6 Ways to Defy the “Societal Norms” for Being A Writer

When it comes to being a writer (and a creative person in general), there are societal “rules” that will automatically be placed on you. Rules like, it has to be hard work, if you’re not working hard you’re not really earning it, you have to pay your dues and work your way up from the bottom and you can’t make a full-time living as a writer.

These rules are generally considered to be true by most of society, including a whole lot of writers. But that doesn’t mean you have to play by them.

You create your own reality and you do it with your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions. So that means you can create whatever reality you want to live in, including one where all of these bullshit societal norms do not apply.

You can choose to create a reality where you get to make up the rules and you get to decide what it’s like for you as a writer.

Here are 6 ways to do that:

1. Decide What You Want Your Reality to Look Like

This is the super-fun part. You get to make up what you want your reality to be like, look like and feel like. Because you create your own reality with your thoughts.

But before you can create what you want, you have to first get really clear on what that is (otherwise you might doom yourself to having default success). The clearer you are, the better.

The easiest way to get clear is to grab your journal and write down what you want your life to look like in every area: your writing life, money, relationships, possessions, your body, your health, your hobbies, whatever areas are important to you. Write about your dream life as if it’s already happening right now.

(Here’s a video that talks more about how to do this.)

2. Choose the “New Normal” You Will Live By

Now that you’re clear on what you want your life to be like, it’s time to set the rules for your new normal. Right now you’re living life based on societal norms, telling you things that are unsupportive of the dreams and goals you have for your writing life.

It’s time to buck that by instead creating the rules that you will live by, regardless of what everyone around you is doing (and I’m not talking about breaking actual real laws, like the kind that will put you in jail).

Here’s what I mean by creating new rules: if everyone in the writing world beliefs that “it takes years of hard work to write a good book,” you can decide not to live by that “rule.” You can decide that you can write a good book in one year, with ease.

Crazy? Maybe. But doesn’t it feel so much more inspiring and motivating to live by that rule? Doesn’t that rule open up so much more possibility?

Now, of course, there are specific actions you’d need to take to make that rule actually work (like mastering craft, hiring a story development coach, writing the book, hiring an editor, finding some Beta Readers, doing the revision work, etc). But it’s absolutely possible for you to write a good book in a year.

And it doesn’t have to be hard, either. You can decide that it will be easy (that, again, comes with specific actions, like hiring help to make it easier for you).

The point being, whatever you want your new normal to be, it can be. But you have to choose it and then step into it. You can’t just choose it and then keep doing the stuff you were doing before, hoping it will work.

You have to choose it and step into it.

3. Commit to It and Be Consistent

The next thing you have to do after you step into it is commit to it. You must commit to having it exactly as you want it, no matter what it takes.

And committing also means being consistent with it. Because it’s not gonna happen overnight. It will take time for it to manifest in your physical world.

The commitment and the consistency are what help it show up faster.

4. Don’t Stop, Ever

This goes hand-in-hand with number three, because at first your new normal will only be in your mind and on paper, but it won’t have fully shown up in your physical world. For this reason, most people who start to defy societal norms and ways of thinking will turn back soon after they’ve left the shore.

Because “nothing is happening.”

The funny thing is, there is more happening in the “unseen” that you can ever even begin to imagine. But to bring it forward to your physical reality, you have to show up, do the work, be consistent and keep going until what you want to see actually manifests, physically.

Think of it like a seed. When you plant a seed it takes weeks, sometimes months, before you see signs of life. Every day you look at your little cup of dirt and see nothing. Nothing is sprouting. All the watering and sunlight is for nothing.

But what you don’t see are all the roots growing under the soil, grabbing on and taking hold so that when the plant does finally pop through, it will have a foundation in place to actually stick around.

Same with creating your new normal. It takes time. When you start doing the “write your reality” exercise, you’ll feel things starting to shift internally before you’ll see the results in your physical world.

Let the internal feelings and shifts be enough for right now. If you keep it up, the rest will follow. I promise you.

