[DAY 8 of 90] Just a bunch o’ Q & A…

Today’s email is going to be a bunch of Q & A with minimal rants.


Because yesterday’s email caused a tidal wave reaction amongst you beautiful subscribers.

Are you surprised?
I’m not.

Emotional writing ALWAYS works. 

Fiction or non-fiction. Copywriting or book writing.

When in doubt, bleed on the page.

Ok, on to Q & A:
Question #1: “I also wanted to ask will you be providing any content on ghostwriters such as where to find them, how much to pay them, what to look out for etc etc?”
If 5 people respond to this email asking for tips of hiring and working profitably with ghostwriters…
… then I will (so basically yes).
I’ve used ghostwriters in the past with great success, but it’s not something I’m focusing on moving forward.
You might have to remind me again to chat ghostwriter stuff. I’ll probably forget.
Question #2: “Can you discuss how you are (and we can be) a great husband and father while undertaking this process of writing and working?”
Disclaimer: Being a dad was way harder than I thought it was going to be.
Most of the time, I look at my kid and think, “Dear God, I’m doing more harm than good… and I’m really, really trying to do good!”
So, to all you parents out there I say:
You are doing better than it feels like you are.
That being said, here’s my approach:
#1. I work when I’m working. 
I don’t Facebook (anymore), I don’t Twitter, I don’t watch Youtube videos.
When I’m taking time away from my kid, I make sure I’m using that time to it’s fullest potential. Otherwise, why waste that time working? I’d rather be playing with my son.
I left all of the fiction Facebook groups I was a part of because I’d find myself spending time late at night answering questions, solving problems etc. for others (without pay) instead of hanging out with my son or wife.
My big 2016 practice that I’m working on is to disengage from all non-revenue generating activities.

(P.S. I’ve told you on several occasions that I will never sell anything to you from this list. And that is true. I’ll never send an affiliate offer. Never gonna launch a course. Never sell you a book. But there are other ways to generate revenue with a list and case study like this without having ANY of my subscribers pulling out their wallets. You’ll see how in about 45 days.)

#2. I steal time from other things. 
Mainly sleep.
#3. I hire help. 

House cleaners, gardener, Blue Apron, virtual assistant, and more.

I’m not going to waste my time scrubbing a toilet when that time is better spent playing with my kid.
#4. I won’t be doing this forever. 
I am still young-ish (30). I’ll be surprised if I’m still working this hard in 3 years. I’d like to be (just) a full-time writer of fiction, maybe writing 3 or 4 hours a day.
Unfortunately, the last time I tried it I went crazy. I need more things to do than that. I like juggling multiple projects at once. Helps my creativity.
I’ve got plans to make it different this time, but the point is, I’m working hard now while the kiddos are young so I can pull back a bit when my son hits around 3rd grade.
#5. I work from home. 

Don’t forget, even my “job” (which is actually a full-time client) is a work from home situation. I still eat dinner with the fam. I still get to tuck my kid in bed at night. I still get to go on hikes with him in the middle of day (work pending).

If you have the opportunity to telecommute for work, I HIGHLY recommend it.
Question #3: My god, how do yo keep at it?!”

I really do like writing.

I mean I hate it. It hurts.

But I love it.
If I didn’t love writing, I would run far away from trying to make money selling fiction. Or copywriting.
If you are trying to be a self-starting/entrepreneurial anything…
Why do something you hate?
You can hate a job because someone just gives you money for showing up.

You can’t hate your own business because there are too many opportunities to quit. To make mistakes. To miss opportunities.

I don’t know that you have to LOVE what you do, but I do know you have to be obsessed.
I am obsessed about writing. All kinds.
Question #4: “My dream is to make a 7 figure income from fiction…I know it can be done, I’ve witnessed it with countless people now. But it’s the first thing to go on the back-burner when I’m tired, depressed, defeated, etc. I don’t show up any way. I think that could be because it’s not how I make my living yet so there’s no “write or you don’t eat” situation going on….but maybe that’s how I should look at it because if I don’t show up everyday to move my writing career forward then I will be in this same spot that I’ve been in for the last 3 years “pursuing my dream””
This isn’t really a question, but I wanted to address it anyways.

