February 16, 2021-Think of a character from your favourite book; why do you like them so much? Is it their sense of humour, their bravery, their quick wit? We often create characters who have some form trait that we lack or that we wish we had. It’s fun to escape into new worlds that have hidden dangers lurking around every corner, or challenges that we can relate to in our actual lives. Books take us to places and allow us to experience things that we may never get to experience in reality-that’s one of the reason why romance and mystery novels are such a strong genre that sell well.
For today’s exercise, as we continue to examine breaking out of our comfort zones, I would like you to do the following:
- Write down your favourite character from a book. It can be anyone or anything you want. Let’s use the character from one of my favourite books, The Alchemist, as an example. Santiago the Shepherd boy is the character who spoke to me the deepest.
- Write down all of their best attributes. Using the example above of Santiago, his best attributes include, bravery, not taking no for an answer, listening to his gut instinct, his love of adventure and the unknown, his love of travel, his unwillingness to settle, his determination and perseverance no matter what faced him, his work ethic, his self-belief, his positive attitude.
- List the attributes that you wish you had more of. I wish I had more of Santiago’s trust in his gut instinct and his positive attitude.
- Get to work. Do the things that you need to do. This week, I will work on listening to my inner voice and choose based on what it tells me, and I will remain positive in the face of adversity.
It’s impossible to write a book without leaving a piece of ourselves behind. Books and characters change us even if we’re the ones writing them. What character traits inspire you? What do you wish you had more of? Less of? Get to work this week on embracing bravery and breaking out of your comfort zone. You can piggy back this exercise with the blog post that talks about employing alter egos. Happy Writing!
October 19, 2020– “To have something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before, but are you putting those words into practice? If you’re like most people, probably not. What does the quote above mean? It means that to get what you really want, you have to do things differently than you’re doing them now. Old ways won’t open new doors. So take a good look at your writing life and see if you’re where you want to be; if not, then things need to change.
A new, self-published author sent me an email with this question: “I’ve recently self-published my book, but it’s not getting any traction. Do you have any tips on how to increase sales?”
So, I went on to ask them what they were doing so far…their response? “I wrote the book and published it.”
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. We live in a world where the rewards come AFTER the work, and the price of success needs to be paid in FULL before we see any results. I consulted the author on how to put forth an effort to reach his sales targets and his response was, “That seems like a lot of work.” That’s when I knew that his book was doomed to remain in obscurity. It’s not what you wish for, it’s what you work for.
It drives me absolutely crazy when people say, I want, I want, I want, I want…but won’t say, I will, I will, I will, I will.
I have some homework for you:
- Make a list of the MAIN goal you want to reach this year with your writing life e.g. best sellers list, sell x number of copies, have it read by a celebrity, be interviewed on television about your book etc.
- Brainstorm ways to make your goal happen e.g. I will send press releases of my book to all major media outlets, I will go to schools and set up author visits, I will visit bookstores to see if they will carry my book etc.
- Take action. This is the single most effective thing that you can do to be successful. If you merely write a list and then forget about it, what’s the point of bothering to write the list in the first place?
Put the work in and you’ll reap the rewards. Plain and simple.