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Goals of Writing a Nonfiction Book-Establish a Purpose

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One of the worst things you can do is write a book without a purpose. Your Purpose Statement is the foundation of your nonfiction book. It defines your mission and describes your job as the author: to deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book. It’s clear, concise, and specific. And it’s the can’t-do-without-it guide for everything you’ll write.

Purpose Statement

The Purpose Statement is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a statement—a single sentence, not a paragraph—that states what the book will accomplish for its specific audience.

If you want your nonfiction book to make an impact, it must perform an action. If what you’re thinking about writing doesn’t deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book, then leave it out.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank formula that will help you craft your Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this book is to do action for audience.

What do you want your book to do? Hard question. Maybe it’s easier to explain what you don’t want it to do: You don’t want your book to raise awareness. Seriously.

You might think, I think I do want to raise awareness. Actually, you don’t. If you write a book to raise awareness, you miss an opportunity to change lives, save lives, or transform society.

You could write the most captivating, awareness-raising book in the world, but at the end, your readers’ response will be, “Well, that was interesting. Now I know about that.” Then they’ll shut the cover and promptly forget about it. Or maybe it will stick with readers a few days, and they’ll think, “Somebody should do something about that.” But that’s as far as it will go. In the end, you’ve spent your time, energy, emotion, and money to write a forgettable book.

You want to create change in a specific, targeted audience, and you can use this formula to write your Purpose Statement:   

The purpose of this book is to action for audience so they can result.

Here are a few examples that my clients wrote:

Example 1—Nancy Nelson, Lessons from the Ledge: The purpose of this book is to guide women in crisis to dig into their resilience, to push past the pitfalls, and to reframe the pain so they can thrive instead of merely survive.

Let’s analyze Nancy’s Purpose Statement in light of our formula:

The purpose of this book is to guide (action) women in crisis (audience) to dig into their resilience (result 1), to push past the pitfalls (result 2), and to reframe the pain (result 3), so they can thrive instead of merely survive (result 4).

Example 2—Craig Hughes, The Self-Driving Company: The purpose of this book is to inspire small business owners who are spread too thin, cash-strapped, and feel trapped by their business to take action that moves them from their current all­consuming, hands­on approach to the freedom of a self-sustaining enterprise.

Let’s break it down:

The purpose of this book is to inspire (action–part 1) small business owners who are spread too thin, cash strapped, and feel trapped by their business (audience) to take action (action–part 2) that moves them from their current all­consuming, hands­on approach to the freedom of a self­sustaining enterprise (result).

Example 3—Terry Lammers, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: The purpose of this book is to show (action) business owners who are seeking an exit strategy (audience 1) and people who want to purchase a company (audience 2) the critical steps and the resources needed to buy or sell a company. (result)

Practice these techniques when writing your own purpose statement for your nonfiction book, and watch your audience be motivated to change!

 


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How To Write A Book And Get It Published

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As  a book coach, I’m often asked the blanket question: “So how do I write a book and get it published?” Want to know the short answer? Make the decision. That’s really the first step. Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to write a book and get it published, following the guideline below will put you on the right track.

STEP ONE: WRITING AND WRITING AND WRITING

  • Initial Book Writing – The first step is to plan your book project in a BookMAP and write all the components until you have a finished manuscript. This is where you invest your time, energy, and emotion, and when you are finished you will have accomplished something few others have done! You will have a complete manuscript.
  • Editing Your Book – Every top-notch author has a first-class editor who does several things to improve upon what you have already accomplished. In the first pass, you will want a developmental editor. A developmental editor takes a look at your overall work and gives feedback on the structure and organization of the manuscript, the development of your characters, the consistency in your story line, your vocabulary, the impact of your message, your use of language and how your unique voice can be amplified. A developmental editor will point out any missing elements in your manuscript and make suggestions about how to weave them in. A developmental editor is crucial for every author, particularly if you are not a professional writer
  • Book Focus Groups – I’m a big believer in focus groups, and the best way to understand if your manuscript achieves its goal is to gather a group of six to ten people who are part of your target market, give them a copy of your manuscript, and ask for their raw feedback. This will be invaluable to you. When you receive that feedback, you make the changes you think are appropriate, then pass the manuscript to your editor for final editing.
  • Final Editing Process – This time, you need what we call line-level editing. You editor will scrub your work and make corrections in punctuation, verb tense, spelling, and sentence structure. They will correct your grammar and make suggestions about how to rewrite your sentences for clarity.
  • Proofreading – If you want a flawless manuscript, you can’t skip the step of hiring a proofreader. Understand this: You are not a capable proofreader. You already know what your story is supposed to say, and your brain will fill in any gaps with what you intended.

