I’m Offering a Powerful and Economical Online Class/TeleCoaching Bundle at The Loft

Super-thrilled to be teaching an online class at The Loft, one of the world's premier community writing programs, starting September 30. Even more thrilled to be offering a class/coaching bundle. The class will set you up for greater productivity; the 40 minutes of individualized telephone coaching will personalize the class information and help you amplify the result. All students also get a free e-book of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific. More info. For more classes (online, Boston, and Hyannis) check out my Events Page. … [Read more...]

He Gets It!

"We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect." Barack Obama, 2d inaugural address, January 21, 2013 … [Read more...]

“Procrastinating Surgeon Putting Off Coronary Bypass By Cleaning Entire Hospital”

The Onion gives us a sterling example of procrastination as a mimic of productive work: "NEW YORK—Sources at Columbia University Medical Center reported Sunday that cardiac surgeon Dr. Robert Klinge, 44, was putting off an impending coronary bypass procedure by cleaning the entire hospital. “I know that guy’s arteries are a mess, but so are the linens in the pediatric ward,” Klinge said following a morning of procrastination in which he had vacuumed the ER, taken out the hospital’s recycling, and sorted multiple trays of scalpels, adjusting the implements carefully until they were lined up perfectly parallel. “If I don’t clean this stuff now, I’ll spend the whole surgery focusing on how the floor could use mopping and the cafeteria windows need to be washed. Besides, I can always get up really early tomorrow and do the bypass then.” At press time, Klinge was reportedly applying a fresh coat of paint to the hospital’s loading dock and did not hear the intercom call indicating a “code blue” in the cardiac … [Read more...]

Three Great Success Tips from Ted Behr

My friend Ted Behr went to a success workshop and came back with three great tips. Click to read his article. … [Read more...]

Coping with Harsh Criticism

My friend and former student Kirstin Butler wrote a fantastic post on coping with traumatic rejection. I won’t go into a ton of detail about the feedback itself, because I know it was well-intentioned. But it also contained a few comments — I believe the exact phrase was “total rewrite situation” — that hit me square in the solar plexus. Listen, I will totally own the fact that I’m a sensitive person, particularly so with this book since it’s been my baby for almost three years now, but I do believe there are more and less helpful ways to give criticism. It’s also probably worth noting that of all the responses I received, the only one I internalized was a complete outlier. And that the things this reader said made the draft fundamentally flawed were the very elements all the others had liked best. In other words, taste is subjective and there will always be people that don’t dig what you do because it’s just not their bag. … [Read more...]

“Scope Creep” will Poison Your Projects!

"Scope creep is poisonous," a client of mine recently said after finally finishing an academic paper he had been procrastinating on for more than three years. He had a full spaghetti snarl of reasons for not getting it done--and remember, our reasons for procrastinating are always valid--but after he worked through them and started to write he encountered one more obstacle: a frequent temptation to add new bits and pieces. This is called "scope creep," a huge problem for many programmers, engineers, and others. Sometimes, as in the case of my client, we do it to ourselves, while other times others do it to us. (Bosses or customers often tack on extra bits to projects, all the while expecting you to finish it on the same deadline and using no extra resources.) Thankfully my client was able to recognize and resist the temptation to expand his paper's scope. That's not always easy, particularly when "the creep" is whispering at you, "C'mon! It will only take a few minutes to add that, and without it the … [Read more...]

Are Millennials Spoiled?

In my workshops I teach the benefits of an antiperfectionist viewpoint: one that is compassionate, empathetic, nonjudgmental of yourself and others, etc. Yesterday, a 20-something participant raised the question of whether her and her generation had been too indulged (and thus weakened and infantalized) by excessive praise and other support from parents and others. The question got me hot under the collar, and here's what I told her: NO. There are people in the world who conflate kindness, compassionate, empathy, and understanding with being soft, indulgent, and weak. Many of them have authoritarian personalities, which means that they crave harshness and hierarchies and control for themselves and others. All that is their dysfunction: do not let it define your view of yourself or others. Beyond that, we have the age-old game of, "Let's Dump on Young People!" a perennial favorite of those whose bones are starting to creak, particularly if they are not happy with the results of their own life … [Read more...]

