Watch Me As I Write and Publish 9 Books in 2016

I recently declared that I’m starting a motherfucking writing revolution. And what I mean by that, is I’m starting a revolution of writers who proclaim what they really want, unapologetically step up to the plate and take the actions to make it happen.

Because there are just too many writers out there playing small, not doing the work and not stepping up to claim the dreams they have locked inside them. 

Yes, especially as writers, we’ve been programmed from a young age to believe a whole lot of nonsense about what being a writer is really all about. One of the biggest pieces of nonsense are the leaders–the teachers, the coaches, the author-mentors– who teach writers that it’s all about the writing.

I mean, duh–of course it’s about the writing. Otherwise you wouldn’t be a writer, you’d be something else.

But the problem comes in when they act like it’s ONLY about the writing.

Because it’s not.

It’s about SO much more than that.

It’s about craft. It’s about storytelling. It’s about connecting with a reader, pulling out the truths of life that lay buried in your soul and spilling them onto a page with clarity and resonance. It’s about learning what it takes to spread the word about your book and get it into the hands of the people who most need to read it.

And, most importantly, it’s about doing the work and, even more importantly, FINISHING.

There are way too many writers out there who never finish anything. They start a draft and drop it 20,000 words in or they have an idea for a story and make a whole bunch of notes, but then never actually write it.

Or, even worse, they write a draft and spend time revising it for the next decade, never finding an end point or being able to call it done.

And then it happens… they die. They die with their stories still buried inside them, still dancing around. Unwritten and unread.

Graveyards

As writers, we’re born to write. But you’re throwing away your gift to the world if you never step up to that next level and actually finish and publish your writing. Whether that’s a book, a blog post, an article in a magazine, a guest post or something else completely, your writing is meant to be out there.

That’s why you were born with this gift, with this desire to tell stories and put words on the page.

And the most important questions you can ask yourself right now are: do I want to die not having fulfilled everything I came here for? Do I want to get to the end of my life and look back and know that I could’ve done so much more, but didn’t?

Because you’re afraid. Because there are unknowns. Because you’re uncertain or unsure of what to do.

It’s a sad reality that most writers will never, ever publish their books. They’ll never finish anything.

Just So You Know–The Bare Minimum Ain’t Good Enough

And maybe you’re not totally in that boat. Maybe you have finished or even published something.

But unless you’re still at it, motivated and always focused on the bigger vision for your writing life (the dream vision–the one you never really quite allow yourself to want), what you’re doing isn’t enough. There’s more you can do.

That was something I faced recently, as I started working with a mentor who has 47 published books (46 of which have been best sellers on Amazon). Yes, 47!!

And it blew my mind because the woman is only 36 years old. But she’s a freaking firecracker. She’s an ass-kicker. She’s a writer who’s in the world with a purpose–to spread a message and inspire the masses to wake up and live.

And she doesn’t let her excuses get in the way. She shows up every day, she does the work and she gets her writing out there.

I resonated so much with her and with the work that she does. She made me see that I wasn’t doing enough. That I haven’t been doing enough.

Sure, I’ve published a bunch of books, including my debut novel in 2015. But that’s not enough. Not nearly.

Because I have an insane amount of books inside me. Nonfiction writing and creativity guides, and fictional stories just waiting to be told.

But here’s the thing… at a one-book-a-year pace… I’ll never get all of these ideas and stories out into the world. One book a year isn’t enough for me to be the writer and author I dream of being.

So I gave myself a challenge. An insane one.

Write and publish one eBook (nonfiction) a month and at least one novel in 2016. That makes 9 books total (I started the challenge in April).

2016 Writing Challenge: Book 1 of 9

Align YourYes, I’m totally insane. But I’m also inspired and motivated and on freaking fire with a passion to get my ideas, my stories, my message out into the world. To help change writers lives by inspiring and motivating them to turn off Netflix and make their writing a bigger priority in their lives.

Today, I took a huge step toward meeting my challenge. I published my new eBook. One of nine books that I am writing and publishing this year.

That book is Align Your Writing Habits to Success, a multimedia, interactive guide that will take you from “procrastinating writer” (or wherever you are now) to “inspired, productive writer.”

In only 30 days, you will completely overhaul your writing habits and your mindset, so you can step up to be and act like the writer and author you dream of being. When you align your writing habits to success you will be unstoppable in your writing career.

