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Book Club! Join us

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-trzex-e0ba83
Join our international virtual book club! Listen to find out:

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Two Words Holding You Hostage

June 17, 2020– There are two words that hold us hostage; can you guess what they are? WHAT IF. Yep, what if holds us back more than anything else. The mere thought of failure and worst-case scenario thinking keeps us from realizing our dreams, finishing our novels/writing projects, and reaching our full potential. Today, we’ll be doing an exercise that will help with a case of the what if’s…check it out below:

  1. Write down a list of your worst what if’s: e.g. What if I quit my job to pursue my writing career and it didn’t work out? What if I write a book and can’t sell it? What if people hate my book? Write down everything you can think of that has the possibility of a negative outcome.
  2. Take the above list and write down the POSITIVE what if’s: e.g. What if I quit my job to pursue my writing career and become a best selling author? What if I write a book and I sell a million copies? What if people love my book and tell me how much they enjoyed it?
  3. Examine the lists and ask yourself if the worst did happen, would you be ok? Chances are YES. Also, make a list of HOW you can get to the positives. e.g. What if I quit my job to pursue my writing career and it didn’t work out? I could get another job or start saving money to take a year off and see what happens. What if I write a book and can’t sell it? I could take classes on how to market my work, how to network, and the best places to sell my book.

The point is to stay positive, be fearless, and have a plan in place! There’s no what if that you can’t handle!

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The Idea Muscle

June 15, 2020-Did you know that it’s easier to come up with twenty ideas than it is to think of ten? Let me explain. If you’re thinking of ideas for storylines for your novel and you can’t think of ten ideas, then you’re putting way too much pressure on yourself. Perfection is the enemy of ideas. Stop stopping yourself and go ahead and write down those terrible ideas! How does this help?

1) It forces you to get uncomfortable. The bad ideas never have to see the light of day, so don’t worry about them coming to fruition, just get the ideas down on paper. Your brain will scream, NO! THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! YOU’RE GOING TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF! Who cares, write it down.

2) A great idea will come from bad ones. The more bad ideas you write down, the better! Once we get the bad ones out of the way, there’s more room for the good ones. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads and stop overthinking. Here’s a terrible idea-Snow White and the Seven Sins.

3)You’ll take action. So, you’ve written down your ideas (good and bad), and now what you need to do is write down the first steps to take. Do this for ALL of your ideas, even the bad ones. Snow White and the Seven Sins: Step 1-Research what the seven sins are and leave it at that. Move on to the next idea and next step.

This method of idea generation has led me to some of the best ideas I’ve ever had and I know it will work for you too. Happy writing, X LLB

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Grow Your Author Mind

June 10, 2020-It’s crucial to have a mindset that allows you to grow as an author, and this attitude of continual learning will be imperative to your success! Ask yourself these five questions each day to stay on track and within a growth mindset.

1) What did you learn from today’s writing? E.g. I learned that I need to do more research about the topic I’m writing about in order to add credibility to my work.

2) What steps did you take to make yourself successful today? E.g. I wrote an entire chapter as soon as I got up in the morning and I didn’t check my phone for one hour while I was writing.

3) What are some different strategies you could have used during your writing to overcome any obstacles you faced? E.g. I could have shut the door to my office and disabled all Facebook notifications so that I wouldn’t get distracted.

4) How did you keep going when things got tough? E.g. I wrote myself into a corner and had to restart a chapter. I wrote complete garbage, but I reminded myself that writing anything is better than nothing.

5) What did you learn from any setbacks today? E.g. I learned that I need to be more disciplined in my writing, that I need to remove distractions, and that what matters most is getting words on the page.

If you ask yourself these five questions every day, you can’t help but succeed! Happy Writing! X LLB

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The OHIO Method

June 1, 2020– Have you heard of the OHIO method? Did you know that this way of doing things can increase your productivity by 80 percent?

The OHIO method stands for Only Handle It Once. A lot of the time, we go around in circles trying to multi-task and completing things on our to-do list that aren’t really that important. Here’s how you can improve your writing life and publishing business by sticking to this simple principle:

  1. Chunk into groups. If it takes 2 minutes or less to complete, do it right away. For example, emails, social media status updates, scheduling meetings, paying a bill, or rebooking a client, taking 2 minutes to deal with these things will ensure that you only handle it once.
  2.  Prioritize big tasks. If you’re writing a novel, you know how difficult it can be to start writing and to continue to write long after the spark and ideas have gone. But, it’s essential to keep going and finish what we start as authors. What is the most significant task that you have today to write your novel? Is it outlining? Perhaps it’s character development or plot lines, whatever it is, choose the most important and get to work. Remember, this is not about editing, it’s about getting words onto the paper at this point. By doing this, you only handle it once, and you can go back later and refine your work.
  3. Set limits. The OHIO method is a great time saver because it frees up our options. I do this with my illustrators- every Friday like clockwork, they give me a progress report. This lets me know what they’re doing and how things are moving along and how close we are to completion on projects. By setting limits on when you’ll respond to emails or when you have staff meetings, this allows you to utilize your time more effectively and only handle it once.

