Maintaining Momentum Over the Summer

Maintaining Momentum Over the Summer

image of legs out a car window

Why is it that when the warm weather comes along, we suddenly slough off all our wonderful, productive habits as we apply a layer of sunscreen?

You know what it’s like: you just get into the groove of your yoga practice or of writing that book you always wanted to write, or of making it a habit to attend a class or writing every Monday night or every morning before work. And then, bam, it’s vacation time and your precious habit is being hijacked by family barbecues, work holidays and destination escapes. Or maybe you’re a small business owner whose work schedule gets commandeered by kids being off school for two months.

Here are a few hacks to help you maintain momentum so that you’re not stuck starting from zero again in September.

Build in a support team

Having an accountability partner or belonging to a group is a great way to stay on track with any goal. It is rarely enough to have a close friend to report to, because they love you and they’ll be lenient when some cool summer plans come along to kibosh your goal. Having someone with similar self-care or career goals means you are more likely to follow through. You want to partner up with someone you respect and whom you would hate to let down. As a partner yourself, it is a gift to be a cheerleader who won’t let petty excuses sabotage your comrade’s plans.

Don’t shut off the tap completely

Many people say that business slows down in the summer. Really? Not one person on the planet makes purchases or uses services for two whole months? If that were true the whole global economy would collapse. Yes, for many, there may be less activity in their businesses over the summer, but I challenge you to see if a contributing factor is your mindset of expecting a slowdown, or possibly your habits leading to a slowdown. Are you choosing to work less, write less, workout less? That’s okay as long as you’re making a conscious choice. May I suggest that if you are choosing to turn down the flow in your life, that you not turn it off? It is much easier to open a door that is slightly ajar than it is to push against a door that is sealed air-tight. Maintain smaller goals, such as a 15-minute walk instead of an hour at the gym, writing 100 words a day instead of 1500 words, or making business follow-up calls once a week instead of every day.

Be purposeful and deliberate

Hey, it’s summer, you get to have fun and enjoy the sunshine like everyone else! Go ahead and plan time off! But, be measured and focused with that summer lovin’. Use this time to replenish your dwindling stores of inspiration. Get out from behind your computer and soak up some vitamin D, shake up your self-care with a new routine, catch-up on your sleep. And, intentionally set some boundaries around your debauchery. Enroll in your usual classes for September before you quit them in May. Promise your copy-editor something before you slow down; better yet, pay for the editing services ahead of time which will force you to hand something over to them. Schedule a product launch or a new service package for September and keep your following thirsty for your return.

It is possible to enjoy a spectacular summer and continue to honor our meaningful projects. May you continue to be productive while you bask in the splendor of summer, and may you return to a smooth-running routine when the chill returns to the air.

We all know what it’s like when life gets in the way, especially if you are a writer. You’re also probably quite familiar with the inner critic that constantly throws up obstacles in your writing schedule. I’ve tackled that problem for you! Download your FREE eBook – How to Write When Life Gets in the Way! 

This article first appeared on Huffington Post. You can read the original post here.

You Don’t Have to Starve for Your Art

You Don’t Have to Starve for Your Art

Writing coach building your art into a business

I recently had a phone conversation with someone who wanted to write a book. I could hear the passion she had for her topic reverberate through my earpiece and into my heart. This book needs to be birthed into the world. And, as with most of my phone consultations with most of my clients, the topic eventually turned to money. How much will it cost me to self-publish? How much can I expect to earn if I traditionally publish?

Money is an important topic that we artists need to talk about in the open more often.

Writing a book is a business. Period. If you are writing your book to self-publish a handful of copies to share with your family and friends, you’re not publishing a book you are making photocopies of your journal. If you are writing your book to self-publish and have it on Amazon.com (where net revenue last year totalled in the amount of $107 Billion—yes, that’s billion with a B) or to traditionally publish and see it on the shelves of your local library or bookstore, you are running a business. And for a business to be successful, a business needs to make money. Period.

As a society, we need to stop glorifying the archetype of the starving artist. It diminishes the value of art in our everyday lives. We are surrounded by art, from music to visually appealing pieces in our homes to the stories we consume when we read or watch television. Art is an integral part of being human.

I often find that artists also tend to be heart-centered individuals who have bought into the idea that money is somehow the root of all evil. Money is an instrument in the exchange of energy. It simply makes the old practice of bartering much easier. When we constantly give away our art, we are creating an imbalance in the energy exchange, and again decreasing the value of art in our world. Then there are the art purists who turn their noses up to any commercialization. I challenge those purists to consider the perspective that maybe art can be both completely original and unique while earning artists a fair wage.

Both you and your art matter.

