"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Hay House & Self Help

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope this missive finds you well and happy - and that your writing is all that you want it to be.

I've been casting my latest play this week. Twenty five actors, singers and dancers. It's funny because it's the dance part I'm most excited about at the moment - the idea of transferring my writing into movement seems like a fabulous, previously unexplored, opportunity.

I'll keep you posted on how the play goes - it's due for curtains up in July.

Keep Writing.


Magellan Books

Writers! Click here to get published free by Magellan Books.


On Hay House

Rob Parnell

Hay House must be every self help writers ultimate publisher. Their author list reads like a hall of fame: Wayne Dyer, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Don Miguel Ruiz, Doreen Virtue and, of course, Louise Hay herself, whose Heal Your Life books, you could argue, singlehandedly paved the way for our modern obsession with mind, body and spirit self help.

I love the self help genre but I came to it late.

I'd spent my twenties in turmoil.

On one hand I knew that, being an artist, I had to follow my creative urges and fulfill the need to work on fiction, film, music and live theater projects. But on the other hand, there was a need to please, largely fueled by family and peer pressure, that pushed me to give it all up and 'settle down' - whatever that means.

Finally, in my early thirties, I relented and got a job as a buyer then a contract negotiator for various corporate companies. This was apparently against all the odds. People who spend a decade writing words and playing music aren't supposed to just walk in to high paying office jobs. But I did.

That's my trouble. I've always been good at everything I do. I don't say this to boast because it's actually been a bit of a curse. If I'd been terrible at working in offices, it would have at least narrowed my choices down...

As it was, I excelled at work and kept getting promoted.

But, as you'd probably expect, working nine to five led me into the most miserable time of my life. As our TVs got bigger and our houses more expensive, my sense of inner worth deteriorated.

Alcohol was my self administered poison of choice in those days. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy some of the heroic binges I went on. But I knew it couldn't last - that the habit was too expensive, financially and psychologically, to support.

I remember I faced a dilemma when on holiday in the Mediterranean. At one point on the beach I felt an overwhelming urge to stay in that sleepy Greek village for months and dedicate myself to writing a novel. But that would mean giving up the day job - and facing whatever happened as a result. Deflated, I went back to working in the City of London for another three years until my life finally crumbled to, well, not very much.

I realized too late I should have listened to that little voice on the beach!

Anyway, I was at a particularly low ebb when I first drifted towards the self help section one lunch time. What I was doing there I don't remember - this was usually my serious drinking time...

But as it turned out I bought Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, I guess because it felt like the last thing I had was any power at all.

I read the book in less than three days and my life changed forever. I suddenly realized that I did indeed have the ability to choose my instincts over my intellect - and that my life had gone down the toilet because of all the bad (selfless) choices I'd made in the previous five years.

I determined then that never again would I listen to anything but the artist inside who so desperately wanted expression.

So began my love affair with self help.

I remember reading Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I was sitting in a church yard when I got to the chapter on forgiving your parents - and accepting that they were not to blame for who you turned out to be.

In that sunny silent place, it was tremendously liberating to finally let go of the idea that I was somehow limited by my own parents' expectations. And that my inadequacies were my issues - and not theirs.

I've had many life altering moments reading self help. Not least when I recently read Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention. I experienced an epiphany of sorts when I finally understood that yes, of course, we create our own lives. That we do indeed attract all the bad stuff - and that we do have the power, more than that, the right, to demand success and joy and fulfillment if only we understand that we really do have that much control - if we're brave enough to use it.

Publishers like Hay House are leading the way for those of us that need to create better and more meaningful lives for ourselves.

Of course there's an element of selfishness involved. But the logic of that aspect is solid.

Because unless you have respect for yourself first, you can't give anything of any value to others.

Unless you understand your own psyche - and embrace your uniqueness - you can't hope to serve others and help create a better world, even if all you want to do is write a story that people will want to read, enjoy and be entertained by.

