Helping Writers Become Authors provides writers help in summoning inspiration, crafting solid characters, outlining and structuring novels, and polishing prose. Learn how to write a book and edit it into a story agents will buy and readers will love. (Music intro by Kevin MacLeod.)
Helping Writers Become Authors provides writers help in summoning inspiration, crafting solid characters, outlining and structuring novels, and polishing prose. Learn how to write a book and edit it into a story agents will buy and readers will love. (Music intro by Kevin MacLeod.)
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Episode 26: Living Long Enough to Live Forever. In Episode 6, Peter and Dan described how mindset plays a key role in living a long, healthy life, this time they share stories about how they each arrived at their ambitious longevity goals. In this episode: Peter talks about Ray Kurzweil’s belief that children born today will have the ability to have an indefinite lifespan. Dan describes his thoughts on attitude and why the future is something you must work toward. Peter puts into perspective the amazing times we are living in, citing how the human lifespan has doubled over the last century. Dan mentions his visit to Human Longevity Inc., for the full story, listen to Episode 21 here.
#17 Nick Littlehales - Improve your sleep. Nick is regarded as the leading elite sports sleep coach in world sport. A leading industry expert with over 30 years experience in the world of sleep, sleeping habits, and product design and over 15 years dedicated to elite athletes and professional sport. For more information about Nick visit sportsleepcoach.co.uk For more information about Mind Set Game connect with us on Facebook @mindsetgamepodcast. For more information about James Roberts (the host of the podcast), visit fitamputee.co.uk
#107: The Scariest Navy SEAL I've Ever Met...And What He Taught Me. Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is one of the scariest human beings imaginable. He is a lean 230 pounds. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the Special Operations world. His eyes look through you more than at you. He rarely does interviews, if ever. But a few weeks ago, Jocko ended up staying at my house and we had a caffeinated mind meld. Here's some background... Jocko enlisted in the Navy after high school and spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams, first as an enlisted SEAL operator and then as a SEAL officer. During his second tour in Iraq, he led SEAL Task Unit Bruiser in the Battle of Ramadi--some of the toughest and sustained combat in the SEAL Teams since Vietnam. Under his leadership, Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the entire war in Iraq and helped bring stability to Ramadi. Jocko was awarded the Bronze Star and a Silver Star. Upon returning to the United States, Jocko served as the Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams, designing and implementing some of the most challenging and realistic combat training in the world. So why is Jocko opening up? Well, in part, we have mutual friends. Second, he is the co-author of an incredible new book — Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win -- which I've been loving. Trust me. Buy it. This is his first mainstream interview and one you won't want to miss. Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.fourhourworkweek.com/podcast. This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years, and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim. Mandatory disclaimer: Wealthfront Inc. is an SEC registered Investment Advisor. Investing in securities involves risks, and there is the possibility of losing money. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please visit Wealthfront dot com to read their full disclosure. This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run...
Placebo power. The placebo effect demonstrates that the mind-body interaction can be powerful. Placebos can turn on the body’s natural biological processes to relieve a range of conditions, and in the future deception may not even be necessary.
Rank #1: Book Marketing: Content Marketing Strategy With Pamela Wilson. Paid advertising may spike your book sales for the short term, but if you stop paying, you stop selling. With content marketing, you can create value for the long term, attract your target market and sell sustainably for years. I know this to be true because my business is built on content marketing through my blog and podcast. In today's show, Pamela Wilson shares some tips on your book marketing strategy. In the intro, I talk about the launch (or lack of!) for Map of Plagues, and why I need to release a Second Edition of Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts, rather than just an update. The challenges of keeping your intellectual property updated! This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors. Pamela Wilson is an author, professional speaker, and consultant at Big Brand System where she helps businesses with content marketing and branding. Her latest book is Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish. You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below. Show Notes Marketing that is based on delivering value Why it matters now to focus on the quality of content used to market our work Looking at content as a creative body of work What to use as content and what to use as products to sell Tips for creating content that stands out Advice about posting on sites like Medium or Facebook The importance of focusing on what you enjoy You can find Pamela Wilson at BigBrandSystem.com and on Twitter @pamelaiwilson Transcript of Interview with Pamela Wilson Joanna: Pamela Wilson is an author, professional speaker, and consultant at Big Brands System where she helps businesses with content marketing and branding. Her latest book is Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish. Welcome back to the show, Pamela. Pamela: I'm so happy to be here. Joanna: It's great to have you back. Can you start by defining content marketing? Pamela: One of the most beautiful things that content marketing does is – it is marketing that's why that word marketing is in there – but it's marketing in a way where you are actually delivering value to someone in front of everything else. So before everything else you're delivering value. And what this ends up doing when you share your expertise in this way and when you share valuable information is it ends up building trust in people. And it makes them more open and more receptive to doing business with you. So I think that's one of the most amazing things that really strong content marketing can do. Joanna: So just to be clear, it is free content that is meant to drive sales in some way. Pamela: It is. It absolutely is. It's free. It's freely available and for the most part, it's just out there for the taking. And it's a little more difficult than in the past to stand out. But we can talk about that. Joanna: What are some specific examples of content marketing and some of the ways we can do that? Pamela: The way that I define it is a little bit like a medium agnostic in a way. So I believe that content marketing can be delivered in words. This would be something like a blog post. But it can also be delivered by audio which is what we're doing right now. And also by video. So the format used is not as important as the value of the information that's delivered. Joanna: Fantastic. And yes, of course, I've been podcasting for 10 years. So I am a strong believer in content marketing. But one of the questions that comes up a lot is: does content marketing still work, especially in the author community right now. People are pouring all the energy into paid ads and Amazon ads for example. Does content marketing still work? Pamela: I do think that paid ads are a great way to drive awareness and a great way to drive attention. But I think there is such an important role for content. I have heard a lot of evidence of people who have run ads to pieces of content that end up doing better than just ads directly to a product. It's for that same reason that when you run an ad to a piece of content you're delivering some value. In the case of authors, they may be delivering a taste of their book and people get a chance to read a bit of it and then they're ready to go ahead and invest and buy. So I think that there is a really strong argument to be made for creating content, really great content though, and that's the difference between maybe five or 10 years ago. The Internet was this blank space and we could fill it up with content and the quality of the content wasn't quite as important. Because there's so much more content now we do really have to focus on quality and that's one of the reasons I wrote the book. I wrote to help people to create more consistent and high-quality content over time. Joanna: I think that's so true. The other thing on ads, and this is content marketing for me, it feels like say you run an Amazon ad which can't go to content, it goes directly to a book. That is one click. It might be one sale. Whereas content is a longer-term thing. Paid ads are immediate and short-term, whereas content is long term. Would you say that would also be a difference? Pamela: Yes, I love it. And I have an analogy actually. You know me well enough to know that I love my analogy. My analogy is that an ad is like a dating app. So you're swiping right on a book that you want and you go directly to that book and like you said you might buy that book. Content marketing is actually like dating. You're investing time to get to know the author, you're getting to understand the world that their books exist in and it's more of an investment. And like you said, there's a better chance that it will be a long term relationship because there's an investment. Joanna: I've talked about it on my show that I started another podcast, Books and Travel, around my fiction because I found after 10 years of this podcast that it does build that trust, as you say. Sometimes people just aren't ready to buy on that first view or that first hearing about you. Pamela: Yes, absolutely. People are particular about how they're going to spend their time these days. There's a lot of content to consume out there, a lot of books to read, a lot on the internet, lots of podcasts to listen to and videos to watch and people are particular. If you can create some kind of trust-based relationship with them they're more likely to invest in you. And honestly, you're doing