Once these steps are complete, you are ready to turn your manuscript into a book.

STEP TWO: THE BOOK DESIGN

Before you design your book, you need to know what you want to produce, and you have a lot of choices to make. Do you want a hardcover book? Or a softcover? Both come in a myriad of sizes, and you need to decide which size best fits your format. Will you issue an eBook, and if so, you need to prepare separate digital files for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.  

One of the most important elements is your book cover design. Your title and your book cover art will work together to invite the reader to purchase the book. They also work together to communicate the essence of your book, while creating a key question in the potential reader’s mind: What is this book about?

Remember that books are often shelved with only the spine visible, and you will want yours to stand out. What will the spine of your book look like? Try adding a dash of color to draw attention.

When turning your attention to the interior design, consider these questions: What fonts are you going to use? What will your copyright page look like? Your table of contents? You must use industry standards for chapter starts and page numbering. And be sure you’ve calculated the appropriate thumb holds – that’s the margin space where a reader places their thumbs to hold the book. Readers should not have to shift their thumbs while reading the book because this causes a degree of stress that interferes with their reading experience and causes fatigue.

Just for fun, take a look at some book interiors, and notice how they differ in style to match the book content. You need a professional designer for both the book cover an interior.

STEP THREE: BOOK PRODUCTION

Of course, you’ll need to get your book produced, and you have several options. Do you want to use an on-demand printer that will print the books as they are ordered?  There’s a higher cost per book for this option, but you won’t have to put your money into the inventory up front. However, if you want to pay the lowest possible amount per book, you will opt to print a large quantity of books and warehouse them until they are sold. The warehouse can be your basement, and many authors like this option because they can maximize their profits with this approach.

STEP FOUR: BOOK DISTRIBUTION

So now you’ve got the book in hand. How are you going to distribute it?

There are numerous ways to distribute your book and, of course, your eBooks will be distributed online.

If you print a number of books, you can elect to ship them out yourself as they are purchased, but bear in mind that this option requires you to have shipping supplies and a fair amount of time to send things out. Some people make arrangements with warehouse distributors or sheltered workshops to send out their books, and others elect to work through book distributors who receive orders and ship them out to bookstores, online retailers, and libraries. All your distributions methods require payment, so find out what the distributor requires before signing any contracts.

STEP FIVE: BOOK MARKETING

Books don’t sell themselves, so you need to plan your marketing strategy. Will you engage the services of a publicist? Or will you do what many authors do and use the social media tools that are so readily available? Will you hold events, like book readings? Use email marketing to get the word out? Or go the traditional advertising route?

Be specific when defining your primary market. Picture the person who buys your book. Is it a woman between the ages of 30 and 50 who is unhappy with the signs of aging? It isn’t every woman between 30 and 50, it’s a subset of that group. Who are they?

What are your secondary markets? Secondary markets are those people/organizations/institutions who will also purchase your book, like educators (if you’re writing about children) or mental health practitioners if you are writing about coming out of a depression. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to customers, so think it through.  

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WRITING & PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK

So what’s the most important part of this process? The most important part is always what you are working on right now. Focus on today. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just do the best possible job on what’s in front of you. There will be plenty of time to focus on what’s ahead.

If you need help to write your book, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:

 

 


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.


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Writing a Book is an Investment-Go Public To Stay The Course And Finish

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Writing a book is one of the best decisions a person can make. The power to change lives, save lives and transform society is one reason why I decided to become an author, and then later help others learn how to write a book. But before I became an author and a book coach, I had to learn how to set goals and stay accountable to them. As a book coach, this is one area we help our students learn what to do.

