Comment devenir écrivain

Devenir auteur

c’est le rêve de tout le monde, ou presque. Mais comment peut-on devenir auteur et réaliser son rêve de vivre de l’écriture?
Cette aspiration est-elle vouée à ne rester qu’un fantasme ou peut-elle se réaliser avec les bons outils et les bonnes techniques?
C’est ma conviction la plus profonde que l’on peut devenir écrivain en se donnant la peine d’étudier certaines notions comme la dramaturgie, la narration et la caractérisation de personnages.
Ces techniques à elles seules ne sont pas suffisantes. Il est en effet facile de se plonger dans des manuels d’écriture et d’apprendre des concepts comme la structure en trois actes ou des techniques comme l’ironie dramatique. C’est autre chose que de savoir les appliquer.
Pour cela rien ne emplacement l’expérience d’une pratique délibérée.

L’apprentissage de l’écriture est le fruit d’une pratique délibérée

Lorsque vous acquérez une nouvelle compétence, vous avez besoin de vous concentrer sur les détails de sa mise en application pour bien l’intégrer. Vous ne savez pas ce que vous faites alors, pour passer d’un état d’incompétence conscience à un état de compétence conscience, qui est ce que vous visez, vous devez mettre en place un système de validation de votre apprentissage. Il s’agit de découper votre apprentissage en petits morceaux accessibles et de développer, autour de de chacun de ces morceaux, des systèmes de validation et d’autocorrection qui vous permettront de progresser plus vite et de manière plus solide. Le système en place vous servira de garde-fou et vous évitera de prendre de mauvais réflexes dans votre pratique.

Vous pouvez développer le cadre de cette pratique délibérée seul, en observant les experts qui vous entourent (le web est rempli d’experts) ou vous pouvez faire appel à un mentor ou un groupe de coachs d’écriture pour vous accompagner dans le développement de vos compétences. Ces mentors auront une expérience du terrain qui vous sera profitable, ils auront pris le temps de réfléchir sur leur pratique pour la découper en tronçons qu’ils pourront vous transmettre et sur lesquels ils vous guideront.
Un bon mentor ne se choisit pas à la légère. Choisissez quelqu’un en qui vous avez confiance et dont les compétences d’écoute et d’enseignement vous semble sinon avérées au moins crédibles.
Choisissez de préférence quelqu’un qui ne vous enseignera pas seulement la technique mais vous transmettra aussi des notions holistiques (comment optimiser l’ensemble de votre vie pour permettre l’emergence de ces nouvelles compétences auxquelles vous aspirez)
En écriture, cela veut dire quelqu’un qui partagera avec vous ses techniques pour optimiser votre temps de travail tout autant que quelqu’un qui vous transmettra ses astuces méthodologiques de construction de récit.
C’est pourquoi plutôt qu’un seul mentor il peut être bon de rejoindre un groupe d’experts, chacun avec sa spécialité et chacune complémentaire des autres.

Comment apprendre à écrire des livres

En écriture vous devrez développer tout autant votre capacité a écrire que vos compétences de lecteur critique, votre créativité que votre logique, votre sens de la psychologie que votre aptitude à la mise en scène.
C’est ainsi que vous pourrez écrire de bonnes scènes, de bons personnages et des histoires mémorables.
Ensuite il vous restera à apprendre comment faire vivre vos livres en-dehors de vos tiroirs.
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Vivre de l’ecriture

Vous voulez devenir écrivain mais ne savez pas par où commencer, découvrez comment écrire un livre grâce à mon blog dédié à l’écriture.

Écrire n’est pas inné. Pour créer des histoires puissantes, capables de rassembler des lecteurs et de plaire à des producteurs ou des éditeurs, il faut maîtriser un certain nombre de techniques narratives et dramaturgiques. Autrement dit, il faut savoir comment les histoires se construisent et comment agencer les informations et les actions des personnages dans ces histoires pour générer  les effets que l’on souhaite sur ses spectateurs ou lecteurs.

En effet, écrire une histoire, c’est façonner un univers dans lequel évoluent des personnages qui servent de véhicule à des émotions que l’auteur veut faire ressentir à celui qui reçoit son histoire. Ce peut être le lecteur d’un roman ou le spectateur d’un film mais aussi – et surtout – un éditeur ou un producteur à qui l’auteur cherche à vendre son histoire.

