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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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Are You Following Your Dream?

When I was a junior in high school my dad bought a HUGE book that listed all the colleges in the USA and had endless listings about what you could declare as a major. (Actually, I think he bought a couple of these books!) There was a lot of talk around the dinner table about where I was going to go to college and what I’d study.

ONE time flipping through that book and I knew exactly what I wanted:

061416-UofATo study Creative Writing and to do it at the University of Arizona.

(The fact that U of A is in Tucson where I had a family was a plus. The fact that Dad graduated from there and I’d been raised a Wildcat was a huge bonus!)

I went through the last two years of high school knowing exactly where I was going to college and what I was going to study. When my friends were deciding if college was even something on their radar, I knew what I was going to do.

I knew.

I was moving in the direction of my dreams, taking a powerful action to someday become an Author.

Are you moving in the direction of your dreams? Click To Tweet

But here’s the weirdest thing…

All those friends who were undecided majors (or even undecided about college at all) got lots of approval and feedback from adults. Teachers and other adults alike would look at my peers and offer endless encouragement to pursue their dreams; go to college and find out what you want.

You want to know what they told me when they found out I was majoring in Creative Writing?

“What’s your backup plan?”

I kid you not! That’s what they said to me, over and over. Not “Great job to follow your dreams, Kim!” but “What’s your backup plan?”

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Video – Do You Need a Mentor to Help with Your Book?

Have you ever wondered if NOW is the right time to find a mentor to help you with your book? I know that just answering that question can be overwhelming – let alone knowing what working with a mentor would look like!

Here’s a quick video where I share how I personally know when I’m ready to take that leap – and how you can check in with yourself to decide if it’s the right time for you too.

And if you’re ready, here’s a link to apply for a Writing Adventure Discovery Session. It’s free!

To watch move videos like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

What does it REALLY feel like to publish a book?

053116-DreamI remember the anticipation the most; I had spent weeks working on the project and I was 99.9% sure that the fruit of my labors was waiting for me in my PO Box. I leaned down to open my box; it’s only three rows up from the bottom. I took a deep breath and turned the key.

It was waiting for me. A nondescript brown cardboard package, deceptively lightweight. My mom was waiting for me in the truck; we were just about to head to town for a grocery shopping trip.

Do I open it here, in the Post Office, alone, or wait until I was in the truck, with an audience? I was sure I was going to cry. That decided it for me; if I was going to cry I wanted it to be with only my mom watching and not the whole of a small town Post Office. I didn’t bother to pick up the mail in the four other PO boxes I checked daily but walked quickly out into the late summer sunshine and back to the truck.

My hands were trembling as I pulled back the cardboard zipper. That surprised me. It wasn’t the first time, exactly. I had been here before, almost.

The package opened in my lap. I was glad I was sitting down.

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3 Steps To Organize Your Book’s Idea

052416-WhatIdeaAre you wondering how to organize your ideas for a book?

Or if your ideas even FORM a book?

You’re soooooo not alone! In the past month, I’ve spoken to probably a dozen people who have a great inkling for a book but have no idea how to take that random idea and organize it into a comprehensive writing plan!

Many people THINK that the first step in writing a book is that outline – and they can slave over it and cram every bit of information about the topic into a placeholder in that outline.

And there’s some value in that as an exercise…

But it doesn’t really help you get your book organized and written!

That outline is going to be key in writing your book without losing your mind. But it’s not actually the FIRST step!

052416-IdeaThere are two steps BEFORE creating your outline:

1. Coming up with LOTS of ideas

When you jump straight to creating your book’s outline, you can miss key things that should be in the book. Or your book’s topic is just a little bit… off!

And you can also have ideas that while great – don’t fit into THIS book. Which brings me to step 2…

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How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

It’s a question I get asked regularly, especially when I’m speaking from stage…

“How long does it take to write a book?”

I get it! You want to know how to plan your work load, your life, your biz, and your book’s launch.

Unfortunately this is one of those “it depends” answers.

A book is a project with a clear starting and ending point. (Idea to completed first draft). But the path between those two points can get… murky.

Think of it this way:
051716-VacuumI want to vacuum my house. I have to get the vacuum and plug it in – regardless of how large my house is, I must do that step. (Call this the idea step!)

Then, I have to vacuum. But do I dust first? Is that really part of vacuuming? (This can be thinking about companion products to your book – like an opt-in gift.)

Why writing a book is like vacuuming the house! Click To Tweet

Is this the week where I do a quickie vacuum or when I really move furniture and get in all the cracks? (This can be the difference between a shorter book (20,000-30,000 words) or a longer book.)

How big is my house? Am I vacuuming every room or just the main areas? (Think about your book – are you trying to be the definitive guide or an introduction?)

The end goal is to have the house vacuumed – clean floors. But the time to get from getting the vacuum out and plugging it in until I’m done and wrapping up the cord and putting it away… That varies!

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The World Needs You – Your Message Matters

Do you ever tell yourself…

My book doesn’t matter. People have written about this before. What could I possible say that would make a difference?

