Create Your Habits with Intention or Continue to Suffer from Default Habits

 “We can either make a habit, or some habit will form and start making us,”—Ken Hughes

The other day someone on Facebook asked, “if you had to pick a song to be the theme song of your life, which would you choose?” 

Several people commented that there were too many to choose, but I knew right away after reading it which song I’d pick. I already call this song the theme song for my life.

The song, Make Yourself, by Incubus, has been the theme song of my life for more than a decade now. Because the lyrics fit exactly what I believe about life—that you have to create who you want to be and what you want your life to be like. 

Some of the lyrics…

“If I hadn’t made me

I would have been made somehow

If I hadn’t assembled myself

I’d have fallen apart by now

If I hadn’t made me

I’d be more inclined to bow

Powers that would be have swallowed me up

But that’s more than I can allow

If you let them make you

They’ll make you papier-mâché

At a distance you’re strong

Until the wind comes

Then you crumble and blow away…”

(You can hear the full song here.)

I consciously took the wheel of my life when I left for college at age 17 and went off on my own. But over the last few years as I’ve worked a lot more on my mindset, I’ve been consciously creating myself in a whole new way. 

Which started with a total revamp of my habits (multiple times over). 

The things we do every day are the things that are making our lives. The things we get used to; the things we do by default, those are the things we are living for. 

Which means you’re either living for your writing dream and for doing the writing that will get you there… or you’re living for Resistance or procrastination or numbing out with food and TV or whatever else you’re doing in place of doing your writing. 

The choice is always yours. You get to decide, every single day, what will make you.

Whatever habits you currently have—aka: the things you do daily—that’s what you’re giving your life for. 

So the thing that needs to be looked at here is—what’s your default? 

Because unless you’ve been intentional about your life and have created the things you want and the habits that will support you in getting it, you’re operating and living by default with whatever default programming you picked up throughout your life so far.

Really think about this one and don’t be afraid to take an honest look at the things you’re doing every day. It may even help to keep track of everything you do every day for a week and then look back at what you’re giving your life for. 

If it does’t look how you want, it’s time to consider a habits overhaul. 

To do this, just pick ONE habit… one thing that if you did it every day (or stopped doing it every day) a year from now would totally transform your life. And then start doing (or not doing) that habit every day. 

Be consistent. Stick with it. 

What you’ll find by changing one habit is not only will your life start to change, but you’ll want to add in more new habits (or continue removing old ones you no longer want). 

But the best thing to do is to pick one to start with. You don’t want to try and change everything all at once or go cold-turkey on everything because that’s just setting yourself up for a setback. 

Pick one thing. Choose something massively important that would actually transform your life. Do that one thing every day. 

And can I make a recommendation? Choose the one thing that will totally change your writing life first (‘cause you know you want to!). 

A couple months ago I tried to change EVERYTHING all at once. I started new daily writing habits, I changed my diet completely, I started new exercise habits…AHHH!!! 

It was all too much too fast. My body went haywire and it took me almost 3 weeks to get back to feeling normal again.

So I decided to take a step back and just do one thing. I picked building a daily habit of doing my writing (blog post and work on my fiction) every morning first thing before I do anything else. 

And I’ve kept it up. I’ve been on track for almost 2 months now with doing a daily blog post and working on my fiction. I give myself a break on the weekends, meaning I still make a point to write something, but I don’t force myself into it has to be a blog post or I have to work on my novel. 

Usually that’s what I end up working on anyhow, but I give myself the freedom to write or work on whatever I want on the weekends, as long as I write something. 

I’m starting to feel pretty stable with my daily mindset practice habit, as well as my daily writing habit. So I’m to add in some food-related habits, a little at a time. 

Creating yourself exactly as you dream of being is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

The important part is that you make the decision that you will consciously create yourself and who you want to be, and not continue to live your life based on default programming that may or may not actually align with who you want to be.