Si votre but est de construire une carrière d’auteur, alors vous devrez apprendre à séduire vos interlocuteurs, pas seulement écrire les histoires qui vous tiennent à coeur. Il ne s’agit pas de déformer votre écriture ou vos récits pour satisfaire les désirs supposés de vos interlocuteurs. Il s’agit de montrer que vous connaissez votre métier et d’apprendre à valoriser vos connaissances à travers des astuces simples et des pratiques professionnelles de bon aloi.

Parmi les connaissances que vous devez maîtriser avant de prétendre au statut d’écrivain, il y a:

  • la structure de base en dramaturgie
  • la gestion des personnages
  • le pitch
  • la notion de préparation-paiement
  • le climax
  • le grand-huit émotionnel
  • et bien d’autres.

Ces points couvrent essentiellement les notions d’écriture théorique que vous devez acquérir mais il faut aussi que vous appreniez à présenter votre travail à vos interlocuteurs et le mettre en valeur, le défendre. Vous devrez notamment savoir:

  • Constituer votre réseau
  • Ce qu’est une bible de série
  • Quels sont les organismes susceptibles de vous financer
  • Quelles sont vos options quand vous voulez vivre de l’écriture
  • Quels documents présenter à un acheteur potentiel
  • et bien d’autres.

Vous devrez également vous intéresser à la créativité, à la psychologie et aux différents médias qui s’offrent à vous. Vous devrez, en un mot, garder votre curiosité alerte et aiguisée.

5 steps to find readers who will make your book successful

What is it about?

A book without readers is worthless. Successful writers, either self published or traditionally published use strategies to find readers and get them to read their books. I will teach you these strategies through five easily actionable steps. Follow these steps carefully and your book will become successful. These steps imply: knowing your audience, finding them, bonding with them, sending them to your book and keeping in touch. Whether you are self published or have a traditional publisher, it is your job as a writer to make sure your ideas are as widely spread as possible. This blog post will show you how to achieve that.

1. Know your readers

What every successful writer out there knows is that you write for your audience and the better you know your audience, the easier it is to be successful because you can track people whom you wrote for and they’ll be so pleased with your book that they’ll love you for it and talk about it. What you need to do is picture the ideal reader. What is your target audience like? Are they male or female, in ther 20s, 40s, 60s? What is their income? What activities do they pursue. Figure all that out, put it down on paper.

Five clues to identifying your ideal reader: http://www.publishingbasics.com/2012/02/13/5-clues-to-identifying-your-ideal-reader/

2. Find your audience

Then, you need to go where your audience gathers and tell them about your book. Identify the places where you can meet your audience. Are they on Twitter? Are they on specific forums? Go there. Create profiles, find readers through the use of hashtags if you’re on twitter, etc. Just start relationships

How to use twitter hashtags: http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2011/05/how-to-use-twitter-hashtags/

3. Bond with your readers

Once you have started relationships you need to make them as personal possible, you need to share with your new contacts ideas and resources that you know they’ll like because this is what you like to write about and if it is relevant to your book and they are really your audience, then it will be relevant to them. Just connect with them and communicate with them the way you would with your friends. Don’t be too pushy. But always keep in mind that you want to sell them your book ultimately.

Ten tips on how to build meaningful relationships on Twitter: http://www.bitrebels.com/social/10-tips-to-build-meaningful-relationships-on-twitter/

 

build trust in your readers

 

4. Send them to your book

This can be done at any time during your connection. You can send your potential readers a link to your book’s amazon page or put a link to your blog in your signature if you’re on a forum.

5. Keep in touch

Once they’ve bought your book, your work is not over. You need to keep the relationship intact. Send your readers regular emails to just share on topics you both like and just act like any relationship. Give a lot of yourself, your discoveries. Keep a blog if email seems overwhelming. Don’t stop tweeting. But never forget who you’re writing for. Just send relevant information. A simple email forwarding a video you liked is enough. Do that so that next time you publish a book, they remember you, they like you and they’re happy to buy your new book.

Conclusion

Now you know the 5 steps to create a strong relationship with your readers, one that will make you successful by gathering a faithful fan base of people who will be happy to buy anything you write as long as you wrote it for them. Let me recap what you need to do: you draw a profile of your ideal reader, find where he liked to hang, initiate a relationship with them, take that relationship to the next level, send your readers to your book and keep the relationship going.

