• Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

    Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

Write like you diet

Write Like You Diet

The wayback machine has traveled to 2009 to borrow a post the advises you write like you diet. Here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday post.

Writing Advice from a Dieter’s Point of View

Write like you diet

Recently, while surfing the internet, I found some tips for maintaining a healthier lifestyle that could easily be applied to a healthier writing life style. It’s great writing advice from a dieter’s point of view:

  • You can become whatever you envision. Yeah, that’s right. If you think like a best-selling author, you’ll draw more attention and success than if you believe you’ll always fail.
  • Claim your power. You know you have it, or why pursue writing for a career/hobby/something to get away. Empower yourself with your talent and get to work.
  • Set your priorities. Write another scene or blog? Send out a query to an agent or an editor? Research your next work or edit your last scene? Without a clear path, you won’t make progress.
  • Get pushy with yourself. The book won’t write itself. If you think you’ll only have time for one page today, write two. Set your timer for fifteen minutes, turn off your inner editor, and push through, no stops, no looking up stuff, until the timer goes off. Then write another page.
  • Give yourself permission to succeed. Nothing makes me angrier than hearing a fellow writer talk about submitting, then hearing her follow it up with a self depreciating remark. Hey, if you’re going to write, then at least believe you’ll succeed at it. As Yoda said, “There is no try, there is only do.”
  • Give yourself permission to be awesome. Yes. You. You tell it to your kids everyday. Why treat yourself to a lesser attitude?
  • Become part of a circle. Whether it’s a writing group, a critique group or a good friend who’s not afraid to tell you when your story has strayed, find a foundation of support that will help you grow.

These tips were meant to help lose weight, but if they work to make you a better writer, so much the better.

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The Anti-Procrastination Mindset

This article is reprinted by permission of the author. In his latest newsletter, author Randy Ingermanson discusses the anti-procrastination mindset.

Organization: The Anti-Procrastination Mindset

The Anti-Procrastination Mindset

I met an author recently on a private Facebook marketing group. His name is Harry Heijligers and he lives in the Netherlands. We were talking about how he could market his book better, and I decided to have a look at his cover to see if that might be the problem.

It turned out his cover was awesome. And so was the title—The Anti-Procrastination Mindset. The book looked interesting to me.

I happen to excel at procrastination. I’ve been doing it all my life, and I always thought that was just the way I am.

But a mindset is not something you are. A mindset is something you can put on and take off. So I thought I’d buy the book and see if it might be helpful.

I whipped through it in a few days. Parts of it were actually about planning your life, which is something I’ve gotten rather good at, so I skimmed those. But parts of it seemed like they’d been written just for me.

It’s almost two months later, and I think those parts have made a difference in my life. I’ll talk about a few specific tips I was able to use right away, and then I’ll give you a link to Harry’s book so you can check it out for yourself.

What To Do When You Want To Put Something Off

What do you do when you’re working through your task list and you come to a task that you instinctively want to put off?

The answer is to take a ten-minute walk and think about that task.

That may sound like a completely stupid answer, but it’s actually rather clever. Here’s why.

Your brain has a couple of different systems for thinking. You can read about them in Nobel laureate Daniel Kahnemann’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Your fast, intuitive brain works great for dealing with tigers jumping at you, but it’s not so good at algebra. Your slow, rational brain is great for doing algebra, but it’s not so good with the tiger thing.

When you come to a task on your list and your instincts are screaming, “Put that off; it won’t hurt to wait till tomorrow,” that’s your fast brain talking.

Unfortunately, your fast brain isn’t great at planning your life. Your fast brain is terrible at that. But your slow brain is good at it.

So take a walk and think about why you should or should not do that task right now. Take ten minutes. Think about nothing else. Let your slow brain take a crack at the scheduling problem.

When you get back from your walk, your slow brain may very well have decided that it really is a good idea to do the task now, get it over with, and push it off your plate forever.

Or your slow brain might have decided that the task really isn’t worth doing at all, in which case you again get it off your plate.

Or your slow brain might have decided that this task really needs to be scheduled to a different day, because of some good and rational reason.

Most of the time, your slow brain will be right. If you just give it a chance.

So if you take a ten-minute walk every time you instinctively want to put something off, two things will happen:

  • You’ll start getting things done that you’ve been putting off for years.
  • You’ll walk a lot more steps every day, and that’s good for your health.

