Beyond Satisfaction – Book Review

Beyond Satisfaction – Book Review

Beyond Satisfaction by Breanna Dyck - Book Review

Beyond Satisfaction

The main reason why I picked up Beyond Satisfaction to read is because I wanted definitive advice to create my first online course on walking meditation. I’ve been following Breanne’s blog for a while and her advice is counter-intuitive but extremely sensible.

In Beyond Satisfaction, Breanne gives a detailed roadmap to creating a successful and profitable online course, which can be applied even by absolute newbies to create their first online course.

For example, she explains:

  • the three types of participants
  • the three Rs that lead to maximum impact
  • how to discover your perfect participant (it’s NOT by creating an imaginary avatar),
  • the surprising parameters that define the success of your course, how to make the most of
  • how to make the most of customer feedback,
  • how to set up an ongoing system of course correction
  • and much, much more.

In addition, she provides relevant case studies highlighting different aspects of course creation and optimization.

What I found the most useful, however, was the Your Turn! action sections, which include helpful worksheets and videos. I’ve already started using them to create my course.

If you plan to create an online course, read this book first and download the bonuses.
Most important, act on the advice in her book.

Beyond Satisfaction is available on October 11, 2016 exclusively on Amazon.

Exciting News:

Beyond Satisfaction is completely free for the next five days.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle for Mac or Kindle for PC apps. There are also Kindle apps for Android and iOS.

If you want to ensure your Learning Experience turns into a remarkable customer experience, this is a must read.

Click here to download Breanne’s book, Beyond Satisfaction, free.

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Beyond Satisfaction – Breanna Dyck Interview

Beyond Satisfaction – Breanna Dyck Interview

Breanne Dyck Beyond Satisfaction

Breanne Dyck

Breanne Dyck is the founder of MNIB Consulting and helps online training businesses scale their impact and their revenue. Her strategies help to create transformational learning experiences, which she has written about in her upcoming book, Beyond Satisfaction. Breanne regularly consults on flagship products and programs including CreativeLive courses, and workshops for thought-leaders such as Chris Guillebeau, Tara Gentile, and Natalie Sisson.

I interviewed her about Beyond Satisfaction and her tips for entrepreneurs wanting to create their first online course.

  1. How much time did it take you to write the first edition of Beyond Satisfaction? And what changes have you made in the second edition?

The first edition of Beyond Satisfaction came together very quickly. I developed it as part of the Gumroad Small Product Lab, in which you start, finish, market and sell a book in ten days. That said, the first edition was probably better called a “micro-book” rather than a proper book. For the second edition, it’s been dramatically revised and reworked. There’s three times as much content, extended case studies, action step sections and more. It’s basically a whole new book.

  1. Can you describe your writing process?

It’s probably more fair to call it an “assembly” process. For the book, it was a matter of pulling together blog posts, emails and other content I’d generated previously and then structuring it to form a cohesive body of work. Even for blog posts, though, I usually start by “talking it out.” I’ll record myself talking about the topic, and then turn that into written content.

  1. How do you schedule the time to write in the midst of all your other commitments?

I set aside time each week — at least 3 hours but ideally 6 — to work on my current quarterly strategic priorities. In addition to that, I have a half-day each week for content production for our website and email list. The simple truth is that marketing the company is one of my most important jobs as an executive, given the size and makeup of our team. As such, writing isn’t something I fit in amongst my commitments — it is a commitment.

  1. Do you plan to create a companion course for Beyond Satisfaction (like Pat Flynn)?

No; Beyond Satisfaction isn’t intended to be a teaching book. That said, we do offer an online program called The Master Class which walks people through the process of designing a transformational learning experience. It was developed well before the book, and in fact, many of the exercises included in the book are adapted from that course.

  1. Are you providing any extra bonuses with the book?

Since my goal for the book was to maximize impact and reach, it was critical to incorporate a way to encourage people to come back to our website from the book. Including bonus resources — worksheets, videos, etc. — to accompany the book was a natural fit.

  1. How can we convert our non-fiction books to courses?

Don’t think of it as a conversion process. Books are for information; courses are for action. If you want to create a course, start by thinking about what actions you want (and need) people to take. Design your learning outcomes and associated exercises first. Only once that is done should you start to look for ways to integrate the content of your book as a way to help people accomplish those activities.

