Last week I attended an event in Las Vegas called 20books (renamed Author Nation for 2024). I came away inspired.
As an author of eight books (seven business books and one novel), I was able to speak and listen to authors in multiple fiction genres who have published 20, 50, even 200 books. Some of these authors were cranking out a book every other month.
Have you ever been somewhere or talked to someone, and then after the conversation you felt completely inadequate. Like you simply aren’t doing enough. Well, that was me. Here I am struggling to churn out my second novel, and then here are all these people simply making time to do the work.
But I’m taking the positive road and making steps now to set aside the time to write and get the next one published. My goal is to have a finished, published novel by my birthday in May. So, you heard it here. Feel free to keep me accountable.
One session that was incredibly helpful was by Kevin J Anderson on writing productivity. Anderson is an acclaimed science fiction author, winner of multiple writing awards and has published over 150 books, including 50 best sellers. Really impressive background.
Anderson shared 11 productivity tips. I won’t share all of them with you now, just the ones that really resonated with me. And, I think this goes for all content creation, not just writing.
The first was shut up and write. We make so many excuses about why we can’t create content. None of them are good. We always have the time; we just aren’t making the time. So set your schedule and keep to it.
Dare to be bad. The content doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be finished. Perfection is unattainable. Anderson was clear that the difference between writing and being an author is that one of these actually gets the job finished.
He says, “you can fix awful writing, but you can’t fix nothing.” Love that.
Know the difference between writing and editing. In other words, don’t stop. We do this with our content all the time, right? We want to stop and fix the thing before we get all the words or information out. Creating new content and editing/producing the content are two very different things. Know which one you are working on.
Here’s one that I’m terrible at. Anderson says to use every minute you can for writing. He shared that just that morning he was going to get Starbucks. It was a 10-minute walk. While walking there, he dictated two chapters into his phone. My jaw dropped when I heard this. Almost seems impossible.
Anderson is big on dictation. I’ve done it sparingly but haven’t stuck with it long enough to learn how to do it well. Anderson stressed how dictation is really a learned skill, so you must work on it. I’m planning on trying, especially with air pods that make the process so easy.
Set goals for yourself and stick to them. Anderson’s goal is 5,000 words a day. When I was writing The Will to Die I set 1,000 words a day as my goal. Setting rewards makes this project easier.
Maybe you don’t allow yourself to get coffee until you write your 1,000 words. How about not checking your email until you do your hour of writing. So, stick to the schedule and get the job done.
Here’s one that I was incredibly thankful for. Know when to stop.
For the fifth anniversary of The Will to Die, I was considering doing a rewrite.
Anderson says that’s foolish and inefficient. He said it this way [paraphrasing]. “I write a book, edit it three times, and publish it. That’s gets me to 95, 96, 97 percent. If I edit it again, does 98 percent matter?”
Anderson says it does not. Only you will notice. Like Seth Godin, Anderson says you just have to ship. Publish it and move on.
I’m not going to do the rewrite any longer.
AI Approvals: Fasten Your Seat Belts
The actors’ strike has ended. Most notably, the performers are now compensated for their AI digital twins.
Sounds good, right?
The real news is that AI is NOT blocked. While a few big actors will be compensated, AI will sweep through Hollywood like nothing we’ve ever seen.
Whether or not the actors take a victory lap is meaningless. The industry will now fully embrace AI. Fewer actors. Fewer scene changes.
At the same time, Meta is requiring political advertisers to disclose they use AI.
Again, we look at this and say, “hey, that’s great. Some rules are being set.”
And it IS good…BUT…the issue is that AI is allowed to be used on Meta’s platforms (Facebook and Instagram).
No one is really talking about it, but this week will go down as a huge moment in AI. It’s the week when two large organizations opened their doors to AI and the future will irreparably change because of it.
I’m honestly not sure if any of this is good or bad…it just is.
The Middle Finger of the Internet
I have a number of friends I send examples to, depending on their expertise or area of interest.
Once of those friends is Marcus Sheridan. For Marcus, anytime I see a company do something stupid with pricing, I take a screen shot and email it to him. You know, maybe he might need it for a presentation or something.
My wife and I are season ticket holders for the Cleveland Browns (have been for 15 years…yes, you can feel sorry for us). Earlier this week we received an email promoting available suites for upcoming games.
Upon clicking through for pricing, I ran into multiple roadblocks, all saying “request info” or “call for quote.”
Marcus responded to my example by saying:
“Call for quote. The middle finger of the Internet.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The learning? Show your pricing. Be transparent. No one wants to click through or fill out a form. Test it out. You’ll do WAY more business by giving out the pricing information your customers want.
If you live in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful for what you have. I know I’m grateful for you.
If you’d like me to write about something specific, email me back and let me know. I will add it to my idea list. Thanks again for all your support!