1,000 Words A Day...

…To Create A Writing Empire

Category: Motivation (Page 1 of 2)

I Want To Be A Writer

“I want to be a writer. I want to write a book.”

This is what I often hear from people when I tell them I’m working on a book and becoming an Authorpreneur. When they say it they have this dreamy far away look in their eyes. Imagining fame and fortune, going on TV shows and signing their name on copies of their books. I give them the same advice I’m gonna give you, in the same way my mentor gave it to me.

>>>SMACK<<<

Slap

“No, you really don’t want to be a writer. It’s frustrating, lonely, and hard.”

Despite what some people think, the reality is writing as a profession is not an easy path to success or wealth. If you think it’ll enable you to pay a mortgage on a big house, and you’ll be driving your kids to a private school in your Mercedes SUV, then I’ma smack you upside your head…again.

For most writers, you’d be lucky to afford rent on a double-wide mobile home, and feeding your kids store brand mac ‘n’ cheese…every day. Writing is a lot of work with little financial reward.

People who have a need to write don’t have a choice. It makes us feel good when we’re writing in a “flow” state (see runner’ high), and when we’re not writing we feel guilty, and lousy about it.

If you’re good with this and saying, “I don’t care, I want to write, I need to write,” Alrighty then this is what you need to do.

Several years ago, I attended a presentation Stephen King was giving at the Harvard Memorial Church.  He was promoting a book of short stories. After the talk he held a Q&A session, and inevitably one young college aged lady asked, “What’s the best way to become a real writer.”

Stephen King, having heard this same question thousands of times before, mustered the ability to not look bored with the question and responded, “To become a real writer you need to take these two very important steps:

1. Read a helluva lot…

2. Write a helluva lot

That’s it.”

Ask any successful writer and they’ll tell you the same thing. While every writer’s journey to a successful writing career is different, these rules are carved in stone.

Read a lot. Write a lot.

I amazes me when I meet someone who talks about wanting to become a writer, but the only thing they read and write on a regular basis are text messages, Tweets and Facebook entries! Really? Seriously?

If you want to be a writer, you actually need to write something other than text messages. Instead of just talking about writing (which we all love doing), you need to write something good, something involving thought and creativity – almost every day. Produce a paragraph with substance or an entire page at minimum.

Like most folks, you set a block of time in your day to go to a job on a regular basis, because you have to. If you want to be a writer then you have to set a block of time every weekday day to write, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO. It’s your part-time job.

If you want to do this as a profession, you need to act like a professional. If you make writing a secondary or tertiary avocation – then forget it. Stop wasting your time. You aren’t a writer and don’t want to be. It’s just a hobby at that point.

To me, being a writer means this is your avocation, your passion and you intend it to be your main means of making a living. You know there’s a component of art to it, but you also know it’s a business and you need to give it that level of consideration. If you approach wanting to be a writer with anything less, then you’re just dabbling. Do you dabble at your job?

When you write something, you have to finish it. Period. End of story… literally.

After you’ve been writing for a while and people, other than your family and friends, tell you they liked what you wrote, it’s time to consider publishing your stories.

If you really feel the need to see your name on a book cover in a book store – knock yourself out. Go for it. Just know it’s a long road, fraught with frustration, rejection and disappointment. The traditional publishing route is nothing I’m going to cover in this blog. Currently traditional publishing is an obsolete business model sorely in need of a total overhaul.

I’m a big Authorpreneur advocate. Best-selling author Hugh Howey’s research at Author Earnings is proving your chances of making your dreams of becoming a full time writer, are far greater traveling down the Indie Publishing road.

Get Out of Your Own Way

Deal with the irrational fears holding you back from becoming the writer you envision. Writing is hard, but it isn’t life and death – you can do this. Most writer’s have a catalog of disempowering fears and negative emotions about writing. We must face them, and realize they have no basis in reality and exile them.You don’t have time or place for them in your life.

You have dreams to fulfill. Get into a state of passion for writing, and it will push doubt and low self-esteem aside, and allow you to put words on the page.