people a favor because I know that my life gets less crazy when I just decide to focus on a small number of topics or people at the same time. And I kind of ignore the rest. It's so much easier. Joanna: I think you're right. You choose your own influencers and tune out everyone else, which is really cool. One of the things I love from the book, you say, “Think about your content as a body of work.” This is probably unusual for a lot of people but I completely agree. Because again, I've had this podcast ten years, over 430 episodes, this is part of my body of creative work but it's also content marketing. How can authors reframe content creation as creative? Pamela: What I love to think about when I think about authors, because at this point now I have done both. I've done online content marketing and I've written books. And what I find with books is that it is a wonderful way to express your ideas and express your creativity in this format. That's very tangible. And it's pretty permanent. I know books can be updated but it's a fairly permanent final product. When you look at content, there is this impermanence to it that can be very refreshing. You publish a podcast and then next week you published another and the next week you publish another and the new ones almost replace the older ones. It's like a moving stream and the older pieces of content move down the stream. And I think that's wonderful because honestly, it takes some of the pressure off. We may feel a lot of pressure that every word and every chapter in our books needs to be perfectly polished and a piece of content doesn't have that same kind of pressure. Obviously, you want to try to hit the highest standards, but you get another chance next week to get it right. So if this week's piece of content wasn't this epic world-shaking piece of information you have another chance to get it right next week. No single piece of content needs to do all the work of communicating your view of the world. Does that make sense? Joanna: Yes. And it definitely begs the question then because, for example, I feel that sometimes I have a certain amount of woods in me per day or per week and I should use those words for my books. And the more books I write potentially the more money I can make. And you've obviously written books as well. How do you decide which words are content marketing and which go into a book? Pamela: That is such a good question. I think a traditional marketer would say your content marketing should talk about why and what, and your book should talk about how. This is a concept that goes way back in marketing and digital information, in general. People say tease why it's important and what people should be doing in your piece of content. And then in the paid content, like a book or a course, you show them how, step-by-step. And I believe that to a certain extent. I think that's probably helpful. But I also think that there are ways that you can create content that is very useful that allows people to put something into practice immediately. So I think if you see a concept that you can explain in, let's say, 1500 words and it has a beginning and an end, and in and of itself it's useful, that can be a wonderful piece of content. And then, of course, you can give people an expanded version of it and you can send them to your book to get that. But I do believe content marketing needs to be more than just a glossing over of the basic concepts. It needs to be useful. Joanna: And actually I would always go the other way now especially in this fast-moving world. If you are mentioning anything at all that will go out of date then don't put that in a book. Because, as you say, it's definitely a pain to update. You and I both know people who have a book about Facebook advertising, whereas as soon as that comes out it's going to be out of date. It's how to stuff. Now technically at least should be on a website. The higher up stuff, the strategy, can go in a book because it's more evergreen. Pamela: Right. I think it depends a lot on the topic. I write a lot about evergreen topics on my blog and I do have some how-to information there. But I think if you're writing about something, for example, a social media platform that changes all the time and whose changes are out of your control really. It's just that it's their business and they're going to do what they want. So I think if you're writing about that then yes you need to put it in a place so you can easily update and put a date on it. You know this was accurate as of this writing on this date. But I talk a lot about business topics that are somewhat evergreen so I feel comfortable putting those into books as well. Joanna: I've found over time I want to focus more and more on evergreen topics. One of the things you mentioned a bit earlier was standing out because it is a crowded market. And authors have this problem and we all have this problem on the Kindle store now because there are so many millions of books, but it's kind of even worse online where there are so many you know blogs and even now so many podcasts. How do you create content that is remarkable enough to be good enough to stand out? Pamela: I think having some kind of underlying structure can be really helpful and that was what I covered in my first book, which you and I have already talked about, Master Content Marketing. That book is really more about constructing your piece of content and giving it a structure so that it's always going to be useful. The first parts of the content, the headline and the first line are basically just to keep people on the page and reading. But then there's this underlying structure where you're moving people from an introduction into a set of subheads and the main copy you're adding some kind of summary at the end. And then some kind of call to action because this is a piece of content marketing and you want them to take some sort of action even if it's just leaving a comment. So it is having that underlying structure that I think can really help to remind you of the basic elements that need to be in every piece of content you create. And then after that, it's things that most of us already know. Do your research support your claims with research. Make sure that everything is written in a way that's grammatically correct. Use the second person, make it seem very personal. As much as possible avoid standing at an altar and making pronouncements but rather make it seem very very personal. If you have a long piece of content adding images every so often to break up that content. Making sure you go back and add things like bulleted lists, block quotes, create some subheads within your content so that people can skim down the page. All of those things add value and make for a more pleasant reading experience, which is part of it as well. If you want people to be on your page consuming your content you have to make it easy to read and pleasant. Joanna: I definitely think you're right and those things you're talking about, and this is an important distinction between writing a book and writing copy. As you say, the copy you might have the word ‘you' a lot, which we don't often necessarily do in our books. And also that layout with images designed almost for scanning and looking better. So these are some really great tips. As you said, we did another interview with more detail so let's get back into the strategy. You've split the book in two life cycles, which I think is brilliant for people at different levels of the journey. If someone is just starting out what should they focus on? Pamela: I did this out of complete necessity because I had coached so many people who were looking at these web sites that had 8,9 and 10 years worth of content and they were just starting out and they were looking at this content management system. There was a complete blank. It's so daunting and so what I wanted to address was this concept that at every stage of the journey your goals are going to change and you need to focus on the goals for the stage you're in and then move on to the next. Don't compare your brand new site to somebody else's site that's been online for a very long time because they started out exactly where you are. In that first year, I call it the birth through Year 1. This is the first year of a brand new website and what I recommend that people do is to get into the habit and the rhythm of writing a new piece of content every week. The reason for that is twofold. The main reason is that at the end of the year if you take a couple of weeks of vacation you'll have about 50 pieces of content. This is a fantastic way to tell the search engines what your site is about. Because if you've written 50 pieces of content on related topics the search engines will know what it is that your website is about and in your case, in the case of authors, they'll know what your books are covering because you've got content that supports your book topics. Then I recommend that people do this also to build your skills as content creators because after you've gotten to this rhythm of creating a new piece of content every week you're going to have a very high skill level by the time you go into the second year of your website. So it's as much for for the ability to populate your website as it is for your ability to grow as a content creator. Joanna: I completely agree with that and it's funny because I'm kind of in two places. Books and Travel – I only started that as we are recording this. I started a couple of months ago, three months ago. It's a new domain, it's unknown. All the things you're talking about a true even though I've got 10 years experience so I know what I'm doing. But I still have to build up this new site from scratch. The other thing I'd add is that I have some plans for monetization but I am not expecting to turn any of them on until at least a year in. A lot of people seem to expect that they'll make money from a website straight away. Pamela: If they figure out how to do that I hope that they'll share it with me! That's why it's so wonderful if you have a way to do it as almost a side gig. During this first year, you're not depending on your website to print cash for you. You have something else that is bringing an income. And then you're just developing and investing in the site for the first year and investing in yourself as a content creator if you don't know how to write content and you haven't created it in the past. Joanna: So then the next level is and I know many authors listening will have this at some point they were told, “You should