Are You Using Your Divine Gifts?

A while back, I heard something that really resonated with me: we all have divine gifts that we’re born with.

I can’t remember exactly where I heard it, and actually it’s really something I’ve heard in lots of different ways from lots of different people (my mentors, the people I look up to, the authorpreneurs I admire, etc). But I do remember that Danielle LaPorte, a world-renowned transformational author and speaker, saying this:

“If you want to find your divine gift(s), you need to ask yourself one question: What do people thank you for?”

And what she meant by that is, on a regular basis, what are people always asking for your help with? Or what do they say thank you or send you appreciation for?

When I asked myself that question years ago (back when I read her book, The Fire Starter Sessions), the only answers I could come up with were: writing advice and style advice. People were always coming to me for advice on how to write their books or how to get their writing done, or they’d ask me for fashion guidance (a little known fact about me is that I LOVE fashion and personal style stuff. It’s another passion of mine).

So I told myself my Divine Gifts must be natural writing skills and natural coordination skills (because fashion is really just putting stuff together in interesting ways).

And while that’s not entirely wrong, it didn’t go deep enough.

The Truth About Divine Gifts

The problem with Divine Gifts is that they’re something we’re born with, something so innate to us that we do it naturally without even trying or thinking about it. And because of that, we discount these skills are valuable. We push them aside because we don’t see how they’d be of any use to anyone.

Until someone shows us the light. When that happens, we start to see our God-given gifts for what they are: our unique way to be of service to the world.

I saw that light recently, when I met my mentor, Kat Loterzo.

Kat and I are very similar, she’s just much further along in her journey than I am. Which is why she’s been such a motivator and inspiration for me. And she’s always talking about Divine Gifts.

I never really got it or fully understood what my Divine Gifts were, until I met her. She helped me get super clear on exactly what my purpose is in this world. And it’s funny, because I’ve been moving in this direction for a while now, I just didn’t see it clearly.

Because you can’t ever really separate yourself from your Divine Gifts. They’re just a part of who you are naturally.

Kat is one of the most inspiring and motivational people I’ve ever met. She blows me away with her productivity and how much writing she puts out in the world and how many awesome things she creates.

She’s always saying how she knows she was born for this. Born to motivate and inspire people to—as she says—“press-fucking-play” on their lives and actually start to live like they mean it. People thank her on the daily for motivating and inspiring them to dream bigger and take action on what they want.

And that’s when I realized it: holy shit, that’s what people thank ME for!!

On a daily basis I get messages via email and social media from people who tell me they love my emails and blog posts, and that I’ve inspired them and motivated them to step up and go after their writing dream. There are books in the world that never would’ve made it out there if it weren’t for the fire I lit under someone’s ass. I am the root source of motivation and inspiration for so many writers out there.

Then it hit me…my Divine Gifts: motivation and inspiration.

(Not unlike Kat and probably the reason I resonate so deeply with her as a person and with her message.)

I was born to inspire and motivate others (writers, most specifically) to get off their asses and go after their dreams.

I have been a hardcore go-getter pretty much since the day I was born. At 5 years old, I was the only person in my kindergarten class who could read, tie my shoes and program a VCR (thanks mom!). And it didn’t stop there. I always had goals, always had things I wanted to learn how to do or wanted to experience.

And I did it. I did it all.

All of the big dreams I’ve had for my life so far have come true. Because I’ve always been intentional and I’ve always taken action and done the work (though not always consistently—that’s something I’m working on).

By me being me, day in and day out, and living my life, going after my dreams and achieving them, I inspire and motivate others to see that they can do it too.

Those are my Divine Gifts. The two things I do naturally, without even thinking about it, because it’s just who I am. I didn’t have to learn to be motivated or passionate, or to have dreams and take the action to go after them. That’s just who I am at my core. I can’t not do those things. It comes naturally to me.

Being good at writing and good at storytelling and teaching people about craft isn’t a Divine Gift, it’s a vehicle for how I use my Divine Gifts of inspiration and motivation.

And this discovery has shifted a lot of things for me. I feel like a whole new person now with a totally clear understanding of who I am, what my message is and what I’m here on this planet to do.

My mission is clear: get more writing out into the world, both my own writing and through motivating and inspiring other writers to do their writing.

This isn’t specific to books anymore, it’s about all kinds of writing: articles, blog posts, poems, short stories, flash fiction, novels, memoirs, nonfiction books… all of it. Whatever you most need and want to get out into the world.

And it’s also about motivation, about success mindset, about getting inspired from the inside and using that as the fuel to achieve all of your writing dreams.

I have uncovered my Divine Gifts and now I want to use them full-force and have massive impact so I can create a ripple effect on creative writers that transforms the writing world as we know it today.