  1. Can text-only courses be successful? Could you name a couple of examples?

Absolutely. Function must always come before format. When I first delivered The Master Class, there was no videos or audios or anything like that. Tara Gentile’s Quiet Power Strategy: The Foundation was originally delivered the same way. Provided you’re giving people a chance to apply what they learn (through exercises, activities, etc.) the format of the content is really secondary.

  1. In Beyond Satisfaction, you say that course completion should not be the sole criterion to assess the success of the course? Why is that?

Here’s a question to consider: What does completion mean? Does it mean that the participant has watched every video? Done every worksheet? Completed every activity, twice? The problem is that completion is nearly impossible to truly measure. Plus, just because someone “completes” a course doesn’t mean they’ve received the promised benefit. Getting the promised result is what matters.

  1. What are the top three benefits of creating online courses? Or is it already too late because of increasing attrition and apathy?

It’s definitely not too late. Online training is a very popular way to build more leverage into a business model that would otherwise be limited to the capacity of the individual. You can reach more people, have more impact and earn more money when you build in leverage. That said, it’s not right for everyone; I recommend that before anyone embarks on creating an online course, they review the 18 Reasons NOT to Create an Online Course.

  1. What is your top tip to keep in mind for those who would like to create their first online course?

Sell it before you make it. Seriously — too many people spend all this time creating a course without first trying to figure out if anyone wants it. So before you jump into creating content, sell 5-10 pilot seats. After all, if you can’t find anyone to sell it to now … how will you be able to find people to sell it to later?

  1. What is the ultimate successful outcome for readers of Beyond Satisfaction?

Tara Gentile and I were just talking about that the other day. Beyond Satisfaction should result in a mindset shift: a recognition that if you want to have maximum impact, you need to do more than just teach what you know. Ideally, readers should be equipped with the basics of crafting a transformational learning experience that has that maximum impact.

  1. So the readers (online course creators) need to be skilled in not only delivering / teaching what they know but in a transformational experiential way so the learning experience brings the information alive?

Yep. In fact, teaching what you know shouldn’t be the goal at all — creating a transformational learning experience that helps the learner to do what they want to do is the real goal. Leads to better results for the customers, and the business, when you do so.

  1. Where are you publishing Beyond Satisfaction and where? How can we get a free copy?

Beyond Satisfaction is available on October 11, 2016 exclusively on Amazon. You can learn more about the book and find links to purchase it at beyondsatisfactionbook.com.

Exciting News:

Beyond Satisfaction is out today and it’s completely free for the next five days.

Just hop over to Amazon and click the button.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle for Mac or Kindle for PC apps. There are also Kindle apps for Android and iOS.

If you want to ensure your Learning Experience turns into a remarkable customer experience, this is a must read.

Click here to download Breanne’s book, Beyond Satisfaction, free.

 

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Mindful Walking: Four More Ways to Do Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 3

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Yesterday, I wrote about four ways to practice walking meditation:

  • Movement of legs and feet
  • Respiration
  • Body sensations
  • Sounds

Today, I’ll discuss four more ways to practice mindfulness during walking meditation:

  1. Sights:
    During mindful walking, we usually keep our eyes downcast to avoid being distracted. However, when we practice mindful seeing, we can look around and notice the sky, trees, birds or any other object and try to be mindful of whatever we are seeing. Similar to mindful listening, we can mindfully pay attention to the objects that we see while walking without judgment or reaction.
    Of course, we can also keep our eyes downcast and be mindful of the ground and other objects. Meditators who practice in this way often report finding money on the ground that others who rush about might not have noticed.
  2. Thoughts:
    During meditation, our mind tends to wander away from the chosen object of meditation: it may wander to events in the past or the future, it may roll in memories and fantasies, either pleasant or unpleasant.
    We soon realize that this is the nature of the mind and as soon as we become aware of this, we bring our attention back to the object of meditation.
    However, when we try to be mindful of thoughts, we pay attention to whatever thoughts are going on in the mind.
    Rarely, when there’s no thought, we understand, “At present, there’s no thought in the mind.” Whenever a thought arises, we understand, “At present, this thought has arisen in the mind.” And so on.
  3. Mental states:
    Sometimes, we may give attention to our present mental state. For example, “At present, the state of the mind is distracted,” or
    “The present mental state is drowsiness,” or
    “At present, the mind is calm.”
    We note our present mental state moment by moment without judging it or reacting to it.
  4. Loving Kindness (mettā):
    In this meditation, we consciously generate good will for ourselves and for all beings.
    For example, we may think,
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to my happiness, my welfare and my liberation from all suffering.
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to the happiness of others, the welfare of others, and the liberation of others from all suffering.”Similarly, we can practice gratitude:
    “I am grateful to anyone and everyone who had helped me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice forgiveness:
    “I forgive anyone and everyone who may have hurt me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice asking for forgiveness:
    “I seek forgiveness from anyone and everyone who I may have hurt in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”

