Category Archives: business

Why Indie Authors need Reviews

words are art
words are art

This is my latest rant so forgive me if I get frothy at the mouth and spittle smacks you across the face.

Reviews. We all know what they are. They govern our purchases and our actions. You wont get that item on amazon if has little or no reviews, no matter how good you think it is. Or worse if the reviews say its bad then, forget it–next product.

It’s social proof I get it. I understand it really I do. Here is what I dont understand. Let’s switch gears for a second, You see a book you like or its recommended to you. You purchase and READ the book. You ENJOY the book. Why is leaving a review to that effect so monumentally difficult(Still dont have the answer to that one)?

Indie authors NEED reviews. They are the engines that drive sales. Yet if you ask every independent author out there they will tell you that the hardest part of marketing is getting those much needed reviews.

So what is the solution?

Have an email list. Yes its that simple. When I released my last book: A DREAM OF ASHES, my launch team was amazing. I had reviews the same day the book went live.  This is what having an email list can do. If you arent generating a list of subscribers to your work you are missing a key component of your marketing strategy.

Its a fight against human nature I think. I  have been guilty of it as well. I mean to leave a review then the phone rings or I have to attend to something or an email pops up and I get distracted. I forget or worse I think my buying the book was enough of an action of support. Now  have to leave a review too? Yes.

The review is what will get others to take a chance on the book. Enough of them will get the book noticed and create momentum giving the author and the work recognition. The review is that important.

The next time you read something you enjoyed-leave a review. As an independent author I thank you.blogdragonfly

How do you go from writer to author? Try the Self Publishing Formula.

The Author Helper
The Author Helper

I am eyeballs deep into a new course being run by Mark Dawson(Self Publishing Formula) but I will get to why that’s important a little later.

I know I have touched on this topic before but in this post I wanted to go into more detail.

So first a few facts:

From January to December of 2015, the entire calendar year-my books generated…$56.81.

From January to May of 2016 (to date) my books have generated over $2k and Im on track to gross over 5k for the year.

In plain math, in the space of a year( really a few months), I will be making 100x what I made last year.  This is mind shattering.

So how did this happen? I got help. Not help as a writer. I got help as an Author.

See last year I was firmly in the camp of “If you write it they will buy.”  My books didn’t sell well( most days they didnt sell at all) and I was oblivious to the marketing aspect of being an Author. Until I met John (you will meet him later).

Prior to getting help I had heard of Mark Dawson but I didn’t know who he was or what he did. You have all heard me mention my amazing uber editor Lorelei Logsdon, well she introduced me to John, her husband and the other half of this power couple.

John’s first question to me was “Have you heard of Mark Dawson?”

To which I answered “Not really.” This was back in December 2015. So he points me in the direction of Mark’s free videos which of course( if you are familiar with Mark Dawson) present me with an entirely new perspective to marketing and selling my work. I followed these videos and would ask John for tips here and there.

Another question John asked me was “How large is your mailing list?”

Now I knew mailing lists were important and I had one and in 2015 my list had a grand total of 11 members.  At least 4 of those were family.

To date my mailing list in 2016 has 1709 subscribers with a smaller subset being part of my launch team, which is a group of committed fans who have taken on the  role to help me launch my books and make them a success. I had never heard of a launch team before I met John. Now I  frequently add between 15-30 people a day to my main mailing list.

So where did I get this help and how did I make these changes?

Free videos from Self Publishing Formula and The Author Helper. This site is a treasure trove of information and videos for those willing to learn and apply the lessons contained within.

Where did John learn all of this? With  Mark Dawson and the Self Publishing Formula system.But here let John tell you himself.

Watch this video I promise its worth the 3 minutes you will invest.

You still have time to sign up for this course.  Its affordable and more importantly its essential to your growth as an Author. My reasoning is that if I was able to learn a great deal with the free videos from Mark Dawson and the Author Helper site.  I now I have an opportunity to learn even more from the Self Publishing Formula course.

You can sign up for Mark’s course HERE. It will be closing soon so I suggest you sign up and get this information !

