Stop for a minute and imagine yourself a few months from now, sitting at a table hearing people call your name. They are waiting for you to sign their copy of a book bearing your name on the front cover. Isn’t that a fulfilling scene? Doesn’t that excite and inspire you? This is your first taste of book writing success, not because you lived a perfect life, but because you lived a life full of lessons, lessons that can help other people, too. Whether it’s fear or thoughts of inadequacy that are holding you back, Arlene Gale is here to save the day. In this episode, Arlene talks about the myths and mindsets related to book writing. A lot of people don’t write their book because they don’t feel they are good writers. The bad news: They may be correct. The good news: writing skills can be learned and improved. Admitting you might be the best writer and working on developing this skill will help you write a more powerful and profitable book. Get ready for some helpful tips, tools, and tricks to become a better writer. You don’t want to miss today’s episode! Tune in, sit down, and get to writing! Because Arlene knows that sadly too many people spend a lot of time and money to write a book that never sells more than a handful of copies and never earns them a return on investment or builds business. Arlene has the expertise to save you from this horribler outcome.
“If you’re at a point where you’re trying to become a better writer, doing any kind of writing is better than not writing at all.” -Arlene Gale
05:00 March Madness- Book Writing
10:40 Fiction and Non-Fiction Writing- Different Yet Similar
13:50 How to be a Better Writer
16:50 Writing- NOT Everything Is About Skill
18:15 Tips, Tools and Tricks to Better Writing
26:25 Just Sit Down and Start Writing
End the first quarter of 2020 by writing a book of your own. Join @arlene_gale for tips, tools, tricks on becoming a better writer. #BookWritingBusiness #BusinessBuildingBooks #MarchMadness #writing #journal #writingprompts #BetterWriter Click To Tweet
01:33 “It doesn’t matter what you define success to be in your life, but to master it is something that we should aspire to do.” -Arlene Gale
01:52 “Regardless of what our past, none of that really matters. What matters is that we’re human beings that want the best for ourselves and for each other.” -Arlene Gale
12:11 “When writing a nonfiction book, remember readers don’t want to learn from perfect people. They want to learn from people who are scarred, flawed, and marred, and have come out the other end smarter and willing to share their secrets.” -Arlene Gale
16:43 “Learning to write is like exercising your muscles. The more you write, the stronger the writing muscles become.” -Arlene Gale
18:39 “If you’re at a point where you’re trying to become a better writer, any kind of writing is better than no kind of writing.” -Arlene Gale
Connect with Arlene:
Arlene Gale is an expert in helping people tell their stories (professional or personal) to build business. She combines decades of business marketing, communicating, and writing expertise to direct clients past damaging business mindsets, myths, and misconceptions toward powerful and profitable business-building success. Arlene is a top-notch business strategist and written content expert. She has helped hundreds of clients, in a variety of industries, earn millions of dollars in business as a result of writing & publishing credibility-building books. She helps clients duplicate these results from start to finish, including writing book proposals earning mainstream publishing contracts before the book is written. If it needs to be written, Arlene can do it, and do it in such a way that it generates income. She has written thousands of feature magazine articles, hundreds of business plans establishing short- and long-term goals, written and produced hundreds of television and radio advertisements, and more.
