Archives for November 2013

Racial Pain in America: Why People of Color View Injustice Differently Than American Caucasians – by Alice Patterson

BRPD - Front Cover - 2012.10.12The article below is adapted from chapters one and two of the book Bridging the Racial and Political Divide by Alice Patterson. I had the privilege to work with Alice on this book, which contains seasoned insights about the root of our present racial and political situation—and what to do about it.

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I don’t remember how I found out. I just grew up knowing it. Papa, Dad’s father, had once joined the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the early 1900s in Oklahoma. The family moved to Texas in 1924 when my father was six years old and Papa’s Klan activity ceased. I thought the KKK was something like a volunteer sheriff’s posse—a citizen group that helped to enforce the law.

That’s a genuine case of whitewash, but it’s really what I thought. I didn’t ask questions.

I can’t explain how I could live my teenage years during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s without being affected by it, but I did. Now I’m saddened by the thought. But at that time I was ignorant and in my little White world in Earth, Texas, population 1,087 with less than 30 Black folk.

I remember the time I went inside the Colored school to deliver a note to the teachers. The Colored school was a small white stucco building among four large brick modern structures for White students. There were less than fifteen students— most of them were elementary school age. I knew that Black kids were in the separate, inferior school, but I didn’t ask why. I didn’t question the way things were.

I didn’t watch the news on television or read national newspapers. I know it sounds impossible, but I lived through my high school years without realizing that there was a struggle going on among Black folk for basic human rights. In 1970 after I was married, I remember seeing a Black guy in a red bandana with his fist in the air during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner at a college football game. I was shocked, but I was not compelled to find out why he was angry at our nation.

[Read more…]

Increase Your Writing Speed: 5 Ways to Write More, Faster

Fast writing is like a fast car: it’s more fun and you get to your destination faster. Consider the following five ways to increase your speed when you write—whether you’re writing a short speech or a long book.

Fast writing is like a fast car: it's more fun and you get to your destination faster.

Fast writing is like a fast car: it’s more fun and you get to your destination faster.

1. Create a map before you start to write.

Have you noticed that there is a negative stigma about creating and using an…do I dare say the word…outline?

Let me say clearly that having an outline doesn’t cramp your style; it releases and empowers it. An outline actually allows for greater creativity and flow because it provides the needed structure to hold what you want to say effectively with focus and organization.

An outline is not the training wheels on your bike that someday you get to remove. An outline is more like the structure of your house that is essential if you want your house to stand once you start building.

Using an outline doesn’t make you a weak or inexperienced writer. It makes you a wise one and it guarantees you’ll arrive where you want to go on time and in a good mood.

So whether you’re writing a short speech or a long book, take the time—even if it’s only a few minutes—to plan. The better your plan, the better your outcome.

2. Capture creativity when it’s happening.

Pay attention when words start flowing through your head and write them down. Don’t think the creativity will come back when you have time. While I’ve tried to practice this, I still experience those moments when I say to myself in the middle of a burst of creativity, Oh, I’ll remember this later, because the thoughts are so clear in that moment. I have yet to capture the same energy and content when I sit down even a few hours later to try to articulate what I was so in the middle of just a few hours before.

At a minimum, record a few notes that you can come back to. These notes taken when the creativity is flowing will stir creativity when you’re not feeling inspired. Then take that inspiration as your framework and just fill in the gaps with the details.

[Read more…]

How to Create an Attractive and Professional Cover Design for Your Book

Potential buyers will look at your front cover for only a few moments. If they’re interested, they may flip the book over or scroll down online to read the book’s description. If they are not hooked in 20 seconds, you don’t have a sale.

This post will show how I process cover design with authors I work with and some of the issues to consider. To do this I’m going to review the process I went through personally to create the cover for my upcoming book Anyone Can Write.

I believe you should hire a professional to create your book’s cover. The graphic below shows the six covers that Yvonne Parks designed for me.


I walked into the process considering the following—and these are the same five areas you should consider: [Read more…]

Write Nonfiction in November and Be a Part of National Nonfiction Writing Month

November is National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo) or Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN), which is a personal challenge to begin and complete any work of nonfiction in one month.

If you’ve wanted to write a blog, an essay, a paper, an article, a book, or anything nonfiction, this is your month!


Write your book in November!

Write your book in November!

My book, Anyone Can Write: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Write and Publish a Great Book, was supposed to be available by November 1. One chapter and a few of the appendices have taken much longer than expected. It’s in the final edit and it will be available in the coming weeks.

If you want to write nonfiction in November (we’re already five days into November), I encourage you to:

1. Visit Nina Amir’s website and learn about Write Nonfiction in November and/or sign up for the challenge (it’s free). Even if you don’t write this month, Nina has a wonderful blog and very helpful resources, which include:

If you haven’t noticed yet, I love to share resources that I think will be helpful and get you writing your book!

2. If you receive my weekly updates in your e-mail inbox, send me an email if you’d like to receive a free pre-release copy of the manuscript of Anyone Can Write to get you started. One hour or less a day to go though the book and follow the steps will get your book well on its way to completion.

3. If you do not receive my weekly updates, sign up here to receive the free pre-release copy of the book and also be notified when you can download a free copy of the book when it is completed.

So many people dream of writing a book. Take this month to start!

Question: How long have you had a goal to write a book? When do you hope to have it completed?