The Hard Truth About Being A Professional Writer

I’ve been in the professional writing world for 16+ years and worked with hundreds of writers in all different capacities, and I can now look at writers and tell you based on their habits, beliefs, mindset and the actions they take (or don’t take) which ones are never gonna make it.

Because most writers aren’t willing to do what it actually takes to be successful. And the biggest thing most writers aren’t willing to do is invest in themselves.

I mean, maybe you can get where you want to go without investing in yourself, but I honestly don’t see how. I’ve been investing in my writing since age 13 (and even before that with books that I bought), when I took a self-publishing class at Writers and Books in Rochester, NY, to learn how to self-publish the novella I’d written (which I didn’t end up publishing because it wasn’t ready, but at least I took the class to learn what was required to do so).

And I’ve been investing in myself and my writing ever since, including a four-year Journalism degree with a minor in Creative Writing, and tons of classes, workshops, programs, books, editors, Beta Readers, formatters, cover designers and coaches/mentors that all helped me get to where I am today.

The specific amount you invest isn’t what matters–it’s about believing in yourself and in your writing enough to put your money where your dream is.

No one achieves their writing dream (or any dream) for free–and that’s a hard pill for a lot of writers to swallow.

But it’s the truth. Anyone who did somehow manage to get there for “free” had way more struggle and frustration than is necessary or worth it.

And the other truth is that pro writers got to be pros because they invested in themselves–time, energy and their money–hiring editors and designers and formatters and attending writing conferences where they could connect with agents and joining workshops or buying books to learn as much as possible about how to be the pro writer they dream of being.

Writers who believe in themselves and in their dreams are willing to invest in things that will take them to the next level. It’s one of the clear-cut distinctions between an amateur/hobbyist writer and a professional.

Pro writers invest in themselves, over and over and over again, in whatever ways are required to get to where they want to go.

Every month I invest in new books and workshops and masterminds and mentoring that will take me to the next level, and whenever I need to, I invest in formatting and design and editing and Beta Reading and whatever else I need to bring my books to life in a professional way.

It’s not about the specific amount you’re investing, it’s just about putting your money where your dream is.

And, really, if you fully believed that you will get there and that you have what it takes to succeed, you wouldn’t think twice about investing in yourself and in your writing, because you’d know it’s a stepping stone to where you want to be and that one day in the not-too-far-off future that investment will come back to you ten-fold, twenty-fold and maybe even a hundred- or a thousand-fold.

And, best of all, you’re acting as if you are already the professional writer and author you dream of being. Acting as if sends a powerful signal to the Universe that you’re ready for the next level.

On the opposite side, when you act–or don’t act–because of fear, and your hoard your money and refuse to invest in your dream, you also send a powerful signal to the Universe that says, “I’m not ready! I can’t handle being a pro writer or going to the next level in my writing life.”

And so that’s what unfolds and continues to unfold in your life–not getting there, not being the pro you want to be, not having the results you desire.

Every year you tell yourself that this is the year you’ll write your novel or finish your novel or publish your novel…and then the year goes by and you still haven’t done what you said you were gonna do. And, again, you start the next year, hopeful and saying the same thing you’ve been saying all along.

And yet you’re not acting any different.

So often we tell ourselves that we’ll do it when we’re ready or when we have the time/energy/money. But the time/energy/money never shows up, because it’s in the acting as if that summons the time, the energy and the money. And you’re not acting as if.

I paid $450 to my first writing coach who helped hold me accountable to writing my chapters every week and getting my novel done.

It was the best $450 I ever spent (up ’til that point). And that was a lot of money for me back in 2008 when I was only a few years out of college and not making a whole lot. It was giving up Starbucks and not going out to eat as often–but just for a little while.

And what resulted, was the first draft of my first novel. (It was a total mess, but I finally wrote and finished it.)

Now, of course, investing the time, energy and money is only part of it. You also have to show up and do the work to get the result, but the investment pushes you to step up, commit and do whatever it takes.

And that’s why pro writers invest in themselves. Because they always want to put out their best work possible and they know they can’t do it alone. So they hire coaches, editors, Beta Readers, cover designers and interior book formatters, and they attend writing conferences or take workshops or buy books that will move them forward on their journey to becoming the writer and author they want to be.

It’s not about the specific amount of money you invest. It’s about the message that it sends, and that message is I’m worth it.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Only ONE HOUR LEFT to grab the Write Your Damn Novel: NaNo Edition Fast-Action Bonus: a FREE 30-minute Story Discovery call with me where we’ll discuss your idea and how to turn it into an actual story. This call is the perfect jumping off point for starting the workshop on September 11.

>> Details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/nanoedition

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway is Different than Taking Action Out of Fear

One thing I’ve committed to in my life is that I will NOT take action based on fear. I used to do that and that’s when my life SUCKED and everything was a STRUGGLE.

So now when I’m going to take action on something I ask myself, “am I doing this out of fear?” and if the answer is “yes,” I don’t do it. I choose another action, one that’s based on the belief that love, abundance and ease are my birthrights (and yours too).

For the last few days people in Texas have been panicking about a gas shortage and swarming the tanks, which is actually what’s CAUSING the gas shortage!!! I refused to get caught up in the madness and decided to wait til we actually needed gas to go and get some.

On Saturday morning, with total ease, I found an app that tells you which stations have gas, then I grabbed my poodle and off we went to fill up. Waited less than 10 mins and got a full tank of gas.

