Writing Tip of the Day: Know your adversaries.

Some are blatantly trying to undermine your efforts. Case in point: People who give you gifts like…

screw work coffee mug

Others are more subtle.

When I mentioned Jon Acuff’s point about the dangers of ‘hiding places’ [daily detours from your deep-seated desire to reach a goal], one reader responded with: “But aren’t hiding places a bit fun?” Simply devious, I say, with her grasp of the truth and suggesting that those side trips aren’t so bad.


Writing Tip of the Day: Three pens and…

All this deep stuff about rationalizations and humanness. Let’s take a break.

Back to the practical level.

three pens

Always keep three pens and a sterilized needle with you when you’re writing longhand. Odds are, at least two of the pens won’t work or will peter out when you’re in mid-chapter, at which point the third one will avert an ugly display.

And if the third pen goes belly-up, a quick sweep of the needle across your forearm [for dramatic effect] will provide you with enough fluid to at least finish that page and get you to Urgent Care.

Writing Tip of the Day: Moving to the bigger picture

think big painted on wall

The last two days we covered rationalizations.

But as I was slaving [slaving, I tell you] over those two posts, I noticed the living room needed a little straightening.

That’s when the ‘I’m writing.’ rationalization kicked in. A close call. I almost pulled myself out of the chair and did something productive.

It was then I realized this tennis match between reasons for writing and not writing speaks to this: Our neuroses, weirdnesses, and just plain humanness can fuel daily inspiration, development of characters and plot, and blog content for decades to come.

And trust me, our humanness never stops.

Well, okay, until that whole persistent breathing habit stops.

At that point, progress does tend to drop off a bit.

And please, don’t get me started on cryogenics.

Writing Tip of the Day: Rationalization is your friend [Part II]

More on rationalization.

From the ‘turnabout is fair play’ department: Now it’s time to use your writing as a go-to rationalization…for not chiseling marinara off last night’s dinner dishes, diving into that IKEA assembly ordeal, or changing that hard-to-reach light bulb on your nightstand.

Not interested? Then you only have yourself to blame for not topping the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Writing Tip of the Day: Rationalization is your friend.


If your well of ideas has run dry [we’re talking dust clouds wafting up from the bottom, I mean, even Lassie wouldn’t drop down there to save Timmy… that dry], just list a few of your favorite rationalizations for not writing.

Honest, it can open up a whole new conversation…within yourself…or, at the creepy level, loud enough for others to hear…better yet, on paper.

Sometimes, all we writers need is a little understanding and when you’ve said to yourself, “So, what’s been going on?”, well, you’ve come to the right place.

More on the power of rationalization tomorrow.


500-Word Challenge: Day 29–Letter to Ideal ‘Make Side Hustling Stick’ Customer

Readers: I just wanted to document my 29th of 31 days of the 500 Word Challenge. [685 words]


Greetings ideal customer

Welcome to:

Make Side Hustling Stick

Strategies to Learn–Really Learn!–the Best of ‘Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days’

We will explore the book Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days,  written by Chris Guillebeau.

Here are a checklist of what will best serve you during this course.

A willingness to revisit what fuels your enthusiasm to take this course. Maybe it’s as simple as your desire to create a side hustle, an extra income source that can be both fun and profitable. You’ll no doubt be learning from the master, who has also written The $100 Startup and Born For This and The Happiness of Pursuit and The Art of Non-Conformity.

Maybe you want to rise above the negative experiences from your previous years in school. You might want to convince yourself that you’re learning a lifelong learner and you want to put it to use for good.

And then there’s the desire to reinvent yourself–perhaps that has emerged lately.

You might want to be doing something for yourself–take on a project that challenges you and you alone.

You might also be thinking that the side hustle component of the course will help others. Bravo.

How about good ol’ self-improvement?

Or the need to address the question, ‘If not now, when?’. You know, that voice that whispers that your time on this earth is finite.

[By the way, just listing these possible reasons is a helpful reassessment exercise for me.]

Believe me, these are all valid reasons. Just latch on to the ones the keep you moving forward in this course.

Okay, more on your supply list.

— Imagination. The ability to visualize. No, not necessarily the ‘woo-woo’ level of visualization, but at least enough to see yourself taking forward steps, no matter how large or small. The key is forward.

— Still on the imagination thread, be open to talking to yourself on paper. after all, if you want to learn you need to talk it through.

— A pioneering spirit, a readiness to try out new ideas, new strategies.

— Enough of a trust in me and this course that you will benefit not just from covering the content of the book, but from the ‘make it stick’ strategies that you can rely on for later non-fiction and how-to books.

— A smartphone would be really helpful for its camera and its connectivity. Trust me on this.

— An ability to reframe the act of reading as you know it now. There will be times you will be writing [don’t worry, the only real audience during this course is you. I’ll put my red pens away, honest!]. Other times, I’ll invite/encourage you to sketch and make diagrams to help you flesh out your learning.

— A sketching tablet or digital version of a tablet.

— A decision to see yourself as ‘the boss’ of your book. That means, if you run into chapters that are not serving you, skip them. Give them enough of a glance to remember their basic message. Beyond that, move on. Not every chapter keeps every reader riveted and on-target. Realize that you are actually ‘hiring’ this book [and this course] to provide you with lasting benefits.

— The same goes for this course: If you encounter a module that doesn’t serve you, skip it, but even better, drop me a quick note telling me why that is the case. Let’s just assume that if you’re not being served, then that’s probably true of others.

— A readiness to thrash the book with dog ears and sticky notes and bright yellow highlights–whatever you think will be most valuable for you.

— An openness to sharing at least one success or suggestion during the course, though I’m hoping you’ll be more involved than that.

— So, I hope this list hasn’t scared you away. Of course, it might feel like a heavy investment, but it’s an investment in yourself, and I’m willing to bet that if you can even muster half of these list items, you will be making marked progress in both side hustling and in developing your own personalized learning strategies.

Let’s get going. I’m looking forward to the adventure.