Consider it an investment in your writing career. Just as importantly visit the Author Helper if you find yourself stuck or with questions.  Chances are they will have the answer you  need. The site is a resource for all Authors and I still drop in almost daily to listen to the podcasts and to increase my knowledge.



10 things Indie Authors do wrong and 7 things they do right from Derek Murphy

10 Things Indie Authors do Wrong


I read this post over at creativindie and felt I needed to share it here because Derek shares some important knowledge here with indie authors.

Its a long post but worth the read. Enjoy!

Firstly, let’s define “wrong.”

A lot of indie authors are motivated by passion and say things like “it’s not about the money.”

But if we can’t agree on the goals of publishing, we can’t agree on the best practices.

I think, no matter what kind of book you’re writing, we should be able to agree that it would be nice to get some people to read it, and it would be even nicer to get lots of people to read it. And even if it’s not about the money, few authors would refuse it if it started pouring in.

So let’s start there: indie authors want more readers, and possibly more money, and are trying to do things that bring both. The problem is, the methods they are using do not produce the results they’re after.

So by “wrong” I mean, “inefficient” – as in, these are things indie authors do, but that they should stop doing because they don’t produce positive results (and can actually do more harm than good).

Not considering the market

Most indie authors write the books they want to write, and don’t think about reaching readers until after they’ve finished writing. That’s OK for experienced writers who are writing in popular genres. But beginner writers don’t even bother to learn what kind of stories resonate with readers, and they think they don’t need to learn.

Which means, they are producing a product that won’t be enjoyed.

And most indie authors think “fine, I don’t care, I write for myself and my enjoyment.”

But beginning from the belief is a fundamental flaw in the writing behavior of anybody who actually wants to make a living with their writing. You must consider readership if you hope to please and entertain readers. You must read in your genre to recognize what type of writing and stories are successful to readers of that genre.

And you must give a shit about being as good, or better, than those kind of stories.

If you are willing to face this idea, you can deliberately craft commercially successful books.

If you are unwilling, you’re relying on luck and chance, and frankly you don’t deserve success, because it’s nobody’s responsibility to fund your hobby.

Ineffective website

Does your website get traffic? Do people sign up or buy books? Then what’s it for? Most indie authors try to model their website after major bestselling authors. That’s a problem.

Bestselling authors are already famous. People are searching for them by name. They don’t need to worry about being found; they don’t need to use their website to sell books or build credibility. They just offer a cool space for fans to learn more about the author.

If you’re an indie author, your website needs to be a workhorse. It has to pull in the right readers with natural traffic (to reduce your marketing and advertising costs). It has to build trust, attract the right readers, and get them to sign up for a free offer or sell a book well enough to get strangers to take a chance on it (with lots of reviews, an excerpt, and amazing cover, etc).

Ugly book cover

How many indie authors have ugly covers? At least half. Probably more.

Book covers are such a trivial and silly thing: you spent a ton of time writing your book, but that simple JPG will make or break your success. People won’t read your description if your cover doesn’t hook them. The cover has to appeal to the right readers enough to get them to read the description – that means it has to convey mood and genre immediately. I understand it can be too expensive to hire a professional designer, but there are plenty of super cheap options to getting a cover design (, wordswag, that are still better than the majority of crappy, homemade book covers I see on Amazon.

Spamming people

If you’re not sure you’re being spammy, read this post. Lots of authors just copy what they see other indie authors doing. The majority of indie authors rely on spam, and consider it “book marketing” – which sucks because it makes us look unprofessional, desperate and annoying.

Anytime you talk about, mention, or link to your book to a stranger, you’re being spammy.

When you Tweet quotes of your book, when you share your awards, or sales, or special offers, or new reviews, you’re being spammy. It’s OK to do it to YOUR followers, if they really followed you because they liked your books, but YOU DON’T NEED TO MARKET to those people, because they’re your fans.

So just stop.

Instead you need to be building relationships with peers and fans, because it’s OK for them to share your news, but not for you to share your news.

Marketing, however, is getting NEW fans – and strangers on the internet don’t give a shit about your book.

You need to make them care first, by producing great content that gets in front of them; cool and interesting stuff that isn’t spam and gets shared. Then people come back to your website to find out about you.

