Become a Writer Today

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By Bryan Collins
Welcome to Become a Writer Today hosted by Bryan Collins from Ireland. Get practical advice about creativity, productivity, writing and lots more.

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Want to Become More Creative? Take a Nap Every Day
Lots of top writers and creative professionals nap every day. It will help you find more ideas and focus on your writing. In this episode, I explain how to nap effectively and get away with it, based on an interview with Christoper Lindholst CEO of Metronaps.
August 2, 2018
What You Can Learn About Success from Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is one of the world's top business writers, but did you know he struggled to find success for years? In this episode, I explain how Gladwell made peace with marketing and writing and what you can learn from his approach.
July 26, 2018
The Best Grammar Checker in 2018: Whitesmoke vs Ginger vs Grammarly
What's the best grammar checker you can use in 2018? Or are you looking for the best online proofreading software? As a writer who loves tools, I've tested some of the most popular proofreading tools and best grammar checkers for writers, bloggers and authors. In this post, I'll explain what's the best proofreading software and grammar checker software in 2018 and what you need to know about each one of these tools. I'll also review Ginger and Whitesmoke in detail.
July 19, 2018
4 Timeless Productivity Lessons from Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein knew how to work hard, and he also knew when to take time off. He once said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." Einstein's curiosity drove him as a child, adult and older man to pursue scientific ideas and projects that are still applicable today, such as his famous Theory of Relativity. His life and approach to work, as detailed by Walter Isaacson, offers many lessons if you want to become more productive.
July 12, 2018
3 Timeless Productivity Lessons from Benjamin Franklin
Author. Printer. Politician. Scientist. Postmaster. Founding father. As one of the leading thinkers and public figures of the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin knew a thing or two about getting things done—and playing the whistle (more on that later). He demonstrated a tremendous stability to balance competing projects, interests and jobs. So how did he accomplish so much during his lifetime, and how can you apply these mental strategies today?
July 5, 2018
The Power of Creativity
Where are you going next?” I was sick of this question. I was nearly two months into a summer backpacking trip around Brazil, and I’d begun to loathe the backpackers around me. They kept asking me questions – not because they cared about my answer, but so they could prove their experiences were more valid – and I was tired of it. I guess I was jealous.... In this episode I narrate an extract from The Power of Creativity and explain how you can find better ideas for your creative projects. Find out more by visiting
June 14, 2018
What I Learnt By Writing Over One Million Words in a Journal
This is a follow on episode where I elaborate on my journal writing practice. It's also based on this detailed article I wrote for Better Humans on Medium: Resources
June 7, 2018
Riffing on Kurt Vonnegut's Rules for Writers
Kurt Vonnegut got over his fears about becoming an author. He learnt how to write great books… and how to sell them. He also crafted eight rules for struggling and fearful writers… but they apply to all types of writing, even if you’re crafting the copy for the back of a cereal box. Resources Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules for Writers: Why Publish A Large Print Edition Of Your Book:
June 1, 2018
David Mamet's Rules for Success
Famous American playwright and screenwriter David Mamet offers two rules for success as an artist. Although he speaks primarily from his experiences as a dramatic writer, Mamet’s advice is useful for all kinds of creatives including painters, musicians, comedians and even bloggers on Medium. He said, “You’ve got to do one thing for your art every day, and you’ve got to do one thing for your business every day.” What does Mamet’s advice look like in practice? And is he right?
May 22, 2018
How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book
Do you want to turn your blog into a book? If you're a non-fiction writer, this is a fantastic approach to writing a book. Last year, I set out to write a book about non-fiction writing. I decided that I wanted to turn some of the blog posts from Become a Writer Today into book chapters. So I drew together the strands of my published blog posts with the topic for my book. In this episode, I'll explain what I learned from this approach to book writing. I'll also give you some blog to book tips. But first, why should you consider turning a blog post into a book? And how do you know if this approach to book writing is for you?