Quantum physics teaches us that we are all made up of the same stuff as the stars. That at the very heart of everything there is nothing except possibility - and that what guides that possibility is consciousness, awareness and good old intention.

Atoms know this - and respond accordingly.

We choose our realities - and in order to do that well, we need to truly understand ourselves. All the good stuff inside - and all the bad stuff too - that needs to be channeled.

Self knowledge makes us stronger and more able to help each other using our own unique challenges. It's not about fixing your faults - we all have many. It's not about making excuses for our sins - again, I'm sure we all have things we'd rather not have done or still experience embarrassment over.

True power lies in embracing who we are - the good and the bad - and using that knowledge to expand our creativity. Because that's why we're here: to co-create the universe as best we can.

Follow your instincts - always.

You'll be happier in the long run - and you'll do better work.

Keep writing!

Rob at Home
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write


"When in doubt, sing louder." Robert Merrill

Previous Newsletter includes:
Article: "Entitlement"
Writer's Quote by e e cummings

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are You Entitled to Success?

 Creative people often get bitter about what's not happening.

The trick is to know that you have always had total control of your destiny. You make things happen, you decide, you control.

When things don't work out it's because either we don't have as much control as we thought we had - or we perhaps we really haven't really tried to exert it as much as we could have.

And it's wondering why we didn't try harder that we need to deal with, rather than blame the universe - or others - for not responding as we wished.

Do you believe you're entitled to success?
Nothing happens without good reason. Some people get rich and famous. Some people don't. Some people live lives of quiet desperation, or an existence of silent rage.

Some people have a lot to give. Some people can't let go of what they have. Some people's light shines so bright they can't hide it. Some people live in a place so dark that their light can't escape.

What kind of person are you?

Success is not about how much you're craving to receive. It's about how much you're willing to give.

Many people want to take from the Internet more than they are open to give. But they fail to realize that their participation in the Net is already implicit in their being there in the first place.

The Internet is a direct embodiment of ourselves. When you surf, you participate. You are not an observer. You become the reason for its existence.

Your interaction with people's websites is the same thing as meeting new people at a club. You are there. You may feel like an objective observer - but this is not the case. You are a participant. You are connecting with the website owner by merely viewing his/her site.

You might sometimes wonder about the new generation of celebrities - what I call the Twitter Generation - and how they sustain their stardom.

Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen are examples of people who use the Internet to their advantage. They understand that grass root popularity is not just an asset - an extra - but that really, it's where everything starts and ends.

But Internet popularity has got nothing to do with wealth - contrary to what every Net Guru would have us believe.

Many people - especially those who have nothing apart from an Internet connection of course - assume that the Net is a great source of riches - and that all they have to do is to 'get famous' on the Net and everything will be cool. But this is to misunderstand the nature of people - and how the world works.

Just because you're famous doesn't mean you have something more important, or interesting, to say...

The Net reflects. It's not an entity in itself. The Net is merely a reflection of who we are as a species. Your success - whether good, bad or indifferent, says a lot about who you are - what your voice has to say, how relevant it is, and how important people regard your message.

You cannot blame the Net for your lack of success. You need to be able to look at your message, your medium - and wonder why it's not making more impact. Writers need to be aware of this phenomenon.

Because, despite your best intentions, you need to ask yourself: Okay, so I've written a book, I like it, it's good, and now it's out there BUT, is it relevant, will anyone care - and why should they?

In the old days, we might put out a book and wonder about its success and then wait...

Now, we're aware that all those other writers put out about 100 books a day on the Net. So how can one - yours - possibly compete? How can you be heard above the crowd?

Because that's the depressing part.

As hard as it is to write a book, we then - later - have to deal with how to make that book interesting, appealing and relevant to an indifferent world when it's written.

Previous generations never had to worry about this. They wrote and then hoped. Now we have the Net, we write and then can see, with absolute evidence, the impact of our words - which is often negligible in the great scheme of things.