Arlene Gale: Hey everybody, welcome, welcome, welcome. Hey, I want to start this week by thanking everybody who’s been listening to this podcast. I mean, when I started a few months ago, and I had this idea, I didn’t realize how exciting it was going to be, and how humbling it was going to be to look at my numbers and ratings, and see that I’ve attracted the attention of listeners from all over the world. So I want to start today by thanking you, my listeners, for being part of Mindset Meets Mastery. You know, I just want to change the world. That’s all I want, nothing big. And with us working together, I think we can do just that.“Regardless of what our past, none of that really matters. What matters is that we're human beings that want the best for ourselves and for each other.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
With Mindset Meets Mastery, the goal is to examine, and talk about, shine a light on the mindsets, the myths, the misunderstandings that get in our way that stop us from mastering our own success. And it doesn’t matter what you define success to be in your world, in your life, but to master it is something that we should aspire to do. And I think that we’re more likely to change the world, and make it a better place when we’re doing it together. So regardless of what our expertise is, or what kind of business we’re in, or what kind of family we have, none of that really matters. What matters is that we’re human beings that want the best for ourselves and for each other. So again, that’s all I want. That’s all I’m trying to do here with this little podcast.“It doesn't matter what you define success to be in your life, but to master it is something that we should aspire to do.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
So I want to thank my listeners, I’m down in the southern part of the United States in Texas, and I’ve got listeners from all over the United States. And it’s like, Wow, that’s so cool. So I’d like to say hello to everybody in the US who’s listening, including way up north all the way up in Alaska, I’ve got several listeners. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Also neighbors to the north, my Canadian friends. I’ve got Canadian listeners all over the country there, and thank you for spending your time with me. You know, I look at the map that shows where I have listeners, and I look at all of the bucket list travel places I want to go in my future, and I see places like Norway, and Australia, and Spain, and France, and Italy, and the UK. I mean, some places I’ve been to once, and I’d love to go more times, and other places I haven’t been able to venture that far. So thank you for listening because you give me hope that it is possible. So thank you to my friends all over the world.
And I just want to ask you a little favor, if you’re getting something out of these podcasts, whether it’s entertainment value, or its real life useful information that may be reframes the way you’re thinking, I would love for you to share the podcast with your friends. If you share on social media, please tag me, I would love to make a comment on your Facebook page. Because you know what? What that does is it connects my people with your people, and it helps us to meet a whole new group of people we might not otherwise meet. So my podcast is on all the podcasting platforms, whatever your favorite one is, so please find me there. Please subscribe and give me some comments. Go to Facebook also, I have a Mindset Meets Mastery Facebook group, it’s for business people. And If you’re looking to grow your business, or you’re looking for connections, for services you need, connect with me there, and give me ideas of who you’d like to hear on my podcast. If you’d like to be on my podcast, put a note there, tell me what you do, what myth you’d like to talk about. And go to bookwritingbusiness.com, that’s my website, you can find out about what it is that I do. And on Facebook, Book Writing Business is an open group for anybody who’s thinking about, or wanting to, or maybe thinking about writing a book, or started and gotten stuck and haven’t written a book. So whatever the case may be, go to Facebook bookwrittingbusiness.com, and like that page, and you’ll find all sorts of valuable tips, and tools, and tricks, and insights into book writing, and business development, and marketing. So anyway, with that said, I just want to say again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
So now on to this program, drumroll please. The topic is my version of March Madness. You know, people in the United States, they hear March Madness and they go, they either go, or they go, whoo, yay. Because it’s all about basketball. Well, I did say that this is my version of March Madness. And what is my version of March Madness? Well, it’s madness, because here we are in March, which is the third month of the year 2020. And remember, just recently, just a few months ago, we were all gung ho, and excited to be starting up this year, and we had all these things that we wanted to do. And maybe one of those things that you wanted to start or you wanted to finish was your book. So here we are in March, and maybe you’re a little closer to that goal, but so many people haven’t done anything to achieve that goal. So that’s what I want to do this month, March Madness is to focus on your book, and writing it, and some of the questions I get or comments I get for, why people aren’t writing their book? So that’s what we’re going to talk about this week.
