Your mind is a vat of viscous fluid

It has all kinds of stuff floating in it, at different depths. The stuff that is near or on the surface is consciously accessible to you; stuff that is a little deeper show up after a second or two of reflection.

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Image by MHBaker via Flickr

Deeper things–memories, knowledge–are associatively linked. They only show up when triggered by associations, experiences, feelings. It’s all the stuff you know, but you don’t know that you know. You can’t list it.

The process of clustering that I teach as part of my approach to writing books lets you get at this stuff. It empowers you to list what you know, but didn’t know that you know. It thus makes it possible to quickly identify the things you’re going to have to research, so that you don’t waste a lot of time wandering around Wikipedia or libraries.

Of course, the lists you can then make are useful for lots more than just writing your book. You can create other products: Courses; articles; ebooks; presentations; and more. There are limitless ways in which you can package your knowledge for presentation and sale, and my process lets you get at them with little effort.

To find out more about it, click here.

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Use my approach to book-writing to create a course

I have been teaching that if you write a book following my method, (a) you’ll have a good book, quickly; and (b), you’ll be very well-positioned to start creating additional information products based on the stuff you’ve generated to write the book.

It’s time to be a bit more explicit.

First of all, if you haven’t done so, head to the link at the top of the front page of this blog and get my free book. Read it.

Done? OK, at least you scanned it. I hope it intrigued you enough to actually start doing what it says.

If you do, you’ll create what I call a BookProgram–a simple outline that is your book, in essence. The writing part is just a matter of filling in the blanks, once the BookProgram is done.

Now, whether or not you’ve written your book yet, you can use this outline to create a course. Your course can be based on the entire outline, or just a portion of it. The important step that the creation of your outline has taken you through is the one I call, “the diamond is your friend.” That’s the part that helps you think about, “What questions am I answering? And what must I explain to help my reader get from the question to the answer?”

When you’ve already done this for your book, it’s now easy to focus on, “What are the desired outcomes of this course for anyone who takes it? What will they know, what will they be able to do after taking it?” By answering these questions, you’ll be able to enunciate the benefits of the course to your prospects. You’ll be able to state clearly to them what they will gain by taking your course.

Mind you, I am not minimizing the craft of course creation. I don’t mean to imply that if you follow some general rules, you’ll be as good as any course creator out there. But just as I believe you can create a “good” book–one that keeps its promise–by following my method, I also believe you can create a “good” course by following these guidelines. A good course, by my definition, like a good book, keeps its promise.

A great free tool for information gathering and tracking

Evernote is a note-taking program that can run on your PC, your Mac, the Web, and your iPhone/iPad. You can create notes in various ways:

  • Click on “new note”; type into the note
  • Go to a Web page in your browser; click on the Evernote elephant icon, and the url and/or the page are stored in an Evernote note
  • Select something on your screen, and click on the elephant in your menu bar or system tray
  • other ways, depending on platform

What’s the big deal about Evernote? What makes it so useful to a book-writer?

  • You can create or access your notes on any of the supported platforms. Capture a note on your PC, and moments later it’s available on your smart phone. Or on a public-access computer.
  • You can capture Web pages with their urls, or just their urls.
  • You can tag your notes and group them in different notebooks.
  • You can email a note as a pdf or export it as an html page.
  • Evernote will look for text within any pictures you save as notes, and let you search the text.
  • You can capture a picture from your smart phone’s camera directly into Evernote.
  • You can capture an audio note on your smart phone by speaking into your smart phone.
  • You can scan text and images directly into Evernote.
  • You can send material to on-line scanning services and have the scans delivered directly to your Evernote account.

And did I mention that it is free? Check it out.

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