Jun 12

Writing Productivity: The $25,000 Question and Meditation

Writers' Focus and Productivity
Sometimes the moons and stars align and information that is relevant to your life bombards your week, directing you onto paths you should take.

Well, this happened to me.

Time management is one of my ongoing struggles, as with probably most of you reading this.

So, what do you do?

How do you create more hours in the day?

How do you accomplish all the writing and marketing tasks you must, aside from keeping up with everything else in your life?

Ah, the $25,000 question.

Here’s how to keep your writers’ focus and boost you writing productivity:

Productivity Strategy Number One – Keep a List and Stick to It

I found a great site (JamesWedmore.com) that offers some very useful content.

Interestingly, the post I read on this site pertained to being productive.

This was the fourth article I came across within a few days dealing with time management, prioritizing, and productivity.

Part of the content discussed a $25,000 lesson by public relations and efficiency expert Ivy Lee.

The story (true, just not sure of the exact account) goes that Charles Schwab, steel magnate, wanted to increase his company’s efficiency, so he contacted Lee.

Lee requested 15 minutes with each of Schwab’s managers.

Schwab asked how much would it cost.

Lee told him that after three months, if he saw productivity improvement, he could send Lee whatever he thought the training was worth.

Three months later, Schwab sent Lee a $25,000 check.

This was back around 100 years ago. According to DollarTimes.com, that would now be worth a little over $500,000.

So, the $25,000 lesson?

It’s reported that Lee said to write a list of six must-do items that each manager needed to accomplish the next day, in order of importance.

Whatever wasn’t completed that day would go over onto the next day’s list of six must-do items.

According to JamesClear.com, Lee instructed:

-At the end of each day, write down the most important things you have to do the next day.

-Number them in the order of their true importance.

-The first thing the next morning, start working on an item Number 1, and stay with it until completed.

-Move on to item Number 2 until this task is completed, do the same with the remaining four.

-At the end of the day, move any items not completed to the next day’s six must-do items.

Don’t worry if you don’t complete everything on the schedule. At least you will have completed the most important projects before getting to the less important ones. 

Pretty simple, right?

Simple and powerful.

Having a list of what you need to do gives you focus and that focus helps clear your mind, which in turn boosts productivity, allowing you to get the job done.

One thing James Wedmore said that I thought is also a good idea is to have a “brain dump” folder or notebook.

If something pops into your head that you don’t want to forget, put in in the ‘brain dump file.’

This too helps keep your mind clear of clutter.

I call my ‘brain dump file’ My To Do List.

If anything pops into my head, I open the file and type it in, leaving my mind free of the worry of remembering it.
Productivity Strategy Number Two – Meditate

If you make time for meditation, you’ll have more time.

I read this or something like it recently, but forgot where or who wrote it (if you know the author, please let me know, so I can give attribution). A case in point of information overload.

But, how can you have more time if you take time out of your already hectic day to meditate?

An article at HealthyBrains.org, noted that the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day.

Since there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 86,400 seconds, this means you’re having thoughts almost every second of every day.

Is it any wonder many of us have trouble focusing?

Meditation is another mind-clearing tool that allows the brain to take a breather.

It helps create a calmer you, thus leading to a more focused and productive you.

My acupuncturist, who was a neurologist in China and has been practicing Chinese medicine for over 40 years, says that the number one thing you can do for your health is to meditate.

Give it a Shot – Incorporate these two productivity strategies into your writing and marketing work week.

Every Sunday, make a list of the top six must-do items for Monday.

Don’t just breeze through your list of to-dos, take the time to think whether a particular item is REALLY needed.

Will it move your goals forward? Will it earn you money?

At the bottom of your to-do list for each day, add: TAKE 15-30 MINUTES TO MEDITATE. Even five minutes a day is better than none.

Do this for 90 days, as Lee instructed, and see what happens.

Then let us know – leave a comment!

Note: I also read that Lee sought Schwab out to propose he could increase his company’s productivity. Whether Lee sought out Schwab or Schwab sought out Lee, it worked.

This article was first published at: https://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/2015/10/are-your-writing-and-marketing-efforts-productive-2-productivity-tips/

References:
-http://www.jameswedmore.com/how-to-be-productive/ (link no longer works)
-https://www.fastcompany.com/3062946/this-100-year-old-to-do-list-hack-still-works-like-a-charm 
-https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/shahilla-barok/did-you-knowyou-have-betw_b_11819532.html
-http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070
-https://in-housestaff.org/dont-time-meditate-hour-761

Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of, one that’s publishable and marketable.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.

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Jul 05

Get Clear about Your Ultimate Writing Goals

writing success

Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

As a writer, it can take quite some time to come up with an ultimate career goal.

After months, even years, of writing and submitting, many writers decide the writer’s life is not quite the beautiful dream they thought it would be.

In fact, it’s really just a lot of hard work and, well, a lot of writing.

Other writers decide to stick with the writing, but they change focus along the way to the career of their dreams.

They suddenly “get” how they can narrow the focus of their writing, yet attract more readers, customers, and clients.