(BTW: I love the phrase 'great scheme of things' - it sums up the idea of the universe and the recognition of its resulting influence on human awareness in a phrase that was years ahead of its time!)

Anyway. I guess my point is that you cannot disconnect who you are from what you want to say.

Many new writers ask me if it's okay to use a pseudonym - as if, by having a different name, they can distance themselves emotionally from what they have to say. I think this is a mistake. If you're going to present a persona to the world, it might as well be your own.

Not only because it's easier to be yourself but that, in the event of criticism, it's better to be the person who is defending your own world view, rather than becoming an invented personality.

Writing is not just about putting words on a page. It's about being the person who wrote those words - it's about having the integrity to admit that your words are important to you. That you wrote those words for a reason.

That you are a real person with genuine thoughts and ideals.

You can't really be a real writer unless you are honest - and willing to be spill your guts onto the page - and be judged for that exercise.

Never be afraid to be honest. The things that you're embarrassed to reveal are the very things that your readers want to get from you.

Readers want to connect. And the more connections you create, the more successful you will become as a writer.

You know this is true because you've experienced it yourself.

Life is about being the best you can be.

It's about sharing ourselves and being there for the people we care about.

Writers often feel that their work is solitary and the profound conclusions we reach can be frustratingly abstract at the time when we want to broadcast them. But this does not undermine our reasons for continuing to write.

We write, we give, we share.

But we don't do it for egotistic reasons, or shouldn't.

We give by creating. We make a difference by fully being who we are.

And that's enough, surely - although some extra cash would be nice!

Just be sincere, that's my advice.

Keep writing!

Rob Parnell's Writing Academy

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Cosmic Ordering Service

Dear Fellow Writer,

Still here - just three more performances of Are You Being Served? to go and then I'm looking forward to a rest - at least a whole day to ourselves - before the inevitable onslaught of new projects and TTD (Things To Do!)

Weeks like this I find myself singing the old Bon Jovi song, Sleep When I'm Dead...

Oh, by the way - quick reminder - my one day sale of Easy Cash Writing ends at midnight tonight: (Click on the image!)

Easy Cash Writing

Keep Writing.


Magellan Books

Writers! Click here to get published free by Magellan Books.


The Cosmic Ordering Service

Rob Parnell

"Take it easy, have fun, and everything else will follow."

That's the advice of Barbel Mohr in her new book, The Cosmic Ordering Service, which I couldn't help picking up to read recently. It's actually barely a book at 100 pages - and is more a collection of notes about her philosophy on life - and the inherent simplicity of it.

It's a fun read, mainly because it takes the same premise as The Secret, and simplifies the idea even more.

Listen Up. When you want something, you really only need to place your order with the universe - and then forget about it.

Barbel says that rather than focusing on the order and wondering whether it will arrive - or placing the order several times a day - you must learn to trust the universe and 'know' that your needs and desires will be catered for automatically, as long as you take it easy, relax, and make time to smell the roses...

Understandably, she says this is a hard concept to grasp to the more logical and cynical amongst us - but she says that once she took the idea of completely letting go on board then all kinds of wonderful things started to happen to her - she literally received everything she wished for.

Lovely idea - no wonder it's becoming a bestseller in the UK.

I like the notion that any kind of stress is negative energy - and will therefore block the good things coming to us.

To Barbel, negative energy explains why most people don't get what they want. They're too focused on all the bad things that might happen, or the petty little annoyances of their daily lives, to really understand that the universe is benevolent and only wants what's best for us - and that we can harness the endless creativity of the world if only we realize we don't have to struggle and fight for everything we want.

Quite the contrary, working hard for something will always have the result of pushing it away - because it's the work that the universe thinks we want, rather than that which we desire.

You get what you focus on.

Robyn and I have lived by this credo since we met.

When you focus on how hard life is and how difficult things and people can be, you get more of the same - because the universe thinks that's how you like to live.

