Posts Tagged With: book writing

Writing a Book

hand writingLet’s talk “writing a book” for a few minutes. I’ve written around twenty books in my life. Nothing huge about that. Isaac Asimov, one of my scifi heroes wrote something like 500 books in his lifetime.

But for someone who aspires to write their first book, my 20 manuscripts must seem like a dream. That’s one of the factors I must guard against – downplaying my knowledge and assuming others know what I know. In order for me to help people get their books written, I must identify what holds them back and what keeps them from loving the process.

Yes, there are a number of universal mindsets that must be addressed like their internal judge and critic. We all possess them. Those voices in our heads which handcuff us and deter us from our higher potentials. That’s why I have adopted the “book coach” identifier. Anyone may play basketball, but how do they succeed in getting out every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal?

The same is true for a book. Anyone may write a book, but how do they succeed in getting up every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal? In basketball, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of playing the game down so that you may move one to higher levels of play. In writing, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of pulling a book out of your brain so that you may then have a product you may take to higher levels.

I taught classes for years on “How to Write Your Book in 30 Days.” I still teach it, but now as a one-on-one coaching format. I’ve found being able to tailor the class or “workshop” to the individual is much more beneficial for the writer. I’ve helped over 100 people get their books written, many of them now with multiple books. Transitioning to a “consultant” format has had its challenges, but now I’m comfortable with new “delivery system” so to speak.

Writing a book does not have to be some huge monstrosity of trial and struggle. In fact, writing a book should be joyful, exciting, engaging, and rewarding. That’s what I work to achieve with my clients – not only the ability to get the work done but to love the process as you progress. If you desire to write a book and you need help, here’s my webpage – Michael Ray King.

 

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Writing Life Support vs Creative OverDrive

Where is the juice? That drive which puts your fingers to the keyboard and soars you into that dream state of creativity? Where do you find it? Can you manufacture it? Can it be cultivated, grown, farmed, harvested?

Many writers have, and continue, to write on this subject, so why not me? I write every single day. Sometimes, as I’ve mentioned throughout the years, my writing is on life support. I key words, bland, banal, see-through, of no substance. Then, as if some magic ‘write switch’ gets flipped, something springs from my fingers and I think, “What the hell?”

“Did that really come from my mind? Did I actually stroke the right keys for once? What possessed me, and may I please have another?”

Ok, maybe you don’t have lunatic conversations with yourself about your writing. Too often, I’m of the opinion that writing about the struggles of writing is only symptomatic of continuing to struggle with the writing, creating a downward spiral writing vortex whose destruction is most felt on the page itself. Alright, that last sentence was another, “What the hell?” moment.

I will pretend what I wrote above contains some esoteric wisdom for writers (ever have to go to dictionary.com to make sure your word choice, which sounds so important and wise, actually fits the sentence…?). Seriously, I help so many people overcome their writing demons, I seem to inherit them all for my own personal writing dungeon of horrors.

So, this writing day, I’m looking at all the days of writing and observing far too many where my writing survives on life support and too few where my writing zips around in creative overdrive. I fight the same fight as all writers. Time, life, responsibilities, etc. I don’t lack for inspiration. Most writers inspire easily enough. Motivation? Ah, there’s the key, ain’t it?

How to motivate yourself to get off all your lame excuses (even if they sound awesome to other folk) and simply take an hour of your time and write. Something. Anything. Creative.

I agree with the writers who note that the act of writing is an act of self-exploration. We find out who we are when we measure ourselves to our dreams and ambitions. Because, once the excused get revealed for what they are, we no longer own fortified castle walls to deflect questions from others. More potently, questions from ourselves as to why we’re not writing our book. We must face ourselves, our reality, our inner persona, and we must win the day.

There’s an agreement within ourselves when we write. We all have those voices, right? Well, I hope so, otherwise I’m getting carted off tomorrow when this posts… We have those folks inside us, tempting us, berating us, wooing us, to do anything but write. Don’t give me that crap about being busy. I’m busier than most people I know and I still manage to knock out 30,000 words a month on 750words.com, not to mention other writing I do.

I crave Creative Overdrive. CO. The Big Writing Kahuna. I dream of words, splayed across pages in my wacked out manner – with readers actually understanding what I’m saying. I want the connection, albeit not face to face, between myself and a devourer of words otherwise known as a reader. I live for someone to enter my world and share my insanities put out in word pictures.

