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How to write a book in 30 days

By | authors, coaches, education, POPULAR | No Comments

Have you been struggling for years to complete a book? If so, don’t worry. This is a common problem that many writers face. Are you ready for the secret of how to write a book in 30 days? “Go Write and You Won’t Go Wrong. It’s that simple,” says Michael Ray King.

Michael has helped hundreds of writers get un-stuck and finish the books that have been in them for years. Here are some of the tips he recommends to his clients:

Find a good place to write.

Find a place that’s pleasing to you. It can change from day to day. When you purposely go to these places, you’re already starting. On your way there you start formulating things in our head. A lot of creative work is done before you even start writing.

“I like writing in a restaurant because it has a lot of white noise. I can’t write at home because there’s a lot of children noise I can’t ignore,” Michael says.

CartoonWritersBlockKing

Consider your sound environment.

Music is a good writing trigger, as long as you know what genre works best for you. “Music with words can be especially inspiring when you’re writing poetry. I get the melody and it helps me pick up meter. It’s a fun poetry exercise,” Michael says. “But if you listen to songs with music, be careful not to plagiarize.”

Stay with your passion.

This is the most vital aspect of writing any book. You have to love what you’re writing. You can’t do this if you’re questioning yourself all the time. It invites a critic and a judge. You may have to go back and review a few prior paragraphs to refresh where you are, but move on. You need to love your writing from the very beginning, from the first draft all the way through the marketing of it. 

The first draft doesn’t need to have good grammar and continuity. Some people don’t like chaos, but if you’re truly creating from the heart, your words will seem chaotic at first. The stuff you’re writing fresh off the cuff doesn’t match up with the edited stuff so if you try to edit when you write, it feels like there’s a bug in your writing. This can bring you to a halt. Save the editing for later.

Michael allows writers to talk about their issues. Lots of issues come down to the personal judge and critic. “Writers have set patterns like this and that’s exactly what they need to change,” Michael says. 

Use index cards.

“I press people to use index cards. Get a specific pen you identify with your writing,” Michael says. If you have something special you connect with your writing, such as a pen, a desk, or a set of index cards, it’s a trigger to start writing.

Too many people de-prioritize their writing. In order to get your writing done, you have to prioritize it. If not, everything else will take priority over it.

Begin with one card. Write the title of your book. Be creative. You can change it at any time. Working with index cards is an ongoing process. Make a card for each chapter and section of your book. You can continue adding and reorganizing the index cards the whole time you’re writing your book. You can continue to shift them around at any time. Interacting with the cards gives you a hands-on approach allowing you to tap into your internal creative nature.

“When you digitize things, you’re taking out the human element. By using cards, you’re stay in touch with your creativity. There are huge advantages with computers, but they can also distance you from your creativity,” Michael says.

MichaelRayKingIndexCards

Michael Ray King’s index cards for his book on How to Write a Book in 30 Days.

“I’ve had people do the cards in a different way, but that’s ok,” Michael says. He believes that if it works for you, then it’s right for you.

Lots of people take five or more years to write a book. You don’t need that much time to write most books. If you’re writing a historical fiction novel and have to do a lot of research, it’s going to take longer.

Write at least 750 words each day for 30 days.

“You have to get to the point where you want to write the book so much that you’re writing because you want to get your message out, not just because you want to meet your daily word count or complete an index card. For some it may feel somewhat of a selfish priority,” Michael says.

If you’re writing what you know, then you should be able to knock out a first draft quickly.Having a plan for completion is important. That’s one of the biggest benefits of deciding to write your book in 30 days. Michael holds classes and webinars on How to Write a book in 30 Days.

GoWriteAndYouWontGoWrongLogo

Address the critic and the judge separately.

“That sentence isn’t constructed well,” you might be telling yourself. “Who are you to think you can write a book? Who would want to read this?”