What I want you to do to make sure you fully grasp the efficiency of these 5 steps is to do it. I want you to write down the profile of your ideal reader and I want you to follow step 2 to 5 to bond with at least 7 new readers this week. That is 1 new reader per day. Then I want you to come back to this blog and post in the comment section what you did, what worked and what didn’t work and how many new relationships you plan on creating in the next month.

5 ways NOT to create great online content

Every web guru out there (link to Seth & Tim) agrees on what makes a powerful blog and that is great content. However very few of them is able to define great content. Actually reading their blogs usually defines it plenty but what about those readers who want easy answers? Hopefully I’m here for them and I’ll start by stating what great content isn’t. What follow are examples of pretty void content and it comes to no surprise that the interweb is full of it. Give the power of expression to the masses and that’s what you’ll get. That and reality shows. So, in order of shamefulness, from less shameful to most.

1. Talk about yourself.
Blogs were once meant as logs of our daily lives and thoughts, kind of like open journals. And that’s usually as boring as a mundane Facebook status. No wonder neither of those lasted very long: no one cares if you had pasta for lunch or if you just got your electricity bill in the mail. It is however the less shameful because some individual lives are inspirational and entertaining. So long shot but might pay off. Someday. Maybe.

2. Recycling your own work
Let’s say you wrote a killing mid-term paper on a topic you want to blog about. Or you wrote an article that never got published (maybe because it sucked) and you use that as a blogpost. This is lazy and doesn’t make for good content. Not because your work isn’t interesting but because it wasn’t thought as web material. Chances are it will be too long or not visual enough. People will see the ability of it on the page, maybe scroll down the page and go back to YouTube. So even if your content is super relevant and thrilling, you’re basically killing it by boring your audience before they even begin reading (link to the computer guy).

3. Recycle old blog posts.
As a matter of fact I intend to do just that with this article once my new blog is up. This is even lazier than #2 and even more shameful. You do not create great content by copy-pasting already existing content. You just don’t. This is known in the seo business as spinning. This also stands for reusing content seen on other sites.

4. Hidden affiliate advertising
Yes I know, you want your amazon affiliation to earn you big bucks but just because you can doesn’t mean you should post affiliate links everytime you post something on the internet. If you want to create worthy content, use affiliation responsibly. Not only will this help build your reputation of respectability but you will also help the web be a better place by providing useful information to your peers. Read books then review them then link to them on amazon. That’s the way it should be, not the other way round.

5. Make lists
Making lists is the worst way not to create content for the web. Lists are where your work starts, not where it ends. They’re your posts’ structure at best. More likely they’re just examples ideas to illustrate your thoughts. Like they said in my philosophy classes: arguement comes first, examples are a free bonus. Lists are a way to let your readers do your work for you, by work of course I mean thinking… but that might be expecting too much from web content.

The receipe for worthy content that will bring readers to your door: thinking about your topic, your point of view and your media. The web is not a book even if more and more books are born from blogs. The web is an amazing place to formulate and test ideas. Use it for that. Greatness might then emerge from your online presence.

Oh, by the way, I DID have pasta for lunch.

How to use Scrivener to keep a recipe book

A new use I found for Scrivener (see my overview) lately emerged from this rediscovered passion of mine, that is cooking. Whenever I want to redo a recipe I don’t know very well, I find myself fighting my way through piles of chaotic handwritten recipes, badly organized bookmarks and website history and emails, srolling through the few recipes books (actual ink and paper books, mind you) that I keep in various places of my flat (and no, not only my kitchen, which is already crammed with ustensils). Half the time I find myself phoning my mother to learn how she does it. She is, after all, the one who taught me the taste for nicely cooked meals and when  I cook dishes from my childhood I’m invariably disappointed that they don’t taste like I remembered.

So recently, while I was backing up my work files through dropbox (more on that later) and installing Scrivener on my wife’s new iMac to make sure the backup worked, all the while cooking my first ever muffins to bring to our neighbourg’s party, I thought: hey, wouldn’t it be easier to use Scrivener’s ability to handly multiple files in the same metafile and its keyword+label+searchbox combo to store all my recipes in one place? The corkboard and outline views could be of tremendous help when I’m not inspired and don’t know what-to-c

ook-tonight. That’s the perk of using a software like Scrivener daily: you begin to see new uses for it, ones you’d never expect at first. Try doing that with Word.