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. Writing Life Rehab is happening later this month!! This workshop will kick your ass and get you out of default mode and into creating your writing life exactly as you want it to be. Best of all, if you’re a member of the Bestselling Author Mastermind, you get the Writing Life Rehab workshop for FREE! Doors to BAM open to new members next week. Get on the waitlist so you’re the first to know when the doors open.

The Only Reason You’re “Time Poor” Is Because You’re NOT Doing What Matters

There was a point in my writing life where I made way more excuses than I did put words on the page. Back then, I used to say, “I don’t have time” on a regular basis. I was working a full-time day job and trying to run a blog and write books and maintain a personal life. 

It was a lot to fit in.

So I’d constantly find myself saying, “I don’t have time” or “there’s not enough time in the day” or [insert whatever other time excuse you can make]. But then one day a thought hit me…

What if “I don’t have time” and “there’s not enough time in the day” are just limiting beliefs that have been programmed into me… and I can choose to create new beliefs around time?

So I started writing in my journal every day: I am productive as fuck today. I bend the fuck out of time today. 

I’ve now instilled beliefs in myself that there’s always plenty of time for everything I need to do, and I can bend time at will. And funnily enough this has become true for me.

My productivity is at an all-time high right now, and it gets better and better every day.

I can now intend that I will bend the fuck out of time for the next 30 minutes or whatever, and somehow I always manage to get everything I need to done in that time. 

Why? 

Because time is an illusion. Einstein proved it. So that means you get to decide how time feels for you. 

You know when you go to work on a slow day and time seems to drag on? Eight hours feels like 20 and when you finally get to leave at the end of the day you’re spent. But then when you go on vacation to your favorite beach resort, the week flies by faster than you can blink.

That’s a perfect example of time feeling different based on the situation. But you can change the way time feels at any point during that work day or that vacation. 

You can choose to live in the moment on your vacation and savor every little second of the day and fit in as much living as possible. Suddenly it feels like enough. You can choose to take advantage of your work time and work on something you’ve been wanting to work on, but didn’t have time for, and suddenly your day flies by. 

You can make it feel like you have time abundance. 

And here’s the other thing about time abundance: it will always feel like you don’t have enough when you’re not doing what matters every day.

When I look back at the years of my life where I felt like I didn’t have enough time in my day, it was the years when I wasn’t doing what actually mattered each day. I was putting the things that mattered off to do all these other things—a lot of which I didn’t really want to do. 

But as soon as I started doing what matters every single day and doing it first, before I do anything else, suddenly I had all the time in the world. Suddenly by dedicating 1-2 hours of my morning to what matters, my entire day opened up. 

And because what I really wanted to be doing—journaling, writing, creating—was finished early in my day, my mind was free for the rest of the day.

When I wasn’t doing what matters, I’d find myself thinking about my writing or my stories all day long. But when I sit down and do my writing and work on my fiction first thing in the morning and get it done, then I’m not thinking about it all day long, which gives me free mental space for other things that need to get done.

Sure, my story may stay on my mind as I go through my day, but I’m not feeling resentful that I’m having to be doing other things, because I’ve already done what matters.

Time abundance comes from doing what matters, doing it daily, and doing it first things first. 

Action Steps

Here’s what to do next…

1. Figure out what old, limiting beliefs you have about time (there’s not enough, etc), and then flip them into new beliefs that will allow you to feel differently about time (There’s plenty of time for everything that matters” etc).

2. Start doing what matters, every day, first things first. It will change your life, I promise you. 

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. I get it now. I saw this light around doing what matters a year ago around this same time, but somehow managed to forget and get lost again. But thankfully it came back to me, and this time around I’m holding on to it and creating the discipline and habits that I need to have to turn it into a daily thing. 

I’m now fully, 150% committed to doing what matters, every day, before I do anything else. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be a year from now!! 

Want to join me in doing what matters, every day and doing it first? Stay tuned! Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are opening soon!! And since it’s the one-year anniversary of the group, I’m doing some MAJOR celebration bonuses, including a workshop that will kick your ass into finally making your writing a priority. 

