BOOK REVIEW: “The Accidental Genius” by Mark Levy

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If you’re a struggling writer searching for new ideas or you can’t seem to write at all, you might want to pick up your own copy of The Accidental Genius.

My views on this book has changed since I’ve read it a few years ago. I clearly didn’t have any takeaways from this book the first time.

Mark Levy sums up simple ways to accomplish writing projects without facing the pain and suffering of writer’s block.

The tips are quite surprising; they’re all about freewriting. I was expecting something more complex.

What is Freewriting?

 Freewriting is writing anything without stopping yourself. You’re good as long there’s something written on paper.

According to Levy, freewriting increases clarity and clears “mind fog”. You don’t want to get lost in writer’s mind fog.

When you write whatever what’s on your mind, it can go on forever. You realize you have more inside you than you know.

You know that incessant internal chatter you have whenever you’re out in a public space surrounded by people? Put those observations into writing.

You know the angry couple arguing with each other? Come up with ideas of what they’re fighting about.

Did one cheat on the other or they’re on the run like Bonnie and Clyde? Write it down.

Write your own story behind the sad clown who plays the violin at your local park.

That creepy guy you met at the subway with the pet rat? He might end up in your next horror story.

The key to freewriting: letting your imagination flourish.

Freewriting Exercises & The Pomodoro Method

I used to do a freewriting exercise at the beginning of a playwriting class in grad school. These exercises have certainly worked my writing muscles, but it was complicated sometimes. My instructor had the session under a strict time limit. I used to freeze up whenever I couldn’t think of the next action or dialogue to write down.

Eventually, I did better in the exercises. I let it flow.

I wrote whatever came to mind even if it sounded like pure crap.  Many interesting stories came out of those sessions.

You can do the same! Give yourself a minute or two to spill out everything that’s on your mind, whether it’s about your day or a glimpse of a short story itching to be written down.

Levy approves of  the Pomodoro Method for your writing sessions. Get a Pomodoro timer (shaped like a little tomato), set it to twenty-five minutes, and write until the time stops. Do this repeatedly and you’ll have plenty of content under your belt.

 Journaling

Journaling is a creative expression of freewriting. As a serial journalist, I highly recommend it. Ideas conveniently pop up as I write my daily journal entries.

One idea always leads to the next.

According to one Huffington Post article, journaling increases memory and communication skills. If you have never journaled before, begin writing entries (no matter how small) at least three times a week.

Now, I see why my literature teachers in the past always started the class with journaling. It’s an excellent way to give your brain a good warm up before writing more serious assignments.

Pick up a journal (or buy one) today and start writing!

The Perfect Draft Doesn’t Exist

Striving for perfection in writing can stop you from any progress. Greatly written content is an event. To reach that goal, you must go through a series of rewrites.

Honestly, revisions are the best parts of writing. Through crappy writing, you’ll eventually reach the golden nugget.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” It’s best to go through the “shitty” phases and explore what’s right for your written piece.

The Page Conversation

Levy suggests writing like you’re talking to your best friend. You know you can talk to them for hours!

One moment you’re drinking wine with your pal in the living room at eight at night talking about what’s happening in your daily lives.  Next, you’re on the balcony with them at three in the morning talking about extraterrestrials and astral projection.

If that entire conversation was recorded on paper and formed into an interesting blog post, you would have content longer than a thousand words guaranteed!

For more professional writing, imagine you’re holding a conference meeting or having a one-on-one session with an influential figure.

Nothing will appear on paper until you start talking.

Write How You Talk

Write exactly how you normally talk. That may include slang terms and relevant anecdotes.

Write what truly interests you and what you can’t stand.

You’re not in college anymore. You don’t have to write like a prestigious student working on their PhD thesis (unless you’re writing for some scholarly sources).

Notice the writing styles between The Economic Journal and Vogue magazine? Completely different voices.

Just be you. Edit out the areas your readers may not understand later.

Stories Are Infinite

They are countless stories of all genres (mystery, fantasy, etc.) in the world. The best part: they never stop.

Think about all the prolific writers like Danielle Steel, James Patterson, and Anne Rice. I’ve been seeing their titles wherever books are purchased and loaned since…forever! These consistent writers don’t seem to be resting from their craft anytime soon.

Writing opportunities are infinite. When you think you’re out of ideas, you’re not. Take a deep breath, relax, and your idea will show up soon enough.

