Launch Day: iTunes podcast w/ Liz Gilbert & Martha Beck

Early on, I listened to a podcast that I LOVED! Two authors talking about the creative process with an easy back-and-forth from years of friendship. I was in heaven! But before I could sit down with my cup of tea and settle in for a good listen, it was over. I swear it couldn’t have been longer than 15 minutes.

Huh? Where’d you guys go?

Don’t leave me yet, I was just getting juiced! Come baaaaaaaaack!

Yeah, I know. Get a life, Sivertsen.

But seriously. I wanted so much more. More candid talk about the writing life. More motivation to step into (and over) my fears. More stories of hard-won successes and priceless failures. More insider details and virtual connection…  real writers honing their craft and living the dream in the real world.

For the past few months, Danielle LaPorte and I have been asking ourselves if we should take our celebrity writer interviews (from The Beautiful Writers Group) out from behind the closed doors of our membership group, and into the wide world of iTunes. Then I remembered that long-ago podcast that ended so abruptly, and knew we had to do it. I called Danielle and that was that. We’re doing an iTunes PODCAST!

Beautiful Writers Podcast

This feels like a natural and FUN next step, for us and for The Beautiful Writers Group. Danielle and I love having (and sharing) these bestselling author conversations more than you know.

And, good news! If you’re already a BWG member or want to become one, we’re cutting the monthly membership fee in half. That means, instead of $50 per month for our ongoing expert how-to interviews (these differ from the “celeb author” ones on the podcast), Q&A calls with Danielle and me, participation in our private/active writers group on G+, and access to our writing resources, you only pay $25:)

Here’s why we made the decision to cut the price of membership: For a writer, listening to a successful author talk about her experience is like getting a shot of artistic adrenaline. We want that for everyone, not just the people who can afford it.

Head over to iTunes and check out the line-up. We’ve got Liz Gilbert, our generation’s “Mark Twain,” talking about the inherent magic of language, embracing the sacred “No,” what it takes to have the things you say you want, and to sex or not to sex on book tour. Ha. Liz has an extraordinary way with words (but you knew that) and a rich perspective on what it means to share your magic with the world. Her eighth bestseller, BIG MAGIC is nothing short of brilliant and we’re elated to have her with us.

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We’ve also got Martha Beck! This interview is so full of magic it’s not even funny. Except that it is! Martha’s passion for writing (and life!) is infectious, and you’ll quickly see why she’s so prolific (recently completing her 10th book, in the midst of a very full artist life that includes world-class painting). Listen as Martha shares some of her best “shortcuts” to attaining more magic in your life, including details of her “integrity cleanse,” the best advice she’s ever been given (summed up in two words), the ultimate marketing strategy for any creator, and what the “rocket ride of rapture” means for your productivity. Buckle in. Her ideas are lightning fast.

For more inspiring interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast here on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes. And for access to our thriving community of writers, coaching calls and more, visit TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com.

Other interviews include: Dani Shapiro (about the day Oprah called three years after her book was published and Dani nearly blew her off!), Sarah Manguso (about how on the first day of her poetry MFA, she got a humbling piece of writing advice that’s guided her work ever since), my dear friend, agent Laura Yorke (on what she looks for in a query letter), Jillian Lauren (about her defining moment as a writer long before she wrote her bestselling memoir Some Girls), and Gretchen Rubin (about knowing and working with your own creative wiring).

These exchanges have been key to helping me complete my own personal Goliath project this month. (Now it’s all about putting the mascara on the eyelashes, my favorite part.)

For our official (yay!) and FREE Beautiful Writers Podcast on the iTunes store, go here.

Of course, Danielle and I would be so grateful if you’d take the time to leave a review if you like what you hear. To help us build momentum and traction and all that good stuff.

Big love!

Yours,
Linda

xx

P.S. Friends don’t let friends write alone. If you could use some creative juice, come hang out with us in the BWG for the cost of a few lattes a month.

P.S.S. Got a favorite author you’d like us to interview? Let us know in the comments below and we just might be able to make it happen:)

P.S.S: quickie update: Made #6 podcast on iTunes (arts). Thanks to everyone who’s listened and cheered us on! Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.14.41 PM

Oct 20, 2015   /   Read More   /   18 Comments

Signed Big Magic Book Giveaway!

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It’s that time again. Book Mama book giveaway! Time for me to thank YOU for being part of my community (because writing is so much more fun as part of a tribe!). A few years ago, you may remember, I bought 10 copies of Liz Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things to give to my blog readers. I took the first 10 people who left me a comment that week (saying they wanted a copy) and when Liz was here in Los Angeles, I had her sign the books directly to each person. Then I popped them in the mail. Easy breezy. And so much fun!

 

So, this Friday, I’m seeing Liz in Pasadena and doing what I do with all her books—buying armloads for my blog readers and more for holiday presents. If you’d like a FREE copy of BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear (which is so good I seriously HATE to put it down, but had to, to write to you:)), with Liz’s inscription to you (fun, right?), leave a comment here with your email and I’ll contact you in the next few days to get your address. First 10 comments win! (Hey! Just in! I’m sitting here watching an avalanche of darling responses and the 10 are gone. So… I’m adding 5 more for a random drawing, so be sure and add your name to the list. Love this!)

 

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Can’t wait! It’s been such a magical month. Just got back from Wyoming, where my guy and I went ranch shopping (we’ve GOT to get our horses out of dusty L.A. and into grass part of the year!) and I love spreading the love. (Oh, and those antlers? They’re cruelty free, people. The elk shed them every spring. Phew, right?!)

