The Secret Behind Personal Development Writing With Darius Foroux

Personal Development Writing - Main

Personal development writing is a huge niche online, particularly on platforms like Medium. 

Although it’s a topic most people have an opinion about, it’s quite hard to stand out.

Unless your name is Darius Foroux.

Living in the Netherlands, he’s one of Medium’s top writers covering topics like wealth, building habits, and decision-making. He’s also an author and instructor, selling popular online courses about writing, careers, and more via his website.

In this interview, Darius explains:

  • How he managed to write 7 books in six years
  • Why he focuses on one project at a time
  • How he grew his blog into one of the top personal development websites online
  • His process for researching, writing and publishing non-fiction articles
  • What he does when readers suggest editorial changes (including trolls)

And lots more.

If you enjoyed this podcast episode, please leave a rating on the iTunes Store.

Resources

Ulysses

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Bryan: You can build a business by a freelance writing career writing about personal development. Why? Because it's one of the most popular topics online today. Hi there, my name is Bryan Collins, and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast. And in this week's interview, I catch up with Darius Foroux, who's one of the most popular non-fiction personal development writers online. But before we get into this week's interview, here's a quick personal update from me. So lately I've been thinking a lot about outsourcing, and how it can help freelance writers take their business to the next level.

So when you start out as a freelance writer, you know it's probably just you, and you'll spend your time finding clients, or you'll spend your time working with your editor on a story idea, or perhaps you're going to pitch several different editors, work in those articles, edit them, refine them and wait as the go live and then you'll get paid.

On the other hand, if you want to make the shift from freelance writing to running your own creative business, then you really need the help of some other people, and that's where [inaudible 00:01:26] come into play. And that's what I did, and that's also something week's interviewee did. Basically, if you have a series of articles about a topic like personal development for example, you might want to create a book or an online course. Creating a book or an online course is really time consuming even leaving aside the time it takes to record the course or write chapters for your book, because you're going to have to do things like design a book cover, get the book edited, or in the case of a course, you're going to have to get your audio or video files edited, and then you're going to have to get all these uploaded to your online learning platform of choice.

So it can sometimes feel like you're spending a lot of time editing and preparing all of the different materials, time that you could spend writing. And that's something or an issue that I had when I started creating courses for the first time. When I started making the transition from freelance writing to actually selling products and services back and help people. And this is where [inaudible 00:02:19] can help.

So when you start to earn a little bit more money from your freelance writing or from the products or courses that you're creating, I'd encourage you to consider reinvesting some of that package to your business, because it is a business that you're building and you could potentially hire a virtual assistant, or you could potentially hire somebody who can take a task off your plate. So I have a number of virtual assistants that I'm looking of to work with.

So this podcast which you're listening to is edited by a podcast editor. My articles that I publish on my site and also on Medium, I send them to an article editor who will edit them for me, and I also have somebody who takes care of technical issues on my site like for example, SEO and so on.

And all of that frees me to spend more time working on creative projects, or to focus on things that I'm good at or really enjoy doing. It's also important to consider when you're outsourcing what your budget is for outsourcing because you still want to be able to pay yourself, of course. So, if you're on a tight budget, I'd encourage you to start small. And one of the best ways to start small is to pick a task you probably hate or has nothing to do with writing.

Bookkeeping is also a good example, because if you're a freelance writer, you're probably doing it on the side, or on top of other tasks that you work on. So, you could hire a bookkeeper who could help you take care of your tax and your returns and so on, then you can focus on acquiring more clients, and then making the transition from freelancer to business owner or creative entrepreneur.

Actually, becoming a creative entrepreneur is something this week's interviewee has done over the past five or six years. His name is Darius Foroux, and perhaps you've come across his work online. He writes a lot about personal development on platforms like Medium, and also on his own site.

Personal development is an interesting topic because everybody has an opinion on personal development, there are no real barriers to entry. And that's great because you can find places to share your work and there are definitely readers who are interested in the topic. But it's a disadvantage in that it can be really hard to stand out in the niche of personal development.