 

A State of Passion

passion

Last fall I lost all interest in writing creatively. I had no passion left for it. I kept wondering when or how the passion would return. I wondered and thought about that for months.

Finally, I found an answer.

I’ve been going back –rea-reading and listening to CD’s that sparked new ideas, inspired me and provided motivation.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Passion isn’t something that just happens. It’s not something that you wait to come to you. Passion is a state of mind. You can manifest and control passion by the way you think about things; by your physiology in how you gesture and hold your body; the speed and tonality at which you speak, and the energy you exude.

When you are passionate about something you sit or stand up straight, your head is up, and shoulders square. Your voice is strong, and you speak in a fast and excited manner. You have a smile on your face, you are confident when you speak. You gesture with your hands and your body language is energetic. You talk about the subject of your passion in a positive manner, and you are all about potentiality.

Passion doesn’t just happen to you, you happen to it. You create passion for whatever you want to be passionate about just by changing your state.

Decide: Plan Your Life Now

Do you remember when Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf states? Or how about when Pope John Paul II died? Or how oil prices were going up sharply almost weekly? In the theaters Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, Madagascar, Harry Potter, and Brokeback Mountain ruled the box office. Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson ruled the airwaves. That was 2005, just over 10 years ago.

Do you remember where you were in your life then? What were you like? What were you doing? Who were your friends? What were your hopes and dreams?

If someone had asked you back then, “Where will you be in ten years?” what would you have told them?

Looking at your life today are you where you wanted or imagined you’d be back then? Are you satisfied with the decisions and choices you made over that time? A decade goes by pretty quickly, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the more important questions we should be asking ourselves are:

  • How am I going to decide live the next ten years of my life?
  • How am I going to live today in order to create the future to which I’m committed?
  • What am I going to stand for from now on? And what am I no longer willing to put up with?
  • What’s important to me right now, and what will continue to be important to me over the long term?
  • What actions can I take today that will shape the future I envision?

Another ten years will come and go and you will find yourself at the end of another decade. At the end of those ten years, Where will you be? Who will you have become? Will you be surviving or thriving?

Today, right now is the time to design the next ten years of your life. It’ll do you no good once the ten years have got behind you. Don’t miss the starting gun, seize the moment.

We’re more than halfway through the 20-teens, 2020 will be here shortly after, and before you know it another ten years have blown by. You’ll look back on this year and remember it like you do 2005 now.

Do you imagine you will look back the ten years to 2015 with fondness or indifference, with pleasure or disgust? Make the right decisions and choices now…

NaNoWriMo – Do You Have What It Takes?

So, you’ve made it halfway to the top of Mt. NaNoWriMo. Do you have what it takes to persist and get to the summit?

The ultimate summit may not even be to reach the 50,000 word count goal. The more important summit is that you worked and wrote for 30 days in a row – you never gave up. It matters less that you wrote 20,000 or 100,000 words. What matters more is that you put in consistent effort. It shows you have it in you to write a novel length story.

By this point, of the thousands of people who were excited to start this writing journey and were raring to go – half are now gone. The journey is arduous and has claimed many writers. They stopped, gave up…quit.

The reasons people gave up on their stories is as varied as the number of people who quit. There are many good reasons why they stopped. In general, the biggest reason is that life gets in the way. There’s just not enough time and there are other priorities more immediate and important. Others stopped because they didn’t plan or outline adequately and got bogged down – stuck. For others they lost interest or fell out of love with what they were writing.

However, through it all you found reasons to keep going. You overcame obstacles of time constraints, and found ways to prioritize your life in a way that allowed you to keep writing. Maybe you made writing a priority. You stayed with it because it is your passion, your compulsion.

The real test will be the next 15 days. Many will attempt to make the final push to reach the summit; only the most dedicated will make it.

A 30-day commitment to NaNoWriMo is a tough road to follow. A 30-day commitment to any intense endeavor is a tough road to follow. Not everyone is cut out for it. Does this sound like a challenge to you? Good. It is. Challenge yourself. Remind yourself why you are doing this and never lose sight of that goal.

The most important lesson NaNoWriMo teaches us is the habit of writing – every day – no matter what.