 

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Happy reading & writing, everyone!
Love love love,
Linda
xo 
P.S. – Not yet a subscriber and want to be first to hear of these giveaways in the future? Click here to be in the know: http://bit.ly/MXAYib.

 

P.S.S. – Random drawing for the 5 books will be on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 12 noon PST.
It’s official! Below are the names of the 16 winners for signed copies of Liz Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC!

 

For those of you who submitted your name on yesterday’s blog post, thank you! What a blast it’s been to see and feel your excitement.

 

So many of you signed up so quickly—56 people in the first few minutes—and were so darling about it all that I couldn’t stop at 10 copies. I added another 5 (to be chosen by a random computer generator) to pull out five numbers over Skype via my tech fairy pictured here, the lovely Julia. Then we added a bonus person. Long story. But oh-so-much fun!

 

Julia McPherson Tech Fairy
Liz and I have done this now for Eat, Pray, Love (I bought 22 copies that year and gave it out to my best friends—most of whom hadn’t yet read it—imagine!), Committed, The Signature of All Things, and now Big Magic! I love me some good book lovin’ traditions. And, I love supporting local, Indi bookstores like Vroman’s in Pasadena. Have you been there yet? Worthy of a trip, I’m telling you.

 

Vroman's Bookstore
 
So, thanks again for playing, my friends! You all make this mama super happy (I wish I could afford copies for every one of you… maybe for Liz’s next book?!).  

 

Cue the drumroll… 

 

The first 10 people to post on the blog yesterday am:
Jolie Adam
Meg Cline
Elise Lorimer
Zuzanna Juhasova
Susan Fuller
Maile Toplift
Claire Harnettman
Carolyn Messerre
Sharron from gypsy arts
Bilal Siddique

 

Our bonus blog gal:
Bonus: Emma Jarrett

 

And, our 5 fantastically randomly generated computer picks (doesn’t that sound like fantasy football?:))

 

Christine DeHerrera
Ana Alcobia
Deb Hadley
Julie Cooper
Tracey Debrincat
Until next time, big magic hugs to you and yours,
Linda
xxxxx
P.S. God that was fun! Green room hijinks:)
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Sep 30, 2015   /   Read More   /   118 Comments

Spring Cleaning, Book Mama Office Style…

 

Hey loves!
It’s SPRING! I keep thinking I “should” do a 4-day juice cleanse… that’s what I usually do at the start of each spring. But I’m not in the mood. If chugging glasses of green stuff doesn’t make you feel giddy right now either, I’ve got another idea:
What about a piles cleanse? As in, those piles of paper you’ve been shuffling around your office for, let’s be honest, too long now. You know what I’m talking about, right? The secret (or not-so-secret) piles stacked up on your desk, in the kitchen, or, God forbid, next to your bed.
I’ve had a L O N G relationship with piles. By nature I’m an organization nut who would answer a Proust question—”Office Depot or Disneyland?” with a definite DEPOT.
My closet is color-coded, and so are my files. I use the best software available—Evernote is my external brain and I have thousands of notes and notebooks stored there, tagged to find anything in an instant—and my team and I use Asana for our project management system (thanks, Team D!), where we juggle the 1,001 details of managing five businesses: The Boyfriend Log, Carmel Writing Retreats, The Beautiful Writers Group, YBBBP, and BookMama.
Did I mention that I have hundreds of Voice Memos saved and labeled? Good God. Every year at New Year’s, I get that anxiety to GET THE PILE FILED. CHECKED OFF. DISCARDED. Gotta start anew! Fresh, fresh, fresh. 
And yet, still… the piles. I can’t seem to get rid of the last one. The one with Post-It notes housing book and blog posts ideas, snippets of a conversation to tell a friend, a song and book to order from Amazon. There’s that insane pasta sauce recipe I MUST make for company, with that vegan-sugar-free-chocolate fudge recipe that brought a recent wedding shower to its knees. And where to put the napkin from a romantic dinner with my guy in Hawaii, and the thank you note from an agent raving about our mutual client who just hit the lists?…

Some days I make serious headway on my pile, but similar papers always rush in to replace what’s left. It doesn’t matter how fast I rip through its girth, its drawing power intensifies, mocking me as it swells like something out of a horror film.

