Top Five Podcasts For The Writer And Entrepreneur

As a writer, I’m drained daily and I’m always on the look out for a fresh angle and new content to inspire me. Lately, this inspiration has come from podcasts.

Writing time is precious and I find I either have time to read or time to write each day, never both. This means I have to expose myself to new ideas in the cracks of life.

I listen to podcasts as I mow the lawn, drive to work, and quickly eat my lunch at work. It’s a time to be presented with new ideas so I don’t stagnate and keep rising.

Here are the top five podcasts I enjoy. They are mostly nonfiction and focused on writing as a sustainable business but also on the creative process. This can be a strange balance as an artist.

One – The Accidental Creative Podcast. This is about creativity, innovation, and doing brilliant work per the description. It’s updated about once a week.

Two – This Is Your Life With Michael Hyatt. Michael Hyatt is the former president and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. If you are looking to become a professional blogger you need to follow this guy. Updated about once or twice a week.

Three – The Portfolio Life With Jeff Goins. This is similar to Michael Hyatt’s and is non-fiction. I live in fictional worlds (of my books) and hearing how Jeff went from blogger to professional is inspiriting. Updated about once a week.

Four – Simple Life Habits with Jonathan Milligan. Jonathan is the founder if Blogging Your Passion. I’ve interacted with him on Twitter and he’s a super nice guy. He’s in the Jeff Goins breed where he went from a day job to professional writer/speaker through blogging.

Five – 10x Talk With Joe Polish And Dan Sullivan. I listen to this because it is challenging. It’s business related and that “b” word can be dirty for writers.

But for me, if I ever launch an e-book  or traditionally publish I want to have ideas for getting my work into the marketplace. I think that is the biggest difficulty we writers face upon publication. This is a podcast about growing your business 10xs from savvy entrepreneurs. Updated once a weekish.

If you listen to them, share what you think. If you enjoy a podcast that is not on the list, please post it in the comments section below.

Want more of Part-Time Novel? Follow me on Twitter @parttimenovel 

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Writer -Let’s Go. Moving Out Of The Mucky Middle

The beginning and the end of writing a novel each has their own separate energy. In the beginning, we have the thrill of the new idea and fresh words on the page. We have the joy of saying we are a writer!

The end? We see the finish line. It’s no longer some vague hoped for ending over the distant hills. We can see it.

What about the middle? This is a place of wallowing, where books go to die. This is where novels unravel, life happens, and we just stop moving.

How do we get out of this? How do we keep going when we know the road ahead is still long, our ideas might not be worth anything and above all, we are tired.

Bubbling Mud

There is no simple answer for this. There is a reason I have three finished novels and umpteen half-written ones.

The main reason I stop is that love is easily lost. When we are in the middle of our work it is much easier to complain because the story has lost its luster and is now more difficult than ever.

Difficulty gets a bad reputation. Because something is hard, that may be the very reason to go after it in the first place.

The next time you find yourself in the mucky middle do what long distance runners do. Write the next ten thousand words. Then the next. Focus on the small, short-term objectives of your story arcs.

Doing this four times is much easier on your mind than trying to get to forty thousand words.

Focus on the next marker, not the end. And above all, keep writing. I promise the work will be worth it in the end.

10 Tips To Cut Out Distractions And Just Write

There are many amazing tools we writers have today. We also have a dozen more hats to wear. Not only are we the author but also the editor, publicist, marketer, and distributor. We have limited time to produce our work and more demands than ever.

Ten

Thankfully, the way books get written has been the same since people started writing. We need to put our rears in our chairs and write. Below are ten tips to just write and cut out the clutter.

  1. Have designate social media time and writing time. Separating the two times may be difficult but doing the most important task first means we are always guaranteed to finish out work. Then we can get to the platform building.
  2. Turn off your WiFi. If you don’t allow access to email or internet, you won’t get distracted, hopefully.
  3. Write at a library. Writing at home or coffee shop can be distracting. A library has low traffic and is almost always quiet.
  4. Have time planned out in advance. If you write down your writing time on your calendar it can be a great motivator to actually do it at that time.
  5. Write with pen and paper. I like to do this because there is no chance of wandering. It can be slower, but when I transcribe the words it is usually my first edit, which is a nice process.
  6. Have a designated writing machine. If you have a tablet and desktop and laptop, make one for writing and one for social media. This way you won’t have the social media or other data just the documents you need to write.
  7. Take breaks. This seems counter intuitive but I can only be productive for short bursts and not hours. Sometimes I write for forty five minutes and then go fold some laundry.
  8. Reward yourself. The same as number 7 but with a good twist. Your break is a snack or walk in the woods. Maybe just being quiet with a cup of coffee.
  9. Have a word count goal. Write 1000 words in a sitting. Then get to whatever it is you need to get done.
  10. Set a timer. The Pomodoro method is one example. Write for twenty minutes then take a five minute break. All using a timer. This helps me focus on writing time and break time when it comes and I do not tax my mind too much.

