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Author Toolbox: James Clear

Welcome to our first Author Toolbox entry. These posts will highlight resources that we’ve found helpful. Blogs, software, books and people who have something to offer authors. While we may spotlight some well-known resources, the focus at first will be things off the beaten author path or stuff that’s on the bleeding edge (that is, very new tech or ideas). And without further ado…

Author Toolbox: James Clear

James Clear writes about behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement. So why are we spotlighting him here on a blog about author marketing? Like so many things in life, success as an author is very much a head game. The battle takes place in the mind. First in our own, and then in the minds of our readers.

Since a mind-control device for readers hasn’t been invented yet (Someday, my pretties! BwahahahahaHAHA! …er, ahem, excuse me… my inner megalomaniacologue slipped out), let’s stick to dealing with our own author brains.

The usual suspects

How many times have you said (or heard your author friends say):

  • I wish I had more time to write
  • I know I should be writing, but…
  • Sometimes I just feel like giving up
  • I’ve been at this for so long, but never seem to get any traction
  • I need to get my priorities straight
  • Something’s gotta change, but I don’t know where to start
  • I’ve tried to get into a habit of writing every day, but I just can’t keep it up

The list goes on. When we hear this sort of thing, it’s obvious that 1) a change is needed and 2) it’s not happening. The #SpecFicCollective mission is all about figuring out where we are, where we’re going and making the necessary adjustments to get there. So how do we make course adjustments in life?

That’s exactly what James talks about on his blog.

James ClearWhy James Clear?

The standard disclaimers apply: If you have a different guru that you prefer to go to when you need to kick yourself into gear, please give them a shout out in the comments. There are so many great sources out there. But today, we’re talking about just one of them.

First, a bit of context. I’ve read the books and/or taken the training for a half-dozen different approaches to time management, business planning, habit forming, etc. Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Peter Drucker and David Allen are good buddies of mine (no, not really, but it feels that way, with the number of times I’ve read their books). I’m familiar with how these things work.

James is familiar with them, too, from what I can tell. But James puts things a little differently. His outlook is a unique blend of fitness, psychology, and business. He draws examples from interesting people and fresh research. And one of the key concepts he promotes feels particularly relevant to me and this Collective of creatives: the concept of identity-based change.

Instead of focusing on trying to change our actions or motivating ourselves based on what others think, he talks about changing how we think about ourselves. A change in how we look at ourselves brings long-lasting results, as we become what we envision.

Straight from the source

Better that you hear it in his words, though. Below is a list of articles that have made a huge difference in my approach to life, business and becoming the author (and person) I want to be.

If you like listening to audio instead, here’s one that he did on the Unmistakable Creative podcast. James also offers a handy list of his most popular articles on his blog’s main page.

What do you think?

Once you have a chance to check out his work, I’d love to hear what you think. If there’s someone you find helpful in dealing with the mental aspect of the author journey, post a link to their work in the comments!

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2 Responses to Author Toolbox: James Clear

  1. J. L. Mbewe January 3, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    “The battle takes place in the mind.” Yes! Love this. Great post. I’ve enjoyed Kristen Lamb’s posts as well as James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers: Fiction writing strategies, tactics, and exercises. The first segment of the book is Reconnaissance and its “about the mental game of writing, because what happens in your head affects everything else.” It’s even how I started out blogging several years ago. I had wanted to created a book study group on the art, craft, and business. I was blogging through this book until I read Lamb’s posts on Sacred Cow Tipping. Ha! It’s been a journey!

    Here’s a link to Kristen Lamb’s blog: https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com

    I will have to look into James Clear. Thanks for sharing!

    • #SpecFicCollective January 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

      Great recommendation, Jennette. I love Kristen’s stuff, and of course Bell’s is excellent.

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