A hippy-dippy New-Age healer teacher of mine back in the 80s—a guy named Dennis Adams—used to say: “Nature abhors a vacuum. When you clear your kitchen counter, a new bunch of stuff will fill its place quickly.” I took that to mean he was saying I’d never fully get rid of my piles, and yet still, I dream…
Want to hear something really scary? I once caught myself daydreaming that our house would burn down so that the blasted pile would be gone forever. It was just a fleeting thought, but it made me wonder if piles create a sort of mental instability. I’m pretty sure they do.
Tony Robbins teaches that we’ll never get “it” all done. Being fully caught up is a fantasy, he says. “Focus on the big stuff first,” he says. “Then the little stuff takes care of itself.” I find myself stuck somewhere between reality and fantasy on this—tackling big things semi-regularly, but still addicted far more to the bright shiny objects of getting as many small “to-do’s” crossed off as possible, stuff like… “water the plants,” “call the groomer,” and “buy a new label maker.”
Last December, I committed to being DONE already before 2015 rolled in. I carried my last pile in a BIG box from my house to my car and drove it 400 miles to Carmel-by-the-Sea where I was teaching a writing retreat. Surely I’ll have time to go through my PILE before the gang shows up; I can’t come home to this pile ever again!
Feeling like a delinquent hiding illegal substances, I hid my box in the way back of my trunk, and then lugged it into The Vagabond Inn when I arrived in this seaside town the night before, under the cover of darkness.
Too tired to wrestle with the pile, I got a good night’s sleep and handled about 1/100th of it in the morning. I’d planned on spending another four hours on the piles–surely that would be enough–after I took my little Merry dog out for a quick walk to the beach.
Only thing was, when we got to the water’s edge, a pod of 25 dolphins were surfing the waves with Humpback Whales not far off behind them. Naturally, I was mesmerized, as was the crowd, larger than any I’d seen on this beach in all of my decades walking this shore since childhood.
The piles could wait a bit longer. After all, I’d be here for five days and don’t work past 10 pm during retreats, so I could go through everything little by little each night.
Alas, some part of that pile made the trip home, but I digress.
Sometimes I wonder if I just really love my piles. There are, for certain, treasures to be found there. And, dopamine and serotonin hits for discovering them (or rather, re-discovering them) and tending to them.  Recording them, filing them, checking them off as I toss another paper into the recycle bin. All that gives me a decidedly first-world high. Immediate gratification of an irritatingly delayed kind.
Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin (our Beautiful Writers Group celebrity guest for July) writes in her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Day Lives, that what we do every day matters more than what we do once in while. Maybe that’s it—so easy to see I missed it entirely: rather than tackling my pile inconsistently, I need to tackle it EVERY single day! Or better yet—create good habits that keep the pile from forming in the first place. Doy.
SHARING MY SECRET BROUGHT SOME RELIEF 
“Um, I’ve got this irritating habit,” I mumbled at Carmel when I’d gone through a portion of the box and made my way downstairs with an overflowing garbage can to see the six delightful souls who’d joined me there stuffing their faces with our chef’s just-out-of-the-oven cookies. “Do any of you have piles of paper you just can’t seem to get rid of?” They laughed. Nearly all did. Except Orna and Matthew—a married couple working on a relationship book. They’d coincidentally just filed the last of their pile right before coming to the retreat.
The little brats. I wanted to pull a Lucile Ball and tweak their ears and run back upstairs.

I tried to hate them for being so organized. But it was impossible. If you know Orna and Matthew, you know they’re too smiley and grateful and lovable to take your anger out on.

As if knowing this, Orna took action. She’d been watching me try to perform a burning ritual to rid me of this craziness, only to feel my frustration at how long it actually takes to feed a fire scraps of paper by hand. Orna stole my trash can, dumped it in the recycling bin before I could register what was happening, and took this triumphant photo.
Ahhh… One less basket to lug back home.
Here’s to better habits. And those who help us shoulder the weight of the pesky ones that persist.
Hoping you can find humor in your madness today.
Yours, Linda

P.S. If you’ve got PILES of book ideas, we’ve still got 1, maybe 2 spots open for our April 27th retreat, which is unusual–maybe the spot’s been waiting for you?!:) Fill out this registration form and we’ll schedule a Skype or phone call to see if it’s the right fit for you. (By the way, I’m REALLY good with bringing order to other people’s piles of book notes, and promise to keep yours a safe distance from the fire!)

P.S.S. Have you got piles? How do you handle them? Or maybe you just want to vent:) Leave a comment and tell us about it! xo

xo
Mar 26, 2015   /   Read More   /   16 Comments

Big News! Exciting changes to the BWG…

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Hello Beautiful!

Danielle LaPorte and I first started our Beautiful Writers Group six short months ago, and what an amazing ride it’s been! We’ve seen books published, proposals penned, articles released, and blogs started. We’ve had special guests talk about creating Beta Reader programs, List Building, overcoming writing fears, and more. We’ve seen writing groups form, and lifelong friendships launched.

Case in point: perhaps you’ve heard of our own Steph Jagger, who landed a large six-figure deal with HarperWave (an imprint of HarperCollins) after working diligently with her “Wolf Pack” writing group (formed here) and signing with our dear agent friend, Laura Yorke, who took her on days of editorial meetings at the largest publishers in NYC (here’s my Instagram excitement):

Here are a few of the in-person writing support groups forming all the time (how darling are they?!). By the way, these gals put in time and TLC into finding their “people,” but say it was worth every minute. Like in any group, you get out of the BWG what you put into it.  

As exciting as these updates are (and there are many more we’re about to announce on our site), we’re just getting started!

Today Danielle and I are announcing some sweet enhancements we think you’re going to love.

 

1). New monthly coaching format + celebrity interviews! We’re THRILLED to say that we’re bringing some very special people from the writing and publishing worlds straight to you. From our bestselling pals (in fiction and non-fiction), publishing gurus, and industry insiders (agents, editors, and entertainment lawyers), we’ll be talking with people who will rock your literary world.

You may have seen this early teaser for our upcoming March chat with Dani Shapiro (our first celebrity guest), author of Still Writing, five novels, and the best-selling memoirs Slow Motion and Devotion. (Perhaps you saw her with Oprah last year on Super Soul Sunday.)

To regularly bring you these in-demand literary superstars, and more focused writing and publishing support, our monthly coaching format is shifting. We’re switching it up to pack more power into what you get each month. Here’s what we’ll be giving you, starting the first week of March 2015:

Monthly Q+A’s with us, Linda and Danielle, where all questions are submitted in the G+ group ahead of time. You can listen in as we answer your questions over the phone. We’ve simplified and streamlined the format of each call, and will deliver more teaching tips by devoting time to talk about things like our current favorite writing tools and trends, and recent personal publishing experiences. The calls will last from 45-60 minutes—just right for a lunch-break. Listen-in live if you can! As always, we’ll make sure you get the recording, too.

Monthly guest interviews (mentioned above)—these will cover the craft of writing and the art of getting your work into the world from people doing it in a big way. We can’t wait to share these fascinating interviews with you! Our incredible scheduled celebrity line-up is nearly full for this year already, and coming your way soon! We’re so happy about that.

