You've always wanted to write a book. Maybe you've even started one. But for some reason you've never been able to finish.
You have ideas. You have skills. You have a love of writing, and you certainly have the desire to be an author.
What you don't have is a book--and you're ready to change that.
The problem is that the real barriers to finishing a book are inside of you.
"That's a stupid idea."
"I don't feel like writing."
Writers tell themselves these things all of the time. The secret is that so do authors. Authors just keep going anyway.
What's the difference between a writer and an author? The way I think of it, a writer is someone who dreams of writing a book; an author is someone who actually has.
My name is Chad Frisk, and while I'm by no means a famous author, I have finished a number of books, including Direct Translation Impossible: Tales from the Land of the Rising Sun, and This is Not a Sutra: A Trial and Error Guide to Meditation for Secular Thinkers.
I struggled immensely to do so. Most days, I didn't want to write. Most of the time, I didn't know what was going to happen next. I was often convinced that the books were so incoherent that my only choice was to give up.
The fact is that I still don't want to write everyday. I still don't know what's going to happen next, and I still do want to scrap my books all of the time. With the help of a number of teachers, however, I've figured out a way to move forward anyway. In this course, we will dive deeply into the psychological barriers that stand between me (and you) and a finished book.
More importantly, you will learn techniques I've developed to move past each of them.
Here's a quick outline of the contents of the course.
There are three modules with a total of 24 lectures. The modules are as follows:
The Idea Phase--you'll learn about two common blocks that keep would-be authors from starting, and ways around them.
Drafting--You'll learn three specific psychological challenges you may face during the drafting phase, and how to work with them.
Revising--You'll learn three more mental obstacles that appear during the revision stage, and why they don't have to scuttle your project.
The modules are mostly video lectures, with a few PDFs detailing specific techniques I've borrowed from other established creative professionals.
I've also included a list of resources (books and pertinent blog posts) that have helped me go from aspiring writer to dedicated author. Feel free to peruse the list if you're looking to continue your exploration when this course is over.
Who Shouldn't Take This Course
It's important for me to say that this course will not appeal to everyone.
Digging into your personal psychology can be very hard. It's painful to shine a light on your insecurities, and I totally understand why someone might not be ready or interested in doing so.
This course, however, goes straight for those insecurities. The content can at times be unforgiving. It's not my intention to be cruel; it is, however, my experience that actually finishing books and becoming the author you are capable of becoming is a very challenging, often painful process. I think that the rewards are well worth the pain, but that might not be true for everyone.
If you're prepared to look closely at your reasons for not finishing, and to do the work necessary to change that, this course will offer you the resources to do so.
If that sounds like something you're interested in, then I'll be excited to have you in this course! I'll do my best to give you the tools to take charge of your own writing process. What you do with them is then up to you.
Hope to Talk Soon,
Overview of the Idea Phase. Students will encounter two primary obstacles many face before writing a book, and the names of techniques for working with them.
A brief talk about how we often shoot down our ideas out of fear that they won't be good enough.
See the attached PDF describing a set of questions you can use to quickly determine whether an idea has potential or not.
Description of the trap that is 'too many ideas'--or, an inability to commit to something and actually work through it.
Description of a mindset that may help you overcome the tendency to jump from idea to idea.
Students will review the concepts in this module, prepare for the module on the draft.
Overview of the draft module. Recommended for those who like to see the whole picture before diving into the details.
Description of the trap that is needing to be inspired to write.
A technique that may help you sit down to work.
A description of the inevitable appearance of writer's block, and a reflection on both why it happens and what it doesn't say about you as a writer.
A PDF with a technique for outlining borrowed from Shawn Coyne and his work The Story Grid.
A PDF with a technique from improv teacher Patricia Ryan Madson and her book Improv Wisdom to help you let go of perfection and get writing.
A description of the impulse to self-destruct mid-project when it doesn't seem to be coming together.
A mindset borrowed largely from tech start-ups to take the pressure off of you to immediately produce a brilliant draft. It may free you to work guilt-free (or at least with less guilt than usual).
Review of the draft videos. Recommended for those who would like to consolidate the material in memory before moving on.
Overview of the revising module. Recommended, again, for those who like to have an idea of what to expect.
Description of the moment when you read your draft and realize it doesn't make very much sense.
Description of a tool you can use to find out what your draft is about, so that you can then shape it during later revisions.
Description of two situations in which it's hard to delete, even when you know that your work would benefit from it.
Thoughts on why reflecting on your purpose for writing may help you do the work necessary to create a high-quality final product.
A description of the moment at which you may think you're done--but in fact probably have more to do.
A description of how to use the Editor's Notebook to work out what is still missing.
A recap of the revising module.
Chad is an author living in Seattle, Washington, in the USA. His primary focus is on examining and (ideally) learning from his mistakes. His courses are about mastering the psychology of long, challenging projects. His books include Direct Translation Impossible: Tales from the Land of the Rising Sun, and This is Not a Sutra: A Trial and Error Guide to Meditation for Secular Thinkers.