So if I wanted to catch up with one of the top writers in the genre to see what his approach is and how he has made his work stand out. Darius lives in the Netherlands, and he covers specific subtopics within the area of personal developments like wealth building, habits and decision making and productivity. And he's also an author and an instructor. So he's build a business around his writing, which was a key takeaway for me for this week's interview, and he spends a lot of time selling online courses related to the topics that he writes about.

Now, there's a lot more Darius does, so looking forward to catching up with him. And in this next interview, he explains how he's managed to write seven books in over six years, which I was pretty impressed by. How he focuses on one project at a time, and he gets into why he avoids social media, and talks about how he grew his blogs into one of the top personal development websites online today. He also gets into his process for researching, writing and posting his non-fiction articles, and he explains what he does when readers suggest editorial changes. And we talk a little bit about trolls and I talk about a nasty email I got from somebody who didn't like one of my parenting articles.

But before we get into this week's interview, I do have an ask, if you enjoy the show, please, can you leave a review or a short writing on the iTunes Store or wherever you're listening to the show. Because more reviews and more rating will help more people find the Become a Writer Today Podcast. Now with that, over to this week's interview, I started by asking Darius to give a bit of background information about who he is and what he likes to write about.

Darius: I started writing in 2015, and at the time, I had a couple of things going on. I started business with my dad in 2010, and I was running that for a few years, and then I wasn't really satisfied or I didn't feel like it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I was kind of searching and I ended up in London, I worked for IT research firm, and at the same time I also worked on the business, and I had a lot of stuff going on. And by doing a lot of the things that I didn't actually like, I found out what I do like.

And I was always drawn to writing, and at some point in 2015, I thought to myself, I was reading a lot of productivity articles and content on the internet, I thought, well, I have a different perspective. And I thought, why not just share it and see what happens? And that's how I got into it. So I shared a couple of articles and I also started my own blog, and at the same time, I started writing on Medium as well and a few of those articles took off. And then I was like, yeah, this could be an actual thing. So that's how I got started.

Bryan: In that time, you also managed to write seven books. Very impressive. What was your secret?

Darius: Well, just start with one book. When I started writing, I also immediately was like yeah, I'm going to write a book as well. So that's the first thing that I did as well. The same time is I started writing articles. And because it's relatively easy to self publish a book, in 2015 when I started, I wasn't really attracted to go in the traditional route, because I was like, why would I do that? Because it just takes too much time, and I was impatient and I thought to myself, there are great tools out there that you can use and also great content and advice that you can apply so you can improve your writing and publish your own books. So, I just started with one and then I've been doing this now for five years, and if you publish one book a year and two years you publish two, so then seven books later and still going strong.

Bryan: Your new book is quite timely in terms of the pandemic, it's called Highly Productive Remote Work. Was that something that you've been working on since before the lockdown or did you write it during the lockdown?

Darius: Well, I had written about several articles and topics that are in the book over the last few years. I have been working from home myself, all this time. When I started my family business, I worked a few days from home, and the rest from the office. And then when I started writing full-time, I started also working from home almost full-time. So I spent several hours and the office a week, but I do most of my writing and my work from home because that's the place I can focus best.

So, when this stuff happened this year with the pandemic, I thought it was a good opportunity to combine all the stuff that I already published in the press together with some new lessons that I learned, and turn it into a book and put it out there. So that's what I did.

Bryan: What does your writing routing look like? Because you're very prolific.

Darius: Yeah, so what do you mean? Like in terms of day to day what I do?

Bryan: Yeah, day to day.

Darius: So my main productivity strategy is to just write 30 minutes a day, or even just break it down to something small. Just write one sentence a day and often this is what happens to me almost every time. Before you want to write, you think like, yeah, I don't want to write and you try to do all kinds of other things. You rearrange your books, you try to clean the house, whatever. You're like, oh, I need to go for a walk or I need to do this or that. Answer a couple emails. And then you end up not writing at all.

But if you decide to just write once sentence, or maybe five or 10 minutes, whatever, and you get into it, now all of a sudden you write more. And one of my priorities is always wake up and write, that's the first thing that I do before I have some breakfast or whatever, anything else or send emails. I just write. And sometimes that's five minutes, sometimes 30 minutes, and sometimes it's maybe even an hour. And that gets me in the writing mode because the times that I write the most stuff is when I'm really having a write first mindset. I applied it late on to my book about remote work, the first work mindset.