Do you have techniques that help you “just write” and stay focused? Please share below!

MY Writing Update

Writing time is precious. Using it well and not getting lost on social media sites and email is important if you want to have daily traction in your work.

This past week I tried to balance that as I battled to keep my unread emails under 100. The good news is I finished my goal of writing a blog and 1000 words a day on my YA novel. If you were waiting for an email from me now you know why I was such a jerk and did not respond!

typewriter

On Monday, I revealed a hilarious typo I did on my 7000 words in a week challenge. Click here to see what I wrote and why I think it’s wonderful to laugh at yourself and not worry what the internet might think.

Writing a book can be a taxing thing, especially when we have a full life. On Tuesday, I asked if writing gives you joy or sucks the life out of you. It was my most popular post this week. Click here to read.

If you’ve been writing for a while and just feel like you are going no where, click here to read Wednesday’s post. I ask the question – What Do You Need To Take Your Writing To The Next Level?

If you are alive and not a zombie, sooner or later a life challenge will arise. A birth, a job change, a illness, etc. Click here to read What To Do When Life Happens To Your Book.

Self-Publishing carries with it the thrill of entrepreneurialship and for some, the stigma of typo-riddled garbage. Click here to read the discussion of Would You Self-Publish, Why Or Why Not? 

Saturday’s post was my pat on the back. I apologize if you feel I bragged but I was proud I wrote a blog a day and 1000 words a day on my book. At work it was the last full week of the fiscal, we had two of my daughters birthdays, a big birthday party, and had family in from out of town.

This was somehow balanced with a forty hour work week, sleep, and spending time with family. Okay brag over. Click here to read the completion of the My Novel Recomit 7000 words in 7 days challenge. 

If you are struggling with your book know that writing does not come easily. The muse is like a cat and shows up when they want to show up. Our job is to be there consistently and give that occasional magic the opportunity to be applied to the page.

7000 Words In 7 Days Completed

When I announced I was going to do a My Novel Recommit challenge to get back to writing every day again, I didn’t realize I’d selected one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while at home and at work to do it.

But I did it. 7012 words in 7 days.

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Photo Credit: ®DS via Compfight cc

Many days I wrote until 1230am was up in the middle of the night with kids and then up at 630. It was rough. In the middle I knew I couldn’t do it. In the end I powered through. It’s always a thrill to meet a deadline.

If you joined me in the challenge, thank you. You helped me stay accountable. Special thanks to Maria Berg for competing.

I am going to put the books on the backburner for the next two weeks as I finish the preparations on my talk at the Breathe Writers Conference on Worldbuilding. I’ll tell you more about it later.

What I learned the most from this writing challenge is that no matter the tools or limited time that you have you must keep writing. That is the one and only key to being a writer and for some reason its the hardest thing to do.

I hope you find sometime this weekend to write. Create a challenge or be ready when I put another one up on my blog next month.

 

Would You Self -Publish? Why Or Why Not?

I first heard about the book The Martian on a list of books being made into movies in 2015. I loved it. Andy Weir wrote a thriller, memoir, and comedy all in one. I’d recommend the book to anyone. Then I heard it was self-published first and then picked up by a big publisher.

I was shocked.

Courtesy Wikipedia.com

Self-publishing certainly carries a stigma. Unless you have a huge following and already tested your idea, it can be extremely difficult to cut through the clutter and sell your work, even if you’ve done the diligence of paying for great editing and formatting services. Believe or not, many famous authors have done this. And they have been successful too.

Question And Caveat

Only if I’ve edited, had honest feedback, and built an enormous audience would I self-publish. Why? Because I want to be both proud of my work and give it the best chance to get in the hands of readers. Some would approach it differently and that is why I turn to you.

How about you? Have you self published or are you considering that? Would you ever consider it?

What To Do When Life Happens To Your Book

No matter how fool proof our daily word count goals or writing plans are, life will eventually have something to say about them. There will be a cold, a job loss, a move, a season of melancholy. Something will happen to stop progress.

Maybe you are stopped now?

Photo Credit: shumpei_sano_exp3 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: shumpei_sano_exp3 via Compfight cc

I know when a significant life event happens to me I curl inward. I read more, try to get time by myself, and journal. These are all good things. But you know what I don’t do? Keep writing!

I like to be serious about my work but I am no drill sergeant. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve stopped writing before because of something challenging that I knew was coming. If I’m honest, a hand full of times I’ve simply thrown in the towel instead of rising to meet it a challenging time in my schedule.

