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Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author 10-24-17

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Presentation to Writers Digest Conference. How does one make the leap from being a writer to a successful career as an author? It requires much more than just writing the book.

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Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author 10-24-17

  1. 1. Write it Forward: From Writer to Successful Author
  2. 2. “I’m convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing.” ~Stephen King
  3. 3. Johnny Cash Pitching
  4. 4. • He tried even though the odds of rejection were high. • He walked in the door, even though he was afraid. • He went even though his wife didn’t think he had it. • He stayed after being rejected. • He stayed after being told not only was the work rejected, he was. • He asked questions. • Even though he was angry, he was respectful. • He listened. • He used his PLATFORM and tried again. • He used his real self and mined his emotions. • He conquered his FEAR. • He CHANGED. What Did Johnny Cash Do?
  5. 5. What Is Holding You Back? You
  6. 6. Many successful people use elements of it, they just don’t call it that Nora Roberts sells 27 books every minute. She has 182 books in print. “You're going to be unemployed if you really think you just have to sit around and wait for the muse to land on your shoulder.” Why Use Write It Forward?
  7. 7. Learn the craft . . . Which Artist is this?
  8. 8. . . . then break the rules.
  9. 9. “I am always doing that which I cannot do in order to learn how to do it.” ~Pablo Picasso
  10. 10. I’ll do anything to achieve my writing goal, except don’t ask me to do . . . . .?
  11. 11. Special Force One: WHAT do you want to achieve?
  12. 12. “Creativity without strategy or strategy without creativity is unlikely to get either parties the results they are anticipating.” ~Lincoln Davies
  13. 13. • Most writers are desperate to get published • Once published, they’re desperate to sell the next book. Then the next. • Or they’re under contract to deliver the next book, then the next, and . . . • Most writers don’t have a strategic goal Strategic Goals.
  14. 14. •Is talent or perseverance more important? •Science has too long focused on intelligence & talent as determiners of success. And it’s not. •Setting a specific long-term goal and doing whatever it takes until the goal has been achieved. Strategic Goals: GRIT
  15. 15. •1869 Galton-- Hereditary Genius: ‘ability combined with zeal & capacity for hard work’ trumps talent. •Duckworth study 2008 West Point: Grit was determining factor of Beast Barracks success. •Woody Allen: “80% of success is showing up.” Again and again. •Jim Carrey and the Hollywood Sign Strategic Goals: GRIT
  16. 16. •Overall writing goal (Strategic) •Book goal (Tactical) •Business goal (Tactical) •Shorter range/daily goals (Tactical) The Hierarchy of Goals
  17. 17. • I want to be a NY Times best-selling author in 5 years. • I want to write my memoir for my grandchildren. • I want to write part-time simply because it is a hobby. • I want to get published within 2 years. • I want to have my book in print within 6 months. • I want to write a book that will help people with -----. Strategic Goals Can Be Anything.
  18. 18. • Have a positive verb that indicates the action you want to use to achieve your goal. • The verb must indicate an action you control*. • Concise, understandable wording. • An external, visible outcome. • A time lock for achieving the goal. • KEEP IT POSITIVE- A NEGATIVE GOAL ACCEPTS DEFEAT State your goals in one sentence.
  19. 19. •State your strategic writing goal in one sentence of 25 words or less. •Then write down all your tactical goals in support of your strategic goal. •Align the hierarchy of goals. The One Sentence Goal & Hierarchy-- The Solutions.
  20. 20. •It starts your creative and practical process. •It determines your subordinate goals. •Remembering it keeps you focused. •It is the core of your work regime. •It is the core of your marketing campaign. •All other subordinate goals must align with it in the hierarchy. The Importance of Your Strategic Goal
  21. 21. •Do you want mainstream publishing? •Do you want to self-publish? •Do you want a major, NY publisher? •Do you want a regional, prestige publisher? •Do you want e-publishing? Key Tactical Goal: How do you approach publishing?
  22. 22. •I will be a New York Times best- selling author within five years. Strategic Goal
  23. 23. •I will write a unique thriller, in the vein of James Rollins, but different because of ????, in the next six months. •I will be researching and finish outlining the second book in the series. •I will research and come up with the idea for the third book in the series. Tactical Goal (Book)
  24. 24. • My thriller will be the first of three similar thrillers featuring the same protagonist, an ex- Navy SEAL, Harvard educated, anthropologist with one arm who secretly cross- dresses. • Every week I will research and make a list of five agents interested in this genre. • I will attend a writers conference this month where there is an author who has what I want and attend every session I can. • I will attend a writers conference in four months where there will be agents that represent my type of novel to get feedback from them. • I will follow the publishing business to see what the trends Tactical Goal (Business)
  25. 25. • I will get up an hour earlier every day to write. • I will stay up an hour later every night to write. • I will write five pages a day. Every day. • I will have a draft done in ten weeks. • I will rewrite the draft for plot, for character, for symbols, for subplots. • As I rewrite, I will write my query letter and synopsis. • I will continue to rewrite my query letter and synopsis until they are the best I can make them. Tactical Goal (Shorter Range)
  26. 26. •This is your responsibility, not your agent’s or editor’s •If goals are not aligned, there is inherent conflict and wasted time and energy. •Awareness and honesty are key. The Hierarchy of Goals Must Be Aligned
  27. 27. “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” ~Nietzsche
  28. 28. •Understanding WHY you want to achieve your goals increases innovation and options. •Understanding WHY allows you to focus on the real goal. Intent-- Why.
