Day: December 6, 2013

Review of ‘The Millionaire Map’

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“Who wants to be a millionaire?” The answer to that question could well be another question, “who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?” This has been the case since the adoption of currency, but in today’s age of declining economies, escalating personal debt, and looming financial insecurity, it is a more compelling desire than ever. There is no shortage of books on the market that purport to tell you ‘how to become a millionaire,’ but upon reading them, most of us are left as clueless as we started.

Not so with The Millionaire Map by best-selling author Jim Stovall. A blind ex-athlete who had to have a reader to help him get through college (a reader, by the way, whom he later married), Stovall went from the depths of poverty to multi-millionaire status, and he shares that journey with the reader in a practical, no tricks style that is all that a map should be – easy to understand, and, with the right measure of desire, dedication, and determination, not all that difficult to follow. Not too difficult, that is, if you know a few basic things: where you’re starting from, where you’re going, and why you want to go there.

A truly self-made multimillionaire, Stovall share his wisdom and experience as he went from the bottom to very near the top of the financial ladder. One of the most important things he imparts in this exemplary book is the definition of wealth – it’s not about the total amount of money you have, or even your appearance of wealth – it’s all about being financially able to live your life on your own terms. Stovall warns against being ‘all hat, and no cows,’ like the many people who through the use of easily available credit spend more than they make to create the appearance of wealth, but who are, in fact, spending more than they make. And, that is one of the best sign posts on his ‘millionaire map,’ – wealth is accumulated through spending less than you earn.

It’s simple, as Stovall writes, but not easy, because it takes being honest with yourself. I can honestly say that this book, which I received free as a review copy, is not just one of the best books on gaining financial independence I’ve read, but the best – bar none.


By the Numbers: You Can Write a Novel in a Month

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During the month just past, while many of us who are gluttons for punishment struggled to get 50,000 words written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), there was a ton of comments on just how difficult this is. I managed to do it for the second year in a row, and quite frankly, I found it easier the second time around.

One of the comments that commonly comes up is that novels are so long (45,000 words and up except for the November exercise) that it just seems daunting. Actually, it shouldn’t be. If you stop and think about it, writing a novel, if you are really driven to write, shouldn’t be any more difficult than completing your income tax return – I find it, in fact, a whole lot easier.

If you’re still tentative, let’s look at the math of writing a full length work and see if it can change your mind.

We should start with the basic assumption that almost everyone can type at least 25 words per minute. I know two-finger, hunt-and-peck typists who can do 50 wpm or more, and thanks to a typing class in high school many decades ago, I can still manage 60, but for convenience, let’s use 25 wpm as the starting point.

If, like me,  you no longer have a full-time day job to interfere with your creative efforts, that gives you from four to eight  hours per day to devote to writing. Let’s use four under the assumption that you haven’t gone completely around the bend. Here then is how the numbers crunch:

–   25 words per minute = 1,500 words per hour. If you write for only four hours per day, you’ll end the day with 6,000 words.

–   Assuming you write every day, that gives you 60,000 words in 10 days. If you’ve gone around the bend, and glue yourself to your keyboard for a full eight hours, you get 60,000 words in five days.

That, my friends is the equivalent of a full-length novel in five to ten days.

I know, you’re saying: it doesn’t work that way. Keeping plot threads and characters straight takes time. I have that covered as well. Before you start actually writing the darn thing, I recommend a week to ten days of preparation. Outlining if you swing that way, develop character biographies, plot twists, timelines, etc. Now, you’re ready to write. So, that makes 15 to 25 days to completion. Let it cool off for two days, and then spend another 10 days rewriting and polishing your prose.

In the end, you have your novel in 27 to 37 days from start to finish. I kid you not – the numbers don’t lie.