What Is Keeping You From Writing Your Book? An Interview with Chandler Bolt [Podcast Episode 15]

If you google, “How many people want to write a book?”, you will see survey results of 80% plus say that they want to write a book or think they have book in them. That means odds are great that you are one of those people. What do you think is the reason you haven’t written that book yet?

Chandler Bolt

One of the questions I ask Chandler Bolt, best-selling author and founder of Self Publishing School, is “what are two of the most common reasons that people don’t ever write a book when so many want to?”.

In today’s podcast episode, I interview Chandler Bolt about his Self Publishing School, because I want you to hear straight from him why he began the school, why he thinks most people don’t ever write that book, and why Self Publishing School can help you finally get it done.

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What I Have Learned So Far from Writing and Publishing My New Book

You probably know by now that I am close to publishing my next book—Foster and Adoptive Parenting: Authentic Stories that Will Inspire and Encourage Parenting with Connection. The ebook version is launching November 13, 2016 with the print version coming out Spring of 2017.

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If you have thought about writing and publishing a book, I bet the how-to overwhelms you. It has overwhelmed me.

I share here a few pointers that I learned this go around both that helped my writing and publishing. I am just beginning the launch and promotion phase, so I will post a blog about what I learn from that soon.

What I learned about writing:

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2015 Reflections from My Journal

Throughout the year I use my journal to record events, to process thoughts, and to dialogue with God. Journaling helps me to remember these things which lends to a more accurate perspective of life. I tend to forget what God has done in my life, things that have happened (both good and bad), and thoughts, goals, and accomplishments.

In the moment when journaling, I benefit by processing my thoughts and staying focused in my prayer life. But if I never went back and read entries, I would lose all that perspective. So, at least during this time of year, I read back through my journal.

I am always surprised at how much I forget. And since I have a young son, I notice how quickly things change in the span of just one year.

Each year it reminds me about things overcome, goals set (some accomplished and some not) and yes, a few regrets.

Would you like to see what I pulled from this years journal? Here are 20 reflections from my 2015 journal:

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Top 10 Blogs from 2015

Thank you!

Wow! Another year has flown by. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has read my content, encouraged me, and shared my blogs this year.

I continue to learn a lot about not only how to write, but also how to create and provide content that benefits you. As I have shared in a recent blog—Discover and Engage Your Passion, I have some big changes on the way for my site. I am looking forward to 2016!

Top 10 Blogs from 2015

However, before leaving 2015 I want to share with you the Top 10 Blogs from 2015. You made these the top 10 by views, shares, and comments.

Again…Thank You!

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The One Thing You Need to Do to Be a Good Writer

So you want to be a writer? I think you should! No one else in the world can tell a story, lend advice, provide expertise, or state an opinion like you. But if you really want to get at it, you need to do one important thing. And a lot of it.

Photo Credit: kattra via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kattra via Compfight cc

READ!

I have always enjoyed reading. Before I had a Kindle, a stack of books sat next to my bed at all times. I often bounced from book to book, each on different subjects. Now that I read almost exclusively on a Kindle, I read much the same way, except the stack of half-read and to-read books is kept neatly in digital form.

In the past I read mainly for information and entertainment. Now that I am a writer, I find that I also read to learn how to write.

I read all kinds of literature.

I read anything that touches my passions like missional topics, adoption and foster care, and financial investing. I also read things that entertain me like sports journalism, travel, and gardening.

I also enjoy keeping up with current events and politics. Then like most of us, I easily get lost in the narrative of a good fiction writer.

I have begun to notice what kind of literature or writer grabs my attention and pulls me into the story no matter the subject. I pay attention to grammar, word structure and verb tenses.

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My Writing Strategy

Strategy—a plan of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

I wish I could say that I had a strategy when I began writing. I jumped in with both feet and tried to figure things out as I went. I spent almost a year deciding what to write, how to write, how to publish and market.

So developing a strategy before beginning has not been a part of my journey. However, as I learn, I see a strategy falling into place.

Here are six current components of my strategy:

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Want to Help Me with My Next Book?

Yes, I began writing my next book. Will you consider helping me with it? Because I know I can learn from you.

