We creatives can’t sidestep the importance of “knowing our stuff.” I’ll include some info related to the fundamentals of certain fields – whether it’s writing, design, entrepreneurship, blogging, or whatever field might be of interest to you.

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

Navigating the Challenges of Writing Your Book

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

 

Here is what I cannot stop asking myself: How do people get through the inevitable challenge of writing and create their best work? What drives them?

Really, that question has driven me for years to experiment with, research, and create.

It’s driven me to track wonder.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a fantasy. It’s another thing to stand in love with a dream.

Members in the Tracking Wonder community and ecosystem are creating their best work. Like, every week. It’s a pretty astonishing to witness. They’re launching workshops, websites, writing books, poetry & building businesses.

But none of them are without challenges. Read more

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Guidelines for Crafting Your Story

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Image: Unsplash

So who’s your Story about?

I generally feel a wee bit disoriented right after shaping a book proposal.

What’s it worth? I wondered. What if my agent rejects it? What if this is all a fool’s errand? What have I done with my life? Okay, I don’t go quite that far.

Last time this happened, my six-year-old peeked in my study. She wanted to show me her outfit – a summer skirt and a short-sleever atop a long-sleever.

“I just couldn’t wait any longer to wear summer clothes,” she said as she twirled around the study. And at that moment, I remembered again why I’m writing this book, why I’m building Tracking Wonder, why I utterly adore engaging readers. Read more

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How Many Drafts Does it Take to Write a Book?

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Image: Unsplash

Writing drafts is a process of discovery

You know, Michael Bungay Stanier didn’t write his elegant book The Coaching Habit in one draft. Or two. Or three. He wrote multiple drafts. In fact, he presented the book with multiple angles and in multiple structures to Workman Publishing, who had published his previous book Do More Great Work (that sold hundreds of thousands of copies) but to no avail.

Finally, after many attempts at getting his book published, Michael took matters into his own hands, hired his own publishing team, and published The Coaching Habit with his own Box of Crayons Press. Read more

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The Freedom Project – Getting Started on Writing Your Book

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Image : Unsplash

How do we stay productive each day and each week while still feeling spacious with presence, delight, purpose? This comes up a lot when we discuss the process of writing your book.

“Productive” here references the quality that you’re moving forward on the projects and ideas that matter. And by “that matter” I mean the projects and ideas that light you up, that come from your own key drive (whether that’s novelty, mastery, impact, accomplishment), and that contribute in some way, great or small. Read more

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From Writer to Published: Craft & Creative Mastery

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Image: Unsplash

You want to publish your book.

Whether you’re writing your first or fifth book, you fantasize about finishing that book, getting it into the hands and hearts of people who need it, and what might happen to your life and sense of fulfillment as a writer once that book is “out there.”

But you feel a tension. This tension is the gap between what you currently know and what your skill set is a present, versus what you might need to know and be able to do and create in order to reach that place you fantasize about.

That gap in knowledge can feel like a chasm.

That chasm’s enormity can take your breath away.

The self-masochism begins. Read more

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Why we fear standing out – and why we need to stop

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Courtesy of Pexels

I work and speak with accomplished professionals who fear standing out with their own ideas and who fear their own influence.

In these times especially, we need intelligent, dedicated, creative people – business artists of all stripes – to name and claim their influential ideas and contribute lasting value through their businesses and the conversations they lead.

Business artists matter. They need to stand up and stand out.

If you’ve worked for organizations, companies, or groups for many years, you might have met with great accomplishment. You also likely have a degree or two or three. A training certification or two or three. Now you want to test out your own ideas. What holds you back?

I suspect you’ve learned the value of going along and of doing a good job by others’ standards. You’ve learned the rules, followed them, exceeded expectations. You’re knowledgable, personable, hard-working, even-tempered. You’re respected. You’ve blended in.

With your experience and expertise, it’s even possible that you’ve ventured out as an independent consultant or professional. Again, you’ve learned the rules, exceeded expectations, gained accomplishments. Even on your own, though, maybe you’re playing it safe. And you’re keeping your ideas to yourself. Read more

Farewell, foreign shore by Nick Kenrick, Flickr

The endless quest to remember who you are

Farewell, foreign shore by Nick Kenrick, Flickr

Image: Farewell, foreign shore, Nick Kenrick, Flickr

“Know thyself.”

It’s a high classic Greek ideal. It’s also impossible.

It’s impossible if that adage means that we should know completely, consciously who we are and how we think and what we feel and what our motives are at any given time.

Consider these questions:

Why do you act the way you do? Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you conduct business the way you do?

Come up with a conscious rational answer. It won’t be complete. That’s why – without being self-indulgent and narcissistic – the quest to remember who you are as a leader, business owner, or creative influencer of any brand is essential. Read more

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A Ripe Time for Introverted Creatives & Entrepreneurs

A Ripe Time for Introverted Creatives & Entrepreneurs Imagine if Jonas Salk at last discovers the polio vaccine, but he cowers at the prospect of receiving publicity or criticism or of appearing vain by drawing attention to himself. So, he decides to keep the discovery to himself. That would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it? And yet […]

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How Art Disrupts Your Life Like Nothing Else

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Sometimes something about your life is off. You’ve played by the rules and followed the laws. You can master a week of meetings. Your team achieves its goals. Your writing gets published. Your art gets exhibited. Your kids make the grade. And, yet, when you have time to gaze out the windshield or the train window on your commute, or when you have a rare and real lunch break to pause between meetings, you hear or feel that kind of “off” something.

Is it your relationship, your job, the whole way you’re approaching your days?

It might be not only your business but how you conduct the very business if not busyness of your life that is at stake.

Here’s the funny thing: All of us, men and women with an iota of sensitivity, experience deep existential unrest at least once in our grown-up life. Yet when we feel that “off”-ness, a part of us refuses to admit that whatever is off is serious.   Read more

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Warning: You Cannot Plug in Your Potential

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Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”
– Bob Manning about a young Tracey Kidder

“The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats.”
– Thoreau, conclusion, Walden

1. The potential for defeat abounds.

Tracey Kidder was twenty-seven years old when he walked into the hallowed Boston offices of The Atlantic Monthly, one of the United States’ most respected and longest running magazines, and asked for a freelance assignment. He found encouragement from an editor, Richard Todd, thirty-two.

Kidder started submitting several freelance pieces to Todd. Some of them  were workable enough that Todd could help Kidder shape them into something publishable. Many were not.

Atlantic’s chief editor, the notorious and tenacious Bob Manning, once scrawled on one of Kidder’s pieces a note:

“Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”

But Kidder did write. He had to write. And eventually he learned how to write like a captivating author.

Had Kidder ever heard or listened to the publisher’s voice, Dr. Paul Farmer’s story of wanting to cure the world would never have been told in Mountains Beyond Mountains, readers would never have experienced the inspiring story of fifth-grade teacher Ms. Zajac in Among School Children, or had their minds cracked wide open to a whole new computer wave that not every one could see coming in 1981 as Kidder (and Todd) saw in The Soul of a New Machine.

And Kidder might never have won the Pulitzer.  Read more