have a blog” and maybe a couple of years ago they did some blog posts and that didn't go so well or they just didn't get into it. They didn't learn about copywriting. Maybe they just put some personal stuff with no real headline on. I've seen that over and over again. “My Day” as the headline, for example. If an author has a site that might be a couple of years old with maybe 10 posts on it, so they know a bit about how WordPress might work for example but they just have something that needs work and help, what do they do to get going again? Do they blow it all away and start again or do they leave them? Pamela: I think that it's never too late to revamp. They can build on the skills and the things that they figured out when they tried the first time. Like you said, they may know how to use their content management system so they feel comfortable with that and they can build on those skills. You can start your year one whenever you'd like. So if you feel like the first time you gave it a go it didn't really happen for you, you can always start over and start with your year one schedule whenever you want. You can make a brand new year whenever you want to start. Joanna: And another question then that I have heard from people: back in the day when you and I first were aware of each other, the Copyblogger days, it was very much ‘no digital sharecropping.' As in, always build your own website. But then we've seen the rise of sites like Medium, where even quite famous people are writing articles or other people building brands on Facebook or Instagram and blogging on these sites. Should we build on our own site or should we build somewhere else? And how do we use those different sites? Pamela: It's funny, at the time that you and I are recording this Medium is having a moment because I have a membership community of people who are building online businesses and I'm getting that question a lot in that community. Should I be posting on Medium? So let me tell you my overall approach to this and then I'll tell you why. My overall approach is that you should always use your website as your home base and use these other networks to amplify your reach. You can post on Medium for example or you can have long posts on Instagram or you can post on Facebook. I don't think they should be your primary presence online. And the main reason is that it's not 100 percent in your control. And here's why I know that because I've been around online long enough, and I know you have too, that I see these sites surge in popularity. Medium is having a moment right now. I think last year it was Instagram and maybe before that it was Facebook. There are these waves of popularity where it seems like everyone is recommending that you build a presence on platform x. But the very fact that that the identity of platform X changes from year to year tells me that it is not in your control and you are at the whims of those business owners basically, who decide to do things differently because it's good for their business. They own the platform and they have every right to do that. So I really hesitate. I think social media and Medium and platforms like that are a wonderful place to amplify your reach. They're like a bullhorn. You pick up a bullhorn and it carries your message further. But the place where your message needs to live, the home base needs to be your own site because you are 100 percent in control of your own Web site. Joanna: I'm the same as you. I believe that and that's how we built our businesses. But it's very hard to see at the beginning of your journey. So everyone listening. Take it from us. Pamela: And that's the thing. This is the long game and it's not sexy to talk about it that way. Probably I could sell a course about how to get all these readers on Medium and I'd probably have all these people signing up for it and for a while what I advised would probably work. But in the long run, it's not a good approach. It's better to just put your head down and invest the time in making your own site, have a presence on the web because you own it 100 percent. So when it starts taking off when people start finding it, you are the person who's going to benefit from that. You're not handing over content to somebody else's platform that's going to help them build their business. Joanna: And of course we can give an example specifically of Facebook, where people built all of these massive audiences for free and were able to talk to these audiences for free and then they changed the rules. In order for you your message to reach people, even on your page or within your group, you then have to start paying for that. Whereas if, for example, you build your own email list from your own website you can talk to these people and, obviously, you have to pay your email host, but you have something that is is almost future proof. Obviously backing things up is important. So I'm with you. We totally agree on that. Now what I wanted to ask you about, because like we said, you and I've been doing this for a long time and keyword research is still really important. But when I look at my business – I have a multi six-figure income, of which a huge chunk of my income is based on organic search because I have 10 years of content. But what is really interesting is the stats coming out around voice search. They're saying that by 2020, which is next year, 50 percent of searches will be voice-enabled, whether that's on the mobile through say Siri or smart speakers like Alexa. So I am obsessed with discovering how can we do keyword research and search engine optimization for content in a voice-first environment? Pamela: I don't know much about that topic to be honest and I hope that you will write about what you're discovering. I do know that when it comes to keyword research it's smart to use your keyword phrase and then think about natural language variations of that phrase or even questions that people might ask about that phrase or around that phrase. And then incorporate those questions into the content. Because people have gotten smart about literally just typing their exact question into a search engine. And if you have that exact question within your content there is a good chance that the search engine will surface it and serve it up to the person looking for it. Joanna: That's why I think that podcasts are going to be a really good thing in terms of content because obviously, you and I, the way we're talking is not the way we write. People use different language when they speak than when they write. Pamela: Absolutely. And I think the more and we can incorporate that more natural feeling language into our online published content the better we'll do in that environment. Joanna: And actually now it makes me think because, of course, I edit the transcripts too, or my assistant does, in order to make us sound more intelligent because people who read the transcripts are reading. But what I'm now thinking about as I'm talking to you is oh my goodness. But then I'm changing the words so they are not natural language. I'm changing them for people to read. Whereas, will the search engines look for different natural language? Pamela: That it's a really good question and again, Joanna, when you write that piece of content I want to see it. Joanna: I'm definitely obsessed with this at the moment but also, as you say, I know that I have my website. For example, I know that there are plugins for snippets that can be used for that type of thing. And I know I can go back to my cornerstone content and update those, whereas I may not be able to do that on some of these other platforms. So again, control helps you pivot for the longer term. Pamela: Yes, absolutely. Again it's this idea that you're building your own asset and not somebody else's. So and it may take longer but you will own it 100 percent and you can do things like that. Like, install plugins or change. You can go back to an older piece of content and update it or edit it so that it kind of meets the best practices of what people are looking for and how they're looking right now. For example, as we're recording this, the thing that I keep hearing is video. Everybody is going to be consuming content and video. Well, it's fantastic to go back to some of your highest trafficked pieces of content and add a video. Just put a couple of minutes of video at the top where you're welcoming people to the piece of content. Maybe you're highlighting some of the main points and that's a wonderful way to just repurpose content that's already on your site and that you own. Try to go back and do that on an old Facebook post that you wrote a year and a half ago. You can't do it. So that's where we come back to this idea that you have an asset you are building and you can benefit from it for years to come. Joanna: I do want to bring up there something that I've also been thinking about. Like you, I've done everything. I've had a YouTube channel for 10 years, longer than I have had a podcast. And obviously I podcast, I blog, I write books, I do all this stuff. What I have come to the sort of realization right now is I can't do everything well. With video, for example, it used to be that the quality was less important than the content but we've seen again a real rise in hardcore video creation. So because of my interest in voice, I've decided to double down on voice, which is why this interview is audio-only and I'm changing my focus. I haven't seen as much engagement with video because it's not my medium. [However, I have decided to keep my YouTube channel as audio-only after feedback from my audience there.] What are your thoughts on doing everything vs. focusing on what you actually enjoy? Pamela: I think that last phrase that you just said is probably the most important one. ‘What you actually enjoy.' Because if you leverage your own strengths and you leverage that style of content that you find feels natural to create and feels relatively easy to put together, you'll just create it more consistently and you'll probably enjoy it more and that feeling is going to come through in your content. And you are always great on video, so let's just go ahead and put that on the table your eyes. Great video but let's say somebody like me who feels somewhat uncomfortable on video but I feel very comfortable writing a piece of content and adding images to it and formatting it so it's easy to read. I am in my element doing that. I choose to create the majority of my content as written content because I want to leverage my own strengths and leverage what just feels