6 Ways to Create Your Writing Life On Your Terms

Life by design? Or life by reaction? That was the choice sitting in front of me (in front of all of us, really) back in 2008 when I decided to start my blog and take control of my writing life once and for all.

It’s been a bumpy ride since then, with ups and downs and all arounds. But one thing has remained constant: I’m creating my writing life exactly as I want it, all on my own terms. 

That’s what I dreamed of. I saw writers out there struggling to find freelance work and getting rejected over and over again by publishers and agents who saw no potential in their books. And I didn’t want to be like them. I didn’t want to hand my writing career over to someone else. Didn’t want someone else’s opinions clouding that inner guidance telling me which direction to go in.

I wanted to take control, to make the decisions for myself, to be in charge of whether I succeed or fall short. It’s all on me.

If I had to pick a theme song to represent me, it would be the song, Make Yourself, by Incubus. That song is all about creating yourself and your life on your terms. With lyrics like, “if I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now,” and “if you let ’em make you, they’re make you paper maché, at a distance you’re strong until the wind comes, then you crumble and blow away,” and my favorite line: “but if you really want to live, why not try and make yourself?”

I believe so deeply that we’re meant to make ourselves, that we’re meant to decide who we want to be, and that we can absolutely choose and then step up and be that person.

This applies to everything–including your writing life.

You can totally create the writing life you’ve been dreaming of and you can do it all on your terms. Yes, you.

The only limitations that exist are the ones that you place on yourself, in your mind. Remove those limitations and you will soar to heights you can’t even imagine right now.

You can choose, right now, to start taking control of your writing destiny, by:

  • Working consistently on your mindset–mindset is everything. If you can create it and believe in in your mind, it has to show up in your reality.
  • Giving up the excuses–whatever excuses you make may totally be valid, but they’re still costing you the writing life you dream of having. So give them up and commit to dealing with whatever comes and doing your writing anyhow.
  • Showing up every day–in whatever way you need to show up. Sometimes it’s actually doing the writing, other times it’s just being visible in the online world and letting people know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Stepping up and claiming what you really want–the first step to getting what you want is being very clear on what it is that you actually want and then claiming it and saying out loud to yourself and to others that you are going to make it happen.
  • Not being so rigid about how things happen–if you’re not making a lot of progress it’s probably because you’re being way too rigid about how things are supposed to happen. Writing can happen no matter how much time you have available (15 minutes is enough!). Progress can be made daily when you drop trying to be perfect. Dreams can come true when you stop worrying about how it will come true and just take whatever actions you can think of.
  • Ignoring what everyone else is doing–a big part of creating success on your terms is not worrying about, thinking about or focusing on what anyone else is doing and just doing what feels right to you. Now that’s not to say you should operate in a vacuum (big mistake to do that!). But you need to connect to your intuition and follow the path that your heart desires. All of the most successful times in my life came from following my heart and ignoring everything else.

Your dream writing life exists. Someone out there is already living it. Which means it’s possible for you to have it too.

But you’ve gotta step up, your mindset and your action-taking.

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How will you step up your mindset and action-taking today? 

If you’re done with excuses and ready to step up and claim the writing life you dream of having, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, where we kick excuses to the curb and make big shit happen. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Lindsay Alachance

2 Signs You’re Moving In the Right Direction (And Should Keep Going)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “success signs.” As in, the little signs that start to show up in your reality the more consistent you are and the more progress you make.

As I’ve really thought about my “success signs,” or patterns that tend to repeat themselves every time I have a success of some kind, I’ve noticed 2 main signposts. Most people would probably freak out when they see these signs showing up in their lives (I know I used to!).

But now that I’ve been doing this whole pro writing thing long enough, I’ve discovered that similar things happen to me over and over again, the more success I achieve.

Here are the 2 things that I find to be signposts for success, or at the very least, signposts for, “Yes, you ARE moving in the right direction. Keep going.” Those signs are:

1. Haters

Whenever I’ve reached a place in my writing business where I’m being bombarded by haters or by people who don’t like what I’m doing/who I am and want to give their two cents about it (which, to be honest, isn’t even worth 1 cent, but I digress…), I know I’m doing something right.