    Finally, we can practice sharing our merits with all beings, especially our parents, family, teachers, and friends, and all beings. This is a good time to share merits with those who have passed away.

So, you can use these eight different ways to practice walking meditation, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
mindful seeing
mindfulness of thoughts
mindfulness of mental states or
loving kindness (mettā).

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

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Mindful Walking: Learn Four Ways to Do Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 2

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
~Author Unknown

I recently attended a five-day Mindfulness Workshop from 1 to 5 June 2016 conducted by Prof. P. L. Dhar. It was organized by Col. Dr. V. R. R. Datla and Mr. K. Madhu at the Ratnapuri Institute campus in Medak Dist, Telangana.

What I liked best in the workshop were the mindful walking sessions. These were 20-minute sessions of walking meditation that were interspersed with the formal sitting meditation sessions.

One of the special features of walking meditation or mindful walking is that you can use it to develop mindfulness in four different ways:

  1. Movement of legs and feet:
    This is the easiest way to meditate during walking. We pay attention to the movement of the feet and legs during walking. We can be aware of the four components of walking – that is,
    lifting of the left foot,
    the forward movement of the left foot,
    the placing of the left heel on the ground,
    and finally, the placing of the rest of the left foot on the ground.
    This is followed by awareness of similar movements of the right foot and so on.
  1. Respiration:
    Instead of movement of feet and legs, we can choose to be aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. When the breath is coming in, we are aware: “Now the breath is coming in.” When the breath is going out, we are aware, “Now the breath is going out.”If it’s not clear whether the breath is coming in or going out, we can breathe a little deeper so that the awareness of incoming and outgoing breath is absolutely clear. Often the mind may wander and we may lose awareness of the breath. As soon as we realize this, says Prof. Dhar, we should smile and understand, “My mind has wandered,” and bring our attention back to the breath.

The mind is bound to wander again and again. Our  job is to bring it back to respiration as soon as we realize that the mind has wandered without feeling any discouragement or sense of defeat.

  1. Body sensations: Sometimes, we can experience whatever sensations we can feel on the body such as warmth, cold, itching, pain, etc. Alternatively, we may feel the touch of the clothes or touch of the air, anywhere on the body.
  1. Sounds: During mindful listening, the focus of mediation is at the “sense doors” of our ears. We listen to whatever sounds we can hear and are aware of them without judgment or reaction.

So, walking meditation is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
the movements of your legs and feet,
on your incoming and outgoing breath,
body sensations or
mindful listening.

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

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The Best Way to Learn Anything

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 1

“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
~Arthur Ashe

In a recent article, Eleanore Strong said that writing 750 words daily at 750words.com has been hugely beneficial to her. I checked out this site and found that after the free first-month trial, I’ll have to pay a monthly fee to continue. Bummer! Though I’m sure it will be a worthwhile investment, I thought it would be better to write 750 words on my blog every day.

So I’m kicking off my own version of 750 words today on my own blog.
And I’m calling it The 30-Day Mindful Blogging Challenge.

RULES:

  1. Time daily one hour: I’ll write for 20 minutes, edit for 20 minutes and complete the upload in the final 20 minutes. If necessary, I’ll update or revise these posts later.
  1. Timing: I will complete the daily challenge between 12 noon and 6 pm daily. This time range gives me enough flexibility.
  1. Word count: Not important. The one-hour constraint is the defining factor but I’ll probably write at least 500 words daily. Also, I expect the word count to increase progressively.