Creative Overdrive. I’m good with this non fiction stuff. Crazy fingers simply lash out my frustrations and these labelled keys and blog posts with largely make sense spill out. Ahhh, but my fiction writing. That which spurred me to begin this writing quest way back when. Fiction lies as my  lovely albatross, ever in the wings beckoning. Whispering come hither siren songs.

And there she is. My muse. Pretty as you please, winking at me, knowing in 45 minutes I must be somewhere for the rest of the evening. Fickle, fickle, fickle.

I’ll fool her this time. Motivation calls. Warm your fingers up. Get your mind tuned in. Engage your heart. Motivate yourself to write. Make that agreement with all your inner voices to kick into Creative Overdrive.

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Come Boldly to the Blank Page

GoWrite_logo_greenWriting words possesses nothing of value if you don’t commit yourself, does it? Stephen King noted something of HUGE value in his book “On Writing” which I must write down and make a part of my writing life. He stated, “You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again, you must not come lightly to the blank page.”

Stephen King nails writing right there if you want to be successful and create something of consequence. There are times when I am so unsure of myself. I am not in a place of high confidence. I wonder if I ever will be. There is nothing quite so debilitating to a writer than to lose his sense of self purpose. To be flailing out of control in a death spiral, fluttering around like a wounded airplane with only one engine sputtering and failing. The dizzying effects of the plummeting course of your life keeps you from success. You likely possess years in your future, yet you feel the intense necessity of grabbing control of your craft before the inevitable crash and burn which dominates your psyche. Writing must come through some way, some how, to save your ass. Other people do it, right?

Other people. Who really gives a rats butt about other people when you’re alone in an aircraft which is diving to earth and you have no parachute. You’re strapped in. Committed. What then comes of your drive, your will to succeed. Survive. Excel. Conquer.

As I see it, you either explode upon impact, or you boldly work your way through the knowledge base you own. You buckle down and look at where your best seconds (time) get spent. You look at results, yet move on to the next item up for bid on Your Life is Right.

Giving up feels like you purchased something huge in life and now you’re looking at paying the deferred payments by the truckload with the currency of regret. You know you can do this. You know it somewhere deep in your soul. Weariness not only demotivates you, it confounds you with a fog of doubt. What if you don’t know what you don’t know? What if you lose everything?

Clarity. No fear. Two key motivators to help level off the terminal dive.

Imagination. Dreams. Action.

Quiet on the set. Ready? Action!

“Quiet on the set” morphs into you, in the land of chaos, creativity swirling in abundance, and you selecting that which best serves your motives, your desires, your path.

“Ready.” Dreams. The formulation of your raw products from your imagination. You dust off or even scrape off  the dirt to reveal the diamond.

“Action.” You set that diamond, rough as it may be, on your pallet. You know the mine is rich. You feel this in your soul. You recover enough of yourself to plunge back into chaos. Creativity abounds the more you trust it to be there. You emerge with another dream piece of your literary puzzle. You place it where your dream envisions. Your motivation and inspiration begins to climb. You right your craft by writing your craft. Your untimely death is placed on hold and now you do everything you can to fuel yourself to where eagles soar.

Writing is no place for the faint of heart. No place for the mentality of giving up. If giving up is an integral part of your personal life pattern, writing is likely not the path for you. Often you are required to weather storm after storm after storm.

If you’re someone who doggedly sees things through, if losing is the only option other than winning, if stalemate and giving up are not options, I would say you have a chance in the writing world. After all, writing is more mindset than externals. The battles we perceive we fight outside ourselves only serve to distract us from the real fight. The one within.

Do not come to the blank page lightly. Come with anything you’ve got. Baggage, troubles, pain, disappointment, whatever. But come boldly. Come with intent. Come with the purpose of a pilot, his plane out of control and going down, if you must. Step boldly to your words. Make them count. Shout them to the page with all the vim and vigor available to your vocabulary. Make your points and make them sharp. Write your loves and make them passionate, tender. Do this with your all-in self. The person who leaves nothing in reserve. As I like to say, puke your book!

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Book Writing Pundit Pet Peeves…

GoWrite_logo_greenI came across an article today put out by one of the major online book publishing companies. What I read turned my stomach. Unfortunately, people believe a lot of what they read, and this article spewed out many of the most damaging myths of writing. Right off the bat, this statement greets the reader, “Writing your book will be one of the hardest things you ever do. If you’re in the middle of that process, you’re probably nodding your head.”