And you know what I mean by that is that if you wake up and you think about okay, my whole priority, my whole goal is to write, and then you actually do it, now the rest of the day you end up [inaudible 00:11:08] and it's easier to keep up the momentum. Instead of just say, okay, I'm going to write one day and then I'll do something else the next day. Maybe that works for some people, but for me it works best if I keep the momentum.

Bryan: Okay. And it terms of keeping the momentum, what got the momentum going for your kind of business faster, was it building up on Medium or was it your site? Because I'm looking at your site, it seems to have significant traffic as well around topics like habit formation.

Darius: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So because I built a business website or a few actually in the past before I created my own website, I realized how important it is to have your website as a writer or any type of top leader or whatever you want to do with sharing ideas on the internet. So even though I published on Medium or my articles was syndicated on some publications, my main priority, and my main focus has always been my own website and the people that have subscribed to my newsletter because I think that's the most valuable asset that you have. Even if you are very successful on social media or on a blogging platform, you don't own that platform, so there's always some risk involved with that. And the way that I look at it is that if something works, and you do well on a specific platform, you can't count on it that it will always be like that. So that's why I think it's always good to have your own website and never neglect it, and try to find a balance between spending your time and attention.

Bryan: So your articles on your sites are informed by a lot of research. Like for example, your latest on the science of developing self-control talks about story [inaudible 00:13:04] too. So what's your research process like? How do you find these interesting stories?

Darius: My process is mostly right now is by just listening the comments that I get and responses from people to my existing articles. And from that, I can learn what type of things they like. So, for instance, when I share some stories, some historical stories, I know a lot of people reply and say, "Oh, I really enjoyed that." So I try to do that every now and then. I don't want to do it every time because then it becomes boring or it becomes like, "Here we go again, it's another story."

So what I try to do is I have the ID first for an article. So in this case, developing self-control, and I want to combine that with some research. So I want to have some proof to back it up. I want to have some personal stories, or that it comes from me and nobody else can tell that story. And I also want to share some historical stories that people can relate to and understand that, okay, other people have gone through some challenges as well.

So when I start with the idea, I start on Google, and I just try go deeper and often if you search for the keywords story in your topic, you already have a great start. You just getting on some pages that share some stories about the stories about the topic that you're interested in. THat's how I always start and then I just filter out all the stuff that's not relevant. And big one that I find is a good fit with the point that I'm trying to make in the article.

Bryan: Your articles are obviously optimized for search as well. I can see you're doing some keyword analysis too.

Darius: Not always, but like in this example here, but for example I published a new article yesterday, so it's actually about information overload, but I didn't optimize it at all because this is more like a question that I received or challenge from a reader, and I was like, "Yeah, I would like to respond to this as well." So, I try to balance that because what I find is if you try to optimize too much, then it will just become like a robot. Like oh yeah, I'm go to write a [inaudible 00:15:28] article and then.

Bryan: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I made that mistake. The other thing I like about your work is it's distinct in that you have this really interesting illustrations. So for example, you have an interview with Derek Sivers and there's a drawing of Derek Sivers to go along with the podcast interview. So, what's your process for curating the images?

Darius: So one of the things that I often recommend is avoid stock footage as much as you can. And at the beginning, obviously when I started I used free stock images. But then as I was thinking about how I can make my blog stand out a little bit more, same time I bought an iPad Pro with a pencil, I started playing around with it, I ended up with Adobe Sketch, I think it's called, and I started just creating some drawings. I was like, "Yeah, it looks kind of decent."

Bryan: How were you able to draw before you got the iPad Pro and Adobe?

Darius: Well, no, I didn't actually draw at all.

Bryan: You're really good.

Darius: Everybody can draw stick figures, right? So an iPad, it looks like a little bit more sleek.

Bryan: Well, your sketch of Derek Sivers was fantastic.

Darius: Oh, that one I used Photoshop. My stick figures are like, drawing looks like a 12-year old kid drew them. It makes it funny as well.

