Ignore Willpower. Create Habits.

drip, drip, drip“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place.”—psychologist Brian Galla, quoted by Brian Resnick in the article Why willpower is overrated.

From the same article:
“Structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says — not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.”

Willpower gets used up and simply cannot be used until it is replenished.

Habits, once established, require no willpower.

I’m planning more articles on developing the writing habit. In the meantime here are some I’ve already written:

This is an area where knowing your specific struggles will help be research the best advice to share.

Where do you struggle to create the habit of writing?

Phil Brennan, Web Martin, and Jesse Donovan Walk Into A Bar

Joel D CanfieldYou’d think I’d know what to expect considering who I was meeting in the cheap dive downtown.

One at a time, sure.

I’d never sat down with the three of them, not all at once.

It’s enough to drive you to drink.

Or for those with other proclivities, to write.

Or maybe both.

My Editor Makin’ My Book Better

You’ll want to sing that title to the tune of, um, something that fits. I don’t know what. I just know it’s better if you sing it.

polish-it-upMy editor, Tom Bentley, doesn’t just nudge my words into place. Line editing is important. His polishes my words from workmanlike to well done.

He also asks me hard questions.

Continue reading “My Editor Makin’ My Book Better”

Books as Physical Objects: Large Print

really large printI have loads of opinions about they physicality of books: the weight, the smell, the way they look on a shelf, the physical design.

One issue with the last is the sheer ugliness of large print books.

I’m slowly collecting hardcover versions of Chandler. I only have 4 of his 8 books in hardcover. The others are either paperback (The Little Sister) or in an omnibus with, sadly, missing pages (The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, and Farewell, My Lovely.)

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Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0

selfprintedsplashbadgeCatherine Ryan Howard taught me how to do a Goodreads giveaway, among other things. Wanna know what she can teach you? Here’s a single Q&A with Catherine, and down below, the scoop on the latest edition of her book Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing.

I asked: Is there any specific data on the ROI for freebies? I’m curious about data like “100 copies given away results in 13 reviews and 3 copies sold” or some such nonsense. Separated by fiction and nonfiction. Also, what’s your opinion on whether such data would have any practical value?

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Do One Thing

waterfallDrip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started: Continue reading “Do One Thing”

Doors (Excerpt from an Unpublished Work)

c'mon in!No one door opens and closes properly. Some do one or the other quite nicely. Some do neither.

The front door technically opens and closes just fine, but since we don’t have a key for it, well, there’s that. The screen door (no longer a storm door because half of the glass is missing) has to be kicked open and closed, which we wouldn’t except the mailbox is hanging right there beside it.

The nice solid pine doors on the coat closet, which match the solid pine walls in the dining room/office, open just fine, but neither will really close. Continue reading “Doors (Excerpt from an Unpublished Work)”

The Village Id – Excerpt from an Unpublished Work

Below is an excerpt from one of my unpublished works, The Village Id — my homage to P. G. Wodehouse.

Every village has a character. I don’t mean the village idiot. I mean a personality, a feel that’s obvious to visitors, yet invisible to residents.

Come to think of it, every village has a character in the other sense. Not necessarily an idiot. That would hardly be polite, and rarely truthful.

No, a character: the odd man out, the one whose character isn’t totally aligned with the village’s.

In Iddington village that would be me: I’m the only sane person there.

The Village

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What Question Can You Answer Best? (Guest Post by Phil Wrzesinski )

I’ve known Phil for some time. His intense love for his family sometimes outshines the fact that he is a brilliant marketer and incredible teacher.

?My first book started writing itself the day a local childcare owner asked me, “Phil, I shop a lot, and I have to say, your store has the best customer service I’ve ever encountered. What is your secret?”

The short answer was simple. I hire good people.

She pressed me further. “Can you do a presentation to our Child Care Association about it?”

Sure.

Now I needed a longer answer. Fortunately, the answer was there and pretty soon I had a presentation and the outline for a book.

The funny thing is that I never set out to write a book. I think the book had a life of its own, born when the question was asked. At least a dozen times throughout the process I wondered what made me think I was capable of writing a book. Mostly I ignored that thought and kept writing. After all, I was just answering a question.

Your business has the answer to a question, too. There is something you do better than most other businesses. You have a philosophy, a reason, a method for why you do what you do and how it makes your business better. It may be one of your own design, or one you stole from someone else, or one you pieced together from several sources. Someone has probably already asked you why or how you do what you do.

You just have to start writing it down.

My second book started the same way – with a question.

Continue reading “What Question Can You Answer Best? (Guest Post by Phil Wrzesinski )”