And that’s what I want to help you be. That’s the writing revolution I’m starting.

Are you in?

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How are you going to go big and really step up your writing this year?

Here’s What You Have to Do to Get What You Really Want

Not everyone agrees with this statement, but I truly believe we can have anything that we want, no matter what it is.

Really.

But in order to get what you want, there’s something you have to do first. And it’s a biggie.

Without doing this one thing, you may not get exactly what you want. And yeah, sure, you can always accept a consolation prize. Something that’s close to what you want and makes you feel pretty good too.

Except it’s not what you really want, and you deserve to have everything that you want–especially in your writing life.

The problem most writers–and people in general–have is they’re willing to settle, to accept something mediocre in place of what they really want.

I used to be like that too.

How To Not Get What You Want

When I was in college I had a desktop computer that died after a year of buying it, and so I had to buy a new one. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a Sony Vaio laptop (those were really popular when I was in college).

I knew it was a top-of-the-line computer and that it would last a hell of a lot longer than the refurbished desktop I’d been using. Plus, I wanted a laptop so that I could do my school work and writing wherever I felt like (and not be chained to the desk in my dorm room).

Except when I got to Best Buy to purchase my new laptop… they were out of stock on the Sony Vaio laptops. They had none left in the store.

I was extremely disappointed. But then the sales guy told me that I could buy a Toshiba laptop instead which would be just as good and would cost about half the price of the Sony.

And because I wanted instant gratification–because I wanted to walk out of the store with a laptop that day–I settled. I let him talk me into buying the Toshiba.

Got back to my dorm room, loved the new laptop for a couple weeks… and then it started overheating and shutting down on me without warning, and I kept losing stuff. I spent 3 hours researching and writing an article for the school paper and right before I hit “save” the fucking laptop shut down on me and I lost the whole thing (the laptop didn’t have Word, only Microsoft Works, which didn’t have a “document recovery” option at the time).

I was devastated.

Not to mention I took the Toshiba in to the Best Buy Geek Squad at least 5 times and no one could ever fix what was wrong with it. And when I called Toshiba customer service directly, the guy I spoke with gave me bad instructions and I ended up losing my entire music library of 3,000+ songs. (I was even more devastated about that, because music is my air.)

I was really pissed off. Mostly at myself.

Because I settled. I went to the store knowing what I wanted, and I let someone talk me into getting something else because what I wanted wasn’t available. Because I would’ve had to wait a little bit longer to have it.

The funny thing is, people do this to themselves ALL the time. You wanted to buy the blue one, but they only had red so you got red. Rather than just waiting for blue to be available or going online and trying to find the blue one, you just settle and buy the red.

And the truth is, when you’re settling in one area of your life, you’re likely settling in several.

So, where are you settling when it comes to your writing dream? Where are you telling yourself that you can’t truly have what you want, and instead accepting a mediocre version of it? 

There’s only one way to get exactly what you want, every single time you want something. Whether that’s in your writing life, buying a computer or anything else you want: You have to close off all other options.

What does that mean?

It means acting like there is no other option available. You’ll get what you want or die trying.

Period.

If I went into Best Buy back in college and had closed off all other options beforehand, I would’ve walked out of the store without a laptop that day… but I’d have walked back in a few weeks later when they had more and then walked out with a Sony Vaio in my hands. No settling.

Another Example

Let’s say you want to be a bestselling author. It’s a dream you’ve had your whole life. You’ve imagined it more times than you can count.

But since you have no idea how to make it happen, you settle. You put your book out into the world and then you let it sit. You make a few sales, but the book doesn’t become a bestseller.

And you’re OK with that–because you’ve been told that you can’t always get what you want.

Except none of the BS is true.

You CAN have what you want. You can have it ALL.

But the only way is to close off all other options.

If being a bestselling author was your only option… you’d keep at it ’til it happened. You’d work your ass off bringing that dream to life. You’d accept nothing less than bestseller status. You’d market and sell your book 24/7 if that’s what it took.

Problem is, too often we want something, but we’re not fully committed to having it, and so when we’re offered a consolation-prize version of what we want, we settle. We call it good enough and move on.

And that’s why you don’t always get what you want.

Because getting what you want means NOT settling. It means holding off, waiting, being patient. It means knowing that it might take a year or a few years or a lifetime to make it happen, and being OK with that.

