Writer's block seems to be a popular topic to write, blog and whine about. Online forums devote non-forests full of non-wood to it and it crops up whenever serious writers get together. Everyone has a solution - it is almost like having a solution for a hangover. In practice, I think most of us like the prescription - take an aspirin and call me in the morning.

For some people, forgetting about it and moving forward to a new day works, but for most of us who realize that "to be a writer, once must write" it is a different story. One day of leaving it alone too easily turns into a second , a third and then a week has gone by. A couple of ideas spring to mind including:
  • if you have a detailed outline, then you may not feel like writing, but at least you know what needs to be written
  • a walk in nature is guaranteed to open the lines to your creative center, especially if you walk by yourself without the distractions of i-pods, friends and city noise
  • read a good writer in a different genre (call it research if you have to justify it)
  • begin a paragraph on a blank page with, "I don't know what to write..." and force your hand to move through more words for 5 minutes, regardless of what they are - don't reread it, just give in to it
  • if all else fails, a single-malt scotch, a wood burning fireplace and a sleeping dog at your feet.
Relax and trust what your mind is trying to tell you - it's there.



Twitter is an interesting mini-blog phenomena that probably has too much commercial traffic but every once in awhile... If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I really believe that books find me, not the other way around. It happened again yesterday, but on Twitter of all things.

Here's something else you have heard me say, if you are an aspiring author: the number one prerequisite to good writing is good reading. Yesterday , I had a nice direct message from a published author who decided to join the 1400 other wonderful souls who follow me on Twitter. For some reason and really, I cannot explain this, I decided to click on his website link and then took an additional step by looking at one of his books on Amazon. Now, the attraction comes because he has spent a considerable amount of time sailing solo in the South Pacific. This is a recurring dream of mine and even though I know nothing about sailing, I hold out hope in an alternate universe or my next life...or something.

Amazon gave me the opportunity to read the first chapter without committing and I was hooked. Dannie C. Hill has the soul of a poet and it shows in the lyrical quality of his writing. While his book, "In Search of a Soul" is an adventure set on the high seas, he compliments his reader's intelligence with a wonderful command and use of vocabulary aimed higher than the normal grade 8 literacy level. Yes, I know, followers will have heard me say repeatedly, if you are creating a non-fiction book, aim the language at about a grade 8 reading level. Here's the thing though, when you need some inspiration (which is always) read something or someone who has a grasp of real literature and allow your creative and inspiration quotient to rise with the experience. This is what will make your non-fiction effort float above the mediocrity that is so often found.

I rarely direct you to the work of someone else, but this time I need to, for two reasons:

  1. Dannie's writing will not only take you on an incredible adventure with his story telling powers and wonderful language and cadence, it will inspire you to reach a little deeper to uncover and reveal your own creative spirit
  2. Once you give into that creativity, your own writing will benefit from the ability to offer a connection to your own readers that will give them real value and set you up to write more.
Here's one more reason to start reading Dannie's work right away - sooner or later he will realize that he is not charging nearly enough for his efforts and his prices will rise dramatically.

Great read, great inspiration on many levels. Good authors really are a gift to the world. Become one yourself.

and, by the way, I have decided to forgo any affiliation fees on this - I'm just a fan Dannie.




An aspiring author has usually been thinking about writing a book for a significant period of time but something has prevented it. Just like a high performance athlete or business person, it helps to have someone pulling for you and occasionally, kicking from behind. A book writing coach is willing to share their experience, wisdom, ideas, feedback, successes, failures, sources, honesty, common sense, time, connections, organization, advice, energy  and yes, maybe even that gentle nudge in the posterior.


Let's face it, almost everyone you know "has a book in them," even you. There is a list of reasons a mile long for not moving forward and bringing the book into reality...and anyone who has ever done so, knows almost all of them. That is where a good book writing coach comes in - they know most of the reasons, too. The only difference is that they are being paid to move you past those reasons. Funny thing, when we pay someone for something, we usually expect results, even if it is us the results must come from. And, it works!