I understand many novice writers may find this statement to be true, but the fact is, the statement is not a “given.” In fact, writing a book is a joy, pure delight, and an amazing experience when approached in an open, creative manner. I teach a 5 week workshop (Write Your Book in 30 Days) which dispels the myth of drudgery. I’m in the middle of a book, and I am vehemently shaking my head in dissent instead of affirmation of this article’s statement. It’s one thing to state that many new writers find writing a book difficult, but quite another to definitively say the process, “will be one of the hardest things you ever do.” Writing a book does not have to be hard. Perpetuating this lie is disgusting.

The author of this article then goes on to advise: “DON’T attempt to write a book until you’ve: 1) studied the craft, 2) written and sold things shorter than a book, 3) plugged into a community of writers”

First, learning “rules” of writing does not translate into accessing the creative side of your brain. In fact, I’ve found loading a new writer down with rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts, actually detracts from a novice writer’s ability to access their creative storytelling side. I agree knowing craft of writing techniques helps make an end product read well, but first draft does not need to be bogged down by limitations. If we want the same old tired writing we’ve been seeing for quite a while from many authors, then by all means, continue to channel them down this path of limitations rather than allowing their imaginations free reign in the first draft.

The second listed “DON’T” in this article is a major pet peeve of mine. The article writer wants you to write short. Write small pieces. Build your platform. “Become an expert as something…and then start thinking about that book or novel.” Sure, make it all about business. Forget about writing your best book. Forget about stepping in with confidence that your imagination and your creative nature have validity. Let’s test this all out on other people. Let’s use someone else to measure our own personal writing self-worth. Let’s boil writing down to a purely business equation. This will guarantee we see nothing fresh and exciting and different for generations to come.

No. Write your story. Write your truth. Write it will all the passion available to you. Marketing is a completely different animal, separate from the book writing process. Do not mix the two, and certainly, do not equate the two as one entity. Writing a book and marketing the book are indeed connected, but not in the first draft. Not in its creation. Not from my experience. If you write for market rather than yourself, there’s a falseness there. Write YOUR book. Period.

The third “DON’T” I partially agree with. A community of writers I feel is necessary for the long haul of the writing experience. Unfortunately, most writers groups are little more than social clubs or nit picking critique groups where the examinations by the members do nothing but antagonize the inspiration and motivation to write. Find a group of writers who produce books. Many people will say they’re writing a book. Many will talk a big game. Find those who show proof in tangible, readable books.

The article goes on to analytically lay out rigid structure on what it takes to write a book. This lie gets perpetuated by so many writers it makes me sick. Do you have a truth burning inside you that’s dying to get out? Do you have a story to tell? Do you have a passion for it? Then write it! If you’re wise, once you finish you will get beta readers to proof the manuscript, then you’ll hire a competent, professional editor. As for all this other garbage about what you must do to write a book?

Just sit down and write the damned thing! Bleed it. Puke it. Get it out of you. If you want to produce a cookie cutter book, then restrict your creativity and listen to the authors who give you rigid rules. Understand this: the “financial” success of a book is determined mostly by your marketing and topic matter, partially by happenstance, and minutely by your brilliant “craft” of writing. “Best selling” books are not necessarily “best written” books. In fact, I believe the best written books are most often overlooked because the marketing is not in place to help the books get into the public eye.

If you desire to make the writing process all about money, I must warn you – that action becomes quite unfulfilling. Write your book. Write the best book you possibly can. Write it for yourself. THEN, as you go through rewrite, edit, and into publishing, identify your market, and by all means, hire marketing help to get your book the attention it deserves. I implore you to not listen to people who reduce book writing to analytics and business. Book writing is a creative endeavor. Please keep true to that.

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Writing: A Self-discovery Journey

GoWrite_logo_greenToday’s Writing Thoughts:

Getting a book out of yourself is a process of self discovery. This is a self awareness endeavor which takes many interesting turns. Sometimes those turns can be disturbing. I learn more about myself each day I write.

Sometimes, I learn (and relearn) how obstinate I can be. I know I need to be writing my book, yet I hold back. I distract myself. Sometimes, I balk like a mule. And I LOVE to write! Strange, isn’t it?