2). Call highlights, delivered. We love creating beautiful things over here, so we’ll be taking notes on each call and posting them in a PDF download for you each month. We know you’re busy and we thought offering highlights of each call and interview would be super helpful, not to mention FUN! So, whether you want to refresh your memory, get an in-depth preview of what’s covered before you listen in, or keep track of a few valuable takeaways, we’ve got you covered.

3). One big, happy family. In our BWG groups, we’ve seen so many valuable things shared and connections made. But because there are two groups, each one has been missing half of the treasures. When Steph signed the above book deal with HarperWave, for example, only Group 1 got the play-by-play. We want you ALL in on the action. So to better experience the advantages of membership, we’re bringing you all under one fold. No more missing priceless connections, information, and news.

Group 2 members will move over to Group 1 shortly. Like all beginnings, it will be busier at the start then when things settle. But we’ll keep close tabs and as membership grows over time with the addition of celebrity guests, we’ll consider opening up added groups as needed. But you will all stay together as our first mothership, er tribe:)

4). Even more writerly love. Get ready to feel way more tapped in! We’ve hired even more writerly support for our G+ forum. Sandra O’Donnell, whom many of you already know from her uber-useful, insightful posts and resources offered in the first Beautiful Writers Group, will now be on tap in an official capacity in the forum. In graduate school, Sandra studied under Lee Gutkind, the “father of creative non-fiction.” She had a successful academic writing career, ghostwriting a number of academic books. Her co-authored book, Business and Professional Communication in the Global Workplace, now in its third edition, was based on her consulting work with Fortune 500 companies.

Over the past ten years, Sandra has been working on a chick lit series. She has completed three books in the series: The First Bad Thing, Falling Toward Home, and The Death of Love. She’s also Linda’s partner/advisor in The Boyfriend Log app, and is currently working on a memoir/travel book called 52 Sundays. Sandra says her writing experiences taught her that writing in isolation is isolating. “We need each other and groups like the BWG make us better writers and authors. Together, we can support one another, help where we can, and encourage each other to be our best.” With Sandra’s love of research and this vast industry, that’s what she is excited about bringing to the BWG with her contributions and posts. We LOVE her!

Liz Eastwood Lehman, our team member, will continue to moderate the G+ forum as well. Liz is a writing workshop veteran with experience self-publishing a 5-star Amazon bestseller (Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers, a pet loss recovery book), running blogs, and writing award-winning content for companies like Apple. The Beautiful Writers Group was actually formed as a result of many of Liz’s ideas and prompting. She is a passionate part of what we’re building here and we’re so thankful for her!
Oh, and one more thing: watch for an announcement about the Book Proposal Bootcamp Sandra will be running soon just for our Beautiful Writers.
5). Members: Watch for the Top Ten Tips for Beautiful Writers coming your way–something that will help you make the most of your membership. It’s almost finished and it’s a beauty.
Thank you for reading! We adore you and are so excited by what’s happening here in this group. Stay tuned. Continue to let us know how you’re doing in the G+ forum. And… we’ll “see” you very soon.
Much, much love,
Linda & Danielle
P.S.S. Want to share what you love about being a member with people who may be wondering if it’s right for them? Feel free to give us your thoughts below… 
P.S.S.S. Worry that you won’t have time to join the calls or be an active member? No problem. You can quickly download the Beautiful Writers Group content (calls & bonus interviews) to your mobile device/ipod. Taking this extra 5 minutes a week to get your publishing lessons to-go will save you from needless guilt (paying for something you’re not maximizing) and give your writing career the supercharge energy it deserves. I (Linda) just recently got with the iPod program. I was always too busy to figure that “little thingie” out and had no idea how easy it could be to listen to other podcasts while cleaning, running errand, walking my pups. I’m now officially obsessed, and regretting not getting with the program sooner. Taking this simple step will allow you to keep your brain focused on your book(s), your brand, and your business–even when you don’t “have” the time.After all, Danielle and I are here to help you not only envision your writing life, but make it real. Nothing makes it real like staying in the game.

Ahhhhhh…. we love this stuff! xo

Feb 27, 2015   /   Read More   /   6 Comments

Bliss, then Came the Blues: L.A. Times article on The Boyfriend Log

 

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“You’re so much fun. So handsome,” I said to Bernie over dinner. We’d met on a blind date the week before and struck sparks. “How is it that you’re still single? What’s your deal?”

Bernie froze, looked down at his plate, then zeroed in on me with his hazel eyes.

“I disappear.”

“What do you mean, you disappear?”…

For the rest of my article, just published in the L.A. Times, about how The Boyfriend Log SAVED my dating life (and can do the same for you or someone you care about, via a simple but POWERFUL iphone app), read on. Because love can get confusing, and clarity is queen.

What Color is your relationship? What color do you want it to be? I’d love to hear here:) xo

 

Dec 27, 2014   /   Read More   /   8 Comments

OPERATION F-ING ORGANIZATION:)

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Sometimes trying to get the 10,000 foot view on my computer screen makes me loco. Coo coo for cocoa puffs. Even my beloved Stickie and Evernote notes overwhelm. Too small. Too crowded. Too much.

Ever get so busy living your creative life–flitting from writing and consulting, implementing and brainstorming (or your version of this)–that you don’t take enough time to strategize who can best do “what” to free you up to do what you do best? (That made sense, right?) If you don’t yet have anyone on your official biz “Team,” I’m talking about support even for the smallest of tasks that can be carried out via your husband, your best friend, or your printer down the street.

