Ways to Kill the Lonely Bug

Now that you’lonelyve decided to walk away from the dead-end relationship and into the future of freedom that God has destined for you, what will you do with your time to make sure you stay free? It can be very tempting to go back to the bad relationship you got delivered from or to find another one equally as bad when the thought of being alone hits or when the lonely bug bites. The truth is, you’re never alone, but I know it can sure feel like it, especially on a Friday night when you’re all dressed up with no where to go or no one to take you. The key to overcoming those trying times is to develop a strategy for success. As in any situation, if you fail to plan you plan to fail, so here are a few ways to kill that nasty lonely bug and keep it from infesting your life.

1. Volunteer your time and talents at your local church. Effective church work and growth requires many many many people putting their hands to the plow. Your hands are no exception. Tending to God’s business will cause Him to tend to yours, and that’s just what you want in your future relationships–God’s direct involvement. It will also keep you focused on what matters most, which is advancing the kingdom and bringing glory to His name. You will be offering back to Him the gifts that He’s given you and at the same time being a blessing to someone else. Everybody wins: you, your church, and those who are touched by the work you do. How do you win? You win because you get to do something meaningful and rewarding with your time, and you get to focus your attention on something other than the lack of a physical man in your life.

2. Join a gym and get that body into shape. Once you get past the initial pain of beginning a workout regiment, it can become a healthy addiction. It can take up a lot of your time (if you’re consistent, and it’s good for you. Looking good and feeling great are two plusses in the anti-loneliness equation. Plus, all that new confidence that comes with building a better, stronger body will ooze out of your pores. Your future husband will enjoy it too! I’m just sayin’

3. Go back to school or take a class to learn a new skill. If going back to school is something you’ve thought about before, now is the time to do it. Not only will it take your mind off being single with the work involved, it will help to improve you. More knowledge, more pride from an awesome accomplishment, more money in some cases, and more to talk about with any potential dates that may come your way.

I could name so many others like study your Bible, spend quality time with your loved ones, join a service organization or anything that you’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to do because you were busy maintaining a dead-end relationship. The point is, this is your time to be the woman God wants you to be. Become the good thing that your future husband will find and want to marry. Remember that life is not about getting married. Rather, the key to living a good life is living in the will and peace of God. That’s easier to do if you know the will of God and that His peace surpasses all understanding. He wants you to be at peace, no matter what your relationship status is. So while you wait on God to move on your behalf, develop your strategy to successfully navigate your single journey by filling your life with good things, and exterminate those pesky lonely bugs for good.

Based on chapter 7 of “Wait on God: What Every Single Woman Should Know to Receive God’s Best!” To purchase a copy visit http://www.BrianaGWhitaker.com, Amazon.com, or the iBooks store.

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Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style–Part 4

High C

Learning about others is important, but learning about yourself is priceless. So I’ve been enlightened, to say the least, in discovering my own personality style, which is High C. I’d like to think we High C’s are pretty unique in our nature. If you know me, you might say I’m a bit quirky also, but how boring would this world be if we were all the same, right? To be classed with the likes of Bill Gates and Albert Einstein is pretty awesome. If I had Bill Gates’ fortune and Einstein’s genius I’d be good to go. I don’t know how I feel about being classed with Condi though. I’ve always seen her as kind of stuffy and a bit of a prude. I’m not like that. Am I? (I wish you could see my eyes darting back and forth as I ponder this).

Words that describe us are cautious, competent, conscientious, contemplative, careful, and calculating. We have a tendency to be curious, inventive, intellectual and rational. We like to finish what we start. We can also be perfectionists, prone to liking organization and routine, and can have difficulty making decisions. Everything on this list describes me to a tee, except the organization part. l like organization, but I am not an organized person. Is that even possible? One ride in my car will reveal that it is.

As for what motivates us, our secret fuel is quality answers, good value, and being right. Now let me explain the last one. I don’t always have to be right (but it does feel good when I am), but I like doing the right thing. It is also important to me that anything I’m involved in be right as in morally, ethically, and legally proper. By nature, I’m not a rule breaker. Nor am I perfect by a long shot, but I do try to stay safely in the parameters that are provided me by those who are in charge. Also know that if we don’t get our way, we become critical and our character flaw is analysis paralysis. Here’s what you can do to help your High C significant other.