Think about everything you post or share: are you giving or taking? If the purpose of what you post is to ask for a sale, you’re taking. If you don’t care anything about whoever is reading it, other than hoping they buy, it’s spam.

You need to be giving 90% of the time.

It’s OK to share a book launch, for a new book, and talk about stuff you’re doing surrounding the launch, but you shouldn’t keep talking about it for months after (you should have produced a lot of content during launch that brings in continuous traffic.

Another easy test of whether you’re being spammy: do you know who you’re talking to and what they want? Or are you just “shotgunning” the internet, hoping somebody accidentally takes notice and buys your books?

PS) On any platform that is mostly spam, your own spam will be ignored. That’s why paid Book Blasts by Twitter accounts with tons of followers won’t work, because they post that stuff all the time and people tune them out. You need to find people with a specific, tailored audience, who have readers who trust them, to share your book.

PPS) Advertising is annoying, but it isn’t spam: it’s OK to advertise your book directly to your target readers and make it look and sound good, just make sure you either put your ad on a very targeted, genre specific website, or you use Facebook advertising to narrow your audience. Don’t just advertise your book anywhere, for anyone, without knowing who is going to see it.

Being Overprotective

I get that you want to safeguard your work, and plagiarism sucks. Here’s the truth: if you make it big, sites will pirate your books. And even if you don’t make it big, some sites pretend to pirate your books so they’ll get clicks from people, even if they don’t actually have your books. And sometimes, although it’s extremely rare, some crazy author will actually just take your work and claim it as their own.

But the legal fees to correct such a thing are probably more than you’d ever earn from the book itself, and for the vast majority of authors, none of this stuff matters because your book is invisible anyway. Don’t be worried about sharing your book with editors or beta readers. They’re doing you a favor. Don’t make them sign NDAs.

Just sell so many damn books that everybody knows it’s your story.

Paying too much

Indie authors are usually overwhelmed by “publishing” and feel more comfortable signing with a small press, even if they have to pay for it, because they think it’s like being “really” published instead of self-publishing.

Vanity and small presses charge big fees for publishing packages that include doing things for you.

But to publish a book, you really only need cover design and formatting (and probably editing, but that’s your choice). Then you have to learn how to upload your files, and maybe build a website.

If you sign with a publishing house, it’s fine – you’re paying extra for hand-holding. It’s like paying for an author assistant (and if you need one of those you could probably hire one for less). It is really nice, and does save a lot of time, to have someone on call who can just answer everything and explain everything to you.

But the truth is, most of those companies selling packages outsource all the work, so the critical pieces like cover design are marginalized. They do an adequate job, which might look professional to you, but probably isn’t good enough to be successful. Most small presses (and even big companies like Createspace or Lulu) show at best very boring cover design samples, and at worst tragically ugly ones (and those are their best examples!)

If you self-publish, it means you can choose the best designer and give them the money directly, instead of paying someone else who is going to take a big chunk just for administrative work. Educate yourself, learn to self-publish on your own, and use your money economically to get the best design you can afford.

Promoting without reviews

You can’t launch your book, or do marketing or advertising, if it doesn’t have any reviews yet. I think you need at least 15 before you can even begin, so I hate seeing indie authors who have had books out for a year or two and are still struggling with marketing, and still have less than 10 reviews.

Yes, getting book reviews takes a lot of work and effort, and it kind of sucks to ask people (especially strangers) to take  chance on your book. You’ve got to suck it up and do it anyway. If you’re sending out requests and nobody will review your book, it’s probably a sign that your book cover sucks (they never even started reading) or the writing isn’t good enough. Also, read this:why people won’t review your books.

Betting the farm

Most authors go all out for their first book and spend lots of money. It’s understandable, so I’m not saying don’t do it. Just keep in mind, since you don’t know what you’re doing yet, you’ll probably waste a lot of money and not see the results you want (trust me I’ve been there).

Firstly, your first book probably isn’t your best; secondly, a profitable writing career is usually built up by launching a dozen or so books, as quickly as possible. So do the best you can on your first book, but make sure you also have ideas ready for your second, third and forth. Each book you publish will probably do a little better, because you’ll be learning and improving all the time, and growing your author platform (unless you’re one of those writers who is completely ignoring your author platform, not learning anything about marketing, and just hoping to get lucky).

