"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: July 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Seven Rules for Success - in Anything!

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Writing, they say, is a vocation, like being a doctor or a nurse - except you don't automatically get paid to write - and are perhaps some kind of freak if you expect it.

I don't agree.

Writing is a skill and a craft like any other. You can make clay pots or weave blankets and people wouldn't dream of expecting not to pay for them. 

Why should a writer give away novels, books, short stories and articles? Even poems?

Writers should be paid to write - simple as that.

Go to the link below for special offers on Easy Way to Write stuff!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell


The Seven Rules of Success

Rob Parnell

How do you remain happy?

How do you get what you want?

Success is often a perception. You either believe you have it or more often you hate yourself for feeling like a failure.

Here are the Easy Way to Write seven rules to live by if you truly want to feel good about yourself - and achieve your most cherished goals and dreams.

1. You are the expert on you.

You don't need anyone to tell you what you're like or what your are capable of. 

Nobody else knows you as well as you do. 

Therefore, you are the only person who can and should decide what is right for you.

No-one else's opinion matters.

2. You are not broken; you do not need to be 'fixed'.

This may come as a shock to your friends and family - who probably never tire of listing your faults and reminding you of your failures!

You have an essential right to be exactly who you are, and decide what you want to do with your life. 

You must embrace all of the qualities you possess, good and bad. 

It is your job to enhance those qualities and use them to your and everyone else's advantage - it's what makes your way unique.

3. You already have all the resources you need to succeed.

Even if you don't have the necessary skills required, you know how you can get them. 

You also 'know' what you have to do to acquire them. 

What matters is that you understand this about yourself. 

There is nothing that you cannot achieve if you are sufficiently motivated.

4. You can achieve anything if you break down a task into small enough chunks.

As a writer, you'll be aware of this. 

Nobody writes a big book all in one go. 

You have to break it down, building it one word at a time if necessary. 

That's how all great people achieve anything - consistent, even if sometimes only minimal action over the long haul.

5. If what you're doing isn't working, you must do something else.

Only a fool keeps banging their head against a brick wall when it's clear they're not knocking the thing down. 

A wise person, like yourself, will change tack and try a different method for bringing down the wall - or simply climb over or around it.

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Successful people are not lucky. 

They just get used to failing more than most. 

That's how it works. 

You try lots of things, lots of new ventures and projects. 

Some work out, some don't. 

It's a fact of life. 

You just need to go with the ones that do work - for you.

7. You are creating your future NOW!

Everything you are doing in the moment is creating an inevitable future. 

If you want to be successful in the future, you must start behaving like a successful person now, this minute, and make the kinds of decisions about your time and efforts that will bring about the future you want.


So now you know the Easy Way to Write seven rules of success!

Now you can go out and get what you want!

And be a happy chappy / chappess!

Keep writing!
 rob at home


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How To Get Happy!

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Just finishing off the last - 6th! - part of the doco we're making. Should be up online tonight. Thanks for the great feedback for the other 5 parts!

Soon I'm starting a weekly EWTW video show...

Well. it's half way through the year and perhaps time to think about those resolutions you made on January first. 

How far along your path are you? How far into your writing goals for the year?

If you've let things slip because life is seeming to get in the way, it could be you need the advice in the article below!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell


How to Get Happy

Rob Parnell

Many writers and would be artists complain their lives get in the way of their aspirations. They say they would be happy if they had fewer duties and responsibilities - because then they could concentrate more time and energy into their creativity.

Much of this mindset is an illusion when you take time out to review how you spend your time - and take a good hard look at what motivates you.

Below are some simple instructions on how to change your life for the better. And get happy!

1. Do only what you want to do FIRST

Most people have a list of 'must do' things that fill their minds from the moment they wake in the morning. In the great scheme of 'getting ahead', most of these things are a waste of your time.

Do whatever makes you happy first.

This habit will, over time, send an important message to your subconscious. Not only that your happiness is more important than anyone's else's. But also that you really can - when you try - find the time to do what's important to you FIRST.

2. Take responsibility for your life

Stop whining about how bad things are and how many awful things you have to do and take a step back. Realize that you have the life you created. Everything in your life is a direct consequence of a decision you made in the past. If you're not happy now, it's probably because you made some lousy decisions in the past.

The way to get happy is to realize you can start to undo those decisions today.

Your destiny is not some nebulous construct in the clouds. It's a living thing that pulses through your veins every second of your life  - and you can tap into it right now.

Simply understand that you have all the power you need NOW and that you already posses all the skills to change anything and everything in your life. It may take time but you can do it - and make no mistake, you're the ONLY ONE who can change it.

3. Avoid bad energy

Certain things, people and activities bring you down. Make a list of them and then decide you will do everything in your power to avoid them. Either by delegating responsibility for them to someone else or simply not doing them.

If you imagine dire consequences might result from avoiding bad energy, analyze why - see what's really going on.

If certain people bring you down, get rid of them from your life.

If your job depresses you, change it.

