How to adopt the mindset of a writer

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Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Over three years ago I decided to finally give writing a serious go. I always wrote stories and abandoned about twelve novel projects. I never knew what I was doing. Until I decided to seriously study the craft.

I’ve followed many online (creative) writing courses, read thousands of articles, read a couple of dozen books, and most importantly: I wrote.

People often ask me, which books on writing are a MUST read? Out of everything I read, the following five books will give you that head start you need.

These books improved my craft substantially. The topics range greatly, from learning to plot to being creative, finetuning your craft, building habits, and to how you can best self-edit your story. Combined they set you up with the toolkit you need to write both fiction and non-fiction. …

Lessons in Awareness by Anthony de Mello

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Photo by Максим Степаненко on Unsplash

Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that is more than a gem of a read. It’s a compass for life, a roadmap to happiness. A book that decreases anxiety and silences other inner demons. A book you wish everyone would read. Perhaps that’s why Tim Ferriss has recommended the book so many times on his podcast. Past summer I finally read it and there’s so much wisdom in it I might as well have copied the entire book here, but you should read it and experience it for yourself instead.

The book I’m talking about is ‘Awareness’ by Anthony de Mello. De Mello was an Indian priest and psychotherapist. He was a spiritual teacher and public speaker who drew wisdom from both East and West traditions. …

Dive into your ancestral past and discover your history

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© RKD, Netherlands. From the archives of Simon Maris. Dutch painter Mondrian painting my great-great-grandmother Elisabeth Sophia Maria Bergman-Cavalini.

Coming up with story ideas is a process that has always fascinated me. I love that feeling when an idea suddenly rushes over you unexpectedly. That jolt of energy that makes you want to create.

Magical moments like these happen serendipitously, which is the beauty of it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t help the universe of ideas a bit to find you.

Towards the end of 2019, an idea for a book found me that has been right under my nose ever since I stepped into my grandparents’ home. …

8 Habits to support the lifestyle of creative people

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” — Neil Gaiman

What do you experience when you create? I get transported to new worlds and imaginary places. It soothes me when I write. Never before have I found something that makes it so easy for me to get in a flow state. What does creating do for you?

Creating something that didn’t exist before is like magic. It truly makes life interesting. What would we do without art, exhibitions, books, movies, TV-shows, or inventions? It helps us through the good and the bad times. It teaches something about ourselves and our place in the world. This is, however, the consumer part of it. You want to be a creator and keep creating. …

The technical parts of writing short stories, developing a solid routine and publishing your work

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

“A short story is a different thing altogether — a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” — Stephen King

Stephen King, Charles Bukowski, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut all have one thing in common: they started their careers writing short stories. And with them a whole lot of your favorite writers. How can you start writing short stories if you’re a beginner?

First, what is a short story? Neil Gaiman has a good definition: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. …

Embrace serendipity, connect with people and nature, let go of the past, and determine your mission

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© Hugo van Dijke. Author depicted. Glencoe, Scotland.

“You see, the problem in life isn’t in receiving answers. The problem is in identifying your current questions. Once you get the questions right, the answers always come.” — James Redfield

I’ve always believed books find you at the right time. At a second-hand book market in Ghent, mere weeks before the Dutch and Belgian lockdown, I found the book ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ by James Redfield. I’ve always wanted to read it and for two euros it was mine.

The book from 1993 was as impressive and insightful to me as ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. The nine insights from the book are profound lessons in life for any time you pick it up, but perhaps even more so now during this pandemic. …

How adopting an us-first instead of a me-first attitude will get us through this crisis and help design life afterwards

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© Machu Picchu, photo taken by author

“We’re here on this planet not to build personal empires of control, but to evolve.” — James Redfield

Most of us have been in lockdown for about two months or more. Some countries are slowly coming out of it. How are you holding up? Are you overwhelmed or angry? Or have you been taking this as an opportunity to reflect or work on goals you never had the time for? Everyone’s process is different. Can you mentally cope with this pandemic?

I live in the Netherlands and restrictions are slowly being alleviated. Although it’s become more than clear that society will not go back to normal anytime soon. But while we long for the good old days, there’s something else we can do with this newfound time. We can think about life post-corona. Who do you want to be after this? …

The unexpected way I found my agent

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Photo taken at the event “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” © Jaap Beyleveld. Permission to use for the author. Author depicted.

For years I dreamed about getting a publishing deal and now I’m as close as I can possibly be.

Some agents scour the internet and approach writers who speak to them. Since that hasn’t happened to me yet, I found creative ways to turn the tables and increase the chance of landing an agent myself.

The first method was a bullseye shot, let’s dive in.


Let’s start with the unexpected way I found my agent. In September 2019 I participated in my first ever literary reading. …

A comprehensive and complete guide to creating your first online course

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Photo: Nick Morrison/Unsplash

Do you want to create an extra source of income? A passive source? Do you have extra time available to create something that requires quite some effort now but will continue to pay you for months or years on end if you do it right?

Then you might consider developing an online course. With everyone being trapped inside their homes, people are upgrading their skillset. It’s time to jump in. If not for the high demand for online courses right now, know that people will never stop learning. …

How to turn your first draft into a polished gem

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

So you have finished the first draft of your novel. Hallelujah! You did it. That’s something to celebrate and be extremely proud of. The percentage of people that start writing a book and actually finish it is about 1%. Take that in.

When I finished the first draft of my novel I felt like was on the trip of a lifetime while it was my birthday and I met the love of my life. It felt that good. And I thought of all the unfinished manuscripts and attempts from the past too. Apparently now was the time.

What to do when you’ve finished? Take a break from your work first. At this point, you’re still fully immersed in your fictional world. Let it go. Do something else. Stephen King suggests leaving the manuscript for at least two weeks, preferably four. That way, when you start reading, you’re reading your work with a different mindset. Almost like a future reader. His book ‘On Writing’ is a must-read for any writer by the way. (Here’s what I learned from the book). …


N.A. Turner

I write Black Mirror-esque short stories and share writing & freelancing tips. Amazon best-selling author. Free eBook with writing tips:

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