I used to do everything alone. Well, mostly. Hence, I never slept. (Sadly, that’s not much of an exaggeration.) Slowly, and out of dire necessity, I connected with talented, big-hearted folks with skills I didn’t have for things like design, website creation, app wizardry, membership building, tech support, and so on. “Team L” started to cobble together, and with it, my growing peace of mind and earlier (much) bedtime.

None of us is very effective alone (nor should we strive to be). But there also comes a time when, if you’re not careful, you’re not able to maximize the skills of your Team because you’re too busy doing your part while also enjoying, finally, time for things like play, self-nurturing, and SLEEPING. You become too distracted to see the forest for the trees, as they say.

So…

Today it’s Old School Day over here at BookMama headquarters (that’s code for my kitchen island). Today it’s about lighting a candle, pulling out the pads ‘o paper, and scripting it out. No computers. Just pen and note pads. Ahhh. Even this tiny ritual, this simple first step, has already made my shoulders drop and my breathing deepen.

Lord in heaven. Blessed be. I have a team. That I love. 

With these angels by my side, thinking of all I love to do goes from sometimes stressful to far more prayerful. Whether I’m writing, updating Your Big Beautiful Book Plan (YBBBP), doing press for The Boyfriend Log app, talking with applicants for our 2015 Carmel writing retreats, connecting clients with agents, adding even more value to The Beautiful Writers Group with Danielle LaPorte, answering email + phone calls, and assorted BookMama things in the works, I can breathe…

Big virtual bear-hugs today to Betsy Rapoport, Liz Eastwood Lehman, Nikole Gipps, Alyssa Patmos, Terrisa Coobs, Paul Jarvis, Jake Morton, Sandra Goodall, Bawtree Software, Infusion Accounting, and Team DLP. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but a day doesn’t go by where I don’t thank God for you.

Here’s to closing out a very good year, and meeting the next one with joy and ease. And for anyone out there building your own team, think about lighting a candle and grabbing some paper and seeing what real + magical support you can cook up in your own kitchen. (And, yes, you can get it all down onto your computer and Stickies and Evernote notes later. Promise:))

Yours,

Linda xo

P.S. Want to thank someone on your team, affirm your Dream Team Wish List, or give us tips for what you’re doing that’s working? Share your thoughts below in the comments. Because it’s fun, this sharing stuff…

 

Dec 23, 2014   /   Read More   /   4 Comments

The Wonders of Win-Win: Hustling from Your Soul

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That’s my pops, Alfred Eugene Tisch, on his birthday circa 1999. We were in Carmel-by-the-Sea. My sister, Carol, snapped this moment I’ll forever cherish after we’d annihilated Dad’s German chocolate cake, leaving only a few shavings of coconut. The glee on his face shows how happy he was to have been able to shower US–his grateful, mostly broke daughters–with presents.
Every day with our father was a present.
Today would be Dad’s 80th birthday. Or, I should say, Today IS Dad’s 80th birthday. To celebrate, I have tri-colored roses on the kitchen counter. Mine are store bought, but Mom’s would have been grown in the garden. I’m listening to a Beethoven concerto, having just made fresh squeezed orange juice. Because that’s what he would be doing this morning. Later, Carol and I, and Dad’s only grandchild, Tosh, will be going to hear some of Dad’s favorite classical music performed downtown. Christmas style.
The rituals of home. The rituals of my childhood. So blessed was I to be the daughter of this man, even if his idea of a Grand Old Time when I was a teenager was to crank up his movie-theater speakers FULL blast with opera (oh, the horror) at 8 am while I was trying to sleep in. Oh, how I hated opera. Oh, how I love it now.
I think about my father all of the time, his wise ways of moving through the world echoing around me. My favorite? “Make your relationships win-win, Linda. Especially in business.” He said this countless times. His many clients at the stock brokerage firm would say (and often did) that he lived this ideal more than anyone they knew.
This one’s for you, Daddy. Happiest of birthdays. xo

“I need a dollar, dollar,
A dollar is what I need.
And if I share with you my story, would you share your dollar with me?”

Aloe Blacc isn’t singing about the publishing world in this song, but he might as well be. When writers go into business for themselves, and start thinking about monetizing their message, getting heard, growing their platform, targeting their market, increasing their exposure, building their brand and expanding their list, things can go from zero to show-me-the-money really fast.

We learn to check our squishy, sentimental writers hearts at the door, as we put on our business-colored glasses and go to bat for our creative rights on countless levels… from putting boundaries around our time, sharing our work with others, signing contracts, agenting our agents, marketing our wares, and doing everything we can to make a difference. You know, hustling our soul muscle.

We become wheelers and dealers of our story, the one that happens to be comprised of our sacred blood, sweat and tears, because very few (arguably none?) writers are satisfied with their writing remaining unread. Because that is being a professional.

But this shift from inward expression to outward negotiating can feel unnatural.

Most writers harbor an undeniable recluse in their creative caverns. We’re most often introverts masquerading as extroverts in order to get more business. And while there are plenty of storytellers that are just as at home in front of a crowd as behind their computer screen (or feather plume, if you like to kick it old school), for most, the business of making your story matter seems to call upon a character that’s more strategy than soul. And it holds us back.

But does “getting heard” have to be so intimidating? Does publishing your story have to feel less natural than writing it? What if you did business the way you do creating – from your soul? A win-win experience for you and everyone you come into contact with.

