January 1, 2020– Happy New Year, Friends! What is it about a new year that gives people so much hope and promise? Is it the turning of a new page on the calendar? Is it the thought of a fresh start and a new beginning? Is it the chance to start over and better ourselves, to break bad habits and create healthy new ones? Or are they all just lies we tell ourselves?
I’m going to go with; They’re all just lies we tell ourselves, Alex for $200! Why so cynical? Because science, that’s why. Researchers at Scranton University did a study that showed only eight percent of people were able to achieve their New Year’s resolutions, the other eighty percent failed, and the remaining twelve percent did what you should do-not make any resolutions in the first place.
Setting goals are entirely different than making resolutions; here’s how:
Goals are Specific. For example, you may want to set a goal of writing for one hour per day, whereas your resolution could be to become a better writer. The best way to word this is to combine the two; To become a better writer, I will write for one hour per day, five days a week.
Goals involve Planning. For example, you resolve that this year you’re going to submit your work to a publisher for consideration. Sure, that sounds great, but have you planned for this? Where will you submit your work? Have you done research on which publisher is the best fit for your manuscript? Do you have an email address of the person you will be submitting to? Without a proper and REALISTIC plan, YOU WILL FAIL. That’s all there is to it. Remember the adage that still rings true; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Goals involve Action. For example, you can be as specific as you want to, you can plan what you’re going to do until the cows come home. But without taking action, you’ll never achieve anything. I know someone who has over 2,000 (not an exaggeration) email leads, from various shows she attended as a vendor, that are sitting in a box on her desk doing absolutely nothing and have been doing nothing for years. Sure, she had good intentions to use them one day, but that day never came, and now most of them are expired, moved, or dead ends. If you don’t take action on the goals you’ve set, what’s the point of setting them?
What are you doing each day to move closer toward your goals? My point is, I hope that you’re not the eighty percent of people who make resolutions and dump them by January 12th. I hope that you succeed in everything you do and know that anything is achievable if you are specific, create a plan, and take action.
Happy New Year, everyone. May the best be yet to come. X LLB
August 23, 2019– Quick, what is something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done? Too often we have a list of things that we set out to accomplish, but the list never gets finished, or worse, we never start. Today, I have an exercise for you to complete! Check it out below:
Dream BIG! The bigger the better! Decide what you want to do and make sure that it’s huge. Examples could be, sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, to have an article that you wrote featured in a major magazine, or to travel internationally to a writing conference. Whatever it is, make sure you really want it!
Set a timeline. I personally use the 30-day rule. I set a goal and give myself 30 days to accomplish it. It’s realistic and gives me enough time to get to work on what I’ve set out to do. Without a timeline, you don’t have anything to work toward and even if you don’t fully reach your goal, you’re going to be a heck of a lot closer than you were!
Be bold and take steps toward your goal every day. Remind yourself of your goal constantly and do at least one thing each day to help yourself reach it! Let’s use the example above and your dream is to sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, what have you done today to help realize that dream? Have you made a list of publishers to query? Have you polished your query letter? Have you done your research on which publishers fit with your submission? You get the point!I challenge you to dream big and take the necessary steps to turn your dream into reality! Get started today, you’ll be glad you did. X LLB
June 12, 2019– This is a question we ask ourselves that changes over time and certainly as we get older. The question of what exactly do you want also is based on what matters most in our lives at that moment and is shaped by the experiences we’ve had.
As an author, I ask you this question! You have to define what you want before you can ever succeed in getting it. People who don’t have goals (especially written down) are like rudderless ships adrift at sea…they’re going nowhere, fast.
It’s important to write down exactly what you want for your life and to be as specific as possible while making your list. This list is very personal so please don’t filter yourself and don’t ever think that anything you want is too big to consider. The bigger you dream, the better. Don’t box yourself in by thinking small!
After you’ve made your list, STOP doing all of the things that WON’T get you to your dreams. For example, if one of the things on your list is to finish your novel, then stop wasting time, stop playing on your phone, stop getting distracted.
If we all just took five minutes a day to work on each item on our list of goals, imagine where we would be in a year, I bet a lot of those dreams would be accomplished!
So, get started on your list; What Exactly Do You Want?
May 24, 2019-On this week’s segment of Publisher’s Corner, I tackle a subject that is close to my heart. Let’s check it out!
Q: “Lacey, You say reading is important for writers, but I barely have time to breathe let alone read! How do you find time to read so many books?”