No more fear-based action for me. BUT–I don’t want not taking fear-based action to get confused with feeling the fear and taking action anyhow.

Because there’s a BIG difference between taking a fear-based action and acting in spite of fear.

A fear based action comes from a place of lack and limitation. It comes from a place of not trusting that the Universe has your back and that you are fully supported in life.

Acting even though you’re afraid is exhilerating and full of possibilities and potential. Because when you don’t know what to expect, EVERYTHING becomes a possibility.

Rushing to the gas station to fill up your tank (and your extra gas container) because the media says there “might be a gas shortage” is a fear-based action. Why? Because it says that there isn’t enough and so you have to get all worked up and rush to the gas station for fear of not being able to get any gas and then eventually running out.

Choosing to finally hit “publish” on your debut novel, even though it’s not perfect and you’re afraid that no one will buy it, is feeling the fear and doing it anyhow. It’s empowering, because you’re looking fear in the face and taking action anyhow.

So while I won’t take fear-based actions–and especially ones rooted in lack, limitation, not enough or negative ways of thinking–I will absolutely take action in the face of fear (and have my entire life).

Where do you need to be empowered in your life? Where do you want to finally take action even though you’re afraid? Share in the comments.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Doors to my seventh-annual pre-NaNoWriMo story planning workshop–Write Your Damn Novel: NaNo Edition–are now OPEN!!! AND if you act FAST (as in before Noon on September 5) you can grab a Fast-Action Bonus–a FREE 30-minute Story Discovery call with me where we’ll discuss your idea and how to turn it into an actual story. This call will be a great jumping off point for diving into the workshop on September 11.

>> Details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/nanoedition

Want To Be A NY Times Bestselling Novelist And Have Your Stories Turned Into Movies? Then You Owe It To Your Audience To Learn Craft. Period.

Over the last few days I’ve been wrapping up a content edit for one of my clients. I do a lot of content editing in my business for writers who’ve written a draft and now want to get feedback to make improvements.

I’ve never enjoyed a content edit as much as I did doing this content edit for my long-time client, because as I’ve worked with her over the last couple years, I’ve watched her become better and better at story craft. And it shows in her manuscript.

This is her best one to date. As I was reading it, I just kept thinking how proud I am of her for how far she’s come in such a short period of time.

She’s now a storyteller. She understands structure and opposition and she has character arc and a journey with stakes. She’s spent enough time studying and practicing and learning that she can now write a cohesive, engaging story that makes you want to turn the page and keep reading.

Most stories that I read are a total mess. There’s no structure, the plot is thin, opposition is nowhere to be found and the character arc is nonexistent. And this is a HUGE problem.

In fact, many writers never even hire a content editor (even BIGGER problem!), so they never actually find out what’s wrong with their story and how to fix it. And then, even worse, they go off and self-publish that baby, hoping it will somehow make a bunch of sales and even land them on the NY Times Best Seller list.

Fat chance.

And I’m not saying that to be mean. I’m saying it because landing on the NY Times list is already a hard enough thing to accomplish, but throw into the mix a poorly done story with no structure and no opposition, etc., and you’ve pretty much shot yourself in the foot.

There’s no way your novel will ever land on the NY Times Best Seller list or an Amazon Best Seller list or any list, for that matter, if you haven’t done your due diligence to become an actual storyteller.

News flash: just because you’re a writer and have lots of story ideas doesn’t make you a storyteller.

A storyteller is someone who understands what keeps people hooked. A storyteller knows how to structure a story so that the pacing and the conflict and drama unfold in an optimal way. A storyteller has mastered the craft of weaving words into a cohesive tale.

Writers are born, but storytellers are made.

So while it’s damn-near impossible to teach writing to someone who isn’t meant to be a writer, it’s not impossible to teach a decent writer how to be a good storyteller.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can write all the beautiful prose in the world, but if you don’t know how to write an engaging, cohesive story with structure and opposition, even your beautiful prose can’t save you from the slush pile.

You must learn craft. You must master the art of storytelling. You must do your due diligence.

Not just for yourself as a writer and storyteller, but for your audience, the people who will eventually read the words you’ve weaved into a story.

If you want to be a professional novelist, you have to care enough about your audience to step into the identity of the writer and storyteller you’re meant to be. You have to be willing to go the distance and learn as much as you can about the craft of storytelling.

I often say you must “master” craft, but the truth is, no one ever really masters it. Not even Stephen King. Because there’s always another layer of learning and always a way to go deeper.

Story craft is like an onion. And most writers are still dancing on the surface of it. But they’ve never actually taken the time to peel off the skin and start to dig deeper into the layers.

And that’s a huge mistake. One that could cost you your publishing career before you’ve even gotten it off the ground.

I spent 5+ years studying story and learning structure and gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of how all of the pieces of craft work together to create a cohesive, engaging story that makes you want to keep reading (or watching). And I’m still learning to this day.

Because I know there’s always something else to learn.

A year and a half ago, I didn’t fully understand the nuances of writing a scene. I had a good understanding of purpose and mission and how to inject that into a scene and bring the story to life. But I hadn’t yet learned that, just like your story plot, scenes have a specific structure.

But because I’m always learning and growing and going deeper into my storytelling education, I learned about scene structure and began practicing and implementing it on my own stories and watching it come to life on the screen (I watch A LOT of movies).

Now not only is my own scene-writing better, but I’m able to bring that additional layer of storytelling into my work as a story coach and content editor.

