WRITE LIKE A WARRIOR
117 Tips For Becoming a Successful Author
1. Don’t wait for the right time to write your book – do it now
2. Tune into your spirit
3. Write in your own voice
4. Write the books you’ve always wanted to read
5. Write down your purpose for writing your book
6. Know your audience
7. Know where to find your audience
8. Research and create an audience profile
9. Try to freewrite every day to compose your text
10. Engage in freespeaking to compose your text
11. Learn the grammatical rules
12. Learn how and when to effectively break the grammatical rules
13. Write in the active voice using action verbs
14. Aim for a concise writing style
15. Develop your own signature writing style
16. Become a versatile writer
17. Research your genre
18. Don’t stick to one genre, try to write in a variety of genres
19. Research the many storytelling styles from various cultures of the planet
20. Experiment with new styles of storytelling
21. Experiment with a variety of narrative styles
22. Understand and fine-tune your own writing process
23. Read biographies of successful writers for inspiration
24. Aim to have at least one conversation with a successful writer for inspiration
25. Inventory your human capital
26. Connect with your inner warrior
27. Let your writing contribute to good on the planet
28. Delve deeply within your inner being for the knowledge you need to write
29. Delve deeply within your inner being for the fortitude to write
30. Develop the physical and mental stamina to write
31. Think of yourself as a writer
32. Define for yourself the meaning of success
33. Create your vision statement
34. Create a mission statement
35. Attend readings and read your work
36. Read your work aloud to yourself often
37. Always consult a thesaurus and dictionary
38. Consult the latest citation manuals and style guides
39. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, place yourself at the center of your narrative
40. Try to write at least one paragraph every day
41. Step away from your work sometimes
42. Write about a subject you know very well
43. If you don’t know a subject very well, research it very well
44. Keep researching and developing your subject matter until you become an expert
45. Write with the intention of becoming an authority
46. Don’t let fear cause you to develop writer’s block
47. Develop SMART goals
48. Reward yourself for reaching significant goals and milestones
49. Read voraciously
50. Buy many books; build your personal library
51. Attend writing classes and/or writing workshops; there’ always something new to learn
52. Build up an inventory of ideas by collecting notes about what you read
53. Store your notes in hard copy and/or electronic notebooks
54. Create a space just for writing
55. Buy a good table or desk to write on
56. Purchase an ergonomic chair for your desk
57. Make sure natural light can shine on your desk, or buy a good lamp
58. Buy a good computer
59. Buy the necessary computer peripherals, including ergonomic products
60. Get good writing and publishing software for book writing
61. Stick with your writing through the years, for you’ll get better if you do
62. Don’t dump your old drafts, for old drafts are often salvageable
63. Keep a writing journal
64. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables to nourish your brain
65. Dump the coffee and drink nourishing herbal tea
66. Have your eyes checked regularly
67. If necessary, get a pair of reading spectacles to prevent eye strain
68. Integrate exercise into your life because writing is a sedentary process
69. Exercise to remain strong and healthy while you write
70. Spend time in places which inspire you
71. Give yourself time to think, give yourself time to dream
72. Wherever possible, find a writing buddy
73. Set up an independent publishing account with Ingram Spark, Lulu or another of your choice
74. Set up an email marketing account with Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft or another of your choice
