It’s time for the second annual Blog-Your-Own-Book Challenge!

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Last June, I thought to myself — what if we challenged everyone to write a blog post a day for one month. That morphed into something more like what if we challenged everyone to write a blog post a day for a month and turn those posts into a book?

So, as often happens with me, a one-month challenge turned into a four month challenge we called BYOB or Blog Your Own Book. We’d all plan our challenges in July, write those blog posts in August, edit them into a book in September, and prepare them for publication in October.

Meet FRED . . .

Me and my FRED! (Photo: Author)

FRED is the folder for reaching the end of your draft. And he is magical.

This deceptively simple little tool keeps me on track, reminds me that I’m a real writer (when I need that reminder), and makes sure I actually finish my projects. He’s my accountability buddy— and he doesn’t expect a thing from me in return!

Meet him here:

Meet FRED Video.

You can download a free printable FRED here.

And if you want even more? Next Friday (February 26, 2021) at 2 p.m. EST, I’m hosting a live workshop all about setting tiny writing goals, using FRED…

Answering a question I see more often that you might think.

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This morning a question came through my Feedback feed. It was posted in a writers group I belong to.

I’m not going to screenshot it, because I don’t want to share the woman’s name — but it asked this question:

Hey, do writers not read? I hate reading.

I was moved to respond and this is what I wrote:

I run a writing school and I have worked with thousands of writers. Most of them love to read, but there have been some that don’t read at all. I have two thoughts on that.

The first is that reading is…

Does it really matter?

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When I started seriously working toward an online career in 2015, there were several people I followed. I’m not going to name them. Instead, I’ll sum them up with a little list of traits.

  • They were hyperfocused on their work.
  • They were all about accountability.
  • They were manifestation aficionados.
  • They were all making roughly two bazillion dollars a year. Each.
  • Money mattered to them. A lot.
  • They were gurus with tons of followers.
  • Spirituality (generally Christianity) mattered to them a lot.

Fast forward six years and I’m noticing something interesting.

Most of those gurus? They’ve done 180s. Literally, that’s the language they use. “I’ve done a 180.”

Some of…

Advice from a 30-year veteran.

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I spend a lot of time — a lot — talking to other writers about how to build what they’re creating into an income they can count on.

Some people want a full-time income that will replace their day job.

Some people want a solid side gig.

Some people want to supplement a job they love.

But almost everyone wants to be paid for their work. Which is fair, of course. Who doesn’t want to be paid for their work?

Writing is an interesting business. It’s broad. Very broad. And it’s a strange combo of art and work. I think…

Hint: It involves an epiphany. Seriously.

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I have too much to do. So. Much. It’s overwhelming.

That’s a constant refrain running through my brain. I have too much to do and it’s making me crazy. Because, no matter what I do, I can’t get on the other side of it.

Scratch that. No matter how much I do, I can’t get on the other side of it.

I had a little bit of an epiphany today, though. I really think it’s going to change everything.

For the first time, it occurred to me that, what I really mean isn’t I have too much to do.


Because Mama needs a room of her own.

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My attic is a little decrepit, very big, finished, and full of light.

It’s beautiful. When we moved into this house, we came from Nevada to Pennsylvania and rented long distance. Not only had I never seen this house before (except pictures), I hadn’t even been to Pennsylvania. Ever.

It was this picture of my attic, on the realtor’s website, that spoke to my imagination.

Let’s find out together.

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It’s July.

I don’t know about you, but it feels to me like 2020 took about 15 years to get through and the first half of 2021 went by in about 15 minutes. Perception sure is weird.

July, in Ninja Writers World, means it’s time to BYOB or Blog Your Own Book!

BYOB is a simple concept: we’re going to take four months to plan, write, edit, and prepare a book for self-publication. And we’re going to do it in the format of publishing 31 blog posts here on Medium.

See? Blog your own book. Creating your content as blog…

I’m building a new audience. And I’m taking you along for the ride.

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It’s been a long, long time since I’ve thought about building an audience from scratch. Ninja Writers has been around since 2015 — and that was the last time. It grew pretty quickly and I’ve had my little tribe for more than five years.

The thing is, though, that I want to be able to teach about building an audience in 2021, not 2015. Because six years, in online business world, is a lifetime. Things change. So much. So fast.

So, a couple of months ago, I started thinking about building an audience again. A new one.

It was kind of an accident.

I spend eight…

It’s how we know what our readers need.

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I’ve been preparing to host a webinar on Saturday with my friend Jackson. We’re going to present a 7-step plan to writing and publishing short nonfiction as a way to create an income stream.

(Click here if you’d like to sign up. It’s free.)

As I was doing that work, I started thinking about the different parts of my indie publishing journey. If I could impart one piece of wisdom on you — on any writer who wants to earn a living — it’s this.

Writing is a service industry. Sure. It’s art. But it’s also a major form of…

Shaunta Grimes

Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at Reach me at (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

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