And I’ll never stop. Not ’til the day I take my final breath. Because I am a born writer and a made storyteller.

Telling stories is all I ever wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write and create and make up stories to entertain people. From a young age, I saw myself as a novelist and a screenwriter and watching my stories come to life on the big-screen.

I always knew that was the direction I was heading, even if I pushed it away for a long time (and believe me, I did).

That’s why I’m so committed to being a better storyteller. Because I want my audience to LOVE my stories. I want my audience to RAVE about my stories. I want them to leave me 5-star reviews and beg me to write and release my next story.

I care about my readers. Very much.

That’s why I’ve spent so much time learning story structure. That’s why I hire editors and Beta Readers to read my stories and tell me how to make them better. That’s why, even though I’m a story coach and content editor and have worked with hundreds of writers on planning and developing their stories I still continue to watch and deconstruct movies and read books on craft and dig deeper.

Because I not only want to be one of those storytellers who hits the NY Times Best Seller list and has their stories turned into movies, but I WILL BE one of those storytellers.

I will be at the top of my genre. I will be an Academy-Award winning screenwriter. I will be famous in Hollywood and the writing world for my stories. I’ve already decided all of this and set my mind to it, so I know it’s a done deal.

But that doesn’t mean I can just sit on my ass and write a couple stories.

Knowing what you’re destined for and what you’re meant for and what you want to create in your life is awesome, but it doesn’t excuse you from having to then fully step into the role of being that person–that writer and author and storyteller–right now.

Which means being willing to do the things most writers aren’t. It means spending more time studying craft and practicing storytelling than sitting around watching mindless TV. It means investing the money in a content editor or Beta Readers or a story coach or a workshop or course or book that will help you become better. It means doing the work day-in-and-day-out to improve your storytelling skills and your understanding of craft.

It means being willing to accept that being a great storyteller is a life-long journey that never really ends. Because you’ll never master it and you will die still not knowing everything.

But if you show up every day and do the work, you will become one of those storytellers who gets remembered long after you’re gone.

And, really, if you see yourself as a NY Times Best Selling novelist and you can imagine your stories being made into movies on the big-screen, then you owe it to yourself AND your readers to become the best writer and storyteller you can possibly be.

And it all starts with craft. It starts with becoming an expert in craft–and not just knowing what the pieces of storytelling are, but actually being able to implement those pieces in your own stories.

Do the work. Your future readers will thank you for it.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. If you’re ready to continue your storytelling and craft journey, I have a FREE 3-part video series coming tomorrow where I’ll be teaching you all about the #1 thing your story needs to be an actual story. Stay tuned… (and if you can’t wait another day, go to www.JenniferBlanchard.net and grab my FREE story training + workbook, From ‘Eh’ to ‘Awesome’ and start your craft journey right away.)

WOWZAS — I’ve Added More Than 100k Words To My Blog Over The Last Six Months! This Calls For A Celebration!!

There was a time in my writing life when writing a blog post was a serious chore. When I’d put it off and felt like it was gonna be so much work and so hard to do.

And then six months ago I just committed to writing something every day. I didn’t know what would come out, I just knew I wanted to write more.

So I bought WriteRoom for Mac and started a file called Daily Think Different, which is the title I use to describe the blog posts I write and send out each day. And then I just started writing.

Writing whatever I was feeling or thinking or experiencing in that moment. Telling stories and sharing the results of my energetic experiments as I create my dream writing life. Letting out the words and messages that were constantly bouncing around inside me.

And here I am, six months later, with more than 100k words written.

To some people this isn’t a lot of words. There are people in my writing group working on 1 million words for the year! But for me it’s a lot of words and definitely more than I’ve ever added to my blog in this short of time.

But that’s what deciding will do for you. Deciding that you’re all in on your writing dreams and that you’re committed to showing up every day and doing the work.

And then not just deciding and committing, but actually stepping up day in and day out and having the discipline to follow though and do the work.

That’s what I’ve been doing the last six months. I don’t usually write a blog post on the weekends unless something comes to me that needs to be written down. But Monday through Friday, I’m writing something.

Even when I don’t want to. Even when I don’t feel like it. Even when I think I have nothing to say.

The funny thing is, when I think I have nothing to say, whatever comes out usually ends up being THE thing that people needed to hear in that moment. Resistance is powerful like that.

So when you bust through the Resistance and actually write the words down and get them out there, people are moved by it and they feel connected to something bigger than themselves.

Writers are messengers for the world. That is one thing I deep-down truly believe. Writers have a gift of taking random words and putting them down on the page in an order that flows and makes sense and inspires, empowers, entertains and motivates people.

Words have power. Always have, always will.

And I’m so happy and proud of myself for sticking with the commitment to just let my Daily Think Different posts out.

Because that’s one thing I know I’m meant to do: change the way people think and challenge what they believe is possible.

That’s why I write my daily blog posts. That’s why day-in-and-day-out I sit my ass down in a chair and I write what’s going on in my head and share what I’m feeling and experiencing.

Because I know that my people need to hear it. Because I know it’s going to reassure them and reinvigorate them and give them a kick in the ass when they need it.

Truth be told, I write my Daily Think Different posts for me more than anything else. I write what I most need to hear in the moment. But then I share it with my community and so many of them need to hear it too.

And the best part of all of this is writing more than 100k words on my blog over the last 6 months hasn’t at all felt like work. It’s felt fun and inspiring and now it’s a habit for me to sit down every morning after I do my mindset work and just let out on the page whatever’s going on for me.

