Johannes Koch is the talented author of Break Into Journalism. Today I share my exclusive author interview with Johannes. Koch shares how he began his writing journey and his goals for the future- enjoy!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never considered myself a writer and still don’t. I like the process of putting together written work and seeing the finished product. It’s a bit like Lego, my favorite toy. You get a basic plan to construct the toy and you can use that plan or build your own. I enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I struggle with writing in many ways, but I love the challenge of it.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
After quitting full-time employment as a journalist and going freelance, I wanted to challenge myself. I looked at my strengths and weaknesses and found that writing a book would play to both. I found Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School and signed up, made a commitment and just made it happen. It forced me to project manage (which I'm horrible at), write something longer than the 400-600 word financial/business news articles and played to my strength of self-discipline. I spent about a month hammering out the first draft every evening between 930 and 11pm. I wrote every day, whether it was one paragraph or 1,000 words. The most important thing was putting in the time every day, no exceptions.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
I didn’t realize how much I would learn by writing a book. The biggest challenge has been marketing. I had the semblance of a plan but was unsure about how to execute. So I’m sort of reverse engineering that now to get a bit more traction and exposure for the book.
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
The freedom to explore the topics that most interest me. Especially as a self-published author, it’s great to know that I can develop a variety of ideas if I so choose to. I love the freedom that brings. I’m also becoming more resilient to the little failures that help me understand and grow as an author. Now that I've jumped through the hoops once, I can't wait to do it again.
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
I started using a productivity planner last month. It’s not a to-do list. They don’t work. It’s a book that forces me to write out my daily, weekly, monthly and long-term goals & plans. I’m still getting used to it but it has helped me prioritize the time I actually spend on specific things and when I’m wasting time. That’s huge, and it’s really starting to work. In November I smashed my monthly earnings target for the first time and got a ton of other book-related work done. I’d advise anyone who struggles with staying on task to try one of these planners.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
Don’t delay and start putting your ideas down on paper. If you haven’t mind-mapped, try that right away as it will put order into the chaos in your head, and your ideas will start to spill onto the page. My desk is covered in mind-maps.
Finish these sentences:
I am most grateful for… my family, the time I get to spend with them and the love that surrounds me.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be… don’t worry about the future, continue to explore what you are passionate about and if you know what you are good at already, keep doing that.
My favorite thing about being a writer is… the freedom to express myself, explore the world and to capture a little slice of what it is like to be human.
My least favorite thing about being a writer is… spending a ton of time getting stuff done that is not writing but it’s all good because it means that eventually I can get back to writing.
My goals for the future are… to help aspiring journalists succeed in their careers and build a networking platform with content that can help them excel. My goal is to write a least two more books for this audience to help them grow & learn.
I love living a creative life because… Not sure I’m a creative but what I can say is: it gives me a license to be a bit weird, eccentric and moody. I’ll take that.
The last book I read was… Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. I’ve quoted him in my book. It’s a short read but refreshing because it reminds us that we must all struggle. He endured a Nazi concentration camp so how bad can things be for us? If anything it provides perspective and if I’m ever down, groveling about something or need an attitude adjustment, this is a great book to turn to.
My favorite book, ever, is… Wow, that’s a loaded question. I don’t think there is one specific one but Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind blew mind recently.
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is… Drinking tea or coffee with my wife and talking about our life together, hanging out with my kids, playing tennis & going to CrossFit at 6 am in the morning.
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is… execution. If you have a dream, hold on to that vision and then reverse engineer the entire process until you it boiled down to the one thing you can do today to make that dream become a reality.
Readers can find BREAK INTO JOURNALISM at the following book retailers:
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