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Posts in category Mindset

Advice for New Authors: Two #1 Lesson...

Advice for New Authors: Two #1 Lessons

I recently led a discussion with a group of professional speakers about writing a book as part of a business strategy. We didn’t have time to address all the questions submitted in advance, and these two related but distinct questions about advice for new authors got shelved: What’s your #1 piece of advice for new […]

How to Stay Motivated to Write: Butt-...

How to Stay Motivated to Write: Butt-in-Chair Advice

  “I hate writing, I love having written.” —Frank Norris, novelist (often attributed to Dorothy Parker and many others) One of the most common questions I hear from newer writers is “How do I stay on track to finish writing my book?” Or a variation of it: “How do I stay motivated to write when […]

Creative Satisfaction: Does Your Book...

Creative Satisfaction: Does Your Book Support Your Heart?

When I speak with potential clients or colleagues interested in writing a book, I often find they have several ideas and don’t know which book to write. I sometimes offer strategic advice with my business hat planted firmly on my head. Which idea aligns with your long-term goals? What topic does your client base ask […]

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have...

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have to Get It Right the First Time?

When I first said, “I want to be a writer,” I took oodles of creative writing classes that incorporated “workshopping,” a process in which each student shares a draft and the group critiques it. After all the students had offered feedback, the instructor invariably would say, “I think your story starts on page three; cut […]

Opportunity Cost: What’s the Tr...

Opportunity Cost: What’s the Trade-off for Your Book?

“You have one dollar,” our teacher said. “You can spend it on a comic book or on candy—but not both.” She let us think about our choice. “If you choose candy, you can’t have the comic book. And if you choose the comic book, no candy. Whichever item you don’t choose is your ‘opportunity cost.’” […]

Birthday Reflections on Finding Your ...

Birthday Reflections on Finding Your True Self

My heart broke when I saw the news of Ursula K. Le Guin’s death this week at age 88. As a child I found her fantasy and science fiction writing mysterious and subtle and confusing all at once. Her Earthsea trilogy had the greatest influence on me, and the first in that series, A Wizard […]

The Most DANGEROUS—and Promising—Time...

The Most DANGEROUS—and Promising—Time of the Year

We now enter the most treacherous time of the year—the time of performance reviews and goalsetting, self-recrimination and unrealistic expectations, flagellation for goals forgotten and determination to try again. It’s a lotta pressure, folks. Regardless of corporate HR schedules, there is something about the season itself—the end of the year, the long dark nights of […]

Find Your Voice to Engage Your Reader...

Find Your Voice to Engage Your Readers

“Find your voice,” writers are often admonished. We think we know what voice is, yet somehow it can be elusive. So let’s consider voice as it concerns your business book. Voice and its value Voice is the unique blend of elements—style, syntax, diction—that gives your writing a certain sensibility. It makes your writing distinct, individual, […]

Lessons from a Poetry Submissions Par...

Lessons from a Poetry Submissions Party

This past Saturday, I spent the afternoon with my writing group submitting poetry to literary magazines. While many of us poets publish at least some work on our personal blogs, literary journals are the best way to increase the visibility of our poems and, of course, to build credentials toward one day publishing a “real” […]

Purpose: The Starting Place for Strat...

Purpose: The Starting Place for Strategic Alignment

When I talk with potential book clients, I begin by asking, Why do you want to write a book? What is your purpose in writing it? What do you want it to do for you? A book may support their business purpose, or their personal purpose—and ideally it supports both. And of course the book […]

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. […]