Asking people to like their page

It’s cute when indie authors trade likes and all support each other by liking each other’s pages.

But it’s also pretty useless.

Yes, you need more likes on your author page. Until you have about 1000, new readers won’t take you seriously. You can get a bunch of likes quickly by running book giveaways (and you should totally do that). But you shouldn’t ask people to like your page.

Why should they?

They either like your page because they like you and your writing, or you’re asking them to lie and pretend to like your page. That’s a terrible, self-serving practice; everybody only likes your page so you’ll like their page, and nobody actually gives a shit about each other (I’m being dramatic, actually indie authors are very supportive and nice, but I’ll talk about that later).

You want to get readers of your genre to like your page.

But actually, having lots of likes is still useless, because when you post content to your page only 10% or less will actually see your content (Facebook is funny like that). Instead of scrolling through a thread and liking dozens of other author’s pages, you should be focusing on growing your email list.

EXCEPT FOR…. it’s a good idea to like the fan pages of other authors in your genre, and share all of their great content on your page. Instead of needing to think up new content ideas all the time, if you follow a hundred awesome indie authors, with or without big platforms, and reshare all their content, your own platform and followers will grow quickly and those authors are more likely to share your content out of gratitude.

So yes, liking and sharing can be smart marketing.

But don’t just ask people for likes. It’s lame. Post remarkable content. Be helpful and useful. Follow others and get on their radar by sharing their content.

Complaining that people don’t value books.

Indie authors sometimes complain about how low ebook prices are devaluing literature, but they’re really just grumpy because nobody is buying their books. But people don’t buy based on price.

Readers value books and are willing to pay for them.

They just don’t value your book yet.

Convincing them that your book is worth 2.99 or 9.99 is your job. If you can’t convince anybody to buy your book even at 99cents, then give it away for free.

But when you say “Buy my book! Support indie authors!” you’re asking for charity to support your writing habit.

7 Things Indie Authors do Right

OK, maybe that was harsh, but I’m trying to be helpful. The nice thing is, so many authors are doing so many things wrong, publishing successful is actually pretty easy when you do everything right.

Here are some of the reasons I’m proud to be in the indie publishing community.

These are really cool things that some indie authors are doing, or should be doing.


Indie authors believed in their books enough to self-publish them, even ifthey tried to go traditional and couldn’t get an agent or a publisher. That takes guts. I love that we can now publish and reach our readers directly, even if the traditional industry doesn’t think our book would be profitable enough to publish.

I know authors who have a lifetime of manuscripts tucked away in a drawer and hundreds of rejection slips. Keep trying, and if nobody else will publish you, publish yourself and get it out there.

Support Each Other

Some indie authors are weird and crazy, and I think writers are naturally awkward people with poor social skills (I certainly am)… but there’s a tremendous amount of support in the indie publishing community, with organizations and watchdogs and bloggers trying to help one another.

The only danger is hearing a bunch of other authors “support” you when you’re making big mistakes (like when you ask for feedback on an ugly cover and everybody says they love it). It’s true you need a lot of support and encouragement, so it’s awesome that indie authors are so kind and friendly. But make sure you’re getting expert advice on the things that matter. Remember, only %.000625 of authors are actually making any money.

Find the ones that are making money and learn from them, or imitate what they’re doing.

Are Willing To Learn

Indie authors have a ton to learn and do the best they can. It can be really frustrating, especially if you hate computers. I had to force myself to learn ebook formatting and then InDesign when I got sick of paying others to do it for me. The more you publish, the more skills you’ll learn. The more skills you have, the cheaper and easier it will be to market your books and make a profit.

Are Grateful

I think all readers probably love their fans, but indie authors are grateful, because they’re overcoming a lengthier period of insecurity. When you’re traditionally publishing, you already know that somebody found some value in your work. It’s nice to hear from fans, but you’ve already gotten paid. For indie authors, you often have no idea whether your book sucks or not until you’ve published… so when you start getting actual feedback from strangers who enjoyed your books… it’s a powerful feeling.

