Neil Strauss’ 3 Step Writing Process

The other day I referenced the Tim Ferris podcast where Neil Strauss talked about his writing process.

Here are my take-aways:

The first step:   Write For Yourself

Neil said that the first step is to write for himself.   He said that he wants to write down a few pages and some hefty paragraphs so that it has some bulk before stopping.  Then he wants to sit down and finish to get it all out on paper.

The second step:  Revise For The Reader

The second step is to revise  for the reader, reading as you would read any book.  He said that this is the step where you end up throwing out almost half of your book because it’s fluff.

This step reminded me of a Michael Hyatt’s blog post on improving your writing.  He has people use CUB as a first edit.  Highlight what is Confusing, Unbelievable, or Boring.

The third step:  Revise For The Critics

Revision for the critics.  He said that he tries to anticipate whatever critique is coming his way and answer their questions so that they don’t have a leg to stand on.  Both Tim and Neil said that if you wrote a book that pleased everyone, no one would like it so expect negative critiques.

Neil also said that between writing your final product and editing you shouldn’t wait to long.  He specifically mentioned 3 weeks.

What do you think of these writing steps?  Let us know in the comments.

Linky Wednesday 07.29.15


Tennessee is HOT.


this is fun:)


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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Dennis Fahringer.  Dennis runs the School of Photography in Kailua Kona.  I did this amazing school in 2008.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


Ten Things to Know Before Pursuing a New Life Calling – Ron Edmondson



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2 Tips For Writing

My friend RK sent me a Tim Ferris podcast on writing.  (there’s some foul language in this podcast just FYI)

RK knew I was working on my book, and he’s working on publishing another book as well.  Upon his recommendation, I gave it a quick listen and decided I wasn’t going to listen to it because it was to long.  I’d just ask RK for the abridged version next time I saw him.  But I had a bit of a drive to dinner recently so  thanks to the aux cable, I listened to it in my car.

Tim Ferris was interviewing Neil Strauss who has written 7 New York Times Best Sellers and writes for Rolling Stone.  I had never heard of him.

My take aways from the interview were:

Don’t get interrupted

It can take anywhere from 20-90 minutes for you to get back in the groove. They mentioned a book on writing that said you’ll distract yourself from doing the hard work of writing with cleaning tennis shoes.  I’m guilty of that, since sitting down to write this blog post I’ve done a million other things from going to the bathroom, to checking facebook, responding to text messages, changing what I’m listening to, and even checking e-mail.  Oops.


Have A Sacred Writing Space

Since they didn’t want to get interrupted they talked about having a sacred space.  Having a place that is not interrupted and distraction free to write. We don’t have internet in our new home, and I think it’s helping with our overall productivity.  Other than that maybe a  coffee shop provides that space, which actually is pretty distraction free as long as you don’t know anyone and can turn facebook off.

The podcast also talked about the interviewing process which was good to hear about as well.


What are disciplines you follow to keep in the groove of creativity and productivity?  Let us know in the comments.

Note Cards For Clarity


I recently went on a self date.  I should have taken a selfie, that would have been appropriate.  Anyway, I went and ate dinner by myself while Jess was watching a movie with some of her students.  With me, I took a yellow spiral notebook and a pen.

Sometimes self dates work well and I can get into a groove and enjoy being alone.  Other times I’m so distracted by what’s going on around me I can’t focus.  That night was a good night.

I started making my Thursdays a day to learn.  I find resources throughout the week and put them in my wunderlist, and then go back and spend more time with them.

One of the things I listened to was a podcast where Jon Acuff was interviewed by Enterpenuer on Fire.

Jon mentioned that notecards are his secret weapon to flesh out an idea.  He referenced research that states you have more connection when you write things out on paper than on the computer.

So I gave it a try.  Instead of writing on my ipod, I wrote my ideas down on paper.

I felt connected to what I was writing, but my handwriting is horrible.  Luckily, I can mostly read what I write.  It was good to get the ideas from my head and onto paper.

I want to expand what I’m doing and be more strategic with it.  I asked myself questions about all of the ideas I’m juggling in my head.  I tried to flesh out the ideas and find out where I needed to be placing my energy in this next season.

I have a great idea that would meet a big need.  But in writing about it, I realized I’m just not passionate about it.

If I committed to it, it would be begrudging work.  My other ideas inspired me though.  I went into dinner thinking that my new idea was going to be where I’d be investing most of my time.  I’m glad I took the time to write things down and realize that isn’t where I want to be investing.

Do you ever write things down?  What’s your creative and planning process look like?

Linky Wednesday 07.22.15




Thanks to Ray Catterall for sharing this video with me.  Inspiring!


Transgender ‘female’ MMA fighter gives female opponent concussion, broken eye socket


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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Jo Fahringer.  Jo is on staff with YWAM’s School of Biblical Studies in Kona and is seriously THE SWEETEST person I’ve ever met.  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


What do you think of this article?  God’s View: It’s Okay to Have Nice Things!


Please stop telling me you’re too busy. – Jon Acuff

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Do You Want Free Stock Photography?


You might have noticed that I’m trying to step up my graphic game.  I’ve realized VISUALS are important.

Bryan from SwissCo took some time to help me in that process.  This guy is amazing at what he does.  I really suggest you book their company for whatever your next web/design need is.

I got SwissCo’s e-mail newsletter and at first was like… oh gosh, not another newsletter.  But I didn’t unsubscribe because the content was helpful.  The second newsletter they sent out was filled with some insider content, links to sites with royalty free photos.  Who doesn’t want free high quality stock photos.  Did I mention free?  (Sorry Gary S Chapman.)

No need for me to repost those links here.