75. Set up a blog/author site using WordPress, Wix or another of your choice
76. Enter as many writing competitions as you can
77. Write with the intention of producing a bestseller
78. Speak about your work on social media to build your audience
79. Make writing your book your number one priority
80. Aim to make your writing your sole career
81. Plan for a lifestyle in which writing is your sole career
82. Discard the common story arc – there are many ways to tell a story
83. Discard the old beginning-middle-ending story paradigm
84. Invent a new writing genre
85. Set up a sole proprietorship/LLC/non-profit to facilitate the business side of your writing
86. Set financial goals for your book
87. Learn how to raise funds to publish your book
88. Explore funding options such as isusu, crowdfunding etc.
89. Research grant funding for writers
90. Learn about intellectual property and copyright law
91. Attend book fairs
92. As far as possible, meetup with and collaborate with other writers
93. Join online and/or face-to-face writing groups
94. Keep up with the writing and publishing technology
95. Wisely choose the technology you actually need
96. Start your book and finish your book
97. Be aware that your book is not finished until your audience has received it
98. If you don’t how to start your book, hire a professional writing coach
99. Hire a professional editor to edit and proofread your book
100. Hire a professional to design your book’s interior
101. Hire a professional graphic artist to create your book cover
102. Hire a social media professional to market your book through the social channels
103. Hire a professional photographer to take a photo of you for your book and promotions
104. Choose the right social media channels for your work and audience
105. Create an independent publisher website with a unique domain name
106. Get the best hosting plan for your independent publisher website
107. Market yourself and your ideas while you write
108. Market yourself through behind the scenes video clips
109. Brand yourself by creating a competitive profile
110. Brand your book through your social channels
111. Brand your book through special events like launches, talk shows, news features etc.
112. Talk about your work in a live video
113. Blog about your book
114. Research your distribution channels
115. Create a writer’s press kit
116. Create a book trailer
117. Launch your book
We Are Storytellers
When I tell my story with boldness and honesty, I add value to the life of the one who listens.
Each of us is a compulsive storyteller. We tell each other stories every day, recount details of our lives to anyone who would listen, and urge others to tell us their stories.
When geologists study rock formations and document what they find, they tell the story of the planet. When astronomers probe space with ultra-powerful telescopes and try to explain what they discover, they tell the story of the heavens.
Through their research and the publication of their findings, sociologists, historians, archaeologists and political scientists tell the stories of communities, villages, towns, regions and nations. Biographers tell the stories of extraordinary people doing ordinary things and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Priests and evangelists of all religions tell the stories of the gods and their exploits among humanity. Musicians tell stories in song, artists tell stories on canvas, dancers tell stories in movement. Even an object as mundane and utilitarian as the balance sheet tells the story of a company.
We’re born to tell stories, to listen to stories and to crave stories. That’s pretty much all we do, and may very well be the only thing we do, as if every action in which we engage results in a story. If an action does not result in an actual story, it seems to remain a story in potential, to be told, maybe centuries later, by another storyteller.
We tell the stories of our own lives, our families, our communities, our nations, cultures, planet, the heavens. The story is a medium of transmission. The transmission device is the storyteller.
When we tell our own stories we’re being self-aware. We’re reflecting upon our lives. The more critical our self-reflection – the more honestly we’re able to gaze into our own mirror – the more valuable our story will be. When I tell my own story with boldness and honesty, I add value to the life of the one who listens.
Storytelling is the way in which we are connected; it’s fundamental to the concept of humanity. In the twenty-first century, stories reach their audiences through multi-media digital channels and are stored simultaneously in multiple devices in much the same way they are stored within the collective unconscious. In our digital economy, storytelling occurs at the speed of light.
The Concept of Mastery*
Though our [writing] skill is the beginning of mastery, we actually begin to practice mastery in our minds…
I’d like to talk a bit about mastery. Let’s start with the dictionary definition. Mastery is comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment; it is control or superiority over something. Our skill is the beginning of mastery, but not the end of it.
Mastery includes the continual development of our sphere of knowledge, the continual development of our insights into the environment, our continual improvement of the tools by which we reach and touch the minds and hearts of our audience. Mastery is also being self-aware. It’s a specific mindset which has to do with why we write in the first place.
I’ve always considered writing a means to liberation – of ourselves as writers, and of others. Writing is a means to liberation because it’s a means of spreading knowledge. If knowledge is power – and I’ve never stopped believing that it is – then spreading it is one of the means by which we empower our people. And we have a large arsenal of tools which help us do just that.