good to me and what feels right. If you really want it to have an impact, you are going to create a consistently for a long period of time, so it is really important to build on your own strengths. Now that said, I do a lot of thinking with my content. I don't know if you do this as well but I use my content to test ideas out. If I see an idea that people seem to really respond to, if I see people sharing it on social platforms, if I get a lot of comments on it and people seem to really respond to it, then oftentimes I'll take that the concept in the piece of content and I'll move it into a core paid course that I have. So I'll build on it and build it into something that I put inside of a course. Joanna: That's fantastic and that's repurposing content for income, which is definitely something really good. You said about the voice search, I'm going to do a course on audio and podcasting and audiobooks and voice tech for authors because I'm really interested in it. And, as you say, I keep asking people and not many people know about this stuff right now but it's coming. We know it's coming. It's already here but it's not something that a lot of people are talking about. I've seen a gap there. Super interesting times. Just before we finish, we're almost out of time, but one of the things that you've done over the years is you've worked with a lot of online business owners. Obviously, you've started your own business. And one of the things I see with authors is they might be an author – they've written a book – but that's not the same as running a business as an author. What are your thoughts on that transition and what people need to do to move into running a business? Pamela: I took the opposite road because I ran a business and then wrote a book. I don't know if I'm the best person to help with that but to or to speak to that journey. Because that wasn't my journey and that's not how I did it. But when it comes to building a business the one thing that I teach, and I'm obsessed with, is this idea that businesses are built in stages. And so what I find is that online where we're drowning in this information about how to build an online business and courses about it and content, videos, podcasts, all these different things. What can happen is people end up swimming around in this information for months and sometimes for years and they never actually get anything done. And what I am passionate about is explaining the stages of business growth. I believe there are four and helping people to understand where they are right now so that they can focus only on that stage and they can eliminate 75 percent of the information online because it doesn't really apply to their stage. Joanna: That's fantastic. I agree. That's the thing. You do have this free online business roadmap that I thought was pretty cool. I wonder if you talk a bit about that. Pamela: I can give you the URL where people can find it. Do you want me to give you that? Joanna: Yes. Pamela: It's bigbrand.info/roadmap. It's a very short, very compact document but it starts out with a quiz so that people can identify what stage they're in right now and then I have this checklist. A road map that's in the form of a checklist that shows people the main things they need to focus on and each stage. The idea here is that each stage has some important milestones that you really need to hit. And if you know what those are, you can ignore everything else and just focus on getting those things right before you move on to the next stage of growth. Now what I love about approaching things like this is that it takes away a lot of that feeling of overwhelm that people have when they're thinking about building a business. It's like we talked about earlier. People are comparing their early stage with somebody else's advance stage and you don't want to do that. You really just want to focus on the stage you're in and try to get it done right so that you're building a foundation that you can build on as you move into the next stage. Joanna: That's great. At the end of the day running an author business is exactly the same as any other business. We have a product. We have customers. We have to look after finances. We have to do marketing. We have to pay people and get paid. All businesses in that way have the same structure. It's just the product is different books are different to widgets. Pamela: Absolutely. But you're right I think the stages are very similar and approaching it as stages and really focusing on what needs to happen in the stage you're in can be very freeing. I have talked to people about this concept on video calls and I literally see their shoulders drop and they just kind of go Oh OK. Because it's a relief. It's a relief. It's like somebody has finally said you can ignore all that. That's not for you right now. It's kind of like the books on the library shelves that are two shelves above. You don't need to read those yet. Just read the books that are right in front of you right now. Joanna: That's funny because it reminds me the last time I was speaking and someone came up to me and asked how should I do this type of advertising. And this type of blogging and podcasting and blah and they went off. So I asked how many books do you have? And this guy was like oh I'm still writing the first draft of my book. I was like OK, hold up. If you have not even finished the first draft of your book then hold still. Everything else just stops. Pamela: Right. Exactly. And that happens so often online. It's nothing against the people who it happens to. It happens to the best of us. I've seen a lot of really smart people just get stuck because they don't even know what first step to take because they don't know what they should be focusing on. So this information that's in the roadmap is something that came to me a couple of years ago. It was one of those moments where the heavens opened and I went Oh OK. Now there are stages and that this is what's going to help people. It's called Plan and grow big. And it's this approach to online business building that I think makes things so much easier. I've really enjoyed sharing it because it just seems to have really made a difference in people's approaches to their business. Pamela: I love the way you think. I love your books. They are very well organized, which is so important with nonfiction. I really feel you take people through that step-by-step journey. You've given one link but where can people find you and your books online? Pamela: The best place to find me is at my web site, my home base as we've talked about on this podcast; it's BigBrandSystem.com. They can find all sorts of resources there. And then my books are at MasterContentMarketing.com and MasterContentStrategy.com. And those are both just you URLs that will send people back to a page on BigBrandSystem. Joanna: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time Pamela. That was great. Pamela: Thank you. It's been so fun to speak with you again.
Rank #2: Write The Heart Of Your Story. Tips For Writing Emotion With CJ Lyons. As Maya Angelou said, “They may forget what you said and did, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.” If you can move the reader with your writing, they will remember you and become a fan. And that’s true with whatever you’re writing In today's show, I interview CJ Lyons about tips for […]
Rank #1: ISBW #409. I am currently struggling with the structure of the book, so I talk about that, plus A Song of Ice and Fire spoilers (the book series specifically, not the latest TV season). And I'm not sponsored by Scrivener. Copyright 2019, Mur Lafferty -- BY-NC-SA 3.5 License -- murverse.com
Rank #2: ISBW #322 - SUPER LONG (EXPLICIT) AGENT INTERVIEW EPISODE. I talk about my skepticism for productivity sites, and then have a LONG talk with my agent, Jen Udden, asking lots and lots of questions. There was wine. And a bit of swearing.
Rank #1: 5 Steps to Making Your Writing Goals a Reality - WN 002. Help support this podcast! >> Woo! I've officially made it to the second episode of "Write Now", the podcast that helps aspiring writers to find the time, energy, and courage you need to pursue your passion and write every day. I've also been told by several listeners that my voice is "soothing" and "mellow", which I'm counting as a win. 5 Steps for making your writing goals a reality. You probably already know that goals are extremely important to writers of all kinds. But how do we set goals -- and stick to them? This episode explores five steps for setting realistic goals and following through on them: 1. Begin to set your goal by defining something tangible you want to accomplish. 2. Establish your own realistic expectations. 3. Translate those realistic expectations into realistic goals. 4. Stick to those goals. 5. Move beyond your goals by internalizing them. I also take a look at some of the goals and habits of famous American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and others. You can read more about these fascinating folks in this Flavorwire article. Book of the week! This week's book is the lovely (and starkly honest) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This is a must-read for any writer -- yes, even despite the fact that King is widely regarded as a hack. I don't care. This book offers fantastic, practical advice on world-building, vocabulary, truth-telling, plotting, getting an agent, and more. You should read it. Q&A I answer your burning questions! This week, it's, "Help! I'm constantly distracted by the internet! What should I do?" Submit a question. I'll do my best to answer it. Just visit my Contact page and type out what you're feeling. You can also just email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. Listen to the full podcast. You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post. IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON iTUNES, YO! Download and subscribe and all of those pretty things. Tell me your thoughts. How do you stick to your writing goals? Shout it out in the comments below! What's that? You wish there was some way you could receive awesome emails from me? WELL MY GOOD SIR/LADY, YOU ARE IN LUCK. Sign up for awesome email updates here. >> Like what you've heard? I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself. I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :) Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you! Help support this podcast! >> The post 5 Steps to Making Your Writing Goals a Reality – WN 002 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.