The OHIO method works great once implemented, and you’ll realize that you have more time for the things you need to do and want to do.

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Personally…

May 27, 2020– I get asked by my co-op students and high school volunteers for advice on how to write different types of papers; one topic, writing personal essays as instructed by their professors, can leave them scratching their heads.  What exactly is a personal essay? Simply put, it’s about something that matters to you and can include a person, event, or life lesson. The whole purpose of it is to share something about yourself. It’s important to think about the reader when writing your paper because you want them to think about what you’ve written, and make them feel something. That’s the whole point of writing, to make the reader feel something, to get them to ask questions, to get them to put themselves into someone else’s shoes.

As with all writing, you should use an outline, and your work should have a beginning, middle, and end. Ensure that you revise and tighten just like you would with any other piece of writing. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to write about for your personal essay, browse the list below for possible topics:

  1.  A “first” in your life
  2. How you overcame adversity
  3. Something that scares you the most
  4. Something you’d never do again
  5. A loss
  6. Something that fundamentally changed you
  7. A person who has influenced you or a personal hero
  8. A childhood memory

Remember to focus on a single topic and don’t get confused with a memoir or autobiography, which is entirely different. Show, don’t tell and be honest; don’t sugarcoat your story.

I challenge you to write your personal essay this week. Happy writing! X LLB

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Teach Me to Read

May 25, 2020-Literacy matters. The sooner we teach our children to read, the better! People who have low literacy skills have problems finding and keeping employment, they’re afraid to get medical help because they’re unable to prescription orders or read discharge papers. And what’s worse? Their illiteracy has a long-term effect on children because their kids will never hear a bedtime story or get homework help because the parent can’t read. Illiteracy has the potential to become intergenerational and here’s what we can do to help our kids learn to read:

  1. Pre-reading. Awareness of print, tracing the letters with fingers and saying the letters of book text aloud. Rhyming is important as well as sounds such as CH, CK, AH, BL, ST etc.
  2. Learning letters. Repetition matters! Don’t be afraid of the alphabet being spoken out of order, that can come later. Lots of visual exercises should be incorporated such as flashcards and labelling things around the house such as Door, Sink, Toothbrush etc.
  3. Sound it out. Visual cues are important in this step as you should point to the word and blend the sounds. For example, if there is a picture of a cat, sound it out and blend the letters together. Start with C-A-T, CA, T, CAT.
  4. Sight words. These are short words that should be used frequently! Flashcards and games help with memorization and visualization.
  5. Word families. Start with 3 letter words with short vowels. E.g. if they can read Hat, they can read Cat, Sat, Bat, Fat, and Pat.

Ignite the love of literacy in your children by reading to them as much as possible!

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SPICE Up Their Life

May 20, 2020-An excellent way to develop characters is to use the SPICE method that I’ll explain below. Even though not all of these elements will make it into your character’s story, you need to know everything about them as a writer.

  • S-Social status. What is your character’s social status? What is their importance in relation to other people in society? Where do they fit in?
  • P-Political/Religious beliefs. What does your character believe in? Where do they stand from a political viewpoint? What matters to them, and why?
  • I-Interaction with their environment. How does your character interact with the world around them? How do they function in their space? What does their home look like? Are they organized or disorganized?
  • C-Cultural aspects. What kind of clothes do they wear? What do they like to eat? What is their ethnic background? What type of music do they listen to? What is their highest level of education?
  • E-Economic status. What is their career? Do they have a job? How much money do they make? What do they spend their money on? What does their lifestyle look like? Are they materialistic? Are they philanthropic? Are they a spendthrift? Are they a saver?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a good handle on who your character is. Again, don’t include every single thing about them in your story, just the important parts; let the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks you leave. Happy writing! X LLB

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James Patterson Said it Best

May 6, 2020– Author James Patterson said it best, “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading and kids who are reading the wrong books.” I agree wholeheartedly and believe that we can encourage our kids to read by doing the following things:

  1. Let them read whatever they’re going to read. Yes, this means comic books, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, and anything else they can get their hands on. Reading is reading is reading, even if it doesn’t always come in the form of a book! Check out our collection of books for kids to see if there’s something that they might like: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/
  2. Monkey see monkey do. Set an example and let your kids find you reading. It’s important to ignite a love of literacy within them by showing them your passion for books and the written word. Read together and find out what type of books your child enjoys most. Take turns reading chapters and talking about the plot, setting, and characters.
  3. Read the book, see the movie/play.  Yes, the book is always better, but the experience of reading the book and then seeing the movie or play opens up dialogue between you and your child; ask them what they liked most, what they liked least, what they would change, and if they thought the right actor was cast to play their favourite character-why or why not?
  4. Keep track and make it fun. Set up a reading challenge chart with stickers, markers, or whatever your creative mind can imagine to make reading fun. When children are challenged to reach a goal, they usually exceed it because it becomes a game! Seeing their progress can be the ticket to getting them excited about reading.

Literacy matters and studies around the world show us links between illiteracy, poverty, crime, substance abuse, and mortality rates. Reading is power, knowledge, and freedom. X LLB

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