BAM is a high-level community and mentorship for writers who want to create the habits, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a bestselling author. You get insanely awesome tools and resources every month to help with whatever stage you’re at in your writing journey, plus we do 3x weekly work sessions where we meet up virtually and work on our writing projects together. 

There will be a bonus for anyone who signs up that was on the waitlist, so get on the waitlist here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/mastermind 

Embrace The Chaos And Carry On

As I sit here writing this, there are dishes in the sink and on the counter; there’s a pile of towels and pajamas on the big-red chair in my living room, which my dog, Weiland, has now made his little nest for the day; while we’re at it, my living room could definitely use a vacuuming; and don’t even get me started about the laundry baskets and clothes rack in my bedroom with last week’s laundry still hanging-dry on it. 

But this blog post is getting written.

And when I’m done writing this blog post, I’ll work on my novel revisions. Then I’ll work on my sections in the eBook I’m coauthoring with a friend. 

The dishes and laundry and vacuuming will still be there. But my writing will be done. And I will have made progress on my goals and my writing dreams.

This is the way of the writing warrior—the writer and author who refuses to let anything get in the way or stop them from getting their words and stories out into the world. 

There will always be life chaos. Wait, let me repeat that one… on stereo… THERE WILL ALWAYS BE LIFE CHAOS!! 

It never goes away. If you do the dishes, there will be more soon after. If you put the laundry away, more will take its place on the drying rack. 

You can always find something that needs cleaning or organizing or repairing or whatever. It’s a never-ending cycle. 

But if your writing—your soul work—isn’t getting done at the expense of the cleaning, organizing, repairing, etc., it’s time to make some changes. 

You’ve been waiting your whole life to be the writer and author you dream of being. How much longer are you willing to wait for? How much longer are you going to put your dream on hold for bullshit excuses and housework (or whatever you’re doing that stops you from writing)? 

I used to think all that stuff mattered. That I had to have a perfectly clean house and everything had to be put away and neat and organized before I could spend time doing what I really wanted to do. 

And some days I’d procrastinate and resist my writing so much that I actually made the housework more important, even though deep down I knew it really wasn’t. 

Do you know what happened? 

I had a neat, clean, organized space to live in, but was dying on the inside from not letting the writing out. 

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I finally allowed myself to do the writing—the stuff that really mattered—before I did the housework. It was magical, because after I finished writing and finished doing what really mattered to me, not only did the other stuff get done, but I didn’t resent it anymore. 

The laundry, the dishes, it all gets done eventually. (You can even hire someone to do it for you, amazing, right?) And now so does my writing. 

I’ve learned to embrace the chaos. I’ve finally accepted that I’ll never get it all done and I’ll never really keep on top of everything in my life. But so long as I’m keeping on top of and doing the things that really matter to me—my writing, creating and teaching—then everything else will work itself out.

How can you embrace the chaos in your life and get your writing done anyhow? 

Write with a purpose, live with intention!

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. Could your writing life use a pick-me-up? Then stay tuned… more details about the Bestselling Author Mastermind, my high-level community and mentorship group for writers who want to create the habits, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a bestselling author, are coming soon. Get on the waitlist here so you’re the first to know when the doors open (and you’ll get access to a waitlist-only bonus!): www.jenniferblanchard.net/mastermind 

How To Finish Revising Your Novel in 30 Days

The other day I told you my 30-day game plan for finishing the first draft of your novel. Except what if you’re revising a novel?

Well, luckily the process isn’t totally different. But there are a few things you’ll want to do before you follow the 30-day-finish-your-draft process.

1. Start Fresh Off A Break

A really important part of being able to revise your story objectively is to get enough distance from it before you come back to do the revisions. If you finish the first draft and then just jump into revisions, you won’t have fresh eyes and won’t properly be able to judge how good or bad it is.

The best way to get into a revision is to start off fresh.