BENEFITS:

  1. Develop a daily habit of writing: This is the most important goal. In the words of Og Mandino, “I’ll form good habits and become their slave.” Also, one hour daily is doable. I tend to set overambitious goals and then strike out within the first week. So I won’t take more than one hour to do this challenge every day.
  1. Beat procrastination: This 30-day mindful blogging challenge will help me to overcome my biggest enemy because it is:
    ~Specific: post daily by 6 pm
    ~Measurable: publish blog post daily
    ~With a Deadline: complete by 6 pm daily
    ~With Accountability: (email a friend daily after completing it) and
    ~Fun to do: (most important)
  1. Beat perfectionism: The one-hour deadline means I won’t be paralyzed by the need to be perfect and by the fear of criticism. I consider this as writing practice.
  1. Emphasis on the process, not on the product: Many top bloggers including Jon Morrow and Danny Iny teach that it’s pointless to post on your own blog – it’s like public speaking in an empty hall. I agree. My goal with this challenge is to develop the write-publish process. There is no other expectation.
  1. Overcome my tech phobias: One reason why I have posted so rarely on my blog is my reluctance to upload content on my blog. The more frequently I publish, the easier it will be. In this case, perfect does make perfect.

ACTIONABLE TIP:

If you are stuck in any area of your life, consider giving yourself a 30-day challenge and then a daily specific goal. Make sure the goal is achievable and set up an accountability system.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

Have you ever tried a 30-day challenge to get out of the rut?
Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Free 30-Day Mindfulness Summit

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 5)

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
~Sharon Salzberg

Mindfulness Summit

If you are interested in learning how to practice mindfulness meditation, here’s some great news.

The Mindfulness Summit 2015, a free online event, begins today.

It is a 31-day online summit from the world’s most respected teachers of mindfulness meditation, including Tami Simon, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Arianna Huffington. They will share their tips, stories and some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into you everyday life.

The Mindfulness Summit is being hosted by Melli O’Brien (of mrsmindfulness.com). It’s a not-for-profit online program from 1st October to 31st October 2015. The summit will give you access to a series of high-quality mindfulness trainings, online interviews, practice sessions and tips.

Schedule of the The Mindfulness Summit:

DAY 1  Professor Mark Williams: An Introduction To Mindfulness

DAY 2  Joseph Goldstein: Practical Guidance On Mindful Living & Overcoming Common Obstacles

DAY 3  Dan Harris: From Sceptic to Meditator. Dan Shares How He ‘Tamed The Voice In His Head’ & How You Can Too

DAY 4  Jono Fisher: Mindful Masculinity, Conscious Capitalism and Kindness

DAY 5  Dr. Susan Albers: How to Practice Mindful Eating

DAY 6  Tami Simon: How Does Mindfulness Relate To Spiritual Awakening? An Interview & Meditation

DAY 7  Dr. Rick Hanson: The Neuroscience Of Mindfulness

DAY 8  Elisha Goldstein: How To Integrate Mindfulnes Into Everyday Life

DAY 9  Ruby Wax: How Mindfulness Can Transform Depression, Overcome Performance Anxiety & Create A ‘Sane New World’

DAY 10  Tara Brach: How To End ‘The Trance of Unworthiness’ & Move Through Fear

DAY 11  Shamash Alidina: Practical Tips on Becoming More Mindful (Submit Questions for Day 17 Today)

DAY 12 Sam Harris: Waking Up. A Powerful Talk About Spirituality Without Religion

DAY 13  Jack Kornfield: Integrating ‘Spiritual’ Life With Everyday Life

DAY 14  Vidyamala Burch: Mindfulness For Chronic Pain & Suffering

DAY 15  Professor Paul Gilbert: How To Practice Mindful Compassion

DAY 16  Dr. Dan Siegel & Caroline Welch: The Effects of Technology + Mindfulness Business & Leadership

DAY 17  Question and Answer Day 1

DAY 18  Lori Deschene: Mindfulness With Technology & The Power of Authenticity

DAY 19  Dr. Russ Harris: How To Observe Your Thoughts & Feelings Without Getting Caught Up

DAY 20  Arianna Huffington: How To Thrive In This Information Age

DAY 21  Timothea Goddard: The Insights & Realisations That Develop Through Mindfulness

DAY 22  Mirabai Bush: Mindfulness In Business (Submit Questions for Day 30 Today)

