Books To Read When You Want to Focus

Writer’s often fought with their minds to focus. There are times when their focus makes them create exceptional work over days. But then there will always be a phase of slump when they cannot even make sense of their days, let alone their own mind.
Focus is something that keeps a writer moving forward. With ample distractions at our fingertips, it is important to make sure that your writing doesn’t suffer.

Here are a few suggestions for go-to books that will help you increase your focus and productivity.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Cal Newport
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman
The One Thing (Gary Keller)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (David Allen)
The Compound Effect (Darren Hardy)
Free to Focus (Michael Hyatt)
Principles: Life and Work (Ray Dalio)
Living the 80/20 Way (Richard Koch)
Eat that Frog! (Brian Tracy)
Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce your Hours (Robert Pozen
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity — By David Allen
The One Thing — By Gary Keller
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (Kindle Edition) by Cal Newport
The Power of Focus (Paperback) by Jack Canfield
Indestructible: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (Hardcover) by Nir Eyal
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction (Hardcover) by Chris Bailey
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Paperback) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long (Hardcover) by David Rock

Focus is the most important nutrient for a writer’s mind. Keep your mind nourished with focus and see the garden of your mind grow words that are worth transforming lives.


Book Blurbs – Elevator Pitch for Your Book

A book blurb is one of the most important things for marketing any published book. While a book synopsis is a marketing tool for reviewers, publishers, and literary agents, a book blurb is for the readers, your main target audience.

There are two kinds of book blurbs: description blurb, which is the text you read at the back of the book, that helps you understand what the book is about. The other kind of book blurb is the review blurb, which is a kind of acknowledgment or a review written by someone for your book that inspires the readers to buy the book.

A book blurb is like a teaser for your book. The description that you usually see in bookstores while surfing through books are description blurbs.

Here we will discuss the tips to write a great description blurb that excites the readers into buying your book.

  1. Make it concise. A reader’s attention span while surfing through books at a bookstore or even in digital bookstores is momentary. Limit your blurbs to 150 words.
  2. The starting punch. Make your first line as captivating as possible. The opening remarks lead the reader to read further and develop a good first impression.
  3. No spoilers! Book blurbs should maintain a level of wonder and surprise. Be creative while writing your blurbs, such that the readers are left restless and buy your book to know what happens to the character.
  4. Structure it perfectly. Introduce your character and the setting of your book. Proceed to highlight the main problem that the protagonist is facing and the obstacles that lie in the way. End by mentioning that the stakes are high such that it leaves the readers gasping for the outcome.
  5. Try to write the blurb in the third person so that people can also think along with the lines. What if it’s my story too?
  6. End it with questions that form the purpose of the book. Be creative when it comes to these questions such that the readers feel they are a part of the character and they want these questions answered for themselves too.

A smashing book blurb—It is one of the most basic marketing tools that you would need to sell your book once it is published. Grab the attention of the users by making them relate to the blurb! Use words and language that you know will hold on to your target audience.

A phenomenal book blurb is like an elevator pitch for your book. Make it perfect!

Books Every Writer Should Read

A writer should be first and foremost a reader. You can write even if you don’t read, but if you want to be a respected and valuable author you need to be a reader first. Reading books is the schooling an author goes through.
Books are a source of nourishment for a writer’s mind.
Below is the list of personal favorites to give you a peek into the world of writing, handling the writer’s block, procrastination, frustrations over character development and climaxes, and everything that makes a writer who he is.

  1. On Writing by Stephen King
  2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  4. A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
  5. Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
  6. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
  7. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield
  8. How to Start Writing (and When to Stop): Advice for Authors by Wisława Szymborska
  9. The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think and Work By Marie Arana
  10. How to Write Bestselling Fiction By Dean Koontz
  11. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
  12. Published.: The Proven Path From Blank Page To 10,000 Copies Sold by Chandler Bolt
  13. Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing by Helen Sedwick
  14. Letters to a Young Novelist by Mario Vargas Llosa
  15. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
  16. 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley
  17. How Fiction Works by James Wood
  18. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  19. The Martian by Andy Weir
  20. Zen in the Art of Fiction by Ray Bradbury

Be a reader if you want to be a writer! There is no exception!

Awesome Quotes on The Art Of Writing

Words have a magical quality to them. Anyone who loves words understands the beauty hidden in a tapestry of words stitched together to drape over your soul.

There are millions of quotes that express the art of writing and weaving words to create emotions. Below are the ones that we absolutely love. These quotes depict the challenges of being a writer, the frustrations of a mind in overdrive, sometimes blank, sometimes over flowing with thoughts.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

–Anaïs Nin

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

–Toni Morrison

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

–Saul Bellow

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

–William Faulkner

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

–Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

–Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time–proof that humans can work magic.”