Are Patient


If you’re self-publishing, it’s good to be patient…. as long as you’re building your platform and publishing more books. Things take time to catch on. However, don’t think, if nothing is happening and you aren’t selling, that things will just magically happen later. If you aren’t selling, you probably have a problem with your platform (either no visibility, or nobody wants it because it isn’t presented well enough). You need to be patient and think long-term. Be flexible with deadlines, and don’t freak out at your editor/formatter/designer. These things take time, and everybody is dealing with their own crises. Try to keep positive, and relax, even if things seem like the end of the world.

Are Fast

The first book might take years to write, but I have at least a dozen friends who can (and do) finish a book a month (both fiction and non-fiction). Most successful indie authors publish every three months. It’s important to keep Amazon ranks high and engage with our fans. Of course this is easier if you’re writing series and know what happens next. But if you want to make a living, you need more content, and you’ll need to be producing quickly. Traditionally published authors waste years sending out queries, waiting for answers, then trying to sell the manuscript, then preparing it for publication….it’s one way to do things, but it’s much slower.

Take responsibility


Taking responsibility is probably the key to success in any field. Don’t blame others. Don’t complain. Everything is under your control, but only you care enough to take action and make things happen. It’s not enough to want it really badly, you need to be willing to learn what it takes to succeed and do what’s necessary. I know a lot of authors whose only limiting beliefs about money or art are crippling their success.

You CAN do this – there are people lazier and dumber than you (not that you’re lazy or dumb) who are making money with their writing. You’re a smart, likable person (I can tell). If you want to make a living with your writing, you can do it, but it won’t be handed to you, and it doesn’t happen by luck.

From Writer to Author-Making the transition


I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I have been creating a persona. Back in 2012 when  started writing professionally I had no clue what a persona or “brand” was. I just knew I wanted to write a book and I wanted to get it out into the world.

I didn’t know about marketing or having a presence. Online or otherwise. I simply thought that if I wrote the book I would have a legion of readers clamoring to get my book.  Yes the naivete was in abundance. Continue reading From Writer to Author-Making the transition

Book Marketing 101

Book Marketing
Book Marketing

I recently finished Martin Crosbie’s book on marketing an eBook. In an effort to share the tools and knowledge I acquire I suggest you read this book. Its full of insight and practical steps you can take to get your book out there.  Martin writes in a clear and concise style and provides real direction for those of us new to the self-publishing world.  It may contain some things you know, but I guarantee it will have tools and methods you can use.  In the near future I will be adding an Author Tools tab to the page to provide links and sites you can use to help you get your book out there and to find other writers you can join.blogdragonfly

Why the dojo is not a gym

 Its January so let me wish you a Happy New Year. This is the time of year where many people rededicate themselves to physical fitness. It is the time of New Years resolutions.
In our school January is the month of Kagami Biraki, the start of a new year. We usher it in with hard training and pushing ourselves past our perceived limits.Cultivating new energy for a new year.

Its very similar to what is happening in many gyms at this time of the year.. The dojo however is not a gym. Let me share my thoughts and show some of the similarities and then I will explain the differences. In both locations the purpose is to go and stress the body. You can work hard in both the gym and dojo.  Both places are designed to transform your body. Both require a commitment on your part. Both can be social settings and both produce results.
On the surface they seem interchangeable as if one is just an expression of the other. It would be a mistake to think so.
Let me explain the differences between the two.

A dojo is a sacred space.
This is the definition of sacred in the context of something that is worthy of spiritual respect or devotion, not in the context of any of the worlds religions. When you enter a dojo you respect the space because of what it symbolizes in your life. When you enter a gym, at least when I enter one there is no sense of the sacred demonstrated by me or that I can witness by the members of the facility.

A dojo is a place of transformation.
You will be transformed in a gym. If you are consistent and train with regularity your body will change. In a dojo the transformation runs deeper. When you train in a dojo you are faced with who you are at your core. The transformation takes place on an incremental level, subtly. You wont always be aware of it occurring, but it is happening.  You will experience the outward of transformation of your body like in a gym, but you will also experience an inward transformation. Your entire demeanor will change, you will acquire patience, with yourself , with others and with the process of growth. You learn to embrace the journey as opposed to being focused on the destination. This is a very different mindset from being in a gym where the goal is what matters.