As they gain more publication credits, they branch out and search for more opportunities for public speaking, too.

The key to realizing your ultimate career goal is to get really, really clear as to just what that goal is.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how can you possibly figure out how to get there?

Here are a few questions for reflection.

Use your Success Journal to write down these questions and leave a page or so for each of your answers.

  1. What is your ultimate career goal (what would your ideal writing career look like)?

Try to describe this in as much detail as possible.

Include what your writing schedule would look like.

How much would you be writing?

What would you be writing?

Where would you be writing?

How much money would you be earning each month from your writing?

Would you be doing any public speaking in addition to writing?

If so, where would you be speaking? Who would you be speaking to?

How much income would you earn each year through speaking?

  1. What would be the big advantages of reaching your ultimate career goal?

List as many advantages as you can think of. Money shouldn’t be the only advantage.

  1. What would be the disadvantages of reaching your ultimate career goal?

List as many disadvantages as you can think of – even fame and fortune have disadvantages.

  1. How do you FEEL when you think of the disadvantages of your ultimate career goal?

Are these feelings keeping you from really striving to reach your ultimate career goal?

If so, do you need to change your goal or simply learn to overcome any negative feelings?

  1. Take a look at all the actions on your marketing plan or to-do list.

Are these actions leading you to the ultimate writing career you’ve described in your answers to these questions?

Why or why not? Explain in detail.

Your answers to these questions should help you get clearer about your ultimate career goal.

With increased clarity, you should be able to create a more targeted marketing plan to move toward this goal.

Try it!

This post was first published at:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2019/02/how-and-why-to-get-clear-about-your.html

Suzanne Lieurance lives and writes by the sea on Florida’s beautiful Treasure Coast. She also coaches writers.

For more tips and resources for writers visit www.writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge to receive a short email for writers every weekday morning.

Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Oct 15

Writing Success – Commit to It

Tips on achieving writing success.Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

Become Totally Committed to Your Own Success.

Why do some people succeed against all odds while others never live up to their potential?

Those who succeed aren’t necessarily more talented or have more valuable contacts than those who don’t succeed.

But what they do have is a total commitment to their own success.

You may be somewhat committed to your own success right now.

Somewhat committed means you take action now and then to move ahead toward your goals.

And you make a little progress toward those goals from time to time.

But you don’t really have that much invested (in terms of time, money, or effort) towards your goals.

It will be nice if you reach your goals, but you’ll still be okay if you don’t—so you don’t mind losing focus now and then.

Someone who is totally committed to their own success, though, doesn’t look at or think about anything that causes them to lose focus on what they want.

They know they will be successful because they are totally committed to doing whatever they need to do to make it happen.

So consider this.

If you aren’t totally committed to your goal, then it isn’t a goal.

It’s just a wish.

Wouldn’t you rather be totally committed and know you were going to get what you want instead of wishing you were going to get it?

Try it!

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 180 page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

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Mar 05

Your Writing Week – You’ve Got to Make a Schedule

Writing TipsContributed by Team Member Suzanne Lieurance

As you’re planning your work week, be sure to do the following if you wish to have the most productive week possible:

1. List your 3 major writing/career goals at the top of this week’s marketing plan – that way, you can check each of the actions you plan to take this week to make sure they are *all* in alignment with one or more of your major goals.

If you’ve planned on taking action that isn’t in alignment with one of those goals, what is the purpose?

Take it off the list since it won’t move you closer to one or more of your goals.

2. Don’t overload this week’s plan/schedule with too many action steps.

You don’t even need to take actions toward all 3 goals every single week.

In fact, it might be better to take action toward only 1 or 2 of your 3 major goals in any one week.

Remember, you want to build your writing career, but you want to enjoy your life, too.

Don’t overload your writing schedule so you have no time to just relax and enjoy yourself.

3. Instead of simply making a list of the actions you plan to take this week, get a calendar or make up a calendar for the week.

Make your plan an actual schedule, with the specific dates (and even times, if you like) listed for each action you plan to take this week.

You’ll be more productive if you do this rather than just listing your action steps because you won’t have to waste any time during the week wondering which action step to take.

You’ll know because all you need to do is look at your schedule, then take the action that is scheduled for that date and time.

Now, get your weekly marketing plan/schedule created – or modify it if you need to according to the steps, above – then all you need to do this week is follow your plan.

Try it!

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

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Jan 08

Keep Your Writing Goals Front and Center

Have focused writing goals.As a writer, you have to move forward to keep up with the onslaught of books and authors in the book publishing arena. And, you especially need to be sure you’re keeping in alignment with your writing goals. This means every now and then you need to stop to evaluate what your core goals are and if you’re actually heading in that direction.

Every marketer will tell you that the beginning of each year you need to create a list of core or major goals. It’s important to make your goals realistic and obtainable, and not to burden yourself with too many goals.

Three is a good number of writing goals, not too few, not too many. Then under each goal you can list a few tasks that will you will do on a daily or weekly basis to help you reach your objectives.