Then I give myself permission to write. Why in the world do I still need permission? Because all my life as well as much of the world around me, states I have to be visibly doing some sort of labor or I am not working. This message is mostly non-verbal. The message is instilled in us from our earliest upbringing to the latest moment where I’ve come into contact with someone visibly working.

Writing is work for the mind. Somewhere, somehow, many of us have equated work with “unpleasant.” I LOVE my work, yet I feel pressure to do something more visible. I spend so much time in my heart and head, there are times when I wonder if I’m delusional or crazy, or even lazy.

Navigating your mind is such an amazing adventure. There will be ecstasies and there will be demons. There will be doubt. There will be thrills. Laughter. Tears. Sadness. Exhilaration. Wackiness.

I’ve never found boredom, though. I’ve found just about everything but boredom. So, I suppose the message on my heart today is this: despite EVERYTHING that would keep you from moving forward in your book endeavor, give yourself permission anyway to make this thing happen. The reward is tremendous.

I’m not even addressing money. I’m addressing the personal satisfaction and giddiness at accomplishing something millions of folk cannot seem to do. Writing not just “A” book, but “YOUR” book. The one no one else can write.

I have a novel lined out on cards, yet I balk at writing it. I’ve written 20 manuscripts. I’ve published nine of them with a 10th book in rewrite at this moment. Yet I still struggle at times to write a book. If you find yourself struggling, do not let it get you down. You are not alone.

The one thing I do have going for me is that I have done this many times, and I know I can continue to write books. The battle exists between our ears, even though we want to make it about the world and responsibilities which surround us. That is why falling in love with your book is such a wonderful thing. When you cannot wait to get back to it, you will find it will practically write itself.

Getting to that point can be tricky sometimes. For me, I am in “Trickyville.” I am in that place where I really desire to get rolling on the book, but I’ve not taken it out and acquainted myself with it. The step is simple. Ask your book out. Just set a time, a place with your preferred ambiance, and an intention.

LOL! I write so many of these things for myself it’s almost not fair. One of the things I’ve learned is that the struggles I possess tend to mimic other people’s struggles. So if you ever get to a place where your writing feels distant, kick back with it in a more relaxed way. Realize each paragraph, each sentence you place out there in print is one more step in the right direction.

Writing a book is a journey. A journey through your mind. It’s also a journey of thousands of steps. Each one counts, because when you stop, the future steps cease. When you keep in motion, your future is assured. What that future looks like will not be revealed until you reach your destination.
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Writing Your Book

GoWrite_logo_greenWriting and Underachieving…

Do we ever get done with underachieving? For most of us, my perception is no, we don’t. We read about the habits of “over-achievers, and we study how they think and do things. We aspire. We dream. We hope.

They do.

Yep, we’ve even heard that before as well, haven’t we? People who get out and achieve goals “do.” They get into action. We study them getting into action. We contemplate getting into action. When we finally motivate and get moving, we often sell ourselves short. We hold back. We don’t reach, at least not as far as we could.

What is up with that? What stays our hand at stepping into our destiny, our best future, our best selves? Self esteem. Confidence. Faith and trust in ourselves. All of this requires we love ourselves. We’ve heard this before as well, right?

When it all comes down to one principle, I see love as the culprit. We don’t love ourselves enough.

We’re taught to love others by our families, churches, institutions. Heck, our retail outlets and other businesses preach the “customer is always right” (which they aren’t) and we are forced to set ourselves aside. We constantly sacrifice ourselves for others, which is not a bad thing, but when it damages your self esteem and confidence, I see problems.

I realize there are millions of ways to have your confidence and self esteem damaged. Repair is not the simplest of things either. Yet, I see people quite damaged still step into their dreams. They’re willing to muster up the courage to “do.” Does this mean they love themselves? I think so. I believe they at least love what they’re doing which allows them to overcome fears and other internal issues.

I listen nearly every day to writers who will not step into their dream. Heck, I’m one of them all too often! What is up with that?

I’m learning though. I’m learning that confidence owns a root tied directly to loving yourself. I could step out with the ultimate book, where I write it real and I write it according to my truth and the book might not be popular. Does this matter? Not if I’ve written so close to my heart I know I gave it all I had.

It’s that ability to follow your passion without watering it down to social norms which I’ve observed to be the way to go. The more I experience resistance to my personal truths and I realize there are others uncomfortable with my perspectives, the more I see the importance of not compromising on personal truths when writing books simply to placate. This is one of the reasons the absurd “politically correct” movement leaves such a disgusting taste in our mouths. The truth gets lost in the gloss-over.

