5 Pain-Free Tips to Write Your Book

5 Pain-Free Tips to Write Your Book

You’ve started to write your book. Relax. Writing is fun, if you just focus on the words. You do it day by day, and word by word. You’ll be amazed at how soon all those words turn into a book.

These tips will help.

1. Stop Thinking, Start Writing — and Keep Going

You have doubts. Do you have the time to write? What if... you think. Stop thinking! A book is just a book, a collection of words. It’s no big deal. In my ghostwriting life, I write books for clients, and the writing is pain-free, because I’ve learned to ignore my doubts. You can too.

Your doubts arise from your inner editor. He usually sounds like someone in your life who told you you couldn’t do something or other. He’s not only an idiot, most of his kvetches are recordings. They play over and over, until you give up the mad idea of writing a book.

Some writers picture the inner editor, then imagine locking him inside a box, or a bottle. Don’t worry, you can’t kill him, and once you’ve got a book, he comes in handy during editing.

2. Schedule Your Writing: It’s an Appointment

Here’s the solution if you have “no time.” Schedule the time, even if it’s only 20 minutes. If you write 250 words in 20 minutes, your book will be done in eight months. A timer’s useful too.

Try this. Write your book on your phone. Writers do it for various reasons, the primary one being that your phone is non-threatening. Try Drafts.

3. Write to Yourself: You’re Just Thinking on the Screen

“Writing a book”is scary. Don’t think about it. Instead, write to yourself. Just write down whatever you’re thinking — even if you’re whining: “I’ve got no time. I need to finish the presentation and rehearse it, and if we don’t get the contract I’ll get fired. This is a stupid idea…”

I’m serious. Write your whining — the exact words. Why? Because you’ll get sick of it. Whining isn’t pretty, and when it’s in your head, it tends to play on an endless loop of worries. One of the big benefits of journaling is that it gets all that junk out of your head: it’s healthy. So is writing what you’re thinking. You’ll delete it later of course, but writing it down externalizes it, and as we’ve said, you’ll get sick of it. Which means you can write your book.

I teach this trick in my book coaching practice; it works.

4. Map It: Create Lots of Circles

Early in your writing process, you’re exploring possibilities. Try grabbing a large sheet of paper, A2 size. I like Levenger Oasis pads. Brown paper’s fine, if that’a all you can find. Now grab some marker pens, and make a largish circle in the middle. Write “my book” in the circle. Make smaller circles and ovals all over the paper. Your creative self thinks in images; this is why you’re creating all the circles.

Write words in the circles and ovals — any words which occur to you. Write first thoughts, don’t think about it. Pin the paper onto a board or to a wall.

5. Outline It as Soon as You Can

Outlining a book too early has pitfalls, the big one being that you can choke off your creativity. Your paper-with-circles helps to avoid that.

With both fiction and nonfiction, I like to write a few thousand words just to get into the book. Then I create my “circles” diagram. Shortly after that I draft a preliminary outline.

You don’t have to outline, but it helps you to see where you’re headed at a glance. If an outline makes you uncomfortable, don’t bother with it. All that counts is that you keep writing.

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, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Are you getting the results you want? We all want results. When we don’t get them, we tend to think we’re doing something wrong. It seldom occurs to use that we’re not doing something enough.

This was brought home to me by one of my writing students, Chip. His current job was on a short-term contract, so he needed to increase his writing income quickly. We chatted, and mapped out a plan. He decided that he’d contact companies directly, as well as marketing his writing services online.

“A couple of people were interested,” he told me a week later. “But times are tough. No one wants to hire a writer.”

We chatted for a while. We discussed companies’ communications needs in today’s marketplace, and he agreed that maybe he hadn’t put himself in front of companies which truly needed him. He agreed to contact more companies.

If something isn’t working, it’s tempting to change your strategy, rather than thinking that you need to do more of the same. As Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, reports in his article on the pitch deck Buffer used to raise $500,000 as a startup:

One of the most important elements, that we had to learn during our fundraising process was the concept of “Ratio thinking”. Jim Rohn, the famous motivational speaker, probably explained it best: “If you do something often enough, you’ll get a ratio of results. Anyone can create this ratio.”

Take Action to Make Ratio Thinking Work for You

“Ratio thinking” makes the law of numbers work for you. If you do something often enough, not only will you get better at doing whatever it is, but you’ll get results. No results? Change what you’re doing. Once you’re getting results, do more of whatever it is that gets the most useful result. Planning can only take you so far; action counts.

As Leo points out in his article, it all comes down to persistence. If you put your offering in front of 100 people, and you get one buyer, then you should get ten buyers if you put your offering in front of a thousand people.

Persistence isn’t easy. Doubts creep in. What if you’re wasting your time? What if it doesn’t work? What if you need to do something different?

Persist in the face of your doubts. Tennis great Bjorn Borg said:

“My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”

What happened with Chip? He persisted. And his persistence was rewarded. He’s well on the way to building a stable of quality clients. He’s committed to making ratio thinking part of other areas of his life too. He knows it gets results.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

5 Easy Ways to Become More Creative FAST

Get creative fast
Get creative fast

Want to become more creative? You’re already as creative as you need to be. All you need is space to allow that creativity to flower, and time. You also need to give yourself permission to be creative.

Few of us survive our childhood with our creativity intact. However, no matter how deeply it’s buried, your creativity is there. Relax, have fun, and you’ll be more creative.

Let’s look at five ways you can become more creative in your life and your business quickly.

