Wish you could fast track the writing life of your dreams?
Here’s the secret.
Success in writing comes through navigating many processes: writing, editing, publishing, marketing. The journey is different for every writer, but there’s one strategy that works better than any other:
Build your writing community.
When you surround yourself with a community of fellow writers and experts you trust, your odds of success go up. The biggest influence on your life is the people you spend time with. This anonymous quote sums it up:
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
You can use this to your advantage. Seek out people who resonate with the life you want. You might have to search for a while until you find them, but it’s worth it. Traveling together is truly the secret to getting there faster.
Lorraine Haataia is the founder of Prolific Writers Life, the online place where writers get their projects done.
She hosts a number of events including Prolific Writers Cafe. This free event is held every Wednesday. It’s a great opportunity to meet some of the writers and experts in the Prolific Writers Life community.
Achieve your writing goals with a writers group that is always near you. At Prolific Writers Life, we want to offer as many writing opportunities as possible. That’s why we created Words Count sessions (because your words count). These sessions can help build your writer community, make it easy to get your writing done, and support you in reaching your writing goals.
What are Words Count Writing Sessions?
Words Count writing sessions, hosted by various experts at Prolific Writers Life, offer scheduled time to write with fellow writers. Several times a week, these sessions provide a shared time and space to work on writing projects with the support of other writers. Whatever your time zone, we have sessions in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings throughout every week.
One of the most popular types of writing groups are writing critique groups, but not all writing groups are designed for critique. Words Count writing sessions are designed specifically to help you get your writing projects done. In each of the hour-long sessions you will have at least 45 minutes to write.
This is a tried and true concept; body doubling (a common tool in ADHD communities), shut up and write sessions, writing sprints, productivity partners, work parties, writing parties, pomodoro sessions, and more – there are so many ways that dedicated time and dedicated work buddies have been shown to help you get your projects done. Share your project deadline, your goal for the day, and get writing.
“I love that I don’t have to write alone. Writing with a group of people is better than writing solo. I see it as a study session. You do better when you’re with other people who have the same goal.”
– LM of Jacksonville, Florida
“I was not making time for myself to write, so this made me do it! I signed up, I showed up, and I did it. I haven’t been able to get myself to do it prior. The breaks are perfect. That’s about as long as I can focus anyway, for about 20 to 25 minutes.”
– RH of Swartz Creek, MI
Why Sign Up for Words Count Writing Sessions?
It can be easy to put off your writing projects. With Words Count sessions you can schedule time with fellow writers and use this healthy pressure to focus on your writing. When you give yourself a supportive environment with other people also getting things done, it’s practically impossible to avoid writing.
How It Works:
Words Counts sessions are hosted online by Prolific Writers Life experts. Each live video session lasts one hour. Here’s what you can expect:
Log in 3-5 minutes early. You might want to turn off notifications or have a beverage and/or snack close at hand. Limit distractions – this is your time to get some writing done.
First 5 minutes: Introduce yourself (keep it short!) and share what you want to work on.
20 minutes: Write.
5 minutes: Check in.
25 minutes: Write.
Closing 5 minutes: Share your progress and commit to your next step.
Know that you’ve made progress on your writing goal!
You can get all your Words Count sessions discounted (or even free). Become a member.
What are the benefits of working with fellow writers?
Writing is often a solo, and sometimes lonely endeavor. During a Words Count session, you share a dedicated space with fellow writers, working on your own but always supported. The focused energy makes a big difference!
Many writers attempt to write in solitude, but end up getting side-tracked and may not meet their goals for days, weeks, or even years. Few writers consider asking fellow writers, “Would you sit and write with me?” but this is the very thing they need most.
“I’ve been writing with fellow writers for over 20 years, but Words Count takes it to a whole new level,” says author and publisher Keiko O’Leary.
It’s empowering when you have a group of writers waiting for you to show up to write with them.
What do writers have to say?
“I struggle to find ‘spontaneous’ time to write. Being able to schedule it with like-minded people is a huge boon. I’m not doing laundry, I’m not taking a phone call – I’m writing.”
– MC of San Jose, California
“It’s amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes if you know that’s all you’re going to be doing for that amount of time.”
– KO of Campbell, California
The many Words Count sessions happening every month are FREE for Prolific Writers Life Pro and Premium members, and Starter members get 50% off.
But I’m not an author! Can I still participate in Words Count Writing Sessions?
Yes! Writers who enjoy working with fellow writers will naturally gravitate towards Words Count sessions, but Words Count sessions are beneficial for all writers. Our goal at Prolific Writers Life is to help writers finish their writing projects – whatever that project may be. If you have a writing project you want to finish, we encourage you to join our Words Count writing sessions
Writers often wonder…
Where can I find an online writing group?
How do you find a writing community?
How do I find a local writers group?
We welcome writers of all skill levels to connect, find support, and make their words count.
Where is the best place to write?
You might be wondering…
Where do I find a creative writing club near me?
Is there a writers meetup near me?
How do I find writing groups for beginners?
Words Count sessions at Prolific Writers Life offer a virtual space to connect with fellow writers every day. The best place to write is not necessarily a place, but a state of mind. It’s where you feel encouraged to stay focused on your writing.
Words Count sessions with Prolific Writers Life are always “near you” – you can write anywhere. Whether you’re sitting at your kitchen table, at your local library, or at a coffee shop, you can join a Words Count session. Choose your favorite place to write and sign on with fellow writers who are also committed to completing their writing projects. Weekdays and weekends – mornings, afternoons, and evenings, whatever your time zone.
How Words Count Writing Sessions Can Help You Get Published
Our goal at Prolific Writers Life is to help you create the writing life that fits your style. If publishing is a goal, talking about your work with new people is a great way to increase visibility. Build natural connections, build support, and build future fans! The more you build community with other writers, the better chance you have of making a connection that will lead to publication. Plus, since Words Count sessions help you finish your writing projects, you’ll have more pieces to publish.