For that reason, I’ve come to a tough decision (and this was something I had already been thinking about since the end of last year). As of May 31, I will no longer be taking on new 1-1 story development coaching clients. The only way to work 1-1 with me now will be if you’ve already worked with me before or if you come as a direct referral from Larry Brooks.

I will, from here on out, be focused on making the most impact and having the widest reach possible. I don’t totally know what that looks like yet, but I do know it involves stepping up my focus on my Bestselling Author Mastermind and Students of Story groups, as well as doing virtual group workshops and more self-paced digital products. (And obviously writing a shit-load of new eBooks and novels.)

This is the business, the writing life, the life in general I’ve been dreaming of since I quit my job back in 2012. And now it’s finally manifesting in my physical world (time and space finally caught up with me!)

You can be an authorpreneur too and create exactly the writing life, business (yes, being a pro author is a business), and life that you dream of having. You have unlimited potential and enough power inside you to make anything happen.

Now you’ve gotta use it.

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What are your Divine Gifts? What do people thank you for?

If you’ve ever thought about or have been dreaming of working 1-1 with me to develop, plan and/or write your novel, now’s the time to step up. You won’t have this opportunity again. (I’m no longer taking new 1-1 story development clients after May 31).

>> Schedule your free Story Assessment call here

 

Featured image courtesy of Alex

The Really Bad Habit Every Writer Should Break

I don’t know about you, but a really bad habit I have is checking my email and Facebook notifications first thing when I get out of bed in the morning. As soon as I wake up, I do my journaling and intention setting for the day, but once I’ve stepped out of bed I grab my iPhone and immediately check my emails and Facebook stuff.

Maybe you can relate?

A lot of people do this. It’s just a habitual way of being for most. But it’s a really bad habit that writers (and creative people, in general) need to work on removing from their lives.

The reason is because instead of starting your day with intention and purpose, you’re being reactive to whatever is going on in the outside world (emails, Facebook messages, etc). And when you do this, it essentially sets the tone for your whole day.

I never even really thought of it that way until my mentor said it the other night on a call I was listening to. She said, “do you really want to set the tone of your day by being reactive to other people’s shit?”

And it really got me thinking, because I’ve had a lot of days where I thought I was in for a good day and then I ended up instead being reactive to a hate-mail that came in or to something that someone posted on Facebook, and then that set up the rest of my day.

I’d be brushing my teeth thinking about the hate-mail or walking the dog and worrying that everything was a disaster and I needed to be home working and not enjoying my morning walk.

All of that is reactive behavior and thinking that gets you nowhere and puts a stop to your productive thoughts and actions, because your mind will just be reeling all day from the jolt you had first thing in the morning.

I know it’s insanely hard not to be reactive. As a society, that’s how we are—we react to things that are happening, instead of setting intention and creating what we want. We’re taught to behave this way, so it’s totally normal for it to be a habit we have.

Except it’s a really shitty one that we, as writers, need to break ASAP.

As a creative thinker, you need to give yourself a boost of inspiration and motivation first thing in the morning, to get the juices flowing and keep you thinking creatively all day long. But when you get out of bed and first thing jump into the outside world stuff by reading emails and checking Facebook or watching the news, you’re instead doing the opposite: pushing your creative juices away.

It’s really hard to think creatively and to feel inspired all day when you’re thoughts are inundated with the outside world.

And the truth is, the world doesn’t need you to be there first thing in the morning. We sometimes think it does because everyone wants instant gratification, but the reality is, it can wait.

There’s no difference between checking your email at 7 a.m. when you first wake up, and checking it at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., AFTER you’ve done your creative work for the day (or at the very least, done some journaling around creating your reality and setting intentions for your life), except then you’ll have been productive and intentional BEFORE you become reactive to the outside world.

And I don’t know about you, but I always feel better and can handle life chaos a whole lot more when I’ve actually accomplished something in my day.

For example, even if something crazy happens in my life and I get distracted from my work for the day, if I at least started my day with journaling and writing my blog post, then I don’t mind as much if I have to deal with life chaos. But when I let life chaos in first thing in the morning, then I feel grumpy and I probably won’t do my journaling or I’ll make excuses for why I don’t need to write a blog post that day.

Habits are intentional ways of being, so you need to create habits that support the writing life you want for yourself.

An Experiment

You know how much I love experiments (well, maybe you don’t if you’re new to me, but yes, I love experiments). Change is hard for me because I’m a habitual person and habits are hard to break, so the way I force myself into changing is to give myself a challenge. (Sometimes my challenges to myself are totally insane, but I live for that.)