Coaching works for high-achieving athletes, business people, musicians, artists, students and of course, aspiring authors like you. That is why I have created this blog; to provide ideas, inspiration and information to people who know they want to create a non-fiction book, but haven't done it yet. There are more opportunities, more need and yes, more dollars, euros, kroner, beads, loaves and fishes for the person who decides to realize their dream of creating a book. My mission is to help you do just that. Here are two ways you can get loads of FREE help, right now.


Look to the left of your screen and subscribe directly to my blog and receive updates as they are prepared. I have also created my exclusive BOOK MENTOR newsletter for those people who are REALLY interested in getting their book project rolling. My newsletter will go out to our list of eager recipients on a bi-weekly basis, with further information, updates, links and anything else that impacts the world of an aspiring non-fiction author. If you sign up for the FREE newsletter today, I will send you immediately, my 7 TIPS FOR CREATING A BESTSELLING TITLE, to show my appreciation for your interest.

If you have ever considered writing a non-fiction book like a:
  • memoir
  • e-book
  • how-to
  • self help
  • biography
  • historical perspective
  • travel
  • business
  • leadership
  • political
and almost anything else that requires the use of language to make a difference in the world, then the BOOK MENTOR newsletter and blog are here to help you.

Alright, that's it - no more trying to convince you, just the facts. Sign up for the BOOK MENTOR newsletter here and subscribe to the blog on this page and get all the ideas, tips, facts, inspiration and information to get you into the author's circle. Do it now - before you forget or move on to something else.



Being quoted and being quotable opens many doors for an author. I mentioned in a prior blog that finding just the right quote to start a book or chapter lends credibility, authority and a certain literary element to a book. If you find the perfect quote, it often gives the reader a glimpse into your mindset and into what they can expect to receive by reading further. In addition, whomever you are quoting benefits from additional exposure for lending you their name.

But, at some point in time, after you write your book, you will be seeking some publicity and the media wants to quote YOU, not a 200 year old author. An interviewer in today's media is looking for sound bites and if you are the person being interviewed, it would be best if they were yours. Each of us has the ability to create quotes, if we put our mind to it. They do not need to be accidents of creativity but can be planned and organized around the topic you are writing about. One little tip is to keep your eyes open to other quotes, neat phrases from your book, marketing slogans that make it into popular culture, taglines that become popular and then write a version of it that applies to your own book.

This can be done in a focused and conscious manner - here's how I do it. I take a 3 X 5 recipe card, actually a pack of them, and sit down in a coffee shop and think about 2 or 3 main topics that I need quotes for. For the sake of argument, let's assume that we are looking to create quotes on the the subject of "love." It is Valentine's Day as I write this. Allow your mind to wander a bit as you concentrate on the word "love " and see what comes up. It may be lines from songs. At this moment the Beatles song that includes the line "love is all there is" is running through my mind. I might take that line, a line that is well known, and alter it to my own purposes by substituting words. It could be "Fear is all there is" or, "Soup is all there is" or I could add a work and make it "Love is not all there is." You can do the same with longer quotes and concepts and simply write them down on your cards.

Try it - it really does work and you get quoted from your own book. Make the quotes part of your marketing campaign and help the interviewers and reviewers do their job. You will find that they will use your quotes in the introduction and you can use them in your own efforts like blogs, book covers and one-pagers.

Here's a few that I have created over the past little while:

"Everyone has an answer, but what's the question?"
Bob Bannon

"When we let go of doing and embrace being, we open a direct channel to inspiration"

Bob Bannon

"Courage grows from failure nurtured with hope, desire and passion"
Bob Bannon

You get the idea; now sit down and write a self quote on something from the book you want to write and share it with us, but make sure you leave your name under it so you can be properly credited.



Finding appropriate quotes for our books can be an interesting exercise. I think some people just naturally remember what others have written and then confirm the actual quote and include them. I know there are other people, like me, who trust that the right quote will somehow magically appear at the right time and place. I think that happened for my first two books. What do you think of these?

My first book was the West Coast Trail: One Step at a Time and it chronicled an amazing 7 day, life-changing hike through a rain forest on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. For that book this quote appeared one day when I was looking for something else:
"Underlying the beauty of the spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of that meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key to the riddle is hidden. It sends us back to the edge of the sea, where the drama of life played its first scene on earth and perhaps even its prelude; where the forces of evolution are at work today, as they have been since the appearance of what we know as life." 