Action Step: take at least 4-6 weeks away from your first draft before you attempt to revise in 30 days. Schedule it into your calendar and actually mark down the ‘start revisions’ date so you’re accountable to it.

2. Make A Plan For What Needs to Be Done

Before you can revise your draft, you have to first:

  • Know what you have to work with
  • Create a plan of attack for working with what you’ve got

You can follow this step-by-step revision prep process here, which will walk you through exactly what to do to create your revision plan.

Be sure to categorize your notes by what you need to work on: plot, characterization, description, conflict, etc. Knowing exactly what to look for as you’re revising will make the whole process go quicker (which is great for when you want to revise the entire draft in 30 days).

Action Step: put together your revision plan by going through the revision prep process and looking at your story as a whole (or you can grab my Story Revision Kit and have checklists and resources to make it all easier on yourself).

3. Create A Schedule Around What You Will Work On and When

Once you’ve got your revision plan ready to go, it’s time to pull out your calendar and figure out when you’ll work on each piece of your revision. Go back through your categorizations of what you need to work on (see step #2) and divide them up across 30 days.

For example, during week 1 of the 30 days, you can focus on plot improvements and then week 2 you can handle characterization and character arc. Week 3 could be for layering in description and then week 4 could be copyediting and proofreading before sending to your developmental editor for notes and feedback.

Action Step: grab your calendar and your revision notes and map out exactly what you’ll work on and when.

4. Follow All of the Steps from the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days Article 

Before you officially start revising, be sure to go through the steps listed in the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days article and be sure to do all of them. You’ll need everything listed there to successfully finish your revision.

Action Step: go read the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days article and do all of the steps listed in it.

That’s how you get your novel revision finished in 30 days. But don’t just read this article, take action on it. Like right now. Today.

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

 

 

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. And if you want some kick-ass motivation, inspiration and accountability so you can step up and FINISH your novel revisions, be sure to check out my upcoming workshop, FINISH Your Damn Novel: 30 days of kick-ass motivation, inspiration, accountability and getting-writing-done for writers who’ve started a novel (draft or revision) and want to finish. Doors close TONIGHT at 11:59 p.m. EST so if you want in, now’s the time!! 

>> Details and sign up here

How To Finish Writing Your Novel in 30 Days

Thirty days doesn’t seem like a lot of time when you’re thinking about finishing a project you started and then put off. But 30 days is actually a lot of time! And the thing is, the time’s gonna pass anyhow. So you may as well be doing something you actually care about with that time.
 
Which is why I’ve put together this quick-start guide for how to finish writing your novel in 30 days.
 
Now I will add that this list is for writers who have already started the draft of a novel. If you’re still in the planning and development stages, you need a whole different list. And if you’re revising, you’ll need a different (although similar) list as well (the revise-in-30-days list is coming Friday!).
 

First—why 30 days?

 
Because I have a theory that when you cut down your timeline, you actually motivate yourself and light a fire under your ass that gets you out of your head (see ya later doubt!) and into action. Anytime I’ve cut my timeline down, whether that be 30 days, 10 days or something else, it always gets me moving in the direction I want to go.
 
But when I give myself unlimited time to get something done or I don’t set a specific deadline for finishing it, I end up not working on it consistently, making excuses for why it’s not done yet, and then half a year or more passes and it’s still not done.
 
It’s a vicious cycle.
 
I started the first draft of my second novel in November 2015. But I didn’t finish it until February 2016. And it’s not because it just took me that long. Not at all. I started it in November and then I stopped working on it for almost 2 months.
 
I was only a handful of scenes away from being finished with it when I met a mentor in February 2016 who inspired and motivated me to FINISH.
 
So I did. I wrote the rest of the first draft—as crappy as the writing may have been—and I called it done. (Don’t get me started on how long it’s been taking me for the revision, mostly because I haven’t been being consistent until the last month or so.)
 
