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How the Coronavirus Made Me Into a Teenage Author



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I am grateful for quarantine. It forced me to sit my butt down on a chair and think about what I wanted to do with the next two months of my seemingly empty existence. It forced me to list a number of things that I was good at — one of which included writing. It forced me to hatch out a 31,000 word 124 page book in less than three weeks. It made me into a published author… at the age of 15.

STEP ONE: The First Wave

So, a bit of background story to begin with. Since I lived in China, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit my high school at the end of February. At that time, I was still on a Chinese New Year trip back to my hometown in Taichung, Taiwan. I was safe for the time being… and I was bored out of my mind.

Online classes began almost immediately when the school’s return date was postponed. I can tell you that I slept till noon, spent approximately three hours per day on Instagram, and binge watched every Netflix show available. After a whole month of endless procrastination and moping around the house, I felt incredibly sick with myself. It was then that I changed my entire routine, and set ONE GOAL for myself. I was going to write a book.

STEP TWO: The Ultimate Plan

When I first decided to sit down and write a book, I was determined to actually FINISH the book. I knew myself a little too well. In the past, I have always tried to write a novel, but I could never FINISH writing it. I would write ten pages for the first chapter, read it over, and not be satisfied with it to continue.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things about all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

To solve this problem, I set up a strict schedule for myself. Here is how I organized this schedule:

What’s Your Daily Word Count?

I forced myself to write 1,000 words per day, AND it didn’t matter if I was uninspired or unmotivated on a particular day — I made myself sit in front of my computer for 1–6 hours per day to write 1,000 words for my book.

I know that everyone writes at their own pace. Some people can only do 200 words per day and others can go up to 3,000. My advice is to be consistent with your daily word count, and don’t stress yourself out by setting an extremely high daily word count.

Eventually, I doubled my word count because I had the time to write more. During my last week of writing my book, I pushed myself to complete 2,000 words per day.

You Cannot Decide The Length of Your Book

I didn’t know how long my book was going to be — a conventional e-book length of 12,000 words, a standard business book length of 80,000 words, or a young adult targeted book of 50,000 words? My book is an e-book targeted at teenagers about business.

Later on, I predicted that my book would be around 35,000 words. After my editor returned my rough draft back to me, it was cut down to 31,000 (she deleted an entire chapter). For a book’s word count, it’s always going to be different. The most important part is not your word count, but YOUR CONTENT.

How To Plan Your Book’s Content

In a OneNote page, I jotted down the main contents of my book TO GUIDE MY WRITING. This included the chapters, subsections, and core ideas, important points and messages.

Why do I say guide my writing? Well, there are a lot of writers that love to be “spontaneous” and they only write when they feel “inspired.” The truth is, this isn’t the most productive way to go about writing a book, especially if your career path is to be a bestselling novelist. Guided writing (or a pre-planning process) can definitely help you write faster and with higher efficiency.

For the writing process, I can only think of one word: consistency. I knew that if I slacked off today, I would lose the motivation to continue writing the next day and the next day. It was like keeping a Snapchat streak — but only having to write 1,000 words a day.

How Are You Going To Publish Your Book?

You’ve probably heard of self-publishing, but you’ve probably never heard about how terribly tiring and frustrating it can be. To begin with, I self-published my book, Business Insider with a Teenager, on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). A little definition time: KDP is a self-publishing service created by Amazon that publishes your book to Amazon and Kindle stores.

First of all, it’s free. Second of all, it was not easy to do. From creating your own cover to formatting your book on Kindle Create, the whole publishing process was not fun to deal with. 

Although KDP provides a lot of helpful tools and tutorial videos, there are still a lot of things that you have to learn along the way. There are so many self publishing services out there (Kobo Books, Apple Books, Google Play Books, Ingram Spark), but the top recommended one is KDP.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

Last Word

Bestselling author or not, I WROTE A BOOK. I can slap the title of “author of Business Insider with a Teenager” on my bio, talk about it in my job interviews, and write it into my college applications.

The coronavirus is one of the most traumatic and rare experiences that the world has ever encountered. Industries have changed — some individuals have started their own business, others have gone bankrupt.

Me? I became an author, got a huge opportunity to become a social media marketing manager at a local company, started writing for a local magazine, took on local professional photography and videography gigs, and still manage to get decent grades in my sophomore year at high school.

Quarantine gave me the opportunity to slack off or to do better. In the end, the decision was simple. I chose to get to work.

Shirley Martin Wang is the 15-year-old author of Business Insider with a Teenager, a writer at HERE! Dongguan Magazine, and a student at the American International School of Guangzhou. Follow her journey on Instagram. To order a copy of her book, Business Insider with a Teenager, go to Amazon.

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Success Advice

How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success (1)
Image Credit: Midjourney

Pause for a moment and ponder two pandemic-era beliefs: First, closing schools will control the spread of a serious virus. Second, the consequences of such school closures—particularly social interruption and the prevention of immunity—are worse than becoming sick with the virus. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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Success Advice

Here’s a Young Man’s Antidote for the Uncertainty of the Modern World

Why do a lot of young guys lack confidence in today’s world? 



How to boost your confidence
Image Credit: Midjourney

We all have been told that confidence is a key factor in achieving success and happiness in life. But what is it exactly? (more…)

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Success Advice

Toxic Leadership: 5 Ways to Identify a Bad Leader

if you have a leader who displays any of the toxic traits, it’s time to move on to greener pastures.



Toxic leadership
Image Credit: Midjourney

Let’s be honest, we’ve all crossed paths with a toxic leader in our careers at some point. Unfortunately, while some toxic leaders don’t even bother to hide their behaviour, some know very well how to conceal their true selves behind a strong-built facade. The latter is the most dangerous of the two. (more…)

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