The quote is from Rachel Carson, a wonderful writer and an environmentalist, long before it became popular and it perfectly describes not only my book, but my motivation.

Later, I wrote a book that is a message to "the girls who went away," the young women who have, for one reason or another, given up their children for adoption. My book is entitled "To My Secret Mother."

"In all of us, there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are - and where we come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning, there is the most disquieting - loneliness."

This quote is taken from the book "ROOTS"  by Arthur Haley and once again, captures the essence of my book and my quest.

The popularity of quoting famous persons is a great way to add weight to your own work, but I really think that you should consider creating your own quotable quotes, too. Next time, I will offer a few ideas on how to go about that.



Time is relative and also relevant. In conversations with both coaching clients and workshop participants, the number one reason given for not having their book written is always a lack of time. I get that, I understand that and I sometimes, use that. Time is relative to all of the important things that call for our attention in this very noisy world we live in. Time to read this blog, time to earn a living, time to spend with family and friends, time to learn, time to workout, time, time, time...

Sometimes we recognize the importance of spending time in our own long term best interests, but shorter term priorities tug at our calendars, our wrist watches and our minds. When people who have full time jobs, families and a social life also have a desire to write a book, it is often impossible to see how we can squeeze in the time, relative to everything else that needs to be accomplished. A client, and very good friend of mine, decided in 1999 that she wanted to run the New Zealand marathon on the following New Year's Day. She had never run one before and in fact, hated running, but the goal was set. She had just started a new business, had full time family responsibilities and a very active social and travel calendar. When she looked at that same calendar, she started laughing out loud as she tried to wedge in training time, to find that the only unspoken-for slot was between 4:30 and 6:00 - AM. Eleven years later and she still uses that time slot to build on the success and accomplishment of running the marathon, to tackle other bigger-than-life projects, including writing her book.

Here's my point, writing a book, especially a non-fiction book, for most of us is not a full time endeavor as we balance it with the rest of our lives. I advise early stage authors to commit an hour a day to the writing process - no more, no less. This keeps the entire project based in possibility and therefore, relevant to the rest of our lives. It is amazing how much we can accomplish in one hour when that is all we have. It becomes much more relevant when we carve out a spot in our calendars that is consistent and disciplined and not too long. A short and powerful commitment creates the ability to focus effort and gather results. I know this from personal experience and you too will be truly amazed at how soon your book starts to take real shape by devoting one hour every day to it. Try it -what have you got to lose?

So, relatively speaking, one hour can become very relevant to our future success.



"We are either authentic, or we're not!" That was the gist of a comment on a Linkedin discussion board yesterday. I wish I had saved the comment so that I could link back to it. If the person who wrote it is reading this, please post a comment and a link to your article - it was terrific.

Authenticity is one of the buzzwords of marketing these days and I really wonder about it. I agree with the concept but telling a person who is busy marketing a product or service that they must BECOME authentic seems a bit like nonsense, or buzz-speak, or BS. Some people are able to reveal their weaknesses, foibles, challenges and failures and do so in a manner that is not only believable, but natural. On the other hand, some of it is simply a little too contrived for my liking. None of us are perfect, none of us have had perfect lives, none of us have had an unbroken string of successes and for an author, this is the key. If you have the courage (and frankly, it is more than courage, it takes "real guts") to share the truth about yourself, your ideas and your life with your readers, then you make the ultimate connection with them.

This applies to more than just memoirs and self-help books but to the "how-to" genre as well as more academic pursuits. Writing a book leaves each of us open to criticism on many levels - everything from our facts and assumptions to our lifestyle but the truly authentic author says, " Alright, I'm willing to take that risk and expose myself and my ideas." This doesn't mean that we should expect our readers to agree with our ideas just because we are authentic but it does give a reader an opportunity to understand the source of your opinions and move forward from there.

Authenticity really does separate the outstanding from the mundane but it stems from a grasp on personal truth and reality and can never be faked or created - it just is, and it may be the most powerful tool in your writing arsenal. Try it.