I’ve challenged myself to not check my emails, Facebook or anything else until after I’ve done my morning journaling and written my blog post for the day. I’m doing this as an experiment for 30 days, after that I will decide whether to keep going (which is what happens after most of my challenges) or to change something up.

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Do you check your emails or Facebook first thing in the morning? How can you step up and start moving away from that habit?

Ready to kick your bad habits to the curb and instead create habits that support your writing life and align with the writer and author you want to be? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation, get-your-writing-done productivity and success mindset group for emerging authors who want the dream writing life. Learn more here.

Featured image courtesy of Pen Waggener

There’s No Such Thing As Competition (And Here’s Why)

I run a free Facebook group called the Emerging Novelist Incubator, and while some Facebook groups are promotion-free zones, I encourage people to share about their books, and their writing-related products and services.

Now, of course, this is with the caveat that they share valuable content and help people in the group more often than they promote themselves. But other than that, I’m pro self-promotion, because I believe writers need to learn and get better at sharing their work.

A lot of people frown on self-promotion, acting like it’s egotistical to tell people that you created something and are offering it up in exchange for money. And yes, I’d agree that if all you ever do is promote your stuff and never (or rarely) add any real value to people’s lives or give anything away for free, that’s egotistical promotion.

But when you’re a writer who participates on the regular and contributes to building the like-minded community in the group, I see nothing wrong with them posting information about their books.

We’re all here to support each other.

In my group, there are even other writing coaches and story coaches. They participate in the group and add value, as well as share their services. Several people got alarmed at first, and some even reached out to ask me how I felt about having coaches with similar services to me tell the group about their services when it’s my group.

A few years ago my reaction would’ve been a lot different than it is today. When I first quit my job four years ago to take my business full-time, I thought everyone was my competition. I thought we were fighting against each other, trying to claim readers as “ours” and out-doing each other in business.

So if someone was sharing their services in a group run by me, I may have gotten upset about it or worried that they’d steal clients away from me. But now I see things differently.

I don’t believe in competition. Competition does not exist.

There is no one in the world who can do things exactly as I do them or who can replace me. Because there is only one me.

Just as there is only one you. You bring things to the table that no one else could do quite like you can. And yes, there are people out there who might be “better” at stuff than we are, but that doesn’t change the value we bring by being us.

You are irreplaceable. And no one ever has or will ever have the same mix of experiences, thoughts, ideas, skill-sets and perspective that you have.

You are unique and so whatever you create will always be unique in and of itself. And there’s no one who can compete with that, because no one is you, except you.

If you put two (or more) authorpreneurs side-by-side and compare them to each other, you may find that they have similar skills: they all have a way with words, they all help writers develop and write books, they all offer up inspiration and motivation to get you doing the work.

But will they have the same message? No. Will the words they write be similar? No. Will the processes they use or the type of inspiration they offer up be the same? No way.

Which means they’re each putting out something different. And because of this they’ll each attract different clients. Some people will resonate more with one person versus the other and be attracted to or repelled by them.

So there is no such thing as competition.

When you publish your book and get it out into the world, it will stand alone as unique in and of itself, because you wrote it and no one could write it or tell the same story like you can. So there might be other books that exist in the world that are a similar category, genre or topic, but there will never be anyone in direct competition with you because there’s no comparison.

No one will ever be you.

And so I welcome authorpreneurs into my community, because I believe there is more than enough business and book readers to go around and we’re always stronger together than we are divided. Me getting new clients or new book readers doesn’t take clients or readers away from anyone else because we’re not going after the same ones.

I work with emerging novelists who want to create their dream writing lives (which includes writing a kick-ass book worth publishing) whereas other people who do what I do are focused on an entirely different specific group of people. I write novels for women who love chick lit and want an actual story with a love story wrapped around it, whereas other romance authors choose to make the love story center stage in their books.

If you’ve been worrying about how you’re going to compete with all the books out there or ever heard the thought (or had someone say to you): the world doesn’t need another book, throw that shit out right now and don’t ever think about it or worry again.

The world does need another book. It needs your book. It needs to see a subject/topic or a story through the lens that you create or view things through.

No one else will have that exact same perspective or tell that exact same story. So there is no competition.

Now when you enter a contest, that is the only time there is direct competition because everyone who enters is vying for the same prize(s). But in life, there’s no direct competition because there are more than enough clients, readers and customers to go around.

There are billions and billions of people alive on this planet and you only need a small number of them to make a living as an authorpreneur. There is no competition.

So believe. Believe that you’ve got something. Believe you’re meant to get your book out there.

Believe that the world needs it.

Because it does.

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What’s one thing you can do right now to stop viewing other writers as competitors?