Rank #2: Finishing What You Start - WNP 072. Not to toot my own horn here, but I am really, really good at starting new creative projects. Finishing them... not so much. Today, we're talking about the fears that keep us stuck and how to finish a creative project in a smart and snappy way. Enjoy! For show notes, please visit: https://www.sarahwerner.com/finishing-what-you-start-wnp-072 To support the work I do here at the Write Now podcast, become a patron on Patreon! https://patreon.com/sarahrheawerner Thank you as always for listening, and happy writing! — Sarah
Rank #1: 14.01: Worldbuilding Begins! Up Front, or On the Fly?. Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard Season 14 is all about worldbuilding¹, and we’re kicking it off with a discussion of when you do that bit of work. Do you handle worldbuilding before you write the story, as you write the story, or after you’ve finished the story? We’ll talk about how we … Continue reading 14.01: Worldbuilding Begins! Up Front, or On the Fly? →
Rank #2: 13.34: Q&A on Character Arcs. Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard You had questions. We came up with answers. The questions are below: How do you fulfill promises about character arcs without being cliché? How do you subvert character tropes without betraying the reader? Do you need to complete each character arc in a single story featuring multiple characters? … Continue reading 13.34: Q&A on Character Arcs →
Rank #1: Live in the Process, Not for the Result. In Episode 9 of the Masterwork Experiment, Anne turns in a new prologue representing her new POV narrative device, and a few new scenes leading into the middle build. Is the story getting too long? Shawn says it doesn’t matter, and he gives an inspiring talk about the importance for writers of living within the process, rather than for the result.
Rank #2: Talent, Inspiration and Blue Collar Work. In Episode 8 of the Masterwork Experiment, Anne has a bit of a crisis: though she’s found a way to meet the demands of the experiment, the resulting story idea feels lifeless. Is she building a franken-story from someone else’s parts? How will she give it life? In response, Shawn delivers a rousing talk on talent, inspiration, and the blue-collar work that holds Resistance at bay.
Rank #1: The Realities of Writing Careers. Join Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinson as they discuss what it really takes to establish yourself as a creative writer. NOTE: We apologize for the audio not being perfect in this episode. We're taking steps to ensure better audio quality in the future. You have to be 100 percent dedicated ...which can be tough advice, we get that. But here we discuss the commitment needed to make it as a writer if you hope to make it a career. We don’t say to drop everything and only write, but discuss how to make sacrifices and when to be committed to it. The group further discussed: Sacrificing sleep. Or work (if you can do it). Keep in mind that how good you are is relative (just because your college English teacher said you were amazing, that same level of amazingness may not be the same when surrounded by professionals. Watch out for the scams! How to break in, or how we did. And more! Some awesomeness brought up in this episode and cool links: The UCLA Professional Program: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/programs/professional-programs/ For more descussion like this, check out the books in the Creative Mentor series: 1) Creative Writing Career 2) Creative Writing Career 2 3) Military Veterans in Creative Careers
Rank #2: New to Writing in the New Year? Start Here!. The guys discuss starting as a writer, how to approach the decision of outlining or discovery writing, where to find readers and form a newsletter, how to take criticism, and more. For the book of the week, check out DEATH MARKED, free with an Audible Trial. DEATH MARKED: He wanted to bring his fiancée back from the dead. If he's not careful, he'll join her. Evans's world was turned upside down when he lost his fiancée Senna in a tragic accident. He misses her so desperately that he's resorted to the dark arts to bring her back. Frank Altemus is a doctor with strange connections to the occult who promises to revive Senna from the afterlife in exchange for Rohan's help on a "special" expedition. To Russia. To rob an ancient temple with a dangerous secret. Rohan had no idea what he was truly signing up for. But if he wants Senna back, he'll have to make a deadly sacrifice. Death Marked is the first book in the urban fantasy Modern Necromancy series. It's a fast-paced chase around the world that will keep you on the edge of your seat and fear the dead. -- ALSO: Justin will be at the SDSU Writers Conference this weekend, talking self publishing and the multi-media writer. See you there!
Rank #1: SSP070 Listening to Your Instincts with Vered Ehsani. Vered Ehsani radiates passion and energy. From the time we met her, we knew she was special. She traveled from Nairobi, Kenya to our events multiple times to learn how to get better, and each time she returned, she’d accomplished her objectives and was ready for more. Today, we wanted to have her on the show to talk about her transition into an author career and how listening to your instincts can guide you to a harmonious existence. We Talk About: Vered’s origin story. How saying “no” is saying “yes.” Discovering what energizes you. Strengthening your instincts. The rules and limitations on Vered’s creative endeavors. An important creative lesson from Vered’s father-in-law’s funeral. Practical habit building. What Vered would do if she could start again. All of our best writing and publishing advice in one, affordable book bundle: http://sterlingandstone.net/locker. To get live show reminders: https://sterlingandstone.net/liveshow. The post SSP070 Listening to Your Instincts with Vered Ehsani appeared first on Sterling & Stone.
Rank #2: SSP069 2019 Q2 Story Studio Check-in. It’s been six months since our last big check in with the state of affairs at our Story Studio. Since last October, we’ve hit publish again and again, ramping up the next big phase in the Sterling and Stone history. It’s safe to say that we’ve officially transitioned into a story-first company, and today is our first official progress report. We Talk About: Dave tried to watch Avengers: Infinity War with his son (https://www.netflix.com/title/80219127). Dave might like The Perfection (https://www.netflix.com/title/80211638). Johnny is watching The Crown (https://www.netflix.com/title/80025678). Sean is re-watching Master of None (https://www.netflix.com/title/80049714). Dave's daily check-in with Sean. Dave hitting his deadlines. Dave exercising regularly and actually talking to his neighbors. S&S increasing production. The Studio’s desire to untangle a Dave problem. Sean nailing dictation. Writing in StoryShop. The ending of Sean's story with his dad. All of our best writing and publishing advice in one, affordable book bundle: http://sterlingandstone.net/locker. To get live show reminders: https://sterlingandstone.net/liveshow. The post SSP069 2019 Q2 Story Studio Check-in appeared first on Sterling & Stone.
