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4 publishing trends for 2019 and how you can use them

New year – new scare.

New insecurities. New questions.

Or more likely: the same old insecurities and questions.

We all carry them into the new year: Will I be a better writer? Make more money? Will my creative business grow?

Seeing the relevant trends and using them to your advantage is key in every industry.

In her podcast and newsletter, Joanna Penn has pointed out the trends of 2019 publishing, and she is a genius when it comes to predicting the future.

Picking up the relevant trends, I’ll show you my ideas and intentions to use them for creative businesses – trying to give you some inspiration and encouragement.

1. The ear reads along

Audio is the next big thing.

I see it in my daily life. I consume more audiobooks and podcasts then I could ever read.

Life has become busy, so we have to consume on the go – while commuting, doing laundry or working out.

“Audiobooks continue to be the fastest growing segment in publishing.”

– Joanna Penn

Christine Munroe from Kobo Writing Life states:

“KWL direct audio uploading will be our first major platform update of 2019. We are still taking beta authors so anyone with audio files ready to go should email us at writinglife@kobo.com I’m exceptionally excited to add to the growing number of options authors have for reaching audiobook fans around the world.”

How can you use this trend? These are my goals:

#1 Create mini courses available both in audio and video

#2 Use Audio content marketing with my fiction – releasing a reading of one chapter a week of “Prometheus Rising”

There are many more opportunities. If you can afford a narrator, you could produce audio books or even plays, start a podcast.

2. Digital – not popular with everybody

In this digital age, it might sound surprising: Printed books are a huge opportunity for indies this year.

Print on demand makes it possible.

The ebook market is overflowing with Indies right now. Not so much the print market.

So if you are writing children’s books or cookbooks for example, or just want to get ahead of the crowd, start investing into print book marketing right now.

As a lover of paper books, I will definitely exploit the possibilities of Amazon Print for paperbacks and Ingram Spark for hardbacks, and focus both on ebook and print book marketing for my novels.

3. Learn to play – or pay

“Amazon shifted their focus in 2018 to grow their advertising revenue and this means that it is now a pay-to-play environment, in the same way that Facebook shifted a few years back. […] Indie authors will need to up-skill in marketing – either to use ads, or other means to get traffic to their books.”

– Joanna Penn

My first advice: Don’t rely on Amazon.

It can change its rules from one day to another and cost you your whole income if you do.

Knowing your way around AMS and paid advertising is great, but with every year, your focus should be on growing your own platform.

It sure is a good idea to know how to use paid advertising for short sale spikes. But this change is indicating that long-term content marketing remains even more important to drive traffic to your site and your books.

My goals relating to this marketing trend:

#1 Learn AMS and BookBub advertising (for book launches)

#2 Work on content marketing for my fiction (probably SEO friendly blog posts full of great content for my target audience, maybe even a new destination site)

4. Why you have to be a team player

“We think collaboration will be huge in 2019, with a greater number of authors working together to produce more and better work and to find and reach new readers. “Collaborative and cooperative” will become the buzzwords for 2019.”

Kevin Tumlinson at Draft2Digital

I loved collaborating in 2018 when I produced a storytelling online course with a great friend and amazing German blogger.

Collaboration fuels your creative energy.

It improves your craft.

And it opens news doors.

Think how you can collaborate this year to grow your business. My thoughts:

#1 Writing about creative collaboration in my 2019 blog posts

#2 Teaming up with a fellow author/blogger for at least one project


What are your goals for 2019 and how are you taking the publishing trends into consideration?

Behind the Scenes of the Book Prometheus Trailer

Let me transport you into the craziest three days I have ever experienced.

As a writer and film director, those exhausting, humorous and rewarding days were both torture and blessing. I learned lessons like:

  • never walk through a highland forest by night (spoiler alert: it’s pitch dark)
  • Glencoe village inhabitants are like family and enjoy the occasional evening bus ride
  • midgies are a plague that cannot be defeated
  • London can look exactly like Scotland in the right angle

I arrived a day earlier to scout the locations, my poor crew & cast finally followed suit late at night, exhausted from the long bus ride from London, unable to appreciate the beauty of the highlands in the darkness.

I had an extraordinary ride myself where I returned the rental car in the nearby Fort William and barely managed to take the last bus to Glencoe, a ride that felt more like a nice family reunion. As I had driven the car through the forest earlier that day, I knew that there was not one street light to illuminate my path me when I had to return by night to our hostel – by foot. The Highlands greeted by with more insecurity than I already had as a young director.

