“Hey, Ollin. What’s the story behind your pen name?”

Ollin is an Aztec symbol that means “movement” and “change.” Ollin is written with two “l” ‘s, not one, and it’s pronounced “O-leen.” Please don’t call me Ollie, Oly, Olly, or Olé. Not a fan of those nicknames. Sorry. Thanks!

“Why do you use a pen name?”

I went with a pen name because I felt that my real name was way too common.

“Where do you live?”

Southern California.

“What do you do?” 

You mean my “day job”? I’m a talent recruiter for the MiTu Network, a Latino lifestyle network on YouTube.

“What is your fiction novel about?”

It’s a children’s fantasy story inspired by Mexican-American mythology, history and culture. (See also: What Are You Writing About?)

“When are you planning on finishing it?”

The first step was to get a 1st Draft done by 2010, the second step was to get a 2nd Draft done by the end of 2012. The 3rd step will be finishing a 3rd draft by 2014. And after that, it’s off to start the querying process!

“Is it just one book, or is it a series?”

I’m not telling.

“How do you come up with your ideas?”

The process of picking the idea for the novel I am currently working on was detailed in this post: Hooked On The Right Idea. For more on how to find really great ideas read: The Frustrated Writer’s Guide To Generating New and Amazing Ideas–All The Time.

“Where do you get your inspiration from?”

The true, although unclear, answer is: everywhere.

“What’s your writing schedule like?”

Right now with a full-time job I’m lucky to get about 4 hours of writing in per week. For more on how to fit writing into your busy schedule please read: The 4 Essential Elements of A Writing Schedule That Works For You. For more information about my 4-hour a week novel writing schedule please read: The 4-Hour Novel: How to Balance Work, Life, Blogging, And Your Passion.

“I always wanted to write something, but I never had the patience or discipline.  How do you do it?”

It’s not really about discipline. It’s about having the right tools at your disposal and a lot of support from family and friends. I recommend that you read How to Get Off Your Lazy Butt and Start Writing Already for some great starting tips.

“Can you please promote my blog, my product, my organization, my website, and/or my book?”


It’s not that I’m against people promoting themselves, I just know that just asking a blogger to promote your work doesn’t work–or at least isn’t as effective as getting to know the blogger first.

If you really want to get more readers and eyeballs on your blog, product, organization, or book, I recommend you read my interview with Michael Stelzner: How To Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. I agree with Michael’s new, more subtle approach to marketing. The success of my blog is an example of how Michael’s strategy works wonders. 

What blogging advice would you give to beginning bloggers?

My best advice is to write about what moves you the most. Blogging is one of the most challenging forms of writing out there, and you have to be absolutely in love with the content you are writing–and the form you are writing it in–for your blog to be successful. For links to posts that give my best advice on blogging, check out the bottom of my “Start Here” page.

What happened to all the your blog post pictures?

I’m trying to simplify the blog and also reduce my workload. Instead of spending time finding new pictures for blog posts, for instance, I would rather spend that time interacting with my readers in the comments and through e-mail. It’s all about priorities, and blog post pictures are just not a top priority for me right now. Plus, I agree with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits that, often times, blog pictures can be a distraction from the content of the post.

“I left a comment on a post, but I don’t see it anywhere. Why wasn’t my comment approved?”

Whenever you leave a comment on the C2C you are agreeing to the following comments policy:

Courage 2 Create is a welcoming and supportive environment for writers and non-writers to share ideas and debate opposing viewpoints. For that reason comments are carefully moderated. Please be patient as it may take up to 24 hours to approve your comment. Also, please note that comments on each new post close after TWO weeks. 

Personal attacks and negativity are not welcome in the comments section of the C2C. If you launch a personal attack on the author of the blog post or a fellow commenter, your comment will not be approved. If your purpose is simply to promote your product, service, book, or blog, your comment may also be marked as spam and will not be approved. However, constructive comments or points of respectful disagreement are always welcome. (If you’re not sure whether your comment is negative or constructive I recommend you read this post.)

If you believe your comment should not have been deleted (or marked as spam) please contact me at courage2create@gmail.com.

“I want to leave a comment on an older post you wrote, but the comments on that post are closed. Why is that?”

C2C comments close after two weeks.

Why? I used to keep the comments open indefinitely, but the problem was that this caused more work for me.

I don’t have as much help as I need at the moment when it comes to looking after the blog, so losing comments after two weeks gives me some extra time to have a life.

“Can I be a guest blogger on your blog?”

Unfortunately, I am no longer featuring guest bloggers on the C2C. Sorry. (Read this post to find out why I made that decision.)

“I would like to read one of your short stories but can’t seem to find them anywhere on the blog. Where are they?”

Ahhh…. You caught on that the three short stories I previously shared on my blog have mysteriously gone missing, eh? You’re a clever one. Don’t worry, I plan on featuring all my short stories together in one place, in an eBook, and I hope to launch it sometime in the future.

“How can I get an answer to a question that isn’t addressed here?”

You can send me any of your unanswered questions to courage2create@gmail.com. This is also the best way to reach me because I give this e-mail top priority in terms of correspondence with my readers. So, I’ll send you a response as soon as I can.

much love,


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