  29. 29. •Understanding your environment helps you work with it and those around you. •You need to understand the personal environment in which you write and the publishing environment in which you want to get published. Where
  30. 30. • Look for the goals (WHAT). • Look for the intent (WHY). • See what works. • See what doesn’t. • Study the career paths of writers. • Their publishing paths. • Their break-out book. Study And Find Similar Writers (Author dissection)
  31. 31. • The Three Hardest Words • Willingness to Surrender • Growth Mindset • Buridan’s Ass • When we have too many options, we don’t focus on the ones we should • Close doors Open-Mindedness
  32. 32. •Male linear thinking. •Female circular thinking. •Big picture thinking. •Detail thinking. •Aka pantser vs a planner. •Which leads to profiling yourself. Archetypes & Creativity.
  33. 33. •If you aren’t where you want to be, you must change. •Change isn’t just thinking differently, but the 1st step of change is to think differently. •Make is externally imposed. •Become is internally motivated. •The successful become. Change.
  34. 34. •Can people change? •You want to show change, not just talk about it. •Change requires three things to happen . . . Change.
  35. 35. •Moment of Enlightenment •Make a decision •Implement Sustained Action What is Change?
  36. 36. What step of change do you believe you have the most trouble with? • MOE? • Decision? • Sustained Action?
  37. 37. • Denial • Anger • Bargaining • Depression • Acceptance Emotional Stages of Change
  38. 38. • Experience something never experienced before. • Experience something you’ve experienced before, but it affects you differently than ever before. • This is the classic ‘light bulb going on’. • By itself, it is not change, just a momentary awareness. • Denial often blocks MOEs. • Anger stops MOEs when it is actually an indicator of an MOE. Moment of Enlightenment
  39. 39. • Because of the Moment of Enlightenment, a decision is made. • It is not necessarily a good decision. • You then are either: • Stuck with the decision (externally imposed change) or • Stick with the decision (internally motivated change) • By itself, a decision is not change, just a fleeting commitment. • Bargaining can dilute a decision. • Depression can cause you to give up on decision. Decision
  40. 40. • Because of the decision, behavior is changed. • The changed behavior is sustained long enough to become habit. • In the military, this is called training. • The 5% rule for external and internal sustained action. • Sustained action leads to change. • Sliding back on the five stages stops this. • Acceptance is not easy-- your reality has changed. Sustained Action.
  41. 41. • Is perseverance more important than talent? • Statistically born out by: weight loss, AA, Black Belts, getting published, Death & Dying, etc.. • Many people are wanna-be’s. • Cannot do three steps on own. • Can’t get through five stages on own. • (You will need to ask for help, BTW) The 5% Rule
  42. 42. “Talent is less important in film- making than patience. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.”