Lastly, I love books. I love to read to learn and I love to read to escape. I want my favourite authors to be able to sustain themselves financially so that they can continue to write books for me to read. There are several ways that an author can make money, and not all of them are directly tied to book sales. Part of the work that I do with my clients is to help them build the business end of their book writing so that they can be financially stable and so that the world can be embellished with their talent and message.

In today’s world of interconnectedness through social media and online business, there’s no reason for any artist to starve ever again. If you want a successful business as a published author, book a call with me and let’s talk about your future. If your inner critic is convincing you that a handful of photocopies of your book is enough, we also need to talk!

 

4 Essential Questions When Writing a Book

4 Essential Questions When Writing a Book

Light Bulb

 

Once a life coach always a life coach. I ask questions for a living… can you tell?

When it comes to embarking on, and most importantly completing, the journey of writing a book, it is not an accomplishment that comes without some struggle. Besides our own inner critic riding roughshod over us, we also have life interrupt us in other ways, as I covered in my eBook. One of the solutions I offered was coaching. Here are the four foundational questions I would explore with you if you were a client of mine–for both books and building a successful business by the way.

Who is the audience?

Who will be reading this book? Really draw a picture in your mind of them. Is it a woman or a man, how old are they, what do they do with their spare time? What kind of other books do they read, or magazines, what do they watch on television? By having a tight focus on who your audience is you will serve them better when you write.

What is the purpose?

Speaking of serving them better… why are you writing this book? Are you trying to entertain by getting your audience to feel an emotion? Are you trying to pass on life lessons? Are you doing it for the fame and fortune? No judgment here. Knowing why you are writing a book helps to focus you and helps to keep you on the path towards your goal.

How will your audience be changed?

This is pretty self-explanatory. Once I’ve read your book, how will I be different? Will I have spent a few sleepless nights because I couldn’t put your book down? Will I be talking with my friends about it? Will my life be sweeter or my burdens be lighter from the lessons I learn?

How will you be changed?

I was changed when I published my book. Beyond a doubt. I had a sense of accomplishment and pride that no one can ever take away. My book wasn’t on the New York Times bestseller list, It hasn’t made me enough money to buy a vacation home in Maui. But the mere fact that I wrote it, and it exists on my bookshelf and bookshelves of many other people has given me a sense of fulfillment and a sense of self-esteem I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. But that’s me. What would it mean to you? How will you be changed?

There are a whole plethora of questions for you to dive into with your journal! Should you want to bounce them off of someone, don’t hesitate to reach out. I have many more clarifying questions in my coaching toolbox and I’m always happy to help.

 We all know what it’s like when life gets in the way, especially if you are a writer. You’re also probably quite familiar with the inner critic that constantly throws up obstacles in your writing schedule. I’ve tackled that problem for you! Download your FREE eBook – How to Write When Life Gets in the Way! 

When should you start promoting your future book?

When should you start promoting your future book?

promoting your book

The biggest mistake I made with my first book is that I believed the old movie line “if you build it they will come.” Well, this ain’t the Field of Dreams baby, and people won’t buy your book if they don’t know it exists!

Think about it. What if I made a really cool lawn ornament and stuck it on my front lawn. My family would see it, the mailman, the neighbors, the trick-or-treaters. How is a stay-at-home mom from Paris to know about my lawn ornament? What if her life could have been changed by it? Okay, so that’s far-fetched, but you get what I mean. People need to know about your book in order to want to buy it and read it.

Why do you think that after all these years McDonalds still has ads on television? And Coke and Pepsi? Do you honestly think there are that many people on this planet who haven’t heard of them? Marketing is about being seen and heard and staying top of mind at all times. Now, what do you do as an author starting out that doesn’t have McDonald’s multi-million dollar marketing budget?

 Let’s get social!

Start some branded social media accounts. A Facebook page, a twitter account, and an Instagram account are a good place to start promoting your future book. I prefer using my name instead of my book’s name as I intend to write more than one book. Start a blog and post consistently in order to create a following and you can then share the blog posts on your social media accounts. Start gathering email addresses in order to have people to announce your book to once it’s published. You can use a free platform like Mail Chimp and send out monthly newsletters with samples of your writing as teasers and updates on your progress.

My favorite book on this topic is Platform by Michael Hyatt.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

The side-effect of promoting before you finish your book is the public accountability that helps motivate you to finish your book. There’s nothing like telling others you’re going to do something  and having them ask you how it’s coming along to get you to finish! Just like having a great critique partner or an accountability circle (which I highly recommend), letting the everyday people in your life know that you have the goal of publishing a book one day helps with motivation doldrums.

 We all know what it’s like when life gets in the way, especially if you are a writer. You’re also probably quite familiar with the inner critic that constantly throws up obstacles in your writing schedule. I’ve tackled that problem for you! Download your FREE eBook – How to Write When Life Gets in the Way! 