A few months ago, I blogged about some book ideas asking for your advice. Thank you by the way! The book idea that received the most votes was “Beyond Shame”.

That was my vote too! I have stashed away notes and research for the last several months. So, last week I spent time setting up the project in my Scrivener application (which is a great tool for writers by the way).

And, thanks to a challenge from Jeff Goins this month to write 500 words a day, I began writing.

Ready to know how you can help?

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Who Else Wants to Write in 2014?

I am taking a 31-day challenge this month. A writer/blogger that I follow (Jeff Goins) challenged us to write 500 words each day for 31 days. Exactly the challenge I need to begin 2014.

I began 2013 knowing hardly anything about blogging or writing. I finished the year having written over 120 blog posts and a published book. Yeah, I am a little bit proud of that accomplishment.

But, I recognize that I have a ton to learn when it comes to writing. A common question I get from experienced writers and bloggers is, “who is your audience?”

I decided early on that my blog would consist of topics related to missional lifestyle. I threw in the occasional blog post about my personal life or writing, but most were about what I think missional lifestyle is about.

Nothing wrong with a “random thoughts about life” blog. In fact, these can be fun to read. But, I want to find an audience or tribe that is passionate about the things that matter most to me.

That includes topics like orphan care, international missions and missional living.

At the end of 2013, I decided to add three more categories or topics that I think are important to missional living:

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Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Your Story

My wife and I had lunch last week with a friend that reached out to me about writing her story. It is a powerful one. She lost her son in a tragic car accident nearly one year ago. We met to talk about her story.

 

As I sat and did more listening than talking, I heard sadness, pain, and disappointment.

Sometimes I think that we are afraid to tell our story that involves these kind of emotions. We don’t like to show our weakness or failures.

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Hitting the Space Bar Twice is Showing my Age

Many of you know that I am in the middle of formatting my manuscript before I give it to the publisher. I just did it again! I hit the space bar twice after that period. If you are under 40, you probably have no idea what the big idea is.

I got to page 16 of my Manuscript Prep Guide. Under Spacing with Punctuation it says, “Use just one space after all punctuation marks…”

I read that and wondered for a few seconds why it told me to do that. Seriously! I thought maybe it was a formatting rule. Not a general writing rule.

I did it again! I just put two spaces after a period.

Then, strangely, I saw a post on Linkedin by Eileen Burmeister posted the very same day – The rule stands: One space after a period. Period.

Here is one quote from her blog, “I have friends (mostly my age or older) who still swear by the double-space rule, and really, if their livelihoods don’t depend on it, who am I to judge? But the hard, cold truth is that it really is only one space.”

I tweeted last night that I was writing this blog. I enjoyed the replies:

  • Many said, “I do that too!”
  • “I will never stop doing that.  It just looks better.”
  • “I am not changing that!  I am such a rebel.”
  • “I double space so I can get the automated period.”
  • One took the time to tell us all that a 1988 digital typology book instructed to use only one space after a period. (I say that book was well before it’s time!)

Some even begin to argue in fun which way was better.  I never imagined that this would create so much interest or angst!  But I agree with Eileen, if their livelihoods do not depend on it, who am I to judge?

The interesting thing to me is that I was so oblivious to this rule of writing change until I began to pursue writing as my career. If you knew about this, why have you not said something to me? Come on, that is like sitting across from me at lunch and not telling me that I have a piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth!

I began to wonder what my complete ignorance of this rule says about me. I came up with a few things:

  • Things change all the time that go unnoticed. I notice and pay attention to things that are important to me. That is not all bad, but it reveals my heart. Things that are not important to me are not even on my radar screen.
  • Like it or not, I am a creature of habit. I hit the backspace button many times writing this blog. This habit will take some time to break. What other habits do I have that are so engrained that I do them without a second thought. Which habits are good, and which ones do I need to change?
  • Am able to learn new things? I can not ignore it any longer, I am getting older. Am I not only able but willing to learn, and if necessary, change? Or, will I hang on to old ways of doing things without any just cause?

Question for you? Yes, you guessed it. My question is the last one I asked myself.  What are you refusing to change in your life just because? If that one is too personal, then feel free to point out all the places that I double spaced.