1. Provide quality answers to our questions. Men, women in general like to talk and pick your brains about things, but this habit is amplified in a High C woman. You will have to oblige us if you want to keep the peace and avoid the rant. Case in point…my husband was upset with me once for being late for an engagement, and I didn’t even realize it. I like to do things right, but the area of punctuality needs improvement. Anyway, he didn’t want to tell me what I had done to upset him, so when I asked him what was wrong his response was “nothing.” I could tell by the way he was ignoring me that he was lying, and I was not satisfied. So, I kept asking until I got tired. We had to come up with a compromise for future disagreements that if he did not want to talk at the moment, he had to promise that we’d talk later. That, I could live with.

2. Encourage us to see the big picture. High C’s get stuck in the details, asking tons of questions about the process before beginning anything. Hence, analysis paralysis. I went through a brief period before I finished writing my book that I contemplated all the details: who would publish, how would I pay for it, when would it be done, what if people don’t like it? Yada yada yada. Someone encouraged me to push past the fear and step out on faith. I did, and everything just fell into place. I’m so thankful for those who help me move forward, and your High C will be too.

3. Provide gentle correction. Gentle correction is all we need to get us back on track. It’s probably because we like to do things right anyway. When I was little my mom never had to do much scolding. I can count on one hand how many spankings I got as a child. A hard look or a good talking to always did the trick. So, no need for harsh words or criticism. The High C in your life will appreciate the gentle correction and take it as love.

4. Value our attention to detail and tasks. Details are important because they are the building blocks of everything. Us high C’s want everything we’re involved in to go off without a hitch, so we spend time attending to the construction of those blocks. If you’ve ever attended a well organized event that flowed, you’d better believe there was a High C on the planning committee. The level of quality that comes from careful planning and a desire for excellence should be appreciated, not regarded as anal. Tell him or her how much you appreciate it.

5. Encourage empathy. Excessive attention to details can, in some cases, cause one to be insensitive to the needs of others. High C’s sometimes need to be reminded about people when we get stuck in our focus bubbles. My husband gives me a sensitivity check just when I need it. He knows me so well.

6. Recognize our need for routine and guidelines. High C’s need order in our lives. When order is missing, it just does something to us. We like to know where we’re going and how to get there. Again, it’s all about those details. As for date suggestions, let your High C be a part of the planning. Don’t keep her completely in the dark about the plans. If she’s like me, she won’t be able to handle a complete surprise. For example allow her to give you three suggestions of things she’d like to do. Then you choose one of the three ideas. You already know she’ll be happy because it was her idea and because she feels some level of control and order.

Now, it’s important to note that not everyone is limited to one personality style. We are all blends of personalities. I can see myself fitting in with different aspects of the other personality styles also, but make no mistake I am a High C and proud of it! If you are a High C right along with me, feel free to let me know if I nailed it or NOT. I’d also like to know if this information has helped to enlighten or inspire you in your relationships. I welcome your comments.

Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style–Part 3

My mom and I have a veHigh Sry unique relationship. I am her only child, and she has never been married. You can probably imagine the tight bond that the two of us share, and this is where the conflict comes in for us at times. I am and will always be her baby. At the age of 34, being your mama’s baby and pretty much the closest person in her life is a blessing and a challenge at the same time. Sometimes, it’s just hard for her to let go, and I never fully understood that until I learned more about her personality.

What’s ironic is we look just alike, but as far as personalities go, I must have taken that after my dad. My mom is the type of person who is so sweet, but is easily offended. She is friendly and personable, but lacks assertiveness in certain areas. She likes to be appreciated for her work and efforts, but doesn’t like a big fuss about it. People like her fall into the High S personality type. High S’s tend to be creative and imaginative, happiest with family and friends, and sensitive and compassionate. If things don’t go their way the result is hurt feelings. I don’t want to give away the contents of my next post, which holds details of my personality, but I can tell you that while we’re both pretty reserved individuals, we handle things and approach issues totally different and we have different needs.

The secret fuel for the High S is peace and harmony. They like to exist with minimal conflict, which means they don’t like to stir up confusion. Now if they’re involved in someone else’s confusion, they will be affected by it. They’re not very confrontational, so generally only those closest to them will know about it. The down side of their non-confrontational nature is the tendency to be considered a sucker, meaning they can easily be taken advantage of because they’re so nice and shy. Here are some strategies for those of us in relationships with High S’s to both help ourselves and them.