Simply remove all the bad influences in your life. Barbel even recommends leaving your job - if you're not totally happy there - even if your whole life seems dependent upon it to support you and your family.

Lose contact with your negative friends. Reject those family members with destructive attitudes. Do only what makes you happy and fulfills you - and more good things will start to line up in front of you.

This is not quite so air headed as it sounds.

Even the great scientist and thinker, Buckminster Fuller, was forced to acknowledge a similar philosophy. He said he noticed that throughout his life, he'd often felt compelled to work at jobs he hated because he felt he was doing the right thing for his family.

But, whenever he stopped working 9 to 5 and concentrated on doing only what he felt he needed to do for his own sanity (in his case, scientific research), then good things began to happen, as he put it, just by happenstance, and just in the nick of time.

Buckminster was forced to conclude that there really was some mysterious underlying force that kicked in when people are happy and fulfilled by their work.

Robyn and I can attest that this philosophy works.

We believe it's got a lot to do with jacking in the day job and doing your own thing - probably the most unnecessarily terrifying idea that most people in this world want to face.

For all the wrong reasons.

Because the moment you take responsibility for own your life and can orchestrate your days so that only good influences are allowed into your personal energy space, then your whole outlook begins to change.

Indeed, the universe's positive benevolence really does then seem to kick in - and start working for you instead of against you.

New possibilities become not only endless but curiously realistic and doable. Things that seemed impossible suddenly become natural and logical extensions of our abilities.

Fear dissolves into the shadowy figment it always was.

Money just seems to appear out of nowhere.

Luck starts teeming around you like golden rain.

You feel content - which allows you to relax and think clearly.

You're miraculously full of good ideas that are beneficial to yourself and others - and you experience the joy that comes from having clarity of purpose.

And then the peace that comes from your newfound sense of destiny fills you with a certainty that everything is fine and dandy...

And you finally realize that this is exactly how life is supposed to be.

Easy, stress-free, and fun.

The catch?

It's not a catch really.

Because all you have to do is believe.

But the best part? The more you let go, the more the universe helps you to believe - by placing more and more happy coincidences in your path, until one day you're forced to admit there's no chance involved in good fortune.

It's the natural order of things.

In fact, it's your birthright.

All you have to do is KNOW IT.

Keep writing!

Rob at Home
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
Albert Einstein

Previous Newsletter includes:
Article: "The Future of Books is Digital"
Writer's Quote by Collete

Friday, April 1, 2011

Surfing the Write Side

Bit frazzled today - last night was the opening night of a play I'm acting in: Are You Being Served? (based on the old TV series). I'm playing Mr Humphries of all people! Here's the poster:


No rest for the wicked, as I often say. Next I'm directing a musical set in a nightclub - a cross between That 70s Show and Glee. Should be lots of fun!

This week, I was sent this amusing link by an esteemed subscriber - showing how writers should NOT react to a bad review! It's also an object lesson on the importance of doing a very good self edit on your material BEFORE you let ANYONE see it!

Keep Writing.


Magellan Books

Writers! Click here to get published free by Magellan Books.


Surfing the Write Side

Rob Parnell

I was shocked to see the revenue generated by modern media products last year.

Hollywood - as you'd expect - generated a hefty income - around $17 billion. This seems low when compared to the $25 billion earned by the music industry. But surprisingly it was video games that claimed the lion's share of media revenue at $30 billion.

But what of books, you ask.

Well, in 2010, the entire world revenue for books, magazines and newsprint actually struggled to make it to a mere $1 billion. In the US, book sales accounted for a measly $120 million - most of which went to a handful of bestselling authors and their publishers.

Makes you wonder whether we're in the right business, doesn't it?

With potential meagre earnings like this, split amongst around one million working writers, it's no wonder that many commentators believe that the real world publishing industry is in trouble.

On the plus side, the latest projections for the publishing industry predict a tripling of the revenue generated by books by 2013. BUT - over two thirds of that revenue is expected to come from the sale of DIGITAL books - that is, ebooks.