By writing every day you will improve upon your craft, and by continuously improving your craft you will realize your dream of writing for a living.

Between now and November 30th many more people will fall by the wayside and quit. Only the most committed and passionate will still be writing by the end of the month.

So, do you have what it takes? Is it in You?

 


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Writer’s Block – NaNoWriMo Week 2 Blues

You made it through Week 1. You were out of the gate like a shot and piled up an impressive daily word count. As the week wound down, so did your enthusiasm and your word count – and now you have writer’s block.

Writer's Block

Now you’ve got the NaNoWriMo Week 2 Blues. Here are 33 ideas you can try to help you get unstuck from writer’s block and back into the flow of story creation.

  1. Do like the Passion Pit song says: Take A Walk. For many writers this is enough to get the creative energy re-started. It quiets and organizes your mind. Go through your story – play the mind movie, direct the characters or let them show you what they want to do.
  2. Refer to your outline or draft, character and visual sketches, and the initial framework are your best friends. Always refer to them again if you’re stuck.
  3. Sketch and Draw. By drawing, you’re tapping into a different part of the creative mind and expressing yourself in a different way. This often helps to picture out what you couldn’t put in words.
  4. Find your optimal hour. What time of the day are you at your most creative level? Are you a morning person? A night owl?
  5. Get your blood moving – exercise, go for a jog or a swim, or lift weights.
  6. Go for a short road trip to quiet the mind and let it reorganize.
  7. Try meditation or aromatherapy.
  8. Eat clean, healthy food. Your mind does not function well on an empty stomach or too much junk food.
  9. Play some games. Role Playing Games (RPGs) are the best choice as they have a story line you need to follow. Good games with engaging story lines can trigger new ideas and strategies on what to write.
  10. Get rid of the term “writer’s block”. You manifest what you think about most. We decide how we want to think about things. Instead think about being a prolific writer, where your ideas flow freely and frequently. Concentrate on that.
  11. Get stuff done. If you have things in the back of your mind, give them the attention they need to get rid of that sense of unresolved urgency. You’d be surprised how taking the time out to run a few errands or taking care of a problem frees up your mind and puts you in a better mood. Then your mind can get back to focusing on your writing.
  12. Work on some writing prompts or exercises – get away from your story for a moment and loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. Here are a couple of good writing prompt generators: JC-Schools – Prompt Generator; Seventh Sanctum Writing Challenge Generator
  13. Unplug the internet, don’t check your emails, and don’t visit your social media accounts. Shut off the distractions.
  14. If you happen to work well with distractions, listen to music, podcasts, audio books, etc. while you’re writing.
  15. Change your surroundings. Find a location which is comfortable for you. If you like a busy place with crowd and a lot of noises, go there. If you need quite, go to your library or a small coffee house, etc.
  16. Drink coffee or tea – caffeine is a great boost and will stir your mind and help you stay alert.
  17. Get sufficient sleep. There’s no point slogging through the night when nothing is coming out.
  18. Take a nap during the day. It can really recharge you. Your brain needs the rest – take a break. Make it a short nap of 15 – 30 minutes.
  19. Have a drink. A single glass of wine, beer or a cocktail can quiet a noisy mind and let you focus better. You don’t want to overdo this – 1 to 2 normal sized drinks max.
  20.  Talk to your writer friends/close friends, get their opinions. Look for constructive suggestions and drop those who are negative.
  21. Set a personal deadline – a lot of writer’s work best under pressure. Set a realistic, but challenging deadline for yourself.
  22. Instead of writing your story from start to end, write out of sequence. Go write a scene you’ve been dying to get to like a discovery, a betrayal or a fight scene – then fit it in the story later. This can really get you back in the swing of things.
  23. Talk to yourself. Some people might think you’re crazy, but saying your story out loud is a great way of bringing clarity to it and to explore different options. Sometimes ideas travel faster from the brain to the mouth than from the brain to the hand.
  24. Handwrite your story instead of typing it in your computer. This manual action can give you a greater connectedness to your story.
  25. Don’t be afraid to experiment, people tend to learn faster and better when they make mistakes.
  26. Work on more than one project at a time. It helps to minimize fear, monotony, and boredom. It seems to prevent writer’s block for many people.
  27. Ask yourself why and where you’re getting stuck? Focus on the specific issue and research all possible scenarios on resolving it. How if, What if, etc.
  28. Stop being a perfectionist throughout your writing process. Don’t edit – forget grammar and punctuation and just get the story down. There’s always time in the rewrite to polish it later.
  29. Pretend somebody important is a fan of yours like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Imagine writing for someone else who is interested in your stories. The urge to impress is a great motivator.
  30. Read books about the writing craft.
  31. Go see a movie. Pay attention to the storyline and see how it can help you with what you are working on.
  32. Find questions and answers from the community: Yahoo! Answers, NaNoWriMo, Kindle Boards – Writer’s Cafe, Wiki Answers
  33. Have some chocolate and surrender to your libido. Some de-stressing should do the trick.