On a recent group coaching call, our conversation went like this:

“How many of you think of yourself an author?” I asked.

No response.

“None of you? You’re all writing a book, and you don’t consider yourselves authors?”

“I don’t really know how to write,” one client said, “so I don’t think of myself that way.”

“People who write books are authors,” I said, “and since that’s what you’re doing, that’s what you are. I have a challenge for you this week. Tell at least five people that you’re writing a book, and see if it changes your view of yourself.”

When you tell others that you’re writing a book, you add another layer of scrutiny. They’ll want to know all about it: what it’s about, how it’s coming along, when it will be finished. They may offer their opinion about what you’re writing—which could be either encouraging or discouraging, depending on what they say. But you can bet your boots that they’ll ask you about it again and again, until your book is finished. Even if you don’t like the questions, you’ll be accountable to finish your book—or else suffer a bruised ego and a slight humiliation.

The Investment Tether

Psychologists tell us that when we pay for something, we place a higher value on it. But I don’t need to tell you that. If you’ve ever purchased movie tickets in advance, you know the push that gets you to the theater in time for the show. But if the tickets were free, there’d be no push.

It’s not only the monetary investment in your book that will keep you going. Writing your book is also an emotional investment. There are a lot of ups and downs in the process, and if your material is sensitive and pulls you back to unhappier times, you may relive those moments as you are writing. Writing a book costs time, money, energy, and emotion, and while it’s worth it in the end, it can be tempting to give up before you’re finished.

I was at a conference recently where one of my authors, Terry Lammers, was being interviewed about his experience writing his book. Even though Terry’s material is rather serious, he’s not! The interviewer asked him what the process was like, and I wanted to clamp my hand over his mouth when he answered.

“It was a lot like getting tased,” he said.

The audience roared. I grimaced.

“I was rolling along at a pretty relaxed pace in the beginning,” he said, “just answering some questions and figuring out the purpose of my book. But then I started writing, and it was like Nancy had a taser that jolted me every week to keep me writing. I actually wanted to quit because the deadlines just kept coming, week after week. But by then, I’d invested too much time and money to stop.”

I guess that’s one way to look at it!

The bottom line is, if you invest in your book, you’ll be more likely to finish it.

What about you? Are you ready to set the goal of writing your book and learn how to be accountable so that you finish? If so, please contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Group of hands

Write Your Book With a Group and Stay Accountable

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Write Your Book-The Power of We

I don’t know if you’re a goal-setter, but I’ve become one—somewhat reluctantly. I don’t like to set goals because I don’t really want to be accountable to them. I don’t want to set a goal and fail, so I prefer just not to do it. And yet, if I don’t set goals, I don’t accomplish anything significant.  It’s the same when you write your book. It all starts with a goal. 

When I first started the practice of goal-setting, I’d write down my ultimate goals and hope they’d come to fruition. But that wasn’t a realistic approach. I had to break each goal into smaller steps and execute those steps to move forward. There are tons of books on how to set goals and break them into smaller tasks, and that’s all well and good. But these resources weren’t helpful to me until I added the layer of accountability. I have to have someone to answer to.

If you want to write your book, you not only need a step-by-step plan, you also need structure and accountability. It takes a year to write a book, and it isn’t reasonable to expect that you’ll keep going and going week after week, for fifty-two weeks, without a little kick in the pants every now and then.

We’re All In This Together

Human beings are social animals, and many of us stray off the path if we get isolated from a group. The Lone Ranger, the self-made man or self-made woman, the I-did-it-my-way persona are myths. We need each other and function best in community. It’s how our brains are wired.

That’s why my Executive Group Coaching classes are so effective. Limited to ten people, a group functions as your Book Mastermind. Every person in the group starts with only one thing—an idea—and at the end of the journey, you all end up with books. It’s not only a rich experience that you share with others. It’s the power of the group that keeps you going.  

It’s the same approach that made Weight Watchers the most successful approach to long-term weight loss. Their formula is based on weekly meetings and strict accountability to the group and to the scale.

