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Video – The Magic of Writing Your First Draft

As somebody who has written and published 19 books – I know a thing or two about first drafts! And I can tell you, NONE of those books would have happened without writing a first draft – it’s where you’ve got to start!

And something magical happens when you’ve written (or started!) your 1st draft…

 



 

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Are You Stuck Writing the Beginning?

Momentum is a funny thing…

081616-RunningDownHillOnce you’re in motion – once the words are hitting the paper – there’s a feeling of running downhill, where each word falls out of your brain and onto the page easier, faster.

But getting those first few words onto the page so you can feel the benefits of momentum can be… tricky.

A friend of mine, Pamela Zimmer, was writing an article yesterday. She posted on Facebook, “So much to say… but can’t get those first few (perfect) words onto the page.”

And haven’t we all been there? When you can feel the story, the message, the words bubbling up but you can’t seem to get to the right pressure to have them actually bubble over. All too often, writers get frustrated in that moment and choose to walk away. They choose to not put words, any words, down onto the page.

So much to say but can't get those first few (perfect) words onto the page. What to do? Click To Tweet

Sound like anybody you know?

Are you so stuck with getting the beginning right that you forget about all the other things you want to express?

It’s something unique to non-fiction – and introduction. Really, in fiction (especially in short stories) the author doesn’t start at the beginning. She starts in the middle of the action. It’s not getting ready to shoot someone – the reader enters the story when the gun is in hand, finger on the trigger. In the MIDDLE of the moment.

So why do we abandon that when we’re writing non-fiction? Why the huge lead-ups, lengthy introductions? (BTW, this goes for books and articles!)

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3 Tips for Writing in the Face of Chaos

Put DOWN that panic button and step away from the meltdown!

080916-MeltDown

It’s 9:17 on a Monday morning and you already know it’s going to be one of those weeks. The type marked by too many meetings and deadlines, too many moments of rushing, stress, and worry. It’s a week marked by a huge schedule that’s out of your control – and you’re praying that there’s enough stuff in the fridge to create dinners because there’s no way in hell you’ve got the time, energy, or patience to deal with the grocery store.

And in it all, there’s that little voice that whispers…

What about your writing?

Take a deep breath, here are three tips to help you still move forward on your writing project even in the face of an overly-busy week.

080916-Relax1. Relax

This period of craziness is temporary – so just relax into it. If you’re anything like me, crazy breeds crazy. Suddenly, on an overly busy week, I can’t stand [fill in the blank] one more second and it MUST go on this week’s to do list. For me, that’s often some non-urgent task like pulling weeds in my driveway or needing to organize the pantry.

So relax. Take a deep breath (you do have time for that!) and remember that it’ll be okay.
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Guest Post: Kristen Nolan

Do you ever feel complete exhausted – even if you’re not physically active?

Me too! By 3 pm, I’m reaching for an afternoon cuppa (and maybe a nap) to get me through the rest of the day. And I’m always trying to manage my energy – especially my brain energy – to get through all the projects in my day.

I finally realized that knowing how to navigate movement, food, and brain power REALLY wasn’t my area of expertise. So I took my own advice and reached out for help!

That’s why I’m bringing you a special guest: Kristen Nolan of KristenNolan.com. She’s the High Performance Health Mentor – and a friend of mine! Kristen brings her list fantastic weekly tips (also on Tuesdays). One of my biggest challenges is setting myself up for success for long days at the computer: brain power, posture, drinking water, and not feeling like a slug by 3 pm!

This is a special video from Kristen to us – and she’s offering a great goodie to help you keep going too!

Here’s the link to your Free Snack List: 31Snacks.com

I personally just started working with Kristen so I’ll keep you posted on the transformation!

Why Pay for Something You Can Do Yourself?

My folks were camping last week so I was going to their house twice a day to let their chickens in and out and to make sure the drip irrigation system for their garden was working. On one of those trips, I ran into their neighbor, J, who was doing the weeding. (Dad has a mini co-op going on with J’s family – they help with weeding and the two families share produce.)

Somehow, in the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I couldn’t WAIT to hire a housekeeper. (I’ve been saying this for MONTHS – but I haven’t taken the action yet.) I got a really strange look from J. She then shared that last week, when she’d been re-painting some exterior trim on her house, she told her daughter, “Never pay for something you can do yourself!”

When is the RIGHT time to DIY and when should you hire a professional? Click To Tweet

And I thought about that – I really have. On the SURFACE, it looks like great advice, right? It’s using the best helping hand you have – the one at the end of your own arm (a favorite saying of MY mom’s when I was growing up). But let’s look at this deeper:

Should you really be doing something because you CAN but that:

  • Isn’t your area of genius?
  • Is something you don’t like to do?
  • Is something you don’t do well?
  • Is something you’re not 100% qualified to do?

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Don’t Let Your Great Idea Pass You By!

071916-Pencil“I trust a short pencil more than a long memory.”

Do you ever have one of those amazing ideas – for a book, article, meme, or program – and you’re so certain you’ll remember it forever… only to realize that it’s lost?

Yep, me too!

Years ago, when I was involved with a network marketing company, the trainers would trot out that quote about a short pencil being better than a long memory – the underlying message being that writing things down would always trump thinking you’ll just remember.