But knowledge is also a weapon, and the storyteller’s skill in wielding her knowledge through mastery of her language and her business process is her fighting skill, the skill with which she wields her weapon of knowledge. Because – let’s face it – no one can or will succeed in the disruptive digital marketplace unless she is a skilled and aggressive fighter with well-sharpened knowledge. This means, of course, that we must conceptualize knowledge in a finely-tuned manner, and we must be like surgeons in deploying it, and so we must not only seek to know, we should also seek to know what to know and how to know it. And we have a large arsenal of tools which help us do just that.
The key to mastery of author entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century begins with a clear purpose for writing and a sense of the importance of that purpose, couched in compelling, unique and original statements, followed by the diffusion of our statements to our audiences by use of the technologies of our choice. Though our skill is the beginning of mastery, we actually begin to practice mastery in our minds when we engage in power thinking.
Power Thinking. Power thinking is conscious thinking. It is thinking for a purpose and with a purpose. Power thinking is particularly important now because of an emerging notion which appears to challenge the ascendancy of the human mind, a notion reaching us through the purveyors of the technology, and which is part of the very construct within which the technology operates. I can’t help but be somewhat amused at the idea being put about that a human construct such as artificial intelligence and its various mutations may be thought to be greater than the human mind which created it. But that’s what the capitalists are trying to sell us. The extent to which we buy into that notion is equal to the extent to which we achieve mastery or not.
There’s a reason I engage in power thinking, and that is because there’s a goal I want to achieve, therefore all areas of my being have to be poured into this goal. Power thinking is the overarching activity in which I engage at higher-level areas of my being, and which influences every aspect of my experience. Power thinking enables me to power through mental obstacles, as well as obstacles in the environment. Actually, it’s an entire cluster of thinking habits. There are four levels of power thinking that are important to the storyteller, and they are prayer, focus, knowledge and creativity.
Power Thinking – Prayer. Those areas of thinking at the top tier of power thinking are a particular type. One of them which comes to mind is prayer.
Prayer is a way of anchoring my thoughts and desires; of deeply connecting with the Great Creatrix, my source, the beginning of my being; of flowing within my unique purpose; of accessing truth and wisdom; of allowing my power, purpose, truth and wisdom to pour into my environment; of being a creatrix in my own right. I think prayer is the means by which I can write righteously, that is, authentically and truthfully, and for a purpose that transcends my own little vanities.
Prayer enables me to know beyond the shadow of any doubt that my words are crafted for a significant purpose, and will achieve that purpose. Through prayer, my mind becomes filled with brilliant ideas.
Power Thinking – Creativity. Creative thinking is an authentic connection with the deepest aspects of your own being, and a connection with your vision and your truth. I think that whatever you put your mind to do, if you do it with your fullest truthfulness, it will be unique, and will bear much fruit.
Power Thinking – Knowledge. There are many areas in which you need to be knowledgeable, the most important being yourself, in as many aspects as you can access. It’s important to know where your intelligence lies and what kind of intelligence it is, or gift or talent, as some people call it.
It’s important to be aware of your current thinking habits. I’ve spent a long time thinking about my own thinking. I have been self-reflexive, and I think that’s another attribute of power thinking – being able to reflect upon your own thinking and your own thought processes. It requires a willingness to look into your own mind and into your own soul, and the reward is the cultivation of self-awareness.
Being introspective is a prerequisite to power thinking simply because it’s a conscious way of thinking. It is the opposite of allowing your thoughts to just go all over the place. Power thinking is continuing to cultivate a way of thinking with clarity. I see that as a very practical thing.
Power Thinking – Focus. When I engage in focused thinking I’m contemplating my own strengths, those aspects of my personality that are genuinely mine, that define who I truly am.
Because I believe I possess these attributes, I am able to speak convincingly to myself. So when I say I am tenacious, I know it to be true. When I say I am persistent, I know that to be true. When I say I am determined, that also is true. I think the basis of power thinking is the truthfulness of my thinking. It’s me knowing who I am. It is therefore important to take an inventory of those things we know ourselves to be.