When you close off all other options, that means you’re not open to getting anything but what you want. And by being that committed to what you want AND doing the work to make it happen, there’s no way in hell you won’t get it at some point. It’s inevitable.

That’s what it really takes to get what you want. To get exactly what you want. Every single time. No exceptions.

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What do you want for your writing life? And how are you going to close off all other options so that getting what you want becomes inevitable?

Are you ready to get everything you want and unleash the writing life of your dreams? Check out my new eBook: Align Your Writing Habits to Success, available right now on Amazon.

Are You A Creator Or A Consumer? (The Answer May Surprise You)

As a writer, you probably read that headline and thought, “I’m a creator.”

But are you really?

And the way to tell is to ask yourself two questions: do I create more than I consume? Or, do I consume more than I create?

My guess is, you’re consuming a whole lot more than you’re creating.

Consuming means you’re taking things in–reading books, watching TV shows or movies, going to live events or spending every night stuffing your face with food before you go to bed.

Consuming. Taking things in, but not putting anything back out.

Creating is a whole other thing.

Creators create. They are constantly putting new stuff out there–ideas, projects, books, art, music, whatever.

As a writer–and especially as a writer who wants to be a pro author–you have to be creating more than you’re consuming. 

We’re all born with innate creativity. But if you don’t use your creativity and creative gifts on a regular, consistent basis, they lose their effectiveness. And eventually you’ll find yourself in your mid-50s feeling like you don’t have a creative bone in your body.

And that’s not true. You do have a creative bone. Lots of them.

But you gotta use them. You’ve gotta use your creativity as much and as often as possible.

You must commit to being a creator, and to creating more than you consume.

This was a tough one for me. Back in 2008 when I officially started my novel-writing journey, I was definitely consuming WAY more than I was creating.

Back then I spent most of my days and nights watching endless shows on HGTV and Food Network. Telling myself I wanted to write and even that I would write… but first I had to watch Rachel Ray or House Hunters or whatever stupid show was on.

And then the writing never happened. (Or happened very little in comparison.)

Now don’t get me wrong–there’s nothing wrong with consuming. After all, as writers, we need consumers, otherwise who will read what we put out there?

But there has to be a balance between consuming and creating, and more of the weight needs to fall on the creating side.

Today, I definitely create more than I consume (but I could still use to consume less and create even more, as I’m pretty addicted to Netflix).

That’s the whole point of being a writer. Of being an author. Of being someone who’s great with words.

The sad thing is, way too many writers are out there calling themselves writers or telling people they want to write book (or that they are writing a book), but then most of their free time is spent consuming. Reading books or streaming Hulu, while dreaming about the stories living inside them that they want to write, but haven’t yet.

And a good majority of those writers never will.

They’ll never step up and do what it takes to be the creators they dream of being. Because they’re too busy hiding their heads in the sands of media, news, Facebook, Netflix and whatever other mindless dribble is coming out of their electronics.

They’re too busy Resisting the writing dreams that live inside them and procrastinating on taking action. They’re too busy telling themselves that they’ll start tomorrow or next week or next month, once their circumstances change a bit or when their lives are less chaotic. (Which will never happen, by the way.)

Look, we all go through this at some point. No one is above it. Resistance and procrastinating are a part of the creative process at times.

But the real trouble happens when you don’t do anything about it. When you just keep Resisting and keep procrastinating, never actually creating anything you want to create. (Trust me, I know. There was a time in my writing life when I actually avoided doing the work by getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the bathroom floor with a sponge–and I HATE cleaning!)

That’s over for me now. I’m all in. I’m game on. I’m on fire with a passion for writing and for creating and getting my ideas out into the world on a regular basis.

Now that’s not to say that I don’t have moments of Resistance and procrastination still (I totally do and probably always will. I am the original Procrastinating Writer).

But I’ve transitioned to the next level in my writing life. I’m a published author (6 books and counting–my new one comes out next week!).

I’m on a mission. A mission to use up everything that’s inside me, so when I leave this world I can feel 100 percent like I accomplished everything I came here to, and then some.

I refuse to live with regrets. Ever.

And, well, when you don’t get your writing out there; when you make Netflix and reading other people’s books more important than creating and putting your own ideas and stories out into the world, that’s when you’re setting yourself up for regrets.