Next time you find yourself trying to get expert interviews, round up beta readers, establish a team, send out queries, interview agents, make an affiliate program, form strategic partnerships, get editing advice, request feedback, shares, likes, or money – try asking a few soul-centered questions:

How can I be consistent with my message and offer the most value while connecting with this person or community? How can I create meaning, even in how I promote myself? What’s inspired and universal about what I’m up to? What purposeful, beautiful work wants to be birthed through me? As you build your brand with these higher ideals in mind, you’ll know that it’s not just about acceptance or rejection, contracts, advances, proposals, likes, shares, rights, and royalties.

It is those things, sure. But it’s also so profoundly about forming relationships, generating meaning, nourishing your message for as many as possible, and ultimately, blessing your bank account. (Which, by the way, over time, will allow you to shower your daughters with presents on your birthday, creating memories that will sparkle many years later.)

Heart to heart is a powerful approach. Personal touch is underrated.

So while you’re hustling for that dollar, remember, the universal currency is soul. Remember the example of Alfred Eugene and make it a win-win all the way.

Yours,

Linda xo

P.S. Who’s inspired you to create win-wins in business? Give them some shout-out love in the comments here.

LoveOnTheOtherSide_coverP.S.S. One of the greatest win-win relationships of my life is with the beautiful soul, Arielle Ford. This FREE ebook is on a topic close to my heart, connecting with love ones–soulmates, even–on the other side. Arielle and I have had some powerful conversations about how we’ve received amazing signs and guidance from our loved ones… her sister, my parents… on the other side. Gives me goosebumps. Check it out here. 

Dec 18, 2014   /   Read More   /   12 Comments

Becoming a Writer by Showing Up

Happy almost Thanksgiving (for you Americans)…

Year after year, one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life has been my decision to become a writer.

In August 1993, I woke up with a dream in the middle of the night that showed me six books I was “supposed” to write. The dream was like a detailed vision, revealing how to write the books, how to format them, and even what to title them.

But just because I’d been gifted a vision, didn’t mean it was a done deal. I had to decide to commit to the craft of writing. Trouble was, I’d never trusted I could be an author, even though that’s all I’d ever wanted. Coming from a family of geniuses, I figured I wasn’t smart enough. “I’m just the fun, athletic one,” I remember thinking.

But the dream was so specific. It was as if my unconscious and God teamed up and said, “We’re going to smack you over the head with this and make it so damn obvious that you won’t be able to ignore your dreams any longer.”

Early on, I tried to strike a deal with the Almighty: “Alright. You’ve given me this vision; you’ve given me an ache. I trust that. I believe in that. So I’m going to do my part. I’m going to show up every day at 3 a.m. Please continue to show me what to do.

I did show up every day from 3 a.m. (to 6 a.m.). That might sound exhausting, but I found it the only time to really hear–both myself and my “guides” (yeah, I’m a believer). It wasn’t like I already had the ideas fully fleshed out and could set aside a chunk of time in the afternoon when our kid was at school and my then-husband was at work. I’d married an actor who was home much of the time, and our three-year-old wasn’t yet in school. If the two weren’t rolling around on the floor like pit bull pups, our boy followed us around and threw Nerf balls at our heads. In other words, home was not conducive to undisturbed writing time. Which is how the middle of the night became my sanctuary, my chance to dance with and co-create with my muse.

It was pretty sexy (not), hunched over, furiously scribbling onto my notepad at the bottom of my closet with a flashlight. I laugh now when I think back on it, but I was hungry. And hiding out in my little cave each night until the dawn made me feel legit and tapped in. It appeared I was taking dictation. My husband looked at all this output after about three weeks and said, “Crap, Woman! If this is real, because it looks real, let’s get you a computer.”

When we moved to the middle of nowhere… onto 365 acres of raw land in the high desert mountains of northern New Mexico, it got even more complicated. We were building a house. We were sitting at the feet of Native American Indian Medicine Men. We were on a soul quest. The kid hadn’t yet started kindergarten. For a long time we didn’t even have insulation or electricity (my laptop ran on solar power). And still, I’d wake up at 3 a.m. so I could breath daily life into my writing while being a full-time frontier wife + mama.

My drive has never wavered much, but my offices have become significantly roomier and more comfortable over the years. And, I think I still have a few (hopefully more) books in me ☺.

How about you? Have you told your muse, your god, or your writer within that you’re committed to showing up? Can your partner see the evidence of your commitment? Give it up. Let us know in the comments below what you’re willing to do to commit to your writing practice this Holiday season. Be bold! And, take out your calendar, diary, day planner and get it scheduled. Make it real. Once you declare when, where, and how often you’ll be there (subject to change, with your evolving life), everything gets easier. Unless you decide to meet with your muse at 3 a.m. in a closet with a flashlight. Or, move to a place where you’ve got to trek to an outhouse at 3 a.m. in 10 degrees. That won’t be easy, but man will it be an adventure!

Yours,

Linda xo

Nov 26, 2014   /   Read More   /   31 Comments

I’m thrilled to announce live OPEN BOOKS event with Danielle LaPorte, Justine Musk + Me!

Danielle LaPorteJustine Musk and I have been designing a very special event for you.

And I finally get to announce it! 

Up-level your creative career + light your aspirations on fire in one magical day.

Have you ever had something you’ve been struggling with resolved in a flash? It happens when you’re talking with the right people.

You know, the perfect book, blog, or business name shows up in a short brainstorm.

That essential, elusive how-to appears because you asked an insider.

The missing piece of your promotion plan falls into place as you’re talking with people who’ve been there (and back).

The book angle publishers will love is handed to you by someone who midwifes best sellers.

The resource that will be a game-changer for you…
The name of someone you really should get to know…
The example that will light up your own plan…

Danielle LaPorte, Justine Musk, and Linda Sivertsen — three writers, entrepreneurs, and publishing insiders — have created a day like this for you.