1. Show concern for their feelings and empathize with their problems. All High S’s really need is a listening ear and someone to justify their feelings. Talking about the issues of the day to those closest to them can be therapeutic since they tend to internalize so much. Those of us who fall into that category should be more sensitive to this need by taking the time to actually listen, ask them how their day went, try to refrain from dismissing their feelings (even when you do think they’re overreacting), and try not to offer solutions. A little empathy will go a long way in making the High S feel loved and supported.

2. Help them develop decision making, goal setting, and assertiveness skills. This is so important because if you don’t help them with this, they will really depend on you to help them with a lot of things that you might think should come naturally, like asking questions and talking to people. I’ve had to encourage my mom to do this as a way to advocate for herself. Here’s a word of caution with this though. Encourage them to be more assertive, but make sure you do it in a loving, “I’m on your side” kind of way. If you come off too harshly or sounding critical, they will shut down. The next strategy explains why.

3. Remember that criticism is taken personally, even when unintended. You could have the best, most harmless intentions when attempting to help the High S with decision making, goal setting, and assertiveness, but it may not be received as such. Adjusting your tone of voice and coming at it from a different angle may help. The term “sugar coat” is a good way to describe this technique. High S’s are more likely to be drawn with honey than with vinegar (the cold hard truth). Make no mistake about it. The truth should still be shared with them. I’m just suggesting that the truth will be better received if spoken in love and consideration of their feelings.

4. Appreciate their work and efforts. Like High I’s, High S’s like for others to acknowledge and appreciate what they do. The difference is they prefer for it to be done in private without all the hoopla that High I’s enjoy. When considering a gift for them, a nice meaningful card or other heartfelt token of appreciation that actually tells them what you appreciate about them is a good idea. For my mom, simply telling her that you enjoy her cooking puts a smile on her face. Another good idea is to relieve them of a household chore that they normally do and acknowledge that you’re giving them a break because you noticed how hard they’ve been working. It doesn’t take much, but please indulge them on this if you want to show them some love.

If you are a High S feel free to leave a comment to let me know if I’ve nailed it or NOT. I welcome your feedback. Stay tuned for the next post on the High C, which is my personality style. 🙂

Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style-Part 2

In recognition of Valentine’s Day and the month-long celHIgh iebration of love, I am sharing my take on the four personality styles in the DISC profile to help those of us in relationships better understand our significant others. The more you know about a person, the more you grow in your love. So, let the knowing and growing continue.

Yesterday I wrote about the High D or dominant personality. Today I will explore the High I personality style. High I’s are inspiring, influencing, impressionable, interactive, and involved. These people tend to be fun loving and spontaneous, outgoing and charming. It goes without saying that these people are the life of the party and love being the center of attention. High I’s also like physical activity and excitement. As you are reading this, someone you know has probably popped into your head. We all know someone like this. They’re “people” people. They seem to know everybody and can work a crowd beautifully. This is sooo my BFF. She loves being around people and will get involved in any good cause she can find because she loves to help others. I don’t mind helping people, but she and other High I people take it to a whole other level. It is also interesting to note that High I’s tend to start well, but have difficulty finishing, are noisy, and always on the go. And if they don’t get what they want, they QUIT. Yep, once they’re done, they’re done. My BFF once again. (Sorry BFF if you’re reading this).

Now every personality style has its flaw, so let’s go there, why don’t we? The High I’s blind spot is that they can be impulsive and illogical. Ding, ding, ding! That explains the difficulty finishing, the challenge with volume control, and the constant moving and shaking. Much of these things is done without much thought or reasoning through, which is why I have such a hard time relating. I am the total opposite, as I think EVERYTHING through several times. As for being illogical, the High I can jump to conclusions a bit and throw a fit in the heat of an argument, but if you already know that going in you can anticipate it and hopefully soften the blow. Thank goodness for strategies. Learning the following strategies for the High I has helped me understand my bestie a little better, and it can help you too if you have a High I in your life.

1. Create an environment of fun and excitement. High I’s thrive on fun like a kid thrives on candy. It’s their secret fuel, and they just have to have it. If there is no fun involved, trust me, they are going to make it fun for themselves and they will take others along for the ride. The more people involved the better. Let’s apply this. If you are dating or are married to a High I you may want to keep this in mind when planning dates together. They aren’t going to go for quiet, relaxing evenings at home every weekend. You’ve got to spice it up and go heavy on the fun every once and a while. I know that involves planning and creativity on your part, but seeing your sweetie smile is worth it, right?