We Look forward to Seeing Your Published Works!
Whether you’re working on a book, a screenplay, a song, or a comedy routine, Words Count writing sessions are a great way to start sharing your writing with the world. Writing with fellow writers is a great way to announce to your peers, “I am a writer, and I love what I do. I have a deadline to complete this project.”
Forget the future. It’s always now. Forget the past. It’s always now. The only time you can write is now. If it’s important to note, do it now. The writer writes because it’s important now. It’s the most important thing for a writer to do.
The Writer has an inner ancient voice nagging that the garbage must be taken out, the dishes washed, and the laundry folded and hung . . . all before doing what the heart desires. And so the Writer puts off writing until some absurd time known as “later.” The Writer slogs along carrying a toxic load. It’s not the garbage bag and it’s not the laundry basket. It’s the inner desire to write which is being suppressed by the ancient voice, a scolding that says, “you must do this and that because this and that are more important now.”
The Guiding Voice within urges the Writer to write, while the ancient voice scolds the Guide to shut up and go away. This tortuous process can keep the Writer stifled for weeks, months, years.
The call to write is now. The Guiding Voice calls you to write and to live the life you wish to write about. The only way to heal your Mind of writer’s block is to allow the words to flow. The Writer who can not seem to write must write his Declaration of Constipation. As he writes why he is unable to push out the words, he immediately begins to loosen the toxic clog. As he lets go of one word after another, the stagnant matter releases. The stench fills the room. But this isn’t the ending.
Open the windows. It’s the beginning. Now the Writer is ready to release words from the heart. And he realizes that the best time to write, regardless of feelings, is now.
The Writer who raves about her success of the past and of all her good intentions for the future is off course. The one who has the call to write will remain out of balance until she inhales the breath of life, and exhales the flow of words. This is the natural state for a Writer.
A Carpenter gathers up the materials and supplies and then builds. He has a process of collecting, building and then moving onto the next project. Otherwise he builds himself into a corner from which he can’t escape. The completed projects must have a specific place to stand. They must! And he must build a door to escape. He must!
The Writer too must have a place to put her thoughts. They must have a place to land and a place to live. The Writer’s words can not remain inside where they will rot and stagnate. Words are meant to be shared. They deserve space on your bookcase. And they deserve to be shared with people who are hungry for what you have to offer. Your best words ever are fresh off the pen while the ink is still wet. The only time to live is always now. And the best time to write is now.
A tree never holds onto last year’s harvest. The fruits must drop in season. The writer’s harvest season is defined by the Writer. The Writer has a choice to shift perspective at any time. It’s true that when it’s winter in Chile, it’s summer in the United States. And so it is summer and winter simultaneously. It’s up to the Writer on the timing and location of the writing and sharing. But, dear friend, remember the answer to the question. When is the best time to write? It’s always now.
Are you on track with what you want to accomplish this year? Week 25 of 52 is a great time to review your writing progress for the year. Did you set a New Year’s resolution for your writing? Have you finished 50% of what you set out to do? Even if you don’t like to set goals, are you ok with being known for nothing in particular?
Without goals, how will you know if you’re on track to accomplishing your writing projects? It’s easy to let the year slip by day after day, week after week. You tell yourself that you’re going to get started tomorrow or next week, as soon as all the other stuff of life gets out of the way.
Train Yourself to Write Through Good and Bad Weather
The not-so-surprising part is that the things never seem to get out of the way. Once one day passes by, the next day arrives with its own substance. It really comes down to whether or not you’re willing to write through the whirlwind of life. People pack up to get away from hurricanes, tornadoes and typhoons, and this is smart. But you will always have distractions, wind and clouds in day-to-day life. This is hump week. Are you in a position to celebrate that you’ve worked through both good and bad conditions in the past six months?
You have to write through both seemingly good and bad circumstances. If you’re always waiting for a sunny day and great conditions, you’ll find that you’re in a constant state of waiting for the perfect moment to write. This is hump week and it’s time to do a reality check.
Isaac Asimov’s Secret to Prolific Writing
If you get excited about hump day because you’re half way through your work week, then you’re in the wrong business. This is hump week. Are you proud of what you’ve accomplished in the first part of the year and are you excited about your upcoming work in the next six months?
Make a Weekly List of Writing Tasks
Coach Linton McClain with Darone Professional Coaching recommends making a weekly checklist at the beginning of each week and sharing the list with several trusted friends. This is a way to keep yourself accountable for what you want to write and accomplish in the upcoming week.
It’s easy to slack on your writing goals day after day and remain in denial. But you’ll eventually get embarrassed if you slack on your goals week after week and your accountability partners know it. Do you want to be known as someone who screws around or someone who’s productive? This is hump week. What’s your plan for the week?
Sure, things might come up on any given day that get you derailed, but if you can’t get seem to your top writing goals on a regular basis, then it’s time to revisit your expectations, ramp up your self-discipline, or find an accountability coach or group. This is hump week. It’s a good time to get back on track.
The year is passing along day by day. Today is your only opportunity to make sure that you’ve completed your word count and top writing tasks for the day.
Set Short-Term Writing Goals
In The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran, he suggests that a year is too long of a time period to feel any sense of urgency. He encourages his readers to plan out their goals over a twelve week time period. This way, there’s much more sense of urgency to get things complete every week and every day. If you miss a day in a twelve week year, it’s sort of the equivalent of taking a week off work in a calendar year. Yes, you need to take time out to rest and rejuvenate, but this is the easy part and, for most, will happen automatically. The part that you need to focus on is clarifying your writing goals for the week and how they translate to your daily writing activities. This is hump week. What do you intend to accomplish this week?
