080: 5 REASONS GOALS KEEP YOU FOCUSED.

How to focus your goals for 2017.

Today we’re talking about Goals, focus and a new year. All these have one thing in common, and it’s not a new year’s resolution. 2016 is coming to a close and it’s time for us to begin taking a hard look at our lives.

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This in-depth look gives us an idea of where we’ve been and where we want to go. But the problem, most set resolutions and never accomplish them. In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at how to focus our goals for the new year and I have an awesome tool that will give you the head start you need to accomplish your goal setting.

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How To Take The Headache Out Of Writing a Novel.

Winning Tactics For Starting your Book

I love to write. It’s fun to sit down and watch the cursor put words onto the screen. However, if you’ve ever sat down to write a book, after a few pages you wonder if you’ll ever get your book written.

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Writing a novel is a daunting task, but with the right tools and gumption, you can accomplish this monumental task.

I began working on a novel in college. It didn’t take me long to realize I fulfilled my entire plot by page 10. What was I doing wrong, and why couldn’t I finish my story?

Flash-forward to 2008 and I was knee deep into writing a novel that I was proud of–albiet a different story altogether. I carefully finished the last chapter, did a self-edit and had the book bound. That Christmas, I gave out copies of them to my family and a few close friends.

That first draft was nowhere complete, and it certainly needed work. But the principles I put in place have guided me on writing any book. Now, with two books under my belt–with a third in the works–and a few short ebooks, I know what it takes to see success and finish my novel’s first draft.

So how do you write a novel without all the headache that goes along with it? Four ways.

1. Begin with an idea.

No great book just happens. I’ve been reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. It’s the much-awaited sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. What I learned, Go Set a Watchman was written before the famous latter. Her editor found To Kill a Mockingbird hidden away as a flashback scene, and told her to write that instead.

Your novel is not too dissimilar. Every story needs a beginning. Every book is birthed out a portion of that story.

When you’re beginning to flesh out the idea, write down anything and everything that comes to mind. I use Workflowy.

2. Write a simple outline.

Once you have your idea, it’s time to begin fleshing out the details. This is where the rubber meets the road. Every great book needs to know where it’s going before you begin.

This is where outlining comes in handy. Now, if you’re a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants) pay attention. I’m not saying you need to be detailed, but I am saying you need to know where your story is headed, what the major plot is before you begin.

Without this, your book will fail. I know this because I have several failed manuscripts on my computer right now.

Be as detailed as you need to be to begin. But here’s my caution, don’t let outlining keep you from beginning to write your first chapter. I’ve met several people who are forever in the outlining stage, they never start writing.

A simple outline could entail writing your chapters and giving them titles with a simple paragraph description. The goal is to begin fleshing out your idea.

3. Write your last chapter.

This is probably the most critical part of writing. Planning your novel. If you don’t know where you’ll end up, you’ll never arrive at your intended destination.

Think of Google Maps. When you’re planning your trip, you enter your final destination, then your starting point. Writing a novel is very similar. If you begin writing your end result, when you begin, you know how you’re going to end the story.

If you’ve not tried this approach to writing a novel, I recommend giving it a try. Beginning your writing adventure with the final destination will help you stay on target and finish your story strong, instead of falling into your ending.

No one likes a cobbled together ending.

4. Write your first 3 chapters.

As with writing your last chapter, you need to know how you’re going to begin writing your story. My suggestion is to begin writing your first three chapters. This step will enable you to start with a strong beginning.

When I’m working on a novel, the first few chapters gives me a sense of where the story is headed and where my first major conflict will happen. Without these key chapters, I cannot verify where I want my story to begin.

These first few chapters will not, typically be, the start of your novel, but are used as a catapult to finding your beginning. I will typically delete most of what I write in these first chapters. But what I look for is a golden nugget that I will use as my first chapter.

My rule–and there are a lot of people who will agree or disagree with me–is to begin a book with some kind of mystery or conflict. Use a heightened moment of action or suspense to pull your readers into the narrative of your story. Once you find that, delete the rest and begin your book.