“Put these voices in solitary confinement prison until you’re done with your first draft,” Michael says. “These voices just get in the way of creativity. Nuke them. Blow them up. You never need the internal judge. These critics will rob you of your book. If it’s happened to me, it’s happening to other people.”

“I had a coach who put me to the grindstone. I’m a totally different kind of coach,” Michael said. “You can throw everything into your book. Overwrite. If you think it’s cool or if it’s your truth, just put in in there. If you think it might tick someone off and you decide to leave it out, then you’re not writing properly.”

“There’s lots of diversity out there. Not everyone is going to agree with you. If you write vanilla, you won’t get anywhere. Howard Stern and Connie West don’t have filters, but we place filters on our views. Your views have more credence than these guys. Don’t censor yourself when you have truths to put out there. Don’t hold back,” Michael says.

Lots of writers tend to want to read over their stuff before moving on, but avoid it. New writing is going to be rocky at best. Wait until you rewrite and edit before you smooth it all out. 

Calliope - Muse of Epic Song: Writing Tablet

Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry

Welcome the muse.

Some writers say “my characters took over my book,” When this happens, it means there’s some mystical thing going on. “This means that you’ve allowed yourself to let your creativity run wild. When you can do this and maintain it, it works,” Michael says.  

Some writers say, “The book practically wrote itself.” When this happens, it means you’ve been able to get past the critic and let the book out. The muse is a special writing phenomenon. “I’ve even done this with sports or ballroom dancing,” Michael said. “You can get in a mode when you feel like your actions are being channeled. You don’t know where it’s coming from.”

“You can’t induce a muse. But when she shows up you better get to the computer and write because when she goes away, you might not see her again for a while. You can feel great about your writing, but that time with your muse is special. In 14 years of writing, I’ve never been able to force the muse to show up,” Michael says. 

Goodreads has hundreds of quotes from famous writers all the way back to Aristotle and up to modern day people. If you’re feeling stuck, read some qoutes from famous writers. It can help you get un-stuck.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. E.L. Doctorow

“Don’t count on your muse. Even when she doesn’t show up, you need to get to the point where a day without writing is like a day without sunshine,” Michael says.

Don’t talk to non-writers about your book.

When you’re writing, especially a book, do not talk to non-writers about it. They will rob you of your zest. They won’t do it on purpose. If you give them a plot line, you beg the judge to come in. You might think, “that’s so much better than what I was thinking.” If they say “that’s been done before” then that will take the wind out of you. Tell people you’re writing a book, but don’t discuss the particulars of what it’s about. 

Find a trusted writers group.

Find a trusted writing support team with people who are actively writing. If you have synergy, it really helps. “That’s why my clients keep coming to class because it keeps them rolling,” Michael says. “It’s very motivational.”

“Lots of writing groups are social clubs. They’re not progressive. There’s often not enough encouragement to get your book out to market.” Michael says. “You have no business being in a critique group if you’re writing your first draft. If you do, it’s like asking the judge to destroy you. Most critique groups are nothing more than ego stroke groups. People will go in, read, and get feedback. It not only hinders the process time-wise, it handcuffs your creativity. It bottles you up. That’s what I’ve seen and learned. Let your horses run wild and then corral them. If you have a good editor later, that’s all you really need.”

Bridget Callaghan, Michael Ray King, Jeff Swesky and Nancy Quatrano at a Method Writers book launch event in Palm Coast, FL in October 2012

Bridget Callaghan, Michael Ray King, Jeff Swesky and Nancy Quatrano at a Method Writers book launch event in Palm Coast, FL in October 2012

Good writers groups encourage each other. “When I was a part of the Rogue Writers, the energy and synergy in those meetings were off the charts,” Michael said. “It’s a group that started in 2003. People in this group have written multiple books. When you’re around people who are really making it happen, you get caught up in it. That’s a good writing group.”

“You’re either a wanna be, a gonna be or an I am. There was a time when I was waffling between a wanna be and a gonna be. You want to get to that I am place. Write the book so you can say, I am an author. A good writers group will inspire this,” Michael says. “Being able to match personalities is critical. I hand picked people for the Rogue Writers. I wanted everyone to encourage each other and write books. We wrote together. Four of us wrote a novel together and a book of short stories.”