And finishing that first draft didn’t take me very long, once I set my mind to the fact that it was DONE and it would be done that month. Yes, I still had to take the actions and do the writing, but by making the decision that it was done, the words flowed a lot easier and I got it done within the 30-day timeframe that I set for myself.
 
How did I do it? Here’s how…
 

1. Decide On A Daily Measurable

 
You don’t have to write based on word count or page count or even scene count. But you can. And you should write based on at least one of those things. Otherwise you’ll have no idea if you’re making progress or not.
 
The feeling of doing the writing is amazing and will definitely motivate you, but seeing actual progress in black-and-white will really, really motivate you.
 
Action Step: what daily measurable will you use to ensure you’re making progress on finishing your first draft?
 

2. Get Yourself Some Accountability

 
This is super important. I wouldn’t get half the stuff I get done every day if it weren’t for all of the accountability I have set up in my life.
 
I’ve got an accountability partner for the things I want to get done each week. I’ve got an accountability partner for things I want to get done each day. And I’ve also got an accountability partner for the things I want to get done each month.
 
And yes, I need this many. I need more! Because self-set deadlines and keeping yourself accountable only goes so far. At some point, you’ll need someone outside yourself to help you out. (Unless you’re someone who is super good at self-accountability. But let’s just be honest—most writers and creators are not.)
 
I see myself as a leader. And a leader doesn’t show up to an accountability session and say that they didn’t do what they said they would. Creating built-in accountability has quadrupled my productivity.
 
Action Step: who can you find in your life to hold you accountable to doing your writing? Choose someone who will actually hold you to doing what you said you would, otherwise it won’t be very useful.
 

3. Find A Writing Sprints Partner

 
Writing sprints are basically timed periods of writing where you try to get as many words written as you can. Usually you do a writing sprint with a partner or a group of people (you could do it alone with a timer if you really wanted to, but it’s not as fun).
 
All you have to do is set a time to meet up virtually (you can check in via Facebook message, email or text message), and then decide on how long you’re sprinting for. Then you’re off and writing until the time is up.
 
For example—you could decide to meet up online at Noon and then do a 15-minute writing sprint and check in. Or you could decide to sprint until 12:30 and then check in.
 
How you do the writing sprints doesn’t really matter. But doing them, and especially with a partner, is major motivation to get out of your head and into action.
 
Action Step: who can you do writing sprints with? Find someone and get some writing sprint sessions set up pronto.
 

4. Use A Timer

 
I don’t care what you’re doing—writing, reading, watching TV—almost everything works better when you have a set time for how long you’re gonna do the activity for. Using a timer for my writing and other projects has seriously changed my life and amped up my productivity in a major way.
 
I like to do things in 15- or 21-minute sessions (sometimes 31-minutes if I really feel like it), and then take a break for a few before starting the next thing. That may not seem like a lot of time to work on your writing or creating or whatever you’re doing, but think of it this way… add 21 minutes a day up over 7 days. Then add it up over 14 days. Then add it up over 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.
 
And 365 days of writing for 21 minutes a day equals 7,665 minutes, or around 128 hours of time. Now imagine if you actually worked on your novel or writing project for 128 hours over the course of a year.
 
What you’ll find is that it’s enough. It’s enough time to actually make progress and get somewhere.
 
I’ve been revising my second novel for 15- to 21-minutes a day for the last month and I’m already more than a quarter of the way through. And I’ll be speeding things up and finishing the rest next month (more details on that below).
 
Action Step: find yourself a timer if you don’t already have one (or use this timer here). Start writing and creating by the timer. Do it daily.
 

5. Give Yourself A Deadline

 
Pretty obvious, but deadlines are a way to motivate yourself to take action. If you know something is due by a certain date, you’ll get it done.
 
But just in case you’re not great at self-set deadlines (as so many writers are not), that’s where the other stuff on this list comes in.
 
Action Step: open your calendar right now and set a deadline for when you will finish your first draft. Then use the other action steps to get it done.
 