In the last couple of months, I’ve done a number of tasks that I’d been putting off for years. One of them had been on my To-Do list for nearly twelve years! My wife and I finished it yesterday. My fast brain feels pretty good about that, now that it’s done. And my slow brain is quietly smirking in the background.

Break The Task Down Into Steps

Sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t know exactly how to do a given task or project.

So when you create a new To-Do item, break it down into steps that you know how to do. Some of those steps might be “Research how to _______.” Because if you don’t know how to do it, you can’t do it. But you always know how to research it, or how to ask somebody who knows how it’s done.

Make The First Step Ridiculously Easy

I’ve written about the “ridiculously easy” idea before in the context of building a habit, and it works spectacularly well for that. But “ridiculously easy” also works extremely well when trying to get started on a task or project.

This trick works if you’ve already made a list of steps for the task or project. Tweak your list so the very first step is ridiculously easy to do. Make it something you can do in just a couple of minutes. Something you know exactly how to do.

And the key thing here is that after you’ve done that first step, you’re rolling. You’ve got momentum. And it’s not that hard to move on to the second step, and the third, and keep rolling.

If it’s a short task, you might even finish it all in one sitting.

If it’s a longer project, it might take a few days.

But the first step is the hardest, because the first step isn’t actually the first thing you do. The first thing you do is to say, “Yeah, I’m going to take the first step right now.” And it’s a lot easier to say that when the very first step is ridiculously easy.

Where to Get Harry’s Book

I’ve spelled out three tips above that I picked up in Harry’s book that have been especially helpful to me. They may or may not be all that helpful to you. Everybody’s different.

But Harry has 117 hacks in his book that he’s found helpful in beating procrastination. Some of them might be useful to you.

Click here to see Harry’s book on Amazon.

Please be aware that English is not Harry’s first language. (One of his Amazon reviewers complained about this.) Harry’s English is pretty good (it’s much better than my Dutch), but if you’re a native English speaker, you’ll find plenty of sentences that aren’t written the way you’d write them. If that’s a problem for you, then this might not be the book for you. It didn’t bother me at all. Some of Harry’s sentences gave me a grin, but I was reading for content, not style. I feel like his book has made me a better person. It might make you a better person too.

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Thank you, Randy, for giving permission to share this article and for your perspective on the anti-procrastination mindset. We all have obstacles to overcome and goals to reach. Using these steps will help.

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Cool Links 8-4-18

Cool Links 8-4-18 edition. Some of the fun stuff I’ve found on the internet this week.

The Human Library

Cool links 8-4-18

The Human Library

I don’t think Ben Franklin had this in mind when he started our nation’s library system, but why not?

The Human Library Organization held its first event in Copenhagen in 2000. Library “patrons” get to check out human “books”, which are people with different experiences. Through questions and discussions, patrons learn about the diversity that is humanity. For example, you might “check out” a person who is, or has:

Young offender
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Young black male
Wheelchair user
Down syndrome
Cerebral palsy
Recovering alcoholic
Teenage mother
Ex-substance misuser
HIV positive
Learning disability
Borderline personality disorder
Facial disfigurement 

The Human Library Project aims to challenge prejudices and sterotypes. Since its inception, it has spread to 70 countries. Why not check out a new “book” and enrich your perceptions about humanity?

Famous Landmarks During Construction

One of the things I remember most from Jack Finney’s novel Time and Again (hailed as “THE great time-travel story” by Stephen King) is that it took place in 1882 and the Statue of Liberty’s arm had been plunked down in a NYC park.

In this article, you can take a look at other famous landmarks before they were completed. The Eiffel Tower, Hoover Dam (a day trip for me), the Sydney Harbor bridge, and many others are chronicled.

Cool Links 8-4-18

Hoover Dam construction

If you’re a history buff like me, photos of construction of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio and the Golden Gate Bridge will fascinate you. And maybe spawn a story idea?

Book Folding

It wouldn’t be a cool links post without at least one writing/book link. This week’s gem is on book folding—the intricate art of folding book pages to spell out a word or design.

Cool links 8-4-18

Book Folding

If you have a book lover on your gift list, and you’re looking for the ultimate gift, here’s the place to shop.

If you don’t want to shell out cold, hard cash, go here for a tutorial to DIY.

That’s it for this week’s cool links 8-4-18 edition. As always, feel free to share, sign up for my newsletter, or sign up to get new blog posts in your mailbox. Use the appropriate boxes and icons scattered here and there to do so.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to order the sequel to Time and Again,— From Time to Time. Don’t you hate it when a book comes out and you don’t know about it until later?

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