Major regrets.

Because while you can have it all, you won’t be able to when your ass is planted on the couch in front of the TV. Or when you’ve got a stack of books a mile high to read, meanwhile your own book is collecting cobwebs on your laptop or–even worse–inside your head.

Having it all means taking action. It means showing up and doing the work. It means making your writing, your stories and what you want to create MORE IMPORTANT than all the books, TV shows, movies, music and what not that you want to consume.

There has to be a balance. And in my opinion, that balance needs to fall heavier on the creation side than the consume side.

That’s why I created the Bestselling Author Mastermind group–because I want you to stop making the bullshit stuff that you consume on a daily basis more important than doing your writing and getting your ideas and stories out into the world.

This mastermind is accountability and productivity at a whole new level. We’re doing daily check ins–so you can see progress a whole lot faster (or see where you’re totally not doing the work and need to step up).

And I’m in the trenches with you, doing my writing and getting it out into the world.

I’m a big fan of leaders who lead from the trenches. Who get down and dirty with the people they’re leading. Who are totally transparent and show you the truth of what it really takes to be successful–no BS, no rose-colored glasses.

Who step up and prove the things they preach. Who put into daily practice the things they teach. And who are willing to get vulnerable and share it all–the good and the bad.

That’s what makes a revolutionary leader in my mind. And that’s what I want to be.

A revolutionary leader who helps emerging novelists step up, claim their writing dreams and then take action to make it happen. I want to be the reason more stories get out into the world.

Stories that never would’ve seen the light of day without me.

That’s what the Bestselling Author Mastermind group is all about. Action. Progress. Giving up the BS that holds you back. Committing to your writing dream. Being willing to do whatever it takes.

And creating more than you consume.

If you’re ready for that level of accountability, productivity and creation, I’d love for you to join us. Learn more about the Bestselling Author Mastermind here.

Take Control of Your Writing Destiny: A 5-Step Roadmap

There was a time in the writing industry where a writer could write a good book, and because the book was so good–and so much better than most books people were writing–that book stood out and agents and publishers came out of the woodwork to represent it and publish it. And all an author had to do was publish a really good book, and they’d be on the bestseller list, doing book signings around the country and getting interviewed in the media.

Ah, it was a lovely time to be an author.

Except that you had very little control of anything. Your fate was in someone else’s hands.

Good thing that time is over now.

Yes, over. Finished. Done-zo.

It just doesn’t work like that anymore. And it can’t. The market is way too saturated.

So what emerging novelists in today’s digital age need to do, is step up and take control of their own writing destinies.

If you have a dream, a vision, a goal for your writing, it’s up to YOU to make it happen. Y. O. U.

No one else can make it happen for you.

It’s in your hands.

I realized this a while back. I had a finished draft of my novel, SoundCheck, and was sitting on it. I was procrastinating and not doing the work.

And my soul was suffering for it.

Because writing stories is my soul’s work, and I know it.

And that’s when I realized it–I was (subconsciously) waiting for someone else to give me the go-ahead. For someone else to give me permission to take things to the next level with my writing life.

I was leaving my destiny to chance, instead of being intentional about it.

In the digital age, emerging novelists have a unique opportunity to be intentional and use that intention to achieve their writing goals.

Because there’s so much more in your control. You no longer need a gatekeeper (aka: agent or publisher) to get your novel out into the world. The doors to the self-publishing world are wide-open. All you have to do is just walk in.

But there’s more to it than that. And a lot of writers don’t see it and end up publishing something subpar and then wondering why no one buys it or writes reviews or really even cares.

Don’t be that kind of self-published novelist. Be the self-published novelist who took control of her writing destiny and did things as professionally as possible, and who learned what it took to write a good novel, to publish it, promote it and make sales.

Be that kind of authorpreneur. The kind who publishes an awesome book that builds a foundation for a long writing career (one that grows with each book).

Here’s my roadmap for taking control of your writing destiny:

1. Learn the Craft of Novel Writing

Novel writing is unlike any other kind of writing out there. It’s a very specific beast that needs to be put together in a very specific way. You can’t just write whatever you want and call it a story.

You have to follow the principles of storytelling.

And yes, once you’ve got the principles down you can break them when you need to. But only when and if it works (and NEVER if you’re a first-time author, and most especially NEVER if you’re a first-time author who’s trying to get traditionally published).