Here’s what I want everyone on my email list to do:

Chill out.

Stop calling it “your dream”.

Give it a less intimidating name. Maybe call it your “craft”. Or shoot, do what I do and call it your “job”.

Pursuing “your dream” is big and scary.

Doing your “job” is lame and boring.

Scary = prone to intimidation = the worst kind of procrastination.

Lame and boring = easy to do.

Writing as a career is a funny thing.

I don’t know of any other profession that has worked so hard to romanticize and inflate its craft in the eyes of the public.

Now that I’ve been doing it for a few years, it’s almost laughable.

There is no magic. It’s hard work.

The life of a successful writer looks a lot more like the life of a ditch digger than it does the life of a manor house lady.

Also, no more thinking about the seven-figure writers.

Can you make $1 million a year writing fiction?

Hell yes you can.

And I mean that.

You specifically can absolutely make that much money. I know at least half a dozen people personally who do that consistently.


You don’t make that kind of money all at once.

You make $1,000,000 just one dollar at a time.

Take that grand vision you have, and shrink it down to the one thing you can do right now to make one dollar.

Focus on THAT.

Keep repeating whatever action you took to earn that dollar, and eventually you’ll surprise yourself with how much you can earn.

But if you’re writing books thinking about your seven-figure payday, you’ll never get off the ground.

That’s a guarantee.

Question #4: “Mike please pack all of this stuff into an Ebook or a Course – Pleeeaaase -I will sell it for you!”
Question #5: “how long does it take you sit down and read a book? I mean – really get through it? I find it takes me at least a week or so to get through a James Lee Burke mystery. If I’m reading this correctly you are getting through the same book in around 1-2 days or even faster?”
I am obsessed with efficiency.

It goes back to what I was talking about earlier. When I am working, I want to be 100% working, getting as much done as possible in as little time as possible.

Fortunately/unfortunately, reading fiction is my “job”.

So that means I’ve become a very efficient reader over the years.

Here’s what I do to consume 2 to 3 fiction books per week on top of everything else I study:

My iPod has a permanent home in the pocket of my shirt.

These days, 95% of my fiction consumption is done via audiobook (helps with Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation too to hear books read aloud).

I get all of my audiobooks from the library.

I set the audiobook to 1.5 speed.

And I listen to the book in 10 to 20-minute chunks throughout the day.

When I’m making myself lunch, I pop the headphones in.

When I need a break from writing, I pop the headphones in.

When I go outside to stretch my legs and walk around, I pop the headphones in.

When I have to go to the bathroom, I pop the headphones in.

That means, that I also carry a small notepad and pen with me in the same pocket.

On top of that, I spend an hour-ish listening to the audiobook BEFORE I sit down to write. I don’t recommend this for new writers, simply because it becomes too easy to straight copy what you listen to, but I like getting my mind in the zone.

I also spend about two or three hours in bed (depending on how the day went) listening to the audio books before my busy mind finally calms down enough to fall asleep.

All in all, I average 3 to 5 hours per day of audiobook consumption.

That seems like a lot, right?

I challenge you to do the same.

Get an audio player (most public libraries have them to check out for free). Keep it on your person at all time.

Be mindfully conscious of any downtime/stare off into space time/time that you aren’t actively engaged.

Pop in the headphones.

Watch how fast you end up reading a book.

Also, don’t watch TV.

Conclusion of this email

I just now realized that I forgot to tell you what I did today. Here it is:

I read a bunch, and finally finished the outline.

I am ready to begin writing the prose for draft one.

I plan on starting at 3000 words per day (I will show you how I will be writing that much despite my day job).

And on weekends I will probably up to that to 5,000 to 6000 words per day.

That should put me at 50,000 to 60,000 words within the next two weeks.

Only problem…

I may or may not be traveling one of those weeks, so that will be a challenge to work around.

A challenge I am excited to face.

Anyways, that’s it for today’s email.

It’s a bit long and disjointed, but there’s some good stuff in there.

Keep on writing,

Mike “Needs A Shave” Shreeve