Are you still bluffing that you have plenty of time to get to your goals in the next six months? Then you’ll probably find yourself sitting in your comfortable couch on January first next year thinking that things will be different in the upcoming year. This isn’t the way it works and you know it. Watch the movie Groundhog Day over and over again until this concept sinks in. Your world isn’t going to change until you do.
If you’re reading this and it isn’t the last week of June (week 25 of 52), don’t worry. It’s all still relevant. This week is the midpoint of your prior six weeks and next six weeks of your life. And this week is the midpoint of your prior six months and next six months of your life. What do you plan to do this week? And, more importantly, what are you doing right now?
The ability to manifest a shift in perspective is a super power. Since you’re capable of watching a science fiction movie and accepting what’s going on, why not create a a vision for the world you want to live in? Come take a look. Let’s go for a walk.
One man who is a landscaper notices all the greenery planted in and around the sidewalks. He notices how the trees have been trimmed. He’s enjoying the plants as he walks along the sidewalk. Some of these plants are root bound, he thinks, as he notices a lineup of large potted plants along the walkway. He’d rather be walking in the woods, but he appreciates the greenery he sees. Did the writer give you a good picture of the scene of this ancient side street in Athens?
The next man is a car dealer. This character notices virtually nothing in and around the sidewalks. But he sees the cars and trucks passing by. He’s imagining himself parking that Tesla in his garage or taking that Jeep for a ride in the mountains. He would much rather be driving than walking. Did the writer give you enough details to let you know that it’s night time in San Francisco?
A woman notices her reflection in a storefront window. This third character is an artist. She notices spiderwebs glistening in the corners of the bars that protect the window. Her eye has been trained to notice interesting details that inspire art. Did the writer give you enough details to let you know that you’re walking down the streets of New Orleans in the evening?
“Heel,” a woman says to her dog. This character notices all the other dog owners walking by. She hears a bark from another dog that notices her dog. The dog is wagging its tail, so she’s not too concerned. She notices the usual spots where her dog likes to mark his territory. She sees another dog owner ahead in the distance with two dogs on a leash. She begins to anticipate how her dog might react to these dogs. Did the writer give you enough background to let you know you’re at San Jose’s Rose White and Blue parade on the Fourth of July?
“God loves you,” says a man wearing baggy dirty jeans and a soiled jacket. The blanket he’s carrying a blanket over his shoulder drags on the sidewalk as he shuffles down the street with a smile on his face. He appears to be homeless and in distress, yet he also appears to be the happiest one walking down the street, greeting everyone who passes by. Despite the fact that most ignore him, he repeats short blessings, “God is with you,” and “God bless you.” When you’re in charge of bringing this character to life, you can choose to have him see and say whatever you want.
What’s most important to see here is that it’s your choice to decide what you want to focus on. You too have a habit of noticing certain things. If you were to talk down this sidewalk, you would be in your own automated character, noticing a few things in particular, while missing out on most of the experience.
How can it be that all of these people are walking down the same street and seeing completely different worlds? If you ask the landscaper about which types of dog breeds he passed along the way, he won’t know. If you ask the dog lover which types of trees and shrubs she passed along the way, she won’t know. If you ask the car dealer about the businesses he just passed, he won’t know. If you ask the homeless man who just passed by, he’ll mention a woman with a dog, a man looking at the plants and another man watching cars pass by. He will also tell you that the women who gave him a dollar had paint brushes and a sketch pad next to the wallet in her handbag.
Your super power as a writer is that you can be anyone you choose to be. You can have a shift in perspective and get in the mind of each of these people. It’s not that you’ll need to live a lifetime through any of these characters, although this too is possible in this fictitious world.
A shift in perspective is a super power. To the extent that you master this, you can learn to notice people and to relate to them more as you become curious about how they see their world. You can put this super power into practice by moving into this world where you interact with unsuspecting characters to find out what’s going on in their mind. This is a stretch for you and a gift to them. How delightful it is when someone decides to join you on your journey and get curious about what’s on your mind. Attention is uplifting and enlightening to both.
This ability to adopt a temporary shift in perspective is your talent as a writer. Practice a shift in perspective out of your mind and go join with others at will. The more you write, the better you become at this skill of capturing the world through the eyes of others.
You can practice a shift in perspective any time. It’s a path to greater awareness. You can do this mental pushup right now. You can shift into and through anyone. By knowing that you have this skill, why not focus on what you want most of the world? Why not see the world as you would have it? What does a happy world look like to you?
Acceptance is a giant leap toward happiness. By accepting what you see around you, you can set your mind at peace knowing that you are where you need to be. It’s a joy to accept that there are no accidents and you are always in the right place at the right time for what you need to do next.
You’re free to see whatever you want. You’re free to notice in the world your way or through the eyes of your life companions. You are welcome to smirk at the people around you and feel that snarky attitude come back at you. And you are free to approach the world with open arms and experience the welcoming reception in return. It’s time for a shift in perspective. Are you ready to accept this gift?
A shift in perspective can change the course of your day and the course of your life. It’s your choice how you want to handle the world you see. Anytime you catch yourself going into a dark hole, know that it takes only a simple shift in perspective. Do a U-turn and find your way out.
People marvel at writers who are able to create characters with depth and realism. The greater the believability, the greater the chance that readers will connect with the characters. You have an opportunity to build on your character as a writer. What role do you want to play out?
Writers have the ability to work their way into characters. Prolific writers gain the ability to jump around on demand.
If you’ve been stuck in a perspective that’s holding you back, you can write your way out. Join the community of Prolific Writers and practice the power of a shift in perspective.
Writing rituals are like training wheels that keep you balanced as you’re learning to ride. Writing rituals are ways to connect with your environment, time, and the flow of your life. They help you to connect, but this very connection is the thing that keeps you stagnant.
