Less Stress: Focus On The NOW

Less Stress: Focus On The NOW

Want less stress, instantly? Here you go. Focus on NOW. Right now. Not tomorrow, or next month or year, or even ten minutes from now.

I’ve found this to be an incredibly useful strategy whenever I feel stressed, and it’s a strategy I teach to my students. You may be thinking that it’s a “very zen” strategy. It’s not zen… To be truly zen, you wouldn’t be thinking at all, but I digress. :-)

It’s VERY hard to stay in the present moment. It helps to have a plan, execute it, and then review at a future date. Once you’ve created the plan, and are executing the plan, just stay in the moment.

Less stress: plan, execute, and review

Once you’ve created your plan, don’t second-guess yourself. Or think too much.

I’ve just been chatting with a writing student who thinks that his writing is going too slowly. He’s written the first draft of a nonfiction book, and is frustrated because he thinks he should be moving through the revision more quickly.

Sadly, he’s lost perspective. In the time we’ve been working together, not only has he planned and written an ebook, he’s planning another one. That’s huge progress.

I suggested that he get a timer, then work at his revision for two or three 25 minute sessions each day. When he’s not working, he should forget about the book, and let his subconscious deal with it.

Another student has just self published an ebook to Amazon. It’s a novella, and he’s priced it at $2.99.  This novella is a prequel to the novel which he published a couple of months ago.

We’d worked out a publishing plan:

  • Publish the novella;
  • Get the next novel written;
  • Make the novella permanently free a month before the second novel is published.

All three ebooks are part of a series, so the novella should work as a marketing tactic for the series. WILL it work? I don’t know. No one knows.

Here’s what I know for sure. If he gets all three ebooks onto Amazon, and the novella is permanently free, he’ll make sales.

We talked about Julie Smith’s publishing company, and that if you’re a self publishing author, you’re a publisher too. Keep it in mind; be business-like in your self publishing business. :-)

Your plan lets you relax: once you’ve created a plan, DON’T change it

When you have a plan, you know where you’re headed. Of course you can change a plan as necessary, but don’t  be too eager to do that.

Your plan is for you. It ensures that you have less stress, so that you can be productive. After a while, you’ll become focused on NOW, doing what you should be doing in the present moment. You’ll worry less, because you know you have a plan.

Try it. Create a plan for a project that’s worrying you. It can be any project in any area of your life, small or large. Then just start working your plan. When you’re distracted, remind yourself to stay focused on the present moment.

It makes for less stress.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

3 Easy Ways to Get Ideas for Nonfiction Ebooks

3 Easy Ways to Get Ideas for Nonfiction Ebooks

I’ve been advising my students to “write short” when it comes to ebooks; this means writing short stories, and short nonfiction ebooks. A short ebook at $2.99 is an easy sale. A longer ebook is a much harder sale at $9.99, especially for a new author.

If you’re wondering how long your short ebooks could be, I suggest around 20 pages. Since the concept of “pages” is meaningless in ebook terms, around 5,000 words – the length of a couple of articles.

Writers have asked how to get lot of ideas for ebooks you can write quickly. We cover that in detail in Sizzling Success from Short Reports and Short Stories, but here are three of my favorite ways.

1. News Websites: Become a News Junkie.

I’m a news junkie. I spend way too much time browsing news websites each day, but it does have a benefit. You learn to spot trends, and see what people are talking about. Once you get into the habit, you can spot dozens of ideas for short ebooks in a few minutes.

You can just browse news stories, or you can enter a broad topic. I used to write a lot about weight loss, so I entered that into the search query field in Google News.

get ideas from news websites

Here’s the key: don’t bother clicking through to the stories. It’s distracting. You just want a broad sense of what’s new today. So, in the above image, you can see “woman says her weight loss photos were stolen.”

Excellent. (Not for the woman, obviously…) You could certainly write a short ebook on weight loss photos: how taking snaps of yourself daily in a weight loss journal is an effective way to stay on track with a weight loss diet, or similar.

Think broadly when you brainstorm. How about a nonfiction ebook on how to look great in wedding or other special-event photos?