Bryan: Well, they're kind of funny. You have a nice one about inspiration quotes, so think it's why your work stands out a bit. So, what about your courses? So you've created four courses over the years. How do you decide what course to create and what works best for you audience?

Darius: Yeah, so I started with my productivity course of overcoming procrastination, because that was the main topic that I covered when I started. That was a topic that I knew most about, and I've been researching for my own benefit for years. As an entrepreneur and working for yourself or as a writer, everybody knows how difficult it is to stay focused and overcome procrastination and just make sure that you get things done that you actually want to get done. That was the topic that I had a lot of experience with. So, that's what I started with. And my philosophy is always just start with what you know or write about what you know or know a little bit about. And as you write or research and teach, you ultimately get even better.

So I started with that, and people signed up and my audience started increasing, and the next course that I made was a writing course, because people ask me about my writing process. And that's the funny thing about writing and doing anything online is that when you start, you have no audience to listen to, so you have to start somewhere. And like I said, I would recommend everybody to start with the thing that you know. But as you start building an audience, then now you can listen to what people are actually struggling with, and you can ask as well. I've done that as well.

I ask for once a year, I do a quick survey, ask, "What's on your mind? What are some of those challenges that you're currently having?" And I try to listen to those things and see where does it fit between what I know or what I've experienced, and what I can share some ideas about. So obviously, you can't cover everything that your audience is struggling with. But that's the process that I've applied. But listening and researching and try to find a match between what the people are struggling with and also what I can provide value.

Bryan: Like you, I've read a lot of productivity books for the past two years, and written a little bit about the topic. And key principle is to focus on one project at a time and move on to the next one. So how do you decide to focus on a book or a course or your series of articles, how do you pick something?

Darius: Yeah, so I'm a big fan of testing. So, if you want to write a book, I always write a few articles about the topic and see the response, And if those articles are all well received, then I think about writing a book. So for example, I think my second book, Think Straight, which is my most read book. Before I started writing about the book, which is about pragmatist philosophy, I shared several articles about pragmatism and how you can start controlling your thoughts more and how you can ignore the thoughts that are very useless.

And one of those articles was very successful and reached a lot of people. So, now that I've tested something and it resonates with people, I decided to go deeper and spend more time on it. And like you said, I'm a big fan of doing one thing at a time, and that's how I decide, but you can't always figure out hate or whatever. Like for example last year, I spent sometime doing a few webinars and eventually I faded out like, this isn't for me. And I wasted quite some time on it, depending on how you look at it.

Obviously you learn something, but I spent sometime on it. And because I also tested some of the content before that which was great, but the format, I didn't really like. Like a lot of people yeah, we do webinars, they do this for years and I don't like it. So, it doesn't work 100% of the time, but it's better than just coming up with an idea like, oh, yeah, let me just write a book about this, and then you write the book and nobody cares. So, that's what you want to avoid, but you can't avoid it 100% of the time.

Bryan: And the books that you've written, do you spend long promoting them after the [inaudible 00:21:29] or do you use Amazon Ads or some other strategy?

Darius: No, I don't really promote my books. I've done a couple ads on Amazon for Think Straight for few years and had a lot of reviews, and it was successful, but I have no experience with ads, and I don't have any knowledge about it, so I tried it for sometime, and then I just turned it off, and I was like, I'm not going to spend more time figuring this stuff out and it's not a real priority for me to sell like a $2 or $3 ebook and I spend more time on my courses. That's where I spend most of the time. Promoting or just inviting people to join those, because that's how you generate the most amount of income and also the biggest impact in my experience. Well actually books also make a real big impact on people.

Bryan: So, how often do you spend on course creation versus promoting your courses?

Darius: Well, so in the beginning, when I first created a course, I'm now in the process of creating a new course, and this time again I apply the same strategy. So people ask me, how did you build or turn your blog into a business? Now I'm creating a course about showing how you create and digital products and all that kind of stuff and how you can turn this into a career. So, now, I spend a lot of time actually with creation and almost nothing on promotion.