If you’re ready to get your book out there, check out Students of Story, my membership site for emerging novelists who want to master the craft of writing novels and have support while they develop, write and publish their books. You can get your first 30 days for only $5. Learn more here.

Featured image courtesy of ThomasWolter

What You Have to Do If You Want to Make An Impact

Something very few pro authors in the online world talk about is all the “icky” stuff that goes on behind the scenes: the haters, the unsubscribes, the fear, the doubt, the self-sabotage. But I always make it a point to talk about that stuff.

Why?

Because if you want to do this pro author thing, like, for real, you’ve gotta know what you’re up against. Being an author in the digital space isn’t the same thing as being an author in the offline world.

In the offline world, the only way to get hate-mail is to have someone say it to your face or to send you a letter via your P.O. Box. But in the online world, hate-mail, complaints, people who want to criticize and point fingers and tell you that you’re wrong…that can show up in your email inbox on a daily basis (and believe me, as you grow into the author you dream of being and find more and more success, that’s exactly what’s going to happen).

If you want to be a pro author, you have to be OK with this. You have to be OK with the haters, the criticism, seeing unsubscribes from your email list.

If you can’t be OK with this, you may want to quit while you’re ahead (or, rather, quit before you’ve actually built up enough success for this stuff to start happening to you).

The truth is, you can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. The online world is full of creepy, annoying, mean, stupid people who have nothing better to do with their time than criticize others, hate on how hard you’re working and try to bring you down to their level.

But you don’t have to fall for it. You can hold a space in your heart for all the people who just don’t get it and never will. For the people who are going to die with their dreams inside them, because they just don’t have what it takes to make it happen.

And you’ve gotta have some compassion for that.

I used to get really upset by this kind of stuff—hate-mail, unsubscribes from my email list. It used to hurt me a lot, because I used to believe that I had to please everyone. That I had to appeal to everyone and everyone had to like me.

Now I know better.

Now I know that trying to appeal to and please everyone is a recipe for pleasing no one. It’s a recipe for keeping people on the fence about you.

And in the online world, that’s the worst thing you can do.

Sounds scary, right? Because we’ve been told that we have to be nice and sugar-coat things so that we don’t make people feel bad or so we don’t “outshine” them with our gifts.

If you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that I have only one thing to say to all of that nonsense: I don’t fucking think so.

The real truth is, if you want to be successful online, if you want to be a successful, thriving pro author in the digital age, you have to be OK with not pleasing everyone, not sugar-coating things, not caring if people get offended or if they don’t like you.

Success is built on being who you are, showing up as you fully, 100 percent of the time and being real with your audience/readers.

That was something that took me awhile to really get, because I grew up getting bullied for being different and for not conforming to what everyone else was doing. So when I started my blog back in 2008, I wanted to appeal to everyone. I wanted to help every writer in the world.

And I made zero impact. For an entire year.

Of course, I wasn’t really out there trying to make a big impact, but I was out there trying to get people to read my blog. And while I did get some readers (I think I had 25 by the end of the year), it wasn’t until I opened up to the idea that not only could I not please everyone, but I shouldn’t try, that things started to take off.

It was hard at first. When I first started blogging, I just wanted to be PC. I wanted to help everyone and I wanted to be liked by everyone.

Never going to happen.

And if you try, you’re totally wasting your time and you’re gonna end up not helping anyone and not making any kind of impact.

It wasn’t ’til I started being myself, writing in my voice, using my words (including the swear words that some people just don’t like) and writing about what I wanted to write about, when things got really good for me.

Yes, to this day (in fact, just yesterday morning) I still get haters and people who want to tell me I’m wrong and that they don’t like what I’m doing. I now choose to see that kind of stuff as a good thing.

If I was being plain-vanilla-boring, no one would care.

And as the great Jon Morrow says, if you’re not getting hate-mail on a regular basis, you’re doing something wrong.

If you want people to care about what you’re doing, to resonate with you and to stick around and eventually buy stuff from you (aka: your books!), you can’t worry about that stuff. You have to just go out there every day and be you to the fullest degree that you can.

Yes, some people will hate it. Some people will not want to follow you or will unsubscribe from your email list. And, yes, some people will make it a point to first tell you that they don’t like you or that they’re unsubscribing, because they can’t just go quietly. They have to make sure you know why they’re leaving.

And the reason is because when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

But by being you, unapologetically, you will call in your real tribe. The people who are meant to follow your stuff and meant to be on your email list. The ones who resonate so deeply with your words and what you’re creating in the world.

The ones who want to be a part of what you’re doing.

I like to write things that push buttons and piss people off. Because this helps me tighten my tribe. It helps me get rid of the people who don’t resonate with my message and who never will.