May 15, 2018
Writing the First Draft: The No-Nonsense Guide for Authors
I once wrote the first draft of a book chapter that smelt so bad, I had to open up the office window while reading it. It's a good thing my first drafts are for me alone, and yours should be too. When you sit down to write a first draft, you may lack confidence or feel uninspired by what you're about to do. When you’re writing a first draft, it's you alone wrestling with your ideas and stories, and if you pin one to the page or if procrastination pins you to the chair, nobody needs to know. Most writers, even successful ones, don't write good first drafts. They're more concerned with getting the words out of their heads and onto the blank page. They know they can fix their writing later on during a subsequent rewrite or during the editing process. You may feel like you're writing with a crayon in your mouth, and that's okay.
May 8, 2018
Getting Your Technique Down
New York man Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) wanted to do one thing with his life: to live for art. During his teens and early twenties, he experimented with drawing, painting and sculpture. Then, in 1970 a friend gave Robert a loan of a 360 Land camera, a clunky but technically simple, silver and black device. Robert settled on the camera as his creative tool of expression because “it was more honest.” At first, Robert restricted himself to only taking pictures of his former -girlfriend and life-long creative partner the singer Patti Smith. The confines of a single muse shaped his creative vision and enabled him to hone his technique. In Just Kids, Patti writes: “He was comfortable with me and he needed time to get his technique down. The mechanics of the camera were simple, but the options were limited.”
May 1, 2018
Writing and Working From Home
I've worked at home on and off for several years as a journalist, copywriter and marketer. I've procrastinated and accomplished nothing while working outside of the office. I've also enjoyed some of my most productive days while working at home. I'm not alone. Earlier this year, social media software company Buffer found that more than 90% of employees working outside of the office would prefer to work remotely for the remainder of their careers rather than going back to the office. You might prefer working from home, so you need to take the right steps to avoid distractions and become more productive.
April 24, 2018
What New Writers Need to Know About Fear
I want to talk about four of the most common fears that new writers and people who set out to write a book for the first time often have. To talk about these fears I want to tell you a little bit about my writing journey. You see, when I was in my early twenties I decided I wanted to become a writer and I said I wanted to write a book but there was just one problem, I wasn’t writing anything at all. You see, I believed I wasn’t ready to write and I needed some anointed mentor in a tweed jacket to pull me aside and say “Bryan, now is your time!” and I became jealous of the success of the people around me – the journalist I went to college with and the other students in the creative writing class I was in and I felt sick by my lack of progress. So I joined an advanced creative writing and non-fiction writing workshop in Dublin and on the second evening, the instructor said that every student had to submit a short story or a personal essay.
April 19, 2018
How to Write Every Day
I knew I wanted to publish my first book, and that learning to write every day was the key to doing it. But, it wasn’t enough to know the concept. I had to figure out how to keep my deadlines and finish writing what I started. How could I write every day and balance having a job, two kids, friends and family who don’t write, and all the in-betweens? I faced my biggest challenge yet. If couldn’t face this one down, I’d never be able to call myself an author. I’d never be able to look myself in the mirror again. Find out how I created a daily writing habit. Resources:
April 17, 2018
Yes, You Can Write! Use These Writing Prompts
Now, my list of writing prompts works for me... because I wrote them. No, that’s not the sound of my over-sized ego banging off the ceiling. I’d like you to create your own list of writing prompts and add to it over time. Whether you’re writing a journal entry, a blog post or a book chapter, keeping a personal library of writing prompts will save you hours of wasted time. Use a notepad. Use a digital app like Evernote. Use the back of your hand if you have to... but build your personal library of writing prompts. Start by taking a great first line from your favourite book, writer or story. You could go on to record snippets of conversations, headlines you like and even ideas you come across in great books. Use what works and discard the rest. If you do this, you won’t have to perch yourself over the blank page and wonder if you’ve got what it takes to become a successful writer. Instead, you’ll be able to say, “Yes, I can write!” Want more? Get your free book of writing pro
April 12, 2018
What Steve Martin Said After Becoming Wildly Successful
Steve Martin spent much of the 1970s becoming America’s top stand-up comedian. He toured the country with his surreal show, and he sold out arenas to thousands of screaming fans. Martin wanted more. His real goal was to break into the movie business. Martin knew it would take a single-minded focus to achieve this new, larger goal. So, he put his stand-up comedy career to one side to concentrate on acting and screenwriting. Resources Born Standing Up by Steve Martin Steve Martin's Masterclass-
April 4, 2018
7 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Your First Book
It’s exciting, isn’t it? Writing your first book and then sending the final version to your editor and later it being available (and SELLING!) on stores like Amazon. The months (or even years) of hard work are over, and now you can watch with pride as your book goes out into the world. Now, you can sit back as your ideas and stories make an impact on readers and earn you a side-income. You can finally call yourself an author. But, what if you’re not there yet? What if you’re still struggling to finish writing your first book? Then, I think you’ll agree with me that writing a book is tough work. Like really tough. But, don’t worry. In this episode, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m going to reveal seven of the most common writing mistakes aspiring authors must avoid (and how you can do it).
