Issue #030 | October 18, 2020  


This week: start small, a productivity course for creatives, how to write a children's book, the best self publishing companies, a virtual cocktail making class + more.

I've Got Two Words for You: Start Small

Start small.

Those two words have been keeping me sane this week. 

Because I've got to tell you, I've been looking at my master to-do list for my new project, and wondering: 

'How the hell am I going to pull this off?'

Starting something new makes my heart beat faster than a beatboxer on triple strength Berocca. Building, making, designing, creating something from nothing is fricking intoxicating 😍.

But then the fanfare stops. And reality kicks in. You start freaking out at the bigness of the thing you want to create. 

There's. Soooo. Much. Stuff. To do. 

Decisions to make, copy to write, technology to rumble with, marketing to plan. And that's on top of creating the actual product.

I'm in this giddy, overwhelmed place. Where I'm unsure about a bunch of stuff, but my internal Sat Nav is telling me to keep going. So every now and then, when I'm feeling out of my depth, I activate butt-kick mode. 

I remind myself to start with some small task each day. I tell myself that:

It's OK to take it slow.

It's OK to not know all the things.

It's OK to only spend 15 or 20 minutes a day on it (if that's all I've got the time or mental energy for).

heres to the crazy ones quote - not fitting in

What's not OK, is doing nothing. 

Because for ambitious folks like us, who have the heart and vision to create. Who want to one day start a personal blog, write a book, launch a course, open an online store. We're never going to be content with doing nothing about our dreams.

What's not OK, is allowing the days, weeks, months, years to pass by and still being in the same place. 

Because, "I want to start a [fill in the blank]" will one day turn into "I'm too old to start a [fill in the blank]." And that's some lame ass BS excuse that society, and non-creators want you to believe. That indoctrinated pattern of thinking holds so many back... but that's a rant for another day.

Look, all I'm saying is (if you really want to do the thing) that you've got this.

Start small. Break that big, scary goal into bite sized chunks. Chip away at it everyday.

Yes, even if you're just starting to learn the skills. Take what you can from that course or book, and execute as you go.

You don't have to wait until you've finished the course before you make a start. Because trust me. You'll go through that entire course, and still feel as though you don't know enough, or you're not ready enough. 

And so you'll read a few more blog posts, buy another book, watch more videos... maybe even take another course. To reassure yourself that you know everything there is to know.

Meanwhile, the days, weeks, months are rolling by.

When I first started tinkering with WordPress in 2011, the thought of building a website felt way beyond my capabilities. I had to break the process down into baby steps. 

So I'd watch a video on how to do a specific thing, then I'd apply that thing to my site. The next day I'd do the same. And so on and so forth. 

I focused my attention on the small actions I needed to take to get me to the next step. Until one day I had a website (and yes, my first site was fugly as heck, but it was my baby).

It's a lot like writing a book. 

If you sat down to write the whole book all in one go, you'd go out of your freaking mind. But if you set yourself a goal to spend 20 minutes everyday to write, you'd get it done.

So start small.

It's what I keep reminding myself to do. It gives me the juice to build the momentum, and the confidence to keep going. 

It'll do the same for you.


P.S. I'm not ready to do a big reveal on my new venture just yet (I promise it's coming, it's coming). 

But if there's a new project you want to start, and you feel like sharing, my inbox is open. I love hearing about what you're up to.

Quick Tips & Cool Tools

✨ The lies we tell ourselves about creativity

  • It's about talent
  • It's about luck
  • It's about having stinkingly good ideas
  • It's about who you know
  • It's about your education
  • It's about living in the 'right' place
  • It's about having time

"The world is filled with successful part-time writers and artists. Unfortunately, the world is also full of people waiting around for the day when they have β€œenough time” to finally pursue their art."

β†’ Skinny Artist

✨ A workflow, time management and productivity course for creatives (or anyone needing to get stuff done)

  • I took this course some time back, and found it really useful. It'll show you how to take a big project (or several projects) and break them down into manageable chunks. 
  • Lisa Congdon (the course instructor) runs through the process of setting up and managing your workflow, time blocking and a rolling to-do list (this particular class gave me the permission I needed to stop cramming too many tasks into my week).

β†’ Creative Live

✨ How to write a children's book in 9 'easy' steps

I don't think it's easy to publish a children's book (or any other book for that matter). Nothing worth investing your time in is 'easy'. 

That said, the process of writing the book is fairly simple. When you break it down. This article does a good job of outlining the steps involved, including: 

  • Choosing your children's book format and category.
  • Understanding your target audience.
  • Writing style and understanding story elements.
  • How to name the book. 
  • The ins and outs of how to plan the illustration of your book.

β†’ Kindlepreneur

✨ Self publishing vs traditional publishing

  • The thought of finding an agent to help publish a book can feel like a drag. But there's an alternative to going via the traditional route. It's called self publishing, and it could help you bring your book to market quicker.
  • The divide between traditional and self publishing is a lot smaller, with the majority of authors opting to publish independently. Why? Because you get to keep the rights to your book, you get full creative freedom and earn higher royalties.
  • Traditional publishing requires an agent. You get an editor, help with distributing your book and some help with marketing. But you still have to do the bulk of the marketing yourself.
  • If you intend on pursuing a career as an author, prepare to build your brand. That means creating a website, blogging, and growing a social media following.

β†’ Joseph Writer Anderson

✨ 12 of the best self publishing companies

  • And, if you do decide to self publish either a print or eBook, it's good to know what your options are. 
  • This list includes Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Barnes & Noble Press, IngramSpark, Blurb and other great places for indie authors.

β†’ Reedsy

✨ How to make more time for yourself (and your creative work)

  • Figure out why you want more free time. What is it you are hoping to do with it? How important is that to you?
  • Find something you'd be comfortable giving up. Either by delegating it away, outsourcing, doing less of, or eliminating. 
  • Then reschedule your calendar with your new priorities.

β†’ Real Simple

Caught on Twitter

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Just for Fun!

Take a virtual cocktail making class. You don't even have to leave your house to get the supplies. This Boozy crew send you all the ingredients and equipment.

β†’ Boozy Events

cocktail making ingredients and equipment