That’s exactly as it should be. And that’s how you know you’ve found something worth doing.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. To celebrate my accomplishment of writing more than 100k words on my blog over the last six months, I’m doing a series of giveaways over the next couple days. If you want to be IN on the giveaways, all you have to do is go to the post I link to each day and leave a comment. That automatically puts you in the running to win. More details coming tomorrow…

Freedom Is A Choice

When I was in college, I wanted to be a magazine editor (preferably fashion or lifestyle) in New York City. It was all I thought about.

I applied for jobs and internships all over NY as often as I could during my junior and senior year. But nothing really came of it.

I wasn’t deterred. I knew the NYC magazine world was a tough business to get into.

It was the second semester of my senior year and I had no idea what I’d be doing after graduation. I wasn’t worried, though. I already had a good job working for the local newspaper’s website and writing a weekly column in the print edition and features for its entertainment supplement.

And then something happened: my professor told me about a magazine internship she thought I should apply for… in Southern California.

Funnily enough, that same professor told me about that same internship (it was an annual thing) the year before, when I was a junior. I brushed it off because it seemed like a far-off idea to leave everything and go away for the summer.

But as a senior with no after-graduation plans who dreamed of being a magazine editor it was pretty much the best thing ever.

So I applied and got the internship and moved out to SoCal for the summer of 2005. I spent three months writing and editing for Reptiles magazine (by choice, I love reptiles!!), as well as helping out with other magazines within the company when they needed a hand (they had dozens).

I loved getting to dress up every day and go to the office, because that’s what I always saw my mom do growing up and that’s what I was always told you did. It was one of the best summers of my life.

Then I got offered a job as an editor for a pet products magazine, which I accepted without hesitation. I loved SoCal and loved working as a magazine editor.

At first.

But then I was really living out there. I wasn’t just subletting an apartment for 3 months in student housing, I was renting an house with a roommate and living further from the office, which required a longer commute.

And it made me realize something… why the fuck am I driving in HELL traffic to commute 15 miles from my house to the office to sit at a desk and go online and do all these things I could be doing from home?

I loved Southern California more than anything and can’t wait to move back there sometime in the near future. But what I didn’t love was working in an office.

I’d do anything I could to escape being there, including manifesting illness so I had to go to the doctor. And every time I’d be out of the office during the day, I would see tons of people out and about, enjoying their day. Eating lunch, drinking coffee, not living their life in an office all day.

And in that moment, I decided that’s what I wanted. To be FREE all day long and do whatever I wanted to do.

I had no idea how I’d make it happen, but I believed it was a future possibility.

Toward the end of my stint as a magazine editor, I hated going to the office so much that some days I’d roll in unshowered, wearing khakis, a hoodie and Chuck Taylors. I blamed it on the fact that I wasn’t doing enough writing and I wanted to be doing more writing.

So I left and moved with my now-husband to Houston to start a new adventure.

But then the same thing happened again. I got a great job, I loved it for a while, but I hated the commute and having to work in an office all day. And this job was a 100 percent online job, which meant I could do the whole thing from home (or anywhere).

And lucky for me I had a great boss who allowed our team to work from home 3 days a week. It gave me a preview of the life I wanted.

The freedom life. A life where I’m totally in control of my time and location.

But it still wasn’t enough.

I so badly wanted to find a job where I could work from home every day and never have to go to the office except for very rare occasions.

The problem was there weren’t very many jobs like that out there. Or at least I hadn’t been able to find any.

And whenever I jumped jobs for money (which I did often, I was totally driven by the money in my corporate career), I’d run into the same issues. I constantly tried to get my bosses to see how much more I’d be getting done if I was working from home full-time. But they’d never go for it.

I applied for work-from-home jobs all the time. Nothing came of all the energy I was putting into it.

That’s when I realized I had to stop giving other people permission to control my time and location.

I had to take back my power. I had to create my own freedom.

So that’s what I did. I quit my corporate day job in March 2012 and walked away to do my own thing where I’m in control of my time and my location.

I had no clue how I’d make money. It was pretty damn scary, actually, but I had so much adrenaline going from finally doing the thing I wanted to do–quit my job to work for myself–that I didn’t care. I just trusted that I took the action and something would work out.

And what worked out at the time, was freelance writing.

Back when I first moved from SoCal to Houston I couldn’t find a job right away and I didn’t want to settle for any crappy-ass job. So I freelanced for the first few months I was there, and I made a damn good income.

A job eventually came along, but I freelanced on the side now and then just because extra money is always nice. And there I was in 2012, having to figure out how to make my own money.

So I turned, once again, to freelance.

I wrote articles and marketing copy and feature stories and I interviewed people and I wrote my ass off. And I made a living.

It wasn’t a lot at first. In 2012 I brought in around $16k. But it was the best year of my life. Because it had been all on my terms and I was in charge of my time and location.

Freedom.

It’s the ultimate thing I value above everything else. Freedom.

My definition of freedom have evolved a lot over the years and I continue to create more freedom and it continues to be more and more on my terms. But that’s where it all started.

With freelance writing.

It gave me an income when I was in a job transition. It helped me support myself and my family when I first quit my job to work for myself.

Eventually I went from $16k to $25k to $32k and growing. Now I’ve added in several other income streams and make more money doing more things I enjoy.

But it all started with freelance.

Freelance writing = freedom.