“You’ve got to be able to have fun together and still work. We’d play writing games. We’d laugh until we cried. Four people writing one novel is very interesting. You’ll sometimes see a collaboration of two people, but rarely four. We’d just sit there. We had a big timeline on the wall. If you make it too task oriented, there’s too much opportunity for friction and you squelch creativity,” Michael said. “Our meetings weren’t so much about sitting and writing. They were more about coming together to talk about what we had written.”

“I’m not a big fan of accountability to others. I think writers need to be accountable to themselves first. Set up a spreadsheet to track your word count toward the completion of your book,” Michael says. “I have a friend who posts her word count on Facebook. It’s her own accountability and can be inspiration to fellow writers at the same time. Word count isn’t the only measure, but it can be a barometer.”

Get a writing coach.

“I managed people for 20 years in retail. What I learned is that it’s a good thing to hire people better than me. I’m a big fan of personal coaches. A woman named Janice coached me in a business and personal way. We’d talk weekly to find a balance in life. She encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. The biggest thing she taught me was that you don’t have to know things intellectually. I know things from internal channels. When things line up, I know it’s right. I’m intuitive. Stop trying to force things and trust your instincts and move forward. When you have your internal talks, just started trusting yourself.  She took me out of programmed negativity and put me in positive state of mind,” Michael said.

“A book shouldn’t feel like a huge monstrosity. Most people can write their first draft in 30 days just by writing for about an hour a day,” Michael says. “It’s simple but not easy. It takes a lot of discipline. If you don’t finish it in 30 days and it takes 45 or 60, you’ll still be happy. I’ve found that about 20-25% of the people who take my class finish in 30 days. The bulk of the people finish in 45-60 days. Some take 90, and a few never finish at all,” Michael said.

After your book is written, it’s time to move on to the editing process.

How to write a book in 30 days: Write the draft before you edit

Michael Ray King is the author of Go Write and You Won’t Go Wrong: Write Your Book in 30 Days! He’s a five-time award winning author. In addition to conducting classes, he is also a personal writing coach. He lives in Palm Coast, Florida.

Your Best Excuse for Not Going to the Gym

By | Biking, BODY, Comedy, health, Pets, POPULAR, spouses | 6 Comments

It’s always good to have a few excuses up your sleeve in case you run into someone who nags you about joining a gym. Prepare now for the next time one of your “you-should-join-a-gym” friends or family members nags you. If you put a little thought into it now, you can easily ward them off later. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call this friend Jim. It’s best to develop a few excuses that are custom made for you, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

The world's strongest man, Patrick Baboumian, is vegan.

The world’s strongest man, Patrick Baboumian, is vegan.

“I’m taking vegan cooking classes.”

This is a timely excuse you can use now since Jim probably heard about Patrick Baboumian. At Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Festival this year, he carried 550 kg (1,212 lbs) more than 10 meters (32.8 feet), setting a new world record. This makes him the strongest man in the world. This 34-year-old Armenian-German relies on plant power to build his lean body mass and strength. The Star

When he was a boy, Patrick’s hero was the Hulk. Today, he’s achieved his goal of being as big as the Hulk, but despite eating lots of greens every day, he still hasn’t turned green.

He broke the world record by lifting some heavy metal on an outdoor stage. He didn’t use any fancy gym equipment. Real men go to competitions to lift things like logs and cars.

If Jim gives you a hard time about the vegan thing, tell him that after you eat your vegan dinner, you go around the house lifting furniture. Make up specific examples like, “I can already lift my LazyBoy. I’m working on lifting the couch, and eventually I may even be able to lift some of my family’s potatoes.”

“I’m concerned about FARTS.”