When your thinking is focused, you become incredibly hooked into what you are doing and are able to pursue what you’re doing over a long period of time. I consider this mental stamina to be a kind of renewable energy, energy which renews itself, meaning that you don’t actually run out of it, and even if you become a bit physically or mentally tired, you don’t lose momentum because the activity itself generates the energy you need to carry on. Your engagement with that activity generates the energy you need because you’re operating authentically in the area of your ability and intelligence, and that’s why it’s so important to live authentically.
*Excerpt from The Digital Storyteller: Philosophy and Practice of Publishing a Book.
The Storytellers’ Culture of Warfare: Part 1
I define culture as the specific manner in which communities and individuals struggle against the peculiar form in which war is waged against them.
CULTURE is a way people understand and respond to the statements and actions put out by a dominant power seeking to force allegiance to itself. The word culture is often associated with the arts, and according to most definitions I’ve read, is assumed to refer to a shared system of values.
For example, the West Indian historian and poet, Kamau Brathwaite, who is Barbadian, conceptualized a definition of culture which he prefaced with a definition of the poet. He said the poet
is a craftsprson, oral or literary, ideally both, who deal in metrical
and/or rhymical – sometimes riddmical – wordsongs, wordsounds,
wordwounds & meanings, within a certain code of order or dis/order –
what Antonio Benítez-Rojo calls creative chaos These word/sound/
meanings are caught out of the mind or moment’s sky as it were & et-
ched into the ground and underdrone of the poet’s/ of the artist’s cult-
ure. And from the ground of that culture is he/ she grown// is he/she
known// is he. she be/come
Having defined the poet, Brathwaite then defined the culture within which the poet works. Culture, he said,
is what the poet comes from and returns to over & over again &
in the end. It is his home, it is his drum, it is his dream: the shared
collective conscious (and unconscious) xperience of a people, with submer
ged underdrones – ghosts, spirits, sky-juices, ancestors, immemorial
Barbadian novelist, George Lamming, makes a link between culture as agriculture and culture as art, and defines culture as
the variety of ways in which men and women interpret and translate, through the imagination, the meaning of that material existence in the light of their experience: religion, philosophy, art and the institutions which mediate their daily lives.
I agree with both definitions of culture. I particularly like the subtlety and complexity of Brathwaite’s definition of the poet, specifically, his reference to the “wordwound” and the “code of order or dis/order.” I think they provide an excellent conceptual framework within which to begin a discussion about culture, one which can help us understand some of the phenomena which occurs in our communities today, including artistic expression.
Culture, however, is a concept which goes way beyond artistic expression. I define culture as the specific manner in which communities and individuals struggle against the inequitable power relations in force as a result of the impositions of a dominant socio-political power. The struggle can occur in response to military warfare (as in many parts of the so-called Middle East), economic warfare (as is happening in many countries in Africa), through economic and political oppression (as happens in communities in industrialized countries such as the USA) in addition to intellectual and artistic hegemony (as happens most noticeably in the West Indies). The manner in which the several aspects of hegemony or dominance impinge upon individuals and their communities and they manner in which people collectively deal with that struggle becomes the culture of those communities.
When culture is understood in diasporic terms – that is, when we understand that our culture stretches beyond our community or nation and resonates with cultures throughout the planet – establishing social and intellectual interfaces with and among diasporic communities may offer deeper and broader understanding of the many dimensions of this struggle.
For example, Black communities and nations throughout the world suffer from very similar maladies, and these maladies all have similar foundations in economic dispossession. There is a prevailing narrative which gives a name to economic dispossession. The name is “poverty,” and the narrative presents poverty as a naturally occurring, organic phenomenon. However, a closer look at some of these “poor” nations reveals that some of them are actually resource rich, whether the resource be oil, diamonds, gold, or food. To be continued…