A: I love this question! In 2018 I read 60 books; to be clear, I should say that I completed 60 books because I used a variety of mediums to do so. Here’s what I recommend to help you reach your reading goals:
Audiobooks– These are fantastic for people who are constantly on the go. I use audible.com and iTunes to download books on all topics and I love their portability. You can listen to them anywhere-I listen to them while I drive, while I’m waiting at the airport, on the beach, on planes, exercising, and while I’m doing household chores. You wouldn’t believe how many books you can get under your belt just by popping in a pair of earphones.
E-books– Of course, I prefer paperbacks, but when in a crunch, I pull out my trusty e-reader. Again, the portability is great because you can download as many books as you want without taking up a bunch of room in your suitcase. You can whip out your phone and read a few pages of a book any time you have to wait somewhere!
Read in-between time– During the day we find ourselves with a few minutes here and there. Sometimes we have time between meetings or half an hour before our kids get home from school and we end up playing on our phones or checking our email. I urge you to consciously look for the times-in-between and use them to get some reading done! Five minutes here and there add up over time and before you know it, you’ll be done a novel or two.
Set a realistic goal– 60 books a year may not be realistic for you based on your lifestyle. Set a goal that you’ll be able to reach based on what you think you can achieve-don’t set a marker so high that it’s unattainable, but not so low that it’s unmotivating.
Reading is addictive and once you start, you may not be able to stop. Consider yourself warned:) X LLB
March 25, 2019-Should you eat the frog? Not eat the frog? Wait, eat what? We’re not talking about actual frogs here, thank goodness! We’re talking about a book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog in which the statement is a metaphor for tackling the most essential tasks first on your to-do list.
You and I both know that there will never be enough time to complete each and everything on your list, but the most successful people don’t try to do everything anyway! We need to remember to focus on the tasks that have the highest return on investment (ROI), that being what can we do right now that will have the greatest impact on our business or writing career? Let’s look at my list of to-dos for today as an example:
Finish writing Jessica Westlake
Send Becoming James Cass to the editor *
Follow up with all clients to ensure they have their questions answered *
Blog posts for the month (12)
Podcasts for the month (8)
Inventory and supply ordering
Obtain new business *
Social media post scheduling
My MIT’s or Most Important Tasks have an asterisk beside them, notice that I only picked three of them:) Why? Because the current tasks have the greatest ROI and frankly, everything else can wait or be delegated. Here’s my stream of thinking: I’ll be able to write Jessica Westlake while I’m waiting in the airport and while on the four-hour flight. The blog posts are done for the rest of the month so I can schedule the posts for April without being in a panic, same goes for the podcasts. I’ll delegate the accounting and inventory ordering to my accountant and I’ll get my assistant to see what events we should be going to. I have three days worth of social media posts scheduled and ready to go, so I’ll deal with scheduling more in a couple of days or while I’m waiting somewhere.
All it comes down to is being organized and knowing what your priorities are. Make your list and look at it truthfully, what can wait? Which frogs do you need to eat first? What can you delegate?
Here are some questions that you should answer to get clear on what you need to do:
Which of your daily tasks are really helping you achieve your goals?
Which tasks are just really distractions to keep you from doing the important stuff?
Once you can answer these two questions truthfully, you’ll be productive rather than busy (which is another word for unorganized, unmotivated, and procrastination). Eat that frog!
March 7, 2019– Hi Friends, check out our latest podcast! Short, sweet, and to the point, you’ll find out how I reached some of my goals with this simple method. Thanks for tuning in! Click on the link below to listen in.
December 31, 2018– Well friends, it’s been an epic year in so many ways; I started some new adventures, made lots of new friends, traveled, and of course published a few books. But what about the books I read? It would be unfair of me not to mention them as some of them made such an impact on me, that my life and way of thinking will never be the same.
60 books in a year was my goal, and I’m happy to say that I reached it. For all of you numbers nuts, that works out to approximately 1.15 books per week. Now, remember that not all of the books I read were in paperback format, some of them were audio books, and e-books. This method of “reading” allowed me to listen to books while travelling and while doing mundane tasks. I know that without audio books, it would have been much harder for me to reach my goal of 60 books read for the year.