The morning started promising. We marched to the Glencoe mountains where famous film scenes from Braveheart and James Bond have been shot, to follow suit and shoot our first scene (secretly hoping to acquire the same fame). The wind restlessly blew around our ears while at the nearby parking side a man in a traditional kilt was playing the bagpipes. I felt like William Wallace already. Especially exciting turned out to be our “epic drone shot” as everybody came to call it.

From here, we went to a nearby secluded mountain bothy that stood at a stunning backdrop of the Glencoe mountains – a panorama that one had trouble believing was real.

The stunt coordinator had arrived and was preparing the actors for the stunt scenes with the soldiers. These, by the way, were crew members, who had the time of their lives learning how to fight on camera.

The wind had ceased by now.
We shot the wide scenes at the cabin when suddenly, an unforeseen plague of parasites infested us like the Egyptians – midges. How else can I describe midges but tiny little vampires the size of a breadcrumb? They come like a horde and befall everything that has a warmer temperature than the 15 degrees of the Scottish Highlands. There was no escaping them. No spray, to shield, nothing.

We had to wrap up before we could get all the shots, in the hope the plague would subside in the morning. It didn’t.

Without any solution yet, we moved on to the next location – a former military airbase in the southwest of Scotland. As this was a night shoot, we began with the inside shots and moved outside as soon as it grew dark.

The crew was enthusiastic but exhausted by now.
The D.O.P. made an amazing job of lighting both interior and exterior. We could even ignite some fires in barrels. The rest was inserted in postproduction.

Let’s see if you can tell that the close-up shots at the cabin were actually shot in a park in London? You’ll be amazed at what film magic can do.

Those three days have been exhausting. But during this time, we produced amazing imagery, met incredible people and learned a lot about film production and adventure.

Now here’s the result:

Azores – Prepare for the Unexpected

Things in life often happen not the way we expect.

Our plans are disrupted. Our expectations are disillusioned.

The same happened to me while I was travelling the Azores this summer. It is a magical island full of treasures to discover, so naturally, there were many expectations. And as always in life, things went wrong.

On our first day, my sister and I failed to drive the car up a steep road, caused a huge traffic jam and needed to rely on the help of locals (who are, luckily, very friendly).

On the second day, my sister turned pale on the boat of a whale watching tour, fainted and scared both me and the other participants to death. To top it all off, we had a car accident on the third day.

This is only to name a few major things that did not go the way we planned it.

These things happen. The question is: What do we do with those things? And can we prepare for them? Avoid them?

Can we be ready for the unexpected?

Continue reading

9 misconceptions that will ruin your vacation

How to recharge your creative well during the holidays

The vacation you’ve been anticipating for months is finally here. You’re three days in, and you feel tired. Just tired.

Can you identify?

Sometimes I grow sick during the first days or am just tired after the holiday week instead of energized and filled with new ideas.

Why?

Because we enter the holidays with misconceptions about how we need to spend them. Get rid of them and replace them with the right principles, and you’ll see how your travelling will inspire you, recharge you and do great things to your creative life.

This time, I wanted to do things differently.

I’m writing this post from Sao Miguel, a Portuguese island that is part of the Azores.

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1. Don’t burn out before the vacation

Misconception #1: “I need to work more now and can relax on vacation later.”

Especially as a freelancer (who does not get paid during vacation), I work like crazy to make up for the time spend on holiday. The two weeks before my vacation are insane: I sleep 4 hours a day and need to work through dozens of projects.

Make sure you don’t work yourself into a burnout. Your vacation will not make up for it, on the contrary.

When I work overwork myself and then stop and relax on vacation, I instantly get sick. My body is not pushed to its limits anymore. It senses that it can relax now, and hands me the bill for the hardships it had to endure.

Don’t be fooled: the bill will come sooner or later. Know your limits, and don’t push them, especially not before a vacation.

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2. Take your time to settle in and adjust

Misconception #2: “I only have a week (or two), I need to get started with the sightseeing program right away.”

No matter how far you travel, your body and mind need to adjust. We don’t notice it at once: Even the slightest time or climate difference can influence your health. Give yourself enough time to adjust, at least a day.

Don’t rush off on the first day into a crazy sightseeing program. Instead, use your free day to sleep in, walk around your neighbourhood, test a restaurant and just enjoy your day off. This will give your body time to adapt and your mind time to refocus.

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3. Plan the “quiet” time where you can read, write or ponder

Misconception #3: “I have only a limited amount of time, I have to see as much as possible.”

