Done is the engine of more

February 16, 2010

I found this while reading Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin.

If you need a kick in your writer’s pants, here you go.

There are three states of being: Not Knowing, Action and Completion.
Accept that everything is a draft. It helps get things done.
Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
Failures count as done. So do mistakes.
Done is the engine of more.
– Bre Pettis


A year from now

July 13, 2009

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” —Karen Lamb

How many times have I had people tell me they want to write a book “someday?” Many. The only way to write a book is to write it. And the only way to write it is to start and finish it.

A year from now, will you still be saying to yourself and others that you want to write a book someday? If you start today, perhaps next year you could tell someone that you have written a book.

I started out clueless in both Writing-Land and Publishing-Land. I only succeeded at writing and publishing 29 books (my next one, A Guide to Trance-Land, comes out from W.W. Norton next year) because I had such unstoppable passion for getting my ideas and work out into the world to contribute to others.

But I quickly discovered that one gets passive income from books, if they do well enough. Most of mine are still in print and it is so cool to get checks every six months from my publishers. I never know how much they will be for, since sales are variable, and I never count on this money as income, so it is always a pleasant surprise.

I’ve discovered that most people are a bit stymied by the writing and especially by the publishing process, so I have created an online Book Writing and Publishing Course. The course tells you where to start (never write your non-fiction book before you sell it; but always write much, if not all, of your fiction book before you sell it), how to get yourself to write (Did you know you could write a book in five-minute chunks and it would take you less than a year to get it done?), how to get an agent (I’ll tell you how I got one in one day!), and how to make it likely your book will sell to a publisher and to readers.

You can take the Book Writing and Publishing Course at your own rate and pace, when it convenient, from anywhere you have online access. I wish I had had this course when I started. I would have made many thousands more dollars, had even more books published and written, and avoided myself costly errors. It’s a bit like having a friend in the publishing industry.

If you want to see a book with your name on it and want to set up ongoing sources of passive and residual income, visit:

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter De Vries

If I had waited to write until I was inspired, I would have far fewer books written. I decided to work and wait for inspiration to show up while I was working. Writing, and any creative act, is a funny thing. You are not always inspired and you can’t directly control inspiration. But I find that when I work hard at the craft of writing, the art becomes easier. I am more confident that because I have pulled it off before (that is, completed a book and gotten it published) that I can do it again. And that seems to prime the pump of creativity so that I come up with ideas for books quite regularly. Most working writers I know have more ideas than they have time to write in a lifetime.

So, start working at writing and maybe the Muse will deign to visit you when you are at the writing desk or your computer or the coffee shop or the kitchen table or wherever you write. Once she knows where and when you’ll be there, especially if you develop regular habits, she is more likely to know where to find you.


January 4, 2008

Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book. –Edward Gibbon


I came across this quotation today and it really struck a chord. That was me when I started writing (okay, maybe I did have some habits of thinking, but the other two are right on). I just started writing even though I wasn’t a good writer and didn’t know a thing about the publishing industry.


I attended a writing workshop once with former screenwriter turned therapist, Dennis Palumbo. He began the workshop telling a story about an encounter he had with Robert Redford in which Redford expressed some envy about Paul Newman. Redford thought Newman had it made and Palumbo was thinking that everyone else thought Redford [fixed typo, thanks Tony!] had it made. It occurred to Palumbo that this was an indication of scarcity. If Redford didn’t think he had enough at that level of success, fame and financial success, it was never going to be enough. That led him to develop one of his three rules for writing: Who you are and what you know right now is enough to start writing.


Don’t wait for the ideal conditions, that new model of computer, the room in your house to get remodeled,  the kids to graduate and leave home, the job to become less hectic, the next writing workshop, and on and on and on. Start now. Write now/right now.


You are enough. You have enough. You know enough.


Right now. 

I came across a report from in which they measured the indirect impact on professionals of writing a book and getting it published. Obviously, if you get an advance on royalties for your book and if your book “earns out” (that is, earns back at least its advance after publication), you can earn money from your book. But this reports attempts to quantify the indirect income authors earn from their books.

The report found that median indirect income – from more and better speaking engagements, the ability to generate more leads, to charge higher fees, to close more deals, etc. – was approximately $100,000.

I have certainly found the indirect income resulting from a book, mainly in increased fees and speaking engagements, but also from ancillary sales from other products as well (other books, audios, videos, consulting and coaching, boot camp signups).

I’ll discuss another aspect of this report in a future post, but for now you can use this as additional motivation for getting off your duff and getting your book written and published.

By the way, I have just revamped my Online Book Writing and Publishing Course. I have made it even more powerful and easier to take by breaking it up into chapters with specific focuses (foci?).

Chapter 1 – Introduction and Overview of the Course
Chapter 2 – Finding the Energy to Write and Sustain Your Through the Writing and Publishing Process
Chapter 3 – How to Start Writing, Write Fast and Write Well
Chapter 4 – Overcoming Writing Blocks and Fears
Chapter 5 – Developing a Platform to Increase the Odds Your Will Get Published to Agents, Publishers and Readers
Chapter 6 – How to Write a Winning Proposal To Sell Your Book Before You Write It
Chapter 7 – Finding and Getting An Agent (and whether you need one or not)
Chapter 8 – Money and Contract Matters
Chapter 9 – Completion, Recap and Plans for Going Forward with Your Book Project

The small investment you will make in the course (which you can take at your own rate and pace from anywhere you have a computer and Internet access) can, as the report on indirect income from being a published author indicates, pay off handsomely. The course is only $397 (USD) and you can earn that back and more by selling your first book. Visit: and click on the About the Online Course tab.

I have a new version of the audio blog/podcast I have been doing. Episodes will be released on a regular basis. I read somewhere that 38% of people are auditory learners, so this may be for you.