The 2 Authors

OPEN BOOKS is an exclusive, creative-business building experience for writers, aspiring authors, and other artful entrepreneurs.

We’re going to brainstorm your project and let you mine our minds to get what you need for your creative goals.

You’ll leave with big, simple, radical, solid ideas, feeling relieved and ready to write, to post, to send the query letter. You will have break-through concepts for your pitch, your platform, and leveraging your ideas. You will know if you’re going to self-publish or go after a traditional deal. And, you will likely have some new fascinating, supportive friends in your orbit.

REGISTER NOW

We’ve got you covered

Between the three of us, we’ve authored over 15 books and online programs.Danielle has done traditional publishingrogue self-publishing, and evenagented other people’s books in her early days. She built her subscriber and social media base to over 300,000+. Linda has books (yes, multiple books) on theNew York Times Bestseller list; she’s mid-wifed nearly a hundred books for other authors and helped them land publishing deals. Justine has writtencontemporary fantasy novels and is now moving into the Young Adult genre; she has landed serious articles in major women’s fashion magazines and speaks oncreativity and the feminist spirit, including her TEDx Talk, The art of the deep yes.

Fiction, non-fiction, memoir. We’ve done it. Agents, publishers, online marketing geniuses, printers, designers, publicists, editors — we know them — a lot of them. Email lists and traffic building, badges, affiliate programs, team building — we’ve wrangled it. Apps — we’ve launched them. Money making — we do it. Writer’s block — we don’t believe in it.

We have failed — big time. We have been rejected — more than once. We have succeeded, for real. We’ve hit it out of the park in our respective markets, industries and genres (and new genres, topping the apple charts with multiple iphone apps: The Boyfriend Log & Conversation Starters). We’ve got you covered.

Event details

Think of this as a live think-tank intensive built around YOUR need + questions. A very full day where you get not one or two, but three experts to brainstorm your book, blog, or business.

A Q&A-style infusion of creative counsel, straightforward encouragement, and hard core how-to’s.

But we’re only part of the program… priceless connections will be made with your fellow participants + insights will emerge as they raise their hands to chime in, or grab the mic to ask their own questions, revealing what’s working (and not) for them.

It all happens at General Assembly in Santa Monica.

GA

Date: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Time: 10am to 6pm

Place: General Assembly, 1520 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA

Tickets: $900 – includes lunch, snacks, beverages, and a few magical extras you’re not going to believe (and will forever cherish… uh huh). And, every participant receives Your Big Beautiful Book Plan ($150 value — which you can gift to someone else if you already have it.)

Why this is absolutely worth it:

  • You will majorly flatten your learning curve in this one day experience. We’re going to save you months of hard lessons and a few very expensive mistakes.
  • This will equate to hours and hours of expert consulting and workshops in a one day intensive.
  • You’re a business. You can write this off as an education/consulting/or training expense.
  • Linda’s Carmel Writer’s Retreat is $8000. Danielle doesn’t do one-on-one strategy work any more (and when she did, she was $1000/session). Justine’s brain should be hired out by the CIA.
  • This is the step toward valuing your creativity, investing in your future, andclearing the way for more prosperity to be generated.

REGISTER NOW

We will feed you, treat you, surprise you with surprises and turn up the dance music when you need it. This will be intimate, supremely useful, and full of laughter and STRATEGY.

Ask us anything. No question is too big or too small. We’re all about you on this day. Getting you from idea to done. Out into the world, where your words and your message… and YOUR influence… belong.

You’ll leave with focused plans.

We’ll be sharing our stories and breaking down our systems of success. Here are just a few of the things we can help you with in-person on this unique day:

self publishing vs. traditional
bestsellers
novels
biz books
spiritually sublime books
bidding wars
digital bestsellers
ebooks vs. print
agent vs. no agent
Kindle, iBooks, audio books
legalities, NDAs, when to share, when to keep it close
big charitable giveaways
social media empire building
media hits (New York TimesHuffpo, mags, talk shows…)
app creation in record time + topping the lists
agent connections
editor wrangling
magazine writing
guest blogging
high-end retreats
rockin’ the mic (speaking gigs)
photo shoots
website creation: nuts & bolts
happy traffic
big-time alliances
hiring your dream team — who, what, where?
summits, telecourses, spreecasts, hangouts
youtubin’ it
video creation
ghostwriting
pay-what-you-can days
blogs + blog-to -books
the future of publishing
birthing it all… from ideas to deals
building your list
good design
team building
writer’s block (a myth)
book clubs + groups
courage
and impromtu “downloads” on your specific situation — your book, blog, biz, + more!

 

LOCK IN YOUR SPOT NOW

ABOUT DANIELLE LAPORTE
Danielle LaPorteDanielle LaPorte is the creator of The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals With Soul, and the iTunes bestseller, Conversation Starters app. She’s also the author of the bestseller, The Fire Starter Sessions (with Random House/Crown), and co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. An inspirational speaker, poet, former think tank exec and business strategist, she writes weekly at DanielleLaPorte.com, where over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice — a site that’s been deemed “the best place on line for kick-ass spirituality,” and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes. You can also find Danielle on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and of course, Twitter @daniellelaporte — which The Huffington Post called one of “12 of The Wisest Twitter Accounts Worth Following.”