The life and energy in your writing comes from the very stuff of your life. This is the very reason why both writers and those around them fear the power of the pen. It’s the ego who has one way of seeing things that is different from the ego in the next body. This is why it’s always a good idea to ask permission before taking action. Other people will perceive things differently. If you surrender the power over to them for their will, be it of the ego or of the spirit, then you give them the choice to participate or not.
This evening, the Writer saw Manto, a film directed by Nandita Das. Prior to the film, a man asked her questions interviewed her about some of her thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:
It’s fun to create on your own, but the best part comes when you share your work with others.
The definition of a good movie is one that entertains. The definition of a great movie is one that saves lives.
Nandita Das is the director of Manto. This is her 3rd time at Cinequest Film Festival.
Her father, Jatin Das, is an artist and her mother, Varsha Das, is a writer. Throughout her childhood, Nandita met interesting people coming through their home all the time. Through them, she learned a lot about self-expression and she has always been open to finding different ways to express herself. She wrote a column for a while, for example.
Nandita is a mother, director, activist, screenwriter and much more. She’s a champion of multiple identities.
“People get boxed into identities,” she says, even for roles that they didn’t choose such as being a male or female, or born into a certain social position.
“Everyone has multiple identities and they’re fluid,” she says. It constantly changes and it’s thrust upon us. In this Cinequest theater full of white people, she might suddenly fall into the role of being a brown person because others perceive her as Indian.
There are identities that we cling onto and try to hold onto, but others we try to shun.
When you ask a lower caste person in India, there’s not a day that goes by that they don’t think about being part of that caste because they’re reminded of it every day. When you do social work, it exposes you to different societies and different silos. We need to consider ourselves fortunate when we are exposed to different societies.
People often ask her if there was a turning point. Every day there are turning points. Someone might say something to you and it sticks with you. There are small turning points like this all the time. Everything that happens in your life impacts you.
She told a story about a woman who had facial hair until she was 27. At that point, she had it removed and suddenly many people saw her as very beautiful, but she didn’t get a lot of attention prior to removing the facial hair.
Nandita loves her work, so her “downtime” is her work. There must be a power to art because it goes into our subconscious. There are propaganda films that try to brainwash us. Good Cinema is that which stands the test of time. The goal is to challenge prejudices and open minds. It’s easy to despair. We’re just a drop in the ocean, so it can feel discouraging, but do it anyway.
Do it because you feel like Manto. He just kept writing hoping that someone would read it and change from within. He was not doing it to be an activist. This resonates with her and her work.
What is your why? In the morning there is no time to ask herself why. She has an 8 year old child that she has to get out the door. She also has email that she doesn’t want to do. She also has other things she really doesn’t want to do.
She doesn’t watch films about violence. She doesn’t like violence. You can feel fear and emotional, but it’s not fearful.
She never had a moment thinking that she should do a particular film. In 2002, there were killings and gang rapes. This is when they finally got 24/7 TV and people could see the violence. She started to give a series of talks. When she was doing the talks, people were either for or against it. It felt too polarized. This is when she considered the idea of doing a film. The film happened organically. One thing LED to the other and she made the film. It had poor distribution.
Some of the best films she has seen were pirated films on YouTube. Back in 2012, she read an article about out Manto in The New Yorker magazine:
Manto reminded her of her father. When putting together the film, she took consideration Manto’s writing and the accounts of his life, but there’s a lot of her in the movie as well.
As an activist, she spoke out on stage. She realized that she didn’t like being criticized on stage. The role of the artist is to find some truth (interviewer said). The beauty of art is that it can’t be defined. It’s no one’s place to tall another that this is what you should make. So much goes into making a film. Lots of time, energy and money goes into it. But if it’s a drop that makes the world a little bit more of what we want it to be, then it’s worth it.
One of Manto’s writing rituals was to keep a pencil and paper with him in his pocket everywhere he went. In this way, he was able to write about what he saw around him at any time. He soaked up the pain and suffering of those around him and penciled his observations. Don’t be fooled by the pencil. His words will never be erased.
In 1966, the Foundation Trilogy won the Hugo Award as the “Best All-Time Series. Ten years later, the fourth addition to the trilogy, Foundations’ Edge, was Isaac Asimov’s first book to hit the New York Times Bestseller list.
Isaac remembers back to when he sold his first story back in 1938. “It’s like a second birth. I remember how I felt when I first sold a story back in 1938. Even if I had never sold another story I would be a writer. I suddenly felt a kind of brotherhood or siblinghood to all other writers. This continued for 44 years. Now I’m suddenly a bestselling writer. I got a bestseller. Now once again, I feel a sudden kinship to other writers who do bestsellers, my pals,” Asimov said.
He didn’t even want to write this novel, but the readers wanted more from the Foundation Trilogy. Doubleday called him in and asked him to write another Foundation novel. They handed him a contract and gave him a huge advance. He told them that the advance was too much. They told him to “shut up and write.” He reported them to the Author’s League for being impolite to an author, but he got no sympathy. He was afraid to write it because he wasn’t sure how his fans would react to it. He felt a lot of trepidation. He had written the Foundation Trilogy in his 20s and he wasn’t sure if he could still do it. When he brought in the manuscript, they told him it was great and they should have done it ten years ago!
“The entire series is a tale of interstellar intrigue and adventure. It’s a piece of historical fiction of the future written as though you are still further in the future looking back. There’s sweeps of time. Sometimes between items a hundred years might pass. It all has to be kept consistent. It isn’t easy. I can think of a lot easier things to write than Foundation novels but Doubleday has no pity,” Asimov said.
Asimov has also written about Shakespeare and the Bible. Boggs asks about the books he’s written that required lots of research. He can imagine Asimov sitting at his apartment with the material and research out.
“What is different about the process of writing fiction?” Boggs asked.