Before you go jumping the gun here and quitting your job to freelance write, I have to add that freelance writing is a tough business. It’s an uncertain and sometimes inconsistent business. It’s an ever-changing business.

But the toughest part is being mentally strong enough to handle the freedom and all that comes with it.

Because now you’re in charge. You have to apply for gigs and you have to handle the payment arrangements and you have to keep track of everything and you have to pay taxes and discipline yourself to do the work by deadline.

Now your income is in your own hands.

And if you can’t handle the uncertainty and being in control and having the discipline to get shit done, the freelance life isn’t for you.

But if you can handle all of that, there are more and more opportunities available every day because so many companies are building online presences and on the internet, content is king.

Content can’t write itself. Which means they need writers to write the content for them.

There’s a whole lot more to know about freelance writing and living the freelance life. More than I can share in this post right now.

I really just wanted to inspire you to see that the freedom you so desperately want is yours, so long as you’re willing to do what it takes to create it.

Freelance writing isn’t the only option, obviously, but it is a great way to get paid for your words and to make a living as a writer.

And it also frees up your time so you can do more of your own writing too.

I’ve had the freedom life for 5+ years now and I will never go back.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

 

P.S. If you want to create your freedom life through freelance writing, stay tuned!! Doors to my new workshop, Freelance to Freedom, are opening on Thursday and we kick things off on August 1. More details soon… 

You Can Make-Believe Your Way Into Your Dreams

A little over a year ago, I became a best selling author on Amazon. I sold 1,007 books in 30 days and hit #1 in the Authorship category.

And when I looked back at what, specifically, I did to make it happen, I was surprised (but not all that surprised) to find out it was mostly the acting as if stuff that helped me manifest it.

Yes, I already had a following and other books out and momentum. But I’d had that for years. It wasn’t until I started to pretend I was already the successful writer and author that I dreamed of being and taking action from that place did things like hitting #1 start to happen to me.

Here’s the cool thing about creating your writing dreams: you can pretend your way into them.

You can figure out where you want to go in your writing life, and then you can make a list of all the things you’d be doing and being if you were already that person, and then you can go and take as many of those actions as possible, as if you already are that person.

Just like you played make-believe as a kid and pretended you were a teacher or a mom/dad or an actor or a cowboy or a princess or whatever you liked to pretend to be (for me it was always teacher, artist and storyteller). You can do that right now with your dream writing life.

Here’s an example:

When I’m developing and planning a new story and I’m ready to write the first draft, I always build a Scrivener file for it. First I create two folders inside the file: 1) Written 2) To Be Written. Then I add a text file for each scene in the order they’re listed in on my roadmap to the “To Be Written” folder. And if I know the name of the story already, I’ll put it on the title page and rename the manuscript as well.

This is my starting place. And then I marinate.

I’ve got the story in my head and the plan down on paper. I’ve been thinking about it, marinating on it, and pulling out pieces and writing them down as they come through for weeks, if not months.

And having the Scrivener file all set up and ready to go really stirs up the inspiration. I find myself waking up in the morning with the opening lines for the story or a particular scene dancing through my head. Ready to come out.

Then I sit in front of the blank Scrivener file and I channel the words down to the page.

Before setting up the Scrivener file, I have no idea what words to use, they just won’t come out. But by pretending I already have the words and setting up the Scrivener file like I’m ready to start writing, the words come to me. Every single time.

Because I’m acting as if. I’m make-believing that I know what to write, and so I do the things I know I’d be doing if I already had the words: set up my Scrivener file.

I have a story plan, OF COURSE, I won’t write without one. But the story plan–while insanely useful–doesn’t tell me the specific words I need to write. It only informs me of what the story is about and what has to happen in each scene.

The words are a whole other beast.

So I use the acting as if principle to make the words come to me. I do this for my novels and for my blog posts and my nonfiction and even for the writing I do for my clients. I even have a client who I’m so in-tune with, when I’m writing her email copy I feel like her voice is being channeled through me. (It’s pretty freaking cool!!)

A little over a year ago, I started to pretend I was already a best selling author. I committed to writing and publishing 9 books that year. I opened myself to the idea of becoming a best seller and receiving the inspired actions to take.

Most importantly, I declared it publicly to my community that I was going to be a best selling author on Amazon in 2016. And to hold myself accountable to it, I started a group called the Bestselling Author Mastermind and I told everyone they could watch me hit #1 and I’d talk them through everything I was doing and how I was doing it.

So when my new eBook hit #1 on Amazon a week after creating this group and declaring publicly that I was gonna be a best seller, I was surprised, but, again, not all that surprised.

Because I acted my way into it.

I pretended it was already true and I took action from that place.

If I was already a best selling author on Amazon, I’d most definitely have a group where I showed people what I did and how to do it, as well as held them accountable to taking action in their own writing lives. So that’s what I did. I started the group and showed them live in real time how I became a best selling author.

When you start to let go of how you’ve always been told you should achieve things and start opening your mind to using universal laws to create what you want, you’ll be amazed at how much easier everything becomes.

Now don’t get me wrong–you still have to put in the work. I was able to easily manifest best seller status because I had built up so much momentum over the years. I just wasn’t open to receiving it until then.

But my point in all of this, is that you can very easily act your way into the writing life you’ve always dreamed of. You just have to step into the identity of who that writer and author would be right now.