If you rush through your vacation with a packed schedule of sightseeing, you will return tired.

Plan intentionally for a time where you can ponder on life, read the books that have been long due, write, pray, practice mindfulness.

Be serious about this time. Inform your spouse, friends or whoever you are travelling with that this time is important to you.

Your vacation has to recharge you, and it will only if you take the time to be quiet and think about your life, be grateful and do the things you’ve always wanted to. You need to reserve this time for yourself where you can be alone, without a phone or any distraction, and breathe in the fresh summer air or cold mountain breeze.

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4. Be flexible and open

Misconception #4: “I need to stick to a strict schedule.”

It’s good to do some planning. But give yourself space to be flexible, and just do whatever feels right.

Vacation is the perfect time for unrestrictive freedom in contrast to an often strict and stressful schedule at home. Be spontaneous and open for whatever the world might throw at you: friendly strangers, a warm rainstorm, a small secret restaurant you discover, a beautiful sunset.

Wonderful things happen when you least expect them. The most beautiful moments are those we don’t plan. Don’t be too strict with yourself, and do unexpected things. If you’re open, heaven might throw stories at you you will retell years later.

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5. Don’t throw your routines completely overboard

Misconception #5: “I’m on holidays, I don’t need to stick to my routines here (e.g. workout, writing a.s.o.)”

As a successful creative, you have certain routines that help you reach your goals: a workout schedule, writing times and creative routines.

Don’t throw them completely overboard. Try to build in a workout here and there, and a time where you still work on your creative project. Make sure you enjoy it and it does not feel forced.

If you completely stop, it will be very difficult to get back on track once the vacation is over. If you have kept up some of the work, your routine will organically return.

We love our routines anyway, don’t we?
If not, rethink them. You should learn to love and enjoy the process, create the life you want to lead day by day.

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6. Take time for meaningful conversations

Misconception #6: “I need this time to myself.”

Try to find a balance here.

As mentioned above, loneliness is important.

But as important are those deep and meaningful conversations that build you up and provide connection. That’s why we need to choose our travel partners carefully. Travel with people you can connect with.

If it’s your spouse or partner, it’s the perfect time to get the feelings out in the open, find forgiveness and fresh romance. If you travel with friends, make sure you show interest in their lives. This will fuel you with ideas – if you take time to see what people around you need.

Because this is what our work is about.

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7. Take your time to soak in the place and listen to what it does to you

Misconception #7: “The key are great instagram pictures.”

Whenever you visit a sightseeing spot, don’t rush through it and leave for the next one.

There is a lot to see and we don’t want to miss anything.

But don’t allow FOMA (fear of missing out) haunt you even on vacation. Enjoy the places you are at right now, take time to soak in the views, feel the cold water on your skin and the sand between your toes, feel the wind brushing your hair.

Instragram pictures are not everything. You will miss the views searching for the right angle.

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8. Work through personal issues and rethink your goals and methods

Misconception #8: “I’m on vacation: I can take a pause from thinking.”

Our world is so filled with distractions and things we have to do that we rarely have the moment to sit down and look into our hearts. Instead, we throw issues in there like trash and hope they will recycle somehow. But the opposite happens – your heart rots from the inside.

There are people who desperately want escape thinking, really pondering about the problems, their life goals, and their future. They shut down their hearts. But your heart is the place where life flows from. If you let it become bitter, you will drain the joy from your life.

There are many things that bother us creatives: insecurity, self-doubt, fear, frustration – to name a few. We always battle them, but we have to look at them face to face sometimes and challenge them directly instead of ignoring them day in day out.

If you are honest with yourself and think about what you want to change to sort your life out and live your dreams, you can really live from the heart.

Use your holidays to do that: Look on your life, inside your heart, be honest with yourself and rethink where you are going.

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9. See it as a possibility to gather ideas

Misconception #9: “Vacation has nothing to do with my creative work.”

If you view your creativity as a lifestyle rather than a job, you won’t seek a separation. Your vacation can fuel you with story writing ideas and give you perspective if you look for it.

If you love what you do, you will seek for an opportunity to live it out wherever you are. While you travel and behold the wonders of this world, have a great time with family and friends and enjoy yourself, look out for everything that can inspire: experiences, places, words, thoughts – and write them down.


How great is the feeling when you come back from a vacation and are filled with ideas and creative energy! With these 9 travel hacks, you will have a holiday fueled for the next creative adventure and inspired to get back to your routines.

Still struggling with your routines? Here are 8 steps to create a sustainable daily life and ensure creative success.