2. Help them develop planning and goal setting skills. It is challenging for those with impulsive tendencies to actually get beyond the here and now and plan for the distant future, but they need the reality check too. Let’s be real, fun can only last but so long. The tasks they find boring or pointless are what they have trouble finishing, but those are the things that are necessary. How can you apply this? If your High I has a great idea for a new business opportunity (they probably have a few of these), encourage him or her to sit down and make a plan for success. Help them think through the details and give them an extra push to keep going when the excitement of it all begins to wane.

3. Provide social involvement as incentives. One way to help encourage your High I to finish what they start is to offer incentives in the form of social interaction. Remember they love people, and they love you. Spending quality time together is a plus. This time should include real involvement, not just the two of you being in the same house at the same time. That does not count as social involvement. Go shopping together, cook together, take a walk, or go away for a romantic weekend (I’m talking exclusively to the married folk here)–just make sure to be there for them and be fully present while you’re at it.

4. Recognize their efforts and talents. High I’s love a pat on the back when they’ve worked hard on something. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants to be recognized for their efforts, but High I’s are on another level with this too. So do praise and do it big for these social butterflies. But don’t worry. If you do forget to recognize them they will let you know it. I’m speaking from experience here. And this is probably a good time right here on the world wide web to go ahead and drop my best friend, Melissa Watson’s name to recognize her for being such a great friend. Thank you, Missy! I love you! You’re the best! See, I practice what I preach. 🙂

If you’re a High I, feel free to let me know if I nailed it or NOT. I welcome comments. In the next post I will discuss the High S personality, so stay tuned.

Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style

high dMy husband and I get along great. We rarely argue and we laugh a lot together, but there are times when I just don’t get him. Truth be told, there are times when he does things that drive me absolutely nuts, and I oftentimes return the favor. For example, I don’t get why he jokes around so much when I’m being serious, and he doesn’t get why I ask him the same questions over and over again until I get a satisfactory answer. Talk about things that make you go hmmm… Well now I have an idea why, and it involves our differing personalities.

Recently I had a very eye opening experience at a professional conference that gave me a better understanding on not only my husband, but also on some other very important people in my life (ie. mother and best friend.) I learned what makes them tick. You might be saying that this is something I should already know, having been around them for years, but sometimes the tendencies of others near and dear to us have a way of remaining a mystery after years of time spent together and eluding even the most perceptive of people. The light bulb clicked on for me when I learned the four personality styles according to the DISC profile–a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication. And since February is the time set aside to celebrate love and relationships, I thought I’d share them in these next series of posts to help you better relate with your mate or anybody else with whom you just can’t seem to communicate.

The first personality style is the High D personality, which I will refer to as simply the High D. This person is dominant, direct, demanding, decisive, determined, and a doer. The High D tends to be high in energy, busy and productive, strong-willed and persistent. Basically, these people take charge, and if they don’t get what they want they get mad. Their blind spot, or personality flaw is that they can be quite bossy (as if you couldn’t tell). Know anybody like this? I sure do, and since I am the total opposite of this, I found myself wondering why the High D in my life was this way. You may be wondering this also, but here are a few strategies to help you deal with the High D in your life.

1. Remain cool and calm and avoid power struggles. This may be difficult to do (especially if you’re a High D yourself), but trust me, going at it tit for tat will not work out in your favor with this one. It would be to your advantage to try an alternate route to get your point across like agreeing to disagree or restating your point to sound less confrontational.

2. Be consistent and fair. The key word is consistency. If you’re not consistent with them or fail to keep your word, prepare to be dismissed. Now that I think about it, I’ve heard my High D person complain about the inconsistent folk in her life on several occasions. I guess because they’re so consistent themselves, it’s kind of difficult to deal with those who aren’t.

3. Be direct and to the point. Don’t go beating around the bush with them. They won’t waste time beating around the bush with you. If you have something to say, say it. They are too dominant to be intimidated by your opinion. They might actually appreciate your use of backbone.

4. Remember that their secret fuel is getting results. Score! If you can keep this in mind, it will make your life and relationship much easier. All the High D wants to know is that results are being achieved and progress is being made. Do that and they’re happy. Don’t do that and they’re pissed, to put it nicely. 😉

Now I don’t want anyone thinking that I am dissing the High D’s out there. I actually admire some of these character traits and wish I had more of them myself like the ability to be more direct and decisive. (If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant with me you’d know why). It’s also very cool that High D’s make great leaders who lead from the front. Having said that, here’s a word of caution for men who are married to High D women: you are still the man of the house who is responsible for leading the family. Deep down inside, your woman wants you to take charge. Again, it is very important to her that she see the results of your leadership. If she doesn’t see any results, she very well may try to take over. I’m not saying that she should take over, I’m just saying that her personality may cause her to try to in the absence of a stronger leader. If you’re a High D woman married to a non-High D man, realize that your man may resent your bossiness and make the necessary adjustments to get the love you want and still show love and respect to him in return.