And it helps me get closer to the people who actually care, who actually want to hear from me, who actually see the value in what I do.

If you’re still here, you’re a part of my tribe. You’re an emerging novelist with big dreams who refuses to settle and who wants to make all your writing dreams come true.

Awesome. You’re meant to be here and I’m grateful that you are.

Big things are coming. For all of us.

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How do you deal with criticism that’s not constructive?

Featured image courtesy of julochka

If You Want to Be A Pro Writer, You’ve Gotta Be Able to Deal With This

A few weeks ago I launched a passion project called the Bestselling Author Mastermind. The idea for a group like this had been in my mind for awhile. But I never acted on it, because it never felt like the right idea.

Until one Monday afternoon back in April. I had just gotten off a call with my accountability partner (one of many) where I told her I was going to write and publish one eBook a month for the rest of the year (and one novel). No idea how I’d do it, but that’s what I wanted to do.

Not long after our call, I was sitting at my desk thinking about how I was going to pull this massive, insane goal off, when an idea pops in my head: create a mastermind group for emerging authors who want high-level accountability, kick-ass motivation, success mindset and to see the behind-the-scenes of my writing life.

I was even being nudged to invite them to watch me as I became a bestselling author.

Now this was a seriously scary idea when I first heard it. I mean, really? Invite people to WATCH me as I become a bestselling author? (Talk about surfacing my fears and doubts!)

So I texted one of my other accountability buddies (well, she’s more like my save-my-ass, talk-me-off-the-ledge, idea-brainstomer-and-totally-amazing-writer-friend, but I digress) and told her what I was thinking. She wrote back that it was freaking genius and I should totally do it.

I then told her  I wanted to call it the Bestselling Author Mastermind, but I was worried because how could I call it that when I wasn’t actually a bestselling author yet? Wouldn’t people judge me and criticize me for it?

A lame fear that had no merit, because as my awesome friend pointed out, I would eventually be a bestselling author, there was no doubt about it in her mind. And so calling my group the Bestselling Author Mastermind was totally in alignment with that goal.

Done.

I called the group the Bestselling Author Mastermind, and then I invited everyone in to watch behind-the-scenes as I became a bestselling author. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when, I just knew it was a done deal.

The funny thing is, I was doing some very powerful intention-setting during that time, without even realizing it. I had not only called my mastermind group, The Bestselling Author Mastermind, but during the promotion of it, I was sending out emails telling over 4,000 people that I am going to be a bestselling author AND that they could watch me do it.

Almost 30 writers jumped in and my new mastermind group was born. I became a bestselling author on Amazon a week later (no joke!).

The crazy part is, this group was more about giving myself a boost of high-level accountability for my goal of writing and publishing one eBook a month for the rest of the year (’cause when you’re leading others, you’ve gotta walk your talk) than anything else. But it ended up becoming something that totally changed my writing life and is now going to be a main focus of mine moving forward.

This group has totally shown me what’s possible when people show up consistently and do the work. I’ve already watched so many transformations it’s incredible. And to hear people stepping up and claiming their dreams and declaring what they want for their writing lives is so beautiful it nearly brings me to tears every time I think about it.

There is so much power in knowing what you want and being willing to let the fear and the uncertainty be there and then acting anyways. 

It’s a common myth that when you achieve success all the fear, doubt and self-sabotaging behaviors drop away. It’s the opposite, really. The fears, doubts and self-sabotage get stronger the further you push outside your comfort zone.

What changes is your awareness of them. Before you were blinded by them, letting them hold you back–even subconsciously–and not knowing it.

But once you know what fear, doubt and self-sabotage looks like for you, you will be more aware of it and more able to recognize when you’re repeating a pattern in behavior that aligns with those old ways of thinking and being.

For example, I now recognize my Upper Limit Problem in-action. I can even predict it’s arrival based on what’s going on in my writing life. Whenever I have a new book coming out, I know my ULP is going to appear at some point following the release of that book. So I watch for it. I look for the patterns in my behavior or the things I’m thinking over the next week or two after the book comes out, and if I notice anything self-sabotagy coming up, I stop it in its tracks and don’t give it any additional energy.

For me, the ULP usually looks like starting pointless arguments with the people closest to me, sickness (in myself or my dog) and accidentally hurting myself (like bumping into stuff and getting bruises or tripping or something like that).

Totally freaking lame-o stuff… but at least now I recognize it. That’s really the key. You have to be aware enough to recognize when you’re self-sabotaging or letting fear or doubt take over your thinking.

And then you’ve gotta axe it. Immediately if not sooner. Otherwise that shit will drag you down.