No matter what else you do, learn craft. Master the craft of writing stories that work.

This will serve you to no end. And I can think of nothing more aligned with being in control of your writing destiny than knowing what the fuck you’re doing.

If you know what you’re doing you can surpass even the authors out there who know what they’re doing but don’t have the language to describe or talk about it (meaning they intuitively know how to write a story, but they don’t have the words to describe how they know what they know).

When you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to repeat it over and over again (and never make an ass of yourself in Writer’s Digest magazine by suggesting that you have no idea how you write your books, even though you’ve written a ton of them, including one that was a smash-hit bestseller). A repeatable process based on the principles of storytelling.

And no one can ever take that away from you.

2. Master Your Mindset

I harp on this a lot, but it’s because honestly this is the secret sauce that totally shifted my life.

I’ve always been an insanely positive person. But I had a ton of negative programming about myself. And that’s where things started to fall apart as I got closer and closer to finishing my novel and publishing it.

Because you can’t think negatively about yourself or having tons of limiting beliefs if you want to be successful. Sure, you can still achieve things with that kind of mindset (I’m proof of it).

Except there’s no joy in it. You’ll just achieve the goal and feel like it’s still not enough and you probably won’t even take time to celebrate and will just go on to the next thing (yep, that’s what I used to do).

But when you get your mind to a place of feeling like your goal is already yours and already a done deal… then when you achieve it, you’ll actually enjoy it and it will actually feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Because you’re in control, and your mind is in a place where it’s open to receiving what you’ve asked for and you’re not sabotaging it.

When you don’t work on your mindset and you just let your thoughts run wild, you’ll never be in control. And then things will just happen to you, instead of you intentionally making things happen.

Whereas when you focus on being intentional about how you want to feel and what you want to think and believe about yourself, that’s when you’re taking control of your destiny.

Taking control of your writing destiny is about being intentional.

3. Create Your Own Reality

Some people believe they have no control of what happens to them. They believe the reality they see with their eyes is the only reality that exists and it’s the only one that’s real.

So that’s how their lives unfold. Stuff happens to them, they have no control over it. Then they use the stuff going wrong in their lives to make excuses for why they don’t have what they want or why they haven’t finished their novel or published it.

And then there are the others. The crazies. The people who not only believe they control their own realities, but know that they can change that reality almost immediately, just by changing their thoughts, beliefs and the things they focus on.

I consider myself to be one of these crazies. Because I’ve seen the power of focus and of being intentional, and I choose to live my life no other way but that.

If you know that you can control your own reality, then you can see how easy it will be to take control of your writing destiny.

When you set an intention and believe it’s possible and that you can have it… you will. You’ll have everything you’ve ever wanted.

But you’ve gotta be intentional about it. You have to know what you want and then you have to create it with your words, your thoughts and your actions.

The best tool for this is getting a journal and doing a daily “write your reality” exercise where you write about your dream life as if it’s your real life. You do this every single day, until what you’re writing about starts to become your life.

That is an intentional way of being. It’s a way of focusing yourself on what matters most to you.

And what you focus on expands.

4. Be Your Own Publisher

This is an extreme “take control of your writing destiny” tactic, but self-publishing is a great way to keep creative control and get your book out into the world.

But if you’re going to self-publish (I do, and totally recommend it), you have to do it as professionally. You can’t just write your book and put it out there. You need to hire a team of people to support you–an editor, Beta Readers, a story coach, a cover illustrator–whoever you need to bring your book to life and as professionally as it would be if a traditional publisher put it out.

That’s taking control of your writing destiny. That’s being in charge of your writing career. That’s setting yourself up for success.

If you self-publish and then just put your book out there… that’s not professional. In fact, that’s the opposite of taking control of your writing destiny. That’s kicking your writing destiny in the balls.

You’ll never be successful that way.

Professional authors treat their books professionally. You need to do the same.

5. Get Out There and Be Visible

This is maybe the hardest part of taking control of your writing destiny. Especially because most writers are introverts and prefer not to have the spotlight on them.

But succeeding in the online world requires you to get out there and be visible.

Because you can’t always be in front of people in person. So you have to get creative and find ways to show up and get in front of your audience.

Authorpreneurs in the digital age use social media, videos, livestreaming, guest posting, getting interviewed on podcasts and in the media, and more, to be visible and get their names out there. And the name of the game with all of this is consistency.