And the first thing I want to talk about is writing. You can’t write a book if you don’t feel like you’re a good writer, right? So, yeah, find that people fall into two different categories, either they don’t feel like they’re a good writer, but they’re better than they think they are. Which is great, because that means they’re coachable, they’re teachable. And because they care, they’re going to write a better book. And then there’s those who think they’re a great writer, and they’re really not, and they don’t care because they don’t have anything that they want to learn from anybody else, and they just don’t want to listen. They’re not coachable. And those are not the people I’m talking to, unless you’re going to look in the mirror and examine yourself, and your writing abilities, and see if there’s some potential there for learning to be a better writer here. Because I’m not saying that I’m all that, that I’m perfect, and that I know everything because by golly, I do not, I am not an accountant, I’m not a heart surgeon, I’m not a dentist, there’s a whole lot of things I’m not. But one of the things that I am, and that I’m an expert in, and then I’ve earned the right of the decades of experience and my record of success, to say that I’m a book writing expert. I am a marketing expert. That’s what I do.
So I want to share with you some wisdom about how to become a better book writer, or just a writer in general, so that you can write a better book. So that’s the goal here, to talk about how to be a better writer. Because I get that comment, or observation from people when I travel, and I travel all over the world, talking, writing conferences to business people. And I don’t know how to write, I don’t know where to write, or where to start writing, or all of those things. They’re not insurmountable reasons why you can’t write a powerful and profitable book. So we’re going to talk about that.
What I started March Madness with the Episode, Episode 22 with Jody Thompson, she is the owner of Fox Press. She’s a mainstream small press. And she has some great words of wisdom about approaching an agent or publisher, and how to increase the potential for your success. So if you haven’t listened to the last episode with Jody Thompson, please do that. She’s full of great wisdom, and a wealth of information about the mindsets and myths around publishing your book once you get it written.
So how, why do you want to publish a book? First, you got to step back and write it, right? So with today’s advancing technology, and a flooded book marketplace, it’s possible for anybody who wants to, anyone and everyone who wants to write a book, they can. But listen to this little golden nugget of wisdom that I’m going to share with you. It may save you a lot of time, trouble, money and heartache. It may even salvage your reputation. Because writing a book can certainly increase your reputation, increase the perception of your expertise, it can also really, really, really, really, really, really damage it. So let’s try to make sure that that doesn’t happen. Because you know what? Writing, quality matters. Book content, Quality Matters. And how you present the content and organize the content of your book really matters. So it’s important that you work to really build the craft, the skills of writing, in general.
So I specialize in writing nonfiction. I’ve talked to tons of workshops on writing fiction, but I specialize in writing nonfiction. Whether it’s a personal or a professional story, it doesn’t really matter. Because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around writing nonfiction versus fiction. But I’ll tell you too that the wisdom that I’m going to share with you today can apply to both fiction and nonfiction writing. So whichever you do, stay tuned, because it is important that you really work on your writing skills.
So, I’m talking about fiction and nonfiction, and there’s a couple things I want to throw in here real quick. Everybody knows the difference between writing fiction and writing nonfiction. But people don’t stop to think about how writing fiction and nonfiction are very much the same. And that goes back to this myth or this misconception that nonfiction is boring. It’s not that nonfiction has no value, it has no entertainment value, and that’s not true. The same things that keep you entertained, that keep you reading a book, a fiction book, are the same things that writers should latch on to and use when they’re writing their nonfiction book. Your character needs to be interesting. Just because it’s nonfiction doesn’t mean you write a flat character that’s emotional list, who doesn’t have the ability to learn, or experience, feelings, or relationships, or whatever it is.
In nonfiction, if you are the main character in your book, you absolutely have to have some depth, or you don’t make those emotional connections with your readers. What you want to do is you want to have a reader pick up your book and go, Oh, wow, this writer so gets me. I struggled with this, I struggled with that, or I really wanted to know how to overcome this, or how to resolve that, I want to learn from this expert. And your not going to get that kind of reach and that kind of connection if you’re writing a nonfiction book with a main character who has no depth, who has no wounds or scars, readers don’t want to learn from perfect people. They want to learn from people who are scarred, and flawed, and have come out the other end smarter, and wiser, and willing to share their secrets with them.“When writing a nonfiction book, remember readers don't want to learn from perfect people. They want to learn from people who are scarred, flawed, and marred, and have come out the other end smarter and willing to share their secrets.” -Arlene… Click To Tweet
So I’m going to take a break for a moment and we’re going to come back, and we’re going to talk a little bit about a conversation I had just recently at lunch with a group of publishers and agents about what they notice from manuscripts that are turned in by first time writers. So don’t go anywhere, we’ll be right back to Mindset Meets Mastery in just a moment.