I’ve spent months nearly flatlined in my business because I was doubting myself so much and in so much fear that it had consumed me and I couldn’t take any action that didn’t feel totally desperate (and that’s not the energy I operate from). It wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong, per se, I just wasn’t aware that these behaviors were my ULP and human-nature self-doubt trying to “protect” me from leaving my comfort zone.

I get it now. I see that you never really lose the fear, the doubt, the self-sabotaging behaviors. They’ll always be there. (As one of my early mentors always said, “New level, new devil.”)

And that’s what you need to see too.

The fear, the doubt, the uncertainty that you feel around your writing, it’s never gonna go away. BUT you can learn how to recognize it in-action, so you can put a stop to it before it takes you down a path you don’t want to go down (the path of procrastination and not taking action).

And the only way to know your fears, doubts and self-sabotaging behaviors–inside and out–is to do the work. Every day, step up and do the work. As you run into the fears, the doubts, ask yourself: what I am doing right now that would cause thoughts like this to come up? 

Nine times out of 10 you’re doing something that will help you make progress on your goals and move you forward on getting your book out there. I can predict this because that’s how fears and doubts work. They’re lazy and so they only come out to play when you’re doing something they consider to be “dangerous” or “unsafe” (aka: trying to leave your comfort zone or be consistent with something or, most importantly, finish a creative project).

If you’re just sitting on your ass watching Netflix and procrastinating on your writing, the fears and doubts will still be there, but not as strongly because they don’t have to be. You’re not doing anything they consider to be a problem.

But remember, the fear, doubt and self-sabotage can only stop you if you let it. So don’t.

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What fears, doubts and self-sabotaging behaviors surround your writing life? And how do you deal with them? 

If you’re ready to kick fear, doubt and self-sabotage to the curb–realizing it will come crawling back from time-to-time, but knowing full-well you have what it takes to get rid of it again–be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors (fiction and nonfiction) who want to create their dream writing lives.

Featured image courtesy of Vic

You Can Have Any Writing Life You Dream Of, But…

Every writer I come across has big dreams. Not all of them will admit to it. Some will tell you they just want to write and publish a book for themselves, so they can say that they did it and if they never sell a single copy, that’s OK.

But you can see a fire behind their eyes when they talk about it. You can tell there’s a whole lot buried in there that wants to come out and see the light of day.

Except you’ll never see it, because some writers just aren’t willing to step up and claim what they want.

But you’re not one of those writers. I know this, because if you were, you wouldn’t be here right now reading this.

No, you’re a writer who has big dreams. Who wants to be a New York Times bestseller and see your novels turned into movies on the big-screen with big-time Hollywood actors playing your Protagonist, Antagonist and love interest. And you’ll get to help with the script and have a cameo in the movie, as well as walk the red carpet at all of the movie premieres all around the world.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Either way, here’s one thing I know: you can have ANY writing life you want. ANY.

If you want the kind of writing life where writing is a hobby and you keep your day job, you can have that. If you want to write full time, you can do that. If you want a writing life as massive as someone, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you can have that too. (Yes, REALLY).

It just comes down to a few things:

  1. Are you willing to believe it? Belief is the number one thing needed to make a dream come true. If you don’t believe or can’t believe in the writing dream you want for yourself, it will never happen.
  2. Are you willing to show up every day and do the work? If you’re not, you’ll never have the writing life you dream of, and I can tell you that with one-hundred percent certainty. Dream all you want, but when it’s all said and done, the successful writers are putting in the work, day in and day out.
  3. Are you willing to write your own rules and create your own reality? An important question, because if you’re not (and that’s OK), it’s gonna be pretty tough to achieve the dream writing life. And the reason is you’ll get stopped by or stuck in the societal norms of being a writer that tell you things like, you can’t make money; being a writer is a hobby, not a real job; writing is hard and takes a long time to be successful at; you’ll never make it to #1…whatever limited things you believe right now. Those things will hold you back and keep you from the success you really dream of. So you have to be willing to step outside what other writers believe and create a new normal for yourself.

Hey, if it was easy to have the dream writing life, everyone would have it. It takes work–both internal and external–to make it happen.

But it CAN happen.

Literally anything is possible in today’s world, so long as you believe it is and then act like it every single day. 

And just ’cause I love examples, here’s one for ya: let’s say you want to sell 50 books a month. That means you need to find 50 people a month wiling to pay money in exchange for your book. As long as the book is available digitally and easy to access (like on Amazon or BN.com), it can totally happen. And pretty quickly, depending on the work you put in.

There are billions and billions of people in this world. A very large percentage of those people are online. And you only need to find 50 of them. Fifty out of billions and billions? Seems pretty doable, doesn’t it?

