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Posts in category Mindset

What Writers Can Learn from Artists: ...

What Writers Can Learn from Artists: Practice & Release

My friend Julie just started her final year of art school. Over the past three years she’s been blogging about her experience, and I’ve enjoyed watching her progress. After a recent touch-base, I started thinking about art—painting especially—and what lessons it can offer writers. I put my finger on two core principles: practice and release. […]

How to Stop the Overwhelm and Start W...

How to Stop the Overwhelm and Start Writing

“I don’t know where to start!” she wailed. (I exaggerate for dramatic effect.) “I have so much material to work with. I could start with the scene where [dramatic thing] happens, or I could start where [agonizing thing] happens, or I could start at the end where [super-great thing] happens. I’m overwhelmed.” “OK,” I said. […]

Love of Learning: Guide or Obstacle?

Love of Learning: Guide or Obstacle?

Love of learning is the guide of life. –Phi Beta Kappa motto I love to learn. I love to take in information. On the StrengthsFinder inventory, two of my top five talents are Learner and Input. I easily could have been a professional student. For some of us, learning is fun. But, as hard as […]

Paying Attention to Distractions

Paying Attention to Distractions

I found myself distracted last week. A high school classmate died, and memories of school and church, basketball and softball, kept bubbling up. We were friends in certain settings, and not in others, and then we followed different paths. But still, she was someone I’d known for nigh on forty years, and she died before […]

Practical Tips for BIG Projects: Surv...

Practical Tips for BIG Projects: Surviving the PUSH

Recently I gave a nerve-wracking speech at a conference. I am a decent speaker, but speaking is not my primary gig, and this event took place on a whole new stage for me: there actually WAS a stage! We were in a hotel ballroom, with the raised platform stage (with steps up and down—don’t trip!), […]

The Importance of Rest and Restoratio...

The Importance of Rest and Restoration

A couple weeks ago I found myself dreadfully weary. A busy work schedule overlaid with the pervasive negativity of the US elections had drained me. I first decided to shut off the news for a while—eliminate that negativity. I tried to draw better boundaries around my work day (never easy for me). Then, when an […]

Choosing a Business Book Topic

Choosing a Business Book Topic

A few years ago, I had a get-to-know-you coffee with someone I’d met through networking. He consulted with professional service firms (law, accounting, etc.) about business growth. As tends to happen with me, the conversation turned to books. “I want to write a book,” he said. “I think it would help grow my business. But […]

Writing Advice from Horror Novels to ...

Writing Advice from Horror Novels to Business Books

I’ve never read Stephen King’s novels. I don’t like scary stories—books, movies, campfire tales. But his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a classic if you’re looking for writing advice. What can a business person trying to write a nonfiction book learn from the king of horror? A lot, it turns out. […]

How Not to Schuss: The Four Steps for...

How Not to Schuss: The Four Steps for Developing a New Skill

In my wilder and [much] younger days, I spent two glorious years as a ski bum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (peak elevation 10,568′, vertical drop 3668′). As a Midwestern girl, I’d learned to ski on icy artificial snow at Mount Kato (peak elevation 840′, vertical drop 240′) near Mankato, Minnesota, and Fun Valley (peak elevation […]

Expression and What ifs?: RIP, Pat Su...

Expression and What ifs?: RIP, Pat Summitt

When the headlines about Pat Summitt’s impending death read “the family is preparing for the worst,” I thought to myself Really? Death is not anywhere close to the worst thing about Alzheimer’s. The worst is the gradual disintegration of self. The gradual loss of language, of expression, of history, of relationships. The crumbling of the […]

Judge not? Judge a lot! Learn to Asse...

Judge not? Judge a lot! Learn to Assess Writing Quality

While there’s something to be said for “Judge not lest ye be judged” on a personal level, if you want to quickly gain an understanding of how to improve your writing, take advantage of opportunities to play judge. When you teach a skill, you reinforce the learning for yourself. When you judge a skill, you […]

How Energy Rituals Can Help You Write...

How Energy Rituals Can Help You Write: Going Beyond the Standard Butt-in-Chair Advice

Writers have long been told to create rituals around writing. Sit your butt in the chair at 9am daily and the muse will eventually show up. Commit to a specific wordcount per day, no more, no less. Before you begin to write, visualize your book on the bookstore shelf. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. […]