So welcome back, everybody. This is Arlene Gale on Mindset Meets Mastery, and we’re talking about March Madness. And this is my form of March Madness. It is the fact that we’re getting close to the end of the first quarter in the year 2020. And maybe you haven’t started your book like you wanted to, or you haven’t finished it like you want it to, or you’re someplace in between. So we’re talking about one of the biggest stumbling blocks I hear that people say that keep them from writing their book and that’s the, I’m not a good writer, or I don’t know how to write, or they just don’t have confidence in their writing ability, or their ability to organize a story.
So, I want to go back and talk to you about a launch that I had with some agents and publishers recently where the conversation turned to them getting manuscripts from people who are new writers. And it was kind of interesting, because every one of them was in agreement that a new writer submits a manuscript, and about a third, the first third of the manuscript really has nothing to do with the story. It doesn’t advance the story, it doesn’t build the story, that first third of a book from a new or a relatively inexperienced writer, usually is for the writer. It has very little to do, and very little appeal to the reader themselves. It’s the writer that is trying to work out the world building issues for example, climate, political system, education system, how does your main character fit in to their family, to their friends group, or their school, or the economy, or education system, or not, how do they not fit in? What’s the character arc? What are the characters likes and dislikes? A lot of first time or new writers will write all of that in the first and kind of regurgitate town to a page. When it’s really for them, it’s not for the reader. And then these agents and publishers are talking about the last two thirds of the book is really good. But sometimes convincing the author to get rid of that first third is difficult because they’re emotionally invested in those words. So first of all, don’t ever get emotionally invested in your words, because you’re too close to it, and you can’t see it the same way. An agent or a publisher who’s in the business, who knows what else is on the marketplace, might be able to do or see.
So anyway, but then they went on to talk about, from the beginning of the second third to the end of the book, they can see dramatic shifts in the quality of the writing, in the quality of the dialogue in the book. So again, the more time you spend in advance, really practicing, and honing, and fine tuning your writing skills, your dialogue skills, you’re painting a picture with words skills, the show me don’t tell me skills, the more you do that in advance, the better quality book that you’re going to have. And again, it doesn’t matter if you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, the elements of good grammar are the same. The elements of not throwing up too much backstory on the page and huge chunks are the same. The character arcs are similar. So learning to write is like exercising your muscles. The more you write, the stronger the writing muscles become. And there’s other parts about writing that you need to learn to that are not just sitting down and putting words into a sentence.“Learning to write is like exercising your muscles. The more you write, the stronger the writing muscles become.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
Let me give you an example, somebody who plays in sports may have a lot of natural talent, but even if they practice that sport, that natural talent in of itself is not going to be what makes them Major League or major successful. They also have to understand the rules of the game. They have to understand the competition, right? They have to understand what penalties are, and how to avoid getting penalties. All of those things are part of their sport, their game. And it’s similar to writing as well, you really have to understand what genre you’re writing, you really have to understand who your target market is, and who your competition is. Because when you understand those things, the content of the book itself changes. So it’s really important that you spend some time studying, and thinking, and reading other people’s works, especially those in the same genre that you’re writing in.