Better yet, it’ll show up when you’re busy writing.

Conclusion

I seriously consider writers and the curious to The Accidental Genius. This book shows readers how writing is truly accomplished in its rawest form before the editing process. It includes many helpful writing tips you can apply.

Plus, it’s a quick read: only 192 pages. This book can be done in two days.

Read this book now and you’ll never be left with writer’s block ever again!

Have you read this book? Comment below to share your story or any recommended books on writing.

 

 

 

 

Read Whatever You Want

“Girl, you’re so white!”

A young black girl told me this during middle school. I was minding my own business reading Stephen King’s It on the bus. I remember looking at this girl like she was out of her mind.

Clearly, she was. As far as I know, reading doesn’t magically change a reader’s skin color.

This may seem like trivial chatter but similar situations keep popping out throughout my life as an active reader. I’ve been ridiculed for various reasons for reading romance novels (aka “bodice rippers”), comic books, children’s books, and more. Sometimes, it’s just books in general. It doesn’t stop!

Good thing I don’t give a hoot. Reading’s fun! It’s one of life’s many treasures.

It’s Cool to Read

If you ever feel ashamed for reading books that bring you joy, don’t. Never let people take that kind of happiness away from you. You can read whatever you want!

Besides, there are many strong benefits to reading including increased creativity, memory, and empathy.

My mind’s eye receives new visions as soon as I read a new book’s first sentence. I love the euphoria surging through my entire being when I read.

You Read? LOL

What’s the deal with people poking fun at readers anyway? You express your passion for reading and you’re ridiculed as a “nerd”?

What? Why!?

Is staring at the sun better? Playing Russian Roulette? Who knows.

I’ve read an interesting article about reader’s shame between men and women. What I took from the post: Women face more reader’s shame than men. On the other hand, men only face reader’s shame when they’re caught reading an ultra-feminine book (whatever that may be).

I’m a completely chill woman with no problems telling folks what I’m currently reading or the fact I read for pleasure at all. I won’t lie about reading spicy erotica or mystical occult knowledge.

Just Read.

You do you. Your bibliophilic freedom is infinite.

Bump the haters and find your book tribe. There are always people in the world who share the same passion for books as you do.

I repeat: read whatever you want.

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(Pic Source:  Tumblr)

Have you unfairly faced reader’s shame? Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

Manga Update! *July 2017 Edition*

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I have a pretty short list this month due to the lack of new manga discoveries. However, I did create a list of interesting titles I found while I was hanging out at Barnes & Noble.

About 95% of them are not found in any libraries near me (boo). Looks like I’ll be ordering serious inter-library loans in a next couple of months!

Here’s the latest on the manga I’ve been reading so far:

Updated Manga

  1. Black Clover by Yuki Tabata
  2. Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima
  3. Haikyu!! By Haruichi Furudate
  4. Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka
  5. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun by Izumi Tsubaki
  6. One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

You’ll find the fully updated manga list here.

(Pic Source: MyAnimeList)

Got any recommendations for next month’s manga update? Feel free to comment below!

My June 2017 Book Haul

So psyched summer’s finally here! It’s one of my favorite seasons for reading. I feel like I get more reading done now than any other time of the year.

Here’s what I’ve read as part of my book haul for June 2017:

Comics/Graphic Novels

Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography by Sabrina Jones (4/5 stars)

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 I glanced at the book cover on display in the library’s graphic novel section and thought, “Who’s Isadora Duncan?”

Isadora was a dancer ahead of her time. She didn’t care if she caused a commotion dancing onstage barefoot wearing a sheer chemise. Eventually, people grew to love her for it.

Sabrina Jones captured Isadora as a vibrant, adventurous woman who shared her creative dance techniques with the rest of the world. She had dance schools in Berlin, Paris (closed during WWI), and Moscow.

Want more info about her? Check out the sites below:

  1. Isadora Duncan
  2. The Isadora Duncan Archive
  3. Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company

Recommended for readers into:

  •  Famous dancers
  • Graphic novel biographies
  • Isadora Duncan

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur v.2: Cosmic Cooties by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare (3/5 stars)

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I read the last volume of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur last year and was quite impressed.

For those who don’t know, Lunella Lafayette is a nine-year old super genius (still in elementary school for some reason) who fights crime with a ferocious red T-Rex from another dimension. The idea alone made me stick with this comic.