Do we ever graduate from underachieving, from not meeting our potential? We’ll never know until we give ourselves permission to go after our dreams with all thrusters firing, will we?

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Beginning a Chaos Rodeo…

GoWrite_logo_greenWriting Milestones

March 5th! What a great day! I always get excited about the start of a new workshop. Every workshop owns a personality unique to itself. The mix of people, the mix of writing material, the interactions, and the dispelling of fears and concerns  about writing motivate me. In many ways, I get as much out of each workshop as the participants. Possibly more. In the nearly 4 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve witnessed more people grasp and understand the concept of creativity unleashed and the confidence that they can actually capture that creativity and place word markers on it.

Sign up for Write Your Book in 30 Days Workshop

There are many who say writing is a discipline, and I see why these folks say that. In order to get from nothing (a concept) to everything (a book) one must produce something at particular “milestones.” By milestones, I’m talking first draft (most important the focus of my workshop), rewrite, edit, publishing, and most critically, marketing. The awesomeness of these milestones is that the first draft is the most free, passion filled, go wherever the hell you desire, fun, exciting aspect of writing. This is where you unleash yourself into chaos, which is in fact, creativity. This is where most writers find their passionate muse.

Rewrite calls for some analytics, usually the lesser “fun” for writers to engage in. Rewrite requires writers to look at their first draft and pick it apart, Beta readers, outside folks who read the first draft manuscript, are recommended to help find all the flaws and omissions possible. While this milestone may still contain quite a bit of creativity, the picking apart of that first draft (which most writers adore with their soul) can wear on a writer’s love of their book. You also begin to formulate who your market is for the book.

Edit, a HIGHLY recommended milestone far too many writers skip, is when you pay a professional editor to go through the process of rewrite on a deeper, more intense level than the beta readers. Good editors edit for market as well. Here is where you will more specifically identify your market as well. A good editor needs to be able to tell you your “baby is ugly” and you need to be able to respond in certain areas “so what, I love it.” That said, if a writer has hired an excellent editor, heeding the advice of the editor is the smart move.

The publishing milestone has become the frustrating to many authors because of the plethora of publishers out there. Many publishers are “head hunters” simply looking for “numbers” to fill the company coffers. What many writers fail to understand is that there is a publishing model for everyone, you simply need to research and learn what best fits you. In all publishing models, there is a price to be paid by authors, not necessarily monetarily. Some publishing comes with no fees at all (like Kindle and Nook, etc) but they do come with a learning curve price on how to do it and how it works. While this is the simplest of publishing models, and has been “cookie cuttered” by the publishing industry, the learning curves can be very subtle and far reaching.

Marketing. Ah, marketing. The biggest bugaboo writers ever face. This is the milestone most vexing and, in the end, most defining to writers. The truth of the book industry that few want to speak of, especially publishers and writers (go figure) is that most writers will not sell more than 50 books. They will sell to friends, family, and acquaintances and find that marketing takes daily work, and they will give up. The marketing milestone separates the writers who really love their books enough to press through all the learning curves and expenses from the ones who cannot maintain a business approach to their passion. The average time for a book to take off and gain sales momentum? Three to five years. You must be dogged in your passion for your book and be willing to invest not only money in your marketing, but time.

Sign up for the Write Your Book in 30 Days Workshop!

All this begins with one day. All this begins with the decision to write a book. I get to witness, incrementally, the creation of the first milestone, and often the second through fifth. Yes, the most passion in the book creation business is in the first blush. That powerfully moving experience of creating something from nothing. Many writers have compared writing their first draft with sex (sex winning out most of the time by a slim margin).

Excitement. Fire. Passion. Dreams. Aspirations. Many more descriptives add to the mystique of first draft writing. The purpose of this workshop is to help you achieve the most complete experience possible in getting those words from the chaos of your mind into the reality of words on a page. Writers truly create something out of thought. Life experience. Imagination. The simple execution of milestone one, the first draft, is a major victory for most. The next major victory comes when you hold your creation, your child if you will, in your hands that very first time. The final, victory comes from each writers’ view of success. This may not be monetary and it may not be large numbers of readers. The final view of victory is delivered in each writers’ definition of success.

