that this book will inspire readers from all walks of life to embrace their creativity and find the joy, resilience, and connections that come with it. Embrace your creativity, and let it lead you to new and exciting horizons!