Because I was thinking about this, right? Should I announce it, should I presale it? A lot of people do it. That just takes away a lot of my focus. Now I'm in teaching mode and learning mode and I'm trying to make the best product that I can. And for me, it works right to stay in that mode and then when I'm finished, and obviously I've made a lot of research and talked to people and got a lot of input, if I know the product is really good and works, then I'll go into promotion, and then I'll spend all my time on promotion. Get the registration plates, write a copy, do the launch and all that stuff. So, I never combine it. Again, that's the one thing stuff. I just do it sequentially, that's how I prefer to work. And I know some people like to promote it first and then get some sales, like pre-sales and then create it. That really doesn't work for me.

Bryan: Okay, do you have a team that supports you with a lot of the projects you've described?

Darius: No, I have one virtual assistant and mostly handles my email and some social media stuff, because I don't like to spend time on social media. And just some basic tasks. And when I'm creating a course, it's good to him to care of everything, all those kinds of things so I can really focus on it. But outside of it, I do everything myself, which takes a little bit longer, but I really enjoy doing it. So I like the work.

Bryan: Okay, your podcast is also interesting in that you've alternate between interviews and I guess this is where you were talking about a topic. Like one I listened to recently was about strength training. What was it that made you decide to start a podcast?

Darius: Yeah, so when did I start? I think I started in 2017 or something. About a year and half after I started the blog. And to be honest, I didn't have a real good thinking process for it other than I received some questions from people, from my readers, and I was like, "Hey, maybe I can answer that on a podcast." And I also saw an opportunity to speak to some people that I connected with or some authors or entrepreneurs that I thought about interviewing to obviously learn from as well. So those were the reasons.

But I didn't have like a real strategy of like, "Yeah, I'm going to turn this into a business or I'm going to really make this like a full-time thing." And still, if you go to my podcast, I publish episodes occasionally. It's not a really big focus for me. If I know somebody, like a few weeks ago I had Scott Young on and I've connected with him a few times over the past and we've talked and we were like, it's maybe nice to put that on the podcast as well. And Derek Sivers one, I've been emailing back and forth with him as well for a few years, and just some people that I know, I'll have them on the podcast. But other than that, it's not really a big thing for me. My blog is. My blog is what I publish every week and all those kinds of things.

Bryan: Yeah, you're quite consistent with your publication schedule on your site.

Darius: Yeah, I try to keep up the momentum. And even if I don't publish, like the last week I didn't publish, I do write and I do think about new articles and content and read. So I keep the consistency and the momentum in the creating process or the creation process. And after that, translates to the publication process as well. So if you keep on creating consistently, then you can also publish consistently. But it always starts with me creating. And some people say, I've heard as well, I want to publish for example twice a week, or I want to publish once a week, and I always focus on, I want to create like X amount of articles per week, and then the publication comes automatically.

Bryan: So do you have a backlog of articles that are ready to go?

Darius: Yeah, I usually have a pretty big backlog, like six, seven, eight articles or something. And sometimes some articles I don't publish. I write them and then I'll revisit them a few weeks later and I'm like, no. That happens as well. I can still take the writing process seriously like when I started. When I started, I was reading every sentence and making sure everything makes sense, and I still apply the same strategy. But sometimes, I notice like you lose a little bit of focus, and then you just want to publish, and then I'm like, I need to catch yourself because I always want to keep the same quality. And obviously there'll be ups and downs, but overall, I think trying to be consistent is a big priority for yourself. That's how I look at it as a writer, you want to deliver the same amount of the quality level for yourself as well because I don't think there's any honor in slacking off. It's better than just to quit.

Bryan: Two things that have helped me with consistency is one, I hired an editor. So if I write an article and it's 90% there, she will go through it and point out the errors and typos. So I get less emails from people complaining about typos. And the second thing is I've been experimenting with dictation, different types of dictation. So right now I... dictations with a voice recorder and get it transcribed in Rev and then write that up. Do you have anything like that, that you follow or do you just sit down in front of the computer and just start typing?

Darius: Yeah, definitely. I just sit down and I just start typing. And I always start with the layout of the article. So I come up with a topic, for example self control, and then I lay out the topics that I want to cover and I write the headlines for every section, and then I start filling in the blanks, which is basically what you're doing. Because if I know where I'm going, then it's easier, but I never start with a blank page because that's I think one of the most difficult things you can do. I'm not a fiction writer so-

Bryan: Did you ever try to write fiction?