5. Ignore Everything Around You That Doesn’t Match This

Another tough one. Because when you’re not seeing stuff happening in your real life, you may start to worry that it’s “not working.” Or, some things you’d generally consider to be negative might start showing up, and then you’ll freak out and really think it’s not working.

Just know there is a “clearing out” period that comes with any big transition. Right now you’re up-leveling your new normal, and that will come with growing pains.

You have to stay focused on the big vision and know that it will show up, and right now everything in your life is just realigning itself with the new normal you’re asking for.

Back at the end of 2014, I made the decision to give up freelance writing in order to focus 100 percent on story development coaching. It was a very scary choice for me, because at the time freelance money made up the biggest percentage of my income.

But I hated freelance writing. I hated being told what to write about. I wanted to have full control of my time and my writing.

So I made the decision to let it go and to focus on story coaching. And not only did I make the decision, but then I declared it to the Universe (out loud, to my coach, and on paper).

Before I could even start taking action on it, something crazy happened.

I lost my high-paying freelance gig. The company decided they wanted to save money by bringing the position in-house and so they ended my contract. I had one payment left from them and then I was on my own (although I’ll add we’re never really “on our own”).

Fucking scary. Especially because that project was bringing in the money I needed to pay for my bills and living expenses for the month.

And then even scarier, a long-time client I’d be working on a nonfiction book project with decided he wanted to take his business in a new direction and he was going to shelve working on his book for a while.

It was like the rug got pulled out from under me, twice. All the consistent work I had was falling apart. I wanted to cry.

But I held tight. I reached out to my support system (my coach, my accountability partner) and they talked me off the ledge of panic.

I stuck with it. And literally the same night my client and I parted ways, I received an email from someone who wanted to sign up for my 90-day program and get help writing his first novel. This told me that my new normal was already in play, and all I had to do was keep going.

Without even taking much action apart from making the decision to give up freelance and focus on fiction coaching, and then declaring it to the Universe, my life started rearranging itself to match what I was asking for.

Growing pains. Time-gaps. It’s gonna happen. Hold tight to the big vision and trust that when you show up and do your part, the Universe will show up to support you in making it happen.

6. Expect It to Show Up

This might be the hardest one, especially for writers who a lot of times tend to be very skeptical and overanalyze everything. This step is really about having faith. Not religious faith (unless that appeals to you), but faith in the Universal law of “like attracts like.”

If you’re putting something positive out there, you will get something positive back. That’s what like attracts like means.

That’s why writers who bitch and complain about how hard it is and how many hours they’re putting in and seeing very little result from or whatever they’re bitching about, you can see what shows up for them. Writer’s Block. Excuses. Life-chaos that distracts them from doing the writing. Procrastination.

And with an attitude like that, it doesn’t matter if they put in 10 hours of work a day, it still won’t make a difference.

Because they’re not aligned with the success they want to have. They’re playing by societal norms and having those same results show up for them.

It doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to give up your whole life and just write. You don’t have to spend 5 hours a day writing.

I wrote my #1 bestselling Amazon book in 15-30 minute blocks of time over a 30-day period. I no longer buy into the belief that it has to be hard or take a ton of time. I live by a new normal and I’m flourishing.

You get to choose. You get to decide which societal norms you apply and which you defy. And it’s OK if the writers around you follow different “rules.”

You don’t have to live in their realities.

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Which of these steps are you going to act on right now?

Are you ready to defy societal norms and create the writing life you dream of having? Then be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, the high-level, kick-ass accountability and success mindset group for emerging authors who won’t settle for anything less than their dream writing lives. 

2 replies
  1. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    I believe you are on to something when you teach conformity is all in the past. However, you must truly believe in your heart that you’ve changed before you perform the actual the transformation. I believe that it is the hardest part of all. Thanks for the great advice as always. I shall store this email for times when I falter, and need a boost.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Blanchard
      Jennifer Blanchard says:

      @Dennis You’re welcome. It’s true the transformation comes with belief, but you can make it happen a lot faster when you act in ways that show you believe it’s already a done deal.

      Reply

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