Have you ever lost a great idea for a story or article? 10 ways to capture your ideas! #amwriting Click To Tweet

And after having a few amazing ideas slip away and only leaving the memory that there WAS an amazing idea, I finally took the hint! Now I write things down.

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Writing When the Suckies Strike…

I have a confession to make… it’s Tuesday and I just don’t feel like writing an article for the blog today. I know that it WILL happen because after THREE YEARS of posting every Tuesday and sending out my weekly newsletter there’s no way I’m going to miss it now but…

I just don’t want to.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a straight-up “how to” article with steps or tips. But nothing is coming to mind as earth-shaking.

I’ve even been “cheating” and revamping some older articles – but that gets boring QUICKLY – and I’m rather bored.

071216-FanAs I’m settling into this “blah” feeling, it’s not about writing in general. In fact, at this very moment I’ve got at least three projects that spark excitement. But as for writing a meaningful article… crickets. Blahs. I’d go take a nap except that Ben is installing a fan in our room and my bed is covered in tools and pieces of the fan.

So what’s my practical advice in this situation? Two things…

1. Suck it up. I’ve got an article to get out and my feelings about it are really irrelevant. It’s a promise I fully intend to keep to myself, to my readers, and to the Kim of 2013 who said she’s do this weekly.
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Do Book Bonuses Increase Sales? 4 Tips for Great Bonuses

I received an email from a client recently asking my opinion on adding additional content into her book project. Her manuscript is nearly done and she wanted my advice on adding in some additional chapters with resources, tips, and a “plan” to follow.

I suggested against it.

Oh! Did I surprise you? Let me explain:

If you're offering a bonus with your book, make sure it's on track! #amwriting Click To Tweet

In the industry where she works (health coaching) it is a very common practice to add several bonuses to the main offer. The thought is that you’ll come for the meat of the topic (main offering) but stay for the potatoes, salad and dessert (bonuses).

070516-PileofBonusesAfter all, when you buy a program for $997 and ALSO receive $2,000 worth of related bonuses you really feel like you got a lot of bang for your buck, right? The thought is that you’ll come for the meat of the topic (main offering) but stay for the potatoes, salad and dessert (bonuses).

But that doesn’t always translate from the online sale of information to the sale of books through Amazon. In the book publishing world, this “add in a ton of “value” with bonuses” approach often backfires.

Your reader purchased your book for a very specific reason; they were looking for a very specific solution. Offering them more than what they came for usually doesn’t scream “BONUS INFO! This author really knows her stuff!”

It says:

“This author couldn’t figure out how to stay on topic!”
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The Power of a Decision on Your Writing

062816-DecisionLast week I shared 5 Tips to be a More Consistent Writer – one of which was decide. As in decide that your writing is important and you’ll give it the attention, desire, and effort it deserves.

Making the decision – just that decision – is very powerful. “When making any decision, whether you like it or not, you are okay with the consequences. We are instantly and subconsciously validating the outcome of our decisions as we are making them. If you think about it, it only makes sense to make those decisions that will eventually make us happy and achieve our goals…” from the website PickTheBrain.com

The challenge there, is that it’s not just the initial decision that matters; if anything that’s the decision that matters the least.

Anybody can say, “I’m picking up the pen today and putting words on paper.” And then do it for one day. That’s easy. You can ride the momentum of inspiration and excitement for the first day.

Your first decision isn't where the power lies - it's in continuing to make the decision. Click To Tweet

And maybe the second. And the third. Maybe you can ride it for a whole week.

The decision that really matters is the one that you keep making – every day, every week, every month. It’s the “little” decision you keep making, over and over, that really matters.

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5 Tips to be a More Consistent Writer

062116-HandsWritingI get asked regularly just how MUCH do I write? For those people who don’t self-identify as authors (or who are still dreaming) I know that the sheer volume of words in a book can seem daunting. But that question really made me stop to think about how much writing I do every week:

(I really live by making lists so I count that as writing!)

What really surprised the asker was my consistency in writing my weekly article and sending out the weekly newsletter. I’m pushing three years without missing a single week. So the follow up question was:

Kim, how long did it take you to create good habits for yourself that keep you on track?

It took all I had not to answer: about fifteen seconds.

See, it really DID take about fifteen seconds to develop my “habit” for my weekly article and weekly newsletter. But I know that isn’t the answer the group (or you) are looking for! Of the five tips I’m going to share, I really do think #1 is the most important!

Five Ways To Develop Consistency In Your Writing

1. Decide it matters
In August 2013 I DECIDED that I was going to post a weekly article and mail out a weekly newsletter. I’d played with posting regularly and, if I’m super honest, had never emailed my list consistently. I don’t even remember my thought process or why I decided that I would write weekly and email weekly.

And you know what, it doesn’t matter. What matters is I drew the line and said: From this moment forward I’ll be consistent. I won’t allow ANYTHING to get in my way.

But here you have to be brutally honest with yourself. If you wanted to write a business article weekly and you sit down to discover you have no Internet at the moment, what do you do?

Write anyway!

Can’t get to the computer? Grab a pen and paper and write anyway. No pen? Get a crayon! No paper? Type a note on your smartphone.
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