6. Create A Distractions Checklist

 
I created a distractions checklist as a way of helping me focus. Here’s what it consists of:
 
> 10 minutes to check Facebook and/or email (set a timer to keep it to exactly 10 minutes)
 
When timer goes off…
 
> Close browser completely
 
> Turn on writing playlist
 
> Flip phone face down on the desk so I can’t see the screen (put it on silent if it’s not already)
 
> Start writing (use timer—15-30 minutes)
 
Having this checklist allows me to wind down the things that distract me so I can focus completely on getting writing done.
 
Action step: create your own distractions checklist that you can use in your writing life.
 

7. Commit to 15 Minutes of Fitness A Day

 
This could be taking a walk, lifting weights, running on a treadmill—whatever feels fun for you. When you’re committing to finish something in 30 days, it’s important that you keep up your energy.
 
Getting in some daily movement, even for just 15 minutes, is enough to do that.
 
Action Step: choose a movement-based activity that you love and do it for 15 minutes. Repeat daily.
 

8. Fill Your Fridge with Snacks that Fuel You

 
Yeah, it’s fine to have some chocolate or other snacks to munch while you’re writing. But don’t overdo it. Otherwise you’ll just feel sluggish and uninspired.
 
If you’re finishing your novel in 30 days, there’s a good chance you’ll eat several meals in front of your laptop. So give yourself an energy boost and actually stock your fridge with some healthy stuff.
 
I like to stock up with chia pudding, homemade chocolate, popcorn, raw veggies with dip and things like that. (Although lately I’ve been trying not to eat high-carb stuff, so popcorn is out for me… except for when I go to the movies 😉 )
 
Action Step: make a list of foods to have on hand when you’re finishing your novel in a 30-day period.
 

9. Join the FINISH Your Damn Novel Workshop

 
Sorry—had to plug this one right here. Because this workshop will seriously change your life if you follow along and do the work.
 
The FINISH Your Damn Novel workshop will help you become a finisher, which is pretty much the most important thing you need to be. At least if you want to be a pro writer.
 
Pro writers finish what they start. And then they take the next step. And eventually they publish. Then they do it all over again.
 
Want to be a pro? Then it’s time to step into the big leagues and finish what you started.
 
 
Write with a purpose, live with intention,
 
 
#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

Outline Your Nonfiction Book: A 5-Day Blueprint

I’m a big believer in planning, as you probably already know. I think planning and development are the most underrated aspects of the book writing process.

And the truth is, the book you write could be a million times better if you just did some planning and development first. If you spent some time thinking through the details and trying things out before committing to it or playing around with ideas rather than going with the first one that hits you.

This is true especially with fiction writing, but it’s also true for writing nonfiction.

I plan, develop and outline every single nonfiction book I write BEFORE I write it. I have a tried-and-true process that I use, to not only dig out the details of what needs to be included in the book, but then to refine them into a book that’s worthy of writing (and reading).

I’ve found that process and strategy are missing pieces for most writers. Most writers have ideas–loads of them–but they don’t always have a process for getting those ideas out of their heads and onto the page in a way that makes cohesive sense.

And this is kinda important, because if you can’t get your ideas out of your head and onto the page in a way that’s organized and flows for a reader… they’re not gonna be reading for very long.

Having a repeatable process and strategy for planning, developing, outlining and then writing my books (fiction and nonfiction) has been a game changer for me. Especially with my nonfiction. It has helped me to become 5X more productive with getting books written and published.

And it all starts with an outline.

That’s why I’ve taken the process I use to plan, develop and outline my nonfiction books and turned it into a short workbook that you can use to plan, develop and outline all of your nonfiction books.

>> Grab your copy of the Outline Your Nonfiction Book–the 5-Day Blueprint here 

Share With Us

What could you write a nonfiction book on? Brainstorm ideas in the comments. 