Training in a dojo requires hard work
Training in a dojo is hard. It requires a level of commitment not usually seen in a gym. You must be willing to push yourself beyond what you think your limits are on a consistent basis. This is not to negate the hard work required in a gym, however the hard work required in a dojo transcends the physical and enters the spiritual. You are not only working on your body but your entire being as a whole, spirit mind and body are impacted.

Ego has no place in a dojo
There is no room for your ego in a dojo. It only serves as an obstacle to learning. You cant bring your ego into a dojo and expect to progress because it will constantly remind you of what the other people in the class are doing how much better you are or how much worse you are than those around you. It seems to be quite the opposite in a gym where ego gets fed on a regular basis. I can lift more than the next person, my body looks better and so on.

The dojo is a community
You may be a regular at a gym and even have training partners which make the training in a gym easier. When you commit to training in a dojo you become part of a community, a family. You learn not just be concerned about yourself but about the journey of your fellow classmates. The social setting in a gym is one of isolation in most cases. In a dojo your are on an individual path as well. The difference being that you are connected to those that came before you and after you. The sense of connectivity is what creates a dojo family. We have all walked the same path some have started before others, but we are still on the same path.
In a dojo you come just the way you are and are accepted. There is no ideal you need to measure up to. The only limits that exist are the ones you impose. The only comparison that exists is when you compare to yourself of the past. Each person in the dojo serves each other. We spur each other on when our energy wanes. When we think of quitting we reach out and extend a hand to help you continue.

Though they may be similar but, a dojo and a gym are not the same. They each serve a purpose and it depends on what you seek in your life and in your training that will determine where you invest your time and energy.

strong spirit-strong mind- strong body
Sensei Orlando

P.S. I wanted to share with all of you that I just released my latest book and you can find it HERE. It was a pleasure to write and I hope you enjoy it as well. If you do pick it up please leave a review.

The Power of Thought Part II

Today I want to discuss procrastination. The death knell of many hopes and dreams can be described by this one word. I understand that this is human nature and that we have all put things off. What I want you to consider is that the future you are living into is taking place right this moment. One of the more grounded analogies that comes to mind is the author. He imagines a story and a written and published work. Unless he sits down to write, that book will remain just that, a thought. I have found that we do this in every aspect of our lives.

We put things off because they are difficult or we want to avoid confrontation, or simply because we just feel lazy that day or given moment. Whatever the reason, when you procrastinate you set in motion a way of being that has the potential to be ineffective, frustrated, unhappy, stressed and generally dissatisfied. We all know the adage about not putting things off for tomorrow that can be done today. How many of us actually practice it? If our thoughts have the ability and power to become manifest, what does it mean when we procrastinate? Thought must be coupled with action, it isn’t enough just to have great thoughts. The thoughts must be given wings, and yes, we must dream and desire.

The second part of the process requires taking the actions that will set those dreams in motion. It is not enough to dream of being a great author, if fail to write down any words, the dream will remain a dream. Use the power of thought but don’t get caught up only in the thinking phase, structure it so that the thoughts give you impetus to take action. Make the time you need to get what needs to get done, done.


Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin. ~Victor Kiam

strong spirit strong mind strong body

Sensei Orlando

The Power of Thought- Part I

Consider for a moment that everything that is around you(that is man-made), started out as an idea. Give it a moment. The chair you are sitting in, the car you may drive, the clothes that you are wearing, even the monitor which you are using to view this blog, all of them started out as a thought, as an idea. Now consider for a moment that you can shape what you call “reality” by taking control of your thoughts.

I know this sounds radical but let me give you a very simplified example. You wake up in the morning, dreading the day. You say to yourself I think I’m coming down with a cold. Very shortly afterwards, the symptoms of the cold have fully manifested in your body. Here is the other side to that scenario, you wake up feeling achy, but rather than succumb to the feeling, you tell yourself, “there is no way I’m getting sick”. I have too much to do or I have a deadline to meet. Amazingly the “cold” that was coming on disappears.