Hidden Content

Look beyond the impossible – an artist’s insight while travelling Israel

Israel is a different world.

Full of history, fights, adventure, and depth.

It inspired me in many ways.  But mostly, it inspired me to look beyond the impossible and broaden my worldview.

Our journey began at Lake Genezareth, like the calm before the storm. How can there be a storm on a lake?

Mostly, the waters are calm. But after noon, something changes inside of them. It stirs. It moves.

The water rises to refresh you with splashes, and you’re surprised that it’s not salty. Of course not, it’s just a lake. But it does not feel this way.

It plays with you, teasing you with the fact that the impossible can be made possible here. A lake, a sea. Things are not what they seem.

The Golan Heights glance over the Syrian border. A deserted and broken city lies directly at it.

Is this really how Syria looks now? My heart suddenly aches.

The phenomenon continues. Wherever Israel ends, the green postures end. The trees end. Everything that is left looks deserted. You cannot shake the impression that something is unique about this country. But what?

The desert stretches far, its formations rise and fall like liquid mountains glittering in the blinding sunlight. Then, further to the horizon, the Dead Sea breaks the bleak stones. Like a rebellion, the water washes the sandy desert with fresh blue colors. Further to the horizon, mountains of the Jordan rise to end the Dead Sea.

Drowning in there is impossible. The water, so full of minerals, pulls you up, makes you float. This is the lowest point on earth, 423 meters beyond sea level. The impossible made possible once again.

Jerusalem is a city of controversy. It’s a clash of worlds, and at times seems like the center of it. On every corner, there are different houses of prayer. But does God need one?

Jerusalem throws questions on worldview, religion, meaning, and God directly in your face, confronting you with yourself and daring you to decide where you stand.

It’s different to the European mind. It’s another world, fascinating and repelling at the same time.

Then, the Mediterranean Sea. Reminding you of its endless possibilities.

The temperature is perfect, the water is a clear blue, the sand soft and warm. And while bathing in this beauty, military helicopters frequently pass the beach.

The people here fought against all the odds. They never gave up, surrounded by enemies. How was it even possible for them to win? Was it a supernatural blessing? Or just their overwhelming desire to protect their families who counted on them?

It seems surreal, even now. Impossible things to the human mind, yet reality.

Travelling as a writer in Israel inspired me to look beyond the horizon, beyond the possible. The stories and fates told here are endless material for story writing ideas.

Often we stick to our narrow understandings and thoughts of things are supposed to work. Our worldview is the product of what our parents taught us, our teachers, and what we learned to be true over the course of time.

But there is so much more to be discovered. Much more to see what we haven’t seen yet, especially for creatives and writers.

This is what Israel taught me: to look at the impossible things I encounter in life (making a living with my art, relationships that seem broken, ideas that reach a dead end) and believe that there might be ways and possibilities I’m unaware of yet.

Look beyond the impossible.

Think the unthinkable.

This is what we creatives should be doing, this is what makes us creative, after all

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What were the places that inspired you? 

Do creatives need a fitness journey?

(plus my personal workout plan)

Terrible stomach pains woke me in the morning hours before the alarm was due.

I looked in the mirror and knew something in my life was off.

I wanted to write. I wanted to be creative. But I was too tired.

My stomach had rebelled for months, I haven’t slept enough and my energy levels were constantly dropping. I was unhappy with myself.

This morning, I felt the impact of health on my creativity.

My lifestyle slowly had crept in like a thief, stealing everything before I even knew it. But where would I start if everything seemed off? You probably know this feeling of frustration – needing to accomplish more than you can handle. With this, health remains hidden in the back drawer.

This was about one year ago.

My life had changed in many ways before that morning. I had finished my studies, was recently married and found myself at an impasse, lost and without any goals. But this morning (that was close to the end of the year) moved me to rethink something we often overlook – our daily routines.

Those were my two top priorities: establishing a writing routine and a fitness routine, including healthy eating habits.

Over a year later I can tell you from experience – this is what consistent routines can do for you:

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1. The mirror is not your foe

Since I can remember, I was unhappy with my looks and body shape. I guess it’s every girl’s curse, and nowadays even men have fallen victim. It’s not that I wanted to be skinny, it was just a general feeling of dissatisfaction with my body.

A gym routine changed this completely. And even when the visual results only set in slowly, I feel great, every single time I overcome my inner couch-potato and leave the gym after a workout.

If fitness and exercise belong to your lifestyle, there is no pressure for a quick fix. You will be doing this for the rest of your life, enjoying every minute and gradually seeing results.

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2. Stress is less of an issue

Physical workout releases dopamine – a happiness hormone!

It helps you relieve stress and gives your conscious mind time to relax.

3. Consistent triggers help organize the day

My typical day starts with a writing session followed by a gym session. I suddenly feel an incredible consistency and am empowered by it to have more disciple and get more done.

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” – Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

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4. More energy, more health

My stomach pains have stopped since I changed my eating and workout habits, and I feel much more energized throughout the day.

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5. Confidence

The fact that you can establish a workout routine and change your body provides confidence in other areas of life.

In other words: I know I can do it! I know I can workout regularly, change my health, and thus I know I can also write regularly and be successful in my business, day in day out.

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6. Success comes in smaller portions

We all want INSTANT change. The quick fix. The prompt diet.

But this is not how life works.

Instant changes never last: We might hunger to lose weight, but as we start eating normally again, it will be back up. We might get a one-hit-wonder, but how long will it last?

This is not what I want. I want my body to change over time, and I want to maintain my body shape. This requires a lifestyle of working out. That’s why I urge everybody to find a workout they love, and they can imagine doing for at least the next five or ten years.

The same goes for our dreams and careers. If we put in daily work over time, the things will change for good. It’s the universal law of seed and harvest – it always works.

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7. More ideas

Story writing ideas come easily in the gym.

During a workout, our conscious mind is distracted and gives the subconscious space to develop the ideas we have been researching for and pondering over for days and weeks.

Sometimes, they come later – in the shower.


A workout plan for creatives

Creatives mostly perform sedentary work. We live in another world – where art and stories matter more than laundry and lunch.

So in order to have a successful workout routine, you need to bring in your creativity and personality into this as much as you do with your stories. You need to find a workout you enjoy, and this can be anything that fits into your daily life: jogging, hiking, swimming, team sports, dancing, bodyweight or weight lifting. The list is endless, and exercise will quikcly become “your thing” once you find the right one.

You only need 3 months

Three months.

This is all you need to establish a habit.

So on those mornings where you feel like staying in bed instead of heading out into the gym, know this: The torture will end. There will come a time where exercise will become as natural as breathing and brushing your teeth.

To survive those three months, find a workout programme that fits your needs and will instruct you, help you understand your body and lead you through the workout you chose.

I had been very insecure about the gym and especially the weightlifting area. A 12-week programme lead me into all the necessary basics one after another. Find a programme to kickstart your journey and stick to it for three months!

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Find your personal plan

Be realistic about how you want to work out and be flexible until you find your ideal routine.

If you can work out only 3x a week for 30 minutes – great! But don’t feel pressured to exercise 5x a week for hours just because others do. You will fail if your goals don’t fit your schedule.

Build up your exercise as you go — make it more complicated, find people to follow on YouTube to spice up your gym time. Be creative about your fitness journey: learn to understand your body and come up with new exercise splits, sets and supersets yourself.

 

The 70/30 rule – What are the 70 %?

Nutrition.

This is the magic formula, the 70 % of your success.

If you want to keep creating for a long time, you need to start consciously thinking about what you put into your body.

Knowledge and simplicity are key.

You need to understand macronutrients and micronutrients.
If I can recommend one unbiased and amazing source of education on healthy nutrition, it is The Food Medic (the two books and also the great podcast).

Breaking down food into large (macro) bits, it consists of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

“Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts.” – Dr. Hazel Wallace, The Food Medic for Life

The golden rules of healthy eating are very simple:
Eat things as they come in nature – fruit, vegetables, meat. Stay away from processed foods. Start reading ingredient lists, and eat everything with a very simple and short ingredient list.

 

Our relationship with food is emotional – and we often don’t realize what we put into our bodies before we start tracking it.

So for the sake of understanding your own eating habits: Start tracking your food with an app like Lifesum for three months to see what you eat and how it breaks down into nutrients. Adjust your diet to be balanced and meet your targets.

Don’t chase current trends like low-carb and gluten-free. Instead, check out the Mediterranean Diet.

Fitness has become a trend online, but we should strive for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle — not a quick trend.

For us creatives, it’s not about the sexy pictures on Instagram, but rather about building a body of work that is impactful. And we can only build if we are healthy and strong.

So let’s use the trend to our advantage.


Do you want to create sustainable creative habits?

Get the “Journey of Desire” routine workbook and the Bonus 8-week course for productivity and storytelling for free.

Hidden Content

The 10 blogs that will take your creative life to the next level

I need my dose of inspiration. Daily.

Yes, I’m a junkie.

There were days where I thought I’d never make it as a writer. Days where I wanted to spit on my routine and just stay in bed, pitying myself.

Those days are over.

Why?

Because of all the amazing people who made it work, and who share it. Their example and encouragement is what took my life to the next level.

Their blogs are a constant resource of inspiration, ideas, information and fun that takes my life to higher grounds. Daily.

They are my dose of daily inspiration, and I know that all creatives need one (or more).

So if you struggle to discover those blogs that are worth your while, let me share my addictions with you.
But beware: You’ll likely to become an addict faster then you think.

The upside: Your creative life will never be the same.

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5 Blogs on Writing

I have to start with writing because this is what my creative life is essentially about. I am captivated by storytelling & stories, and encourage everyone to discover the “untold story” inside of them and write. Just write.

It’s really a fantastic time to be a writer! I do believe that.

But this belief came from studying the following blogs and the life of these people.

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1. Empowerment
The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn

In her podcast, she once emphasized the importance of having an online mentor, and I thought to myself: Well, then it’s definitely you, Joanna!

Joanna loves authors. Her first and foremost aim is to empower them, and that’s how I feel after following her for probably a year now. Empowered.

Reading Joanna’s articles and listening to the podcast is a delight. Especially the introductions always fuel me with new ideas and motivation of how to proceed with my writing. I never miss a podcast now! Her voice radiates an always positive attitude, she is real and genuine about her writing life.

Joanna is a visionary. She started self-publishing before it even was a trend. She started podcasting before everyone else jumped on the train. She is geeky about futurist stuff and loves new development instead of condemning it. This is probably one of the reasons why she’ll never be behind – and you will also be always on top of things reading her blog.

Blog tour:
The blog is filled with resources for independent authors: books, podcast, online courses, tools. Here are some favorites to start with:
A great article and webinar on goals (for 2017, but still worth a look)
A list of articles on editing and recommended editors – a brilliant resource!
Podcast on the future of publishing – geeky stuff.
Joanna is an advocate for going wide instead of Amazon exclusive, here’s why.

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2. Craft
Helping Writers Become Authors – K.M. Weiland

Katie Weiland was my first mentor concerning writing craft.

Craft comes easy with her. It’s practical. It’s doable. And it works.

While I struggled starting my first novel, I stumbled upon her blog and bought her books on outlining and structure – they literally changed my writing life!

I understood the process of outlining which helped me shape my novel. The understanding of structure revolutionized the way I wrote the middle section (Act II) of my novel, which I always struggled with.

Her resources are all about practical advice on writing fiction, things you can instantly and easily implement into your routines.

Blog tour:
There is an easy structure to get you through her blog: on the lefthand side, you’ll find the most relevant articles to start with. Don’t miss:
Storytelling according to Marvel – those movies are hyped now, but why do they work?
The story structure database – in order to understand structure, you can study famous books and movies according to their plot points. The database is always updated!
The 5-step game plan to outlining your novel. 
Using Scrivener in writing process – so practical because Katie gives a glimpse on her own writing with Scrivener.

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3. Business
Self Publishing Formula – Mark Dawson

Mark Dawson’s blog and podcast are all about self-publishing. Here, we’re leaving the safe waters of “writing art”, and entering the uncertain ocean of business. But with Mark, this ocean seems not so scary after all.

Let’s face it: we need to market and be able to navigate around the business side of things, because as indies, we’re not just creators but also businessmen (and -women).

This blog is a treasure chest full of great tips and tricks, which are often technical. Mark makes navigating the ocean of self-publishing doable, manageable. With the blog, it’s easy to achieve real-life, hands-on results.

But Mark does more. Just look at the way he presents his blog visually – he makes it fun and straightforward!

Blog tour:
I love the visual look of the blog! It makes business look easy, and the content will confirm it. Navigating is simple as all podcasts are available in transcription as well. A great place to start:
The One Thing I Wish I’d Known When Starting My Indie Author Career 
How to start an Indie Publishing Empire
Masterclass on Amazon Ads

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4. Skill
Fiction Notes – Darcy Pattison

Darcy’s blog is all about the little details. Literally. She emphasizes the importance and skill of colorful and extraordinary descriptions.

Her posts are short, but sum up the issue in a nutshell.

For everybody who needs a little something to inspire and fix your writing life quickly, this is the blog to go to.

Blog tour:
The blog is divided into several categories, but the best way is to just dive into it. Open up any post that grabs you by the title, and give it several minutes to refresh your motivation.
A short article on the most important rule: Show, don’t tell.
Spice up scenes that you think are good (but boring).
A great and inspiring note on a novel by Janet Fox. 

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5. Writing Life
Nicole Bianchi – a lifestyle blog for writers

Nicole writes a lifestyle blog for writers. And she borrows from those who have gone this way long ago: Hemingsway, C.S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Arthur Conan Doyle – the list goes on.

Films about writers, famous authors’ unusual hobbies and lots of articles on writing productivity. This is a blog full of practical tips and tricks for the everyday writing life that will sometimes “wow” you, and motivate you to actually WRITE (which we too often get distracted from).

Blog tour:
Her blog is easy to navigate. There is a “Start Here!” section, a writing resources tab and a Facebook group of fellow writers to join. Those are my absolute favorite articles on classical writers:
5 Writing Tips from Ernest Hemingway – number 1 was an eye opener.
C. S. Lewis’s Letter to a Young Writer – five inspiring rules which are more about the semantics, sentences, and words.
How to Use Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule to Reach Your Writing Goals — not about a writer per se, but lots to learn about schedule and success.

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2 blogs for inspiration & story ideas

As a filmmaker, I am a very visual person. I derive most of my inspiration from films, scenes, lights, camera and moods.

I am also convinced that it is important to take glimpses of the diverse forms of art, be it music, fine art, photography or design.

Those two blogs are my absolute favorites to look for inspiration in other arts.

1. Visual Inspiration
Joey L. – photographer

One of the top character writing tips is to pick a picture for your main characters. Have their faces visually in front of you.

Joey is a Canadian-born photographer based in New York. His portfolio is a magic box to write characters. Just scroll through it. Every picture tells a story, is speaks of lives, darkness and light, families, relationships and adventures.

Blog tour:
The travel videos and on set photos offer great insight into his work, in particular for photographers and filmmakers. For those, he also has a tutorials section where he disassembles his work and his campaigns.

“Dudes with cameras” is another quirky and humorous web series that offers insight into the unpredictable life on set. Truly outstanding inspiration and information here for every creative!

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2. Art that inspires
Creative Boom

Creative Boom is a famous online magazine where you can find everything – literally everything when it comes to art.

The focus lies on art, crafts, graphic design, illustration, photography and travel, the latest gadgets and books, interviews with creatives.

Blog tour:
The blog is divided into four categories: Inspiration, Tips, Resources, and Features.

My favorite is definitely the Travel section in the Inspiration tab, including posts like:
A creative’s guide to Paris
These Islands: Portrait of the British Isles told through powerful imagery, prose and poetry
10 places to find creative inspiration in Amsterdam
There are also posts on inspirational workspaces, tips on freelancing, marketing and clients and all kinds of resources.

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3 blogs on lifestyle

Lifestyle is the sum of the days we live – day in, day out. It is our routine.

The optimization of our daily routine is what makes our creative lives successful. We need to know how to use our time wisely.
Those were the blogs that changed my routines, helped me live more productively and altered my outlook on everyday life.

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1. Habits
James Clear

This one is probably the best blog on productivity and habits! It contains endless articles and resources on lifestyle topics, and it really helped me understand how the human mind and habit forming works.

At its core lies the question: How can we live better? James answers it in two ways. On one hand, by trying to understand the forces that shape failure and success, on the other hand, by applying the principles to everyday life.

Blog tour:
Start by just clicking on the Articles category where James will lead you through all the aspects his blog contains.
My favorites are:
How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide – this is a mind changer when it comes to habit building.

For a More Creative Brain Follow These 5 Steps. Many say: I’m just not creative. This is a lie. Everybody can be creative, I honestly believe that. This is a misconception, and those five steps will help everybody kickstart their creativity.

The Paradox of Behavior Change – find out about the myth of Radical Change that we all believe in.

6 Truths About Exercise That Nobody Wants to Believe – and this leads me to the next (b)log.

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2. Fitness

Get Fit with Whit

Sorry, this one is for the girls. There are probably lots of great resources for men, and I apologize that I have to put my focus on the next two blogs on women, but as a girl, I find it important to stress that our lifestyles and habits might differ from the men in our lives. Which is good, because the differences spice up our lives.

Whitney was a game changer for me, and what I like about her the most is the creativity she proves when making workouts. There is always something new on her channel, and by now, I rejoice like a little kid when Whitney uploads a new workout video.