You have to be consistent with being visible. You don’t want to be super visible one week, disappear for a few weeks and then resurface. Building a fanbase means being visible and consistent–pretty much on a daily basis.

Just follow the authors and writers and successful artists that you love and watch what they do. Pay attention to what they post and how often, and how they connect with their readers and audience.

Use what they do as a guide for what you do.

By following this roadmap, you will be able to totally take control of your destiny and create the writing life of your dreams.

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What can you do right now, today, to start taking control of your writing destiny?

If you’re ready to get over your shit (excuses be damned), learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish and publish it, check out the Students of Story community.

 

AuthorpreneurTV: An Inside Look At Being An Author In the Digital Age

I’m SUPER EXCITED about my new YouTube show, AuthorpreneurTV. I’m showing you behind the scenes in my writing life and business, to give you an inside look at what all goes into what I do and how I do it and how I got where I am today. As well as watching my journey as I continue on to achieving all the other writing goals I have for myself.

Here’s one of my favorite episodes so far (which I actually shot on Facebook Livestream):

I’ve shot a bunch of episodes already, so be sure to head over to my YouTube channel and check them out (and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!).

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If you have questions or suggestions for topics you want me to cover, leave ’em in the comments. I’m always looking for ideas on what you most want to know.

And if you want to get an inside look at how I plan and develop my novels, be sure to grab a free copy of my eBook: Find Your Story: the 6-Week Story Development Process.

Is What You’re Doing Keeping You Unpublished?

Whenever you achieve a goal, you can use hindsight to look back and see exactly what you did that worked. Once you have that information, you can create a process for yourself that will allow you to achieve the goal again and again (unless it’s a goal you only want to achieve once).

That’s how you create success. By figuring out what works for you and then doing it.

Over and over again.

For me, step-by-step processes work. Checklists work.

And they work really well.

I’m almost totally balanced right and left brained (48% left brained and 52% right). I like being creatively unleashed, but I also need steps and lists to keep me focused and not veering totally off track.

I know this about myself, so that’s why I’m now working from a “Daily Fucking Actions” list that tells me specific, outcome-focused tasks that I need to do every day. In the last . week and a half, this process has helped me to create 20+ new pieces of content for my community.

When I’m writing a novel, I know that I need to spend a minimum of 6 weeks developing and planning the story. I have to do this before I write the draft.

Because I know I’m someone who can’t write more than one full draft of a story. If I have to write a whole other draft, I’m not finishing.

I know these things because I’ve taken enough action and achieved enough outcomes to know exactly what works best for me and what causes me to flail (and fail). 

Do you know what works for you?

And  I define “works” as something that actually gets you the outcome you’re going for. If you’ve been doing something for a while and you don’t have the result you want yet, what you’re doing is probably not working.

It can be hard to admit that, I get it. It was hard for me back in 2009 to admit that I had no freaking clue what I was doing and my novel draft showed that.

But I admitted it, I got real with it and then I found what did work (for me, that was story structure).

You absolutely have to do what’s best for you and what works best for you. I’m a full supporter of that. I don’t believe in doing things just because other people are doing them (especially when other people are doing them!). I’ve always gone against the grain in my life. That’s what works for me.

But you also have to see when something is not working and heave-ho.

Otherwise you’ll find yourself stuck in a repeating pattern where you’re living the same year over and over again, never really getting anywhere.

Still working on that novel? Yeah, this will be year 113. 

I know how you feel because I’ve been there. It took me 18 YEARS to publish my first novel, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have a story worth publishing.

It was because for the first 13 years I had NO CLUE what I was doing–and I didn’t care. I thought I could just get inspiration for a story and then sit down to write it.

Now I’m lucky because I’ve been an avid reader and writer my whole life (when I was 5 I climbed on my mom’s lap with a book and asked her to teach me how to read). So because of this I have an intuitive sense of story. I may not have known the specifics of story structure, but I knew the story had to change in 3 places and that it needed a beginning, middle and end that was cohesive.

But that didn’t mean I could write a good story (I couldn’t, and if you read the very first draft of my very first novel you’d see that).

Writing a good story took me 3 years of studying craft. Every. Single. Day. 

I watched movies and deconstructed the plot points. I read books and tried to pick apart the structure. I studied Larry Brooks’ blog and his books, and I practiced planning and developing stories as much as I could.