― Carl Sagan

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”

― Ernest Hemingway

Edit Sleep Repeat

“Write drunk, edit sober”

These 4 words have always been a companion in my writing journey. When you express your emotions they manifest on paper in the purest form without any filter. You write to understand yourself more. But when you want to publish your book and make it available for readers, your perspective changes. Editing is rewriting a book with a new set of eyes for a target audience other than you.

Irrespective of the kind of publishing method you use, your manuscript isn’t complete before you do at least two rounds of edits.

  1. Take a Break From Your Story.

Before you dive into the world of flaws, corrections, and judgments that are the prerequisites to editing, take a break. Stephen King claims that he keeps his manuscript aside for 6 weeks before he starts editing them. When you distance yourself from your story, you give yourself space to develop a perspective. Your attachment to the story becomes an accessory rather than a dominant feature. Once you have distanced yourself from your story and the characters it becomes easier to trim through the parts that may be close to your heart but don’t serve the purpose of the story.

  1. The bird’s eye view

Start by looking at your story as a whole. Imagine when you take a photograph of a beautiful view with snow-clad mountains, a river flowing through it, camping trailers parked at the shore, and a group of travelers playing music. You want to capture the whole surrounding. Read it aloud and look for structural changes. Ask yourself the theme of your book and whether the story revolves around that theme. Question your purpose as well as the purpose of the story. Is it being conveyed distinctly? This falls under developmental editing where you are being critical about the story, its structure, and the whole purpose.

  • Reference shots

Now imagine when you have to take a picture of the river flowing through a snow-clad mountain only. This part of editing refers to understanding your sub-plots and how they relate to each other. Is there continuity in your plots? Does the continuity serve the purpose of those plots?

  • Zoomed in shots

This is the moment when you zoom in on the group of travelers with their happy faces. Zoom in your story. Focus on characters and their existence. Are they serving their purpose? How are they important with respect to each other? Think what if you delete a character altogether. How will it affect your story?

  • Portrait mode

The final part of editing involves embellishing and copyediting. Focus on statements and words. Remove the conversations that are dragging. Replace words that are repetitive. Check your spelling and grammar. Finally proofread your work for any minor errors.

  1. Check for Accuracy.

If you are writing self-help or a non-fiction book, make sure that the facts that you have mentioned are accurate. Support them with references that can be added in the form of a glossary at the end. It is very important to be credible when you are putting words on paper.

Editing can be a fun thing to do if you shift your mindset from being possessive about your story to be critical. We, humans, are naturally judgemental and when you step back from your own story it becomes easier to be critical and make the necessary changes. Use professional tools like spell check, and grammarly to edit your book. You can also send it to a friend or a volunteer who would be willing to read through your book and help you gain a perspective from a reader’s point of view.

Remember that the book that you finally publish is for the readers. Make it worth their time and energy.

Guide to Publishing Terms

Publishing a book is as challenging as writing it. It is easier when you are aware of the terms that the publishing houses throw at you. Your work is your God and before handing it to someone it is very important that you do your due diligence in understanding the terms used in the publishing industry. 

  • ISBN

ISBN is the most talked about term when it comes to book publishing. A book without an ISBN is like a cake without sugar. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique identifier allotted to every book. Through an ISBN the booksellers can track the sale of your book. Every edition of your book has a different ISBN. The ebook, hardcover and paperback will all have different ISBN. The first 3 digits in an ISBN is known as the prefix element, the next 2 digits indicate the country or geographical region registered in the ISBN system, the next 5 digits helps identify the publisher of the book and the subsequent 2 digits give information on the edition and the book’s format, and the last digit is known as a check digit which validates the ISBN. 

  • Ingram distribution

Ingram is a major book distributor in the United States, distributing to 40,000+ retailers (including Barnes & Noble and your local independent bookstore), libraries, schools, and universities. 

  • Royalty 

Every publishing house promises a Percentage of profit that goes to the author. This percentage is known as royalty. You are entitled to book royalties for as long as mentioned in the agreement you sign with the publishing house. 

  • Copyrights

The ownership of the work is defined as a copyright. Usually in self publishing the copyrights reside with the author. When you have the copyright to your work, you can reproduce it and use it as per your wish. You are not entitled for permission from the publishing house to share your content wherever you wish to. The significance of owning copyrights comes into play when someone wants to make a movie or a web series out of your book. If a situation like this arise, if you hold the copyrights to the book then it is your decision to negotiate for movie making. The profits that come through the movies or web series also solely belong to you. 

  • Print on Demand

Self-publishing industry has initiated the concept of Print on Demand. As the name suggests the books are printed when someone asks for it. For example, your book is listed on amazon. When a customer purchases your book, the seller gets an order and he prints the book. This is usually done to avoid massive losses suffered by publishing agencies when books are printed but dont sell. 

Tips For Aspiring Authors

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Ted Talks for enhancing creativity

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Self Publishing – A Boon

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