Darius: Well, actually yeah. I tried when I got out of college, I was like, yeah. I was really inspired by Bukowski.

Bryan: Yeah, Bukowski is great.

Darius: I was like, yeah, I want to write a fiction book. I want to write a story of... I tried to imitate Bukowski but it didn't work.

Bryan: Yeah, I don't think anyone can imitate him.

Darius: Exactly. I tried it, but I was like, it's not for me.

Bryan: Okay. And you talked about your research process there a few minutes ago where you type story plus topic into Google. Do you have an ongoing process for note taking or recording ideas for your articles or how does that work?

Darius: Yeah, so I always keep writing down new ideas for articles, and for the last I think a year and a half, I've been using Ulysses to write.

Bryan: Great app.

Darius: Yeah, it's a great app. And before that, my process was I wrote down the article title, I always start with a title, so lets say I'm reading a book and I come up with an idea to turn something into an article, I will start with the title. So I'll write down the title and I capitalize it just like I would publish it, and I write down the title, and I will do that in Evernote in the past, and I would just maybe try to picture the book that I'm reading or the thing that was [inaudible 00:31:09] maybe a quote that I want to share in the article, will put it in Evernote and then I would just often, at the time I would write in Word most of the time.

But now I just do it on Ulysses, so I write down the topic and then I write down the idea. And when I go back later on to actually write because as I'm reading, I usually just keep on reading, I don't stop and say, "Oh, yes, this is a great idea, I want to write the article." I just keep on reading and then I come to it and sometimes you think, "Oh, not really that good of an idea." And then I'll just delete it, or just leave it and maybe later on delete it. Or maybe I'll go back to it and think, "Well, actually it is a good idea, I have found some new ideas."

Then I just go back and at some point when I'm doing my writing, I just pick an article. If I wake up in the morning, I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to write." I just go through my list of ideas and now I have something like 30 or 40 of those ideas, and I just pick one that I just feel like writing about, and that's what I like about this process because if you always have a huge backlog of ideas, you can always just pick. And some days you don't feel like writing about some topic, you just write about something else.

Bryan: Yeah, it's definitely good to have ideas [inaudible 00:32:36] that's something that's helped me a lot.

Darius: Yeah, definitely.

Bryan: So do you put the article first on your site or do you put it on your blog on Medium or do you put it on both?

Darius: I always put it on my own site first. And what I sometimes do is I always send link to my article in my newsletter because when I get feedback, I can always update the article. And sometimes I do that. Sometimes I get some feedback from readers, and my readers I see them as editors, so I don't have an editor.

Bryan: That's a nice concept. YOu've a lot of editors.

Darius: Yeah, exactly. If it's the relation to readers and I see them as editors, and you can use that input to improve and then I just improve the article a bit, you change a couple of things and then later on I publish it on Medium.

Bryan: Are you publishing on Medium as part of the partner program or are you publishing this for everyone?

Darius: Yeah, partner.

Bryan: Okay. And would you revisit the article on Medium at some point the future or do you just move on?

Darius: Like updating it or?

Bryan: Yeah, updating it.

Darius: Yeah, well, I often update it after I publish it on my website. Sometimes I even make it just rewrite a couple of things, or change a couple of things so I can publish it a little bit different on Medium, so I have some obviously because it's a membership program there and try to give a little bit of extra value to the people there, also like maybe something different. Sometimes I change the title or change a couple of things about the article, and I publish it on Medium, but I don't go back and revisit it.

Bryan: So the four topics that you focus on are productivity, habits, decision-making and wealth building. Did they just arrive organically, or did you set out to focus on those four topics?

Darius: So the first two came really organically, that's what I started with, productivity and habits. And then later on I added decision-making to the mix because it's something that I've been reading and researching myself as well in recent years as you start to run a blog and decision making was important to me. And then later on as you start earning more and also noticing that my readers, obviously is very universal concept of wealth and career and earning, and all those things, I added that to the mix as well.