I was truly a student of story (still am).

So 15 years into my journey, I finally had a story worth publishing. Problem was, I spent another 2 years sabotaging myself with procrastination, perfectionism, feeling not good enough, skipping my writing session, not doing the work, not showing up to the page, Upper Limit Problems and more.

It took getting my mindset in the right place to clear all that shit up.

And then in June 2015, I published my debut novel, SoundCheck.

No one gets there without blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of freak outs. I sure didn’t.

But I got there. So now I know what works best for me and what I need to do to repeat that success and get another novel out there.

Do you?

Do you know what works for you? Really?

My guess is, you don’t. Maybe you know some of it, but you don’t know really what works for you.

Because you’re not doing the effing work.

You say you want to, and you even mean it. But still you don’t sit down and work on your writing.

To be successful on your own terms, you have to know what works for you and then do it.

But you can’t know what works for you if you don’t do the work.

So fucking do the work. Show up. Work on your story. Revise it. Publish the damn thing. Get it out into the world.

Otherwise you’ll never know what works best for you or how to repeat it.

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When it comes to planning, developing and writing (and publishing!) your stories, what works best for you? 

Are you ready to go pro? Join Students of Story, my membership site and community where you can get over your shit, learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish your book and publish it. Learn more here.

The Truth About Being A Professional Author

There’s a question that’s been on my mind lately: do I have what it takes? Do I have what it takes to achieve all the writing dreams I have and to really get everything I want?

It’s an important question, because the answer will make or break your writing dream.

Do you have what it takes?

Like, really have what it takes?

Only you can answer that.

The Truth About Being A Pro Author

There’s something kinda scary that no one really talks about, but that needs to be said right now.

You may not have what it takes. 

Not everyone does. 

Not every writer is meant to be a pro.

It’s scary to say that (I felt panicked just typing those three sentences).

But it’s true.

And the reason is simple: most writers won’t do the work. 

Sure, most writers may actually write. Get blips of inspiration and sit down and start writing.

Because you can’t just write stories and be a professional. Not even if you write 100 stories.

Being a professional means you’ve actually finished something, published it and put it out into the world.

And not half-assed either. (Self-published authors who put their books out there without editing, Beta Reading or some kind of vetting process are not professionals.)

A professional author not only does the work and finishes, but also invests in (or barters for) professional services to do the self-publishing (an editor, a cover designer, a layout person, a story coach, whatever they need).

And the cold, hard, real truth is that not all writers have it in them to finish. Or to show their work to someone who knows what they’re doing and accept feedback that will improve their story.

Pro vs. Most Other Writers

Here are the main differences between a professional author and most other writers:

A pro author:

  • Finishes. Period. (Most writers have tons of half-finished or completed drafts that they never revised or have been revising into oblivion and never getting anywhere.)
  • Publishes. Period. (Most writers don’t actually publish anything. They talk about it and they may even say they’re working on it. But you never see it.)
  • Shuts up and does the work. Period. (Most writers have whiny complaints and excuses about why they haven’t finished or can’t finish or haven’t written their novel or don’t have the time or life is falling down around them or they are procrastinating…)
  • Hires help when they need it. (Most writers think they can do it all themselves and they can’t.)
  • Takes constructive criticism and uses it to make their writing better. (Most writers will shake off any kind of criticism. Because they’re right and they know what they’re doing.)
  • Has what it takes. (Most writers don’t.)

Having what it takes just means having the brass ovaries to get over your shit and do the work. No matter what is happening around you.

And you’ll know the answer as soon as you ask it.

I have HUGE writing dreams. And I refuse to stop ’til I get there (and even then I won’t stop).

But I had to ask myself if I really have what it takes to achieve everything I want.

And looking back on all I’ve accomplished in my life, I know that I absolutely have what it takes. I show up. I do the work. I put myself out there. I take huge risks. I just need to give up all excuses, be more consistent and keep doing the fucking work.

I’m committed to all of that now. So I know my dreams are a done deal.

Now you need to ask yourself: do you have what it takes?

If you have what it takes, I’d love for you to become a part of my membership site and community, Students of Story, where you can get over your shit, learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish and publish your book. Learn more here.

Want to Know the Real Reason Why You Procrastinate?