I love the creation process. I get impassioned in helping writers work through their roadblocks to writing. I adore the time spent with people undertaking a creative task which requires taking mere thought and turning it into symbols on a page which represent words, more importantly concepts and stories and meanings, stringing them all into one significant volume which transports others who read these breathings of a particular writer’s mind into a place they’ve never been. What an amazing thing a book is. The exhalation of one person’s mind into a world of people who look to find these thoughts and capture them into their own minds and hearts. A book is a powerful creation to someone. Ultimately, that someone begins with the author themself.

So, let’s get this chaos rodeo started!!!

Sign up for Write Your Book in 30 Days Workshop

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Writing Struggles?

hand writingHelp!

When we struggle to write, the issue never seems to be writing itself. Have you noticed this? The struggle to write, when you chase it down, tends to be something going on in your life. Whether that something is personal crisis, relationship issues, work related problems, family struggles, financial trials, heath challenges – very little writing struggles emanate from the writing experience with a couple very notable exceptions.

Personal self doubt enemies. My “big two” which I spend a lot of time helping folks overcome are your “Internal Critic” and “Internal Judge.” You need neither of these chaps running around your psyche when you write. They do nothing but destroy confidence, undermine self esteem, and torpedo directions you might have taken had you not listened to their negative diatribes.

Your internal critic tends to be the easiest to back off, if you will only allow yourself to be open minded to the creative process and get away from the analytical. In my workshops, there’s always that person who cannot shrug off the burden schooling, society, family, and work placed on them over the years in order to get rid of the critic – temporarily. You see, you’ll need that critic when you’re in rewrite and edit.

The critic is that internal person who questions your sentence structure, your spelling, your story flow. The critic will bog you down into going back over previously written material over and over and over. For many writers, especially new writers, their tunnel vision is writing a perfect first draft (no such thing in my experience). The first draft is your creative muse. Your wanton approach to creating something different and new. When this critic holds sway over your brain, you will not get your book written most likely, and if you do, I will read dry and without passion.

The judge, now here’s a tough nut to crack for many of us. The judge is forever saying to you, “Who do you think you are to write a book?” Or, “Who’s going to want to read your words and thoughts and ideas and creations?” This evil internal entity is never needed in your book writing adventure. All this voice does is tear you down and hold you back.

I would like to say that after 37 years of writing, I have the “Judge” licked. I don’t. This dark, sinister aspect of my psyche rips through me like a violent, quick-hitting storm. In the aftermath, I’m left with loads of self doubt and demotivation. Neither of those situations stands as optimum to a writer.

You should train yourself to place the critic on a back burner. Whenever he/she steps up into your mind, recognize what is going on and tell them, “Thanks for your input, noted, but I’m writing at this time. Editing comes after I create the work.” Your speed of creation will pick up, and you will be less inclined to feed material from the critic to the judge. They love to work in tandem.

The judge. I truly wish I could give a permanent solution for the judge. This negative, domineering internal entity will drag your writing down to a standstill without remorse. In fact, this internal judge keeps you from doing many other things in life as well. Learning to deep six this guy is a wonderful thing.

I do realize there are some folks out there who have no “Judge” filter at all. I suppose, when I look at that, I see folks of huge ego who drive me crazy. One in particular who I met many years ago strikes me. He writes in total cliche and thinks it is great writing. There appears to be no “Judge” telling him his writing is weak and shallow. But you know what? He gets books written. He also sells quite a few.

Yes, this irks me, and other writers as well, but there is no denying his lack of internal judge and critic serve him quite a bit. Writing for a living calls for no fear. Actually, no, it calls for a massive positive response to fear. Fear creeps in to most writers over time. I don’t want to get into fear at this point in time, but fear too keeps us from writing.

Turn yourself around when you run up against these internal demons which prevent you from getting your writing done. Know that perseverance rules the day. Work to understand that the more you release yourself from the “rules of writing” placed on you throughout your life, the more your writing will infuse itself into your daily “look-forward-to-list.”

When your critic or judge comes at you, understand releasing yourself from them is more powerful than arguing with them. I liken this to the line in the movie “War Games.” It goes like this, “Sometimes the best move is not to play the game at all.” If you do not allow the critic and judge to engage you in internal dialogue, you may step into creativity without a lot of baggage and be ready to roll.

My upcoming book, “Inking Your Thinking ~ The Mindset of Writing” addresses quite a bit of the internal issues of a writer. Stay tuned for release dates. I will keep you apprised of my progress through rewrite and edit. For now, just go out there and write with abandon. Check your hangups at the door, leave your critics in the dust, and jettison that judge so you may be free to simply write your heart’s desires.

