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Tag Archives: Business Books

“There is probably no hell for authors in the next world—they suffer so much from critics [especially the ones they’ve internalized] in this one.” ~ Christian Nestell Bovee

If you are stuck, are you saying things like this about your manuscript?

• This has become so disorganized that the outline makes no sense.
• I can’t seem to finish. There’s something critical missing.
• I’ve been stuck for so long that I can’t seem to get going again.
• Every time I think about working on it, I put it off.
• I think my manuscript is great stuff in it, but I don’t know who would want to buy it.
• I make strides on it once in a while, but I have trouble putting consistent time into it.

These problems are neither unique nor insurmountable. The fact is: books continue to be published every day—190,000 a year. So take heart, it’s really not just you! Many people don’t know how to begin writing a book, let alone completing, publishing and marketing it.

This 190,000 figure should be taken as a rough guide because this doesn’t take into account the huge amount of books of local history, course textbooks, or other books that don’t require ISBN numbers.

Thanks to the invention of digital printing, we’re free to get just one or one-thousand copies of our own books printed, so whereas once the publishing industry was akin to an exclusive club where publishers thought they were gods, new authors, like us, can authorize ourselves.[1]


“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie

First, you need to think about what has been stopping you from making forward progress. If you have stopped making progress on your book project, do any of these excuses sound familiar?

• I’ve lost track of the big picture. Every time I sit down to write, I get bogged down in the details and I’m not sure if what I’m writing is relevant.
• My life is full of distractions. I need someone to keep me focused and push me forward.
• I know what I know, and others have assured me that my knowledge is valuable, but I’m not sure how to pull it all together into a book.
• I need to focus on earning and don’t have time to write.
• My mate thinks writing isn’t the best use of my time when our mortgage needs to be paid, and the kids need dental work, etc.

These problems need not stop you. Published authors aren’t really any different from anyone else; they’re just audacious.

People who write (or make any kind of art, for that matter) often have family and financial obligations. Think about Nabokov, the author of Lolita, he had seven children and an ill wife. He did most of his writing in the bathtub (the only room in the house where he could be alone).

J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, as everyone knows, lived in her car and flopped on couches of various friends due to financial woes. Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison both had financial distress and children to tend to and yet, both made time to write. Morrison swears her first two books were written on her kitchen table between meals or before going off to work.

I try to remember this phrase said by my friend and mentor, Valerie Young, “A dream without action will make you crazy and action without a dream is a nightmare.”


“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” ~ Annie Dillard

Take the focus off yourself and commit to your readers. After you make the mental commitment to completing your manuscript, you will turn your dream into a reality.

Get online and start receiving my Free Newsletters or my free podcasts full of tips to jumpstart your creativity. Learn new tricks of the self-publishing trade every month with my help or with your librarian’s support. Such guidance will keep your book project at the top of your mind and inspire you to get your book done sooner rather than later. Stay inspired by reading biographies of other writers.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Why don’t you take up my offer to have a complimentary sample session to see what we might create together. Call today to set up a 30-minute appointment: 206.617-8832.

[1] For more on becoming authorized in your life, order my book here on this very website under Manlowe’s publications.


These are the Five Books that Changed My Life and showed me how to bring authentic creativity to my clients and myself!

(1) The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur: The Practical Path for Growing a Business that Fits Just Right by Molly Gordon

(2) The Art of War: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield reviewed on this blog

(3) Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love by Barbara Winter

(4) Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out by Lynda Falkenstein

(5) The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander (I’ve actually used this very simple book when teaching “Intro to Logic” at the University level)

All of these books speak to people who want to bring who they are to what they do…my speciality. The deal is, when we know who we are we know what we have to offer. When we know what we have to offer, we don’t have to be all things to all people. When we relax into who we are, our just right clients will come to us. When we create space for them to share what they need and who (and how) they want to be and when our talents match their needs, we can be of service in a natural way. This is what I have learned by reading these books.

I have also enjoyed all of the authors’ pointed questions that force me to reframe my mission in a way that is practical as well as personally congruent. Each book invites the reader to take concrete action steps to build in accountability rituals or “partners-in-progress” to help you “go forward” not just in your new thinking but in your day-to-day life. All of these books instigate risk-taking in practice.

Gordon’s advice offers a very practical framework, she sees your business like a garden and sees an entrepreneur as a gardener–one who “gets over her/himself” and gets to work attending to the garden of growing their business.” Gordon appreciates some of the “law of attraction” bunch who keep sharing “the secret” to manifesting wealth but sees their limitations in terms of business practices. She writes,

“They’re terrific for inspiration and encouragement, but while the ideas are good, the instruction manual is missing. When was the last time you heard a guru explain how to set prices or write a web page?”

Each author has had some form of personal transformation in their life (a loss of some kind, addiction, a hard road or rough turn, lots and lots of mistakes, etc). Each one came to the realization that they needed to face their fears of being a failure, to be bold in trying to share something that felt right to them, or to return to a life that is too small. Each one had an experience, (or more than one), that brought them back to the basics of their mission in life. Now that they are older and wiser, they want to help the “newcomer” to skillfully negotiate with integrity and joy in the business world of the 21st century.

Impressive educations certainly do not make the person, as a matter of fact both Pressfield and Gordon claim that most of their credentials have come from the “School of Hard Knocks.” Still, many of these authors have been contributors to Harvard and/or Stanford University School of Business.

I can’t wait to hear what other people like in terms of their favorite business book reading.

I think more of us could be writing up what we’ve learned and sharing that with other people. As Winter says, “Why not be a gatherer of all that’s out there in your field of interest. You can self-publish all your tip sheets as The Best of What’s Out There on X.” And who better to call than your friendly self-publishing coach?

Because Molly Gordon and Barbara Winter both coach business women and men, you may want to reach them through their websites: Molly Gordon and Barbara Winter.