DAY 23  Dr. Kristen Race: Mindful Parenting

DAY 24  Dan Goleman: Why Focus Is The Hidden Driver Of Excellence

DAY 25  Katherine WeareTeaching Mindfulness To Children

DAY 26  Michael Chaskalson: Mindfulness For Peak Performance

DAY 27  Richard Burnett: Mindfulness In Schools

DAY 28  Mindfulness Apps, Tools & Tech Day

DAY 29  Dr. Judson Brewer: Mindfulness For Addiction

DAY 30  Question & Answer Day 2

DAY 31  Jon Kabat-Zinn: LIVESTREAM October 31st 5:00 PM EDT/ 2:00 PM PDT/ 8:00 AM 1st November AEDT

Lifetime Access to The Mindfulness Summit 2015

Access to each day’s session is free for the first 24 hours.

However, if you want a Full Summit Access Pass, you can make a discounted donation of $79 ($99 after 15th October  and $149 after 31st Oct). This includes permanent access to:

  • All 31 days of video content to download or stream as much as you like
  • All 31 days of full audio versions to download or stream as much as you like
  • Full PDF transcripts of all the video content
  • Exclusive access to the full meditation album to download or stream from all the meditation sessions
  • 5 Free bonus gifts supplied by our speakers

All net proceeds go to mindfulness-based charities.

Actionable Tip:

To join The Mindfulness Summit, register your place at TheMindfulnessSummit.com

If you join the Summit, let us know in the comments below.

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Meditation and the Monkey Mind

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 4)

“The ego is like a clever monkey, which can co-opt anything, even the most spiritual practices, so as to expand itself.”
~Jean-Yves Leloup

Meditation to overcome monkey mind

How do I meditate, you ask?

I sit in a comfortable upright posture, close my eyes and focus all my attention on my breath coming in and going out.

I do this for a few minutes and sometimes for longer periods.

This sounds easy to do but it’s not.

Because when I meditate, I come face to face with the monkey-mind.

And the monkey-mind likes to chatter. A lot. All the time.

Before I know it, I’m caught in its chatter.

Sometimes it’s about the things I did or didn’t do or the things I should do or shouldn’t do.

Sometimes it’s about things I said or saw or thought or heard or ate or should have.

After a while, I realize this and turn my attention back to the breath.

This is the beginner’s mind.

It helps me to start again and again and to persist in the face of failure.

Sometimes I start to write an article or explore an enticing idea or relive a pleasant memory.

Sometimes I fall asleep.

At such times, it’s more difficult to switch off the monkey and bring back mindfulness.

Meditation is my favorite activity. It’s what I want to excel in more than anything else.

And yet, I confess that I’m still a novice at it, even after years of practice.

When I say I’m a novice, I mean that the monkey-mind still wins more often than not when pitted against the lion of my mindfulness.

More often than I care to admit, even to myself.

It breaks my heart but I accept this truth.

Because in meditation as with writing, the process is more important than the product.

Disinterested action is the key.

As my meditation teacher says, “Do the work and don’t bother about the results because no step on the path is wasted.”

And rarely, I am rewarded with the still mind.

It’s the time when my mind is a silent witness.

It’s the time when the monkey stops chattering and goes somewhere else.

(This is rare, at least for me.)

Sometimes the monkey is back even before I realize it was gone, as if it’s a bloody boomerang.

And so I persist. I sit and I observe my breath and my mind.

It’s better than sitting around doing nothing. (:-)

Actionable tip:

Have you ever tried to witness the monkey in your mind and its incessant chatter?

Try it right now – close your eyes and watch the flow of thoughts for a while.

Did you do it?

What happened?

Share with us in the comments below.

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Dear Twitter, Will You Be My Blog’s Valentine?

 

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to your blog

“If my Valentine you won’t be,
I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”
~Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems

After publishing yet another post on my blog, I decided to take a well-deserved break. I grabbed Slyvester and started to tickle his tummy.

Suddenly he stopped purring, his eyes widened with fear, and he shrieked, “I think I see a Tweety bird!”

I turned around saw a bird, as blue as the cloudless summer sky, grinning at us.

“Hello, I’m Tweety bird.”

Seeing my look of dumb incomprehension, it explained, “From Twitter.com.”