So here I am, immediately storing that muffin recipe and a couple ones I use frequently. I stopped there because we had to attend the aforementioned party but in just a couple dozen clicks, I had a pretty functional scrivener file that I intend to update as soon as I get more time or find new recipes. Here’s how it works:

Under Draft I created two subfolders: one for salted recipes, one for sweet ones

In each of these folders, I’ll create one subfile (sorry I never even tried to learn the lingo, I think they’re “scrivs”)  for each recipe where I just jot down the ingredient list and the instructions. I add pictures to see what I’m heading for and to render the recipe livelier.

Then come the keywords


At the moment I have keywords for base ingredient (flour, eggs, etc.), type of dish (entrée, main course, dessert, party dish), how it is cooked (raw, oven, pan…) and where it comes from. So I can now use Scrivener’s search functions to find me recipes out of the ingredient I have at end or the appliances I can use, or if I’m in the mood for Tex-Mex or Asian I can search for that, too.

Labels and Status

I have labels for the time it will take me to make the dish (from under 10 minutes to more than 2hrs). I made sure to tint icons with label color and I ordered my recipes from quickest to longest so depending on how much time I’ve got, I know what color(s) to look for. I also have status stamps that show if I’ve already tested the recipe, if I’m pleased with it or still experimenting. These might change if I find a better use for the stamps.

Which brings us to synopsis cards that I mainly use in Corkboard view. On these I write a quick description of the dish, I develop the “time” infos (by stating precisely how much prep time and how much cooking time) plus any remarks I need to make for my future self or anyone using this recipe book besides me.
I haven’t thought of any use for the Research folder yet but I can imagine at least one: experimenting. That could be where I’d store my own creations but that’s another story yet to be written.

Now, with dropbox, which is a fine over the cloud storage service, I can access my recipes from anywhere with a mac and scrivener. I will also export the recipes as .pdf in order to access them without Scrivener handy. Far less efficient but still useful.

In the features I still need to add, there’s linking to recipe websites, of course but this takes time and will come in its own time.

For those of you who might want to give it a shot, here’s the template (along with the 4 first recipes). Just unzip the file and run the Installer, it will add itself to your other Scrivener’s templates magically. It’s mostly bilingual but some parts are still only in french right now but I’ll try to make a full bilingual version once I’m done with all my other writing. In the meantime, you’ll have to tweak it a bit yourself. Sorry about that.

Amazon Kindle review

Ok so after reading reviews on various places about the Amazon Kindle (the first one being one posted by Neil Gaiman a year or so ago) and the Kindle being available in France since october 2009, I finally decided to get one. I received it last saturday and have been playing around with it every day. So these really are first impressions and they’re very good. At first I thought it would be a nice gadget tool for when I’m moving around, like going to cafés or visiting my family or when I travel South to teach. I wouldn’t have to carry the extra weight of the 3 or 4 books I’m used to bring with me everywhere and I would save the choosing time. Imagine: one small device, light as a paperback, containing my whole collection of books at all times, serving as a bookshelf as well as a bookstore. That sounded very reassuring: to be able to carry all my books with me, knowing that they are a great part of what makes home feel like… well, home. I wasn’t necessarily convinced by the real usage I would do of it. Would I use it to read even while not on a trip? Would it mainly sit on my desk, gathering dust, another underused useless tech device? Was I victim of just another fad?

But then I got it and all these questions faded away, only leaving me with one: How did I manage to live without a Kindle before? What first struck me was the comfort of reading. It really felt like a real book, as soothing and as forgettable a vessel for the words that would bring me out to imaginary spaces and times. My fears came from reviews I had read which stated the loading time between two pages was noticeable but I didn’t feel that much difference with the time it takes to actually turn a physical page. The words just stand there, waiting to be read, lit only by external light, easy on the eye and their size adjustable to your level of tiredness. Then there were all these agreable feats such as highliting or taking notes or the very much appreciated dictionary feature (just move your cursor next to a word and its description will appear at the bottom of the page, barely interrupting the flow of your reading).

Then, I timidly set foot on the uncharted land of Amazon Kindlestore. Accessible directly from the device it uses the 3G network to connect directly to 300,000+ references (400,000 in the US): books, magazines, newspapers, browsable, searchable, and buyable in just one click. It’s like having direct access to a neverending bookstore (because let’s face it, you’re never gonna read all 300,000 titles). The perspective is vertiginous. No more delivery time, no more waiting. If you want to read a book, you can download it in less than a minute and it will appear right away in your collection so you can start reading it in the exact minute your desire flourished. And if you’re not sure you really want to read that precise book, you have access to free sample chapters.