But I started with personal finance, like I showed a couple of real basic, my saving strategy, how I spend money, all those types of things. But then for the last year or year and a half, I've been getting into investing and more like thinking about building actual wealth, and systemizing my business and all those things, and that came by itself as well. So I do tend to update the topics that I write about and make it relevant to the stuff that I'm currently working on and also my readers are working on. I just try to have some progress in that, just try to keep on evolving.

Bryan: How do you deal with negative responses to your work?

Darius: Well, obviously you get those occasionally as well. It's a part of it, but to me, I don't know, I just shrug it off. Like I wrote an article about mental toughness and it is definitely a process. You can really get better at shrugging things off. And a lot of people think, how does it work? And the thing is, you just make it a priority and just try to shrug things off, and it doesn't always happen that easily, because sometimes you might get a nasty comment and you think to yourself, maybe I should change something, or maybe I should stop talking about something. And I think that's completely natural, but then I'm a big fan of the stoics, and what the stoics did was they always used logic to get themselves out of challenges and bad situations or negative thought patterns compared to Eastern philosophy.

The Eastern philosophers always focused on mindfulness and presence, and trying to tune out the things, and just living in the present and not rationalizing. I try to find a balance between those things. But what I found that really works well with negative responses is that you can think yourself out of it by understanding that you're not writing for everybody. And if you just keep on repeating that to yourself like well, I'm not trying to please everybody here, some people are pissed off, or they don't like it, it's actually a good sign.

So I've trained myself to see it as a positive. If I don't get any negative responses at all for a while, I'll try to say something a little bit more bold to just get some response and filter out the people who don't actually belong to the community that I've built. I think sometimes people get on your list or in your audience, and they're not a really good fit, but they're just there anyway, I don't know what they're doing there, but [crosstalk 00:38:21].

Bryan: Or subscribed.

Darius: And your job I think as a writer is to irritate those people so they just move on.

Bryan: Okay. I ask because I wrote an article about parenting two weeks ago and somebody sent me a rather abusive email. They weren't happy with my approach to parenting.

Darius: So, [inaudible 00:38:44].

Bryan: Just there's a lot of all caps and swear words and it was [inaudible 00:38:48] about parenting, what I didn't know there are personal circumstances on. I unsubscribed him from the list. It was a bit eye opening to get an email like that. I was just writing about a personal challenge I had with three kids, how to deal with them when you don't have a lot of patience or when you're stressed. And somebody took [inaudible 00:39:10].

Darius: Those types of comments I have received as well. Especially now that we're recording this the social unrest in the US and also in Europe, I've seen a lot of people, popular writers or celebrities or whatever talking about this stuff, and then you read the comments and people like, who are you to talk about this stuff? About politics, you stick to your own stuff. And I'm like, why? People can say whatever they want. If you don't like it, then just unsubscribe. Free play.

Bryan: Sometimes it's tone deaf not to talk about something that's important to other people. I'm also curious Darius, how often or how long do you spend working on your business and your writing each week? Does it take a part of your time?

Darius: Yeah, well, it's a little bit goes in cycles. I wrote about this a while ago. Like the article that I published was called On a Cyclical Nature of Life. And my writing process and the amount of time that I spend writing also follows a cyclical process. There are times that I maybe spend five, six, seven hours a day on either writing or thinking about writing or researching. And there are also days and times that I maybe spend 30 minutes a day and well, trying to think. I don't think there have been times where I spent zero hours because I really enjoy this. Just thinking about ideas and writing and all those things.

But there are definitely times that I just spent maybe 30 minutes or just very little time on that stuff and there are periods that I spend a lot of time. But what I found is that it's very difficult to be consistent in keeping up a high pace. So I've never written like 365 days a year for five hours a day, for example, so that's how I look at this.

Bryan: Okay, that makes sense. So Darius, where can people find out more information about you or your work?

Darius: Yeah, so the best place to go is to my website, dariusforoux.com. And my newsletter is where I connect the most with readers.

Bryan: They get a free [inaudible 00:41:31] as well.

Darius: Exactly. Thank for the promotion.

Bryan: Yeah, it was nice talking to you. Thanks Darius.

Darius: Appreciate it as well man.

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The Secret Behind Personal Development Writing With Darius Foroux
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