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Book

Having self-published my first book, and now being on the path of acquiring an agent and submitting to conventional publishers with my second book, I often get asked to explain the difference between both methods. After I explain the difference, people often ask me which is better. And my answer is always… it depends.

It depends on what your purpose for publishing a book is, and it depends on what you have more of; time or money.

Self-publishing has taken off in the last 5 years on a large scale. It is losing some of the negative connotation it once had, especially in the world of non-fiction. And though traditional publishing has maintained its clout, the introduction of self-publishing and lost sales through electronic books has forced a change in the traditional publishing industry.

With self-publishing, you spend more money for less time to publication

  • You pay to have your book made available in print or eBook format (Including paying for content editing, paying for line editing, paying for formatting, paying for cover art, paying for marketing and promotion)
  • You choose when to publish it, and it’s up within 24 hours of hitting the publish button. (that is after it’s been written, edited and formatted)
  • There are no rejection letters from agents or publishers.
  • There are done-for-you services or do-it-yourself: think of it like a kitchen renovation. You can hire a general contractor to redo your kitchen and he hires all the sub-contractors vs. finding each individual contractor yourself.
  • You keep 50-70% of the proceeds from books sold

With traditional publishing, you spend much less money for a lot more time to print

  • You almost always need an agent (who charges 15% of what you earn as their payment)
  • For fiction, you need a completed manuscript and a synopsis. For non-fiction, you need a book proposal and one chapter (please pay to have this edited before you submit it!)
  • You get an advance of $5,000 to $50,000 as a first-time author. Once that advance has been earned out you make about 10% royalties on book sales
  • You will still be doing most of your own marketing and promotion
  • The traditional publishing timeline takes about a year and a half to two years from concept to holding your book.

Every option has its pros and cons, it all depends on what your long-term goals are and what your Big Why is. The good news is that you can start writing before you decide which road you want to explore. The better news is that if you are apprehensive or confused about which to choose, I am available as a writing coach to help you go from an idea to holding your own book in your hands, just drop me an email.

Top 10 books for writers

Top 10 books for writers

I’ve been on this writing journey for over 30 years now, and writing professionally for eight years. I was not born an award winner; I had to hone my craft as we all learn as we go along. Here are some of the books that had the most influence on my writing skills and my path as a published author. May they serve you well.

The writing craft

 

The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley

Everything you ever wanted to know about First Person, Second Person, Impersonal Third Person, and Personal Third Person Point of View. Primarily for fiction writers, this is a book you will return to time and time again and learn more every time you do.

The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass

Donald Maass’ The Breakout Novelist is an all-inclusive guide, spiral-bound for ease of reference while working. Maass, an experienced author and literary agent, presents strategies that generations of authors have applied to craft sublime fiction, from core elements (character-building, plot navigation, etc.) to advanced techniques involving point of view, suspense, and the application of voice. Exercises for practicing these techniques round out this excellent resource. –Midwest Book Review

Writing Screenplays that Sell by Michael Hauge

Yes, I know we’re talking about writing books not screenplays, but this is the best look at how to plot a story from beginning to end and is used quite often by many fiction book writers. From the Back of the book: “For more than twenty years, Writing Screenplays That Sell has been hailed as the most complete guide available on the art, craft, and business of writing for movies and television. Now fully revised and updated to reflect the latest trends and scripts, Hollywood story expert and script consultant Michael Hauge walks readers through every step of writing and selling successful screenplays. If you read only one book on the screenwriter’s craft, this must be the one.”

The Writing process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Think you’ve got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn’t afraid to help you let it out. She’ll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

On Writing by Stephen King

Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King’s On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists.

When the Writing won’t come easily

 

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War and Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Pressfield’s book aims to help readers “overcome Resistance” so that they may achieve “the unlived life within.” Whether one wishes to embark on a diet, a program of spiritual advancement or an entrepreneurial venture, it’s most often resistance that blocks the way. To kick resistance, Pressfield stresses loving what one does, having patience and acting in the face of fear.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Gilbert sweetly yet powerfully nudges readers to release fear, summon courage, and allow the ‘strange jewels’ hidden within each of us to emerge and shine. The end result is the ‘big magic’… Engaging storytelling mixed with personal anecdotes and astute insights makeBig Magic a rewarding, motivating and delightful read.” —Sucess Magazine

Book Publishing and Promotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Larsen’s book is definitely the one you’ll want to add to your personal library and refer back to when you’re writing a book proposal. It highlights information about changes in the publishing industry and includes updated trends, sample proposals, and resources as well as a new chapter on online promotion.

Platform by Michael Hyatt

To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success. He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace

What are your favorite writing books? Comment below and I will check them out!

(Note: Clicking on the images will take you to Amazon where I am an affiliate)