Anthony Metivier is the author of more than a dozen best-selling non-fiction books that help people improve their memory and learn new languages.
He’s also a popular blogger and a professor. I’ve known Anthony for a few years and his approach to creativity can help writers of all types create better books that readers love.
In this podcast episode, Metivier explains:
* How to use a memory palace to research a book
* Why he believes every writer should embrace mind-mapping
* How self-publishing non-fiction books helped him build an online business
January is one of my favourite times of the year. It's a time for renewal and for reflecting on what worked and didn't work during the previous year.
So in this 2018 annual review, I will share with you what worked for me during 2018, what didn't work and what I'm going to focus on during 2019.
Hopefully you can use some of my lessons to build authority this year and earn more from your writing.
Alexander Niehues (aka Alex Newton) worked as a senior management consultant in the corporate world for 20 years before quitting his career to work at home in Stuttgart and founding K-lytics.
In this podcast episode, Newton explains:
How to use analytics to sell more books
Why he relies on outsourcing and contractors
What non-fiction authors can do to earn more money
The types of books that sell a lot on Amazon today
And lots more.
James Clear is the New York Times best-selling author of Atomic Habits.
He also coaches readers (and even writers) how to succeed in their personal and professional lives by reaping the rewards of smart daily decisions.
In this podcast episode, he explains:
How to use effective habits to write a book
The value of writing just one page a day
His process for coming up with book titles like Atomic Habits
How writing two articles a week helped him build a business and write a New York Times best-selling book
Find out more at http://becomeawritertoday.com and http://atomichabits.com
Michael Jordan credits Howard H. White with supporting him throughout his 15-year career and helping him beyond the game of basketball.
He's Nike's liaison for athletes such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley
White is also the author of the popular business book Believe to Achieve.
In this interview, he explains:
* How he wrote a popular business book
* His process for setting big audacious goals
* What he learnt from Michael Jordan
And lots more.
Meditation is a proven practice that can help writers and creative professionals find better ideas for their work too.
After I wake up early, I typically meditate each morning for 10 or twenty minutes before sitting down to write. This practice can help you find better ideas for your fiction and non-fiction too.
Just ask meditation coach Marianne McGuire.
In this podcast episode, she explains:
* The link between focusing on your breath and the blank page
* How new writers can conquer feeling overwhelmed
* A type of meditation practice that's perfect for writers
And lots more.
Do you want to self-publish your non-fiction book?
What services do you need to pay for when publishing your first book?
I think you'll agree with me that there's a lot to self-publishing a book for the first time.
These are just three of the questions I faced when I started self-publishing books.
In this podcast, I’ll explain how to get your book ready for Amazon... today!
Want more? Check out https://becomeawritertoday.com/cost-of-self-publishing/
Have you ever written a paragraph in your book, rewrote it, written another paragraph, and then went back and rewrote that too?
And on and on and on…
An hour goes by.
You realise you haven't written anything at all. All you’ve done is rewrite the same part of your book.
For years, I wrote like this. I worked on my stories and ideas, and I spent hours tinkering with my sentences, moving the nouns around and looking for the right verbs. This is a terrible way to write, and in this podcast I'll explain why.
Want more? Get my free self-editing checklist at https://becomeawritertoday.com/editing-checklist/
Over the years, I've tested dozens of digital productivity tools for setting goals and managing to-do lists. Although digital tools are useful, paper-based daily planners are becoming more popular.
MiGoals is an example of an Australian company that sells these type of daily planners online.
Co-founder Adam Jelic and his team created a series of daily planners and journals to help writers, entrepreneurs and creatives accomplish more each day.
A former soccer player, Jelic started his business as a side-hustle in 2010, while working full-time selling photocopiers.
Jelic felt motivated by the regarded Australian Football League Player, the late Jim Stynes, who encouraged people to get out of their comfort zone, face their fears, and do things that matter.
So Jelic set a goal of leaving his full-time job to work at MiGoals full-time and support his family.
But, how did Jelic turn this goal into reality?
When was the last time you had to deal with criticism?
If you’ve worked with an editor, you’ll know how difficult it can be to deal with criticism.
Working hard on an article only to get it back covered in red ink or with a request for a major rewrite isn’t a pleasant experience.
But here’s the thing:
It happens to every writer, and it’s part of the job.
Failure and rejection are pit-stops along your journey to becoming a better writer.
I know this from personal experience.
No matter what type of writer you are, setting a writing goal will help you succeed with your articles, stories and even books.
In this episode, I will explain the different types of writing goals you can set and how you can track your goals.
Recently I came across a great quote and a piece of advice by David Brooks who is an American writer who writes with the New York Times and other publications. He said:
"Great creative minds think like artists but work like accountants."
This is a fantastic piece of advice because yes, there's a time for exploring interesting ideas that you're intrigued by, but you also need to quantify what success for your writing looks like.
Be honest with yourself. Ask: have you actually produced anything of merit?
In other words, you need to be able to step back from your work and ask yourself, "Is this getting the job done?"
Like many people, I spend way too much time thumbing through news feeds and clicking on intriguing Twitter headlines. Over the years, I've investigated various ways of reducing how long I spend staring at my feeds so I can focus more on work or unwinding come five o'clock.
Today, I regularly use the app Pocket to save interesting articles I come across during the working day to my phone and read them later after I've worked through my to-do list.
I wanted to discover more about how to create and write popular non-fiction articles.
So I spoke to Nate Weiner, CEO of Pocket. I started by asking Nate why he created Pocket in the first place before getting into what makes for a remarkable article.
Would you like to get out of the starting blocks faster when your alarm clock sounds?
If so, you need a morning ritual or routine you adhere to without question. Beethoven, for example, went for an early morning walk each day with a pocket notebook to capture ideas before composing.
He did all right.
In The Creative Habit, American choreographer Twyla Tharp explained,
"It's Pavlovian: Follow the routine, (and) get a creative pay off."
So what rituals can you follow to rise up and start the day the right way?
Find out in this episode.
Writing is a lonely job.
It demands spending extended periods by yourself working on articles, stories or books, often without feedback from others.
Look at the work spaces of many famous writers, and you'll find them typing away in basements, coffee shops and rooms at the tops of their houses or backs of their apartments.
The American poet Raymond Carver, for example, often wrote on a notepad in his car.
The big question is: How can you balance the time you need by yourself to create and the accompanying feelings of loneliness?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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 thepowerofcreativitybook.com
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: https://betterhumans.coach.me/how-to-start-a-journaling-habit-today-99d5f98fe8cc
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.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules for Writers: https://writingcooperative.com/kurt-vonneguts-rules-for-writers-f5ccabcf92ff
Why Publish A Large Print Edition Of Your Book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK1sciYoHlM
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?
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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Steve Martin's Masterclass-https://becomeawritertoday.com/masterclass-review/
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).
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).
"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
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.
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
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 Kindlepreneur.com. He's also the man behind one of my favourite tools for indie writers: KDPRocket.
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.