You also have the possibility to upload your own documents to your kindle (immediately if they’re .pdf or within 5 minutes if they’re another format), which is very comfortable if you need to read a report before a meeting and have only the time of the commute to get it done.

In just a few words, the kindle is a far greater device than I would have expected and even if I’ll still read on paper I can see how my future book buying will divide evenly between books I want to keep forever (that will be paper) and books I only care to read once ; books I want to always carry with me (kindle) and ones I just want to keep for research and reference (paper) ; books I want to read for my own pleasure (kindle) and books I want to share.

Yes, this is what I dislike the most about kindle: the fact that your device is linked to your kindle account and yours only, making it impossible to share the books you buy with others. Contrary to a physical book, the kindle version is trapped in its vessel, you can’t sell it or make a gift of it. And all readers know how pleasant it is to offer or receive a book as a present. You might, however, register up to 6 kindles to one account, which makes it possible to share one account among different members of a family, creating some feeling of a family collection. But we’re far from the actual bookshelves crammed with titles, inside which to lose oneself, the eyes gazing upon authors’ names and books’ titles, being seduced into grabing one and immersing oneself into unexpected words and characters. I don’t however see why the two couldn’t share an habitat, the kindle and the physical book, each with its own perks, each both enticing and repulsive depending on what you’re looking for in a specific situation.

I still need to see how the Kindle does pass the test of time but as of now, I’m reading far more consistently as I used to these last months. I bring it nearly everywhere with me, opening it up in the metro as much as in my bedroom, my kitchen or less admittable places. It’s pretty addictive.

[Edit: Maintenant disponible: le kindle en france!]

John the Wolf is back

Parce que ce blog est fait un peu pour tout, parce que je ne veux pas refaire un blog trop spécialisé et parce que je suis ici chez moi, j’ai envie d’écrire aussi en français. J’ai envie de parler de musique et pas juste de comment faire de l’argent et économiser du temps. J’ai envisagé faire ce blog en anglais uniquement et le traduire mais disons-le franchement, cela m’ennuie et j’ai suffisamment à faire pour ne pas faire des choses qui m’ennuient. Et comme je pense alternativement dans les deux langues, mon blog, qui doit me ressembler, en sera le reflet.

Mille Excuses Milady - Jean Leloup

Mille Excuses Milady - Jean Leloup

J’écoute Mille Excuses Milady, le nouvel album de Jean Leclerc/Jean Leloup/Pablo Ruiz/Massoud al-Rachid, auteur/compositeur/interprète/romancier/vidéaste de génie et de caprice. Après avoir tué le personnage de Jean Leloup en 2004, il décide que c’est l’heure de la maturité, l’heure de “s’assagir”. Il devient Jean Leclerc et sort un album noir et morbide, Mexico, en 2006. Sans grande surprise, avril 2009 voit le retour de Jean Leloup avec l’album Mille Excuses Milady où il qualifie son suicide artistique comme un “Monkey Suicide”. Sans surprise, parce que depuis le début de sa carrière, à la fin des années 80, Leloup annonce régulièrement qu’il arrête la musique, qu’il se lance dans le cinéma, dans la littérature, que c’est fini, et il revient. Son génie l’excuse. Son univers unique, ses textes ciselés et sa musique rock ne déçoivent pas. Encore une fois, l’album est habité d’histoires et de personnages, dont certains remontent quelques albums en arrière ou ont été développés sur le site internet du chanteur: http://roiponpon.com

 

John the Wolf

Leloup is back

leloup.tv devrait voir le jour bientôt sans que l’on sache trop de quoi il va retourner. Des clips peut-être ou des court-métrages comme l’adaptation de Noir Destin que le Mien, un roman de Leloup écrit sous le nom de Massoud al-Rachid et dont une adaptation en court-métrage a été diffusée quelques années sur roiponpon.com. Rien de plus à dire, il faut écouter les chansons, lire les textes et se laisser porter, découvrir l’univers de Leloup et emporter par les riffs poétiques, les chants esthétiques et les paroles acérées. 

 

Mille Excuses Milady s’achète ici

The story of how Tim Ferriss became my guru without even knowing it

What striked me most when i first stumbled upon Tim Ferriss’s book “The Four Hour Workweek” is that it was classified as an economy/entreuprenarial manual. I never felt that way about the book. Sure it gives you a few keys on how to manage a company but what it mainly is is a lifestyle guide. Like Seneca’s “On the Shortness of Life” that I’ve kept as my bedside book during my teen years and which Tim loves, “The Four Hour Workweek” is a paradigm switching experience. 