When you write your book with our Executive Group Coaching class, we follow a step-by-step process that provides accountability. It’s a weekly commitment. Each week, you have a new lesson that includes homework to complete. And each week, in a one-hour group conference call, each member reports on the progress he or she made and any roadblocks or challenges encountered. Of course, a lot of scrambling happens on days before our group coaching calls, but that’s to be expected. It’s the jolt that keeps you moving forward, step by step by step and week by week by week.

Why is accountability so effective? For me, it’s an ego thing. I simply don’t want to fail, and I certainly don’t want to fail in front of anyone else. My pride can make me push myself when my will tells me to give up.

There’s something about establishing a regular habit, a regular rhythm, that when coupled with accountability, leads us to achieve our goals. Just like I need the rhythm with my trainer, the rhythm of Executive Group Coaching is the key to finishing your book.

CrowdYou Will Never Be Less Busy

Once this habit of accountability is established, you have to protect it as if your life depends on it. Skip a couple of group coaching calls, and you’re like an ember that’s rolled out of the fire. You may think you’ll keep up with the lessons on your own but then find that there’s never a good time to watch the lessons or do the homework. Soon you’re so far behind that you rationalize that you don’t need to write your book after all—or that you’ll pick it back up again next month, next year, when you aren’t so busy.

Do you really think you’ll ever get less busy?

The members of my Executive Group Coaching classes who don’t finish are the ones who skip our weekly calls. So if you want to write your book at the end of the year, guard the time for our group coaching calls as if your book depends on it—because it does!

The group coaching calls aren’t simply for accountability; they’re fun, too. You get to know other professionals—many from outside your industry—and learn how they’re impacting the world. Some groups are international, so you may get a global perspective on your work. These weekly coaching sessions have spawned quite a number of longstanding friendships among participants.

A Mastermind functions best when all members are invested and engaged, which is why Executive Group Coaching cohorts are limited to ten. After all, you need plenty of time to talk about your writing and get feedback on your work.

The other participants give you that much-needed feedback and are the first test ground for your material. As the group bonds and you function as a Mastermind group, your confidence in your message and as an author grows. By the time your book is published, you’ll have grown your “sea legs,” so to speak, and you’ll be ready for your launch into the public sphere.

Who wouldn’t want a group to cheer you on week after week until you all have your books completed?

What about you? Are you ready to write your book with a group and experience the unity, accountability, and long-lasting friendships along with having a book in your hand at the end of a year? If so, please contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Writing a Book-Time, It’s Not On Our Side

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Writing a Book is Possible-Even With a Busy Life

Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

For you music buffs out there, can you name that tune? I’ll give you a hint. It was first recorded by R&B artist Irma Thompson in 1964 and then later that same year, it was re-recorded by one of the most influential rock groups in our culture. If you guessed “Time Is On My Side” by  The Rolling Stones, then you’re right! Whether you prefer the original version by Irma Thompson, or undoubtedly the most popular version by The Rolling Stones, the lyrics are still fantastic and bring back some great memories.

You might be thinking, what does that song have to do with writing a book? More than you might realize. In fact, the excuse of “I don’t have time right now” is one of the biggest objections I hear from people who put their book on hold. In other words, they believe that time is on their side, and they don’t need to write their book right now. They’re too busy with life and will wait till the time is right. What’s the rush?

Yes, there are some seasons in life that can require more from us mentally, physically, and emotionally, but if you’re waiting for your life to be uneventful so you can write your nonfiction book, then it probably won’t ever get written.

You Will Never Be Less Busy

It doesn’t matter if your passion is about a new business process that can save time and dollars. It can be a memoir about overcoming pain and suffering, or how to connect on a soul-level with your dog: if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it! People don’t buy books; they buy solutions.

Someone is looking for what’s trapped inside of you, but you’re not sure that now is the right time to jump in and write your book. Guess what? You will never be less busy than you are now! This year is going to pass by anyway, and you may as well have something to show for it.

If you were sitting in front of me instead of reading this blog, here’s what I’d say to you:

Time - You will never be less busy

 

If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today and we can help you with the next step! For more information on our class offerings, please visit us at www.thebookprofessor.com.


