The Daily Routines and Writing Habits of an Indie Author [Interview] 166

writing habits and rituals of an indie author

Morning routines, daily rituals, success practices, ways to stay focused and productive, writing habits… We all work on these. And want to improve them.

I’ve always been fascinated with those of other people, though. And so have most of you, I guess.

Because whatever your typical day looks like, there’s always something you can learn and a mini habit you can borrow from someone else who is working on being productive and motivated in order to achieve more in life.

Also, we’re all familiar with the hard-fought journey to working for yourself (in this case, to being a full-time writer).

And then there comes passion, our purpose in life and how we’ll find ways to always have it in mind so that we can stay on our path.

All these describe the life of Michal Stawicki – a hard-working family guy from Poland, who decided to change his life a few years ago.

He’s achieved a lot since then, and to this day hustles constantly, trying to get more exposure for his books, help and inspire more people, and embrace the solopreneurial life and be able to invest most of his time in] writing.

He’s an indie author who gets a lot done, a progress fanatic who has developed a powerful mindset and great habits that help him write whenever he finds the time, stay focused and not let distractions get in the way, together with managing all the things he has to do daily.

And because of all that, there’s a lot he has to share with us.

As he says, he “helps individuals who feel helpless expand beyond their limits so they can regain the control over their lives.” He writes about that in all of his books.

In this interview he shares how his transformation started, what helped him the most, how his days go, his best habits and practices, and many more little tricks that can help us all turn our life around and be the best version of ourselves.

Here it is:

1. How did your writing career begin?

I’m an avid reader and my mind was always full of fantasy stories. I dreamed about writing since childhood, but have never actually done something about it till I was 33.

On Feb. 26, 2013, I shared in an online Transformation Contest my personal mission statement creation process. One of my friends commented: “You should write an e-book about this.”

At the same time, I was looking for additional income sources. I knew I have to leave my 9 to 5 in order to live a fulfilled life. I had already started a couple of blogs in English and my readers were actively interacting with me. I knew my English wasn’t perfect, but was good enough to share my experience. And I discovered I love to support and teach others. I decided to give this idea a try.

It took me more than a month of research and struggling with self-doubts till I sat down and wrote the first words of my first book on April 8, 2013.
I published “A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness” on Amazon on May 26, 2013.

So far I’ve sold over 1,600 copies of this book and this was started by a single encouraging remark from my friend.

2. How did you decide to change and what made you start working on improving yourself?

In August 2012, I read a book called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. It took me a whole month to start implementing ideas from this book.

I took a look at myself and decided this was one person who could surely use some development.

I changed because I was frustrated.
I compared myself to others and saw that they had more friends, more money, better health, and a more rewarding spiritual life. When I looked at myself, trying to predict how I would end up, I couldn’t envision ever reaching the high levels of happiness and financial status they had.

I felt that something was wrong with me. All in all, I wasn’t the stupidest, most insensitive or laziest guy around. Deep inside me I had the feeling that I could do better.

In November 2012, I created my personal mission statement; I consider it the real starting point of my progress.

3. How is your self-improvement process going and what have you achieved so far?

I suppose my process is going fine, because I see results. And I see them in many areas of my life – wealth, health, spirituality… even in my IT career which I basically neglected since I’ve decided to become a full-time writer.

I applied several self-help concepts and started building inspiring results: I lost some weight, greatly increased my savings, built new skills and got rid of bad habits while developing better ones.

4. How often do you write?

I write every day at least 1000 words.

At the beginning I wasn’t so consistent and productive. Both issues are interconnected. The more I wrote, the easier it was to keep writing.
The longer I kept my writing streak, the more I was able to produce on a daily basis.

My problem at that time was that I didn’t write on weekends, so my streak was breaking every week. I don’t work on Sundays, so I couldn’t write at that day. Finally, I decided to write for fun on Sundays.

My “for fun” novel is already 53k words long and I’ve been writing every day since September 23, 2013.

That day I started a writing log where I noted what, for how long and how much I wrote.

5. Do you have a writing ritual? Something you do before or after that?

Before I write I try to pray for divine guidance. I do it almost always before my first writing session in a given time. I write best when I plug the earphones and run my special mix of background music.

But I have not established a full writing ritual. I write when and where I can, not when I wish.

6. What mindsets help you find the willpower to write even when you don’t want to?

A few of my beliefs are really helpful in that regard. First of all, I consider showing up more important than the results.

Showing up is a prerequisite. It’s necessary to have a chance for any results. Neglecting it is the surest path to failure.