Don’t give up hope and throw in the towel. Grab a fresh cup of coffee and get reenergized – you have a book to write!

 


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Live a Life of Purpose

Many of us feel there’s more to life than what we’re now experiencing — but we have no earthly idea what that might be or how to find it.

We may have cultivated wonderful relationships or built successful careers, but we get a vague feeling of being unfulfilled. There’s a sense that something else is at the controls of your life and you’re simply along for the ride.

That thing we feel is missing? It is PURPOSE.

We all crave to have meaning in our lives. But instead of taking the time to find our purpose, we spend more time planning a vacation or watching reality shows – than we do mapping out our lives.

Your purpose is a combination of your skills, passions and values. It’s your mission in life and identifying it can provide clues to a more satisfying one.

If you love your life and are surrounded with the people you love, then doing work that you love will add life to your years and years to your life.

Don’t get gridlocked by life.

If you go through life dragging through the days, doing work you hate and feeling half-alive, it’s time to break free of the gridlock. If you’re not challenged by your life and feel like you’re just going through the motions, it’s time to seriously rethink your purpose. Here are some suggestions on breaking free from that life gridlock:

  1. Take risks – try something new out of your comfort zone
  2. Unplug for a day or weekend – go on a technology and media fast
  3. Learn something new like a language or instrument, take up dancing or an acting class or go on a photo tour
  4. Challenge the beliefs you have about yourself
  5. When invited to something out of the ordinary, don’t say no. Go with it.
  6. Try something new each day. Eat something you’ve never tasted, walk somewhere you’d normally take a car, go to a museum or show instead of sitting in front of the TV
  7. Take a longer view of your life and write a personal mission statement. It will help you find purpose, make choices and add meaning to your life

Hit the Pause Button.

In the busy hustle and bustle of our lives, we never give ourselves time to think and reflect on who we are and what we truly want. Change it. Hit the pause button on life and take some time for yourself. After all if you don’t take time for yourself, someone will use your time for you.

Living purposefully demands that you focus on what’s important. To make that happen take a 12-hour media fast. Turn off your cell phone, TV, computer and other gadgets, and do a personal re-boot. Sit quietly, breathe deeply. Your heart and mind will stop racing and you’ll have more time to look inward and consider what is most important to you.

Define Your Passion.

What’s missing in your life? What are you curious about? What issues or problems do you feel strongly about? Think about what gets you up in the morning — and keeps you up at night. And this is not about worries and anxieties. It’s about your passions, interests and activities that excite and motivate you.

Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing and believe you do well. What sort of books, magazines, websites and blogs do you read or frequent? What sort of shows to you like to watch? Perhaps you’re good at home improvement projects, or are good at writing or graphic arts. Maybe you have a passion for healthy living or crafts. You see possibilities where others see the same-old-same-old. Perhaps you’re a good listener or problem solver. If you’re not sure what you’re good at, ask your friends and family what they consider are your strengths.

Create a Vision Board.

This is a powerful tool to help you visualize what you want and why you want it. To create your vision board, print out online images or cut out pictures from magazines that inspire you and motivate you into action, make you happy and represent your life goals and dreams. Add quotes and inspiring words that encourage you.