 

You Have A Nonfiction Book In You: 3 Ways to Pull It Out

Something I believe is that all writers have nonfiction book ideas in them. And maybe you don’t want to write nonfiction or think it’s not for you—that’s totally fine.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have ideas in you that you could write, if you wanted to.

In the digital age, I believe it’s important for authors to diversify and not just try to make a living from just one thing. I mean, sure, you could if you really wanted to, but why would you want to? 

You’re multi-passionate. You have lots of ideas and things you could be doing to make money from your writing, which would get you to that “make a living from my writing” goal a whole lot faster.

Trying to do it from just one thing, like writing novels, really limits you. It limits your reach, your audience and your potential to share your gifts and change people’s lives.

I believe that even fiction writers have nonfiction books in them. They just have to learn how to pull them out.

Now maybe you’ll decide that you do only want to make your living as a writer from one thing. That’s fine too. Whatever you want and see for your writing life is what you should be doing.

But for those multi-passionate writers who like the idea of diversifying and not having to choose just one thing… here are 3 ways you can come up with nonfiction book ideas:

1. Expertise 

You’re an expert in something. Most likely several things. We all are. It’s just that we’re so good at certain stuff we don’t think about it as something that’s actually valuable.

For example, people tell me all the time that I’m motivational. When it first started happening (way back when I was a kid), I’d brush it off. But people kept saying it. And eventually I realized—I’m an expert in motivating people.

But I never would’ve figured that out if people hadn’t been saying it to me my whole life.

You have something similar going on. There are things that you’re really, really good at. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve had your whole life. Maybe it’s a natural talent you were born with (like writing). Maybe it’s something you’re not even aware of.

But these expertise that you have could make a great nonfiction book.

Do these exercises to pull ideas out…

> Grab your notebook and make a list of all the things you’re really good at or are an expert at (hobbies, talents, experiences you’ve had, etc).

> Ask your friends and family—what am I really good at? They’ll likely have additional answers for you to add to the list; at the very least they’ll say stuff you already have on there which will just confirm it.

2. Transformations You’ve Made

You’ve had life experiences and have overcome stuff and made transformations in your life. And that is fodder for writing a nonfiction book.

Self-help books are flying off the shelves (virtually and in book stores) because people have an innate need to learn and grow and become better. We’re always looking to improve ourselves or get better at something or learn how to do something.

So you can turn the transformations you’ve made into nonfiction books.

For example, I used to be the BIGGEST procrastinating writer in the world. It’s true. My first blog was called Procrastinating Writers for that reason. But I overcame that. I made a massive transformation and now I push everything else off and out of the way to make daily space for doing my writing. It’s now a non-negotiable for me.

That’s a big transformation—and one that a lot of writers would like to make themselves. Perfect topic for a nonfiction book (and I’ve written several).

An exercise… 

> Grab your notebook and brainstorm on the transformations you’ve made in your life—what results did you want that you didn’t have and how did you finally get there and achieve those results? what have you overcome and come out stronger on the other side? Write it all down.

3. A Unique Angle—On A Topic Or On A Book That’s Already Out There

One of the easiest ways to find nonfiction book ideas is to come up with a unique angle on a topic—or even another book—that’s already out there. If it’s already out there, that means there’s a demand for it.

For example, if you’re an expert in how to create your own recipes, you could go out there and look for books that relate to this topic… and maybe you’d find a bunch of books that help people write recipes for personal use. But maybe no one’s done a book on how to write recipes for a cookbook. Or how to write recipes for commercial use. Or how to write recipes when you’re a caterer.

That could be your unique angle that you use to write a nonfiction book.

Another example… like a decade+ ago a book came out called, He’s Just Not That Into You. It was all the rage with women who were so happy to finally have a better understanding of men and how they think and why they behave like they do.

Soon after another book came out… Be Honest—You’re Not That Into Him Either. This book was a riff on the other book and was written to help women raise their standards and stop dating or going after men who are like the men described in the other book.

Is there a book out there that you could write a riff on?