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Let Go And Write A Book Online

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As a nonfiction book coach, I get to show people how to write a book online.  I have written books, developed curricula, published other people’s books, and taught university classes. There hasn’t been a part of my life that didn’t include writing. It’s always been easy for me just to let go and write no matter how I’m feeling. My journal has been a part of my life as a child and to this very day. Of course, it’s not the same journal I used a child, but the practice of letting go and writing through every pain, tear, joy, and fear is one key to my emotional well-being and a daily sense of peace.

So when I meet prospective writers that don’t think they have a story to tell or are unsure of how to write a book online, I ask them what have you been through? Immediately, their face softens. All of us have gone through something and has a story that could change lives, save lives or transform society. But sometimes, we need a little help to get it out of us and onto paper. This is where I can help.

Why Write a Book Online?

Life is busy and it can be difficult to not only sign up for classes, but it also take the time to commute to class. When you work with a book coach online, you can access instructional videos, lessons, and handouts at any time, day or night. Your study time is whenever you want it to be. My Group Writing & Publishing Program includes homework assignments that will ensure that you are making progress on your book, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. Halfway through each of the 3 modules, you will have a 45-minute one-on-one coaching session where you can go over your work in greater detail, discuss any issues or challenges you are facing, and receive valuable feedback. At the end of each module, you will have another 45-minute one-on-one session to discuss your overall progress in depth.

Why Work With a Group?

The Group Writing & Publishing Program is perfect for people who want constant motivation and feedback. Without structure, it’s easy to put off writing your book. The Group classes force you to carve out time to work on your book. Each 16-week module includes weekly Group Coaching calls that allow you to discuss your progress and get feedback from other members. In short, it’s your own Book Mastermind! The lessons are available online all the time, and the weekly Group Coaching calls are scheduled on the same day and time each week. Flexibility for solo study is great, but the regular meetings with your fellow writers ensure that you receive your weekly dose of motivation. They give you the chance to share what you have been working on, receive feedback, and workshop with other authors, while providing accountability and guidance, every step of the way.

So are you ready to let go and write a book online? If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today and we can help you with the next step!


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Eliminate the “Shoulds” and Use a Writing Coach Online

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What’s holding you back from getting all that you want out life? Life is short. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane daily tasks of life and wonder out loud, “is this all there is?”  Today’s parents are overstressed, corporate executives are overworked, and children are simply overscheduled. With a daily calendar filled with “shoulds” and “musts,” it’s no wonder people go through life missing out on their true calling and never doing what they really want to do. When I became a writing coach online, I eliminated the shoulds from my life and the things I simply didn’t want to do anymore. These things had exhausted me, made me irritable, and instead of relaxing at the end of the day, I became anxious when I looked at my calendar filled with all my “shoulds.”

“I’ve met hundreds of people who have been through things, have learned things, have discovered things, and have developed things that could truly change the world—if only the world knew about them.”

-Nancy Erickson

Figure Out What You Don’t Want To Do And…STOP

When my husband Tom and I went to the Grand Canyon, time changed. I cant figure out if it stretched, if it shifted, or if it stopped altogether. But I do know that one day melted into the next, and the pressure of time dissolved. Nothing to do, nowhere to go.

All I had to do was eat, drink, and be. After two weeks of floating from day to day, I felt fundamentally changed. I liked finding the wide-open spaces inside me, and I felt the pressure of time only when our trip was coming to a close. I dreaded going back to the calendar and clock that ruled my life.

Somewhere along the way, and I don’t know when, I made a decision. “I don’t want to do anything that I don’t want to do anymore,” I told Tom.

He stared at me, a quizzical look on his face. “Then don’t,” he said.

Then don’t? Could it be that easy? Figure out what I don’t want to do and just stop?

It took no effort at all to make a list of the things I didn’t want to do anymore. The list wasn’t that long, but when I matched it up to my day-to-day activities, I saw that the “don’t like” stuff ruled my calendar—and, therefore, my life. I was spending most of my time doing things I didn’t like! All I had to do was stop doing these things—and that was the challenge.  Now I’m not talking about not doing things we don’t like to do that still NEED to get done. I’m referring to those “shoulds” we have on our list because other people have told us we “should” be doing this or that.

