Here’s an interview I did recently with Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur about selling books on Kindle. You can listen online by clicking the play button above or read the transcript below. If you’d like to download the audio to listen to later, click this button:
Self Publishing School is launching this week, and it’s a great way to learn how to write, publish and sell your first book.
I recently caught up with Chandler Bolt, the author of six self-published books and the founder of Self Publishing School.
In this video interview, he told me about:
- How to self-publish a book in 2017
- The one thing you must do before you write or self-publish your book
- How to avoid the common mistakes new writers (not authors!) make
- The simple rule that helps Chandler balance writing with running a successful business
You can listen to the interview online, download the audio to listen to later (click the button below) or watch the video. There’s also a transcript if you’d prefer to read the interview.
Have you ever written a paragraph in your book, rewrote it, written another paragraph, and then went back and rewrote that too?
And on and on and on…
An hour goes by.
You realise you haven’t written anything at all. All you’ve done is rewrite the same part of your book.
For years, I wrote like this. I worked on my stories and ideas, and I spent hours tinkering with my sentences, moving the nouns around and looking for the right verbs. This is a terrible way to write, and in this post I’ll offer you an editing checklist and explain how to use it:
Last month, a friend asked me to help with a street collection for a charity in Dublin. Being introverted, I procrastinated about it for two weeks. Eventually, I decided a good cause trumpets my desire to work alone.
So, I donned a luminous bib for the charity, and I wandered out onto the rainy, cold streets of Dublin with a bucket in hand.
I held out the bucket as strangers walked up and down looking at their phones, shoes, straight ahead, behind, anywhere and everywhere but at me and my half-empty bucket.
(I couldn’t blame them; I’ve done the same many times.)
I was jingling the coins inside and studying a billboard for the new Star Wars film when a middle-aged, well-dressed woman tapped me on the shoulder.
“I want you to know why I can’t donate today,” she said, her voice round like an over-sized lemon. “They organised a big collection at church on Sunday, and I gave a lot, a lot.”
“That’s good to know,” I said, wrapping my hands around the bucket. “I best get back to it.”
The woman nodded, pulled her handbag onto her shoulder and walked down the street.
Thinking about our exchange that night, I wondered why this well-heeled woman was so concerned about what I thought of her refusal to put a few euro into my lonely bucket.
(I wasn’t even thinking about her!)
There’s a pernicious myth that the best artists are unapologetic drug addicts, alcoholics and drunken writers. They take pride in being tortured souls who tap into a higher creative power, and they can only support their immense talents with the crutch of alcohol and drugs.
Yes, alcohol and drugs will help you view the world differently and even come up with original ideas…at least, at first.
The neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris consumed psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms in his early twenties as part of his search for new ideas about the universe and himself. However, Harris likens his approach to strapping yourself to a rocket ship.
“If LSD is like being strapped to a rocket, learning to meditate is like gently raising a sail. Yes, it is possible, even with guidance, to wind up someplace terrifying, and some people probably shouldn’t spend long periods in intensive practice. But the general effect of meditation training is of settling ever more fully into one’s own skin and suffering less there.”
Artists like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever, John Berryman, Raymond Carver, Scott F. Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Vincent Van Gogh, Yoko Ono, John Berryman and Neil Young were compelled to strap themselves to their personal rocket ships, but look closer and you’ll see that these artists also recognised the value of sobriety.
Hemingway’s Famous Advice: Write Drunk Edit Sober
“The manager of the Gritti Palace in Venice tells me…that three bottles of Valpolicella first thing in the day were nothing to him, then there were the daiquiris, Scotch, tequila, bourbon, vermouthless martinis. The physical punishment he took from alcohol was … actively courted.”
Although he struggled with alcoholism, Hemingway went to great lengths to sober up before the end his life, and he never wrote while drunk, despite reports that he said: “Write drunk, edit sober.”
In Interview Magazine, Hemingway’s granddaughter Mariel said about Ernest:
“That’s not how he wrote. He never wrote drunk, he never wrote beyond early, early morning….So many writers glorify my grandfather’s way of living as much as they glorify his work. And so they try and mirror that. I think it’s the misperception of addiction and living life on the edge, as if it’s cool.”
Hemingway struggled until the very end.
On Saturday 2nd of July 1961, Hemingway rose early, unlocked the storage room of his house in Ketchum, Idaho, and he took a shotgun he used for shooting pigeons. Hemingway walked to the foyer of his house, put the twin barrels against this forehead, pressed the trigger.
In late 1977, he went to a dinner party with friends drank a glass of wine and blacked out. The next thing he remembered was standing outside a store the following morning waiting for it to open so he could buy a bottle of vodka.
Then, he attended a meeting with an editor who wanted to buy his book; Carver was both drunk and hungover.
It was enough of a low for Carver to finally find a better way to live with his pain. After he had stopped drinking, Carver enjoyed ten good and creative years before dying of cancer aged 50. In the poem Gravy – which is inscribed on his grave – he wrote:
“Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.”
Ten years doesn’t seem like much, but Carver used these years to give his creative work the respect and attention it demanded, and unlike some of his peers, he found a measure of happiness.
The stories of these creative masters demonstrate that creativity demands clear level-headedness and sober writing; pure gravy will only come if you’re healthy and strong.
This is an edited extract from The Power of Creativity: Learning How to Build Lasting Habits, Face Your Fears and Change Your Life (Book 1 in a 3-part series)