I view the routine interruption as a disruption rather than an opportunity to show my commitment the craft.

But how do you show commitment to your body of work when something interrupts your schedule? You prepare in advance.

Just like a dieter running into a tempting cupcake, we need to be ready when life events occur and say that we will not give up ahead of time. (Granted some we cannot prepare for and we need a break. It’s just that simple.)

Make up your mind right now. You won’t stop because of that wedding, job change, or move. You’ll be ready to write no matter what.

Meet the challenging time head on. Circle it in your calendar and don’t allow a life hiccup to derail you.

What Do You Need To Take Your Writing To The Next Level?

We’ve all said it. If only I had ___ then I would absolutely be a better writer. Come on, out with it. If you had more money to buy the tools, more education, less responsibility, didn’t have to work full time, had 29 hours a day.

What is that one thing you need to take your writing to the next level?

Photo Credit: Dave Catchpole via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Dave Catchpole via Compfight cc

A lot of time we compare ourselves to the greats and that’s not fair. We say things like, if only I had the writing gumption like Stephen King, or if I could just live in Paris when Hemingway did, I’m sure I’d be able to write something grand.

The problem with this thinking is that we are not focused on what we can do right now. I am not talking about a can-do attitude, but more what we are capable of doing at this juncture in out lives. Could you write 7000 words in a week? Could you write 10,000? 2,000?

I’d like to circle back to the original statement above. What do you need to take your writing to the next level?

Does it have to be all or nothing or can you start with 200 words a day? Give up one TV show a week? Buy a portable keyboard and write in the notes section on your iphone at lunch? Can’t do an MFA what about a free Coursera class on story telling?

I believe, firmly, that you should begin exploring the path of the next level now so in three to five years to can be past that obstacle or more at peace with your schedule or financial situation. But it starts with knowing what you need or what your main challenge is. Then being creative enough to get around it or write within the confines of it.

My 7000 words in 7 days is what helps me. I needed a challenge to get me writing at full speed again. Thus far I’ve written 4113 in four days.

What do you need to get to the next level writer?

Does Writing Give You Joy?

I am in the middle of a challenge of 7000 words in 7 days. Yesterday I wrote 1011. In total, I have written 3087 in three days.

At first, I thought this would be easy. I love my YA story and the world I’ve created. I love the idea and the challenge. But through the first few days I’ve lost the love a bit. Does this mean I should wait to get inspired or is this the stretched place I intended to reach?

Whenever I get here I read My Why and the joy returns.

Photo Credit: Paul-W via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Paul-W via Compfight cc

My Why reminds me why I am doing this work in the first place. The goal is to finish another book not to feel good every time I write.

I want to be consistent at putting words on the page, this much I know. Since the start of the challenge I have been able to get 1000 words or more written and put together a blog post every day.

All in all, I’ve written about 4000 words in three days. To some, that may be nothing to write home about, but that has been quite a feat for me.

I don’t write this post to brag but to share that the act of writing may not always be incredibly inspiring and joyful. But maybe writing is not about what satisfies now. Maybe finding joy in our work is a combination of the work of writing (filling the quota) and knowing how far we’ve come. From idea, to planning, to writing, to finishing.

And the truest part of all of this? No one will ever know what parts I wrote while uninspired. They will just know I’ve finished my book.

I hope that when you read this you know that anyone who has a full time job, three kids (soon to be four) can write on the side. That sometimes writing can feel like filling a quota and other times be the most thrilling thing in the world but you must keep going either way.

I hope you find joy in your work today or joy in knowing how far you’ve come.

Do You Laugh At Or Fret Over Your Mistakes?

On yesterdays’ post, I made a hilarious typo. I am in the middle of a self imposed challenge called 7000 words in 7 days (Yesterday was great, I finished at 1012 words) and instead of writing 7000 words in 7 days, I typed 7000 words in 7000 days. Three or four times.

chatter teeth 1

I got comment on my blog that said 7000 words in 7000 days? I also had the same correction on the link to my FaceBook page. I’m tired and I laughed it off.

This morning I woke up and thought, why did I do that? Five years ago I would have been mortified that I shared that with the entire internet. I’d worry about it, fret over it, try desperately to change it and make it look right.

Why are we so afraid of what others think? Of looking unprofessional, or more accurately, of looking normal?

Failure or errors or inconsistencies are all part of being human. We have this imperfect perfectness about us. But we all make mistakes and thankfully I am at a place where I can laugh at them now. It even inspired this blog post.

I hope this inspires you to laugh more. Also you can get working on a novel and just work at the slow pace of 7000 words in 7000 days.