Paste all of these onto a piece of white foam board, or tack them onto a corkboard. Add an inexpensive frame and hang your vision board on the wall of your office, den or bedroom, where you will see it every day.  Take a picture of your vision board and upload it to your computer and use it as a screen saver or wallpaper.

Create a Mastermind Group.

Successful people often have a group of trusted acquaintances with whom they bounce ideas off of, debate issues with and discuss new strategies. All of us should have such a group. Going it alone, without differing views and objective input from others, can keep you stuck. Ideally, you should have one person in your life you can count on just to listen when you need to work through options in your mind — someone with whom you can share your deepest feelings and fears.

You need another person who can be the one to give you the kick in the pants to get you off your butt and get going, spurring you to take action. It can be a simple as signing up for a course to learn to speak Spanish or starting a new business. Finally, you need a wise elder, someone at least 10 years your senior, who can serve as your mentor and provide perspective on your options and decisions.

Take it in Stages.

Finding your Purpose and putting it into action takes motivation, courage and patience. If you have a family to support and a mortgage to pay you can’t just quit and simply drop everything to follow your passion. For others taking such a big step is just too far out of their comfort zone. What to do?

The answer is: Start small. Take baby steps.

Your purpose will evolve and your interests and experiences change. Identify what you are curious about. What is one small thing you could do on a daily basis that takes you closer to your purpose and make your life a better experience?  Tell your spouse or partner why you love them. Show gratitude. Take some time to give someone you don’t know a hand with something, or help a friend with a problem. Change one thing in your daily routine that will bring you more in line with your purpose.

Once these small changes become routine, build on it make another small change that gets you closer to your purpose. Keep building on those changes and you will reach your life’s purpose.

Once you’ve clarified your purpose, you will discover new passions that will add meaning to your life.


This post is an adaptation of the original article written by Margery Rosen, for AARP on Jan. 11, 2012.



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To Become A Better Writer

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer
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How To Be Unremarkably Average

11 Ways To Be Unremarkably Average

1. Accept what other people tell you at face value

• Surround yourself with people who think like you

2. Don’t question authority

• Believe in and defend “the way things used to be” even if your memory of it is hazy
• Feel threatened by new ideas
• Never be the voice of dissent
• Don’t wonder about someone’s motivations for pursuing one choice over another

3. Go to college because you’re supposed to and not because you truly want to learn something Personal
4. Finance

• Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend the next 30 years paying for it
• Use your credit card as your primary means of spending
• Spend all you earn, or even more than you earn
• The government will help you if there’s a recession
• Spend money on things your don’t want or need, but will help you impress others
• You need thing you never heard of or needed before because they will make you feel better about yourself
• You deserve to splurge on yourself because you earned the right through your hard work

5. Work

• Work a job for you don’t like for the majority of your professional life
• Sit at a desk for 40 hours a week for about 10 hours of productive work
• One day that corner cubicle will be yours
• Until then you’ll get really good at Solitaire, fantasy football and reading every article on CNN
• Attend useless meetings
• Instead of trying to fix big problems, focus on the unproductive work that everyone notices
• In times of crisis , wonder out loud what someone will do
• Take the credit when things go right – blame someone else when things go wrong
• Never take responsibility for anything
• When you fail at something, resolve never to try again.

6. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself

• Stay close to home
• Get a normal job
• Do things everyone else does

7. Travel

• Go overseas once or twice in your life, to someplace safe like England
• Talk about how differently they talk
• Tell everyone what a great cross-cultural experience it was
• Wherever you go make absolutely sure you will be safe and comfortable
• McDonald’s is in 119 countries now, so you can always find something good and healthy to eat

8. Language

• Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English
• If people don’t understand you speak louder

9. Think about starting your own business, but never do it
10. Think about writing a book, but never do it
11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.

Don’t worry about being average, because no one will ever question you about it. Average is the status quo. Politicians pander to the average out of political necessity. If you go through life following this advice, you’ll find yourself in good company with virtually everyone else who lives an unremarkably average life.