ABOUT JUSTINE MUSK
Justine MuskJustine Musk was a small-town kid who never fit in and ate books for breakfast. At school during recess and lunch, she hid in the library stacks and read her way through other worlds. By the age of 14, she knew she had to live a writer’s life or die trying. She’s now the author of three dark fantasy/supernatural thrillers, published by imprints at Penguin and Simon & Schuster: BLOODANGELLORD OF BONES, andUNINVITED. Her next novel, The Decadents — or Goddess: A Novel, she hasn’t decided — is a metaphysical/mystical thriller. Justine has written for various anthologies, and published a long personal essay in the October issue of MARIE CLAIRE that created quite the stir. She’s the mother five boys and blogs for wandering, spirited creative women (and the men who love them) at www.JustineMusk.com

ABOUT LINDA SIVERTSEN
Linda SivertsenLinda Sivertsen is the creator of a new iphone app called The Boyfriend Log (because love can get complicated and clarity is queen!), and co-creator ofYour Big Beautiful Book Plan. She’s also the author/co-author/ghostwriter of 8 other books (2 New York Times bestsellers). Other hats include: proposal doctor, author whisperer, editor, agent connector, idea-fairy, and huge-hearted cheerleader of creativity for writers of all genres and every gold-plated publishing dream. One of Linda’s greatest passions is helping aspiring authors birth their books (and ultimately land book deals) at her popular Writing Retreats in Carmel-by-the-Sea. She’s living her creative writing fantasy-life, and wants to help you claim yours. You can find Linda at BookMama.com (named Best of the Web by the Daily Muse), TheBoyfriendLog.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram–her latest guilty pleasure.

Only 120 spots.

REGISTER NOW

P.S. Four-letter words and spontaneous hugs are highly likely.

P.P.S. As we’re promising surprises, here’s our first one: how about a Literary Agent Hook Up?

If you’re an Open Books attendee, you just might receive one.

Laura and Linda

Yep, Laura Yorke, a top agent with the Carol Mann Agency (who has landed book deals for several of Linda’s retreat clients) will read and consider 14 book proposals for representation (a fraction of which will be for Beautiful Writer’s Group participants who also come to Open Books).

Laura’s only stipulation? That you useYour Big Beautiful Book Plan to make sure your proposal is pro before she reads it. (Surprise #2: Your Big Beautiful Book Planwill be given to each OpenBooks guest!)

To up-level your creative career, have a blast, and get your agent connection all in one day, register now. We’ll draw names at the event. Not everyone is interested in writing a book, so it easily could be YOU!

Get your chance.

LOCK IN YOUR SPOT NOW

This is going to be a day to remember. I can’t wait to meet you there!

Linda xo

Sep 10, 2014   /   Read More   /   6 Comments

Why You Need To Be A Writer

You’ve heard it a million times. “On your deathbed, you’ll never regret the hours you didn’t spend at the office.”

Let me tell you a very personal story that explains why I completely disagree with that.

 

When I was 33, I watched my mother die far too young from pancreas/liver cancer. Between the morning she was diagnosed and the afternoon she died, my sister, father, and I had six weeks to say our goodbyes.

Mom lived a full life, with a beautiful marriage, and a smart, cultured, devoted group of friends. She and Dad entertained often; live jazz and/or classical music played throughout the house during long brunches. On weekends, my little sister and I would fall asleep to the happy sounds of laughter as our parents and their best friends gathered for gourmet feasts. Sundays were all about strolling under the redwoods, walking Carmel beach, tootling throughout art galleries, watching the ballet. All in all, pretty soulful stuff.

For as long as I can remember, my mother would look at her husband and daughters and say, “How did I ever get so lucky?”

We were the lucky ones. Mom was an extraordinary woman. But, on her deathbed she admitted that her greatest regret—the thing that haunted her—was that she’d never followed her true calling for her career. As a girl, she’d dreamed of being a librarian, a writer, a journalist—or some combination of the three. Only trouble was; she didn’t know she could.

writinginbed.louveciennes.flickr

You see, Mom’s mother died when she was nine from tuberculosis, and her life was pretty chaotic after that. Grandpa didn’t have money to send my mother to college, and she and her heartbroken father didn’t realize there were scholarships and support to apply for. Instead, Mom went straight from high school to working full time at Sunset magazine as a secretary.

I grew up with this brilliant mind that ended up assisting a scientist at Stanford University. Mom’s boss was a world famous professor of cell biology, who’d written the bible of his field. My mother edited every sentence of his 1,000+ page textbook over and over. She was self-taught.

 

She was grateful she’d been able to use her talent and curiosity to help the career of a very good man. But towards the end, she finally realized the only one holding her back from using those skills for her own creative goals, was herself.

When you lose both of your parents in your thirties – as I did – you learn a lot about the importance of not wasting time. You discover the value of really checking in and finding out what it is you’re aching to do. You start to ask, “What are my skillsets, and how have I always wanted to contribute to others with them?”

Mom was never without a book in her hand. She started a book club at Stanford University that still exists these many decades later. Naturally, she suspected early on that she was wired for writing and editing. Moreover, she was an insatiable reader and researcher. Her passion in all things words-related was obvious.

Yet, even though she was aware of all this about herself, my mama didn’t trust that she could be a writer. She didn’t trust it because she didn’t have that college degree. And, for some reason (partly the times, I imagine) she thought that because she had become a secretary, she had to remain a secretary.

So when people claim, “You’ll never regret the hours you didn’t spend at the office on your deathbed,” my response is, “I’m not so sure.”

If you long to write, I’m not saying writing has to be how you earn a living. I’m just saying that what you devote most of your life’s energy to will matter to you later.

So, one way or another, isn’t it time to find a way to be a writer?

Yours,

Linda P.S. I want to hear from you! Let us know below what you’re going to do today, this week, this year to MAKE the time. xo

Sep 4, 2014   /   Read More   /   55 Comments
 
   

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