What I want to share with you is that our thoughts have real power. If you gave the opening paragraph some consideration, you have realized by now that we live in a world of manifested ideas and thoughts.

So, in your own life, if you desire to have the life of your dreams, you must learn to shape your thoughts and way of being so that you are that which you want to eventually become, right now. If you eventually want to become, for example, the CEO of a successful company, you must right now begin to present yourself to the world as if you already were the CEO of a successful company, in terms of your overall self-presentation to the world of dress, speech, and manner.

Projecting your future into the present through utilizing your thoughts, will have the effect of the world responding to you as that which you are projecting, and before you know it, “the future” will merge into your present reality. To make it simple, think of reverse-engineering your life. Picture the life you want to achieve, say being a successful (fill in the blank). Now imagine what it would require for you to live that life. Think about it everyday, and just as important as the thought, take the actions necessary to bring those thoughts to reality.

You will find that your greatest obstacle in this process will be procrastination. Putting things off until its “just right” or until the planets align or until you are completely ready are just a few of the excuses we create to spin our wheels and get nothing done. Remember thought is power, and action manifests those thoughts.

More on procrastination in Part II.

Think powerful positive thoughts everyday, and act on them.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando

The Discipline of Repetition

Why do we practice? More importantly why do we practice so often? In an earlier post I discussed diligent practice(see Today I want to discuss why we have to do so many of the same techniques over and over and why this cultivates discipline. Webster defines discipline as: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. When we execute techniques over and over we are forging a certain type of character in ourselves. We live in a society that gets easily bored and our attention spans have been shortened considerably. In a society where everything has to happen “yesterday”, the practice of martial arts forces you to take the slow track to excellence. You cannot earn a black belt overnight or even in a year. On average it takes 4-5 years for a first degree black belt depending on where you study. In order to achieve this you must have discipline. In order to pursue any endeavor with excellence, it requires discipline. I’m sure Tiger Woods still practices his swing even though he is a champion. If you look at any person who is in the elite of their respective fields, you will see one common theme- discipline.
Do we need discipline? Not really. We can all “get by” even when we aren’t disciplined. We can make ends meet, train every so often, and cruise through life. The question is do you want to excel? If your answer is yes, then you need discipline. If you want to achieve great things and impact others and the world, you need discipline. It means doing things over and over. It means not getting bored easily, but understanding that each time you do that same technique, practice that speech, have that conversation, you are getting better and moving closer to mastery.
On whatever path we choose to embark upon, mastery should be our goal. Take the first step today and discipline yourself each day to keep taking those steps.
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body
Sensei Orlando

No Pain-No Gain?

This is a saying that is heard often in gyms and other types of training halls. I would like to say that its quite inaccurate. If you are experiencing pain, its very unlikely you will continue training to make gains. Pain at its very basic level is your body signalling that there is something wrong or that it has suffered some type of trauma. The distinction I want to make here is that there is a marked difference between pain and discomfort. In addition every persons pain threshold is different.
When we are referring to making gains (i.e. growing stronger, moving more weight, being more flexible, adding muscle, greater cardiovascular capacity) there will be times when we will experience discomfort. The body being the amazing adaptive machine that it is, requires us to stress and push it if we want to make significant gains in certain areas. What we may consider to be pain may only be discomfort. When I train students, I always tell them, pain usually stops you in your tracks, while discomfort, allows you to work through it.
This is not to say that you cant train while in pain, and certain situations may require you to work through the pain. These occurrences however are not the norm and you should listen to your body if you are in pain.
Discomfort on the other hand should never stop us. If we let it, we will find ourselves making excuses at every turn because we are no longer in what we may consider our “comfort zone”. This not only applies to training, but to life. You will never have any gains as long as you remain in your comfort zone. In order to grow you have to stretch yourself, try new things and be willing to risk the comfort.
Any new endeavor will have moments of discomfort, that is when you are growing. Any training regimen contains moments of discomfort, if you are not willing to work through them you will not see the gains on the other side.
Ultimately the decision is ours to make. Are we willing to be uncomfortable in order to grow and make gains in every part of our lives, or will we strive to remain in our comfort zones- comfortably stagnant?
Sensei Orlando
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body