2. Amazon: Look at the Top 100 Bestsellers in Nonfiction.

If it’s in Amazon’s Top 100, in any category, it’s selling a LOT. So cast your eyes over what people want to learn more about today: Amazon’s top 100, paid and free.

get ideas from Amazon

Again, don’t bother clicking through: focus on the book’s titles. You just need a kickoff point for your own brainstorming, so you can come up with great ideas.

3. Pinterest: Images Stimulate Your Creative Mind.

I adore Pinterest. It’s an amazing site, particularly if you’re hunting for ideas. Check out the Popular category; that’s what’s trending on Pinterest right now.

get ideas from Pinterest

OK, maybe you don’t want to write about bow ties, or candles, or popsicles. :-) Or maybe you do. Scroll down the page. Let yourself muse about what people need, that you could write about.

There’s always something new on Pinterest. You’re sure to find topics you’d enjoy covering in a nonfiction ebook.

So, there you have it. Three easy ways to get great ideas for nonfiction ebooks. Happy idea hunting. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

When Your Goals Scare You: Get Clear and Write

When Your Goals Scare You: Get Clear and Write

Do your goals scare you? It might be because they’re not clear enough. For example, a writer we’ll call Leonie signed up for coaching. Her goal was “to write a book.”

Writing a book’s a fair enough goal, but after Leonie completed her initial questionnaire, which we send out to all personal coaching students, and we chatted, she discovered that she wanted to write this: a memoir of her arranged marriage.

When I heard “arranged marriage”, I thought whoa! Although it’s common enough in parts of the world, it’s not common in the western, developed world. I was thrilled to help Leonie with this project. She’s almost completed a first draft. It’s good. I suggested that Leone not only self-publish, and but also look for a literary agent. She’s well on the way to achieving her initial goal, because she took the time to get clear on what she really wanted.

Get Clear: Listen to Yourself.

We’ve got several coaching questionnaires we send out. They’re all short, with eight or fewer questions. A student can opt to answer as many questions as he wants – the questionnaires are for us, but most of all, they’re for the student. They help him to get clear on what he wants from his coaching.

Consider your goals. Why not create your own questionnaire, so that you can get clear on them? Tackle one goal at a time. You may well find that once you’ve answered a few of your own questions, your goal changes. It becomes more clear, and isn’t scary any more.

Are You Excited?

quote: fear or excitement?

If a goal scares you, allow yourself to sit with your feelings for a moment. Are you afraid, or excited? Sometimes excitement is scary. If your goal’s a big one, like writing a memoir was for Leonie, it can seem overwhelming too. Leone told herself she wanted to write a book for years. Getting coaching was the first step in achieving that goal.

All goals are achieved by taking one small step at a time. You can’t achieve them in any other way.

You Don’t Have to Achieve Your Goal in One Step. Take Baby Steps.

When Leonie settled on her memoir, we spent a few sessions talking about what she wanted to include in her book, and general planning. How would she fit writing into her life? We needed to take her daughter’s upcoming wedding into account, and Leonie’s work and other commitments.

We also needed to discuss what a memoir is. In basic terms: how long is a memoir? How many chapters? What’s the throughline (theme, if you like) of the book? Who are her readers?

By the time she was ready to write, Leonie couldn’t wait to get started. Her goal no longer frightened her: she knew exactly what she was doing. To achieve her goal, she just had to take baby steps.

When you get clear on a your goals, achieving them isn’t a struggle. It’s a process. You take baby steps, and before you know it, you’re well on the way to success.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Quotes to Live By: “There’s No Luck in Business…”

motivational quote

Do you have quotes to live by? I love motivational quotes, and with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about luck, and business.

Here’s my favorite quote about business and luck:  “There’s no luck in business. There’s only drive, determination, and more drive.” It’s from author Sophie Kinsella.

No excuses: build your drive

I coach writers, so I’ve heard every writer’s excuse under the sun — and I have more than enough of my own. I can always find excuses for stuff that I don’t want to do. Maybe I think the Good Lucky Fairy will come along and smack me with her magic wand.

There’s no magic; there’s just — as Sophie Kinsella says so succinctly — drive and determination.

Happy St Patrick’s Day in advance… I wish you much luck, and even more determination. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.