If you desire help in getting your book written, I teach a workshop titled, “Write Your Book in 30 Days!” The next workshop begins Saturday, March 5th. To reserve a seat, go to the registration page, which is where this link will land you: Write Your Book in 30 Days! I can help you get from an idea to a finished product!

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Writing Line

hFebruary. A wonderful month. Does February get a short shrift? I think so. The only month which does not get thirty days. The one with the four-year anomaly. Winter, at least here in the states. February offers something special. Renewal. Yes, the over-hyped New Year of January pressures folk to do something different, to make change in their lives, but how much change really goes on? Very little. Studies support that by the way.

People who truly want to change their approach to life must take on the dirty work of looking inward. Too many of us look to external teachings and “personal growth” gurus instead of looking to ourselves. The book The Four Agreements profoundly impacted my life, but I took that book on out of a desire to work on internal issues. I committed myself to the tough work at hand, and I was rewarded with insight and growth.

Isn’t there a line we walk each and every day in this “modern age?” Something like a personal growth book needs to be accessed out of need and desire, not justification. These books should not be picked up simply because someone told you of your need for the book or concepts. We get pushed, mauled even, into pressuring ourselves into the “personal growth” mode. Talking heads get up and trumpet the importance of working on yourself.

Frankly, I agree with them, but then there’s that line we walk. That line is so vital. If we do not truly commit ourselves to the work, and if we don’t truly invest in the ugliness we find, there will be no true, lasting impact. Unfortunate that. One of the reasons I bring up this nebulous line is that we must each identify not only where the line is drawn within ourselves, but what the hell kind of line it is.

Are we being pushed into something we are not ready to take on? Are we doing this, the study of personal growth, because we want to be someone other than who we are? Are we ready to look at ourselves honestly, or are we going to continue to justify most of our decisions and viewpoints in the same manner we are accustomed? In other words, are we simply looking for justification for how we currently live? I believe there is a lot of justification which goes on with many folk who buy into the “self help” industry.

We recognize on some level we need to go to self help, but we do not define the parameters. There are many programs which tell you to do this and do that. To set up checklists and adopt their “system” toward personal growth ecstasy. I suppose this works for some folk. For me, checklists to remember to do personal growth tasks without desire is only an indication we are not ready.

Believe me, I could be wrong in my observations here, but in my life, I will only adopt something into my life which delivers true, deep meaning. For instance, I’ve been “schooled” in the writing community for decades to “write every day.” I even believed this to be true all those years. Yet I did not write every day. My writing life would crescendo and free fall based on my whims and my attempts at regimen.

Then, I found the line. That place within where I noted I truly desired to be and that place where I would commit myself to taking on the tough tasks required to make books happen. And blog posts. And short stories. And poems.

I am now reading again, and I am picking up more “self help” books than fiction (although fiction is a form of self help book to fiction writers). I have prepared myself for change. In fact, I am at a point where I welcome change. New ideas on how to do things, like writing, in different and exciting ways. This all comes to fruition because I have done the inner work of finding the line I will toe, the line where I will commit to invest myself, and I use this line to keep me moving forward.

My line broke down as quite simple. I had not written a new book for three years. I helped over 100 people get their books written in that time period. Yet I produced nothing in the “book” category. In October 2015, I took on Nanowrimo. Yes, Nanowrimo begins on November 1st, but I wanted to be in rhythm once November arrived. I lined out my book on index cards. I began writing again on 750words.com two weeks out. Once November arrived, I was consistently writing 1500 words each morning. I had incorporated writing time between 5am and 7am each day.

The most important aspect of all this? I did not analytically checklist any of it. I looked forward to it and I anticipated it. Yes, I placed the word “words” on my whiteboard for motivation. Yes, I did check off that item each day for about a month or so. Now, the word “words” remains on my whiteboard, but I never check it off. I own an expectation of writing every day. I look forward to it every day. On the rare occasions I write my words in the evening, I’ve felt out of sorts most of the day waiting on the opportunity to get back to writing.

I now have 112 straight days of writing at least 750 words. I am averaging 53,000 words a month. Two of my blogs are now getting the attention they need and deserve. All because I found that line within me I am willing to toe. The line where action is embraced and I can commit to whatever needs be done. I encourage you to seek your inner self. Seek that place where you decide, almost on a molecular level, that you will commit yourself to your writing. What does that commitment look like?