Slyvester cowered behind me and asked tremulously, “And to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”

The bird looked unblinkingly at us and then squeaked, “I’ve come to ask you three questions. You need not ponder before you answer the first two because you’ll neither be rewarded if you are right nor punished if you are wrong.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Those are my favorite kind of questions.

Fire away, sweet Tweety.”

First Question

“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

I’d heard this one before, so I didn’t waste any time in my reply, “I dunno.”

Tweety smirked and said, “Your blog without Twitter.”

Wise guy. I counted ten slow breaths to calm myself down.

Second Question

The insufferable bird continued, “If you say something on your blog and no one reads it, will it make a sound?”

“Pass.” I said coldly.

I found it hard to tolerate this bird’s snarky comments about my blog. Slyvester, my knavish cat, was making loud choking noises, as if he had a fishbone stuck in his throat.

Tweety said gently, “Please don’t resent the first two questions. They are like a bitter medicinal potion. But the third question is like nectar – not only is it sweet but it will also heal the illness afflicting your blog.”

“Then ask your third question and leave us in peace.” I was mollified though not fully.

Third Question

Tweety cocked its head to the right and asked coyly, “Will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

I shook my head sorrowfully, “I’m awfully sorry but I just don’t have the time to tweet or twitter.”

Tweety was unfazed, “Can you spare about five minutes today?”

“Well, yes,” I said grudgingly, and Slyvester stopped caterwauling.

“That’s all you need to start! And surely, you must have heard that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. All you need to do is register here to gain entry to Ali Baba’s cave of treasures. It’s free, today and forever.”

“Yes, that’s all very well but then what?”

“Well, it’s completely up to you. If you wish, you can log in and tweet, favorite, or retweet for a few minutes a day. Or once a week. From my side, there are no strings, no expectations, and no attachments.”

“Hmm. One last question. What’s the benefit if I use Twitter for just a few minutes a day?

Tweety rubbed its tiny wings together, produced a golden lamp and handed over to me. “Rub this magic lamp and it will help you to find the solution to every problem.”

I grabbed the lamp with both hands.

Tweety flapped its wings impatiently and asked, “For the last time, will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

“Heck, yes,” I said, with a new-found confidence.

Tweety disappeared with a beatific smile and Slyvester started purring again.

When I rubbed the lamp, it instantly turned into a signboard called… Free Resources

The Ultimate Twitter Guide to Crush Your Competition
How You Can Use Twitter to Land More Freelance Gigs
Use This Twitter Technique to Make Big Things Happen
How to Boost Your Blog Traffic With a Twitter Contest
Twitter Marketing with Stephanie Montreuil (podcast)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

(Do you use Twitter? How does it help you to promote your writing? Let us know in the comments below.)

 

[Originally published at How to Tell a Great Story]

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How James Chartrand Helped Me Publish 6 Kindle Books in 5 Months

 

Damn Fine Words contest

Damn Fine Words – the best writing course for business owners

“The problem is not the problem.

The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

 

 

 

(Official entry: Damn Fine Words Contest)

My life changed on April 4, 2014.

Correction: it didn’t change—it was transformed by two events.

The first event was the epiphany I gained by reading the following post by James Chartrand:

Why some people make money writing and others never will

In this must-read post, James says that writing practice is essential but not enough to be a successful professional writer.

She goes on to define the Four Secret Keys of a Successful Writing Habit:

Key #1: Specific, writing-centric goals:

According to James, “If you want to make money with words, you need to constantly set, work towards and achieve specific writing goals.”

Repeatedly; day after day, week after week.

Key #2: Community

Spending time with other writers, exchanging notes and critiques and gaining mutual support is crucial for success as a writer. Most writers try to go it alone and wonder why it’s such an uphill struggle.

James echoes the words of the Buddha who taught that noble companionship is indispensable for spiritual progress.

Key #3: Accountability

All successful writers know that writing is hard work. To succeed as a writer, you need to be disciplined, diligent, patient and persistent.

However, you can’t do it alone. You need an accountability buddy.

But your accountability buddy should be someone who sets high standards for your success and makes sure you stick to them. Otherwise, it just won’t work.

If you want a top-notch professional accountability coach, check out this free video course – Commit Action.

(You have to opt in but it’s totally worth it.)

