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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Do You Plan Ahead With Success in Mind?

 
I discovered an interesting article the other day about overcoming hurdles before you allow them to become a problem. That’s important, especially for a writer. If you wish to pursue a successful career, you have to approach your work with a very specific focus.
Look how this is highlighted in the information below:
The First Stumbling Block: Direction
In order to actually make this pursuit successful, you need to have remarkable clarity in two areas:
  1. You need to know your No End Path. This involves your passion, your unique gifts to the world and who you wish to serve.
  2. You need to know your message. Without a clear, concise message you’ll struggle to set yourself apart from the masses.
  3. You need to know with absolute certainty that the path you’re on is the right one for you.
Without a focused direction for your work, you’ll end up spinning your wheels. You need to know with absolute certainty that the path your on is the right one for you.
Your message is the fuel behind what you do; it’s a rallying cry for your tribe. It gets you excited, it’s magnetic and it attracts the right type of person.
These two things are critical to your success. When they work together, a beautiful symphony of passion and focus is composed.
If you don’t have this part nailed down, it’s easy to run in circles, stuck on a road to nowhere, never making any real progress with your business. Trailblazer solves that problem by giving you complete certainty in your idea before you start with a comprehensive idea-testing scorecard.
The Second Roadblock: The Roadmap
Direction without a well-illustrated map for how to get there is useless. When you’re clear about your world-changing idea, you need a structured plan to help you implement it.
You need to put a foundation under your castle in the sky. You need a practical strategy to accomplish your vision.
Mission One
Find your passion and your winning idea
  • You’ll find the match between what you love to do and how you can serve the world.
  • Craft a rocket-fueled message that propels you forward and attracts your ideal customer.
  • Identify your unique genius that gives you incredible leverage.
  • Test your idea with a proven scorecard that gives you confirmation on whether your passion is a deep-rooted interest and whether or not it can actually make money.
Mission Two
You’ll identify a clear outcome with your offer that makes people feel safe to invest.
  • Find the hidden desires that make your offer hard to refuse.
  • Create a comprehensive profile of the people that are actively seeking your “medicine” so they’re already receptive to your offer.
  • How to be confident in self-promotion without feeling like you’re selling out.
Mission Three
Build your tribe
  • Learn the #1 strategy for building your audience rapidly.
  • How to warm people up and get them to become loyal fans of your content.
  • Creating authority so you cultivate a high level of trust with your audience.
  • How to position yourself as a leader in your niche.
  • Follow along with a case study about how one Trailblazer built an email list of 1,000 people in just a week.
Mission Four
Verify the need
  • How to know exactly what your customer needs before you create something.
  • Setting up a feedback loop so you have an eerily accurate connection with what your people want.
  • Seeing the patterns in what people say and identifying their hidden desires that they’ll never admit but are critical for your positioning.
  • Identify an outcome that gets them to see a bigger vision than they thought was possible.
Mission Five
Crafting your product vision
  • A proven blueprint for creating a compelling product that gets people to buy (you can use this with every product or service you create).
  • A simple and painless method for outlining your product/service and creating it quickly with high quality.
  • How to easily create a sales page that isn’t cheesy and that your customer actually wants to read.
  • Productivity methods for staying on track while you build your empire.
Mission Six
The invisible launch
  • Learn to create marketing that’s so effective people never even feel like they’ve been sold to.
  • How to seed your audience so that they’re primed to invest with you long before you ever direct them to your landing page.
  • Drawing in your customers to your product narrative so that they’re anticipating your release (and refreshing the sales page waiting for it to become available to buy).
  • The one thing you can do to ensure that every product or service you create is successful.
  • Releasing your offer in a way that automatically sets you up for success with your next launch.
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So, there you go - some interesting pointers that will help you focus on specific aspects to make your writing more successful.

I know what I need to work on. Do you?
 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Fallen Angels

Prize Pack Giveaway

 
Entries are now open for you to take part in the Giveaway Contest for the latest book in the Guardian Series - Fallen Angels.
 