Go check out their post entitled “The Ultimate List Of Free Photos” And sign up for their newsletter here

What’s It Like To Be Led By Those Younger Than You?

The video above is of Johnny Camacho. He just graduated from High School. His parents were missionaries at the YWAM base in Honolulu. Hence the TCK (third culture kid) reference. That’s a new term and acronym I just learned.  Take a few minutes and watch that.  His cadence for communicating is really solid.  I never spoke that well as an 18 year old.  I still speak nervously faster than that haha.

My friend Tony Sheng who runs the Ember Cast recently posted this blog:

Leading From the Younger

There is a false paradigm of age within lots of leadership contexts. If you are older, people younger than you are expected to give you respect because you are supposed to be smarter, wiser and more experienced. You knew it a long time ago and they don’t know it yet. Trust me, I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from those who have gone before us.

If you want to grow your emerging leaders, you will need to revamp that paradigm. Instead, you will have to give them opportunities to exercise authority and responsibility and influence, in some cases, giving your leaders influence over those that are older than them.

When that happens, you’ll get some feedback alright. From the emerging leaders, it will be uncomfortable, strange, and full of dissonance. Ember staff give me this feedback regularly. From the smarter, wiser, and more experienced, they will love learning from those younger than them. From the just plain older, well, you should probably just ignore their feedback.

I’ve REALLY benefited by older people being gracious enough to let me lead them.  What’s funny is that one day, hopefully, we will all be led by someone younger than us.  YWAM champions young people, and sometimes that seems like foolishness.  But at what age do we release people?  Tony mentioned that the disciples were most likely 13-15 years old.  I had never thought about that before.
But seeing both of that video and seeing Tony’s post on the same day made me realize that I need to be surrounding myself with younger people who I allow to speak into my life.

Have you had an excellent or noteworthy experience being led by someone younger than you?  Share with us in the comments!

Linky Wednesday 07.15.15


Tennessee is HOT.


This is an older video and I’ve known about it for a while but it’s pretty inspiring to me.  Marimba players don’t get enough credit.  Action starts around the 1:00 mark.


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If you haven’t already check out this weeks episode of Doing Ministry Well!  This week we interview Phil Cunningham.  Phil runs Steps Of Justice, if you have a heart for justice don’t miss this interview!  If you haven’t yet PLEASE rate, comment and subscribe on Itunes to keep up with the most recent episodes!


25 Random Pieces of Advice for Leaders in Their 20s, 30s or 40s – Carey Nieuwhof  –>


A good reminder from our friend Hannah: Quench my thirst

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Why Is Communicating So Hard?


Why is communicating so hard?

Communicating well is a painstakingly time and labor intensive hard work.

I sent out an e-mail as a follow up to a seminar I helped lead recently for my church.  One paragraph was misinterpreted two different ways.  Neither were the way I meant to communicate.  It caused enough of a problem that I had to make a phone call to apologize and send a clarifying e-mail and then ask the Pastor to make an official statement on the issue.  Whoops.

I did a Doing Ministry Well interview with Bryan Switalski who is an amazing graphic designer.  By talking with him I was reminded how important VISUALS are as a communication tool.

I had recently reformatted my computer and didn’t have any of my adobe programs on the computer.  So I reinstalled lightroom 3 and TRIED to install photoshop elements 8 which no longer works on my computer because I upgraded to the latest OS.   Yup… old school versions.

I tried downloading GIMP but it ran super slow on my computer.  All I was wanting to do was overlay some text onto a photo so I found a website that listed some of the best apps and downloaded the only free one.  It did the trick.  It’s called phonto.

My friend Kesia had commented how she really liked one of my recent blog posts so I thought I’d create a graphic for it. My hopes is that more people will SHARE the blogs I’m writing if there is a visual and easily sharable way to do so.

I’ve had make instagram style graphics for my blog posts along with sign up for pintrest to help promote my blog on my to do list for a little bit now.

So my blog post was entitled:

I need this before I can do this.

I had put a photo up of a $100 bill, so i took that photo and overlaid the title on it, and renamed my URL


I was quite impressed with how it looked and shared it with my social media network.

Later that night I realized… hmmm this could be misinterpreted.  People might think this blog post is about us needing money since we raise support, but the blog post has nothing to do with that.

The next day someone sent me a private message saying they had a visceral reaction to my new graphic and that they hated it.  Oh.

I thanked them for their feedback and asked them if they had read the blog post, they said they didn’t but they would.  We discussed further that the graphic really wasn’t expressing what I wanted it to be.  So I redesigned it, changed the title and the URL.  Hopefully it now better communicates what I’m trying to say.

However, in the time I had the original graphic up the post jumped from my 10th most popular post to 5th.  Crazy!  I wonder if some of those views were me?  The popular post widget was installed recently so it really isn’t a good overview of popular posts from the whole blog but anyway.  I want to go back and find my favorite 10 or 20 posts and design some graphics for them and point people to them.

So here’s the NEW graphic and the new URL is


As I was trying to download various graphics programs to communicate, and had just put in multiple revisions on an e-mail update I realized how strange it is to be in a world of digital communication where you can spend HOURS creating something and people will look at it for about 15 seconds.

You can have the greatest content, but if it isn’t packaged well people won’t take the time to invest.

And one bad miscommunication could ruin your brand completely.

One unintentionally vague e-mail can cause a disruption.

Oh help me Jesus.  This probably all goes back to the tower of babel doesn’t it?  God help me be a good communicator!

Here’s an even newer version of the graphic I’ll be using for the excuses post.  Interesting to see the evolution of the graphic process.  A big thanks to Bryan Switalski who sat with me for a while at starbucks and helped me be a better visual communicator!


What have you learned about communicating well?  Let us know in the comments.