Get a Coach

What does my trip to the Grand Canyon have to do with writing a book? You have a book-worthy idea inside you and might think, “I’m not a writer; I can’t do this.” That’s not true. You may not be a professional writer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become an author. You can do anything you want to do if you get the right help.

You need a writing coach online who can help you take the idea for your book and crystallize your message, plan the contents, write the manuscript, edit it to perfection, and—finally— publish and distribute your book. You need someone to take you the entire distance, so all you have to do is follow along.  If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today so we can help you take the next step!

 


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A Good Walk May Be the Best Writing Exercise There Is

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 SCOTT MCCORMICK

This article originally appeared on Bookbaby.com

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, which is why a good walk may be the best writing exercise there is.

I was struggling writing an article for a blog (not this one, but one for Disc Makers, BookBaby’s sister company) about Brian Wilson’s album Smile, when I decided to take my advice from this article and go for a walk. I was literally around the corner from my house when I became inspired, and all was right with the world. During that same walk, I also figured out how to best approach this article, and even had ideas for two future articles.

Not bad for a 30-minute stroll.

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, and there is a growing amount of research on how sitting for long periods is unhealthy. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Too much sitting … seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” “Too much” sitting, according to the Mayo, is sitting for four or more hours a day. That’s basically every day for me.

Not only is sitting for long periods bad for your health, it’s also bad for your writing. Your brain works best when it’s stimulated. Sitting for long periods of time can make your brain sluggish.

So, in a way, writing is actually kind of bad for your writing. How’s that for a catch-22?

Luckily there is a quick fix to both problems: Walking.

Hemingway, Dickens, Thoreau, Kierkegaard, and J. K. Rowling have all extolled the virtues of walking. Orson Scott Card said, “It’s worth the time to take an hour’s walk before writing. You may write a bit less for the time spent, but you may find that you write better.”

So why walking as opposed to, say, cross-fit? Frankly, any (safe) exercise is better than no exercise. So if you’re into a specific type of exercise, by all means, do it. It will make you healthy, happy, and better able to write. But there are three kinds of exercise that are especially suited to writing: walking, running, and biking. What these three have in common is that they are solitary and monotonous. In short: they are perfect for letting your mind wander.

I love racquetball. It’s fun and it offers an excellent workout, but it’s not great for helping me write. It’s not a solitary activity, and I have to think about the activity at hand. Yes, it’s good for stimulating the heart and the brain, but it doesn’t give my mind time to wander.

In my interview with Josh Funk, he said, “I find that my best ideas come in those moments where my mind is free to wander.” He’s not alone. Henry Miller wrote: “Most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk. I’d say it occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game or whatever.”

Stepping away from your house or office to go for a walk (or run, etc.) gets you away from distractions, and lets your mind do its thing. Albert Einstein apparently came up with his Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. (That anecdote came from a rather great article on this very subject from Psychology Today. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in the science of how walking can stimulate the brain.)

How to walk for maximum effect

Your mileage may vary, but I find that to get the most out of walking, I need to walk without listening to music, and I need to bring my cell phone, with a dictation app launched and ready. I use Dragon Dictation, which is free, and which works pretty well. I prefer to walk at a brisk pace to get the maximum health benefit, but maybe your mind works better at a casual stroll so you can appreciate your surroundings.

I have a dog. When I first got her, I was hoping that walking her would give me the same benefit as walking solo, but I have not found that to be the case. So I have to walk her, and then go and walk myself.

Because I like to have my phone ready to record ideas, I prefer walking to biking. If you don’t need to record your every thought, that may not be a concern. But if you come home from your walk to find, like I did today, that your dog has chewed up three pencils and half of your kids’ homework, you run the risk of forgetting all the wonderful ideas you had while you clean up the mess. (Also, I find I have to pay too much attention to things like traffic and maintenance with biking — but again, your mileage may vary.)