Flatulant Air Release Timing Syndrome (FARTS) is particularly troublesome in smaller gyms, and gyms with poor circulation. Scientists are still studying the causes and effects of FARTS. They believe it’s mainly due to diet, but it could also be hereditary.

Though it’s not considered to be contagious, other people will notice if you have FARTS and they may try to avoid you. FARTS is particularly common among people who run on treadmills or ride stationery bikes.

Psychologists are also studying other possible negative effects of treadmills and stationery bikes. When people ride bikes or run on treadmills that go nowhere, some psychologists believe that it may reinforce the idea that no matter how hard you work, you just don’t seem to get anywhere. Working hard to get nowhere? That stinks!

“My local gym won’t let me bring my dog.”

This is a perfect excuse if you have a dog because you can back it up with research. Studies show that pet ownership is linked with better heart health.

Dog owners can also use the FARTS excuse. Despite the fact that most dogs are smart enough to avoid treadmills and stationery bikes, some dog owners have reported that their dogs have contracted FARTS.

You can tell Jim that you’re waiting for a dog-friendly gym like FitBernalFit or K9FitClub. As soon as one opens nearby, you’ll be the first to join. If you have more than one dog, you can elaborate on the fact that your dogs really miss you when you’re at work, so you like to spend as much time as possible with them on evenings and weekends. It also gives you the opportunity to change the subject.

“You know how most people give their dogs boring names like Rover or Spot? I call mine Sex. I was so embarrassed recently when I went to the city hall to renew the dog’s license for Sex. I told the clerk, ‘I’d like a license for Sex.’ He said, ‘I’d like one too!’ Then I said, ‘She’s a dog!’ He said he didn’t care what she looked like. I said, ‘you don’t understand. I had Sex since I was 9 years old.'” Garrick’s Jokes

And you can go on talking about Sex until your friend forgets about the gym question. If Jim isn’t interested in Sex, then he’s probably not a very good friend anyway.

“I’m learning partner yoga.”

This is a good excuse for people who are married. Tell Jim that you and your spouse/partner are doing partner yoga together several hours every evening while you watch TV. If Jim persists by bragging about how much he benches or how many reps he does, tell him how much strength and flexibility you’ve gained now that you’re doing the dog, the cat, and even the happy baby.

“I’m totally claustrophobic.”

If you have an older brother or sister, you can use this excuse. Make up a story about how your older brother/sister locked you in the closet when you were five years old and ever since you’ve been chronically claustrophobic. Tell Jim that you need open space and fresh air.

If he persists, you can embellish a bit more on the indoor thing. Tell him you’re allergic to the toxic disinfectant sprays they use in gyms. He can’t argue with you on personal stuff like this.

This excuse works particularly well if you’ve ever lived near Venice, CA. Tell Jim that you just can’t seem to find a gym that compares to your former gym, Muscle Beach. You can’t stand those oppressive gyms without a view or fresh air.

Free Fresh Air: Hurry! Offer Ends Soon

“I bike to work.”

Jim probably drives to work. Tell him you’re taking up donations for the League of American Bicyclists to help make roads safer because of all the people driving to gyms. Tell him that you’re only asking for a small donation, about the cost of one tank of gas. If Jim drives a car, ask for $50. If he drives an SUV, ask for $80. If that doesn’t work, give him 13 reasons why he should bike to work.

“I get paid to workout.”

This is a perfect excuse for anyone who does manual labor. Whether you’re stocking shelves, framing houses, or climbing telephone poles, you’re getting paid to workout. Why do you think personal trainers are the only people excited about going to the gym? They’re paid to hang out there.

“I’m a stair master.”

This is a great excuse if you work or live in a tall building. The more floors, the better. You know how magazines are always putting out tips like, “take the steps instead of the elevator.” Tell Jim that you begin your workday by climbing 27 flights. That ought to impress him.

Why don’t more people take the steps? Most stairwells in the US are unattractive passageways installed just to meet ineffective safety codes. Remember the 200  9/11 jumpers?