It’s up to you whether you take baby steps or huge leaps. Both ways work and both ways will bring you closer and closer to being that writer and author you’ve always seen yourself as.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are NOW OPEN to new members!!!! BAM is my high-level support group for multi-passionate writers and authors who want to have the habits, mindset, craft expertise, consistency and follow-through of a bestselling author, while writing and publishing their books and creating their dream writing lives all on their terms.

I’m SO pumped to welcome the new members to the group. I’ve just filled the member’s site with a ton of new content, including all of my most recent workshops. This is the BEST the member’s site has ever been.

See EVERYTHING you get in the member’s site, get the full details on the membership and sign up for the group here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/landing/mastermind

If You’re Not Constantly Pushing Your Comfort Zone, You’re Not Really Living

Let me ask you something… when was the last time you tried something new?

I’m talking out of your comfort zone, feeling a little anxious and scared and yet excited as hell to give it a shot. Something that you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t allowed yourself to do yet.

When was the last time?

If you had to think about it, then it’s been too long. It’s time for you to throw yourself off a cliff.

Metaphorically, of course. Don’t actually go jumping off any cliffs.

But unless you’re regularly trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and living life on your edge, you’re not really living.

I went to Austin over the weekend for a visit with my husband and one of our friends. We’ve been doing this every couple weeks since we got to Texas in June, just so we can start getting acquainted with the place and where everything is located, since we’re moving there in 25 days.

And while we were there, I realized something… I wanted a funkier hairstyle. I want to be the cooler version of me, the one I occasionally allow myself to be when I’m brave enough.

The cooler version of me has funky hair. I used to have blue hair. (You can see a pic here: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferblanchardwrites/photos/a.547695938609826.1073741828.135311329848291/959469290765820/?type=3&theater.)

But as much as I loved it–and I really, really loved it–the upkeep and mess was just such a pain in the ass and in opposition to the easy, breezy lifestyle I want (which includes a 5-10 minute hair and makeup routine, except for special occasions).

The day they invent a permanent blue that doesn’t bleed out on everything, I will dye my entire head again and keep it for life. I am meant to have blue hair. But I digress…

So since blue hair is out–for now, although I’m not opposed to highlights–I wanted to do a funky haircut. Something really different for me.

I wanted to push my comfort zone in a big way.

I started Googling and searching on Pinterest and I came across a singer named Frankie Sandford-Bridge who has the most amazing asymmetrical haircut ever. I HAD TO HAVE IT.

I spent an hour-plus Googling pictures of her and trying to find the right ones to bring to a salon with me, so I had an example of exactly what I wanted. I’ve had short hair several times before, so this is not something I’m unfamiliar with.

But I’ve never had a haircut where half of it is long and half is short. That was totally new to me. And pretty freaking scary!!

And yet, pretty freaking enticing.

I loved the idea of doing something totally new and different. So I took the pics I found to the salon on Monday and I got the cut.

Immediately after I almost panicked… like, what the hell am I doing??!! I’m gonna look like a weirdo! And, really, who has their hair half long and half short. I can’t wear it as well as she does.

But then I looked at it and realized that it felt totally like me. Like the current next-level version of me (as the next level is always shifting and transforming as I learn and grow). This is what Author Jennifer Blanchard 2.0 looks like.

I still need to grow the hair out in the front a bit more, so it can be more similar to hers. But the point is, I did it. And I’m doing it.

At first I was a little afraid to go out in public–in my mind everyone would be starring at me and think I look weird–but then I just pulled out the principle I always use when I’m trying something totally new that scares me… JUST ROCK IT!!

And what that means is, just own it. Go out there and claim that shit as yours and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

There is no other way.

The more you push your comfort zone, the more you’ll feel confident trying new things and pushing yourself further out–in your writing and in your life.

Right now I’m ghostwriting a novel for a client of mine and I’m scared out of my mind because I want to do a great job and I want him to be happy with it. It’s totally pushing my comfort zone in so many ways.

But I’m learning a lot from it, and it’s helping me to grow and become a better writer and better storyteller. For that I am immensely grateful.

That’s what pushing your comfort zone does. Which is why I push mine, often and from several angles all at once.

When was the last time you pushed yours? And what’s one way you can push it right now?

Answer those questions and then go do it. Universal magic and the life of your dreams lives on the other side of your comfort zone.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. This month in BAM we’re watching 3 movies and deconstructing them together, so we can improve our grasp on craft. We’re always doing fun stuff like this in the BAM group because we’re a community of writers and authors who are serious about achieving our writing dreams and creating our dream writing lives, all on our terms.

Members also get access to all of my workshops and digital products that cost $100 or less, which includes previous workshops I’ve done: Manifest Your Writing Dreams to Life, The Writer’s Confidence Boost, Plan Your Damn Novel, and MORE!!!

Doors are re-opening to new members on Friday July 14. Stay tuned…

Why I Believe In Procrastinating

This may make me unpopular, but it has to be said… I believe in procrastinating. I believe in waiting ’til the last minute to do things.

I used to fight it and tell myself that I shouldn’t be that way. I tried to change it. Tried to fix myself and change my ways and do things ahead of time.

In fact, I spent years of my life trying to overcome procrastination. I even had a blog dedicated to it!

But it never really worked for me.

And if I did do things ahead of time, it just made me feel anxious and caused me to be much more of a perfectionist. When I was doing things right on deadline, I felt in flow and like the words and the magic and the ideas were just pouring out of me, like I was channeling something beyond me.

