I was so happy writing that book until suddenly…

Writing it is one of those professions that are interesting. Anything and everything is useful and useless at the same time.
Writing a book is one of those things that many think it is really easy to do and provide no real challenge. I just wish more of that people where simply right. I love to have written, the writing of the book, that’s a different story.
In my experience this is how it goes (or how it had been on each book I had written). You begin with the idea, exited to begin to think on the book, plan the book, dream about the book… You even begin writing and are having fun…
Suddenly, everything when dark, you start shivering, fear begin to posses you and the writing process is over. Every time you sit on that chair to continue the manuscript you feel the cold, the loneliness, you can’t even write your own name, you fear even the name of your own book and are so happy no one knows you were writing a book… Welcome to the Valley of Despair. This is the place where you can find all the hope in the world, at least the most writers hope in the world.
If you have ever try to write a book you know the place. Most people run and never show up again after they have been there. They convinced themselves that they can’t write, they are not writers or the book wasn’t even a good idea.
Sadly there is only one way out, trough the Valley of Despair. There is no coming back, no turning around, you can quit and forget about that book or you can begin the adventure and walk trough the Valley of Despair.
I wish you good luck, it is wet, dark, cold and stinks, but it is the only way to finish that book you dream on writing.
Why is that way, I have no clue, but know many writers that struggle with it. I am one of those. I come every day and work hard to get out of there, but sometimes for weeks, even months all that I do is to shiver, be terrified, cold and in despair. All that I want to do is to quit the book. To stop writing it. To forget about it. Eventually and without any warning you are out, you survived, you are not terrified nor shivering… Eventually you discover you actually wrote a book. Then another story begins.

Working on my iPad: Should I use a Keyboard with my iPad?

Should I use a Keyboard with my iPad? is probably the most common question I got when people ask me things about the iPad, Which Keyboard do you use? is probable the second most common one.
The short answer is yes. I currently use a Logitech KB810; but the answer it is much more complicated than a yes or a no. I don’t use my keyboard daily, because I use the keyboard only when I can block four hours of writing. Otherwise I will use the onscreen keyboard of the iPad.
When I got the iPad it wasn’t like that, I could not type slow enough to make it worthwhile, so I always end up using the keyboard. With a little practice and some time (and a software called TapTyping[www.twitter.com/taptyping]), I learn how to type on the screen of the iPad almost as fast as I can on the keyboard, so if I am not going to be working for a really long period of time I can use the on screen one.
The reason I pick the keyboard on those occasions that I can write more than four hours is comfort and to be able to get more screen. When using the keyboard I can place my iPad on Portrait mode and see a whole page of text, that it is irrelevant when I know I can be interrupted every seven seconds, when my four year old and the six month old baby are around.
Should you use a Keyboard with your iPad? Depends. My advice is that you learn to use the onscreen keyboard. The more components you need to carry the less chance you have to pull your iPad on a moment notice and work for ten minutes.
I carry my iPad with me and I can get use of those weird ten minutes that I am waiting and pull the last article or book I am writing and do a little bit more while waiting, but if I need a keyboard to do that, I most likely will never do it. It was exactly the reason I never did in the laptop. The laptop was heavier, and not as quick and simple to use as the iPad is.
The long answer to the short question is NO. Learn to type on the screen, learn to type fast on the screen. Remember that the iPad is not a laptop, and you may need to reconsider some of your current experiences and workflows to really get the most out of it.

The Lizard brain and the Monkey Mind

After I wrote yesterday about the Lizard Brain, Gary Vamer wrote a fantastic comment that inspired the following post, he said:

“Always good to remember the Lizard brain… since our humans brains tend to forget! Nice Post, and nice reminder to push through the fear and move on. Now if I could only get the Lizard Brain and Monkey Mind to play nice I’d be all set!”

I think if somehow we could figure it out how to make that work, we will be all set…
In case you are not familiar with the term “Monkey Mind” is a term that it is usually used in Buddhist which describes the persistent churn of thoughts in the undisciplined mind. You know when your mind it is like a monkey mind, going everywhere and accomplishing or letting you accomplish nothing.
As you may guess, it is not enough to beat the Lizard Brain, if you can pass the fear and finally move but had no guidelines, your monkey mind will take over and you will do circles but accomplish little.
Even when I struggle constantly with my Lizard Brain, I have a better control of the Monkey Mind. I have learned that when I have clear expectations and guidelines for my Monkey Mind in general I am able to work much better a soon as I get the Lizard Brain quiet. I have learned that my Monkey Mind need to be reminded that there will be chance to play as we walk the path. For that reason I begin my day planning the day, reading my goals (short and long term) and trying to identify what really had my attention. Usually that process help me keep the monkey in check and force me to deal only with the Lizard Brain.
My success with the Lizard Brain and the Monkey Mind is another story.

When are you going to let your fears stop you?

When are you going to let your fears stop you? Yes, you read that fine. It wasn’t a mistake, and your answer most likely was that I was crazy. Regardless your fears stop you constantly, sabotage you, and distract you for that goal or dream you have. The worst part is that you allow it; you let your fears do it.
Seth Godin had said a lot about what he called the Lizard Brain. The objective of the Lizard Brain is protect you, is to generate fear so you don’t do anything and stay on that place that you are fine, safe and protected. That means that anything that it doesn’t know how it is going to go, should be avoided.
The big question is when are you going to do something about it, or you are simply going to let it stop you. I wish I could give you 25 steps to beat your own Lizard Brain and accomplish this, but in my experience it is a unique journey. You need to constantly beat the Lizard Brain.
When you prove that something it is not as dangerous as your Lizard Brain is trying to make you believe, it is going to stop nagging you and let you do it. Be aware that the Lizard Brain job is to scan danger, so even if it accept that there is no danger on that little thing you just prove, it will continue, and stop you in the next step. To make things worse, it will learn the technique you use to beat it the last time, so it use a different strategy to win.
The good news, is that you don’t need to do anything. If you regardless decided to do something about it, ask: When are you going to let your fears stop you? After you remember how absurd this is, wake up and work until the Lizard Brain discover the answer to that question. At that point, she will win again and your job will be to identify how to beat it once more.