If there's a whole bunch of things you hate doing, pay someone else to do them. Do what you're good at and you truly enjoy to raise the money to pay other people to do the things you don't enjoy.

This is Jack Canfield's philosophy - and it hasn't harmed him!

4. Shun negativity

There will always be people out there that say things can't be done.

Most of them call themselves your friends and family. Strangers are for some reason more generally upbeat.

Don't seek counsel from people who always advise against things.

Better still, don't ask for advice. If you want to do something, just do it, start, begin - and see where it takes you FIRST - before you start analyzing the consequences.

Stay out of the way of negativity - even the black side of your own brain.

Stay positive - and always tell yourself there's no reason why you should not succeed. This is one of the attributes of all successful people - they never question their abilities. So don't you!

5. Stop worrying

Worrying doesn't change anything - ever.

If you're a worrier by nature, spend the next 21 days listing the things you worry about. Review your list and realize that it's all wasted energy. And A LOT of wasted time.

Whenever you catch yourself dwelling on a perceived problem, stop and deliberately refocus your energy on something else. Focus on creating something new, whether it's a flower bed, a tidy drawer or a new novel. Take bad energy and make it good.

Twenty one days of repetitive behavior can change the habit of a lifetime. This is behavioral science fact. If you don't believe it, there's no hope for you!

6. Things are getting better all the time

The past is gone. In a sense it doesn't exist anymore. Your memory is all that keeps the past alive - and only to you. No-one else.

Get into the habit of refocusing your mind on the future - and a brighter future at that.

Live in a constant state of anticipation for the glorious future to come.

Tell yourself constantly that things are getting better all the time. And they will.

Look for clues, synchronicities and happy accidents. Prove to yourself that a positive mindset provides positive results.

For YOU, not just for others.

7. Put it all together

You'll be amazed at how quickly you can turn your life around when you first do what YOU want to do and realize that you are responsible for your own happiness.

Fact is, if you're not happy, you're choosing that too.

If you think there's something holding you back, it is. It's a something you've invented and rely upon to hold you back.

You can change everything about your life if you want to.

Here's something Dr Phil recommends in one of his books:

If you think your life is in a crappy place, spend a couple of hours writing it all down, every detail, every horrible aspect.

Then write down the solutions to everything.

Then let it all go. Realize that nothing is really that important.

Only your own sense of well being - peace and inner calm - is all that you really have. All else is vanity.

Be happy first. Deliberately. Make that happen.

And everything else - all the good stuff - will follow.

Keep writing!
 rob at home
"If there is a secret to writing, I haven't found it yet. All I know is sit down, clear your mind, and hang in there."
Mary McGrory

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Popularity

Rob Parnell

Many of my subscribers email me to ask: How do I get more hits? How can I get more online friends and leads? How can I sell more of my stuff? How do I become more POPULAR!

Below is a quick rundown of the advice I usually give. Much of it assumes that you are already involved in social networking and have FB, Twitter, Linked In and Google+ accounts. If you don't already, register with them all - especially Google+ because, I recently read, Google apparently favors your articles and posts in their search results if you have a Google+ account linked to your Gmail address.

1. Be Funny

People don't so much surf as skim. They want to be grabbed quickly by your message - any message. The best way to get under someone's skin swiftly is to make them smile - or better still, LOL.

Post funny remarks to your social sites. Short one liners are enough. If you're not naturally funny, get a joke book or re-tweet other people's humorous comments. You don't need to add a linking URL - you might come across as a spammer if you do. If people like your comment, they'll click on your profile anyway - and your site URL will be there for them.

2. Be Profound

People also like clever quotes from famous people. Somehow you take on the mirrored-glory of those quotes when you post them. People are interested in the person who thought those quotes were profound - that is, you!

Post one liners from your best articles, make a list of clever things you've ever thought or said or copy and paste quotes from quote sites - there's loads of 'em out there.  

3. Ask Questions

People like to be involved. The best way to get on with people in the real world is to be more interested in them than yourself. People always rate a listener as friendlier than a talker. Same goes for the Net.

Stop boasting about what you have, what you've done and what you want to sell. Ask questions instead. Ask what people think. Run a survey. Collect feedback. Get involved and be appreciative of the people who answer your questions.

4. Help People

Nothing spreads word of mouth better than a good deed. A hundred people might buy your product or e-book - and tell no-one. Help one person with a problem and they'll tell at least a dozen people.

Be there for people. Answer emails and posts with courtesy, patience and kindness. Always take the blame for something that goes wrong - even if it's not your fault. People will love you for that.

5. Follow Everyone

Be enthusiastic and fun - and pro-active. Invite as many people as you can to your social sites. Acknowledge everyone, follow them back. Tell them you're a fan. Everyone wants to be loved - and everybody needs to feel important.

Be a giver first. Don't focus on what you have. Focus on what your correspondents need and want. Let all the other stuff take care of itself - as it will.

Most of all, take it easy, have fun, and then everything else - and everyone else - will follow!

Keep Writing!

