Welcome to STYLE Canada‘s Boreal Book Club: a monthly meeting narrated by Erin Catto, (reviewer at Girl Well Read), for bookworms who are looking to scour new pages. Since we aim to shine a spotlight on all things Canadian in life and style, beauty, and health and wellness, it goes without saying that every instalment of the Boreal Book Club will feature a Canadian author and their latest title. Be sure to use the hashtag #borealbookclub to share with us on social!

If you think there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to be creative, or to dedicate yourself to something you are passionate about, let Karma Brown’s The 4% Fix show you how to find the time without sacrificing other commitments.

This is not a book filled with jargon and spreadsheets—Brown provides her readers with a solid, practical approach that’s infused with humour and personal experience.

How will you use this one hour—only 4% of your day—to change your life?

Photo: Karma Brown (Jenna Davis)

In the time of COVID, we are all busy and overwhelmed with responsibilities and daily tasks, and feel like we have no time or motivation. The 4% Fix is about finding an hour that is yours to harness, to exploit, or to take on a project that you want to do.

You may be wondering where you’re supposed to come up with an extra hour when you’re already feeling like you don’t have enough time to accomplish what is on your plate. Brown’s solution is to wake up an hour earlier each day. She gets up at 5 a.m. to write all of her books and has been doing so for years.

For Karma, it is the right time to carve out that hour that is just for her—it’s pretty quiet at 5 a.m. Yet for the sleep deprived, this sounds impossible and quite frankly, unappealing. But the idea is to find that hour to dedicate to yourself and make it a habit.

Brown’s cake analogy is that there are 24 pieces of cake—one for every hour of the day—and life is made up of cake-loving people. Everyone wants some. There are other things like work, running errands, appointments, etc., that take their slices too. So, if you don’t serve yourself first, you will be left with just crumbs.
The 4% Fix is a book that’s part how-to and part motivation. In a refreshing and gentle way, Karma shares the latest research about time management and goal setting, as well as what strategies have worked for her.
Brown’s first non-fiction project is enjoyable, helpful, and practical. It’s also the perfect book to kick off your year with. After reading The 4% Fix, you’ll be more productive, purposeful, and focused. One hour can change your life!

Pick up your own copy of The 4% Fix or keep reading to learn more about Brown in an inclusive interview with STYLE Canada.

GWR: The structure of The 4% Fix is very digestible. Did you always have it planned out this way or was it something that came about as you started writing? 

KB: Thank you! As I was writing, I had one goal: for it to be easy to read and easy to follow. I also wanted the book to be equal parts entertaining and inspiring, but without complicated time management strategies or too heavily burdened by research. The book evolved as I went, as books do, but that original goal stayed top of mind.

GWR: I love the quotes you included. Do you have a favourite?

KB: It’s always hard to choose a favourite, but the one that still resonates most strongly is the meditation from Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese’s EMBERS: Nothing in the universe ever grew from the outside in.

GWR: Did your writing process differ because this was a non-fiction book? 

KB: Yes, and that was a surprise. After writing five novels (well, seven if you count my first two that will remain work-in-progress books in a dark drawer) I thought I had a solid handle on my ‘process’. Turns out this book about getting up early to harness the power of an untapped hour refused to be written in the pre-dawn morning! So my book about rising for the #5amwritersclub would not be written at 5 a.m. It was a revelation when I finally realized the issue, and then I simply shifted my writing time a touch later, which worked much better.

Photo: @karmakbrown on Instagram

GWR: Tell me about the research you did for The 4% Fix since your journalism background played a part.  

KB: As a freelance journalist I’ve done a lot of interviews, and that muscle memory remained even though these days I’m mostly writing fiction. Having said that, I do lot of research for my novels, particularly Recipe for a Perfect Wife and my current one, as they both have significant historical elements. I also love the research element of writing, so it was fun to dive back into that in a non-fiction environment for The 4% Fix. It’s always a good writing day when you get to connect with interesting people and their stories.

GRW: Which subjects do you wish more authors would write about?

KB: I am endlessly fascinated with stories of motherhood, both in fiction and non-fiction, and the messier side of what it means to be an ambitious woman while simultaneously raising children. While I am interested in so many topics (the list is truly endless), I am drawn to women’s stories in all the different shapes those take.

GRW: What made you decide to write this book?

KB: I was approached by HarperCollins Canada to write a book about my 5 a.m. writing habit, and the many benefits I’ve found from sticking with it over the years. I had never planned to write a non-fiction book, but I’ve also learned to never say never, because you have no idea what opportunities might come your way.

“Learn how just one hour can change your life in the newest @indigo Staff Pick of the Month—The 4% Fix by bestselling author @karmakbrown!” – @harpercollinsca via Instagram

GRW: Would you ever write another non-fiction book? 

KB: Never say never!

GWR: Can you share what you’re working on now? 

KB: I’m currently working on my next fiction project, which is a dual timeline novel set in 1975 and 2019. The story follows an aspiring screenwriter and her fiancé who make a gruesome discovery while in the Adirondacks — solving a decades-long mystery connected to a local feminist in 1975, whose own story plays out through the pages. It’s about the cost of ambition, the pull of agency, and how the truth won’t stay buried forever.

Have you read The 4% Fix? Let us know how one hour has changed your life in the comments below. 

Girl Well Read

Girl Well Read

Published book reviewer, blogger of books & book lifestyle products, wine drinker and polka dot wearer. I’d love to review your book next! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@girlwellread), Pintrest, Litsy, Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, and ReadFeed (GirlWellRead).