These four areas; idea forming, outlining, writing an ending and beginning gives new writers a lot of headaches. Don’t let fear hold you back from writing your novel. But if you can use these headache crushing steps, you can begin writing a novel you and your readers will be proud of.

Question: Where have you struggled in getting your book off the ground? What other steps have you tried? Leave a comment by clicking here!

079: Why Blogging Isn’t About Money.

Tis the season to be giving.

Christmas is around the corner. People are wrapping gifts, lighting the Christmas tree and decorating cookies for Christmas Day. But what happens when the reason for Christmas dissipates?

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We find the same when it comes to blogs. People build their site, get content ready and when it’s time to continue week after week giving, they give up and stop. In today’s episode, I want to walk you through the reason for blogging, why it’s not about the money and why we should be giving more and more content for free.

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Discover your Passion in 4 Easy Steps.

Nobody has the right to tell you "No"!

As a pastor, I’ve listened to plenty of people who shyly look away when I ask what they’re passionate about. They either don’t know, or they believe they’ll give the wrong answer. Why? People have a hard time identifying their passion.

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We believe passion is self-focused or introspective and are afraid to identify it. But is it? If we identify our passion, that means we’ll have to do something with it. Most people have bought the lie, ‘I can’t do what I love.’

078: Is your blog making a difference? [Podcast]

Learning to be thankful for what you have.

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the time we are grateful for everything we have. Our spouse, children, family, job and the list goes on. But this Thanksgiving we’re giving thanks for where we are at in our online endeavors.

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Whether you’ve just started your blog, or you’ve been blogging for quite some time, there’s something we can find to be thankful for. In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through my personal journey of blogging and podcasting, as I look back through the years on what I’ve accomplished. My hope is that my journey will help you navigate the blogging waters.

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Design a Winning eBook Without Hiring a Designer.

3 Types of Software that Make Beautiful eBooks.

So, you’ve written your book and it’s time to get it out into the world. But, wait, isn’t it expensive to have an ebook designed? Not anymore!

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In the past, once you’ve written your book, you hire a designer and graphic artist to put it all together in a neat package. At the end of the day, you’ll spend nearly $1,000 on having your project typeset and designed. I know, because that’s what I charge.

077: Write your book in 30 Days! [Podcast]

7 steps you can take to getting your first draft.

I know people who desire to write that perfect book. The best thing about having written a book is you get to brag about it. You are an expert on the topic. As writers, we can help more people draw near to the heart of God through our writing.

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Writing a book can be difficult, but with the right motivation, you can have your book written in a matter of days. In today’s episode, we’re talking about writing your first draft using a fast-track method.

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5 Simple Reasons to begin blogging your book.

Why blogging is the best way to get your ideas flowing.

Everyone desires to write a book. Few ever accomplish the task. Yet, blogging is one of the best ways to begin writing your book.

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Writing a book doesn’t have to be rocket science, but so many make it difficult and thus give up on the project altogether. I have the perfect way for you to begin writing your book, and these simple steps will help you get there.

076: 5 reasons you should start your own blog. [Podcast]

What is the purpose of blogging?

Blogging is something I love to do. But I’ve had conversations with people asking me, why they should start a blog.

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In today’s episode I want to walk you through 5 reasons I’ve come up with for why blogging is so important today. If we want to change lives, we need to let our voice be heard. Blogging does just that.

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Voices Distract the Peace of Mind

2 Ways to Stop Fearful Thoughts and Trust God.

Writing is such a joy for me. I know it’s been two weeks since I’ve published a regular blog post. I’ve had a couple of podcast episodes. Maybe you’ve thought I have forgotten about you. Truth to tell, I have been insanely busy with family, the World Series, deadlines at the church and publishing a book. Did I mention publishing a book?

Image courtesy of flickr.com | Craig Sunter

Writing books is something I get a lot of joy doing. In-fact, when I see my completed book, I know I have just finished something special. If you would like to get a copy of my new ebook, sign up on the top right of this webpage.