“I’m still just sitting at the typewriter, except that I’m not doing any research. I’m making it all up out of my head. I don’t know exactly when I’m make it up because while I’m typing it’s just coming out very easily and I’m reading it with great interest and wondering what’s going to happen next. I presume that my unconscious keeps at work under such conditions when I’m wasting time like when I’m sleeping or eating or shaving . . . “
Boggs is curious to know more. What are your work habits that have allowed you to have an enormous outpouring of works, 262 books? Do you get up early? How do you organize yourself to turn out such great volume?
“I do wake up early in the morning. Six am is my rising hour. I work whenever I’m not doing anything else. That’s what it amounts to. I don’t have fixed hours. I don’t drive myself. It’s just when I’m not doing anything else, I’m writing. And I don’t like to do anything else,” Asimov said.
Some writers put some mysticism about writing. They have to be in the same place at the same time in a certain mood. There can be no interruptions. Can you just sit down and write as easily as turning on a light? Boggs asks.
“When I take a vacation, never voluntarily, I bring paper and pen with me and when no one is looking I can sit down and write with paper and pen. It comes out just as though I was working at my typewriter, except I can only do fiction. So I generally do short stories when I’m on my vacations,” Asimov said.
Boggs has known Asimov since 1970. He compliments Asimov as one whose great at telling jokes at parties. He says that Asimov is great at remembering jokes. Boggs also mentions that Asimov has been known to show up to speak without preparing.
Boggs asks Asimov about the future of telecommunications. Asimov goes on to predict the future of mobile phones . . .
“I would like to think that we are going to have what we have now, the communication satellites, the computers, but as an integral part of human society in every way so that each individual person can reach any other person at will and portably so. In other words, you have some small gadget on you at all times and by adjusting some call number or other, you can reach anyone anywhere. And for that matter if you’re ever lost, you can set up on your own private wave length, everyone will have his own wave length in a day when you have laserized communication satellites. You set up a call number. Not only will people know it’s you, but they’ll know where you are and they’ll come and get you. I’ve often thought that, children, for instance might have a little communication device that is always going so that they can’t get lost. Parents always know where they are and then I figure there will always be a built-in fight in the family because an age will be reached when the youngster thinks he doesn’t need to be on call anymore and the parents think he still ought to be on call and you will get these little devices broken.”
Boggs asks if Asimov wants to go into space.
“No. I’m a sign post. I point the way. I don’t go anywhere. I don’t even have this urge to go into an airplane or to see the Grand Canyon or anything. As a matter of fact, I’m a Manhattanite. Not only a Manhattanite, but deep down within me I feel that I don’t want to be anywhere but Manhattan. Occasionally I leave Manhattan, but it’s never voluntarily.”
Do you work as well in other places as Manhattan? Boggs asks.
“Oh sure, I spent twenty one years in the Boston area and wrote away there. Whenever I go on a trip, if I have time to myself, I manage to do something or other.”
For further discussion on Asimov’s beliefs about robots, UFOs, extraterrestrials, the afterlife, space colonies and more, check out Bogg’s full interview Isaac Asimov interview on the Midday with Bill Boggs show.
What’s the incentive to go live in space on a different planet? It won’t be a practical incentive, will it?
“On the one hand you can build a new life for yourself, just as some people from Europe came to the Americas to look for gold, but there are others who came to build a new life they could live according to their own way without having to undergo a religious or cultural persecution. In the same way, if you go out there and build a small world for yourself that holds 10,000 people, they might be all 10,000 Seventh Day Adventists who can now celebrate Saturday as the day of rest without having all these Sunday people around, squeezing them out. Or they can be people there who are secular humanists and they don’t want all this religion around. So they just live there, just a group of agnostics.”
“I’m always worried that I’m reaching the age where I’m set in my ways and can’t accept any new ideas. Every time a new idea’s forced on me, I’m so relieved. And of course it means you have new ideas for science fiction stories now. I can write a science fiction story about somebody who wants to start a colony on the moon and everyone’s against it. We don’t start colonies on worlds. We build them in space.”
If you enjoy jokes, be sure to listen to the jokes toward the end of the interview (at 39:21 in the YouTube video or https://youtu.be/1_awNtfpJRo?t=2351).
“What if your father didn’t have a candy store with those science fiction books,” Boggs asks Asimov.
Be sure to watch all the way to the end for Asimov’s answer to the question.
If you’re feeling like you should set a New Year’s Resolution for your writing, but you’re not sure what it should be, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’d like to set one simple resolution, you can probably get what you need from the first three tips. But if writing is a big part of your career and makes up some of your major goals for the year, here is a list of ideas to consider.
Keep it Simple: Resolve to focus on one aspect of your writing.
If setting one big resolution or a bunch of resolutions seems too overwhelming, consider choosing a word for the year. One writer suggested that her word for the year was going to be “finish” in relation to her writing. She has a habit of starting projects without finishing them, so she resolves this year to focus on completing writing projects.
Stay Focused: Resolve to complete one big project this year.
Another way to set one simple New Year’s Resolution is to pick a book topic or a book that you’ve already started and decide to finish it. This alone can be a good resolution for a writer who hopes to put out their first or a next book. If you’re a songwriter, your goal might be to put out a new album.
Write a Mantra: Resolve to live by your mantra for the year.
Here’s one more way to make a simple New Year’s Resolution. Write a mantra that’s inclusive enough to complete within a year, but expansive enough to make it to the end of the year. Here are a few mantras (or affirmations) to consider:
I am a published author.
Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.
My ideas flow effortlessly like water from a tap. Bryn Donovan
Resolve to put more or less effort into tracking your writing goals.
A terrific way to increase your writing is to set a word count goal by day, week or month. The goal might be to write one specific book or produce blog posts. Another option is to set a goal to write a certain number of pages per day.