051016-DesireThat, my dear, is stinkin’ thinkin’.

Your. Message. Matters.

I was at a marketing training this month and the topic of having a Big Idea for your marketing (and business) came up. Even with my years of helping people to finally write (and publish!) their books, I couldn’t see my Big Idea. It’s like trying to see your own nose – you just can’t unless you use a mirror.

In talking it through we realized that my Big Idea was the one thing I say to ALL of my clients, prospects, people I meet at events, etc.

Your. Message. Matters.

#1 reason why you need to write your book: Your Message Matters. #amwriting #YourMessageMatters Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing: you are the only person on the whole planet who is the unique sum of your experiences, feelings, knowledge, and opinions. All that comes together into your own world-view.

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All-New Book Publishing Checklist

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you want to go from A to Z and not knowing what the steps are to get there, right? Trust me, I totally get that! It’s frustrating enough to have all these unknowns – but what’s even worse is when you’re headed down a path only to discover that you’ve missed a step.

No bueno!

And sometimes, you just need to know more about the end before you can even start – even if it seems counterintuitive to get all those details. You’ve just got to see the bigger picture before you can even get started.

I get it!

PublishingChecklist-3D-CoverAnd that’s why I’ve created “Kim’s Kickass Publishing Checklist” – because even if you’re not ready to publish your book RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT, you still want to know what publishing looks like. And you really want to know all the steps in the book publishing process so you can move forward with confidence you’re doing the right steps in order.

You need… A checklist!

All-new #free Book Publishing Checklist! #amwriting Click To Tweet

Download Now <<

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What is overwhelm costing you? (And your message!)

I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about overwhelm…

When I was a junior in high school, my mom had to leave her shopping cart in the middle of Walmart to take me home – too many people after too long a day and I started crying. I was overwhelmed and we had to leave Right Now.

042616-SinkLast week I started crying before breakfast because the dishwasher was full of clean dishes, the sink full of dirty, and I couldn’t get my tea kettle under the faucet to make a cup of tea. Ben saved the day by filling a mug with water and pouring it into the kettle.

It took me nine months to completely unpack after we moved – and I still have boxes in the spare bedroom that were stuffed (full) into the closet. (And I “packed” in three days before I moved because I couldn’t figure out how to pack and still live/work in the house.)

The first four seasons I spent working in the family tax practice, I’d break down crying at LEAST once a week because there were three phone lines ringing, a waiting room full of clients, and I couldn’t find my stapler.

Here’s the thing about me: I actually rarely procrastinate. Because I’m always busy doing something – and it’s usually some activity that is getting me closer to a goal. But there are just so many moving parts at any one time, I get stuck knowing where to start, what to do next (or what to do first!), and how to keep everything I’m doing moving forward.

This is a classic definition of overwhelm.

All too often I think that we wear “overwhelm” like a badge of honor. Like the person with the biggest To Do list, the most amount of projects in progress, the most chaos in life wins.

Are you living an overwhelmed life? 'Overwhelm' is NOT a badge of honor! Click To Tweet

So I get it that the idea of adding “Write A Book” to an already overwhelmed life feels heavy. Like there’s an elephant sitting on your chest. And the desire to write it battles with everything else that life requires and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed, behind, and crying at the sink because you just want a cup of tea and all the steps required to just get water into the kettle are more than you can handle.

And I don’t even have kids yet!

Sweetie, I get it. I know what it’s like to be on the perfectionist scale – the one that says More Is Better (not the one that creates a Pinterest-worthy life!). And I know what it’s like to bite off more than you can chew – regularly – and then wonder if you’re a masochist or just dumb because you’re not learning from your past “mistakes”.

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Stories Make Memories – Are You Using Stories in Your Writing?

When I work with clients, I’m always asking them about the stories they’re including in their book. And through the phone, I can hear their skepticism; what place does story have in a serious book that has a serious message that helps people change their lives?

And I think that’s the exact problem! You’re so concerned with your message (very important) and showing your expertise and credibility (also important) you miss the most critical piece:

Connecting with your reader.

041916-EngagementFrankly, your reader is NOT going to keep reading if your book is boring. And then your message goes right down the drain because they never read it!

What makes a boring book?

It’s when your reader can’t relate to the material; it doesn’t feel relevant, they can’t imagine themselves in that same situation. There’s no emotional engagement.

Readers don't connect with your material if it's boring. Story is the cure to a boring book! Click To Tweet

STORY combats that all.

I was once hired to edit a book about using the power of the Internet to build a freedom-filled life. It was all about websites and email marketing and social media. It should have been engaging (after all, I’ve got an online business!) but it wasn’t.

There wasn’t a single personal story in there. The author could have been… anybody. She didn’t share anything about her struggles, mistakes she’d made, or successes she’d enjoyed. Nada.

I understand not wanting to put your vulnerability on the page. But you DO have a second option: case studies! If you don’t want to (or can’t) use your own stories, share stories from your clients, friends, people you’ve helped, etc. She could have done that.

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