30 Ways Netflix Binge Watching Makes You A Better Writer

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You do it and the next morning you hang your head in shame. Your gut is filled with soul-crushing guilt. Next come the voices. Those darn voices that methodically rip apart your skills as a writer.

You just binge watched a bunch of episodes or movies last night.

It’s all right. Just let go of the guilt. Believe it or not, you can take your all night streaming session and use it to make you into a better writer.

There is a really odd stigma that to be a writer you must only read books. But this isn’t true.

Storytellers learn from stories—plain and simple.

Here are some practical ways you can use your Netflix sessions to turn you into a better writer:

1. Analyze story structure.

Where is the conflict introduced, what is it? How is the conflict resolved? Wanna know more about story structure? Get this free ebook from Donald Miller or pick up the amazing book called Do The Work by Steven Pressfield.

2. Look closely at structure.

This means looking at each episode, each season and the overall series. If it is a movie, look at how the scenes go together. Then compare this to your writing. Does your writing (in your book or even your blog) actually flow together or are you all over the place? This is not to say you don’t have some creative freedom, but you must be sure your writing covers specific themes and has good flow throughout. Or you won’t have an audience.

3. Get better with dialogue.

You know good dialogue when you hear it. Bad dialogue is a lot like a Nickelback tune–it makes your ears hit the brakes. But yet writing good dialogue is often one of the biggest struggles for beginning writers. When you hear a great speech or an interesting conversation, take some notes. What was said? Why was it believable? How did it make you feel?

4. Improve character development.

When characters don’t face enough conflict, the audience is bored. A character must be continually growing and moving in a specific direction. Take a look at Walter White at the beginning of Breaking Bad and then compare it to Walter White at the end of the series. What choices led this character to be where he/she is now? 

5. Get ideas for characters in your stories.

When you need a working housewife on the verge of a breakdown, you could base your character on Skyler White. If you need a male protagonist who is extremely unsatisfied with the status quo, a character that is a spin-off of Tyler Durden could be a good fit.

6. Keep research entertaining.

Watching documentaries or interviews is better than browsing through a bunch of tabs or sorting through a big stack of books, right?

7. Stay relevant and connected with the audience. 

Almost every long-term show or movie franchise has a “jump the shark” moment. This is the moment where the believability of the story goes out the window. How did this happen? What lead to it? How can it be avoided? Does this happen at some point in your book or on your blog?

8. Create a new ending.

If the main character dies, ask what happens if the protagonist is alive? What happens if Tony Montana lives? Change things up completely and write it out. If you don’t want to change the ending, change the beginning or middle. Have fun with it. You can find a more in-depth spin on this approach here.

9. Fix the plot holes.

Take a movie with plot holes and fix it. This will allow you to flex new creative muscles you never knew existed. For a challenge, try applying this to the movie Dark Knight Rises. If you can fix the canyons in that movie, you can likely fix anything.

10. Implement the stories into your own blog.

Stories connect us like nothing else. Use a story from a movie or show to illustrate a point you are making on your own site. Don’t use a horror movie example to illustrate something about fear, that’s just lazy. Dig deeper than that. Find a way to thread together stories that on the surface do not seem related and it will be interesting for the reader.

11. Figure out why specifically you’re crying.

It’s okay. No shame in bawling like a baby when you watch Bambi or why you are smiling like a kid when Rocky triumphantly runs up the stairs. Figure out why you feel any emotions at all; why you’re nervous, excited or bored.

12. Dig deeper with your favorite characters.

What drives your favorite characters? Why do you connect with them? Are there common threads with these characters? There is a common thread there. And many times your favorite characters have a lot in common with what you write about. Even if you write non-fiction, your writing is likely heavily influenced by the characters in your favorite movies and shows.

13. Fuel yourself with good ideas.

For anyone who is a visual learner, watching film is as important as reading (if not more so). All writing starts with an idea. When you combine several together, then what you create will be even more original.

14. Do something no one else is doing.

Stay engaged while you watch and keep thinking as much as possible. Ask lots of questions. Approximately 99% of viewers completely unplug their brain while watching. Take notes and analyze what you watch. Whether you want to write a screenplay, book or a blog post, you have to think like a writer.

You’re a writer all the time, not just when you put words on the page. (<-Click to Tweet)

15. Build better hooks.

Your goal as a writer is to keep eyeballs on your content and leave the audience wanting more. Reverse engineer the shows that keep you wanting more. Then apply it to your writing.

