Tag Archives: business books

Have Rituals, Get Shit Done

I have a small space set aside to write

I have rituals to get shit done because I need them. I have a monkey brain. There are so many wonderful things that I want to pursue every second of every day that this monkey brain won’t let me focus. It’s chattering away in my head constantly. I’ll start something then move onto another before I’ve finished. It can be very frustrating.

As much as I’ve tried to focus and be as disciplined as I can, at my age I figure it’s hard to change my habits. This doesn’t mean I can’t but sometimes I need to use reverse psychology on myself. I do this through ritual.

Most of our daily life is about ritual, we just don’t realise it. When we wake in the morning, many of us will need a tea or coffee. We usually go about our morning the same way every day. Call it habit if you will but I bet if you changed the order of things that you’d feel a bit strange and your day may not go as smoothly (or normally) as usual.
When we catch up with friends we often do that over a cup of tea or coffee. If you have friends who don’t drink either, it can feel awkward to be catching up while they may drink water. Is it ritual, social expectation, habit? It doesn’t really matter, my point is that humans seem to form habits to move through their day with as much ease as possible.

I remember when I was a child watching my mum make coffee. When she made this coffee, I knew that she was setting herself up for writing because the rest of the time she drank tea. This coffee was special because it required her to grind the beans first in this little French coffee grinder, then brew the coffee and warm the milk. Then everything would go into a small bowl with sugar. I called it a coffee soup. It smelled very good. Then she would set out her writing materials (all hand writing back in the 70s) with her coffee soup in front of her and sit for a long time scribbling in her book. I often wondered what she was writing about (short stories at that time) and I loved looking at her beautiful cursive writing. Makes me want to sit down at my desk just thinking about it.

I was introduced to the idea of ritual at a young age but it’s not until lately that I’ve realised the importance of it. But how does it help get shit done? For me it’s about setting an intention: if I do this, this will happen.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated space for writing, set about creating rituals around using it. This is especially helpful if there are other people in the house so that they know you are not to be disturbed, just like I knew that Mama was busy when she had her coffee soup. If you don’t have an office or desk to call your own, try to find a place where you can go for dedicated writing. It might be a coffee shop, the library or a coworking space. Even a little corner of the kitchen table can work.

Set your intentions around this. Make sure that the you are comfortable (not too cold or hot) and that there aren’t too many distractions. If you find social media a distraction, turn it off. Switch your phone onto silent. Do whatever you need to set an intention.

Here is my ritual

  1. I set an intention to write for 30 minutes.
  2. I physically set myself up to do this so that nothing can stop me doing it.
  3. I make a cup of tea, make sure I am comfortable, close the door.
  4. Tell everyone that I am busy for the next 30 minutes.
  5. Be very specific about what I am working on (is it a blog, a chapter or an outline for something?) and stick to that.
  6. Stay focused for at least 30 minutes.

You’d be surprised by how quickly 30 minutes goes and how much you can write in that time. For instance, I have now been working on this blog post for 35 minutes and thanks to being focused it’s done. It’s not an award-winning piece of writing but it makes the point that I want to make. Think about the habits you have around your writing (or any work for that matter) and see what negative actions you make that might hinder it. There are ways to work better to get shit done!

Blaise the book chick

Why the media is important for your book

Media is important for your book
Media is important for your book

Digital technology has allowed the world to be so much smaller and for news to travel very quickly. Because of this many people think that all you need to do is put a few posts up on social media and readers will rush to buy your book.

Not everyone is on social media and not all on the same platforms either. And because there are streams of newsfeeds, your post can easily be missed. Social media platforms seem to change things frequently too, so just when you get the hang of what you’re doing, you find out that Facebook is doing something that means people aren’t seeing you.

The good old-fashioned media release is still a valid step in the marketing of your book for print, digital, television and radio media platforms. The more of these platforms that you can get onto, the more publicity you’ll get and the more likely bookshops will take on your book (because they may have heard of you). It doesn’t matter how brilliant your book is, if no one has heard of it no one will buy it.

Here are a few pointers for planning your media ‘attack’:

Create a media list. Make a list of each area of media that might be interested in your story. Start with your local paper, then magazines and journals (print and digital), TV shows, radio stations, bloggers, book reviewers and social media groups. Make sure they fit your book. It’s no use sending out information about a YA novel to outlets that deal with finance. Try to find out a contact name to send information to.

Write a media release to suit the outlet. There are two kinds of media releases you can use. One is an information sheet that outlines information about the book (sometimes called a ‘title release’) including a cover image, short synopsis, about the author, selling points and purchase details. This should only be one page and is usually sent out with the book once a media outlet has shown interest, or if someone has agreed to review a book.

The second media release is the more common form that is used to entice media to run a story. Don’t make this too salesy. You want to create a hook and some emotion around the story. If there is a theme or topic that is on trend in the media, use that as the hook. The media release should be written in third person and a quote from the author is worth adding. Include ideas for photo opportunities and contact details.

Send out media releases. Work through your list by sending out your media release to each of the outlets. Remember to use your hook in the subject line of emails to get the recipient to actually open it. If they are interested to know more, mail them a free copy of the book, with the title release.

The earlier that you start your media campaign the more chance you have for success. It’s all about momentum. Getting some media attention will alert bookshops to your story and they may stock it. Even small media attention can be used to convince bookshops to stock it, or you can brag about it on social media. As you add to your list of media appearances, more people will take notice and will want to talk to you (people are essentially sheep after all).

It takes time to create a media plan and implement it but it will sell books – they are no use to you in a box under the bed.

Blaise, the book chick