So then I asked myself… what if this is just who I am? What if this is just my process and how I do things? What if I’m trying to fight being me, instead of just owning who I am: a purposeful procrastinator.

I’m a trained journalist and spent many years working on deadline for newspapers, magazines and online publications. I’m programmed to be a badass right at the last minute.

And while I may not always be physically working on the project or whatever I need to do, I’m always working on it in my head and I’m always marinating on it in my subconscious.

If I try to force it out before its ready, it just doesn’t work. Getting things done at the last minute is when I do my most badass work.

Something I’ve really been working on lately is totally trusting in the timing of my life. And rather than thinking I should be further along than I am right now or that I need to make things happen faster or that I shouldn’t procrastinate like I do, I just accept the flow.

What usually happens for me is I have a bit of life chaos or “stuck” moments where things feel like they’re falling apart, and then immediately after I have several breakthroughs and miracles and Divine Downloads happen for me all at once. I kinda like it, even though it’s not what’s considered “normal.”

We’ve been programmed to think that things need to happen faster and now, now, now. But here’s the thing–wanting something to happen FAST or RIGHT NOW is actually a product of several things:

1. Not trusting that what you want will actually happen for you
2. Not believing enough in yourself to know in your heart of hearts you will get there
3. Having a limiting belief that it’s possible to miss your chance

If you don’t trust that you will eventually get what you want, you’ll constantly be trying to force things and make things happen faster, out of fear of never getting there.

If you don’t believe enough in yourself and in your ability to create your reality and live your dream life, you’ll constantly be pushing and grinding and working your ass off, out of fear of never getting there.

And if you actually believe that it’s possible to miss your chance, you will miss it, out of fear of never getting there.

Fear actually holds you back from getting what you want. It stops you from feeling high vibe and from having the kind of energy required to make your dreams happen.

It attracts more things for you to be afraid of.

When you fully believe in yourself and trust in the timing of your life, you don’t have to worry about never getting there and you don’t have to push, push, push ’til you burn out or decide to retire or give up. You can sit back, relax and do your thing, fully knowing that you will get there.

Because you have to get there. It’s inevitable. That’s what happens when you’re consistent and you take daily action from where you want to be.

Giving up is what stops you from getting there. Not doing the work is what stops you. Not believing in yourself or having limiting beliefs that hold you back is what stops you.

YOU are what stops you.

I don’t give myself a hard time about my procrastination anymore because I know now that’s just how I roll. I know that I need to procrastinate to do my best work and not get caught up in perfectionism (and I’m a Virgo–it’s in my nature to be a perfectionist).

And I know it’s not an excuse because I always get things done and I always do what I say I’m going to.

It might take me ’til the absolute last minute available, but it always gets done, and I trust that whatever comes out is exactly what was meant to and that it wouldn’t have come out any better if I’d done it ahead of time.

So if you’re like me and you procrastinate like a mofo but always with purpose and your work, your projects, your daily actions always get done and you always do what you say you’re going to, there’s no reason to give yourself a hard time about your procrastinating behaviors. (If, on the other hand, you procrastinate like a mofo and you never get things done, constantly miss deadlines and never do what you say you’re going to, you’re not procrastinating with purpose, you’re just straight-up sticking your head in the sand in avoidance. BIG difference.)

Procrastination used to stress me out. It used to give me anxiety and I used to worry that I wouldn’t get things done. But after years and years of living with this process and seeing it work over and over again, I no longer worry.

I trust. Fully. In myself and in the Universe. I trust in the timing of my life and in my ability to always get things done and do a damn good job in the process.

‘Cause at the end of the day, you’ve gotta do you.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are re-opening later this week!!! And I just created a brand-new workshop that I’ll be revealing soon, which BAM members get for FREE. So much awesomeness is about to unfold!! I can’t wait to welcome in the new members. Stay tuned…

Are Your Goals Too Big For Your Beliefs?

So last night I was checking in on my income for the month and I discovered that I’m only $338 away from my goal of making $10k CASH!!!! And I have ZERO doubt in my mind that I will receive the rest of it. It’s DONE.

This is a goal I’ve had since December 2014, and it took me two-and-a-half YEARS to manifest it.

Why?

Because I had three major problems going on:

1) I wasn’t being consistent with my daily mindset practice at first.

I’d been doing Morning Pages daily since I learned about them in 2007. But at the end of 2014 I started to intentionally focus on doing mindset work.

But I wasn’t consistent with it until February 2016 when I started working with my soulmate mentor, a woman who is me on STEROIDS!!!

And my mindset practice has made ALL the difference for me. So if you look at the achievement of this goal of making $10k CASH in a 30-day period, it really took me one year and four months to achieve it. Inconsistency won’t help you achieve a goal.

But there’s another reason it took that long.

2) I was confusing my mind

I was doing my daily mindset work every single day and writing my reality and doing my journaling. But I was writing that “I make $10k a month” while also writing that “I am a multi-millionaire,” which is my BIG goal.

So my mind was getting confused, because those two phrases kinda negate each other. If I was a multi-millionaire, I would be making a hell of a lot more than $10k a month!!

I asked my mentor about this and she said, never write down an intention that you can’t emotionally connect to.

So I started to write “I make $10k a month” and then changed the other to “I am on my way to becoming a multi-millionaire.” Much more believable for me.

And a few weeks after making that tweak, here I am.

Technically you could say I had a $15k month because I made $10k cash but half of that came from a $10k sale of a writing project where I get half up front and half when it’s done. But I digress…

Anyhoo–the reason it took as long as it did was also about one more thing. And it’s the BIGGEST factor, so it’s important that I mention it.