If your personality type is High D, feel free to let me know if I’ve nailed it or not. I welcome your feedback. Tomorrow I will share the High I personality with you, so stay tuned.

The Similarities of Sisters and Swine

pig_ringWhat does a nose ring-clad pig and a woman who uses poor judgment have in common? Well, let’s first explore the ridiculousness of swagged-out swine. No really. It’s ridiculous. And so is thinking that good looks and thickness in the hips and lips is what gives you value as a woman. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are (although being up in age and having this mindset does up the level of ridiculosity), you are not and should never be defined by your exterior, or your posterior for that matter. Use of discretion (making sound, godly decisions) coupled with beauty (inner is more important than outer) is what we should strive to develop and walk in as women of God.

King Solomon realized the value of discretion in a woman in Proverbs 11:22.

“Beauty in a woman without good judgment is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” (GNT)

Besides being ridiculous, a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a major devaluing of what is made to have great value. The ring ends up wallowing in the same mud and slop as the pig it’s attached to, and in that state it isn’t fit to adorn anybody’s hand as it should. It would have to be removed from its previous environment, washed thoroughly clean, and placed in the possession of someone who would properly care for it before being able to shine and add that expected bling factor.

Well, my sister this describes the sanctification process for believers as well. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from unrighteousness, delivers us from the hands of satan and places us into the hands of our Heavenly Father, and we must remove ourselves from our former environment and ungodly influences in order to reflect God’s glory in the earth.

It is our job to allow a continual cleansing to occur in our lives by the Word of God. Returning to or staying in the same old environment with the same old friends, hanging out in the same old places, and doing the same old things is what keeps us in the same old defeated, misused, and abused state. It’s time for a real, lasting change, and that starts with a decision from you.

When I was about 18 years old I had a life changing come-to-Jesus moment. I had just graduated from high school and was a few weeks away from going off to basic training in the Army Reserves. Now having access to the local Army base, I decided to attend a concert with a friend of mine to hear one of my favorite male singing groups perform.

I wanted to look my best and a little sexy too, so I wore a slinky, form fitting dress with no support for the my girls (If you know what I mean). I was so sexy (and I guess groupy looking) that one of the members of the group invited me to his hotel room. In retrospect I realize that was a trap set by satan to get me in a compromising position literally, but in my eighteen year-old head I thought this was an awesome opportunity to hang out with a celebrity. How cool? Not cool at all because what I thought was an innocent and fun after party turned into  a proposition for sex. Thankfully, I declined the offer. Thankfully I made it out of there without something terrible happening to me. Nevertheless I was still devastated. I felt foolish because I misinterpreted his intentions. What about me said “I’m easy” to him? I wondered. I’m sure my outfit and the fact that I ended up following their limousine to the gas station had something to do with it. At that moment I decided that I didn’t ever want anybody ever again to draw that conclusion about me. When I got home I cleaned my closet of all suggestive clothing (including the dress I had on) and asked the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom and a conviction about my appearance to avoid sending the wrong messages to men.

Just in case you think you’re off the hook because you are already modest in your dress, good judgment also applies to non-clothing related things as well. It applies to any decision you make that either brings shame or glory to the God you serve. It applies to the things you say, the things you post, how you treat people, what you do when no one is looking, and how you respond in tough situations. Do your current actions honor God or do they offend Him? Do they make you a beacon of light or a promoter of darkness? Think about that the next time you pose for a picture or share intimate details of your life with others that really are none of their business anyway. Think about that when things or people make you angry or an opportunity to do something dishonest presents itself.

I want to strongly encourage you make a decision today to be the woman God has called to be and shun the woman the world is saying you should be. You are a precious jewel in the sight of your Father and have been snatched out of the pig’s snout (aka.the world) for His holy purposes. Think it, live it, and be proud of it!

For Those Who’ve Considered Publishing But Don’t Know Where to Start

Writing well is a learned skill and so is pubsharpen skillslishing well. Any one with a word processor and a high school diploma can write a book. And if one’s goal is merely to get a story down on paper or to simply say “I wrote a book” that’s fine. But if you really desire to make a mark in the writing and publishing industry one cannot stop there. Much more work needs to be involved.