It’s all backwards! We need to erect more buildings with the emergency stairwells outside the building where they belong. For the sake of good health, indoor stairways should be as elegant as today’s elevators, lined with mirrors, fine wood and polished brass rails. And only one elevator for the disabled. Some people think guns are killing a lot of people in the US, but this number is low compared to the statistics on elevators.

You can use the stair-master excuse for most people you know, but be careful about using it with colleagues who work in the same building. If Jim catches you in an elevator, you can say, “I’m running late for a meeting.” Of course he’ll understand.

White-collar people use this excuse all the time, even though most of them never run at all. People with desk jobs drive home and turn on their TV so they can watch cops and robbers chase after each other.

11 Equipment Essentials for Easy Everyday Exercises 

As you can see, there are many good reasons for not joining a gym. But just in case you’re still looking for a few more ideas, check out this two-minute clip by Jeff Allen . . .

If you’re forgetful, put the Hulk in your kitchen to remind you to eat your vegetables every day. The whole family can have fun with the Hulk. If you have kids, keep the Hulk next to the fruit bowl. If your in-laws are visiting for the weekend, put the Hulk in the refrigerator. Next time Uncle Jim comes over for dinner expecting steak, point to the Hulk.

Subscribe to VegNews to learn more about the benefits of going vegan.

One last word of caution. If you have a dog, be careful where you keep the Hulk. The Hulk has no protection from Sex.

What’s your excuse?

Vegan Society

Laundry study shows Americans have few hangups

By | HAVE FUN, laundry, parenting, POPULAR, spouses | 9 Comments

For the record, I don’t have any problem with people hiding things in their drawers. That’s not my business. Participants in this laundry study agreed unanimously that once clothes are washed, they should, in fact, be hung up or put away in drawers.

Why do a laundry study? I lived in France when I was in college and became fascinated by the ways that people from different cultures do laundry.

Here are a few of my hangups and some of my husband’s as well. I took this picture from the balcony of our apartment in Shenzhen, China.

In this study, drying clothes or putting clothes on hangers was simply referred to as “hangups.”

The French procrastinate. They don’t like dealing with their hangups at all. I became close friends with quite a few people and got invited to their apartments. Many of them had very few clothes and they’d wear the same outfit all week. I learned that the French invented eau de toilette water just to avoid their hangups.

collapsible indoor tripod clothes drying rack

CLICK HERE to buy a collapsible indoor tripod clothes drying rack.

Instead of doing laundry, they’d rather meet up with friends to talk over a glass of wine and a plate of crackers topped with smelly cheese. At first I didn’t like the smell of some of the cheeses or even some of my friends. But it didn’t take me long to adapt to the culture and pay less attention to my own hangups.

One French participant noted that he used his bidet to wash his underwear and derriere at the same time. AhaJokes

Americans also avoid their hangups, but in a different way. They put their clothes in the dryer and expect the appliance to minimize their hangups. Numerous participants reported that their things do indeed tend to shrink in the dryer.

But in reality, dryers are a big waste of money and space. Clothes dry all by themselves if you give them a few hours. They don’t need to be baked. We’d all be better off if people dealt with their hangups on their own instead of relying on an electric appliance for a quick fix.

Many Americans firmly believe that people shouldn’t hang their laundry out to dry. In fact many homeowner’s associations and apartment complexes in the US restrict people from hanging their laundry out to dry. They forbid people from putting up clotheslines in their own backyard or hanging clothes on their porches.

hang drying laundry on a retractable outdoor clothes line

CLICK HERE to buy a retractable outdoor clothes line. It stows away neatly when not in use.

Uppity hotels and resorts in the US restrict their customers from hanging their beach towels or bathing suits on their balconies. As an American, I think we should stop doing this. It’s really confusing to foreigners who think America is the land of the free.

One Italian who participated in the study stated that he didn’t understand why so many Americans went all the way to Italy just to take pictures of laundry hanging across streets in his hometown, Venice. He felt that Americans should be free to display hangups in their own streets.