Rank #1: ‘The Writer’s Brain’ on Productivity vs. Creativity: Part One. Welcome back to another special edition of The Writer Files called “The Writer’s Brain,” a guest series with neuroscientist Michael Grybko, and in this episode we’ll dig into the inextricable link between productivity and creativity, and the Catch-22 so many writers face as a result. This all began when Michael and I started a conversation about why we need to rethink our definition of productivity. As busyness, the cult of productivity, and multitasking seem to take over our lives, it’s easy to forget that the origins of the word productivity comes from the Latin, productivitas. Translation: creative power. Creativity — a topic Michael and I have discussed at length — is the beating heart of change, progress, and innovation, but our work-life scales are bending dangerously toward more busywork, distraction, inefficiency, and overall dissatisfaction. Truly scaling creativity requires productivity, so a balance must be struck between the two. Writing is a great example of this push and pull in the human brain. Luckily, research scientist Michael Grybko returned to the podcast to help me find some answers from the perspective of neuroscience. If you’ve missed previous episodes of The Writer’s Brain you can find them all in the show notes, in the archives at writerfiles.fm, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you tune in. If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In Part One of this file Michael Grybko and I discuss: How neuroscience views the complex interplay between productivity and creativity Why writers often struggle to finish longer projects The great irony of the “10 year overnight success” How memory plays such a big part in productivity Why so many writing instructors prescribe “life experience” for great writing How always on, open concept workspaces can actually hinder both productivity and creativity And the close study of musicians, artists, and the pitfalls of mapping creativity in the brain The Show Notes: ‘The Writer’s Brain’ on Productivity vs. Creativity: Part Two The Best of 'The Writer's Brain' Part One: Creativity The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Two: Empathy The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Three: Storytelling The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Four: Writer’s Block The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Five: Fake News The Writer s Brain on Impostor Syndrome: Part One Productivity vs. Creativity, the Content Creator’s Catch-22 Rethink Your Definition of Productivity to Squash Uninspired Filler How to Outsmart Writer s Block with Neuroscience Mapping Creativity in the Brain: New research sheds some light on the neuroscience of improvising – The Atlantic This Is Your Brain on Writing Kelton Reid on Twitter Please click the donate button to support the podcast with a secure PayPal donation
Rank #2: 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part One. In this special edition of the show we traditionally call “writer porn” I’ve invited back award-winning international journalist, author, and serial pundit, Adam Skolnick, to discuss a piece I wrote for Copyblogger.com last year titled, “21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers.” Rainmaker.FM is Brought to You By Discover why more than 80,000 companies in 135 countries choose WP Engine for managed WordPress hosting. Start getting more from your site today! Over the last four years, I ve been given the fantastic opportunity to interview a wide range of more than 70 prolific, renowned, and bestselling authors for The Writer Files series. As you may know, each interview digs into the habits, habitats, and brains of these writers, and I ask them all roughly the same set of questions on how they get words consistently onto the page. So, I sifted through the extensive series archives (including the written interviews) and cherry-picked 21 highlights on productivity from these writers for you. You’ll definitely notice some themes from their advice on keeping the ink flowing and the cursor moving. You can go to 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers to follow along. Audio snippets have been excerpted here from the available podcast episodes. Guest host Adam Skolnick’s narrative nonfiction book, One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits — based on his award-winning New York Times sports reporting — is now available in paperback. In addition to his recent journalism, Adam has visited 45 countries and contributed to over 30 Lonely Planet guidebooks. He has written for ESPN.com, Men s Health, Outside, BBC, Playboy Magazine, and The NY Times, and has appeared on NPR. If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews. In Part One of this file some highlights include: Seth Godin (bestselling author of 18 books) on the power of deadlines Elizabeth Gilbert (#1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love) on the inefficiency of perfectionism Joanna Penn (New York Times bestselling indie author and entrepreneur) on scheduling and writing every day Andy Weir (bestselling author of The Martian) on motivation And more great tips from Adam and I as we discuss all 21 productivity hacks Listen to The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience below ... Download MP3 Subscribe by RSS Subscribe in iTunes The Show Notes If you’re ready to see for yourself why more than 201,344 website owners trust StudioPress — the industry standard for premium WordPress themes and plugins — swing by StudioPress.com for all the details. [AUDIO] 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers: Part Two 21 Productivity Hacks from 21 Prolific Writers – Kelton Reid for Copyblogger More Writer Files in the Archives at Copyblogger Being Busy Is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively – Derek Beres for Big Think When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink
Rank #1: Workshop 1: Salman Rushdie. Author Salman Rushdie gives a 10-minute writer's workshop before an event recorded for radio in Portsmouth. The workshop was recorded backstage. #writing
Rank #2: Workshop 14: Anatomical Historian Alice Dreger. Alice Dreger is a historian of science, anatomy, and medicine, known for her work studying and advocating for people born with atypical sex disorders. She famously resigned from Northwestern University in protest of academic censorship, and gained some infamy on Twitter for live-tweeting her son's sex education class.We had a delightful chat with her about her writing process in advance of the paperback release of her book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.
Rank #1: Ep 210: Cultivate Curiosity for Your Best Writing Life, Pillar One.  Dani Shapiro writes, “When I think of the wisest people I know, they share one defining trait: curiosity” (213, Still Writing). As she notes this connection between wisdom and curiosity, she continues, “They turn away from the minutiae of their lives—and focus on the world around them. They are motivated by a desire to explore the unfamiliar. They are drawn toward what they don’t understand. They enjoy surprise” (213). I love how she connects surprise and curiosity. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi makes that same connection, as you’ll see shortly. But before we get to that, let me establish my own connection: that curiosity is one of three pillars of your best writing life…along with creativity and productivity. Curious Writers Bring More to Their Work As curiosity becomes a daily practice, our writing will benefit, because curiosity serves as a driving force to producing captivating content and developing a writer who has things to say. Nourish curiosity and you’ll have a lively imagination drawing from a vast and ever-expanding library of ideas. Each day, even the smallest flash of wonder fans the flame of creativity. If we agree with Dani Shapiro that curious people focus on the world around them with a desire to explore the unfamiliar—drawn toward what they don’t understand—we gather clues for how we, too, can cultivate curiosity to live out our best writing life. If you’ve lost your sense of wonder and dampened curiosity, don’t worry. You can recapture it, funneling into your work a newfound delight in the world around you, in yourself, and in others. If you happen to be by nature a curious lifelong learner, lucky you! Continue to explore new ways to cultivate it further to become even more curious and pour what you discover into your writing projects. Develop Curiosity Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Creativity writes: “[T]he first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interests, that is, the allocation of attention to things for their own sake…. Creative individuals are childlike in that their curiosity remains fresh even at ninety years of age; they delight in the strange and the unknown. And because there is no end to the unknown, their delight also is endless.” (346, Creativity) Did you hear his suggestions? Allocate “attention to things for their own sake.” “Delight in the strange and unknown.” It’s similar to what Dani Shapiro was saying: even the old in age are young at heart as they “explore the unfamiliar” and let themselves be “drawn toward what they don’t understand.” Curious people learn something new every day. Search, Capture, Ask My mom moved from the American Midwest to a coastal town in the South and became captivated by the flora and fauna of the area. She bought a telephoto lens so she could capture photos of the birds that seem so exotic to her. She grew up and lived most of her life with mourning doves, cardinals, robins, starlings, swallows, and red-winged blackbirds. Now she’s delighting in what are, for her, “strange and unknown” species. She’s “exploring the unfamiliar” as she snaps