Fallen Angels concludes the first trilogy, and contains a number of revelations, as well as a great deal of heartbreak.
 
If you would like an opportunity of receiving a free signed copy of Fallen Angels - together with all of the items shown in the picture above - just enter the competition.
 
To enter:
1. Message me on Facebook
2. Use the Rafflecopter option below
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to everyone, and, click away :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Point of Interest

Recently, George R.R. Martin appeared with fellow fantasy author Robin Hobb at an event in London’s Freemasons’ Hall. With over 50 books between them, each has a distinctive approach to writing. I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the highlights from a question & answer session with you, as their answers provide some great pointers for new and aspiring writers.

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On their first stories.

“I never finished any of my early stories. They were all beginnings, an endless number of beginnings.” – George R.R. Martin
“I was dressed up as a witch for Halloween, and wanted to write a story about my black cat before I went out trick-or-treating. I think it went out with the trash the next day.” – Robin Hobb
“The best writing advice I had was in ‘Heinlein’s Rules for Writers’ by (American science fiction author) Robert A. Heinlein. His first rule is that you must write, and I was already doing that, but his second rule is, ‘You must finish what you write,’ and that had a big impact on me.” – George R.R. Martin
“I had these cheap alien toys and I made up stories for them. They were space pirates. They didn’t have names so I made up names. These were the first stories I wrote. Even as a little kid I was thinking about torture.” – George R.R. Martin

On childhood.

“We never went anywhere because we had no money and we had no car, but I would look out the living room window and see the lights of Staten Island. It was incredibly romantic to me, like Middle Earth. Of course, the danger is you eventually get to Staten Island.” – George R.R. Martin
“I began reading everything in the family library. Kidnapped, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe. And of course, if you’re running out of books to read you can always read Shakespeare.” – Robin Hobb
“Reading. That was the sport I was good at.” – George R.R. Martin

On their first professional work.

“It was a story called ‘The Hero’ which I sold to Galaxy magazine in 1970, for $94.” – George R.R. Martin
“I began attempting to write for children under the mistaken assumption that writing for children was easy.” – Robin Hobb
“I was a journalism major, and I would take creative writing classes as part of that, but I would also look for opportunities to write stories for some of my other classes. So for my course in Scandinavian history, I asked if I could write historical fiction instead of term papers. Sometimes they’d say yes.” – George R.R. Martin

On writing.

“It’s different for every writer. It’s not a career for anyone who needs security. It’s a career for gamblers. It’s a career of ups and downs.” – George R.R. Martin
“Very little about being a writer is signing an autograph. It’s sitting in a room and writing. Getting it out.” – Robin Hobb
“I agree. The main thing is the stories. Ultimately you want to get back to that room, back to your people.” – George R.R. Martin
“I’ve been very lucky. There were times when I was afraid I would never sell another book, but I never doubted I’d write another book.” – George R.R. Martin
“It’s being ready to accept rejection. You can work on a book for two years and get it published, and it’s like you may as well have thrown it down a well. It’s not all champagne and doing interviews with The New York Times.” – George R.R. Martin
“It’s like chasing butterflies and trying not to crush them.” – Robin Hobb
“There’s part of me that loves words. But sometimes it feels like you’re trying to drive nails with your shoe.” – George R.R. Martin

On editing.

“The biggest doubts come in the five minutes after I hit send.” – Robin Hobb
“I enjoy rewriting much more than I do first drafts. Rewriting, at least you have something to work with. I find writing first drafts extremely difficult.” – George R.R. Martin
“When both my editors say ‘This is really bad, you need to change this,’ I ignore that at my peril.” – Robin Hobb

On killing characters and torturing readers.