Key #4: a Mentor

Most writers (and that included me before I read this article) don’t realize that success is impossible without a mentor. You have to select your mentor with care. So how do you choose your mentor?

James says that a few minutes of conversation with your mentor should create more direction, clarity and progress for you than weeks of even the best comradeship with a mediocre teacher. (More on this, later.)

James stresses that all these four keys—specific goals, community, accountability and mentorship—are essential if you want to progress from a wannabe amateur to a successful professional writer. Miss one and you will probably find yourself forever in permanent aspiring writer hell.

The second life-transforming event:

This was great but the real game-changer happened because of an online conversation with James in  the comments section of the above post.

It demonstrates the essence of effective mentorship.

Read it – her advice can be applied by any and all writers – it’s super-distilled wisdom. (I read it regularly.)

Free mentorship session with James:

In response to my initial comment about how I planned to implement the four success keys, James asked:

If you could pick three long-term goals (6 months tops) right now, what three would they be?

And if you could break those long-term goals down into bite-sized, 15-minute actionable tasks… what would you choose to work on right now, today?

I listed my three long-term goals for the next six months:

1. Publish six e-books on Kindle, Smashwords, etc. – one every month

2. Send 60 queries to blogs / publications – 10 every month

3. Develop my blog and email list – try to reach the magic figure of 1000 subscribers in six months.

(4. Join DFW.)

James replied:

“Looking at that list of goals and thinking about a six-month period to accomplish all that within… well, if someone handed me that list and said, “Go, James!” I’d either cry or have to clear the decks of everything in my life to work 80-hour weeks. (And then I’d cry.)

I’m VERY big on SMART goals: specific, manageable, action-oriented, realistic and time-based – and I think the realistic one is falling a bit short.

But I know that if you were to break these tasks down into 15-minute action steps, you’d quickly see that for yourself – the list of ALL that you have to do to achieve this would show you right away that it’s not very feasible.

So were this ME, I’d try for this:

1) 1 ebook – drafted and edited, ready to publish by the six-month mark
2) Send 1 query a week for 6 months
3) Strategize a plan to add new subscribers to the blog

But that’s just me.”

Her reply made me realize that my goals were too ambitious.

So I decided to focus on publishing six Kindle books on Amazon.

Five months later, here they are:

  1. How Merry Jones Married Princess Mercy
  2. Prince Merrifix and the Two Wizards
  3. The Secret of the Black Knight
  4. Kosey and the Four Tigers
  5. The Secret of the King’s New Clothes
  6. How Lucky Max Defeated Two Giants and a Dragon

To understand the significance of this achievement, you have to know how much I have struggled to write and publish anything over the past few years.

One of my earlier posts written in 2012 describes how I almost gave up writing:

A Giant Step in the Right Direction

(It was also my first entry for the Damn Fine Words contest.) (:-)

To conclude, if a couple of short messages from James can make such a huge difference, you can imagine what I can achieve if I joined the Damn Fine Words course.

It is a 10-week online copywriting course with 6 modules and 20 lessons where I’ll learn specific writing techniques in a logical, progressive order—with a group of other highly  motivated writers.

Most importantly, it includes mentorship from James, the founder, creator and course instructor of Damn Fine Words.

Once I complete the Damn Fine Words course, I plan to do the Damn Fine Ebooks course – James’s E-book Writing Course.

And life is going to be exceedingly sweet.

Thanks for reading, James. 🙂

Over to you:

Who is your mentor and what is the best advice you have ever received from her / him?

Let us know in the comments below.

Damn Fine Words Enter Here

 

Quick Update: 

The Damn Fine Words Writing Contest for the February session is now open.

First prize is a full scholarship to the February 2015 session of Damn Fine Words (retail value $1,599). The runner-up will win a 50% scholarship applicable to their registration for the February session. For more details, click here: Damn Fine Words Writing Contest.

The Damn Fine Words writing course opens to new students on February 2, 2015. Check out the details here.

(NB Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.)

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Simple Blueprint for Quick and Easy Publication of Your First Ebook

roadmap to publishing

After two years of procrastination, I finally published my first Kindle e-book on Amazon KDP as my entry for Nick Daw’s KindleFever contest.

 The main reason for my success is a tool that every writer must use:
a simple checklist.

 Here’s the checklist that I created:
Continue reading

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