Dry your laundry like you're in Venice.

Dry your laundry like you’re in Venice.

Most participants agreed that it’s perfectly normal to have hangups. And we’d all be better off if everyone hung their things out to dry. Most of the male participants agreed with this. Several commented that they like to know if a woman wears granny panties or thongs, adding that they have a tendency to be curious about things like this. But many female participants stated that they prefer to hide these sorts of things in their drawers. Whatever you wear, be sure to choose natural fabrics over synthetics.

My husband loves me regardless of my hangups. I know this because over the years he has supported me during times when I’ve had fewer hangups and at times when I’ve expanded my collection.

It’s important for married couples to be tolerant of one another. Since the time we got married, I’ve dealt with every one of my husband’s hangups, except for the occasional ones I pass on to the dry cleaner.

But even this I take seriously. I don’t give his hangups to just any dry cleaner. I look for ones that don’t use PERC.

clothes line solar powered laundry drying apparatus

Clothesline: a radical solar-powered laundry drying apparatus

Men usually have bigger hangups than women. Because their shoulders are typically wider, they’re naturally suited for larger hangups. This was another important finding of the study. My own husband, for example, didn’t know how to use a washer or dryer when we got married. Some of the younger women who participated in the study said they would have a problem with this because they expect their husband to deal with his own hangups.

But like many men of the Baby Boomer generation, my husband believes that women should be responsible for all the hangups in the family. I never really had a problem with it though because it makes me a stronger person. Any woman who has carried around a big basket of wet laundry knows it’s a heavy load to carry.

Turns out this is a global phenomenon. I’ve traveled all over the world and observed that women are usually the ones who take responsibility not only for their husband’s hangups, but also for the hangups of their children. That’s why middle age women are generally afflicted with a higher percentage of hangups.

According to the Green Cleaners Council, most drycleaners don’t care about their hangups. They pass them out without asking customers to bring them back. Responsible drycleaners understand that perfectly good hangups should not be wasted or placed in the trash.

When I lived in China, I was impressed with how many hangups Chinese people have. I saw many new types of hangups I’d never seen before. Most of them have a certain type of hangup permanently installed on their balconies or porches. And some have attachments to purposely display their hangups from their windows. They have no problem sharing even their most personal hangups with their neighbors. In fact, most Chinese people don’t even own electric dryers. They hang all their laundry out to dry.

I like to take pictures of people and their hangups. You can learn a lot about folks this way. Sometimes you can tell what type of work they do, the age of their children, and even how much money they make.

I’ve always believed that children should learn at a young age to put away their toys, say thank you, and deal with their own hangups. And moms should also be concerned about the toxins in dryer sheets. According to the Environmental Health Association of Ontario, dryer sheets “have been associated with numerous illnesses and chronic conditions.”

More Americans are starting to understand the hangup issue we have in our country. They’re banding together in organizations like Project Laundry List to educate people and to promote things like clotheslines, drying racks, and more hangups for Americans.

A member of the International Naturist Federation participated in the survey and commented that most people in Western countries have way too many hangups that they don’t need. He asked to remain anonymous even though he assured me he didn’t have anything he wanted to cover up.

nudefest naturist beach

The naturist assured me he didn’t have anything he wanted to cover up.

You can do your part by supporting Project Laundry List and your local green cleaner. But, according to the findings of this laundry study, the most important thing you can do is start dealing with your own hangups. As soon as they come out of the washer, hang them up to dry.

As with any change, you may find it a bit uncomfortable until you get into the new habit. But you’ll quickly begin to reap the benefits. Not only will you increase your physical activity, your clothes will last longer, and you’ll save money.

Shortly after the laundry study was complete, one of the participants contacted me with good news. Her husband decided he would try to do his own wash.

“What setting do I use on the washing machine?” my husband yelled out from the laundry room one morning.

“It depends,” I told him. “What does it say on your shirt?”

Go Gators,” he replied.

AboutLaundryRoomJokes

Project Laundry List