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.

The Freedom Project – Getting Started on Writing Your Book

Image : Unsplash

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

From Writer to Published: Craft & Creative Mastery

Image: Unsplash

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

no fear

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

no fear

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

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

Warning: You Cannot Plug in Your Potential

nature-forest-waves-trees

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

What Value Publishers Add to Your Book’s Publishing Cycle

Image: Book. Copyright by Noah Digley. Some rights reserved.

Image: Book. Copyright by Noah Digley. Some rights reserved.

How Long to Publish?

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to publish a book – to let it fly into the hands and hearts of readers. I wish I had the definitive answer. Let’s get perspective on the realities and why you might or might not need a traditional publisher.

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The New Story of Publishing

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

2016 might be the year you create a book that matters. I hope so. We need books that change our minds and change our lives. We need stories that expand our imaginations and expand our hearts.

My team and I are devoted to helping you become a captivating author – or an even more captivating author – this year.  I’m committed to helping you become an artisan-author, someone who learns the fine craft of her medium and genre so she can create exceptional work for her audience. And I’m driven to help you sort through the confusing multi-directions of publishing in the 21st century.

I hear and read a lot of anxious talk around publishing these days. Random House (#1 in the world) recently acquired Penguin (#2) so soon there may be just one mega-publisher. Or with the digital revolution maybe no books. Or with Amazon’s and Jeff Bezos’s dominion maybe no bookstores. The angst-ridden speculations go on and on.

I’m committed to filtering through this “Babel” for you and myself.

Among the things I’m sorting through are the several stories about the nature of publishing, past and present.

Let’s take a look at these stories about publishing and discern what matters most for you to focus on. I’m curious what your take is. Share your views in the comments below.

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Just Have Fun or Get Better?

Frédéric de Villamil

Photo credit: Frédéric de Villamil, Flickr

A few years ago, when my first girl was two-years-old, she wanted to play my Bengali two-string dotar instrument. She plucked it. It twanged. I tried to guide her pudgy worms toward gentle strokes so it might purr, but no doing. Then, she wanted to pull out her mini-ukele. Similar deal. She set it down on her lap like a steel guitar player and pick in hand began plucking. It twanged. After a few minutes of random ting-tangs, I suggested another way to hold the instrument and strum it. She stood for my guidance for about 2.5 minutes and then said,

“No.” Not in the typical defiant explosive two-year-old way. Just in the resolved and clear-minded way. Read more

The Psychology of Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception

GW1143H755There are thought leaders, and there are Thought Leaders.(1) And Seth Godin is the latter. Why? Godin is a Thought Leader not only because he’s smart. Not only because he’s prolific and creative.

Godin is an archetypal Thought Leader because he understands the nature of Thought itself. He gets what drives human beings. He understands story and the way story awakens something latent within our unconscious and stirs change.

In short, Godin gets the art and science of captivating creativity.

And if you’re someone writing a nonfiction book or wanting to write a book or eBook that makes a difference to its readers, you might learn something from how Godin’s book The Icarus Deception works.

A change in thought. A change of heart. A changed life. A changed patch of the planet.

Godin’s book The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? aims to change the way many people, trapped by corporate and cultural myths, view themselves and their potential.

Despite a flawed assumption here and there, the book works on many levels and for many reasons. Read more