It all sounds so appealing doesn’t it? What more could you want?

The truths of the information for this article are from Chris Guillebeau’s site The Art of Non-Conformity

How Do You Eat an Elephant?


You don’t. It’s gross.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

We all know this saying and I think it’s the worst analogy for getting things done I’ve ever heard. I never liked it. I’ve seen this saying on dozens of websites and blogs, but never understood how it could refer to anything positive and motivating. It sounds like a saying born of the American obesity epidemic.

What do I like better, what saying makes more sense?

“How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.”

These analogies refer to breaking down large goals into more manageable and doable parts. That if you concentrate on a series of small milestones, instead of one huge goal, you stand a better chance of achieving that major goal.

Let’s put the sayings to the test.

Eating an Elephant:

  1. Have the pachyderm broiled in the world’s largest broiler and served on the world’s largest serving tray over the world’s largest Sterno® to keep it warm.
  2. Sit down, grab a knife and fork and have at it. Take that first bite.
  3. When you start, it can seem overwhelming. You don’t see how you’ll be able to devour the entire animal, but visualize what it will be like (who’d want to?) and get started.
  4. You’re motivated to make a big impact early on and eat until you’re full then overstuffed. You begin to sweat, your stomach begins to ache and you’re breathing harder.
  5. 5. You end up puking then making your way lethargically to bed where you fall into a fitful sleep. You dream of Mr. Creosote from the movie ‘The Meaning of Life‘.
  6. You learn to pace yourself, but eventually you need a series of bigger and beefier chairs to hold your ever increasing heft. You give up clothes for a muumuu and now sleep using a C-PAP machine.
  7. Day after day, you thaw, cook and eat more of that elephant. You wonder why you’re doing it, but you just keep doing it.
  8. It gets to the point where you can no longer stand. You remain in successively bigger steel-framed beds and cover yourself with blankets instead of the muumuu. (You don’t even want to know how the toiletries are handled!)
  9. The day comes when there is no more elephant to eat. You’ve accomplished your goal.
  10. You’re now the fattest person on earth. Crews take down an exterior wall of your house to get you out. An industrial sized forklift is used to carry you from the house to a flat-bed semi truck.
  11. After gastric bypass surgery, you lose all the weight and have another surgery to remove 200 pounds of loose skin. What have you gained from the experience – other than surgery scars? Would you want to eat an even bigger elephant next time?

Climbing a Mountain:

  1. Gather the right gear and tools to get started
  2. Go to the trailhead. Take that first step – and the next…
  3. When you start, you won’t be able to see the top of the mountain, but you know it’s there and work towards it.
  4. You’re motivated to make a big impact early on and try to do too much in the beginning. You begin to sweat, your legs begin to ache and you’re breathing harder.
  5. The trail can become a hard climb. There are many treacherous obstacles to overcome like roots tripping you up and loose rocks trying to sprain an ankle.
  6. You learn to pace yourself and tend to the aches, blisters and scratches you’ve earned.
  7. There are points you wonder why you are doing this to yourself and if it is worth it. Deep down you know this is something you wanted to do and continue.
  8. As you continue on your journey you’re gaining valuable experience. You’re getting stronger, leaner and are breathing easier with each passing day.
  9. As you get closer to the top you’re treated to beautiful vistas that hint to what lies ahead.
  10. When you get to the top of the mountain there’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment and possibility. You feel unstoppable.
  11. With the experience and knowledge you’ve gained you know what to expect when you climb your next, bigger mountain – and you know you can do it.

So, when it comes to accomplishing a major goal – would you prefer to eat an elephant or climb a mountain?

Combining Forces

I’ve decided to combine my blog about writing with a large portion of my personal (private) blog as the topic matter often converges. Hence, this new blog Live to Write – Write to Live. I’d have to say the theme is – Life as Story.

Chris Brogan recommended Don Miller’s ‘A Million Miles in a Thousand Years’. I read it and it motivated me to make this change. For anyone who knows me knows I’m not at all religious. However, the story and the message in this book clearly opened up some real truths for me. It also inspired me and it fit my own well founded spiritual outlook.

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