Sep 232015

3 questions
Confession: I am a cyber-hoarder and an obsessive note-taker. My hard drive is chock full of duplicate photos, e-books I’ve never read and probably 14 or 15 drafts of any mega-project, past or present. Most of this time this habit is pretty benign. Once in awhile it turns up something wonderful: I just found notes from conversations with some of my encouragers.

No matter how much we love a project, writing a book is not easy. The fact that the industry is undergoing an unprecedented period of growth and change is exciting and daunting in almost equal measure. There are lots of peaks and valleys along the way. I’m grateful for author friends, industry experts and readers who help me keep moving whenever I’m tempted to stop. They’ve asked questions that have helped me get un-stuck. Come to think of it, with just a little bit of imagination, these questions can be useful to un-stick lots of projects.

So, for my author friends with #WIPs, (works in progress) here are some questions that may help unstick you, too.

Let’s face it: not every book is for every reader. We all have someone in mind while we are writing, someone with whom we are sharing an idea or a story. Someone who’s going to devour every word.

  • So, who is your ideal reader? (How does he spend his time? What would it be like to spend a day with her?)
  • Where will you find your ideal readers? How will you connect with them? How do you want people to feel when they read our book?
  • Is there something that you’d like readers to stop or star doing as a result of reading your book?

One of the beautiful things about writing a book is that an idea turns into something tangible. It moves from the inside of our heads into the world where we have to think about things like printing, shelving and marketing.

  • What is the competition for your book?
  • What genre is it?
  • How is your book different from what’s already out there?
  • Why is your book worth buying?

Finally, why are you writing this book? As our sisters in the direct sales industry often remind us, staying in touch with our “why” keeps motivation alive.

  • How did you get the idea for your book?
  • Did you have an “aha” experience?
  • What unique experience, expertise or point of view do you bring to this project?
  • Writing is a relationship with someone you haven’t met yet, someone who’s waiting to meet what you have to offer.

Readers, is there something you wish authors would do when trying to connect you with their latest release? Authors, do you have other questions to have helped you move forward? Please share them in the comments.

 September 23, 2015  Posted by  E, Thinking Tagged with:  8 Responses »
Aug 252015


A Mom I know told me she was feeling stressed because her parents did not “approve of” her approach to her elementary school-aged son’s less than stellar grades. As the conversation unfolded she shared a number of important thoughts.

She was proud of her child.  According to Mom, the young “offender” was:

– kind and compassionate
– a bundle of energy
– very curious and interested in learning
– socially motivated, with great people skills to match
– fairly disinterested in grades

The “prevailing wisdom” — both from her in-laws and several elementary school teachers — was that this “live wire” should be grounded from sports, outdoor breaks and extra-curricular activities until his marks improved. This Mom disagreed.

“I know people think that I’m  far too easy on him, that he’s lazy, and that I’m making excuses that enable poor school performance.  I just can’t figure out how to turn teachers’ comments into a currency that’s meaningful for him.  And, I still think, if you’re trying to raise a life-long-learner, education needs to be its own reward. Am I wrong?”

Perspective is an interesting thing.  Is this kiddo reflecting his Mom’s values?  Clearly she did not consider test scores or grades the holy grail of learning.  She worried that turning the whole grade thing into a battle of wills would have a detrimental effect on her child’s considerable curiosity and desire to learn.

“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that punishing him because he learns differently will do a lot more harm than being a ‘C’ student ever could,” she said.

In an era that sees parents challenging students’ grades on behalf of their kids this is an unusual attitude. A child appears to be performing below potential and receives grades that reflect that reality.  Isn’t that as it should be?

What do you think? Is she being short-sighted?  Limiting her child’s future opportunities by not demanding high scores?  Or is she choosing her battles wisely and  accepting her child as is, regardless of the opinions — and grading standards —  of others?


Aug 112015

Brian Tracy

This is a wonderful, warm, inspiring book for every parent who wants his/her child to fulfill his/her full potential in life. 

—Brian Tracy, author, How to Raise Happy, Self-Confident Children

 August 11, 2015  Posted by  E, Feedback, Parenting No Responses »