A Book To Build Creative Skills And Become A Writer

“Empty Your Mind To Free Your Soul” — Matthew Wetmore

A Book Recommendation To Build Creative Skills And Become A Writer

One afternoon I perused around my local bookstore to poke around at some of the latest book releases. This happened to be right around the time that I desired to become a better writer but didn’t have many tools.

I was missing the classics; Elements of Style, Writing Tools, On Writing, and many others.

I’m glad I can say I’ve since read, applied, and continue to use these almost every day as I work on my craft.

Again, I walked around with no intention at the time but one book stuck out.

How to be a Writer — Building your creative skills through practice and play, by Barbara Baig

I almost didn’t buy it. I googled it and only found a few results and nearly psyched myself out. But I did; this book never left my side all summer.

Barbara Baig is a devoted writer and teacher. She was the Writing instructor at Harvard Divinity School for 20+ years and is now teaching in the MFA Program at Lesley University.


If you have any desire to write you need to start here.

Freewriting does WONDERS for your creative skills and helps you escape your mind. When you freewrite you allow yourself to think freely and your mind to flow into new dimensions of thought that are unable to be obtained unless you enter the deep, focused state of mind.

Do this for just 10 minutes. Write about your day, your week, your life, your relationship; anything you want.

An important thing to note is not to stop writing. Keep the pen or pencil moving. This won’t be easy at first but you’ll learn that the more you “think” when you write, the harder it is for words to come to your mind.

Focused Freewriting

This is an excellent way to study, prepare for a meeting, learn new subjects, and assess your own level of knowledge.

No matter what subject you are studying or interested in, focused freewriting can help you find information and knowledge on a particular subject that you may not be aware you know.

Often times our subconscious mind holds on to a TON of information with which the only way to access it is through deep stimulation.

A good example of this would be remembering character names from movies, books, or TV shows. Another would be the quote you loved so much by your favorite philosopher.

Write your topic at the top, set your timer for 10–15 minutes (or however long you’re comfortable with) and begin. Don’t stop writing until the time is up.

Try writing about a favorite vacation, experience, memory, or freewrite for new blog ideas.

Another way to use focused freewriting is to apply it to get in the “zone” for your job. I worked in cyber security and used this method to learn the technology, lingo, and get my mind ready to discuss security with people much smarter than I.

Why I Recommend Her Book

This book forever changed how I approach writing. It’s made my 1,000 words/day goal a piece of cake. I’m somewhere around 3,000 words today.

I’m also up late on a Monday writing this for my day 4/30 posting on Medium and my blog.

This book showed me how much I had to learn about writing, the world, and myself. Writers are vulnerable people who often see life through a lens which only words can explain.

Barbara will teach you how to look at the world in a new way. Take the journey into this book to expand your curiosity, learn more, have fun, and continue to grow as a writer.

Whether you write blogs, fiction, nonfiction, or poetry there is a place for Baig’s book in your library.

Have you read it before? What did you think? Share below or comment and let me know how you use freewriting in your life!

Founder and CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin Jeff Bezos enjoyed a short-lived few hours as the worlds richest person today.

“There are two kinds of companies – those that work to raise prices and those that work to lower them. We will be the second” – Jeff Bezos

Today marks history for Amazon and a guy named Jeff Bezos. Jeff became the world’s richest man for a short period of time today. With his net worth soaring up to $90.6 billion – he became the world’s richest man over Bill Gates. That is the single greatest accomplishment any one man could ever dream of achieving. Monetarily speaking what else is there?

It is important for those unfamiliar with Jeff Bezos to understand his story. Jeff Bezos was a man that sold books online from his garage and never looked back. He had one idea that he stuck with after leaving Wall Street in the 90’s. He has revolutionized the world with what started as a small idea to make money selling books online.

Check out the book “The One Thing“, by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. I use to think multi-tasking was a good thing. Until I started accomplishing more valuable tasks in shorter periods of time with increased focused by removing distractions. The power of one idea compounded over time is invaluable. You may be the next Jeff Bezos.

This simple idea has compounded into what is projected to become the first trillion dollar company in history, says CNBC. We are lucky to have Jeff Bezos. We are lucky to have Amazon. If Jeff hadn’t started selling his books online from his garage and leave Wall Street, we may not be blessed with Amazon Prime and free two-day shipping, Amazon Video, Music, Amazon Web Services, and the many remarkable products and services that we have today provided by Amazon.com

With the purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon’s stock price is projected to double and continue to propel them into discussions around becoming the first trillion dollar organization in history. This race is discussed often between Apple, Amazon, and Google. All three are trending in the right direction, but with the recent purchase of Whole Foods, I believe Jeff Bezos and Amazon have taken charge. Of course, this is purely my opinion, but if you have the ability to even imagine the slight potential of what Jeff Bezos future looks like, it’s hard to think otherwise. We’ve got a lot of questions for you Jeff. We anticipate some remarkable developments surrounding the future of the Amazon and Whole Foods acquisition!