photos and looks up in a guidebook the names of birds that turn out to be wood storks, ibises, great blue herons, green herons, and anhingas. She shares them with her Facebook followers posting one photo after another along with thoughtful captions further modeling this curiosity that comes so naturally to her. My mom is by nature curious and developed it as a journalist, rooting out stories everywhere she goes. But you don’t need to be a trained journalist to ask the questions popping into your head and to search for answers: borrow binoculars—or a telephoto lens—to study a bird ask a parent about her first crush wonder about the etymology of a word—and look it up dig into a time in history you know little about consider why a person made one choice instead of another ask that about yourself, as well—why did you make one choice instead of another? Cultivate Curiosity with Daily Surprise Mihaly offers a three-fold path to start cultivating curiosity that I’d like to suggest for you. It involves surprise. Be surprised Surprise others Document your surprise (347, Creativity) 1. Be Surprised His first tip for anyone pursuing a more curious life is to “try to be surprised by something every day” (347). He lists mundane, everyday ways to do so, like noticing an unusual car in the parking lot and ordering a new item on the menu. A note to us all: this increased attentiveness will require us to look up from our phones now and then and engage our senses. Igniting those senses, we may notice the ingredients in the new dish we’re served or admire the gleaming chrome on the car whose make and model we never noticed before. We might turn onto a side road to stop and admire the Harvest Moon. We could snap a photo of the dragonfly perched on the tip of a blade of grass. Ask questions that come up during these encounters. What spice am I smelling and tasting? Why does the moon seem so huge? What do dragonflies eat? Satisfy your curiosity with a search for answers, and here your phone might actually come in handy. And when some questions seem unanswerable, live in the mystery. That, too, is part of the curious writer’s life. All of this information enters into us and we draw from it as we think, make connections, and write. Surprise in Writers Robert Frost said in an interview with The Paris Review, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Even an organized writer who sets out with an outline or a plot mapped out brings energy to the page when he finds himself surprised as he writes. I think we know it as readers. What a pleasure to enjoy an article, book, or poem written by someone who seems to be full of wonder and delight and surprise. A curious writer, surprised by life, brings that to his work. You can be that writer. Driven by inquisitiveness, curious writers experiment, even play. They’re unwilling to take things for granted or take things at face value. Curious writers test new techniques and try different genres. Curious writers embrace new vocabulary and employ fresh metaphors. In their writing and in life, curious writers embrace a-ha moments. They hold life up to the light. 2. Surprise Others How else can we practice a healthy curiosity? Csikszentmihalyi next advises us to “try to surprise at least one person every day.” Again, his ideas are simple, not wild: say something no one expects or invite someone to join you on an outing to a new location or event. (347) What will happen? How will they react? Years ago, one of my daughters handed me a wrapped gift and presented it almost shaking with excitement. It wasn’t Mother’s Day or my birthday, so I asked, “What’s this for?” She said the book we’d been reading together at the time, The Essential 55, had pointed out that the best time to give a gift is when no one expects it because you know they did it because they wanted to and not out of obligation because it was your birthday or Christmas (55, The Essential 55). I was blown away by her random act of love. And whenever I drink that tea, I think of her and feel gratitude for her surprise all these years later. Follow through with your own spark of an idea to surprise someone and see how that ignites a corresponding delight in you at the exact same moment. 3. Document Your Surprise Csikszentmihalyi’s last suggestion for a surprise-centered approach to curiosity is to “write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others.” Like a scientist keeping notes on an experiment, document your day’s surprises—and review those notes periodically to search for “a pattern of interest emerging…one that may indicate some domain that would repay exploring in depth.” (347, Creativity) Most writers know what interests them, but you may discover something new in your surprise-driven days—some new topic or passion that can focus your next writing project. Or maybe it will inform your writing life as a whole. Homework for Life™ Our curiosity looks outside ourselves much of the time, to note the surprise in someone else or to answer a question about something we’ve observed. But we can be curious about ourselves and our own lives, as well. In his TEDx Talk, on his podcast, and at his blog, storyteller Matthew Dicks invites every person, not just writers, to document their “most story-like moment from the day” for what he calls Homework for Life™. He takes five minutes at the end of each day and thinks back: What made this day different from all the rest? (Matthew Dicks, Homework for Life | TEDxBerkshires) Learn straight from Matthew himself in his TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7p329Z8MD0 The idea is very simple. He writes a sentence or two—sometimes just a string of words—that will bring back a memory from the day: the moment he chose to document. He says you develop a storytelling lens when you note the small discoveries, the daily surprises, those meaningful moments you don’t want to lose. (Homework for Life™ TEDxBerkshires) When you start collecting stories with Homework for Life™, the days stop running into each other, as if nothing is new—because every day holds something new. His call is similar to Mihaly’s: take note of the surprises, the reactions, the lessons learned, the interactions that stand out. It’s a way to be curious about yourself, as you set aside tons of content for future projects. Do this simple assignment and each day becomes more precious, more curious. Trust the First Pillar for Your Best Writing Life: Cultivate Curiosity I hope you learn to trust the first pillar for your best writing life and start cultivating curiosity. Expand your everyday perspective to expand as a person, dabbling in new experiences and enjoying new sensations. Try a new sport. Visit a shop you’ve never been in. Mix things up: If your favorite place is the hardware store, visit a yarn shop; if you’re most comfortable at a library, head to an art gallery. What did you see, feel, smell, and hear? If you neglect the world around you and suppress the desire to explore the unfamiliar, what will you bring to the page? If you ignore what you don’t understand, turning away, how will you grow? Nurture curiosity, and your writing will flow with fresh ideas and insights linked to new observations and connections you make. You’ll find yourself open to ideas, considering alternative points of view. You may feel surprise, delight, even wonder. Learn something new every day. Surprise yourself and others. And document the stories that make any given day different from all the rest. Because when you’re a writer cultivating curiosity about your day, your life, your moments, you’re a writer rich in material, insights, and stories. Resources Matthew Dicks’ TEDx Talk The Essential 55 (the book that inspired my daughter to surprise me with a gift; this affiliate link takes you a newer version than she and I read together) Creativity, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (affiliate link to a slightly newer edition than the one I excerpted) Still Writing, by Dani Shapiro (affiliate link) The Paris Review interview with Robert Frost: “Robert Frost, The Art of Poetry No. 2” Interviewed by Richard Poirier | ISSUE 24, SUMMER-FALL 1960 Want to Be a More Creative Writer? Get Curious! (Ep 35) The Top 5 Ways Curiosity Can Ruin Your Writing (Ep 60) Three Pillars to Your Best Writing Life series A Writer’s Guide to ROI series Next-Level Writer series Write to Discover series All podcast episodes You can subscribe to this podcast using your podcast player or find it through Apple podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify. ____________________ Is your writing life all it can be? Let this book act as your personal coach, to explore the writing life you already have and the writing life you wish for, and close the gap between the two. “A genial marriage of practice and theory. For writers new and seasoned. This book is a winner.” —Phil Gulley, author of Front Porch Tales