And that’s the thing I love the most about being an authorpreneur in the digital age. The internet has dropped all barriers between the creator and the consumer and you can connect with people from all over the world and sell your books, services, products, etc. to the people who want and need them most.

This puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you total control of your writing destiny–where you end up and what you create along the way. Empowering, isn’t it? Kinda makes you want to sit your ass in a chair and write something right-freaking-now.

So it’s true, you really can have whatever writing life you dream of. But you’ve gotta believe it and act on it every single day.

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Featured image courtesy of LassenNPS 

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

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

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

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

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

Here are 6 ways to do that:

1. Decide What You Want Your Reality to Look Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have to choose it and step into it.

3. Commit to It and Be Consistent

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

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

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

4. Don’t Stop, Ever

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

Because “nothing is happening.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Expect It to Show Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You don’t have to live in their realities.

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Are You Having “Default Success?”

Every single one of us has a history. A backstory. Somewhere we came from, stuff we learned while we were there and things that have been programmed in us from a young age (things like, beliefs, habits, thoughts, behavior patterns and standards).

So who we are today is the sum of all of that, plus anything we’ve done since then.

Problem is, if you’re not actively working on yourself and on goals you have for your life, you’re living by default. And default programming can be dangerous to your success.

The Default Setting

When you think of the phrase “default setting,” you likely think of an electronic you own that has a pre-selected “starter”  setting until you go in and specifically choose the settings you prefer. These default settings come from the programmers and manufacturers of the electronic.

But the Default Setting also applies to people.

The default programming you have comes from all the things you were taught, told, shown or that you inferred about yourself when you were growing up. It’s the “Default Setting” you’re operating with. 

And this setting will set the bar for everything in your life, including:

  • The standards you’re willing to accept and/or live by
  • The beliefs you hold about yourself, the world, life in general, etc.
  • The thoughts you think on a day-to-day basis
  • The amount of success, love, money, good feelings, positive emotions, wealth, worth, fame, etc. you’re willing to allow yourself to have

But if your Default Setting isn’t aligned with the dreams that you have or the success that you want, you are screwed. You will never get there. Not like that.

Because you can’t. You’r default programming won’t allow for it. You’ll either sit on your ass forever and never do the work, or you’ll do the work but half-ass it or quit, or you’ll make excuses and procrastinate, or you’ll almost get there but then you’ll self-sabotage and fail and then use that as an excuse not to start over again or to give up…

And you’ll never get what you dream of having.

Sure, you’ll get something, because it’s impossible to do the work and not land somewhere. But will it be exactly where you want? Probably not. And will you achieve the big dreams and big success that you desire? No.

You’ll accept less, you’ll be OK with a secondary option, you’ll take something mediocre and call it good enough.

You can’t not, because that’s what your programming is telling you to do. You don’t need to have it all. You can have some of it and still be happy. Being happy is enough.

Not very inspiring, is it?

And you wonder why you can’t motivate yourself to do your writing.

The only way to get what you want and to live life feeling like every day is a gift that you get to open, is to be aligned with it.

How To Get Aligned

Alignment is all about getting things in a row. It’s about matching pieces up so they create a straight line.

So when I say you need to get aligned to the success you dream of having, what I mean is you have to match what you want with the thoughts, beliefs, actions and habits you have going on.

You can’t be a bestselling author and make money from your books if you’re consuming more than you create, procrastinating on doing the work or showing up inconsistently or with no passion. Being a bestselling author and making money from your books requires specific actions, habits, behaviors and ways of thinking that won’t align with the way you’re acting, thinking and behaving right now.

But you can change that. You can shift it and start to see results almost immediately (’cause you know you’re all about the instant gratification. Who isn’t?).

You do this by looking at the details of what you want and where you want to go, and then taking a look at the specifics of where you are right now. Do this side-by-side so you can compare it. Anything that doesn’t align or match up is what needs to be worked on.

So if right now you’re only writing one day a week, but the author you dream of being is a bestseller with multiple books a year and you know you need to be writing on a daily basis to be that person…then you know what you’ve gotta do.

It really is that simple. It’s maybe not as easy to stick with it and be consistent, but it IS that easy to get aligned (or to at least know what you’d need to do to get aligned).

And what it all comes down to is this: intention.

You can either live your life with intention, on-fucking-purpose, pointing yourself in the direction you want to go and constantly focusing on what you want to create and who you want to be and show up as. Or you can live by default, on your pre-programmed default setting, getting the life and success that lines up with that default (regardless of what it is) and just floating along letting life happen to you and then reacting to it.

The choice is yours.