Your continued success and achievement is inspirational!

Jeff Bezos is not quite as philanthropic as the likes of Bill Gates, but I believe he has major plans in this to benefit humanity in ways he sees fit.

Bezos is also the Founder and Owner of Blue Origin, a private American aerospace manufacturer, and space flight services company. Maybe he and Elon Musk could join forces? Could you imagine those two minds collaborating together on space travel and the future of humanity? I view them both as the most innovative and forward-thinking minds that we have on the planet. Who’s next? What is next?

Blue Origin is a company Jeff founded to provide an opportunity for aspiring astronauts a glimpse of the future and an opportunity to pioneer humanity into other worlds in space.

I’ll do some further investigation and research to learn more about the purpose of Blue Origin – I’ll repost with updates.

To summarize, Jeff Bezos and Amazon made history today. I visualize the future of Amazon to become the first trillion dollar company on the market. What is he up to? What is happening with Whole Foods?

Can I place my entire grocery order in this small coastal town in NC and have my food delivered? Automatically? Can I avoid checking out at a grocery store and enjoy a fully automated shopping or checkout experience?

What’s next? What is Bezos planning for Whole Foods? Are we going to see Whole Foods completely taking over the retail supermarket industry? Are we entering an era where we don’t even need to leave our homes to go grocery shopping? No car? No problem, hop onto Amazon Grocery and have someone deliver your food when it is convenient for. I think that is just the beginning of the acquisition.

Where do you see the future of Amazon?

What do you like most about Amazon?

Is there anything you are worried about?

Why did Amazon purchase Whole Foods?

Let’s chat about the future. The future of Amazon, Whole Foods, and the future of humanity. This is how we spark ideas that can change the world and leave the greatest impact. Collaboration and futuristic, idea generating conversations.

At this pace, I believe that Jeff Bezos will become the richest man in the world and remain there for quite some time. As long as he doesn’t lose focus and invest his wealth too heavily in space with Blue Origin… It’s hard to build wealth from space… I’m not sure Mars has the same currency…

But hey – everyone doubted Elon Musk with Tesla – so let’s be optimistic and change the world instead of complaining about it.

10 Books That Inspired me to Change my Life

After two rough drafts of this exercise today I’ve realized that I don’t enjoy making lists. For some reason, my mind feels the need to explain things in great amounts of detail rather than short summaries. So instead of going crazy and overthinking this entire post, I’ve decided to make a list of the top 10 books that inspired exponential change and rapid growth in my life.

“The man who does not read good books have no advantage over the man who does not read” – Mark Twain

Books have helped educate me on becoming better in the critical areas of my life; son, brother, lover, communicator, employee, and overall contributor to humanity. I say this because we all have a past. For me, I lost a lot of confidence when I made a big mistake months ago now. I’ve since made a substantial change in my daily routine and activities. I realize now how lucky I am to be alive and how much greatness I have to contribute back to society. When I came to the realization of the skills, knowledge, and capability I had is when I changed my habits. I woke up and said I no longer want to be apart of the 99%. I want to be apart of the 1% that values giving over receiving. I desire to lead by example and be remembered for what I did right not what I did wrong. It’s easy to be negative, complain, and talk about what is wrong in your life or the world around you. I’ve committed myself to no longer blaming anyone else in my life for downfalls except myself. To no longer thinking about what is wrong in my life and focusing on what is right. I’ve taken action to change the course of my life and want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Here are 10 books that I’ve read this year that changed my perspective on life and redirected my future. They have all been read in the past 3 months. Check out the links for details and more.

1) “Start with Why”, by Simon Sinek

Why? I consider this the most simple yet powerful question known to man. The ability to ask yourself why and understand the importance of your purpose. Simon Sinek does an incredible job of explaining his message of “how great leaders inspire everyone to take action”. I received this book from a previous employer in the midst of an early twenties career change. I picked it up and finished it within a week.  It changed my life. I began asking myself difficult questions and working to answer them to help determine my purpose in life. My why. This question can change the course of your life, career, family and more. Become crystal clear on your why. Why do you want that job? Why do you need to go on vacation? Why do you want that promotion? Why do you want more money? Why did you choose this career? If you keep digging around your ‘why’ you’ll surely find your ‘how’ and your ‘what’ right around the corner. Check out a review I did of his book in more detail here.

“And it’s those who start with why, that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” – Simon Sinek

2) “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

It is rare to not come across this book high on the list of some of the worlds most successful people. I’m glad to be apart of that list and believe that it is one of the most inspirational books today. It has inspired me to change how I dealt with other people. I now make a conscious and consistent effort (even when I’m not feeling it) to be as genuinely interested in the lives of other people as possible. Here is what I’ve personally used this book for:

  • Sincerity and appreciation
  • Smiling, even when I’m not feeling it
  • Remembering and using other people’s names. Everyone loves this.
  • Genuinely listening to others and understanding their story.
  • Admitting when I am wrong.