March 27, 2018
How to Become a Better Writer: 7 Ways You Can Improve Your Craft
Several readers and listeners recently emailed me asking: “How can I become a better writer?” The right answer to how to become a better writer (or even a good writer), depends on what level you’re at, what you write, and what becoming a better writer means for you. For example, Stephen King may think success means topping the New York Times best-seller list. (Suffice to say, Mr. King did not email me.) Success for a new writer could mean getting published in a magazine for the first time. Years ago, success for me meant writing pretty little sentences. These days my answer to how to become a better writer means helping readers (more on that in this episode).
March 22, 2018
Why Journal Writing Is Such a Valuable Practice
"The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.” — Virginia Woolf Do you keep a journal? I’ve spent years writing in journals of various forms and it’s my favourite writing practice. In this short post, I explain why you should start one too. Top Tools for Journal Writing A notepad: you can’t beat the classics! Day One: a dedicated journaling app for Mac and iOS users Journey: a diary app for Android The Daly Stoic Journal by Ryan Holiday: Packed full of journaling prompts, I keep a copy on my desk The Early Morning Pages by Julia Cameron: a guide to writing in the early hours A password-protected file: nosey-parkers, keep out! Onenote or Evernote: both are useful if you like tagging entries WordPress: you can password-protect your entries
March 16, 2018
Knowing When It's Time to Write (And Finding Space to Do It)
In episode, I explain how you can find time and space for working on your non-fiction book. This is an extract from The Art of Writing a Non-Fiction Book. The full audiobook is available now on Amazon and Audible.
March 14, 2018
How to Self-Publish a Great Book With Chandler Bolt
I caught up with Chandler Bolt, the author of six self-published books and the founder of Self Publishing School. In this interview, he told me about: * How to self-publish a book * The one thing you must do before you write or self-publish your book * How to avoid the common mistakes new writers (not authors!) make * The simple rule that helps Chandler balance writing with running a successful business Check out:
March 13, 2018
How to Sell More Books on Amazon with David Chesson
In this interview, David Chesson of Kindlepreneur and I talk about how to sell more books on Amazon Kindle. Dave is 31 years old and a 9 year veteran of the US Navy. He was also a military kid who has lived in all corners of the globe. But that’s not what defines him. After his family, his real passion is books, but more specifically Kindle ebooks. David blogs regularly about selling more books on He's also the man behind one of my favourite tools for indie writers: KDPRocket. Check out:
March 13, 2018
Managing Your Creative Deadlines Like a Pro
Whether you're writing fiction, non-fiction or blogging, deadlines are important. In this episode, I explain five ways you can manage your time and ship your work. I even offer a tip from Elon Musk's playbook.
March 13, 2018
How to Become Focused and Productive Without Burning Out
Lots of writers and creative professionals worry about keeping focused and productive without burning out. Find out how to strike the right balance in this episode.
March 13, 2018
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