If you want something, you have to believe it’s yours and then act from that place.

I was on a podcast this morning (I’ll post the link when it’s live), and one of the questions interviewer, Lorna Faith, asked me was: what can newer writers do to move toward their goals? And the response I gave her was something she hadn’t heard anyone say before.

I told her that you don’t want to move toward your goals, you want to move from your goals

And then I went on to explain. Because there’s a big difference between moving toward a goal and moving from a goal.

Toward says, I don’t have it yet. And there’s a distinct feeling that comes with it. It’s not now, it’s in the future.

That feeling is totally uninspiring and un-motivating.

But when you move from a goal, it has a whole different feeling.

From says, it’s mine. I already have it. And the feelings you feel are happy, positive, excited, inspired.

And motivated to take action.

Writers procrastinate because they aren’t inspired from the inside.

When you get inspired from the inside, you’ll automatically take action on the outside. And the right actions. The ones that will actually help you bring your goal into reality. 

And to act from a goal, you have to first believe that it’s possible for you to have it. You have to believe you will get it and that you are worthy of it.

Otherwise you won’t be able to take action from the place of knowing it’s already yours.

You get to choose what you believe. And if you know that you’re someone who will not stop, let up, die out or give up before reaching your goal, then it’s a done deal. Right? 

Eventually, that goal will be yours. You will have achieved it and you’ll be able to add it to your list of accomplishments.

So if you know that to be true, and if you believe it will happen at some point, why not act like it right now? 

I know, I know, this way of thinking is so contrary to everything society tells us we should think. We’re told we have to work hard and pay our dues.

But that’s all bullshit.

I mean, yeah, you do have to work hard, but the work you do doesn’t have to be hard or, most importantly, feel hard.

When you’re moving toward a goal, it feels really fucking hard. It feels like you’re working your ass off and you have the world on your shoulders and you’re still not making it happen.

But when you’re moving from already having reached your goal, you feel light and airy. You feel happy on the inside. You are so excited you can’t wait to work on your writing project.

You’re still working hard, of course, it just feels easier now.

Because the Resistance is gone. And you’re totally lit from the inside and inspired to do the work to reach your writing dream.

And the more you act from this inspired-from-the-inside place, the more you’ll believe that you already have your dream.

I’m better with examples, so here’s one from my life:

I recently committed to taking on a whole new level of content creation. I did this because when I asked myself, “what would a bestselling transformational author, novelist and go-to story development coach be doing every day?” the answer that came back was: they’d be out in the world creating and sharing tons of content, spreading their message and moving forward on their mission.

So that’s what I needed to be doing.

I needed to start acting “as if” I have already achieved all the goals I have for my writing, my business and my life.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing ever since. This is the fifth blog post I’ve written this week (and there’s only been 5 days in the week so far).

Already stuff has started to shift in my reality. I’ve been getting contacted by people who want to interview me on their podcasts. I’ve gotten a bunch of new clients that I’m thrilled to be working with. I’ve sold a bunch of books.

And I’m happy. I’m insanely motivated. I’m inspired from the inside.

Which is by far the most important thing.

If you want something, you have to believe it’s yours and then act from that place.

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What’s your writing goal? And how are you going to start acting from it, rather than toward it? 

Featured image courtesy of urban_data

Go From Hobby Writer to Pro By Focusing On These 5 Things

Being a hobby writer and being a pro writer are two totally different things. Although they go together as we all start out as amateurs and hobbyists before crossing over to that pro writer world.

But if you want to go from being a hobby writer to being a pro writer (aka: making money from your writing), there are several transitional steps you need to take.

I wrote a guest post for the Huffington Post sharing my top 5 tips for going from hobby writer to pro. The very first tip of which is: Work On Your Mindset

Wait, what? Did I just say “work on your mindset”?

Yep.

Because mindset is everything. Especially when you want to do something at a professional level.

The professional level requires a different mindset than the hobby level. In the hobby level, it’s OK to be half-committed or to not care if you only do your writing once a week or once a month.

The pro level requires you to go all in. To be fully committed to showing up every day and doing the work. And this all begins in your mind.

When you create a success mindset, you’ll be in a better place to take the actions needed to go pro.

You can read the rest of the article and get all 5 tips by going here.

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What are you going to do to begin moving from hobby writer to pro? 

Featured image courtesy of Eelke