Another thing is that I developed an enormous curiosity, bigger than any discouragement. If I quit, I’ll never know the end result. I do some things just for the sake of checking if they really work.

The last thing, I identify myself as a writer. This is my self-image. Writers write.

7. Outline your typical day: How does your morning routine look like?

I wake up around 5 am.
I open my eyes and start repeating my personal mission statement in my mind.
I do a quick intensive workout and pray simultaneously.
I drink a glass of water.
I look at my vision board for a few minutes.
I read about dozen quotes from my philosophy manifesto.
I read fragments from a couple of books which shaped my philosophy (about a paragraph each).
I journal for about 10-15 minutes.
I brush my teeth and pray at the same time.
I do 5 to 15 minute cardio workout listening to podcasts or other audio materials.

My routine extends to the commute to work too: more prayers and meditation while waiting for the train.
On the way to work, I write or make up for the lack of sleep by catching a nap.

Commuting between the train station and the office: I practice speed reading, read a book written by a saint for ten minutes and finish repeating my personal mission statement.

Ideally, I reach the office having the biggest daily task—writing 1000 words—done, and having done most of my bigger daily habits.

At work I don’t waste my time on trivia. I work for my employer and whenever I have the opportunity, I work on my business.

During the commute back home I pray, read and work on my stuff.

In the afternoon my energy and willpower are depleted. I take care of a few smaller tasks and wind down.

There is always something to do when you are a solopreneur. I usually work about an hour more at home.

I try to be in bed before 10:30 pm.

Including my commuting time, I work 12-14 hours a day.

My rest consists of my small habits smuggled into the day: naps, meditation, answering emails, connecting on Facebook, reading and commenting on blogs.

In the evening I spend time with my family, do homework with the kids and register my day in my gratitude journals.

8. How do you stay focused?

Three words. Personal mission statement.

I distilled what my purpose is and presented it in words. Once I had that, I started repeating those words every day.

Now they are deeply ingrained in me. I can no longer act against them. Not in the long-term. I can slip from my path occasionally, but my personal mission statement acts as my internal compass. I immediately know I’m going in the wrong direction and correct my course.

9. What is the best skill one can have in order to achieve what he wants?

Self-analysis. It’s the beginning of every other successful skill.

If you can take a look into your soul and see why you procrastinate, you gain the awareness of what’s wrong and can improve your time management.

If you don’t know where to start, you can look inside yourself for answers.
If you have no purpose, you can find it inside and it will release amazing flow of constant motivation.

The best two methods for self-analysis I recommend are journaling and meditation.

10. How do you want your writing career to look like a few years from now?

In a few years I want to be a full-time writer. I want to replace my day job income with my royalties.

I don’t see a reason I can’t earn as much as my mentor, Steve Scott (earns about $15k a month). He has exactly a few years head start.

And I want to have at least 20 more books published.

11. What are you working on now?

Right now I prepare the launch of my next book “The Art of Persistence”.

I’m also in the last stages of editing another one which is much different from my works up to date. It’s about the relationships between self-published authors and their readers.

I also work on the series of books under the working title “The Pursuit of Success,” which is intended for down-to-earth folks coming from our material-oriented society, who are skeptic toward any mind games, visualization, The Law of Attraction and stuff like that.
In this series I’m trying to explain how such mundane activities like journaling, taking a proper care of your body or developing good habits can ultimately lead you to success, even if you initially don’t want to “mess with your mind.”

12. Tell me about your new book “The Art of Persistence”.

I’m an idealist. With this book I want to oppose the overwhelming instant gratification in modern society.

The book is about consistency. I wrote it because people quit too soon on important things and are disappointed with the results they get and all too often—disappointed with themselves.

They repeatedly failed to persevere and thus they believed they can’t change.
My book shows them how consistency is prerequisite of results and how to develop it.

It’s for ordinary people who can relate to me: I don’t have many  resources, no big money or much spare time. In fact, I have only grit. And I am also getting results. I want exactly the same for my readers.

***
Hope you enjoyed the interview.

So let’s summarize the best practices Michal uses to be productive, stay focused, consistent and motivated, and achieve more in life:

  • personal mission statement;
  • self-analysis;
  • powerful morning routine;
  • writing every day (and basically whenever you find the time);
  • journaling;
  • using your commute to work to write and read;
  • always showing up;
  • being curious – try stuff to see how it will work out.

And here are some links if you want to connect with him:
Twitter
ExpandBeyondYourself.com (blog)
Books

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What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 14

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.

 

Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.