But what if you already write a lot of pages every day, but you simply don’t publish? Then maybe it’s time to put less effort into tracking your production and more effort into publishing blog posts, self-publishing or finding ways to share what you write.
Resolve to upgrade or downgrade your writing spaces.
Where do you write? Perhaps you have a goal to clear out some space in your home specifically for writing. Or perhaps you would like to get an off-site office or go to a private library room several times a week. Or maybe you’re waiting to retire and hoping for an oceanfront office. It’s nice to fantasize about your dream office, but keep in mind that if your location standards are too high, you’ll miss out on lots of opportunities to write.
Keep your possibilities open. Love to write in the big city or in nature? Gain new perspectives by parking in different places and writing in your car. Would you like to do more writing in nature? Perhaps this is the year you resolve to buy a van or Class B RV as your mobile office.
Do you lose focus when you try to write in a café? Do it anyway. This is a great way to help get over the issue of needing a special place to write. Maybe this is your year to train yourself to be able to concentrate and write anywhere?
Resolve to read more or less.
Another great New Year’s Resolution for writers is to set reading goals. Some writers like to read when they wake up in the morning or read last thing before they go to sleep. The timing doesn’t matter. Read whenever it works best for you, but set a goal to read on a regular basis.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg set a New Year’s Resolution to read a book every other week. An avid writer and avid reader might set a goal to read a book every week, or more realistically, every month. This can be totally doable if a person loves reading and possibly has other tools such as Audible that can make it easier to get through books during long commutes or when cooking dinner. There are lots of times when you can be occupied with doing things while listening to audiobooks.
An important point to consider here is that it makes sense to read some books within your genre, but to read outside your genre as well. Include some books for entertainment and mix in some books about the craft of writing.
Resolve to spend more or less time on marketing and social media.
Most writers, even those who have book deals with publishers, are typically responsible for the majority of their own marketing. Setting goals related to blogging or doing social media posts on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter can be helpful. There’s a sweet balance to achieve here. If you spend too much time on social media, you can waste time and miss out on opportunities to write new content.
Blog posts can go out on a personal blog which helps to drive traffic to the author site. Blog posts on Medium or LinkedIn or other outside posts can also help to drive traffic to your website.
Resolve to be more or less perfect.
Another good goal for a writer is to make a New Year’s Resolution to be happy with good enough and to get over perfectionism. Many writers don’t write because they’re too critical of their own work. They feel like no matter how well they write, it won’t be as good an other things out there by other authors. Perfectionism is stifling to the writer.
If your concern is that your work is never good enough, resolve to publish whether your content is perfect or not. You have to put your work out in order to start enjoying the hits, shares and comments that readers provide on blog posts or even on snippets you post on Twitter or Instagram.
If people have hinted to you that you have lots of mistakes in your writing, you might need to ante up a little on perfectionism. Consider taking a writing class or honing up on your grammar skills.
Just because a writer is a perfectionist doesn’t mean that she has a writer has a perfectly clean home or office. In fact you might find categories of items to be in disarray, such as clothes left on the floor or dishes overflowing onto the kitchen countertops. Yet other things might be tidy and organized. You might notice that all the paper and binder clips are separated by little boxes in a drawer and all the pens and pencils and markers are separated into different containers. Just because someone is a perfectionist in one area of life doesn’t mean she is a perfectionist in all areas of life.
Perfectionism is judgment in disguise. Do whatever it takes to get over it! As long as you’re a tough judge of your own writing, you’ll also be a tough judge of others. You, and everyone you know, will be happier if you lean toward good enough instead of extreme perfectionism.
Resolve to do more or less research.
Some writers spend too much time researching their topic while others spend little to no time researching a topic. Decide what’s works best for you related to each project. It’s helpful to do a little research even if you know a topic well, but diving into subjects you know little to nothing about will send you off in research mode for too long and you may miss an entire day or week of writing. In fact, some historical fiction writers spend years traveling to specific locations to do onsite research for a book they never publish. Decide how often you want to share your content and be sure that your research habits support it. Do you need to make a New Year’s Resolution related to the amount of time you put into research?
Resolve to manage your productivity.
Lots of writers spend more time talking about writing more than they actually spend writing. Deciding to write more and talk less can be very powerful. It’s more important to do the writing than to talk about the writing. You can juggle a few ideas around with others. In fact, many of your writing ideas will come from real life and real relationships. The important thing to keep in mind is whether or not you’re happy with your level of productivity. If not, create some measures to help keep yourself on track.
Setting a New Year’s Resolution to increase your productivity means that you’re making a commitment to write according to your schedule even when you don’t feel like writing. There will be days when you’ll have less inclination to write and others when you’ll be excited to get to the page to write out what’s on your mind. One of the best decisions a writer can make is to decide what type of writing schedule she’d like to adhere to and then do it. If it needs adjusting, this is always an option.
Resolve to make more or less time for rewriting and editing.
Schedule time not only for writing, but also for rewriting or editing. Lots of writers are happy at putting together a first draft, but take little time to improve it. By improving it, the rough draft can become terrific content. Without any editing, the text can bore or annoy the reader if they have to sift through errors, misinformation or disorganization.
Plan a ratio of time to write and edit. Track how long it takes you to write a first drafts and how long it takes you to edit. You may need to plan for two to three minutes of editing time for every minute of writing for example. Track your time to see what works best for you. Any New Year’s Resolution that helps you better understand your writing process can help you succeed as a writer.
Resolve to focus more or less on monetizing your writing.
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution related to making money as a writer? This is a great time to figure out how to monetize your writing. This is a terrific goal for a writer who wants to take their writing more seriously in the New year. Whether or not you’re currently making money is irrelevant.
The main thing to consider here is where you are and where you want to go. In fact, a writer might have gotten a great book deal the prior year, but decide to write for fun for a year without having the pressure of a book deadline.