Lunella discovers she has Inhuman genes. The galactic Kree empire created the Inhumans to further expand their military and scientific agenda. However, the Inhumans had plans of their own and fought against their creators. Now, the Inhumans are enemies of the Kree.

In this volume, Lunella tries to get used to her strange Inhuman quirks while the Kree plans to capture her and send her back to their planet.

Recommended for readers into:

  • Leading female characters
  • Marvel
  • People of Color (POC) in comics
  • Sci-Fi comics

Adult Non-Ficton

Accidental Genius by Mark Levy (4/5 stars)

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This is one of those writing books you can refer to just in case you’re stuck with a hard case of writer’s block. Mark Levy’s greatest tip in this book: just write.

Seriously, write whatever the heck you want and worry about the editing process later. Don’t let perfectionism stop you.

Recommended for readers into:

  • Creative writing
  • Overcoming writer’s block
  • Writing

Blogging for Dummies (the 6th edition) by Amy Lupold Bair (3/5 stars)

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Thought about blogging for a while but afraid you might screw up in the process?

Blogging for Dummies is a great book for those who need a serious head start in the blogging world.

The author covers the basic” blogging 101” concepts:

  1. Blogging platforms: Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, etc.
  2. Creating blog posts
  3. Creating self-hosting blog sites
  4. Gaining traffic
  5. SEO

Recommended for readers into:

  • Blog site development
  • Blogging

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy (4/5 stars)

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If you want any valuable tips on being a successful person, take it from Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS magazine.

The Compound Effect is a master plan of smashing goals one step at a time. That may be writing every day, taking that five am jog three times a week, or reading a new book every week of the year.

The takeaway from this book: consistency and focus are the roots of success.

Recommended for readers into:

  • Productivity
  • Successful habits

How the Secret Changed My Life by Rhonda Byrne (4/5 stars)

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This book was a great reminder how the Law of Attraction (LOA) can truly work for people (for believers only). I’ve been reading The Secret series since the first book came out.

The Law of Attraction states whatever you focus on manifests into physical form. Good advice: think pleasant thoughts. If you want to have a million dollars, focus on that instead of your empty pockets.

However, you simply can’t sit in a room, think about money for ten seconds, and money instantly falls into your lap.

Action is a step in the Law of Attraction process. A few testimonies in How the Secret Changed My Life reveal how they’ve manifested their wishes through action. One guy pretended he was singing onstage with Stevie Wonder and he won a contest just to do that.

Take in mind how people used the Law of Attraction in this book.

The book’s worth reading, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth buying unless you absolutely must collect every book Rhonda Byrne has ever published!

How the Secret Changed My Life is recycled material from the The Secret with a dash of newly added material, and testimonies you probably can find from The Secret website.

If you’re curious where the LOA idea came from, check out The Kybalion. I’ve created a review about the book.

Recommended for readers into:

  • The Law of Attraction
  • Positive thinking
  • The Secret

How to Start a Home-Based Blogging Business by Brett Snyder (3/5 stars)

How to Start a Home-based Blogging Business

Brett Snyder provides decent tips on maintaining a blogging business including blogging routines, taxes, and setting up corporate structures for your blog (self-proprietorship, LLC, etc).

This book is a must read for those who want to move up from personal blogging to a major online blogging business. However, don’t let this book be your only book for setting up your blogging for e-commerce. This book did great, but I felt like it was only a tip of the iceberg.

There’s always more to learn.

Recommended for readers into:

  • Affiliate programs
  • Blogging
  • Blogging for monetary value
  • Online businesses

The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco (5/5 stars)

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!

I instantly purchased my own book after reading the library copy! I loved the Millionaire Fastlane that much! MJ DeMarco taught me what it takes if I want to earn millions while I’m still young and full of energy.

According to DeMarco, people are grouped into three categories: sidewalkers, slowlaners, and fastlaners.

  1. Sidewalkers: Always broke and solely dependent on people to give them money
  2. Slowlaners: Depends solely on a full-time job working for somebody else for money.
  3. Fastlaners: Build their own money systems through multiple active and passive streams of income.

Seriously, I felt like a multi-millionaire after gaining the knowledge from this book!

Click here for my review on this book.

Recommended for readers into:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial books
  • Having a millionaire mindset
  • “How to Be a Millionaire” books

And that’s a wrap for June 2017!

(Pic Sources: Amazon & Goodreads)

Have you read any books above? Any recommendations for July 2017?

Feel free to comment below.