I used to take haters as a bad sign. I used to think if someone didn’t like what I was doing or how I was doing it, that I was in the wrong and should change in some way.

But after the last few years of working my ass off to up-level, I’ve realized that whenever haters show up in my world, it’s because I’m on the cusp on something awesome. For me, haters come out of the woodwork when I’m about to push through an old way of being/thinking and achieve a whole new level of success.

Now, rather than see haters as a bad thing or as a sign to retreat, I see it as a sign to PUSH HARDER. To KEEP GOING. To STICK WITH the path I’m on. 

So that’s what I do now. I push through. I keep doing what I’m doing. I commit, in that moment, to NOT letting it get to me, to NOT giving in and to NOT being deterred.

Because that’s what the haters want. They want to stop you, to drag you down with their bullshit. But the thing you need to always, always, always remember about haters is this: it’s NEVER about you. It’s ALWAYS about them.

Sure, maybe there’s something about you or something you’re saying or doing that’s pushing their buttons and causing them to feel reactive. But, again, that has nothing to do with you and everything do with them.

When I get haters (and I get them often these days), I do the following:

  • Avoid reacting to them, as much as possible–yes, sometimes it’s impossible and a hater has said something so ridiculous and unnecessary that you have to write back, reply and tear them a new one. BUT most of the time haters are just a test from the Universe to see if you’ve really got what it takes to do this writing thing for real. So by not reacting, you’re pissing the hater off more AND showing the Universe you’re ready to go pro.
  • Write my reality–even when I know the things a hater is saying are totally wrong and not at all valid, that shit still gets into your head. It still nags at you and irritates you and annoys you to no end. BUT most writers would let that spin into complaining and the total ruination of their day (it’s happened to me before). Talk about an energy drain. So what I do now, is take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, let it out slowly and then I grab my journal and write out the reality I want to create. I write out who I am, what I stand for and what I want to see happen. Mindset work–especially in the face of a hater–is the most powerful tool for overcoming whatever negativity is being spewed at you.
  • Dance–sometimes to “Shake It Off” and sometimes to whatever song feels right in the moment (this morning that song was “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow). Dancing always gets me out of my head and into a flow state.

Haters are gonna happen. How you deal with them is what really matters. 

2. Feeling Really, Really, Really Good

For me, feeling really good is now the norm. It’s how I choose to live my life. It’s the intention I set for my day, every day.

Problem is, as humans, we’re taught BS things like, “what goes up must come down” and “don’t be too happy or you’ll be crying later.” We “knock on wood” when something good happens because we’re afraid that if we don’t, something bad will follow.

We’re taught by the people we love most that feeling good and having good stuff happen is a fluke, but not the norm. And so we actually believe that shit. We actually take it in and believe it.

I can’t even count how many times in my life I’ve had good stuff happen and then immediately my thoughts went to, “Be careful, something bad is always on the tail of something good.” What???!!

Say it with me now… THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!

You are allowed to feel good. All the time. Good things are supposed to happen to you. You were born into an abundant universe where anything is possible when you set your mind to it. 

So feeling good SHOULD BE the NORM. It should not be a fluke and you should not feel like you “got lucky.”

Happiness, joy, feeling fucking amazing is YOUR BIRTH RIGHT.

But it’s up to YOU to claim it. To decide that you’re going to feel good every single day, no matter what.

For me, when I’ve had too many days in a row where things are working out or I’m feeling really, really, good and really really happy and really, really loving my life, I usually sabotage it. Find a way to do something that will push me back down in the dumps or make me feel bad again.

That’s just how it is…right?

WRONG!

When I realized that wasn’t “just how it is” but instead was “just a choice I was making,” I decided to make the opposite choice. Now when I have days where I feel awesome and weeks where everything is flowing and success is literally just falling in my lap, I do the following:

  • Repeat life truths over and over to myself–“I am allowed to feel good. I am allowed to keep this good feeling going. Bad stuff cannot touch me when I am feeling this good. THIS is how it’s supposed to be. This is what I’m meant to feel. And, most importantly, it is OK for me to feel good and to be happy every day.” Doing this immediately changes my way of thinking and shifts me to a higher vibration where I am actually able to keep the good feeling flowing.
  • