C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

My Top Ten: Becoming a healthier writer

Remember when this blog was about publishing?

It still is, but I’ve got to talk about the author and publisher and our mental and physical health. Without us, there will be no books.

As I write this, I am battling a bad infection. On Tuesday, I find out about some medical test results. In short, things have been tough lately, emotionally and physically. I have a plan to deal with this mortal coil (more on that in a moment) but in the meantime, not much writing is happening. A little, yes, but at George RR Martin speed (i.e. glacial). Once this latest problem gets sorted out, I hope to be free of health scares for a good long time. Sickness and fear is draining. Life, as I have failed to organize it, is draining.

And here’s where the mental game comes in…

This last three weeks has been a series of blows. Most of that problem is mental. I’m not dealing with stress properly. I’m obsessive. I’m negative. I’m focussing on what not to do instead of focussing on what to do. If you spend your energy in the present on what you know you should do, you won’t lose time with regret and anger. I know this because I’ve lost too much time already.

The short story is, I allowed an energy vampire into my lair and he shat in my living room. Two days ago, another energy vampire attacked. I dealt with the problem faster this time, but it still ruined an entire day while I obsessed over what else I wish I’d said to cut him off. When I was younger, I wasted a lot of time being furious. The rage monster is back. I’m not punching walls or anything silly like that. Just seething. That can even be useful when I channel that energy into Misericordia, the beastly vampire in This Plague of Days. It’s less helpful when I argue everything in my head again and again. (At least the revenge fantasy with the torch, the knife and the bag of rats is fun.)

But here’s the paradox:

Writing makes me happy and yet I haven’t been writing enough. A friend asked about my strategies for dealing with negative emotions. For two years, I was free of all this nonsense. Those were the happiest two years of my life. Guess when that was. Yes, it’s when I was at home writing and only writing. Running two struggling businesses at once is a time management problem, though proper use of a calendar and a stopwatch alarm should get that sorted out.

There are many components and variables to health and everyone has to deal with these issues at some point. This is where I make my stand. Turmoil and rage is not a successful life strategy.

Living the way I have been isn’t working.

Underneath the anger is fear, just like Yoda says. I’m afraid of failure and a short life and I’m even more scared of a long life in which my brain and body abandon me. Sometimes, I cry a little and wish I could cry more to let it all out. Mostly, I want to take all the bad in the world into my arms and squeeze until it’s tiny and dead and dust. I want justice and just desserts. I want us to live in a better world and I think, through fiction, we can come at solutions sideways. Even if we can’t save the world through Art, we can save people by giving them harmless vicarious thrills and joyful distractions. Stephen King calls books “escape hatches”. That’s exactly what they are. We write about heroes and heroes affirm our humanity in the face of Darkness. We need these myths as a starting point for our aspirations. There is wisdom and honesty in good writing. With our fiction engines running hot, we can make the hopeful lies true.

I know what to do for myself and these latest health problems are reminders that, yes, I really have to deal with this stuff STAT.

Here are my strategies to protect my brain, body, energy and mood:

1. A diet of plants with some protein on the side. Vegetables are the main thing.

2. Daily movement. It could be dancing or Fight Club or running from bears or chasing criminals through the night in my cape. But keep moving.

3. I built an incredibly cheap treadmill desk ($100) but I find it difficult to compose while walking. A friend gave me a pedal treadmill for Christmas (to use while sitting at my desk). I hope to do better with that.

4. No aspartame. As little processed food as possible. Stevia or xylitol in small measures, okay, but the chemicals I can’t pronounce have to be cleared out.

5. Tracking. The same friend who gave me the desk treadmill gave me a FitBit Flex because (a) he’s awesome and generous and (b) that which is not measured cannot be improved. Everything I eat and do goes into tracking. From graphs and math come course corrections and healthy habits.

6. Closer contact with my doctors. I go for regular physicals, but we’re going to do closer monitoring to make sure I’m on track as I make more lifestyle changes.

7. First drink of choice is water. Then more water. Thankfully, coffee is still in, though less than I have been drinking.

8. More sleep. Early mornings are fine, but the late nights have been too much for too long. I took workaholism as par for the course to get things done. Now I think it’s a stupid ego thing and a result of impatience and poor planning.

9. Be more social with friends and invest in those healthy, positive relationships. Cut rude people off faster and destroy any hope they have of being casually destructive to my energy reserves. Psychopaths don’t lurk behind every rock and tree, but they’re out there. I’m not going to engage these people. I’ll simply delete them or throw them out.

10. Write. For me, it’s as important as exercise, if not more so. When I am writing I am most myself. When I am writing, I disappear from the stresses of this world. In that world there are psychopaths waiting, too, but I know how to deal with them better. I’m very unkind to the bad guys in my fiction. They get to think they’re winning for a while, sure. Then? They burn.

11. Every day in this world, I am kind. I make a point of it. The day isn’t done until I can find a way to do someone a solid if it’s within my power. But I have to be kinder to me, too. That’s why I’ve got 1 – 10. Your strategies may not be identical to mine, but I hope you have some that work for you.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all my readers!

My next entry on ChazzWrites.com will be in the New Year. As you can see, I have to take some time off to organize for lifestyle changes, rest, recharge and, of course, write. Let’s all have a healthier and happier 2014. We need each other for the fight.

Be well.

~ Chazz

PS If you have links, books, or green smoothie recipes to share about how you take care of yourself, please leave them in the comment thread. We all need to know.

Filed under: Rant, What about Chazz?, What about you?, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What gets clicks

You could check your blog’s site stats and wring your hands over SEO keywords, but no one really wants to do that. The most fun thing about Aspire to Inspire eBook JPGblog stats is discovering the creepy search words people use to stumble upon your blog. (For me, it’s often “Cheryl Ladd”.) You could ask your readers what they like, but that probably won’t give you a representative sample with hard numbers. The easiest way to figure out what lights up your blog’s readers? Triberr.

Go to your  Tribal Stream page. At the top, click on “My Posts”. Naturally, you’ll see a list of your blog posts. Each post will show stats for Shares, Clicks, Comments, Up Votes and Reblogs. Go down the list and see which sorts of posts got the most clicks, shares and up votes. Those were the most successful posts.

If you’ve got enough of a track record, you’ve just defined your blog’s current niche. The sorts of posts that get the most shares and clicks on ChazzWrites.com include: book marketing and promotion advice; posts about the micro-publishing experience gone wrong; tech tools to assist writers and publishers. Stuff on writing and editing is popular, too. This tells me that I’m on target with the audience I shoot for here. Like you, I want to achieve two things with my blogs: I want to write what I’m passionate about and I want to be effective.

My posts about blogging better to reach more readers also do well, so this post just got meta. For more posts that smack you between the eyes and hit your brain’s  dopamine lever of happiness, check out the “Related Articles” below. They’re the most popular recent posts on Chazzwrites.com.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, book marketing, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What will you make of 2013? Help is on the way.

If you don't go for new year's resolutions, you can still get tips and inspiration for your writing life with Crack the Indie Author Code.

If you don’t go for new year’s resolutions, you can still get tips and inspiration for your writing life with Crack the Indie Author Code.

Screw wishes. We’re going to make it a happy new year.

People make resolutions. Most will fail, yet tonight, most of us will make resolutions anyway. The trick, of course, is to make the resolution turn into resolve by making the same conscious decision to choose a better life again and again, every day. Tonight, just after midnight, a new podcast will be broadcast at AllThatChazz.com. Tonight’s podcast is all about juicing up your mojo and getting your motivation to tackle 2013 amped.

We can make this the year we actually follow through on our resolutions for a better business, larger readership, a better body, better relationships…whatever your aim. You can be a happier you. Tonight we start a better life with new energy and new resolve. My children aren’t afraid to take classes, learn new things and practice skills at which they aren’t immediately perfect. That’s how they get to excellence. And Gee-ZUZZ! They’re little kids! They know this! Surely, I (a theoretical adult) can step up my game!

Part of our new commitment to ourselves is accountability with resolution partners. To succeed, you will report to someone who will keep you honest and on track. Don’t have anyone? Go to AllThatChazz.com and try out Speakpipe, the free voicemail app. (Just click on “Send me a voicemail message” at the top right at All That Chazz.) What are your resolutions to make it a Happy New Year?

Your life is a story. You write stories. So write your life.

What’s the problem? Deciding to do it.

It’s not a one-way street. Tonight I’ll reveal my commitments for 2013 at All That Chazz.

(For the three of you who care about how I’m changing my life.)

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 10.32.35 AM

No resolutions? We hate you for being perfect!

…nah. We envy you. 

~ Robert Chazz Chute is just some guy/crime novelist/author of Self-help for Stoners/millionaire/playboy/inventor/philanthropist…wait…no. Most of that is Tony Stark/Iron Man. Anyway, I wouldn’t listen to Chazz if I were you. On the other hand, his podcast is free, Speakpipe is free, these blogs are free and a new commitment tonight might turn our lives around and maybe even save a life. Check out AllThatChazz.com for the New Resolve podcast and Chazz will explain himself, January 1, 2013.

 

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One happy line can get you in my books

 

Aspiring writers and published authors interested in self-publishing read ChazzWrites.com. If you are a regular reader of this blog and find it helpful, I’m going to ask a favour. I need a happy quote from you about this blog, please. Those quotes I use will be in two books about writing I’ll release this fall. One happy line and your name is all I need. If you’re already an author, then please add the title of your latest book to your recommendation.

I’m boiling down the blog to the best of my posts from over 1,000 articles on ChazzWrites, revising and adding new material. It was originally going to be one book, but that changed at 5 a.m. today (and that story is a different blog post.) Happy and snappy quotes from regular blog readers will go into the front matter. Something along the lines of “ChazzWrites.com helped me with…” or “I read ChazzWrites because…” or “I like…” Something like that. Drooling in ecstasy is optional but appreciated.

Whether you’re just published (trad or indie), aspiring to write a book one day or have published dozens of books, I’d love to hear from you. 

Please email your reviews to expartepress@gmail.com

(within the next seven days).  

Help me out with this and not only will you be in the front of the books, I’ll also mention you (and your book) on the AllThatChazz podcast.

Thanks very much for your help.

 

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Jerry Maguire Moment: What is your blog’s mission statement?

I had my Jerry Maguire moment

Mission Statement

Mission Statement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(and yes, I know that didn’t go well for him in the short-term).

Ask yourself:

What are you trying to achieve with your blog?

Is it a blog or a blahg?

My mission at ChazzWrites.com is:

1? To inform readers of this blog about self-publishing, to the point where we and others think of self-publishers simply as publishers.

2? To make you chuckle here and there as you read so you’ll keep reading. (Failing that, we’ll murder a mime, which is always good for a chuckle.)

3? To raise all indie author boats, I promote fellow authors and spread the word about their books, their links and their awesomeness.

4? To swell the how-to tide of practical knowledge about writing, marketing, and promotion for success in independent publishing.

5? To bring the obscure but deserving into the light so they may be found by a happy readership. (Yes, damn right I’m obscure but deserving, too!) 

You ask yourself: Why the question marks after the five points of the mission statement? Is that a strangely persistent typo? No. I did that because Number 1 is not always going to be Priority 1. Sometimes I just provide an informative link and shoo you away elsewhere to gulp down factoids, nuggets and precious how-to wisdom. Sometimes I want you to curl up closer to my fire and feel the warmth of my heated rants. Often, I try to combine these five elements in one post. Sometimes I’ll just kill a mime for the heck of it.

The only thing that’s continuous through every blog post is this:

I try to do what Spike Lee requires of all of us in the movie Do the Right Thing.

I try to do the right thing.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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