But let’s talk specifically for a moment about writing. I want to give you a few tips, and tools, tricks, if you will, for practicing your writing muscles. Ah, let’s see where to start. Where to start? Well, first, we said you need to practice. So how do you practice? Well, one idea for practicing would be journaling. When you journal, well, a lot of people get frustrated when they think about sitting down to journal, because they think journaling doesn’t really have anything to do with writing my book. Well, yes and no. And that really shouldn’t matter. Because if you’re at a point where you’re trying to become a better writer, any kind of writing is better than no kind of writing. But journaling can be used for self reflection as well. So if you’re writing a nonfiction book, and you’re wanting to write up a case study, for example, you worked with the client, and you want to write about how working with that client might have been a good thing, a good experience for you. And what did you learn? And then maybe the next day you sit down and think about, well, what were the things that the client wanted you to teach them, or to do for them? And did you succeed? And if not, why not, and how much you do it next time, differently or better. If you’re writing a book in a certain genre, you might write a short story about a character, or interview the character. Look at your competition and see what they’re doing, and what they’re writing about, or how they’re writing.“If you're at a point where you're trying to become a better writer, any kind of writing is better than no kind of writing.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
Journaling can be used just to sit down and say, Hey, I had a really great day to day, yay, me. Here’s the things that went well, and here’s the things I want to remember about it. Journaling can also be sitting down and writing that, this day. So this is why, this is what happened and how I handled it, and I’m proud of the way I handled it. Or this is what happened and I’m not so proud of how I handled it. And these are some things that if I could have a do over, these are things that I would like to do differently. So journaling is a very powerful way to increase your writing ability, to grow those writing muscles.
So let’s say, you don’t really know how to journal, you don’t know what to journal about, that’s okay. Just take a step back and don’t put all that pressure on yourself. You can go online and Google writing prompts. And there’s all sorts of different writing prompts of different categories. You could get writing prompts about animal stories, or telling stories about your siblings, or your children. And again, it’s just taking that prompt and writing it, and answering it in a way that helps you practice writing. And I’d say write for a month or so and then go back and read some of the first stuff that you wrote and say, hopefully, you’re going to say, that’s not so good. And then you go back and you write something you read yesterday and you think oh, that was much better. Because that’s the goal, to get better. And part of that getting better other than just practicing is to understand, how do you write dialogue for an example. So instead of sitting down and saying, I had this conversation with my spouse, and he said this, and she said that, and I said this, and this was the end result, sit down and write it like you would, being dialogue. So again, it’s showing me the conversation that happened, without just saying that it happened and telling me what the outcome was. So practice writing dialogue, practice writing the motion, practice writing how does this event impact your senses? What can you see? What can you taste? What can you touch? What can you smell? I mean, it may sound kind of weird, but if you put yourself in a setting, and you start to tell a story, and then you stop to think about, okay, what are the senses? A lot of people will sit around a swimming pool. And say, well, I smell chlorine, or I taste chlorine, that’s great, that’s really going into depth, and it’s setting a scene, and helping us to understand what you’re seeing, tasting, touching, feeling. So there’s all sorts of tools, and tips, and tricks, and methods that you can use, or you can start paying attention to when you practice your writing that will help you become a better writer.
I invite you to come to Facebook to my page Book Writing Business, because I post there at least once a week about something that can be used for a writing prompt. For example, this morning, I was writing a happy birthday message to Dr. Seuss, you know, the Dr. Seuss of Green Eggs and Ham, and Yertle the Turtle, and Hop on Pop, all those books. And you would think well, Arlene, what does that have to do with the writing prompt? Well, you know, I was reading Dr. Seuss books to my children 40, 45 years after those books were first written. So as a writer, have you thought about writing something that will stand the test of time like that? That’s a writing prompt, right? Yeah. So another writing prompt that comes from that is, did you read Dr. Seuss? And what was your favorite character? What was your favorite book? Who read that to you? Those are writing prompts.
So go like Book Writing Business on Facebook and start getting some of the writing prompts there. Because the other great thing about that is you can comment, and answer the writing prompt, and get feedback, and get interaction. And all of those are great things because, as you get to be a better writer, you’re going to find more and more people are going to want to interact with you, and comment, and add to what you are writing because you’ve reached them then, and that’s what a writer should do. A writer should reach the reader so that they go, yeah, I want more of that.