Only you may determine your writing future. I will not tell you that you must write every day like me. You must get up before the sun every day and welcome your writing dreams into your heart. What I will work to pass on to you is this: find yourself. Creative-leaning people struggle with this. Don’t expect to find and know every aspect of who you are. You cannot. But your writing allows you to explore yourself. Find who you are willing to be as a writer. Find your parameters and work to bust out of them. Allow yourself the freedom to write.

You will discover your writing definition. Hopefully, you will take the journey into discovering more amazing things about who you are and why you are creative and why you desire to write. Baggage and excuses are the hallmarks of writers going nowhere. Find yourself, find that line where you’re willing to execute action with regard to your writing, and embrace who you are through your writing, both the words you string together and the rhythms you look forward to employing.

Hopefully this helps someone. A bit vague, but I know this helps me – present tense. I still love discovering more about my “writing line.” I want to know more about how I may grow as a writer and embrace the constantly changing aspects of learning who I am. Find your line.

Need help? I do run a five week workshop on how to write a book here: WriteYourBookin30Days This workshop is available in person at Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach or as an online webinar. Pick your delicious poison and let’s get that book written!

Categories: Writing A Book | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Why is My Book Taking so Long?

Out of Your Mind Publishing1Writing Perfectionism

In my workshops, there’s always a significant portion of folks who tell me they’ve been working on their book for years but made little headway. A non scientific guess at the percentage of people who tell me this would be around 40 to 50%. That’s a significant number.

Almost without exception, two things typically keep these people in writing limbo. The first is perfection. They cannot seem to move on unless their previous writing is seamless. This scenario is frustrating for them. Understandably so. The majority of these people have been schooled on the “rules of writing” from their earliest of days. Unfortunately, the schools did not teach creativity in the past, they taught analytics.

The course correction for these people is quite simple, but often not easy. As Ernest Hemmingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” In my many years as a writer/publisher, I must agree with Hemmingway. The first draft of any piece of writing, ESPECIALLY books, always needs help.

I have to work hard to get the perfectionist folk to understand they have the cart before the horse. They want to create something perfect before they’ve even created it. Creativity is messy. Creativity calls for tangents and dead ends and different trains of thought. Creativity thrives with no rules. When you are fettered by writing rules as an author, your creativity suffers. The pace of creativity tends to be frenetic. When you toss in writing rules, snails move faster.

I understand people being “set in their ways.” But when they come to me for help, I must get them out of that comfort zone and into the “thrill zone” of writing in a creative environment. When writers relinquish their old habits and become willing to put on something new, like writing with passion rather than perfection, they complete their books. The trick for me is convincing these people to try something new.

I find it odd how many writers I stumble across who are inflexible to altering how they write, even when what they write has not impact or is not going well. My experience has been that writers, out of pure situational necessity, must be willing to step out into uncharted territory in order to convey what they wish the world to read. Yes, writers get to dictate story or content, but not necessarily “how” they write. Often, a few tweaks to a writer’s perception of the writing process is more than enough to set them off and running.

I enjoy seeing writers embrace their creativity. When a writer begins to see his/her book take form, my need to motivate and inspire them reduces dramatically. This is how it should be. A writer should love what they write. They should be willing to look at successful, efficient ways in which to accomplish their writing. A writer should be open to new ideas. Ultimately, a writer should access passion and a deep desire to get their book completed.

My workshop, How to Write Your Book in 30 Days, is a five-week course designed to help even the most stodgy of writers. Of course, I can only help those who are willing to be helped, but the success rate has been astounding. I love to write. I love to create. I love everything about the first draft, even when things get hairy and I have characters going out-of-bounds and plotlines skewing off in manic directions. That’s all part of the fun. Helping others get there is most likely my most rewarding experience in the writing world. This workshop is my “happy place.”

I will be running workshops all year online. I’m even considering running live workshops in areas within a couple hours of Palm Coast as long as ten people sign up. If you are interested, please hop on my mailing list at: Write Your Book in 30 Days. You may also email me at Author@MichaelRayKing.com. If you would like to sign up for the workshop in Flagler Beach or one of the online seminars, you may do so at: Workshop Description and Registration

Writing a book should be a joy, not a chore, at least that is my view. I look forward to hearing from you!

Categories: General Post, Writing A Book | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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