Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Many of you already read his blog and his books, but for those of you who have never heard of Seth Godin here's my pitch:
Seth Godin has been leading the development of marketing on the internet for over 12 years. He has great businesses, like Squidoo, and writes entertaining and informative books. I read his blog almost every day... because he actually posts something new and interesting almost every day.
If you have a business, or work in a business, and you care... about anything really, you will benefit from reading Seth Godin. I sure have.
Posted by Michael Ashley at 2:52 PM
Friday, October 24, 2008
That's National Novel Writing Month for those of you who have never heard of it before. Basically, you start writing on November 1st and stop writing on November 30th. Your goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
I'm writing my 30-day novel in FastPencil of course. If you're a NANOWRIMO let me know and I can set you up with an account, too.
Good luck writers!
Posted by Michael Ashley at 10:12 AM
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
One of the most important freedoms we have in the United States is the right to free speech. But sometimes it feels like our little voice is barely a whisper, especially when we have to compete with mass media voices like Oprah Winfrey or Bill O'Reilly. Couple that with the traditional publishing industry and their built-in barriers to entry, and your whisper becomes less than a hush.
But things are changing. People are finding their voice. There is a revolution happening. Those voices are coming out of the shadows, out of the homes, out of the cubicles and competing with mass media. You can see it with the rise of Blogging, the fall of Newspapers and Magazines, and the emergence of self-publishing on a global scale.
The publishing industry is in chaos. The walls of elite authorship are coming down. The power of publishing, mass communication on an international level, is going back to the people. Today you can be heard across the globe with a click of a button. You can join the dialogue and have a voice that competes with Oprah.
Today you can put your message in a blog, on YouTube, and your own book. You can use free tools like FastPencil to organize and write your book, collaborate on your message, and distribute it across the globe. I'm biased because I created FastPencil and I believe it will be one of the most important tools of this century in the fight to free our individual voices. But choose your venue and join the dialogue to free this world from the bondage of de-facto censorship. Your voice is not too small to make a difference.
FastPencil isn't about writing, it's a revolution!
Posted by Michael Ashley at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Do you have a personal brand? What does it communicate about you?
Does your brand communicate integrity, honesty, service? Or does your brand communicate cheap, easy, unstable?
Just like a business, you should go through the process of identifying your core values, your vision and strategy on a personal level, and jot down a few key points for your brand. Then make an effort to align your brand with your core values.
Today your picture is going to show up on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, your blog, your web site... you may even be in some YouTube videos. When people see you and read your story, watch your video, read what's written on your wall—what are you telling them about your brand?
Posted by Michael Ashley at 8:54 AM
Friday, April 11, 2008
I estimate 9 out of 10 people I talk to want to write a book. Most have started one at least once. Many have started several times.
Even Barack Obama's mother started a book about her life story. After she died her daughter found the book, she had written only 3 pages. I believe she hit the same wall we all do when we start writing a book. And she did what most of us do when we hit that wall, she put the papers into a drawer and forgot about them.
But her son, Barack Obama, managed to become a best-selling author. Millions of people write books every year, so it's not impossible. But what does it take to pull it off? It's not as mysterious as you might think.
Writing a book takes four key ingredients:
Discipline is necessary because you will face times when you just don't want to write. You don't feel like writing, you don't have the energy, you don't know what to write. But discipline is the art of doing what you should to, when you should do it, even when you don't want to. If you want to write a book, you will need discipline.
Organization is important because you will have lots of ideas about your book and you don't want to get lost or overwhelmed. The easiest way to stay organized is to create an outline and write to your outline. Add sections to your outline as new information pops up, but always stick to your outline. The tool I use, FastPencil.com, was created so you could write directly to your outline and free yourself from linear writing. I call this WADD - Writing Attention Deficit Disorder. WADD is the process of writing different sections as you are inspired, rather than trying to write from start to finish.
Cause is what drives you to write. Some people are really passionate about a cause and it drives every decision they make in life. Do you have a cause? It doesn't have to be something that you are willing to die for. It does have to be something you care about deeply and are willing to write about, determined to write about. Why do you want to write this book? What is so important to you that it has to be published and shared with the world?
Finally, simplifying your workflow is essential to completing your book. The number one reason people don't finish the book they start is due to workflow. You can't write because your computer is broken. You forgot which folder you saved your recent version. You did some writing at work on a thumbdrive and can't find it... All of these problems are a break in your workflow. Create a system that takes away the barriers to writing and you will simplify your workflow. That's what Blogger did and now millions of people have blogs. That's what FastPencil is doing right now. FastPencil is simplifying your workflow so you can focus on writing.
Try to implement these four suggestions the next time you decide to write a book. One last suggestion I borrow from Winston Churchill: Never, never, never, never, never give up!
Posted by Michael Ashley at 9:27 AM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Who are you to believe you are too small to make a difference, too weak to fight for change, too battered to hope for a brighter future? Is there anyone out there who is ready to make a difference, ready to voice the truth, ready to take a stand? You are not too small, you are not too weak, you are not too defeated. There is only one way to make a difference. You cannot do it in your head, you cannot do it in your heart, you cannot make a change without leaving the safety of your own thoughts. The only way we can make a change is to voice it to the world, to bring it down to our own feet, to make ripples in our own life. Step outside and tell everyone, "We can... Yes, we can!"
Posted by Michael Ashley at 10:34 AM
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I'm looking for someone here in Santa Cruz to help out with a Ruby on Rails project. If anyone out there wants to help, or knows a Ruby coder, email me asap. The web site is FastPencil.com, check it out and let me know what you think.
Posted by Michael Ashley at 8:03 PM
Saturday, February 02, 2008
It seems like everyone I talk to wants to write a book. So I came up with a new business called FastPencil.com to help my family and friends write the books they always talk about. It's really a fast, easy, organized way to write. If you want to write a book, try it out: FastPencil.com.
Let me know what you think!
Posted by Michael Ashley at 8:43 PM