TimFerriss_200

Basically the logline for the book could be: “what you always deemed as unchangeable liferules is about to change for ever”. Because that’s what this book does. It reminds you you don’t have to live the life society wants to impose on you. You have the rights and the means to choose your own lifestyle – or rather your art de vivre. To reduce Tim’s book to entrepenarial counselling is, if you ask me, pachydermic crap.

 

The first lesson I applied from Tim’s book is to define your short-term goals. The biggest reason why I felt bored was because I had nothing to do. Ok there was this ice hockey class I planned to take and would have liked to take right away but I had to wait till september for the new season to begin. I was not in a hurry, just curious to try a new sport so I was ready to wait. I would have liked to take it right away, I didn’t want to take it right away. In fact, I wanted nothing. So what I did one sunday afternoon while my wife wrote her query  letter for a new job, is I took a pen, a little notebook, Tim’s chapter 4 and I wrote a list of things I had in my mind. They were things I was curious to try, things I had always wanted but not allowed myself to do, places I wanted to visit (sadly “the whole world” isn’t specific enough when you’re looking at actionnable goals) and skills I wanted to learn (makes me realize I forgot to consider people I’d want to meet, Tim Ferriss would be one of these, if only to thank him personally for the Book). And suddenly the numbness of my mind lifted and I was cramming line after line of desires on the page. I named it “Things to do before I die” which made it easier to fill than “what do I want?”

Things to do before I die

Things to do before I die

Suddenly my life felt far less boring. There was so much to learn and so much to do I would never have enough time (another misconception soon to be gone). That’s when enthusiasm came back. I was not numb at all anymore. Next step was to take my notebook and decide which 5 things I wanted to be/have/do in the next 6 months. It proved far more easy than what I expected. I understood that I had time. 6-month periods are short enough that you can plan a lot of them in your life (about 100 hundred if you’re 30) and long enough that you can do a lot during that time. Can you think of 100 things you would want to accomplish in your life? Things that would require 6 months to achieve? I don’t. Most of what I want can be done in just a few days. Do you want examples?

I want to fly. I can paraglide in tandem right now if I want, I just need to spend a few hours to get to a moutain and I can use these hours to plan whatever other dream I want. If I want to fly alone, one-week classes are enough that you have the autonomy required to do it. I want to fire a gun. A few metro stops from my appartment there’s a shooting range. I can rent a gun there and fire a few rounds. Spent time: 2-3 hours. I want to visit Vancouver. I can do that in 10 days but I’d rather take at least a whole month, giving me time to meet people there (maybe William Gibson and Douglas Coupland, that would be nice), get a real feel of Vancouver’s life. This trip wouldn’t need any preparation apart from spending a few minutes on the phone with a travel agent. These three experiences could fit in just 1/6th of the 6 month timespan I have to allot. My point is: your life is long enough and things are easy enough to get that you don’t have to make choices you can have/do/be everything, you just need to decide what you want the most right now and what you can wait for. Then, you act, one small step at a time until you get where you wanted to be. Usually it will be faster than what you expected. Plus: it’s really cheap.

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You also need to learn to seize opportunities. I like teaching and I wanted to be a screenwriting teacher (another goal that could wait). I thought about creating my own school but that was too much work for the energy I wanted to invest in it. I wanted to be a teacher in my old school but never asked. Then I heard of an opportunity in an entirely different place with people I love. Teaching there would allow me to travel regularly, which is something I want. It would also give me the opportunity to spend more time with people whom company I enjoy and whom I have too few chances to see, which is something else I want. So I asked. I simply sent an email to the head of the school saying I heard about the vacant place and I was interested. She said yes. Time spent: 10 minutes of email writing. Learn to recognize and take these chances. They always happen, you just have to be wary for them and to be bold enough to ask for them. Sometimes you don’t even have to work for your dreams.

For longer dreams, start today and be consistent. I want to learn how to draw. I’ve always loved sketchbooks and I’m jealous of people who know how to sketch life. I want to be able to do it but I’m too lazy to take art classes. What I’m not lazy to do is sketching something for 5 minutes everyday. I use this simple exercize: take a picture, put it upside down and reproduce it. It’s supposed to help you detach your drawing for what it’s supposed to represent. You’re not drawing a tree, you’re assembling shapes and I’ve been told it’s a more efficient way to learn drawing than just trying to draw precise stuff. So that’s what I do. I have a picture that I reproduce everyday. I don’t know where this is going but my biggest faith in life is that exercising will make you reach anything. So I just do it. And I’m happy because I get to draw everyday and I feel I’m on my way to something. It might take me a few years to get there but that’s cool with me. Instead of staying frustrated by my inability to draw, I’m acting to change it and that makes the whole difference.