Resolve to spend more or less time talking about your writing.
Talk less. Write more. This is a New Year’s Resolution that, if applied strictly, can help encourage any writer to write more. If you find that you spend too much time talking about writing and socializing with other writers, consider reducing your time in this. This can be put into more concrete terms such as trying to say little to nothing in the mornings and use the time to write, for example. Or a writer might decide to designate an hour (or more) each day to only write and say nothing.
Resolve to spend more or less time with fellow writers.
Network with fellow writers. This might mean that you join a writing group or that you get a writing partner. Whatever you do, it’s helpful to have some accountability with some fellow writers. Networking with other writers can help to give you motivation and help to see what other writers are doing to overcome their issues related to writing.
If you find that you’re going to lots of writing MeetUps, but doing no writing, consider skipping out on meetings until you have new content to share. If you’re an extrovert or someone who needs assurance from others, it might motivate you to do the work before you go to socialize.
If you’re still looking for a few more ideas, check out this video by Kat Cho. She offers some terrific New Year’s Resolutions ideas for writers:
Julie and Julia is a fabulous movie if you’re a wannabe prolific food blogger. If so, add this movie to your “must see” watch list. In 2002, Julie Powell takes on a personal challenge to blog about her experience of making 524 recipes in 365 days.
Spoiler Alert: This blog post reveals some of the highs and lows of Julie Powell’s life as depicted in the movie.
What are some of the lessons that prolific food bloggers can learn from this movie?
Blogs are all about food for thought.
Julie Powell is lukewarm about her New York City day job. She wants to do something to add more meaning to her life. On a whim, she decides to write a blog while she proceeds to make all of the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs. Julie has an interest in cooking, so she believes it’s a great way to commit to something that she can stay interested in.
First of all, be decisive about your topic. She decides that her blog is going to be about cooking and blogging, so she has a definite place to start. In addition to choosing Julia Child’s book, she also decides to blog daily and to complete the project within a year.
Along the way, the hardships start to roll out. It’s easy, at first, to create the blog. Her husband helps her get it set up and then she starts writing right away. Making the decision to blog is the easy part. It’s only by doing it that she will discover if she can reach her goal not only of shopping for and preparing 524 different dishes, but also in managing to keeping up a daily blog. If she had done just one or the other, the story wouldn’t be anywhere near the same. Her commitment in action is the very thing that captures interest.
Throughout the movie, we see Julie’s ups and downs throughout the process. She gets encouraged early on when her blog rises to the top of the Salon rankings fairly quickly. She gets excited because there are people who are interested in seeing how her experiment turns out and interested in following along on her journey.
One day Julie gets a call from Amanda Hesser with the New York Times who wants to write an article about her. It’s a high point in her year of blogging. Hesser writes Julie’s story of A Race to Master the Art of French Cooking. After the article runs, Julie comes home to dozens of messages on her answering machine. It’s a high point and reason for a milestone celebration for both her and her husband.
Keep going even when you’re discouraged.
Next she gets a call from Paul Thacker at the Christian Science Monitor. He’s interested in her adventure of Learning to Cook the Julia Child Way. Thacker promises to bring an important foodie guest to meet with her. Julie prepares a beef bourguignon and ends up falling asleep before it’s finished. So the dinner burns. She takes a day of work off to remake the dish only to find out that Thacker’s guest cancels out because it’s raining.
Ask for support from your housemates.
This is a great depiction of the life of a prolific food blogger. When you commit to writing every day, you are bound to face some ups and downs. Julie’s husband encourages her to take on the project and he supports her throughout. However, at one point when they’re both stressed out and frustrated, they get in an argument. He walks out and doesn’t come home that evening.
Julie’s decision to become a prolific cook and a prolific food blogger at the same time does impact their marriage every day. We see her husband taking Tums one evening, suggesting that the heavy foods are upsetting his digestive system. Yet he continues to support her year-long challenge.
Being a prolific food blogger can affect the people close to you. If you have a goal to put out a blog post every day, to write a chapter every day, or to cook a new recipe every day, then you might have times when your goal of being a prolific food blogger is in conflict with what loved ones have in mind.
Affirm with each blog post that you’re a “real writer.”
Both Julie and Julia struggle with the question as to whether or not they’re “real writers.” But keep in mind that if you write, then you are a “real writer.” Julie says that she’s not really a writer because she hasn’t published a book and Julia alludes to the same point when she’s in the process of seeking a publisher for her French cookbook for Americans. They’re both writing and they’re both writers, but once their book deals come to fruition, they’re not only “real writers” but also “real authors.”
Remind yourself that you are a writer. If you’re writing, then you are a “real writer.”
Ask for help when you need it.
Persist no matter what’s going on. Julie didn’t want to debone the duck, but she got through it. She saved it to the very end of the year-long process. It appears that it’s difficult for her to kill and cook a lobster, but between she and her husband, they make it happen. A voice keeps whispering to her telling her that she’s a “lobster killer.”
Both Julie and Julia had help and support from their husbands. They’re successful writers just the same. Julia Child’s friends encouraged her to help them get their book published and ultimately it led to Julia’s success as a chef, an author, and later as the host of her own TV cooking show. Julia Child’s book was the spark that got Julie going. Help is out there, but you need to ask for it.
At one point Julie has a meltdown when she’s making a meal. Her husband is fully aware of her serious commitment, not only to keep going with her job, but also to prepare all the meals and blog about it. He understands the pressure that she puts on herself and he continues to support her along the way. As an encouraging partner, he had the added bonus of enjoying all the meals and being her close companion and witness along the way.
Vegan Alert: This movie has a number of scenes with animals being cut, chopped, dropped, boiled, deboned, sewn, and so on. Animals include cows, ducks, chicken, turkeys, fish, lobster and more.