1. Mind map it, whatever it is

Start by framing your creative task. What task you want to be creative at doing? Your creativity is completely natural, and if you decide you want to become more creative in one area of your life, it will flow over into other areas.

The left brain/ right brain theory has been debunked, it’s nevertheless useful. We all have various networks in our brain:

People use networks in their brains, Devi explained. “So if somebody is more artistic, let’s say, then they would more likely use … networks within the right side of the brain. So it’s about the network they use. There are networks for language, there are networks for artistic ability. There are networks for math. So depending on what networks you use, you use one side of the brain more than the other.”

If you think you’re not creative, it simply means you haven’t used the relevant networks in your brain sufficiently. The more you use those networks, the more they will grow.

Let’s say you want to become more creative in your business.

Start by creating a mind map. Mind maps are images, and images trigger your right brain’s creative network, and your subconscious mind. Your subconscious is non-verbal. It “thinks” in images. It will deliver more creativity than you can ever use.

You can create a mind map by hand, or you can use an app. Currently, my favorite mind mapping app is Inspiration.

FreeMind is a free mind mapping tool. Here’s an Inspiration mind map…

inspirationmap

Add “business creativity” to the center of your mind map.

Then, without thinking about it too much, add ways you could be more creative in your business to your mind map.

2. Use images as symbols to mine your subconscious

Images trigger your creativity and your subconscious mind. You can use images in many ways. The easiest way is to choose an image, and look at it. Pinterest has lots of images. Browse.

You can also browse photos, or image-heavy magazines. I like to browse online museums – the Rijksmuseum’s my favorite. Click the image below to access the site.

rijksmuseum

When you’re browsing images, you’re not looking for anything. You’re just looking. You’ve created your mind map, but forget that for now. Just take a few minutes, relax, and look at images.

3. Go tight, then loose: focus and de-focus

To trigger your creativity, you need to focus, and then de-focus. Think, and then muse, allow your mind to drift.

Avoid forcing anything – you can’t force yourself to be creative. You simply need to allow your innate creativity.

So when you’re browsing images, study an image carefully. Look at the flow of lines and curves in image, the shadow and the light. Then, de-focus, let your gaze go soft, and absorb the image.

Try this exercise regularly. It’s a strategy you can use at any time. It will help the creative networks in your brain to grow.

4. What’s the opposite?

Have you added some thoughts to your mind map? Add something, anything. Accept whatever springs to mind. As we’ve said, you can’t force yourself to be creative, you can only allow it.

Think about the opposite of whatever you’ve added to your mind map. Add that. Adding opposites will loosen your perceptions.

5. Sleep on it: let yourself think

Your sleeping brain is creative. You can and do think while you’re asleep. Use this. (If you want to know more about sleep thinking, read Eric Maisel’s sleep thinking book.)

Before you go to sleep, write on a note: “how can I become more creative in my business?”. You can sleep-think about anything. You’ll be amazed at the creative solutions you develop to your challenges.

The key to sleep-thinking is to muse about your question as you’re falling asleep. Just wonder about it casually, don’t force anything.

The next morning, as soon as you wake up, write for five minutes. (Yes, you can make yourself some coffee first.)

You’re creative. Everyone is. Use these five ways to bring more creativity into your life fast.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: jef safi \ ‘Parker Mojo Flying via photopin cc

Creative Trouble: If You’re Creative, You’re Anxious

Robin
Fresh air and exercise help with creative anxiety

If you’re creative, you’re sensitive, and anxiety comes with the territory:

Therapist and creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD notes there are many different kinds of anxiety around creative expression, with different symptoms including confusion and a “weakness of mind and body” and persistent worry.

But, he says, “one of the most common anxiety reactions is a phobic reaction… many cases of creative blockage — perhaps most — are phobic reactions to the creative encounter. These real, painful, persistent phobias affect many creative people and help us better understand why creative people are prone to addictions.”

(Read the entire article, it may help you.)

Managing anxiety

Everyone’s creative, so creative anxiety affects many people other than “creatives”. Entrepreneurs are creative, and so are many other business people — everyone creating something new, or helping something to grow, is creative. And anxiety just happens.

Tip: try to avoid “attaching” anxiety to anything. If you decide there’s a real reason to be anxious, you may create problems, rather than solving them.

When you’re anxious, your mind tries to figure out why you’re anxious. A writer may decide that his current book is a disaster and a waste of time. An entrepreneur thinks his financing will collapse. A mother worries about her child’s school.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find problems. Then you’ll try to solve the “problems” — the ones you created, out of your anxiety.

On the other hand, when you realize that creative anxiety is natural, you can accept it for what it is, realize that it will fade, and go about your day.

If you’re a writer, and procrastinate because you’re anxious, this article, Productivity Magic: Shitty First Drafts Lead to $500 a Day | Angela Booth’s Fab Freelance Writing Blog discusses my own bouts with creative anxiety and depression, and the solution:

“Learning this took several years, and many needless bouts of depression. Finally, I woke up to this: everything you write can be fixed, and if your first drafts aren’t shitty, you’re not trying.

Expect crap. Be DELIGHTED to write crap. You wrote, didn’t you? You got words on the computer screen which weren’t there before, and that’s a huge achievement. It’s the first step.”

Fresh air and exercise always help

Your mother told you to get some exercise, and she was right. Get out into the fresh air, and breathe. Take a walk, preferably somewhere where there are green growing things. You’ll relax, and your anxiety will fade.

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