It really is the red pill or the blue pill. What kind of life do you want? A life where you get to create it and design it exactly how you want it? Or a life where shit just happens to you and you just stand in it, react to it and tell yourself bullshit stuff like, “that’s life” or “that’s just how it is?”

Yeah, that might be how it is… right now. But doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

If you want it to change, if you want to see something different show up in your reality, you must create a different picture. You must get in there and CHANGE the default setting. On purpose. With intention.

Your writing dreams are out there waiting for you. They’re out there available and totally possible for you.

But you’ve gotta step up to the plate.

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Featured image courtesy of DaveBleasdale

Want To Reach Your Writing Goals? You Need To Take These Two Actions

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If You Were Born For This, Then Act Like It

I’ve always known I was born to live a big life and to do great things. From a young age I took the world by storm, setting goals, creating stuff, being an entrepreneur (my first biz was a lemonade stand, my second was a craft business, I wrote a 120-page novella in three days when I was 13).

Back then it was easy. I didn’t know limitations or norms. I just did what I felt like doing and had fun with it.

But then it got hard. The people around me weren’t like me. They spent all their time playing outside and doing sports, while I spent a good portion of my time alone with a notebook and pen (or some other creative project).

And a part of me just wanted to fit in.

So I tried. I spent less time doing the stuff my soul wanted to be doing and I spent more time trying to be like my friends. It never worked, of course, because I kept evolving past all of the people I hung out with and then things would go south and we’d no longer be friends.

Growth can be really hard.

It followed me into young adulthood. I kicked serious ass in college, jumping on as many opportunities as possible. My senior year I became the first person in the history of my school to be the editor of the newspaper and the editor of the literary magazine at the same time (and I had totally amazing managing editors on both projects who helped keep things in check).

When I graduated, I went straight into a paid internship for what I thought was my dream job: magazine editor. I was hired on and worked as a magazine editor for several prestigious pet publications, and went from Assistant Editor to Managing Editor within two years of working for the company. I even helped launch a brand new magazine.

I was finding so much success in the work I was doing. Except I wasn’t doing very much writing. Real writing, the kind that I cared about and that had meaning to me.

Sure, I was writing on a daily basis for the magazine and it was fun, but I had stories inside me that wanted to come out. So when I left my magazine job and moved halfway across the country to Texas to work in online and social media marketing, I decided it was time to take on my novel writing dream. For real.

In 2008, I started my blog and committed to writing one blog post a week talking about my journey to writing my very first novel. I was fired up, but then I fell off and ended up doing more blogging than working on my novel.

It took a lot, but I got motivated to write my novel as my deadline came closer, and by my birthday, I had the completed first draft.

But I wasn’t committed to it. I wasn’t committed to being the writer I really wanted to be. So I wasn’t consistent with it.

I was scared, and worried that I’d never get any further than that. One draft.

As the next few years passed by, I saw that I wasn’t at all where I wanted to be. So I finally stepped up and finished a damn novel and then published it.

But I still wasn’t committed. I wasn’t all-in. I didn’t have any consistency with what I was doing.

Yes, I did have consistency with my blogging and my marketing stuff, but not with my soul writing, my books (and especially my novels).

Viva ut vivas is the Latin phrase for "live a full life" or what I like to call "live life to the fullest."

Viva ut vivas is the Latin phrase for “live a full life” or what I like to call “live life to the fullest.”

And the thing that makes no sense is I’ve always known I was born to be a writer, a storyteller, a creator. I’ve always known I was born to inspire and motivate people to get off their asses and live their lives to the fullest. (I even have that phrase tattooed on my inner wrist; see pic.)

But I haven’t always acted like it.

I’ve played small and hided out. I’ve been inconsistent with my art because I’ve been afraid to be the full-out, insane, crazy version of me that I used to be (back when I got bullied for it). Afraid to say the things inside me that I know writers need to hear, but things it’s scary to say.

I’ve been afraid to be the hardcore version of me who holds myself to really high standards and smashes my goals and wants to have it all and believes that I can. And also who DOES THE FREAKING WORK.

That’s all over now. These last few months have been life-changing for me.

I’ve cleaned up my writing habits. I’ve aligned myself with the success I want to have as an authorpreneur. And I’m all-in, doing, as my mentor says, “what it takes, for as long as it takes, until it takes.”

I’m now fully living the writer’s life. Where before I was only dipping my toe into the water, I am now day in and day out living and breathing being a writer, a creator and an entrepreneur.

Because I know I was born for this. The more I’ve stepped into it the more I can feel how aligned it is with my soul. This is who I’m meant to be.

I am an authorpreneur.

Were you born to write? Born to put your words and your stories out into the world? Have you known for a very long time that you’re meant to do big things?

Then start acting like it.

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