“I could have written a story about a well-adjusted family. Ned Stark comes down to King’s Landing and takes over and solves all their problems. Would that have been as exciting?” – George R.R. Martin
“George handles this huge cast of characters so well. When I get beyond four or five characters, I think, well, there’s one way to simplify this story.” – Robin Hobb
“The way my books are structured, everyone was together, then they all went their separate ways and the story deltas out like that, and now it’s getting to the point where the story is beginning to delta back in, and the viewpoint characters are occasionally meeting up with each other now and being in the same point at the same time, which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people.” – George R.R. Martin

On overcoming blocks.

“I will sit there and say, don’t do that, don’t do that, you’re going to make this story three chapters longer, and of course he doesn’t listen.” – Robin Hobb on her main character, Fitz.
“Thankfully, I have a lot of characters. So if I run into a Tyrion problem, I can write with Arya for a while. Then one day there’s a solution for the Tyrion problem, out of nowhere.” – George R.R. Martin

On what they’d tell their younger selves.

“Start writing sooner. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t hesitate.” – Robin Hobb
“I’d be anonymous. That’s what I’d do differently.” – George R.R. Martin

On A Song of Ice and Fire.

“I thought it could be a trilogy. It was initially proposed to be A Game of Thrones, A Dance of Dragons, and The Winds of Winter. There was a period when I thought I’d never get to A Dance With Dragons, because the second book became the third book, and then it became the fourth book, and then it became the fifth book. The tale grew in the telling. It’s all very well to discuss some of these things in the outline, but when you sit down to write it, other plots occur to you, secondary characters come in, you think of an interesting subplot. Suddenly the stew is much richer, but it also takes more bowls to fill it up.” – George R.R. Martin
On dreams.
“My dreams are the usual incoherent nonsense. Like most writers, at some point in my career I thought, well, I have these great dreams but I always forget them in the morning so I’ll leave a pad on my bedside table so I can write it down, and then you have some incredible dream and you write it down and the next morning you wake up and you’ve written ‘purple socks’.” – George R.R. Martin
On underdogs.
“Everybody has felt at one time or another that everyone else in the world had a better shot than they did, so when you engage that, you engage the reader, and I think you create a character that brings the reader more fully into the story.” – Robin Hobb
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the outsider, for the underdog. ‘Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things’, as the title of one of the (TV series) episodes goes. The angst that they have in life makes for more conflict, makes for more drama, and there’s something very attractive about that. My Game of Thrones is told by outsiders of both types. None of them fit comfortably into the society into which they’ve been born, and they’re all struggling to find a place for themselves in which they’re valued and loved and respected, despite what their society considers their deficiencies. And out of that, I think, comes good stories.” – George R.R. Martin
On names.
“Names are hard. I have a library of What to Name Your Baby books, and I’m always picking up new books, and books of baby names from other countries. I like cool-sounding names.” – George R.R. Martin
“I do know what’s been useless to me is the online fantasy name generators. I’ve tried those a few times, and they say, ‘Just hit this button and we’ll generate 50 fantasy names,’ and they all turn out to be ‘Grisknuckle’.” – George R.R. Martin
“A lot of fantasy names are too much. They’re too difficult to pronounce. I wanted the flavor of medieval England. I took actual names we still use today, like ‘Robert’, and in some case I tweaked them a little bit. I made ‘Edward’ into ‘Eddard’. If you look back at medieval times, no one knew how to spell their own names. There are a lot of variations that we’ve lost.” – George R.R. Martin
“There’s an old writing rule that says ‘Don’t have two character names start with the same letter’, but I knew at the beginning that I was going to have more than 26 characters, so I was in trouble there. Ultimately it comes down to what sounds right. And I struggle with that, finding the right name for a character. If I can’t find the right name I don’t know who the character is and I can’t proceed.” – George R.R. Martin
Courtesy of Buzzfeed.
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There you go...some nice little tips and insights in there. I found some of the answers fascinating, especially regarding what they’d tell their younger selves. Me? I’d definitely start writing sooner...
What about you?