Rank #2: Ep 209: Curiosity, Creativity, Productivity: Three Pillars to Building Your Best Writing Life. [Ep 209] Each week I claim that writers are discovering ways to reach their writing goals—and have fun—by being more curious, creative, and productive. And each week you may be thinking, “Really?” Yes, I really do believe these three traits or these three values can drive you forward to achieve your goals—and have fun along the way. They are values I myself take to heart and encourage my clients to explore and embrace, because curiosity, creativity, and productivity—together—have the potential to transform both you and your writing. Today’s overview will give you a high-level look, and in the weeks ahead we’ll drill down into each one, to look at their core. By taking a closer look, you’ll see how developing these traits as a part of everyday life and as part of your writing practice, you’ll position yourself to become the writer you want to be. Pillar One: Curiosity in the Writing Life Why curiosity on its own? Why not tuck that under the umbrella of creativity? Curiosity drives us to discover, to wonder, to think “What if?” Could there be a more energizing trait for a writer? Writers of fiction turn to the “what if” prompt to ignite their imagination. Curiosity propels stories forward for the reader as they wonder what’s next. Curiosity gets characters into trouble and then curiosity helps them solve problems to get out of trouble. Poets, too, benefit from curiosity as a driving force. As the poet asks questions, she looks more closely at anything from a fish to a father. Curiosity calls us to slow down, consider, put the pieces together in a way that the rest of the world, speeding along without a pause, rarely has time to mess with—and curious poets put words to what they’ve pieced together. Writers of nonfiction who let curiosity guide them will break free from rephrasing the same old points over and over. A curious writer will dig deeper, probe into subject matter, research topics to find the freshest, most accurate answers. Writers who value and practice this as a part of their daily lives will likely have more fun along the way, delighting in both big wonders and small, grieving over deep injustice, seeking truth and revealing it. In the next episode, we’ll look in more detail about how to develop curiosity as a writer and practice it regularly. Let’s look briefly at the next pillar of the writing life: creativity. Pillar Two: Creativity in the Writing Life You can enroll in an MFA program to earn a degree in what? Creative writing. Whatever focus you select—fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction—creativity is the core concept of the program because creativity is core to a writer. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone disagree with the belief that creativity is key to great writing, and yet I’ve read pieces that could use an injection of creativity. Aren’t we seeking to create something new rather than regurgitate something old and stale in a style that sounds like it could have been written by anyone? Embedded in the idea of creativity is not only that the ideas are creative—they’re fresh, novel, compelling, engaging—but also that we are indeed creating things. We can’t make something out of nothing, but we can mold into existence a passage, a poem, a project from ideas formed out of words. In that sense, writers are creators. Practicing the craft of writing builds our confidence in wielding the tools at our disposal, but we can practice creativity in other areas of life in a way that enriches us as people. That, in turn, feeds into our work. Be more creative as a person, and you’ll move closer to becoming a more creative writer—and thus achieving your writing goals. And the creative process itself—even before arriving at the final product—satisfies the person in the midst of creating. So you really can’t lose if you prioritize this value. Pillar Three: Productivity in the Life of a Writer If we want to be writers, we have to produce words that turn into projects. It doesn’t mean we have to spit out poems like candy from a vending machine or roll out short stories like cars on an assembly line—that’s why we have three pillars and not just one! Curiosity and creativity infuse our writing with life and energy and joy, novelty and insight. Productivity ensures it is captured and expressed in words. Writers who fall down rabbit holes of research driven by curiosity must eventually emerge and throw some of that on the page to sort it out and produce a final project. We must produce or we aren’t writing. Some writers will sit on an idea for a decade or longer, unable to produce even a portion of it, afraid they won’t do it justice. But writers must write—we must produce some kind of output or product. Other writers start project after project in bursts of creative inspiration. They delight in the potential they see in those works in progress, but they struggle to see them through to completion. We have to start and finish projects if we ever want to share our work with others. And isn’t that ultimately why we write? For the reader? And don’t we long to build a body of work? To do so, we must learn to be productive writers. Even slow writers can find ways to steadily put their ideas, thoughts, stories, and dreams into words in order to grow into more practiced, experienced, confident writers ready to share their work with the world. The Three Values Work Together in Your Writing Life If we were only productive without being creative or curious, we could be writing and publishing formulaic projects that offer nothing new or fresh. If we were creative without being productive or curious, we might write experimental freewriting in a journal that never evolves into a completed project or one we would share with others. If we were curious without being productive or creative, we might read and think and go for walks and chat with friends or interview experts without ever putting pen to paper to create or send out anything. Thankfully, we’ll be exploring three pillars of the writing life—three traits that transform you and your writing so that you achieve your writing goals (and have fun!). It takes curiosity, creativity, and productivity to arrive at your best writing life. Resources Want to Be a More Creative Writer? Get Curious! (Ep 35) The Top 5 Ways Curiosity Can Ruin Your Writing (Ep 60) Rest and Productivity (Ep 12) Relentlessly Execute Your Plan to Level Up (on Productivity – Ep 200) A Writer’s Guide to ROI series Next-Level Writer series Write to Discover series All podcast episodes You can subscribe to this podcast using your podcast player or find it through Apple podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Rank #1: DRS Episode 555 - Just Call Tech Support. Paul and Terry discuss space station design, ship design, moons, and other esoterica while Terry tries not to choke.
Rank #2: DRS Episode 396 - Ritualistic Writing. Terry, Scott (yes, he actually showed up), and Paul discuss topics of routine, rituals, and the science of finding your creative spaces, atmospheres, and etc.
Rank #1: WRITER 001: Meet Graeme Simsion, author of 'The Rosie Project'.. This week: Amtrak Writers in Residence program, Twitter Fiction Festival, 'Write. Publish. Repeat.' by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, Problogger tickets went on sale, Stephen King's reading list for writers on Aerogramme Studio. Interview with Graeme Simsion, author of 'The Rosie Project'. How would you describe Morgan Freeman's voice? Pink Fibro Book Club, Australian Writers' Centre Facebook page, 'Food Writing in Vietnam tour' on the cover of Qantas magazine, and much more. Read the show notes. Connect with Valerie, Allison and listeners in the podcast community on Facebook Visit WritersCentre.com.au | AllisonTait.com | ValerieKhoo.com
Rank #2: WRITER 292: Interview with Kaneana May, author of 'The One'.. Screenwriting competition closing soon and Love Your Bookshop Day is coming up. You'll meet Kaneana May, author of 'The One'. Plus, we have copies of 'Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire' by AWC alumna Nat Amoore to give away. Read the show notes Connect with Valerie, Allison and listeners in the podcast community on Facebook Visit WritersCentre.com.au | AllisonTait.com | ValerieKhoo.com
Rank #1: Episode 80 - The absolute essentials of writing a scene. The scene is a key building block of a story, so how can we make sure that the scenes in our writing work? In this episode we explore the three key questions that every writer needs to ask about each scene they write:what is the objective of the scene? How does the scene begin and end? And what gives the scene energy and direction?
Rank #2: Episode 141 So why did it take you 10 years to write this book? And other awkward questions for writers. This episode features a conversation with me about my book "The Centauri Survivors" which is published today, and explores some of the lessons any author can learn as publication day approaches. I'm the guest for this one and the questions are being asked by my friend Wendy H. Jones. In this episode we explore issues like: the biggest mistakes I made along the way, the difficult decisions I had to make in editing, and why every author, however experienced they are, gets nervous just before publication.
Rank #1: SPS-186: Thrillerfest 2019 Inside Stories Part 3 - with James Grady, John Sandford, Harlan Coben, James Rollins. In the final part of our Thrillerfest 2019 series, four major league bestsellers unleash some of the secrets behind their enduring success as thriller writers.
Rank #2: SPF-091: Why I Turned Down Seven Figures to Self Publish – with Hugh Howey. This week’s highlights include: Hugh’s beginnings as a writer The search for a publisher … and then a change of heart Re-acquiring rights The increasing empowerment of creative people Negotiating a print-only deal The beginnings of Hugh’s relationship with Data Guy and the Author Earnings reports Resources mentioned in this episode: Selfpublishingformula.com/ads17 Get on the […]
Rank #1: Literary agent Claire Roberts with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. New York City literary agent Claire Roberts talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about books, publishing, trends, self-published books, and more, on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM, broadcast from the University of California, Irvine campus.Download audio.(Broadcast date: May 15, 2019)
Rank #2: Amy Hempel and Katya Apekina on KUCI-FM. Katya Apekina, author of The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish, and Amy Hempel, author of Sing to It talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about the art, craft, and business of writing.Download audio.(Broadcast date: May 1, 2019)