Recently I was privileged to be a part of my county’s local author fair along with several other local authors. There were lots of people who came by to support the authors they knew personally or heard about, but there were also quite a few people there who came to pick our brains about our process in becoming authors, which is what any person seriously interested in writing and publishing should do. After having a few days to ponder and reflect on my experience in the years and months leading up to my official “coming out” as the author of an actual book, I’ve narrowed down my advice to four basic writing manners that matter. Enjoy and feel free to add more to the list.

1. Endeavor to perfect your craft. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. My 4th grade teacher praised my writing abilities and told my mother to buy me a journal and encourage me to use it. I’ve also been a print journalist in the U.S. Army Reserves, writing articles about military life. I’ve worked as a middle school ELA teacher, modeling for students how to effectively express themselves through words. I’ve been a part of several writing workshops and have taken writing classes. I’ve written for my church newsletter. In 2011 I started an online blog at the suggestion of a friend. Needless to say, I’ve had numerous writing opportunities in my life, and they have all helped to make me a better writer. I truly believe that in order to become a better writer one must write, and write, and write some more. Writing practice helps you to refine and define your unique voice. So, take a writing class, start a blog, or buy a nice journal and write until you’ve got something worth sharing with the world.

2. Make the best presentation you possible can. We women and many men too will spend hundreds of dollars without even blinking an eye to make a good impression with their outer appearance. By the time we get our hair, nails, and makeup done and bought the perfect outfit and shoes, the bank is most likely broken. But if it is the right occasion, we don’t mind much. Well, publishing a book is a pretty special occasion. Actually, it’s an uber special occasion, and the time to go all out with to present your best product to the world. After all, your writing is a reflection of you, so don’t skimp on quality. Plus, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This can determine if anyone will want to read anything else you publish in the future. Here’s where I think the most time should be spent after the piece has been written: revision and editing by a professional. It can be a little intimidating to have someone take a fine toothed comb to your writing, but don’t be afraid of the feedback. I would rather have someone pinch my feelings a little before the book comes out than to be slapped in the face by a bad review post printing. It is so worth the time and the money to have this step completed.

3. For goodness sake, READ. Just as writing more helps to improve writing, reading more does wonders. Reading what other good writers have written gives us access to lovely language, wonderful word usage, fancy phrasing, extraOrdinary organization ideas, and stylistic sentence structure (you get my point.) This is habit that I admit I need to increase. Contrary to what some may believe, reading more is not a waste of time. It is an absolute necessity for continued growth as a writer. So find something that you are interested in reading and read. As you read, pay attention to more than just how the writing makes you feel. Notice how the writer is creating this affect. It may help to put yourself in the writer’s shoes to really think about what strategies he or she is using. This can be a very complex skill, so taking a class or two in in close reading can also be beneficial.

4. Look for writing ideas everywhere. Now that I’ve published my first book I want to keep my writing momentum going so I’ve been writing more often than before. It is easy to run out of good things to write about when you write so often, which is why it is important to keep your eyes open (and read). I actually have “find a new writing topic” in my brain whenever I do anything now. So that means I’m constantly writing in my head and when something clicks I grab my phone to add the idea to my notes before I forget it. I may not end up using all of it, but at least I develop a bank of topics to pull from in the future. Eventually all of those scattered ideas may develop into a connecting of the dots experience. Before you know it, you’ve got enough material for a book.

5. Invest in your success. As the saying goes, to make money you have to spend money. I’m not suggesting that anyone spend an insane amount of money on publishing a book, but I am saying that a serious writer should be willing to make an investment that would yield a quality product. When I say quality product I’m referring to the look and feel of your book–in other words the very first thing that people see–the cover. If your cover is boring no one other than your close family, friends, and people who know of you and think it’s kind of cool to know a real author will want to read it. It’s cover appeal. I am convinced that though there are those who have lots of valuable content inside the book, some won’t get to engage with or benefit from that content if they are turned off by the cover. I’m not expert, but my suggestion would be to add an experienced graphic designer to your team. You’d be surprised at the quality you can get for not much more money than you’d pay doing it on your own or with the neighbor down the street who owns a digital camera. It’s okay to go cheaper on supplementary materials like book marks and other what nots, but not on your main product. Again, you want to showcase the best presentation of yourself and your work. You’ve worked too long and hard not to.