Some exercises…

> Grab your notebook and make a list of topics you could write a nonfiction book about—then think about different angles you could take on that same topic. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can.

> Go to the bookstore (or on Amazon, but the bookstore is a fun excuse to grab a coffee and wander through the stacks) and look at what books are selling right now—could you write a riff off of one of those books and add another perspective to the discussion. Grab your notebook and brainstorm book riff ideas that you could write.

I hope you can see now that you DO have nonfiction book ideas in you—you just have to know how to pull them out. Complete the exercises and if something sparks your interest and pulls at you to write it… DO IT!

 

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What’s one nonfiction eBook that you could write from all of the ideas you brainstormed? Share in the comments.

———–

 And if you find an idea that you just LOVE and want to get written and published NOW, my upcoming workshop: Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days, will help you make it happen!! This is an action-taking workshop that will light a fire under your ass to get that nonfiction eBook written and published, so you can grow and expand your readership, change people’s lives, and make money in the process. 

We kick things off on March 13 and doors open to the public on Monday March 6 at 1 PM EST. Get on my email list to be the first to know when the doors open… and you’ll also get a free copy of my eBook–The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: How To Think Your Way to #1.

15 Tactics to Sell More Books

The biggest complaint I hear from authors is this: it’s so hard to sell books!

And while marketing and selling books can sometimes be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can actually have fun with marketing.

Hold up! Did I just say “fun” and “marketing” in the same sentence?

Yep. Because as my Kindle coach so wisely says, marketing and selling is just teaching people the value of something.

Looking at it from that perspective, it makes marketing seem much more doable, doesn’t it? And I feel like it gives it a purpose, other than making money (even though that’s a big part of it). Because when you realize that when you’re marketing your books, all you’re doing is trying to show someone the value of why they need to read it.

It has definitely made me feel different about my book marketing efforts, that’s for sure. Now I see that it’s my responsibility to get my books out there and in the hands of writers and reader who need them. And it’s doing my audience a disservice to not market my books to them so that they know they exist.

Reframing things is a great way to shift your mindset around the parts of being an author that you don’t enjoy as much. 

I get emails on a weekly basis from people who follow me, asking me to teach more stuff about marketing. A lot of people tell me I’m a natural marketer. And while that may seem like it’s true, this isn’t a skill I was born with. I spent 7+ years doing online marketing for publications and corporations. Which means I learned how to do it.

And if I can learn how to do it, so can you.

I’ve put together an audio training + workbook on 15 Tactics to Help You Sell More Books. These are some of the best tactics out there for making more book sales.

Some are simple and others take more work. All of them will help you sell more books.

>> Grab the FREE audio training + workbook here 

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Which of the 15 tactics will you implement first? 

Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 7: An Interview with Author and Story Coach, Devlin Blake

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Devlin Blake believes that craft matters and that great stories need structure and rhythm. Learning structure early in her publishing career changed everything for her. And now she coaches emerging horror and suspense writers on everything from craft to pacing to doing away with writers guilt. Devlin is able to write four books a year thanks to the systems she’s created in her writing life. Get free access to her best systems for writing your novel in between work, life and family here.

Show Notes:

I randomly met Devlin Blake one day while I was hanging out in a Facebook group. We bonded over the fact that we’re both story coaches who had our lives and writing careers changed by finding story structure, and now we help other emerging authors with the same thing.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • You can “write” your books faster if you speak them–until I interviewed Devlin I never even considered dictation software, but her success with it has inspired me to give it a try.
  • Your first draft should tell, not show–I loved this advice, because when I write a first draft, it’s often the bare-bones story and not much else. She says that’s a good thing and she believes your first draft should be just the bones of the story, and then when you revise you find places to turn telling into showing.
  • Finding balance with writing, working full-time and having a life–even though I no longer work a traditional day job, this was advice I’d wish I had back when I was still working a job and trying to figure out how to write books and not become a social hermit.

Devlin also runs a free Facebook group for emerging horror and suspense authors. You can join her group here.

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.