Act now, reconnect with your dreams, turn them into goals and ask yourself: “which of my dreams will I fulfill today?

 

Buy The Four Hour Workweek

How Tim Ferriss saved me from a dull life

As I said earlier in a french post, I felt numb. Not physically numb, rather my ability to dream was on hold, my mind was circling around and my passion had faded away. I had done it. I had finally reached what I had been fighting for during 17 years. What was there left for me to do? Live the dream until I died? That would be at least 50 years of the same routine. Dream life or not, I couldn’t bear that thought.

Imagine my surprise, to realise that although I had all I ever wanted I was bored. If I combined my work time, that made for 7 days/month, about 60 hours. But I had to wait for other people to give me assignments. I never knew when I would have to work and because of that I forced myself to stay reachable at all times. I sat in front of my computer every single day, waiting for an email to drop in with my new work. What’s the use of freedom if you make nothing of it? When the email finally reached me I would work a few hours and send my work, then wait for the next step. Once, the wait lasted 1 month, 1 month during which I mainly just sat at my desk, waiting. Ok, I drafted a few personal projects but my mind wasn’t focused. I was always ready to shift my attention to the I’m-sure-it’ll-come-soon assignment. Not very efficient, is it?

Before, when I was feeling uncomfortable with my life I always told myself things would be much much better once I’d be a pro writer. That’s the only thing I wanted and that’s what I was fighting for every single day. But now that I was there I didn’t know what to do, what to turn to. Everything seemed unreachable and unintersting. If become a writer didn’t solve the boredom issue, how could anything else? Was I a spoiled child who’d never be satisfied with anything or was it the human condition to experience boredom throughout one’s life? Whatever the answer I couldn’t live with it.

Here I was, contemplating my fate of numbness, reading books I didn’t care for, surfing sites I held no interest for and listening to music that couldn’t get my mind out of that state. I needed something else. I wondered if maybe moving away, beginning a new life in some other place of the world… that could be a solution. I wouldn’t be bored if I had to learn a new language, build a new network and a new work experience. Would that be an acceptable alternative? Being a noob my whole life? I assumed it would take me 2 years to make my way in a new culture. Let’s say I could feel the novelty of the experience another year? Would that mean moving again to some other place every 3 years? Even with 5 years spans it all just appeared to me as the perspective of yet another routine. Which was exactly what I was searching for a way out of.

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How to change your life paradigm

 

The situation looked irremediable. I was doomed to a routiny life. That’s when I found out about Tim Ferriss’s The Four hour workweek. I don’t remember how, I just remember that I read a few reviews on various blogs, mostly about economics. Most of these blogs displayed large extracts of the book and that’s what convinced me to buy it. I read it in one big gulp and immediately was convinced that what it offered was not at all a way to make easy money but a whole new paradigm, something I was myself trying to define and adopt in my life. Tim is 5 years older than me and he was 5 years ahead of me in his life design. What a chance for me: a shortcut was offered. Some other guy had tried stuff, he had gone through the suffering and the astonishment, the fear of emptiness and he had emerged even more alive on the other side. Just what I needed.

I immediately decided to listen to myself and to him at the same time. I didn’t want routine and I didn’t want boredom? Then why would I want to force myself into categories I didn’t care about? Why stay a screenwriter? Why did I only project myself in other cities doing the same job? Truth is I was afraid. My big motto in life is never to let fear stop me from doing things and I failed at applying it. I was afraid to lose what I had fought for, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get my comfort back, I was afraid of lots of stupid things. I was getting old. Not age-old but mind-old. That’s the worse.

It was time I kicked myself in the butt and forced myself into new experiences. It’s been years since I want to build a company, I have no skills in economics, I suck at budgetting and when I play boardgames I never know how to manage my resources. I can learn. I can even hire people who are comfortable with it and can teach me while doing the job for me. That’s new experiences, new learnings, a new art de vivre. Now I know how to fill the 3 weeks I have left every month. I don’t need to waste this time, I can use it to grow.