In addition to creating and typing your goals down in a document, they need to be printed and kept visible. It’s important to put them somewhere you’ll be sure to notice on a daily basis. You might put your list on your computer, inside your laptop case, on top of your daily planner, on the inside of a kitchen cabinet you open everyday.

You get the idea, your writing goals need to be visible each and every day. Not just visible though, they need to be read each and every day.

Why is it important to keep your writing goals front and center?

Here’s another question to help answer that question: Did you ever hear the expression, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’

That’s your answer.

On January 1st of ‘any year,’ you may tell yourself, and maybe even write it down, that you will:

1. Write a minimum of five pages of your new book each week.
2. Effectively market your published books.
3. Submit articles to three paying magazines on a monthly basis.

Okay, that’s great. But, suppose it’s now July and you haven’t even written 10 pages of your new book, and you haven’t gone past the very basics of promoting your published books.

What happened to your writing goals?

Easy. You didn’t keep your goals list front and center, so you got sidetracked.

While you may have had the best of intentions on January 1st, without keeping those writing goals visible, it’s difficult to stay on course.

Maybe you decided to add the writing of unrelated ebooks to your workload. Maybe you decided to do book reviews and started a critique group of your own. Maybe you devoted too much time to social networking and your online groups.

These additions may not necessarily be a bad thing, but before you continue on, ask yourself three questions:

1. Are these additions to your workload moving you in the direction of your major writing goals?
2. Are they actually keeping you from attaining your goals?
3. Are they providing some kind of income?

If your answers to these questions are NO, YES, NO, then you need to step back, redirect your steps, and get back on track. If you keep your writing goals front and center, you’ll be amazed at how you automatically work toward achieving them.

And, interestingly, it seems once you have that focus, the universe somehow aligns itself with you and things start falling into place.

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Oct 16

Writing Success – Know Your Intent

Intent is a crucial factor in success. But, what exactly does this mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, intent is an aim, a clear and “formulated or planned intention.” It is a purpose, “the act or fact of intending.”

Intent is a necessary factor on any path to success, including your path to writing success. You need to know what you want, what you’re striving for. And, that knowledge has to be clearly defined.

An unclear destination or goal is similar to being on a path that has very low hanging branches, an assortment of rocks that may hinder your forward movement, uneven and rugged terrain, branches and even logs strewn across the road; you get the idea. You kind of step over the debris, look around or through the branches, you don’t have a clear view of where you’re going.

A clear cut goal is akin to walking on a smooth and clear path. No goal related obstacles to hinder your forward momentum or vision.

But, let me add to the sentence above, while intent is crucial, it’s an active and passionate pursuit of your intent that will actually allow you to achieve success. It reminds me of a passage in the Bible at James 24:26, “Faith without works is dead.” While the intent is there, if you don’t actively take the needed steps to get from A to B, walk-the-walk, rather than just talk-the-talk, you’ll never reach your goal.

To realize your intent, it would be beneficial for you to create a list of questions and statements outlining the specifics to that intent.

A few of questions you might include are:

– What is your ultimate success goal?
– What does the obtainment of your goal mean?
– After picturing it, what does success look like to you?
– How will you reach your goal?

So, how would you answer these questions?

As a writer, perhaps your goal is to write for one or two major magazines. Maybe you’d prefer to be published in a number of smaller magazines. Possibly you want to author a book a year and have them published by traditional publishing houses. Or, maybe you want to self-publish your own books at a faster or slower pace.

Maybe success to you is to make a comfortable living, or you may be very happy with simply supplementing your income. Maybe you want to be a professional, sought after ghostwriter or copywriter. Maybe you want to be a coach, a speaker, offer workshops, or present webinars. These are some of the potential goals for a writer.

Whatever your vision of success is, you need to see it clearly, write it down (it’d be a good idea to also create a vision board), and take the necessary steps to get you where you want to be.

If you find you have a realistic success vision, and are taking the necessary steps to achieve your envisioned intent, at least you think you are, but you still can’t seem to reach the goal, then perhaps your efforts aren’t narrowly focused enough. Maybe your success vision is too broad. Wanting to be a writer is a noble endeavor, but it’s a very broad target and kind of like shooting a shotgun compared to shooting a rifle or gun. With a shotgun you may hit a broader target, but it won’t be with the effectiveness and direct force of a single shot aimed at a one focused target.

Try narrowing down, fine tuning your goal. Remember, it’s essential to be specific and focused.

It might be to your advantage to create success steps that continually move you forward on the path to reaching your ultimate goal.

For someone new to writing, the first step on a writing career would be to learn the craft of writing. You might give yourself a year or two to join writing groups, take advantage of writing workshops or classes, write for article directories, or create stories. You should also be part of at least one critique group. This would be your first step to achieving your intent, your success vision.

Instead of trying to go directly from A to B, it might be more effective to go from A to A1 to A2 to A3 . . . to B. But, again, for each step, the intent, a clear-cut vision, and the driving passion all need to be front and center.

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