Health-wise, you don’t have to walk every day. Doctors say three 40-minute sessions a week is enough. But for your writing, I recommend walking any chance you can get, partially for practical reasons. The weather may not cooperate. Life may get in the way. I’ve learned to grab my walking opportunities whenever I can. Every walk or run or bike ride won’t necessarily produce immediate results. But that’s OK. If you make it a routine to go as often as you can, you’ll find your ideas will come more easily and your writing will be stronger. And there’s also this, from Charles Dickens: “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”

 

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Nonfiction Book Coach Advice: Heal Yourself Through Sharing

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Have you ever been in so much emotional pain that you thought you’d die if something didn’t change? I know that feeling too well before I became a nonfiction book coach. I was married for twenty-two years to my first husband and was devastated when I discovered that he had a hidden life that was incompatible with marriage. Everything I thought I knew about the world and how life worked turned out to be a lie. I’d been duped and betrayed by a man I’d been married to for over half my life, and I literally thought I would die from the pain and grief.

Because the circumstances of our split were dark and not the topic of polite conversation, I had no one to turn to. There was no one to comfort me, no one to help me, no one who understood what I was going through. It wasn’t until I dared to share my story, my real story, that I began to heal.

Share Your Pain and Heal Your Life

I muddled through that pain. With the help of intense therapy and deep self-examination, I discovered some things that can help other women faced with a similar situation—women whose worlds have been flipped upside down by a deep, ugly secret and who, as they try to come to terms with their pain and heal, have no one to help them. They feel hopeless. They feel helpless. They are all alone. Just like I was. But it wasn’t until I met with a therapist and began to share all of the ugly details of my pain that I felt a dead weight lift off my heart. It was raw, unfiltered, and ugly but, oh, was it freeing! The sense of relief and peace I felt after sharing my story was indescribable. I had a long journey ahead, but I finally felt the mental fog begin to clear.

Years later, I discovered that there are physical benefits of sharing, especially with someone who is walking through the same type of pain you’ve experienced.  Doctor and author of  Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin, writes in Psychology Today that: “Every time you tell your story, and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.” She goes on to say that “In order to benefit fully from the healing medicine of telling your story, you must resist holding anything back. You must strip off your masks, be unapologetically you, ditch worrying about what “everybody” is going to think, and let your glorious freak flag fly.”(Source)

What about you? Are you ready to “let your glorious freak flag fly?” When I became a nonfiction book coach, I made a promise to be real, authentic, and in the words of Lissa Rankin, to let my freak flag fly!  Maybe your story is like mine, or maybe it’s totally different. There are so many stories that can be inspirational—even lifesaving—for others. What have you faced? What have you learned? What have you discovered or developed that can help others? You can be a messenger of hope and help. If you or someone you know wants to work with a nonfiction book coachplease contact us today!


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Nonfiction Book Coach Advice: Live Your Life on Purpose

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Have you ever asked yourself why you were created? I don’t mean how you were created but have you discovered your life’s true purpose? Sometimes people get their life’s purpose confused with their career choice. Even if you’re successful in a profession that reflects your talents, would you say you’re genuinely fulfilled and have a sense of direction? If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll know that money doesn’t buy happiness, fulfillment, or give us a sense of peace.  Just turn on the news, and you’ll hear another sad story in which a wealthy person self-destructs. But it’s not just the wealthy. Millions of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds are spiraling into full-blown depression because they feel their life has no value and is meaningless. How sad. I can relate because before I became a nonfiction book coach, I felt the same way. That’s before I learned my true purpose.

 Your Purpose is Bigger Than You

As a professional writer and a nonfiction book coach, it’s no secret that I love writing. But I also like to read books from other inspiring authors. One of my favorites is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. While the book is from a Christian perspective, I believe that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, can learn a valuable lesson or two from it. In it, he writes: “Service starts in your mind. To be a servant requires a mental shift, a change in your attitudes. Servants think more about others than about themselves.” Warren goes on to say that, “When we stop focusing on our own needs, we become aware of the needs around us.”

We all have problems. But what would happen if you viewed your life as a vessel to give hope and help to someone else? Your purpose is bigger than you. You were created for so much more than you think.