16. Find new readers.

Talking with other fans of a movie or show can easily lead to new relationships. Go to fan forums and other places online where you can interact with others who love the same content you do.

17. Be more entertaining.

As a writer, you must be entertaining. Your writing is competing for attention. Figure out what it is that the shows are doing that entertains you and takes you to another world. What it is you enjoy the most about a great show or movie.

18. Watch the show or movie, then read the book.

Do you agree or disagree with how the story is told on paper? What would you change? How would you improve it? Write that down.

19. Keep your readers engaged

When you’re bored with a movie or show, figure out why that is the case. Too formulaic? Not enough conflict, etc. Maybe it is not realistic or it feels like there is no point to it. All of these challenges can be applied to your own content. Ask for help from your writing partner or editor if you struggle with this. If you are not sure how to find one, contact me. I promise to point you in the right direction.

20. Get more web traffic.

Use movie references and titles in headlines to grab attention. Try this with some of the upcoming blockbuster summer movies and watch your traffic surge.

21. Cleanse your palette.

Watch one show quick and fast. You’re wasting valuable mental energy when you watch 20 shows at once–whether you realize it or not.

22. Light a fire under your butt.

Maybe you need to quit your blog. If your blog is stale, watching a great movie or TV show can help get the creative juices flowing.

23. Recharge your batteries.

Mental energy is the most important thing you have as a writer. If you try to do too much mental energy work, you will burn yourself out. Here is a helpful book that will help you with this topic.

24. Get in touch with your ideal reader.

Ask your readers what their favorite shows/movies are. Then watch to connect more. Mention those shows and movies on your blog to engage in conversation about them. Not sure who your ideal reader is? This video is very helpful.

25. Sometimes procrastination is good.

If you keep watching instead of writing, maybe you’re not writing about the right topic. In those situations, your heart is telling you something that your head hasn’t quite figured out yet. Here is more info about the benefits of procrastination.

26. Get better with marketing.

Ads, teasers and trailers are great ways to help you improve your skills with marketing. Telling stories in very limited amount of time is a very important skill. What ads keep your attention? Which do you totally tune out?

27. Open your mind. 

This is a great way to learn more about opposing viewpoints, how people think, different characters and topics. Keeping your mind open ensures you can keep your content fresh.

28. All work and no play make you a dull writer.

Reward yourself with some screen time after writing. Make your favorite show or movie the dangling carrot in front of you.

29. You’re still learning from writing.

Writers are the ones who make shows and movies, so you can always pick up the screenplays or books if you’d like. Most of these writers are online too, so with a simple Google search you can likely find interviews and more.

30. Form an opinion.

Use your viewing time to figure out what you like and dislike. Readers ignore writers without opinions. Form an opinion and then let it be known to the world.

So Here’s Your Plan…

You have to be intentional with your viewing to actually make this work. Plan ahead and have a ¨Netflix night.¨ Develop good habits. Don’t just play it by ear or go with your emotions. If you keep watching Netflix instead of writing altogether, reassess and figure out what the problem is. Maybe you’re afraid. Fear is often the elephant in the room. Perhaps you are avoiding the hard work and honestly, you are just being lazy. by The best way to deal with this is to write first.

Repeat with me: Writing first, Netflix later.

Don’t hesitate–just write. Know that most of it will be very rough in the early stages. This is completely normal. Good things take time; more time than you think they will. Happy writing (and watching).

Want some hands-on attention to improve your writing? I offer a service that will make you a better writer TODAY. Just fire me an email and let’s chat. Talk to you soon! 

7 Ways To Write Faster That You’ve Never Heard Of

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I have a confession to make. I have a friend who writes super fast. He writes about 10,000 words per day. Writing is like breathing to him. And I only crank out a few thousand words on most days. While writing is not a competition, I decided to try some different approaches to squeeze out more words on the page.

Here are seven ways to write faster that you probably don’t know:

1. Use dictation software.

You talk faster than you write. Use this to your advantage. I have used Dragon Dictation which is a free app for IOS. Keep in mind that not all dictation software is great. Some of it even sucks. But you don’t know until you try it out. If you are stuck, this is an absolute no-brainer to help you get unstuck.

2. Have a writing partner. 

This doesn’t have to be complicated—just set up a Google Doc with your word count on it each day and have a friend put their word count on it as well. This friendly competition pushes you to write more and also to write every day. A writers mastermind would be another way to go. (If you are interested in this, fire me an email and let’s chat.)