Let’s get on with it! Here is my list of books that I read in 2018: (A quick search on Amazon will show you details and the authors)
5 Thieves of Happiness
Murder, She Wrote- Hook, Line, and Murder
The Million Dollar Blog
Murder, She Wrote- Dying to Retire
Never Lose a Customer Again
Mind Over Mind
Outwitting the Devil
Murder, She Wrote- Scared to Death
Every Breath You Take
The Couple Next Door
You are Not so Smart
The Brain that Changes Itself
Tools of Titans
Make Your Bed
Discipline Equals Freedom
The Power of Gratitude
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
To Kill a Mockingbird
Do the Work
12 Rules for Life
The Checklist Manifesto
The 5 Second Rule
The Obstacle is the Way
The 10x Rule
33 Strategies of War
All Marketers are Liars
The Toyota Way
The Magic of Thinking Big
The 48 Laws of Power
Challenge Your Potential
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
The Positive Power of Negative Thinking
How I write
On Writing (Stephen King)
The Psychology of Winning
1 Page Marketing Plan
The Art of War
The Idiot Brain
Screenwriting for Dummies
I See You
The Woman in Cabin 10
The Sales Bible
Save the Cat
Book Yourself Solid
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
So, there you have it! I look forward to reading another 60 books in 2019. Remember, you can never be overdressed or overeducated. Happy Reading! X LLB
December 12, 2018– Goals are important for everything in life. If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve said it a million times, “You can’t hit a target you can’t see.” I’m a firm believer that goals are essential for success, and here’s the thing, even if you fail to reach your goal, you’ll be a hell of a lot closer than you would be if you had never set a goal in the first place.
So, as the end of the year looms closer, it’s time to focus on what you want for 2019 and beyond regarding your writing career!
Here are some things that you could consider, but remember, goals are personal, and it all depends on what YOU want for yourself. Will 2019 be the year that you:
Finish your novel– make this the year that you finally finish it! Set a timeline and stick to it. Stop procrastinating!
Start a writing business-figure out what you need to do and get it done. Start with one thing at a time. A lot of info is available online, and you can always bring in the pro’s for help, talk to your accountant, bank, whoever you need to help point you in the right direction.
Write every day– If you choose this goal and stick to it, you’ll get an UNBELIEVABLE amount of writing done. Your writing will improve, you’ll get better at self-editing, and you will have accomplished something that only professionals do. This will be a fabulous 2019 goal if you’re serious about turning your writing into something. Set a goal of words or pages per day and sit your ass in the chair. Make an appointment with yourself and DON’T CANCEL.
Join a club-Is this the year that you’ll finally join like-minded authors? Will you complete continuing education to start or continue to hone your writing skills? Will you say yes to new opportunities? Are you ready to break out of your shell and see what’s in store for you?
I’ve got my own goals in store for 2019 that I’ve already started. So why should you wait? Start working on them now and just think of all that you’ll get done before January!
October 8, 2018- Trust me when I tell you this, all authors are streetwise. Well, the good ones anyway. When people ask me what I do, I usually answer, “Whatever it takes.” To be a good author, not only do you have to be a good writer, but you have to be a good publicist, an excellent salesperson, a ruthless business owner, and a brave performer. Authors are streetwise because we have to be. We trust our guts, go with our intuition, and chase down ideas for stories that lead us down darkened alleyways, into sketchy situations, and across the ocean in pursuit of them. It’s the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Every author I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting has always had this drive, desire, and gleaming personality that could charm the toughest of customers into buying their work or at least engage them into talking to them!
We’re streetwise because we don’t have any other option, especially when it comes to self-publishing because if we don’t do it, who will? Us authors have a willingness to go through hell and back to reach our goals. We do most things in pursuit of the end game, in pursuit of selling one book, or in selling one-more-book. We fight hard to have our voices heard, to have our books displayed, to be best sellers, to cement and earn our reputations as wielders of words. We are ferocious, dedicated, and our biggest critics. We do this because we love it and because we believe our stories need to be heard. We do this because we believe in something bigger than ourselves and because we want to leave this earth with something that outlives us.
So, as any type of author, traditionally published or self-published, let me remind you of your importance in this world; the world shines brighter because you’re in it and because of the stories you tell. The world is a better place because you’re willing to do what it takes to realize a dream. Don’t ever forget your purpose; to tell stories that change lives.
So here’s to all of my streetwise colleagues, I salute you.
August 10, 2018- What is your definition of being a successful author? This is the question that I ALWAYS ask the authors that I work with; whether self-published or traditional, it’s important to be able to answer this!
You are the only one who can define success and everyone’s definition and idea of success is different. Here are some answers I’ve received over the years after posing the question:
If I sell $1 million dollars worth of books
If kids read my book in their school
If I have a huge house, and an in-ground pool, and a convertible
If people line up to see me at book signings
If I become famous around the world
If someone tells me I’m their favourite author
If my book helps one person
If a celebrity reads my book and gives me a shout out on social media
If I’m a bestseller on the NY Times list
If I get a tv interview
If my book gets turned into a movie
So, as you can see, there are a lot of DIFFERENT versions of success and it’s all dependent on how you choose to define it! Write down your version of success and start working towards that goal. There are no wrong answers! Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Here’s to your success, whatever that may be.
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