Celebrate success with friends and family.
In the end, Julie hosts a party with several friends. She makes duck along with the last few recipes she needs to prepare in order to check off all 524 recipes. They toast to her success in a rooftop celebration in Queens, freeing up Julie for whatever might come next.
Speaking of friends and family, this is a terrific movie to watch during the holiday season when you might have a little extra time off to watch movies and make some new recipes.
Celebrate success with a specific reward.
If you love visiting historical places related to writing, add to your list Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Both Julie and Julia are historical figures of French cuisine in America. How many people, after all, will ever try to prepare every single one of the 524 recipes in this giant French cookbook? As her reward for completing the year of cooking and blogging, Julie visited Julia Child’s historic kitchen.
Turn your blog into a book.
In the end Julia gets a book deal and so does Julie. It seems like a no-brainer for a publisher since Julie has already established an audience. If you want to be a prolific food blogger, make your commitment and stick to it. Who know, maybe you’ll get a book deal too?
If you’d like to succeed at blogging, or at sharing a message on a particular topic, blogging is a terrific way to reach a wide audience in a short time.
Pablo Picasso is one of the most prolific artists of all time. He produced about 50,000 pieces of art. He was productive throughout his whole lifetime even into his 80s and 90s. He mastered the art of being prolific. His works are displayed in museums and collections throughout the world including: Musée Picasso Paris, Museo Picasso Málaga, Museu Picasso de Barcelona, and many more.
Being prolific means that you’re putting out an extraordinary number of works. What are you producing in your life? What is your output?
Are you prolific?
This is a yes or no question.
Leo Gura is the Founder of Actualized.org. He gets excited about reaching world class self-mastery and helping others do the same. He’s passionate about sharing strategies that help people unleash their full potential. He’s also a prolific reader. Over a five year period, he read over 250 books. In other words, he read a book a week for five years.
Leo loves making things. He needs to be working on things to feel happy and feel like he’s making the best use of his time. His happiness correlates with his productivity. He senses that when his productivity drops, his happiness drops as well. This may not be true for you, but if you are feeling frustrated or unhappy, consider being prolific with something. “Most people aren’t even productive, let alone being prolific,” he says.
Would you like to be prolific?
Being prolific means that you produce a lot of works. If you love golf, you’re entering tournaments all the time. If you’re a prolific writer, this means you’re writing every day. You put out pages and content nearly every day. Over time you put out a lot of books. Stephen King and Isaac Asimov are prolific writers. Prolific artists fill museums and galleries with works of art. Prolific writers fill library and book store shelves with books.
King has published 59 novels, including seven under the pen name of Richard Bachman. He has also published over 200 short stories and five nonfiction books including On Writing, a terrific guide for writers.
Asimov wrote and edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards, including a nonfiction book he wrote with his wife: How to Enjoy Writing: A Book of Aid and Comfort by Janet and Isaac Asimov.
“When you’re that prolific with something, it’s hard to suck at it,” Leo says. “There’s a Buddhist saying that when you read a book a thousand times, you’re bound to understand it. There’s something powerful about putting sheer force behind your action.”
Break barriers by being so persistent with what you’re doing that you become the best of the best.
You become the best by being extremely prolific. Being prolific is how you become the best in the world at something. If you’re a salesperson, it means that you’re reaching out to potential customers all the time. If you’re a prolific entrepreneur, then you get businesses started, sell them off and then start launching more. This is the definition of a serial entrepreneur. Being prolific doesn’t mean that every work you create is a big success. Not all of the businesses will be successful, but even if only a few are, it can have a huge impact. It can change the course of your life for the better and impact countless others as well.
Many of Picasso’s works were sketches and not big pieces of work, but they all counted in helping him become the great artist he was. The fact that he kept producing is what makes him so good. This applies to every area of your life.
What are the two biggest benefits to being prolific?
Being prolific can boost many areas of your life. Two big benefits to being prolific include:
1. Being prolific will help you become successful.
You can overcome almost everything if you’re super productive at something. Being prolific is what helps you gain mastery. If you’re so good, then you can’t be ignored. If you’re worried about money, paying your bills, and paying off credit cards, being prolific can help you solve your cash flow issues.
2. Being prolific you will help you master your craft.
Being prolific helps you become great at what you do. This means that you can earn money for what you do. You will become So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Check out Cal Newport’s book by this title:
This makes a good case for anyone who wants to get good at something. As you produce more, you become better at the production process. Become so good that you can demand a high paycheck. Being prolific positions you to demand creative autonomy and become more self-expressive. You can reach world class status in a particular area. This is rewarding not only for you, but for others as well.
When you master something, you get in a flow state. Picasso’s life was all about art. Imagine him waking up in the morning and going to a canvas to paint. He did it because it gave him pleasure. To him, painting was as easy as breathing.
Pay attention to your routines and habits that you do automatically. If you treat your work as important as your breath, then it becomes a natural part of your life flow.
How can you become prolific?
You can create a super charged life. The only way you can become prolific is to master the skills required to do what you love. Think about your life purpose. Once you gain a deep understanding of your purpose, wake up and do it every day. Think about how you can move yourself into being prolific every day. It takes a certain commitment to get there. It’s a higher state of being.
Most people are living a comfortable hum-drum life. They work from 9-5 life without having much passion or energy for their work. But you can have a supercharged life by being prolific at what you love. Not only does it supercharge your work, it also fixes other problems in your life.
If you wish you had more time, more creative freedom, and more financial independence, being prolific can help you in all these areas. But you have to work for it through self-mastery. When you make your work pleasant, it sets off a cycle of inspiration not only for you, but also for your fans and followers.
If you’d like to hear Leo’s verbal explanation of being prolific, check out his video at:
Get on track. Get yourself in the right state of mind. It’s worth it!