3. Have some ideas to use before you start. 

Buy a cheap paper notebook and fill it with just phrases and ideas. Should you get stuck, just flip through it. Before you start writing, turn to it. Want to jump start your mind with some blog post ideas? You know where to go don’t you. If you don’t have a good idea to start with in the first place, you’re trying to have a baby when you’re not pregnant.

4. Embrace technology-induced shortcuts. 

99% of the time, I cannot spell entrepreneur right and it always slows me down. Whatever you are writing about, you can use an app like atext for Mac or PhraseExpress for PC to save you time. Then you can type in the phrase “ent” and the app places the word “entrepreneur” on the screen. Every bit of mental energy you save adds up. Use that energy wisely and you’ll have more words in your manuscript or blog post.

5. Work from a specific template. 

All writing can work from a template. Don’t believe me? Think about it—books, blog posts, even screenplays have a formula.  In most cases, it is a three-act structure with a beginning (intro or lede), middle and then an end (call to action). If you don’t have a template, you will be wasting time—which leads to less words on the page. 

Here is a video from Michael Hyatt about this topic and a summary of what to include in a blog post:

  • Write the headline first. If it is not enticing and interesting, no one will read your work.
  • A great first paragraph to move the reader down the page.
  • Have an interesting image. This can be difficult. I recommend this source if you are stuck.
  • Make it easy to read. No one wants to read cluttered, confusing text.
  • Include some kind of story.

6. Have a writing only account on your computer.

Just go into account settings and create a new account “writing.” Then hide (or even delete) everything that is not writing. You can even enable settings like parental controls so you can’t get on the internet. Do whatever it takes to get more writing done without distraction. No chance of drifting over to Twitter when you don’t have a web browser. The only apps in my dock are Calendar, iTunes, Word and Scrivener.

 

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7. Leave yourself breadcrumbs. 

You are likely working on SEVERAL projects, not just one. So leave yourself a simple way to pick up where you left off. This could be as simple as highlighting your last sentence, using a sticky note in your notebook, or even using a symbol or comment in your writing app to tell you what you have to do next. Earnest Hemingway would stop his writing mid-sentence so he knew where to pick up the next morning. Whatever you do, make sure you have a good place to pick up or you’ll waste valuable time and energy trying to just figure out where to start again.

Bonus tip: Get a cowriter. 

Two writing friends of mine Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt have this down to a science and have cranked out over 2 million words in 2014. While this may not work for everyone, for those who decide to do it, this can be an invaluable step. When you find someone who just clicks with you, you’ll find yourself firing on all cylinders. You focus on your strengths, and your co-writer focuses on their strengths. Isn’t this the goal? With the right fit, you can turn into a well-oiled writing machine.

For more writing tips, tricks and a few surprises, be sure to sign up for my email list. I even include a summary copy of my ebook Write Publish Share, the ultimate tool to turn your book into reality.

 

 

 

 

 

The 5-Step Guide To Boost Your Confidence As a Writer

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 You suck. You’re not a writer. Your work is terrible.

These are just a few of the negative voices writers have floating around in their heads. You may think you are alone, but you’re not.

The issue of confidence is one of the biggest struggles every writer faces.

“Fake it till you make it” is the popular answer, and honestly, it just sounds like being fake, right? It’s not remotely helpful.

So here’s a new game plan with five steps you weren’t expecting:

1. Abandon All Social Media. 

“What about my platform?” Obviously, you’re burning it down. Just kidding. That is fear-based and simply not true. Stepping away will only help you in the long run. Every moment you spend on social media is draining your mental energy. When you spend the most valuable asset you have as a writer and use it writing tweets instead of blog posts and books, you sabotage yourself. Reading about what some famous author you don’t personally know is doing or what another author says is almost always not going to help you finish your own work. You don’t have to abandon social media forever. Just until you have something to say—but that’s not until step five.

2. Quit Reading. 

Popular advice is to be a writer you have to write a lot and read a lot. While reading is very important, it will not help you boost your confidence in your own writing. If anything, when the writing is great, it will make you feel lousy. If the writing is terrible, it will make you feel lousy too. So put down the book. Focus on your writing and put your words on a page.

3. Get Ripped to Shreds. 

Well, at least go get some honest feedback on your writing. Not from someone you are dating or from someone related to you. Not from another beginning writer in a Facebook group. If you can find a cranky editor, rumor has it that they are typically the best. Someone who will give you a real, honest, raw opinion. You can take it. If you can’t do this, honestly, you aren’t ready to grow as a writer. Does this stink? Absolutely. Is it scary? Absolutely. But as you know, growth often hurts. Do it despite being afraid. You should be afraid. This is completely normal. But it will totally be worth it.