The final suggestion I have about writing and exercising your writing muscles has to do with, just sit down and turn on a time for two minutes with a pen and paper in hand. And I highly recommend you use a pen or pencil and paper, because there’s been research that shows that the creative flow happens more easily and more productively through paper and pencil than it does when you sit down at a computer with the keypad. So don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to figure out what you’re going to write about today, or how long you’re going to write, because I don’t have this time, or I don’t have that time No, just sit down in a quiet place with your pencil or pen and paper, and set a timer for two minutes. You may sit down the first few times and just kind of draw squiggly lines on the paper until something comes to you. Don’t edit, don’t worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation, this is for you not for anybody else.
So you might start with writing and drawing squiggly lines, or triangles, or squares or dots. And then somewhere along the way you might say, this is really silly, why is it so hard for me to write? What am I afraid of? What about this? And what about that? And how come I can’t, and just write for two minutes until that timer goes off. And at the beginning, it may feel like forever. But what’s going to happen is, then the next day you sit down to write, and you go back, and you read what you wrote yesterday, and circles some key words, maybe emotions, like fear, or joy, or I don’t know, whatever comes up in your writing, maybe you mentioned a color or favorite food, circle those things. And then now, today, you sit down and you say, Okay, I’m going to write about that fear. Set your timer for two minutes. And just ask yourself, what am I so afraid of? Why am I letting the fear stop me from writing my book, and learning to write, and do the things that I want to do? How can I overcome this fear? Fears an inanimate object, and fears a good thing, it can either keep you hold you back, so you don’t get eaten by the bear. You know, that proverbial bear, or it’s a bad thing, it can hold you back so that you don’t get done the things that you want to do in your life. So process on that.
Maybe you mentioned something about you’re hungry and you’re craving some macaroni and cheese, or Jagerschnitzel, or whatever it is for you, fish and chips. So sit down and write a little bit about that. What do you like about those foods? Do you make them yourself? Or does your mom make them? Or your grandma makes them? And that’s what you’re craving. There’s no right or wrong way to start growing your writing muscles. The key thing is to sit down and write, you only get better through the process of writing. And the more you write, the more comfortable you’re going to get with that writing. And you may find that you’re going to start writing stories then transfer into your book, or translate into your characters if you’re writing fiction.
Again, the key is don’t focus on the, I don’t know how to write. Don’t focus on, I don’t know where to start writing, don’t focus on any of that. Just sit down and for this month of March, this March Madness, work with me, and work with yourself in furthering your goals to become a better writer, so that you can sit down and write your book. Because the more confident you feel about your writing, the easier writing your book will be, the more fun writing your book will be. And we’ll talk a little bit more about those things in the future. But for right now, I would just challenge you to sit down and start writing. If you’re one of my listeners, in Norway, maybe sit down and write something about what you would tell a lady who lives in the plains and prairies without big trees, and without lots of snowfall, and without clear skies. What is it about living in Norway that would make me want to come up and see where you live, start with something like that. You’re writing a letter to a friend, and that’s okay.
And then connect with me on Book Writing Business on Facebook and share that story with me, or become a member of Mindset Meets Mastery on Facebook and share that story with me. So, that’s what I have to offer you today. Don’t let the mindset of I can’t write, or I’m not a good writer, keep you from practicing and becoming a better writer. Yeah, maybe you started out 2020 saying you want to write the book, but if you haven’t done that, because you still feel like you have shortcomings in the writing department, then that’s fine. Just sit down and write something. Don’t bury yourself in the pressure of having to write your book, sit down and start practicing, and working on your writing skills.
So that’s it for this episode of Mindset Meets Mastery with Arlene Gale, but I want to leave each and every one of you with this thought. Do not let the world dictate your story. Be mindful of the stories you tell yourself about what is or is not possible, because after all, you get to choose to write your own story every single day. So get to writing and we’ll see you next week.