  43. 43. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anais Nin
  44. 44. • Fear of failure • Fear of success • Fear of rejection • Fear of starting • Fear of finishing • Fear of revealing too much about ourselves • Fear of criticism Fears
  45. 45. • Fear of making the wrong decision • Fear of having hit one’s peak • Fear of making a mistake • Fear of not being good enough • Fear of the business • Fear of having regrets Fears
  46. 46. • The first step is to rip away the denial. • Look at what you think is your greatest strength and turn it around. • Most fear is subconscious-- you will likely need help finding the true root. • We bend our lives around our fears. • Your fear won’t change things-- it has no power--it won’t keep the plane flying • Fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fears
  47. 47. • Many people have difficulty internalizing their accomplishments • We look to external things like luck and contacts as the reason for our successes • We feel like we are ‘fooling’ everyone • The more success someone has, the greater this feeling The Impostor Syndrome
  48. 48. • Many writers/artists feel like a fraud “I still think People will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m not very good. It’s all been a big sham.” Michelle Pfeiffer “Sometimes I wake up before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this: I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me. I’m Fat. I’m ugly...” Kate Winslet. • Everyone has doubts The Impostor Syndrome
  49. 49. • HALO effect • Focus on positive feedback • Weed out your parent’s voice in your head if negative • Be aware of using self-deprecation as a social strategy • Internalize your accomplishments • Read your own resume The Impostor Syndrome
  50. 50. • Communication is essential to success. • It is how you interact with the world. • Two way street-- get your message across to others and receive true messages. • You must understand your creative process in communicating; where you are strong and where you need to improve. • As writers, we are communicators. Communication
  51. 51. • Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front and to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate. Written Communication
  52. 52. • The primary goal of communication is to evoke a response. • Thus, the receiver of the communique is more important than the sender. • Thus, the sender needs to take the point of view of the person the message is intended for. Communication
  53. 53. • We are transmitting both logic and emotion. • We are transmitting on the conscious and subconscious levels. • We are externalizing something internal. Communication
  54. 54. • How do you organize your daily life-- this is how you will organize your book. • If you outline, do you outline just plot, or do you ‘outline’ characters? • If you’re a pantser, how much rewriting do you do? • Is your rewriting focused on plot or character? • Consider front-loading the part of the book that is your weakest writing. • Consider genre in terms of your strengths & weaknesses as a writer. The Creative Process
  55. 55. • A detail person needs to ‘see’ the big picture: aka collage? • A big picture person needs to ‘see’ the details: aka story grid. Creativity
  56. 56. “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” ~Dorothy Parker
  57. 57. • Content and procedure • Have a purpose. • You must inform and entertain. • Is it a time suck-- yes-- but only if you do it badly. Social Media
  58. 58. Special Force Eight: COMMAND
  59. 59. “We are all warriors in the battle of life, but some lead and others follow.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
  60. 60. • You must be able to lead yourself. • You must be able to interact with others and ‘lead’ them • You have to take charge of your career. Leadership
  61. 61. • Take command of your situation and assess it. • In publishing every deal, every development is a ‘good’ news-‘bad’ news situation. • You are responsible. • Expecting your publisher to promote your book, is like expecting your OB-GYN to raise your child Command
  62. 62. • You worst-case the scenario. • You plan for the worst case-- Go To S$%# plan to avoid the worst case. • It relies only on you and your readily available assets. • If the worst case happens, you have a plan. • Most importantly, knowing that if thing Go To S$%#, you have a plan, reduces fear and anxiety. Catastrophe Planning
  63. 63. Special Force Nine: COMPLETE the Circle of Success
  64. 64. • The elements are in place, but not synchronized. • Time is not used efficiently. Mission Execution
  65. 65. The paradoxical rules of rule breaking: • 1. Know the rule. • 2. Have a good reason for breaking the rule. • 3. Accept the consequences of breaking the rule. Rule Breaking
  66. 66. • Unifying concept. • Unifying theme. • Aka: Concept= West Point graduates • Aka: Theme= Honor vs loyalty • Setting: Backdropped against the Civil War • Working on large level and at personal level. For a Series
  67. 67. 1.WHAT: Set and align goals. 2.WHY: State your intent. 3.WHERE: Conduct an Area Study. 4.CHARACTER: Understand self & others. 5.CHANGE: Change using the three steps. 6.COURAGE: Understand fear and the blind spot. 7.COMMUNICATE: Use effective communication. 8.COMMAND: Use personal and team leadership. 9.COMPLETE: Put it all together for mission execution. Mission Execution
  68. 68. You came Here
  69. 69. Writing Scenic Workshop •An intense, on-premises workshop focusing on idea, conflict, story and the ever- changing business of publishing. •At our house on Scenic Drive in Knoxville, TN •Most importantly, this workshop focuses on developing your creative process as a writer. •Led by Bob Mayer and his wife, Debbie. •We’ve worked with everyone from #1 NY Times best-selling authors to novices writing their first book. •Limited to four people per workshop. This workshop can also come to you if you have four interested writers. For schedule contact bob@bobmayer.com
  70. 70. Bob Mayer is a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of West Point, a former Green Beret, grandfather to two future Leaders of the Resistance against the Machines, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world (usually not the tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife and his Labs. Sort of. www.bobmayer.com
  71. 71. Original Idea Conflict the Fuel of Your Story and the Conflict Box Plot I: Research and Narrative Questions Plot II: Outlining Plot III: Narrative Structure Character Point of View Write It Forward: From Writer to Bestselling Author Writers Conference Guide (Free eBook) Three P’s: Platform, Product, Promotion Writers’ Block and Rewriting How to Write the Query/Synopsis Planning for NaNoWriMo Success Bob Mayer’s Workshops, Seminars & Presentations Your Creative Process: How You Write The Present and Future of Publishing for Writers Writers Workshop and Retreat ON WRITING SLIDESHARES
  72. 72. For More Information click on covers The Complete Writer is four books at discount in one bundle.
  73. 73. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE www.bobmayer.com

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