I cannot do much with the “What I eat in a day” videos – except maybe for the simplicity that Whitney displays when it comes to meal prep – just because European supermarkets are too different from the US. But I’m an absolute fan of her workouts, and they DO work, if you work hard.

Soon in another post, I’ll talk more about workout and fit living for creatives, as this is one of the most important aspects for me.

YouTube Channel Tour:

Start with: Fit Tips with Whit – here, you’ll find videos like fitness philosophy, what to do after a workout, workout schedule and a “beginner’s guide to getting FIT”.

The Highlight: Workout with Whit. Everything you need is here. Everything. High Intensity, leg training, chest, back, arms. And again, I cannot stress it enough, those workouts are creative and never get boring if alternated.

There’s also an excellent section on At Home Workouts. I use them for vacation.

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4. Happiness

The Barefoot Blonde – Amber Fillerup Clark 

This is another blog for women, and I’ll talk some “girly” issues here, so men, feel free to skip to the next one.

I just love this blog because it gives me courage as a woman.

It never takes more then five minutes of my day to skip though the beautiful photos, read a little of the post. But every time I find myself lost in those five minutes, I realize that I’m filled with hope.

There is a beauty and bravery to it, a hope that family life can be amazing, adventurous, filled with happiness, ease, and love.

Just open the blog, the very first post. Have a look at the photos. You’ll catch yourself smiling involuntarily.  You’ll fall in love with it.

What this blog does for me, is, it makes me want a family. It makes me want to throw away the fears and prejudices of being pregnant, or being a mom. When I look at Amber, I am thrilled to have kids.

Sure, I’m aware that life’s not always how we see it in those pictures. There are problems. But this is not what it’s about. It’s about the fact that those happiness moments outweigh the hardships because they are so precious and worth every bit of my time and investment.

Blog tour:
The blog’s highlights are definitely the amazing pictures! There is a certain focus on lifestyle, hair and beauty, but as told above, this is not what the blog gives me in the first place.

Secret Island – love, love, love those pictures and of course those places as I am an absolute world traveler.

60 Tips for traveling with kids and toddlers – great, even for a “not-yet-mom”.

Father’s Day gifts – emotional.

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Bonus: Personal inspiration & mentorship

Having mentors and role models on the internet is important. That’s the beauty of the world we have nowadays: the endless connections we can make with people around the world. But this can and should never replace personal face-to-face encounters and relationships with people whose lives we can actually witness.

Because as we see them living their everyday lives we can witness firsthand how they live what they teach. Personal conversations and exchange of ideas make us grow. Even more do projects we can passionately work on together.

Walter is one of the people in my personal environment who inspires and mentors me.

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Walter Epp

Schreibsuchti  & Endlich lebendig 

Walter is a German blogger who has two different blogs.

He started with schreibsuchti.de, which is primarily a blog about blogging. Over the course of several years, this blog grew to be one of the most popular ones in Germany.

He then started another blog: endlichlebendig.de, which translates as “finally alive” and deals with the topics of a fulfilling life and making money with one’s passion.

Walter recently published a book on Amazon on the subject of time and how to make time for the important things in life, which became a German bestseller in the category of management.

His life continues to inspire me. Walter studied law and finished his first State examination, but he refused to be stuck in a job that he hates. Having a family and kids, he still made the bold step of terminating his clerkship and become a freelance blogger.

I witnessed it all firsthand as our families are close friends. The doubts and criticism he had to face from family and friends, the first hard years they had to go through financially. And this is the power of personal relationships. I have never seen Walter giving up. Ever.

He made a decision not to waste time doing the things he hates but instead focusing on passion and family, and he went through with it no matter what came along. He put in the hard work, the sweat and maybe even tears, and it finally paid off.

If you’re lucky enough to speak German, check out his blogs which are full of inspiring resources and articles, and read his book.

More important though: Look for people in your surroundings for inspiration. Friends. Family. Neighbors. Form relationships and cherish them, and maybe one day, you will be the one to inspire others.


One last word of care: All these resources are made to move you to action.

There are many people who read those blogs, admire and maybe even envy the people, but do nothing. The temptation is there, because actually doing something means moving out of the convenient and comfortable place of pure consumption.

Creatives need a healthy dose of both. If you work non-stop without loading up your creative well and educating, you will eventually burn out and get stuck.

But if you never move to create, your heart will become dull. Those resources will loose their meaning because they are meant to evoke practical change in your own life.

So now, go ahead. Fill up your creative well and start becoming an inspiration for others.

 

Live your story.

Diana