3) My goal was bigger than my beliefs

In December 2014 I didn’t believe I could make $10k cash in one month. I was only making like $20k-25k a year in my biz back then so it was way too big of a leap for me to think I could make half of that in only 30 days.

But I WANTED to believe it.

And so I kept intending it and staying focused on it as much as I could. Until FINALLY I believed it was possible for ME.

Once that happened it was just tweaking some of the wording in my intentions and BOOM. My first $10k cash month. #ThankYou #MorePlease

Belief is EVERYTHING! Because your beliefs create your thoughts and your thoughts determine the actions you take (or don’t take).

And if your current goals are TOO big for your beliefs, the best thing you can do is scale down the goal so that it still stretches you, but also so that it’s believable to you.

If it’s not believable then you won’t emotionally connect to it. You HAVE TO be emotionally connected to a goal to make it happen.

Your emotions and feelings create your vibration and your vibration determines what you achieve or not.

And what creates your feelings? Your beliefs and thoughts.

Which, as always, means YOU’RE in control.

You can absolutely have ANYTHING you dream of and all on your terms, but you have to do the work to get it.

And by the work, I mostly mean the inner work. The outer work is just an extension of who you are and how you feel inside.

Dream life of bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

 

I Live In A Magical Writer World… Care To Join Me?

There are two main types of writers: the ones who buy into the lack thinking and limitation spewed by the writing industry and many of the writers and authors in it, and the ones who know you create your own reality.

Which one are you?

I admit, there was a point in my life where I did buy into the BS beliefs of the writing industry, like it’s hard to be successful or you can’t make a living from your books unless you’re traditionally published or writers are broke/poor. I used to believe the starving artist mentality.

But then I discovered that’s all it is: a mentality. A mindset. A WAY OF THINKING.

And I didn’t like it one bit.

Because deep down I didn’t really believe it. I believed it on a surface level, because that’s what I thought all writers believed.

Until I started to meet authors who were making thousands of dollars a month from their books and authors who make $100k+ a year from their books and writers who got an agent the first time they pitched one and writers who got signed with a NYC publisher their first time around.

And I realized that it really is true: you create your own reality.

YOU get to decide what you achieve, how successful you are and whether or not your writing dreams come to life. YOU. No one else.

There are no limitations except the ones you put on yourself. Period.

I read a survey the other day of authors who make $100k a year from their books, and this was one of my favorite quotes from it:

“Never give up! I was told I could never make it, but I proved everyone wrong. I was rejected by one 300 agents and publishers. And it was a blessing in disguise!!! I now run my own ship and make my own rules. I keep 70% of my earnings! Getting shot down by publishers was the BEST thing to ever happen in my entire life! I wish I could give them a hug! They did me a huge favor and I found indie publishing.”

[The survey was pretty inspiring and had some eye-opening results… check it out here: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/06/07/100k-author/]

This survey–and all the authors who took it–are living proof that you CAN make a living from your books. There are many, many authors out there doing it.

You can do anything. You can be anything. You can create anything. And it can all be on your terms.

That’s the life I’m committed to living–a life that’s all on my terms. Where I get to decide, I get to choose and I get to say what’s true for me.

I believe that I can have it all and do it all… everything I dream of.

And you can too.

There’s no difference between me and you. I’m just a little further along than you are.

So I invite you to STOP. Stop buying into the BS lack thinking and limitations the writing industry and other writers try to place on you. Stop believing that it has to be hard (yes, you have to work hard, but it doesn’t have to feel hard). Stop getting caught up in other writers and authors limited beliefs around what’s possible (or not) for them.

Here’s the truth… if you want to live an extraordinary life where all of your dreams come true and everything is on your terms, you have to give up the notion that you will ever be able to be “normal” or fit in with most other writers.

You won’t and you can’t.

Because normal writers don’t live extraordinary lives. Normal writers buy into lack thinking and limitation. Normal writers email me to say things like, “who are you to charge $10k to ghostwrite a novel?”

Normal writers DO NOT GET IT.

But writers who think different do. And there are lots of these writers and authors out there.

They’re the ones actually hitting ‘publish’ and actually making money from their books and actually pushing the limits of what they believe is possible.

Big dreamers are not normal. Big dreamers are extraordinary. Big dreamers are willing to do the work and willing to risk it all for what they really want.

Big dreamers go all in on their dreams and they refuse to give up. Ever.

Big dreamers fully live my mantra, Dream Life Or Bust.

I’m damn proud to be a big dreamer, to not be normal and not think like most other people out there. Damn proud. Because I love my life and I love being me.

I live in a magical writer world where I get paid good money for my words and sell lots of books and believe and know that I can achieve everything that I decide I will and then act on.

Want to join me?

It’s all up to you.

You get to decide.

You get to choose which writer world you live in: the one with lack and limitation, or the one with unlimited abundance and possibility. Because whichever you choose is what will be.

I know you’re scared. I know all the BS you’ve heard your whole life about what it means to be creative or to be a writer. I know you worry that you won’t be able to pull it off.

But you will. You just have to choose.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Are you ready to create YOUR magical writer world? Then be sure to join us for Manifest Your Writing Dreams to Life–30 days that will totally shake up your ways of thinking and being.

This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for multi-passionate writers who want more.

Is that you? If it is, you don’t want to miss this!!

>> Details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/manifest