For a more complete list of what this book can inspire in you, check out this simple summary on Wikipedia.

“Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving” – Dale Carnegie

3) “How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell

This book comes everywhere with me. I have the print copy and am in the middle of a second reading. It is remarkable how much a second reading can deepen your understanding of a book. The second reading for me is the application of the material. First is understanding, then the application. This time I’m annotating the book and asking myself questions of each of the different thinking styles. If you haven’t read this one yet I can promise it will be worth it. Here are John C. Maxwells’ “Final Thoughts” towards the end that may inspire you to give it a chance:

  • Everything begins with a thought
  • What we think determines who we are. Who we are, determines what we do
  • Our thoughts determine our destiny. Our destiny determines our legacy
  • People who go to the top think differently than others
  • We can change the way we think

You will not regret reading this short but incredibly insightful book. Mine never leaves my side.

Successful people…focus on the rewards of success: Learning from their mistakes and thinking about how they can improve themselves and their situations.” – John C. Maxwell

4) “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

Go read this book. I don’t even want to summarize it. The title explains it all. If you think you know how to read, you’re wrong. If you haven’t read this book you are wrong. It may be the single book that has given me the ability to learn and understand things I read better than ever before. This includes articles, magazines, books, periodicals, news, social media, and more. If you are looking to start a new habit of reading, look no further and start here. It is a simple book that will have a profound impact on your ability to understand the meaning of books at a deeper level.

“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men” – Mortimer Adler

5) “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

I have these 7 habits highlighted on the vision board in my office. For anyone who has NOT yet read this book, it is vitally important to understand that these habits are divided into two sections: independent and interdependent, and a third called ‘sharpening the saw’. As Covey explains, personal victory comes before public victory. For us to serve others, we must be capable of best serving ourselves. So work on yourself; Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first. Once you have a foundation of yourself you can begin incorporating some other disciplines impacting the lives of others. This is another timeless book that has changed the lives of many successors over the years.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey

6) “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn

“OF COURSE” this book is on my list. I have Jim Rohn’s words echoing in my ears each and every day. If you want to change your life, design your future and pursue your dreams this is a must read/listen. His recordings are powerful and will help you reassess your life and establish clarity through disciplining your life, changing your habits, setting goals and more.

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better” – Jim Rohn

7) “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

Life is all habit. The book incorporates an extensive amount of research and science backed studies to explain how habits run our lives. At the core of every habit is something called the ‘the habit loop, explains MIT Researchers. It consists of a cue, a routine, and a reward. He explains many scenarios proving this research correct and will certainly get you thinking about your daily routine and habits that you have now and are probably unaware of. Any habit can change as Duhigg explains here. This process starts by identifying the routine of your habit, finding your rewards and experimenting with new ones, isolating the cue of your habit and having a plan when that cue occurs. Trust him over me, but it will work.

“More than 40% of the actions people perform each day, aren’t actual decisions, but habits” – The Power of Habit

8) “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy

What is 1×1? 2. What is 2×2? 4. What is 10×10? 100. The message I received from the compound effect is this. Similar to interest compounding daily, weekly, monthly or annually, our habits and disciplines do the same. If we treat our bodies poorly, the health risks will compound over time leading to the negative results. Instead, if we exercise daily and eat healthily, the health benefits will compound over time leading to longevity and a better quality life. It is important to know that the Compound Effect works both ways. It is a great extension from “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn to help set goals and design your life. To assess your surroundings and who is affecting your life. You are one discipline or decision away from a different life. Take control of future and change your life.

Check out Darren Daily for his daily mentoring emails which will keep you inspired and focused on your purpose each day!

“The accomplishment of any goal is the progressive accumulation, or compound effect, of small steps taken consistently over time” – Darren Hardy

9) “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins

Here is my review of her book I did recently. Mel Robbins does an incredible job with her audio book on this one. A very personal, comforting tone throughout. She explains how decisions are made within five seconds and how this rule or ‘tool’ as she refers has changed her life and the lives of many others. Take a look and if you struggle with decision making or simply getting out bed in the morning, her tool will help you make those critical decisions to changing your life. One small 5-second decision at a time.

“If you only ever did the things you don’t to do, you’d have everything you’ve ever wanted” – Mel Robbins

10) “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson

Well, this book takes a different approach opposed to most of the books above. This book says f*ck positivity, and stop giving a f*ck. Stop thinking that you need motivation and positive thinking to lead a successful life. This is not the case. Mark explains how so many of us focus so much on being happy, that we give too many f*cks about being happy, only to never end up happy. Maybe that is true? Regardless this book sheds some great insight into reality and for someone going through extensive personal development was a great wake up call to stop giving a f*ck. In reality, it is true. We need to stop creating fear while worrying about what other people may say or do. We spend so much of our time over-thinking our lives that we never end of taking action. I decided that I was going to stop giving a f*ck about that and live my life. This blog is a start, right?

“To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action” – Mark Manson