4. Put Your Rear Back in the Writing Chair. 

You didn’t die, did you? Good. Now fix the piece that now is covered in red marks. Rewrite. Edit. Revise. Take out all fluffy words that have no meaning and be sure your piece is interesting, clear, helpful, and inspiring. This is a tall order, no doubt. The majority of posts online don’t have impact because they do not meet these high standards.

5. Revisit Your Picky Editor Friend Again. 

Show your revised work and ask for more punches in the face. Again, you can take it. Get up off the mat. Dust yourself off. Stand proud. Each punch that doesn’t knock you out is something to be proud of—and this, my friends, is the beginning seed of writer’s confidence. After round two, publish your work. Just by spending this much time in the revision process, you are proving yourself to be the exception to the blogging world.

Only the best of the best have an editor—most push the publish button entirely too soon.

Once you go through this process more with your work, you will become a better writer. Once that happens, your confidence will grow.

So What Can You Do Today?

To help you as a writer, I want to give you some hands-on attention. Now I’m not usually too cranky unless someone tells me they love Nickelback. But I digress. Here’s how it will go down: just leave a comment with a link to your blog and fire me an email and I’ll will give you great feedback on a piece (up to 1,000 words). No strings attached, other than I’m limiting this to the first 15 people.

I want to help you build your confidence as a writer and this is impossible to do until you have your work edited and critiqued. It’s time to improve your writing. Ready? Let’s do this!

What have you found that helps boost your confidence as a writer? Any other tips? Share them in the comments!

5 Reasons Why Writing A Book Will Change Your Life Forever

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Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a writer, writing a book can change your life forever. In all honesty, you don’t know if you are a writer until you actually write. You are just guessing at that point and fear loves to stop you in your tracks.

Blog posts are too easy; you can write and publish a blog post in just a couple minutes and even get immediate feedback from it. It’s time to create something more rewarding and lasting.

Writing a book will change your life. 

Here are five ways you can see this in action:

1. Writing a Book Helps Spread a message.

Nothing on the planet spreads a message like a book. Sure, you could argue for doing a video instead, but videos have scripts, so you have to plot out your idea anyways. Anyone can craft a great book because the costs are very low; the only true costs are your time, an editor and cover designer. With video, the costs are much, much more.

2. Move Past Your Fears.

Writing a book is challenging and requires effort. Four out of five people say they have a book in them but very few people write a book. Going through the book writing process will cause you to grow in leaps and bounds. I’d even argue writing one book has much more impact than MANY blog posts. Writing a book is what separates the real writers from the amateurs.

Want to do something remarkable and that helps you stand out? Do what other people are not doing.

You know you want more than the status quo.

It may sound crazy to some, but you know you want to change the world in some way, right?

3. Find New Career Opportunities.

When I wrote my first book, I was able to make new connections which quickly led to new opportunities. Start passing out your book at conferences and networking events and you WILL get a response.  When you write a book, others will look at you as one with experience and knowledge.

Wouldn’t it be nice in your next interview to say, “I’ve written a book about that topic,” instead of “I’ve written several blog posts about that topic,”?  If you were the hiring manager, who would you hire?

4. A Book Will Provide You With Additional Income. 

Writing one book likely won’t allow you to quit your day job altogether, but I was able to make additional payments on my mortgage. I owed over 30K more than my house was worth. My first ebook–combined with a refinancing–allowed me to get from under that debt and sell my house without paying anything but closing costs. Pretty amazing right? In my case, my ebook DID change my future forever.

In my case, writing a book DID change my future forever.

While book sales always vary, if you write a really good book, with a great cover, great title, great description that shows how it helps customers with a specific need, you can rest assured you will sell some copies of your book. One dollar from writing income is infinitely better than zero, isn’t it?

5. Writing A Book Can Help Launch Your Business.

Writing a book is a great introduction to you and what you are about. It can be as short as a manifesto for free–which if done well can be shared and really make a mark. Jeff Goins made a dent in the blogging world with his Writer’s Manifesto. Dan Miller changed how careers are viewed with his great book  48 Days To The Work You Love. Once you figure out your core message, a book can absolutely help you stand out from the rest. (If you don’t know your core message, I’d be glad to help–just contact me.)