Why Am I Telling You This?

I misspent too many years and brought untold grief on myself because I refused to be me, to pursue my true “calling.” And I’m amazed at how many other people have done the same thing. And once they’ve figured their lives out, are doing what they were meant to do and rejoicing in doing it, they don’t step back to consider how powerful their story is and how it could help others. I guess it’s easy to undervalue what’s inside us because it’s all that we know. So it doesn’t seem special. It doesn’t seem significant. And it doesn’t seem to offer a path that others can learn from and grow from. Don’t fall for that way of thinking.

Think about what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and what you’ve overcome—and be willing to give it to others. Your life’s purpose is bigger than you. You were created to serve.

Many of our clients find that they discover more about their life purpose as they’re working on their book. We take them through a step-by-step process to uncover the purpose of their book, and they often find that leads them to the purpose for their life. If that sounds like an experience you’d like to have, check out our Self-Directed Book Writing Course.

 


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Our Experiences Shape Who We Are

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How often have you heard the saying, “Experience is the best teacher.” I used to hear that a lot, especially while growing up, and while I didn’t always appreciate it then, I now agree with it 100%. Although there are some experiences I wish I could’ve avoided due to the pain they caused, they’re still a part of my story.

The innate beliefs we have about ourselves can be the driving force behind the decisions we make. Our experiences—good or bad shape who we are. They become a part of us, a part of our story.

I’m often asked, especially when I meet new people, “What’s your story?”  That makes me chuckle inside because it’s the same question I ask aspiring authors. My story has many facets that started within childhood.  As a child, my family moved around a lot because of my father’s corporate job. I was always the new girl, and it wasn’t easy.  Every place we moved was so different. What were the rules here? Who could I trust? Who should I be?

It was important that I figure things out before I shared myself in any way. I needed to learn the rules and customs and behaviors in a new place, so I could mimic them and fit in. I became a completely different person every time we moved, and I adopted new personas to match what I saw in others. That’s when I developed my three most crippling self-defeating beliefs:

  1. If people know who I really am, they won’t like me.
  2. No one cares about me.
  3. I don’t matter.

It’s been a long time since I was twelve years old, and I wish I could say that those internal messages disappeared with my youth, but they did not. To the contrary, these became my core beliefs about myself, and they kept me in chameleon mode for far too much of my life. These negative beliefs caused me to neglect myself and my own needs, to marry an abusive husband, to work in a career that I hated, to be underdeveloped as a human being, and to live a life of crippling anxiety—always trying to figure out what to do, who to be, how to act.

With the help of some good therapy, journaling, and a daily practice of meditation, I’ve worked through these issues, and they no longer cripple me. But I admit that, on certain days, I have to work really, really hard just to justify my existence. On those days I feel like I don’t matter, that no one cares about me, and if people knew who I really was, they wouldn’t like me.

But, my story doesn’t end there, and it was through those tough experiences that I’ve become the person I am today. If I hadn’t gone through some of the trauma in my life, I’m not sure if I would’ve been led to my true calling of helping others get their story out to change the world. I know I wouldn’t have this level of self-awareness, nor would I have the strength and courage to share my story with others.  It was through those tough times when I learned what courage and humility really meant that enables me to share my experiences with others today.

What about you? I know you’ve experienced something that has forever altered your life. Guess what? I bet you’re not the only one, even though it might feel that way. Your experiences may not have been easy but they’re a part of your story and have helped shape who you are. Who can you help by sharing your experience with someone else?

If you or someone you know is interested in sharing their experiences, reach out to us and we will help make it happen!

 


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publishing-writing-book-length

How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

There’s nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you’re transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it’s long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

To motivate you to pick up that classic you’ve never read – or reread your favorite book – Personal Creations put together this infographic detailing how long it takes to read popular books, based on an average reading time of 300 words per minute. Though you may like to read at a more leisurely pace, reread difficult sections, or indulge in passages you adore, it’s still a useful comparison of how long various books and series – from To Kill A Mockingbirdto The Odyssey to the Harry Potter series – might take to read.

Take a couple of minutes to read it, then shut down your device and go read a book!

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About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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