Corii Rowell’s Robot Version of the Prolific Writer!

    Artist Corii Rowell, whom I met at Boskone, did this ubercute robot version of Barry Deutsch's cartoon for my book cover!     … [Read more...]

Sales of the 7 Secrets of the Prolific on the Rise!

So far in March, Kindle sales of my book The 7 Secrets of the Prolific are triple what they were in February--and it's only the fourth full month in print. Paperback sales also rising! So excited. I'm hearing from readers in the U.S., Canada, England, Poland, Italy, Sweden, and elsewhere! Read sample chapters here and buy from my shop here. $24.95 + s&h for paperback and ecopy bundle; $3.95 just for ecopy. Ecopy purchasers get a Zip file with 3 formats: MOBI (Kindle), ePUB (Nook, Reader), and PDF. Regardless of where you bought your copy, if you would leave a review on the book's Amazon page that would be great! … [Read more...]

Help Your Team Overcome Procrastination And Finish Projects

Procrastination isn’t laziness, lack of discipline, lack of willpower, etc.: it’s disempowerment. Disempowerment means you aren’t missing anything, but lacking access to that which you have. Remove or heal from the disempowering forces in your work and life and you’ll “automagically” recover all the energy, discipline, willpower, etc., you thought you were missing, or had lost. There are two main categories of disempowering forces: obstacles and triggers. An obstacle is something that competes with your project for time or other resources, or that inhibits your ability to do your work. Distractions, conflicts, lack of resources, and lack of training or information are all obstacles. Triggers are feelings that undermine your ability to do your work – fear and shame being the big two. In fact, these are most people’s major barriers to productivity, since, besides paralyzing you, they also obstruct problem solving. Once you help people overcome their fear and shame, they often speedily deal with their … [Read more...]

Why You (Yes You!) Should Indie Publish

Indie publishing is for many businesses, not just writers! A yoga teacher earning $70 teaching a one-hour class who sells three students a $12 indie-published book, has boosted her profits more than 50%. And an independent software vendor who sells manuals for his system isn't just sweetening his bottom line but reducing his tech support costs. So keep reading, you non-writers... Why indie publish? Well, let's look at the alternative, what is now called legacy publishing. Here's the process, in a nutshell: Send dozens of letters to agents or editors, begging them to read your manuscript. Wait—for weeks, or months, or (no joke) sometimes years, hoping one or two respond with interest. If they do, send a book proposal and/or “partial” manuscript (3 chapters plus detailed outline), and wait some more. If you're not rejected in this second round, then send your full manuscript in, and (you got it) wait some more. Maybe it will be accepted, or maybe they'll ask you for some edits, in which case you do them … [Read more...]

Why You (Yes You!) Should Indie Publish Part II

In my previous article I discussed why all businesses should indie publish—including non-writing businesses. Here are some guidelines for doing it right:   Clarify your goals If you want to indie publish for a hobby, or to create a memento for loved ones, then you can just cut loose and publish however you want and give or sell the copies to whomever you want. (Try lulu.com or iuniverse.com for paperbacks; Smashwords.com for ebooks.) But if you want to make serious coin from your writing then you need to produce a saleable product, and market and sell the heck out of it. All that requires investment. I'm a professional writer, but still spent around $1,500 on a professional editor (who also did layout) and copy editor. I also spent $1,200 on a professional illustrator (who did an amazing job and really added appeal and meaning to the book), and around $5,000 on a designer who did my book cover (super important to sales!), Website, and other marketing. And I currently invest at least 20 … [Read more...]

How Labeling and Hyperbole Sabotage Your Writing Productivity

Don't beat yourself up for procrastinating, and don't label yourself as "lazy". Read on to learn how to move beyond labels. … [Read more...]