Your Success is My Concern

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Description in Fiction

Write to Live

Welcome if you've just joined me recently. Hope you had a great 4th of July - yes, these newsletters are written in real time!

Y'know, the Internet is so distracting it's hard to make that shift sometimes. The shift that says, "Now I must start writing!"

I'm an hour late with this newsletter today because I had so many 'digital/social things to do' before I could begin. 

Ah well. Onward...

Lots of my famous writing resources here:

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell


Description in Fiction

 Rob Parnell

Is description in fiction a good thing?

I get a lot of emails from my cherished subscribers asking about description - anything from 'how does one do it?' to 'how does one stop doing it?'

We live in a busy world - different from the past when, before TV and the Internet, we had hours to soak up and enjoy writers who knew how to take us out of ourselves using long, long descriptive passages about the weather, the countryside and the buildings that housed the characters in a story.

Many new writers assume that there's some prowess involved in being able to use description effectively - and indeed there is. But these days, it's just as much about economy of wordage as the effective use of adjectives, nouns and descriptors.

A short paragraph is all that is really needed to 'set the scene' in these helter skelter times. The shorter the better. Plus, wherever possible - as in always! - scenes should be described through the eyes of the character, never through the eyes of the author.

If you find yourself locked into writing endless pages of long descriptive passages, you've probably lost focus on the story - which is really the only thing the reader is interested in.

Only writers are impressed with lots of description I've found.

Readers prefer dialog, action and, if anything, lots of internal monologues where the protagonist is weighing up the implications of particular plot points.

Static description is rare in fiction these days. So, when new writers ask me how they can improve in this area, my advice is the same.

Keep it simple.

Assume that your reader already knows what most things look like - even far off cities and foreign lands. Let the reader guess the minutiae from your shorthand. Let them feel the impact of your landscape through the main character who, logically, would feel no need to describe everything that is familiar.

Focus on what the protagonist would notice as extraordinary - and you'll be much more likely to satisfy your reader.

Of course, if you're writing about an imaginary landscape, you may feel the need to describe more - but really the same advice is valid.

Even an alien in a topsy turvy world would not feel the need to describe something it regarded as normal.

You need to find a balance.

But what if you're not good at description at all?

Hemingway once said you should never try to do things you're not good at because the reader would guess that you weren't playing to your strengths.

Hence, if you're not good at description, don't do it. Do what you are good at. Write your own way. Be unique, instead of beating yourself up over trying to be like someone else!

If you have a burning need to improve your description writing, there are some ways to do it.

For a month write nothing else.

Describe everything around you, either in your head or in words on a page. Get used to using all six senses when describing, say, a lamp or a kettle or a pet.

Write a paragraph about something you see every day. When you're on holiday, sit on one spot and describe everything you see - fill up a couple of pages of pure description: the sky, the land, your tabletop and the sounds, the smells and the sense of everything you see and feel.

A month of doing this daily will give you a feel for how you construct description - your particular style. Get to know your 'lyrical' self.


Leave your descriptive passages to mature for a couple of months and come back to them later. See if you can't edit out 90% of what you've written. Distill down the words into the essence of what you're trying to describe.

The musicality of your word use is much less important than what you're trying to convey. Don't fall in love with your sentences - as many writers do. Just see them as lumpy clay that needs remolding into something more beautiful, more pertinent.

Less is more when it comes to description.

Too much - more than a sentence or two - and you're getting into exposition anyway - as in, stating the obvious or overly guiding your reader into a point of view that you need to justify rather than merely show.

Good writers should never need to justify or explain their work, especially to the reader - and never to a critic, either.

As long as you care about your work - and can see your own shortcomings and are determined to fix them, you're doing the right thing.

If everybody wrote the same way, if there was just one right way to do things, then they'd have gotten computers to write stories by now!

My greatest respect goes out to writers who are obsessed with perfecting their personal style and worry chiefly about clarity.

Writers like Dennis Lehane and Stuart MacBride are modern, some would say gritty and confronting, but their messages are clear, easy to read and compelling. In private they admit they agonize over their words  - but you'd never know it when you read their stories.

That's the trick: to aspire to apparent effortlessness. And to do so your way.

So when YOU think there's too much description or it's not very good, you're probably right!

I always say that when you read your work to a critique group and receive feedback, no other writer should be able to say something you haven't already considered, at least four or five times.

If you're not giving your own work that degree of consideration before you release it to the world, you're not doing your own work justice.

Go ahead, try to be the best description writer you can be - but know your limitations.

Because, if you get bored or frustrated over your descriptive passages, so will, in all likelihood, your reader.

Edit out your weaknesses and play to your strengths, whatever they are.

Remember that readers - and editors, agents and publishers - prefer honesty and clarity of vision to anything else.

Plus technical proficiency of course!

It's better to focus on spelling, grammar and clarity as a primary concern - and let the other stuff take care of itself - as it will with practice - over time.

Keep writing!
 rob at home

““I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.”
Peter De Vries

The Writing Academy

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