Don’t you think some of the 5-6 million people on Amazon might be interested in your business?

Don’t wait any longer. Every day you wait, the market gets more crowded and more saturated.

The time to write a book is NOW. To help you with this process and to simplify it, I’m offering the ULTIMATE excuse remover titled Write Publish Share. This course gives you complete access to everything you need to write your book.

A great cover designer? Write Publish Share has a great one for affordable prices. A fantastic editor? The course has that too. Personal coaching? Absolutely. Level 2 of Write Publish Share even includes two coaching sessions with the package.

But you have to sign up in the next 48 HOURS to be a member of Write Publish Share. I’m closing the doors in less than two days!

I’d like to offer you a limited sale: for the first twenty-five people to sign up for the course, you can get AN ADDITIONAL $50 off the price by using the code wpsfriend ( just enter this in the discount code box)

Here’s a snapshot of Write Publish Share features:

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There is nothing to hold you back from writing a book. It’s time to change your life by sharing your story with the world.

Got an idea for something you would like to write about? Please tell me in the comments or even feel free to email me about it (all info is 100% confidential).

 

 

The Insanely Easy Way to Write a Book

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You’re married. You’ve got kids. You work a full-time job. How on earth can you write a book now too with your full schedule?

Most folks say get up early and this works well for some.

Those who are night owls and want to stay up late and sleep in late.

Both options don’t really work well with having a 9-5 job do they.

You end up being a sleep-deprived zombie, right?

So what’s a writer to do? Early mornings don’t work. Late nights don’t work. Abandon all of your dreams?

Of course not.

Here’s the secret I used for about two years and it led to two successful books that sold thousands of copies—try writing on your lunch hour.

So simple it’s stupid right? There’s a little more to it than that.

Here’s a breakdown of my approach:

Step 1: Jot down a few ideas right before bed.

Your brain will keep working on those while you snooze. The next morning glance at what you wrote while having breakfast. When you sit down to write later at lunch, your subconscious has been cranking away on what you want to write about. You will often be able to accomplish more in one hour or 45 minutes of focused writing than you will in hours and hours of unfocused writing.

Step 2: Absolutely kill it during your lunch hour.

It’s writing time, so don’t waste your time on Facebook, Twitter and the billion other distractions out there. Focus on your ideal reader and chat with them. This isn’t rocket science. Embrace the long tail. If your ideal reader is married men who love 24 and Breaking Bad and are in their 30’s you are likely not going to resonate with single women in their 20’s who hate Breaking Bad. That’s fine. Just talk to your peeps for an hour and write JUST FOR THEM. Trying to please everyone is a great way to fail every single time.

Sure, following this plan may mean you are not the most social person at your day job. If going to lunch with co-workers is that important to you, schedule in one day a week to eat lunch with co-workers. Just keep in mind that momentum is very important and stopping your routine midweek will likely throw you off track.

Step 3: Work on the weekend.

When you’re married, you absolutely, positively must have your spouse on board with you. This could mean working at a coffee shop on Saturday morning from breakfast until lunch or maybe going out to the library when the kids go down for naps and coming home for dinner.

But here’s the real secret to writing a book: have a plan and combine it with accountability.

A paid mastermind or coach is best so you have some skin in the game. Free is nice, but you have no real commitment at all to something that is free. This small investment into your writing career will help you grow like nothing else.

To help you with this, I recently launched the ULTIMATE course called Write Publish Share which takes you from the fuzzy idea stage to the completed manuscript.

Are you ready to finish that book you’ve started? Want to actually bring in some income from writing? Are you dying inside to share your story with the world? If so, this course is for YOU.

Best of all, this course is designed to fit into YOUR schedule. Write Publish Share is the ultimate excuse remover. I kept the price very affordable so ALL writers can write a book now.

And one more thing…

I wrote an entire book that comes with the Write Publish Share course. Here’s the cover. It’s 120 pages long and filled with practical info, screenshots and encouragement to take you through every single step of the process.

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There is no one who wants to help you share your story more than I do. Email me and let’s chat about your book. I would love to give you some awesome practical advice you can implement today.

No more waiting. Write your book now. I’m closing this course on 4/15 and won’t be opening it up until late summer.

Because you’re a reader of my site, I’d like to offer you a limited sale: for the first twenty-five people to sign up for the course, you can get $50 off the price by using the code wpsfriend ( just enter this in the discount code box)

Sign up for the course by clicking HERE.

What kind of book do you want to write? If you’ve already started your book, what is it about?