Imagine that - in two year's time over two thirds of all books sold will be computer downloads!

Amazon, Google, Apple, Sony and MSN are all now scrambling to make sure they're part of this ebook revolution - and I would advise authors and writers like you to be ready to jump onboard - as quickly as possible.

Because the beauty of the ebook bonanza is that authors can now compete directly with publishers WITHOUT having a publishing deal.

Just edit and format your book or novel or anthology, make a PDF and put it up online - either independently on your own web site or through one of the many hundreds of ebook publishers (like Magellan Books) or even through Amazon - all of which you can do for free.

The revolution will happen whether you're ready or not.

You may not sell thousands of your ebooks all at once - but let's face it, neither do real world publishers sell vast quantities of B list books.

One of the great secrets that the publishing industry doesn't like to brag about is that they simply don't sell that many books anymore.

Yes, if you're Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling or James Patterson, you might sell millions - but the rest of us?


The average writer makes barely enough to keep her in pens and a laptop. Around $12000 a year for the average 'successful' working writer was the last estimate I heard - and apparently 80% of people who call themselves professional writers make less than $10000 per year.

No wonder we have this image of writers living in garrets!

As an aspiring writer, you may feel that having a real world book out there is the only sure sign that you've actually made it, but this is in fact a bit of an illusion...

Many real world published authors may have the satisfaction of owning a copy of their own book BUT this does little to secure their careers - indeed, may even hamper it.

The fact is, digital does not have the same stigma to MODERN READERS, who will increasingly, I suspect, before anyone realizes what is going on, have huge libraries of digital books on their iPads, cells, PCs and all the other forms of modern data storage devices.

You probably have a few yourself!

And you probably think they don't really count as real books.

Am I right?

If so, then in monetary terms, you're mistaken...

But if you absolutely must have a real paper and card version of your work to make you feel better about yourself, then there's still good news. A similar revolution is happening in POD.

It makes perfect sense not to print up a book until someone buys it. And the new Print On Demand technology makes that entirely possible.

Yes, you may have to pay a nominal set up fee but then each book, printed often one at a time, should cost you around half of what you can sell it for.

Another secret the publishing industry keeps to itself is that many mainstream publishers have been using POD themselves for the last few years. Their own print runs have become smaller - because the price of printing POD books keeps coming down. Plus, if stocks run down in the event of bestseller, they can always print up new books quickly to satisfy any unexpected demand. And let's face it, a runaway bestseller is always unexpected - because ever since the beginning of time, nobody has been able to successfully predict what the public will want at any given time.

Nowadays, print publishers desperately try to create bestsellers - just look at how they're promoting Stieg Larsson (though sadly no longer with us) at the current time - because they know that exposure plus promotion plus a media angle and ideally a film deal can create enormous bestsellers - just like it did for The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter and Twilight.

But this is good - because this is where we independent writers can also compete. We just play the same game - on our own terms.

Publish the books - ourselves - then generate as much interest as we can online and jump on every opportunity to publicize ourselves and our books.

Sound too much like hard work?

Fact is, even mainstream publishers want you to do this work for them anyway. Have you seen modern submission guidelines that ask you what you personally intend to do to publicize your own work?

Real world publishers know they can't do it all by themselves - and are increasingly relying on authors to do the hard work of creating a viably commercial product.

Get ready to ride the wave.

Ours is an abundant, technology led, brave new world. There's lots of money to be made out there as a writer if you simply switch your mindset - and appreciate that the times they are a changin'.

Later this year I'll be starting up my own POD company as an adjunct to Magellan Books. I'll keep you posted on that because, yes, your success really is my ultimate concern.

Keep writing!

Rob at Home
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write


"Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and
destroy most of it."

The Writing Academy

Welcome to the official blog of Rob Parnell's Writing Academy, updated weekly - sometimes more often!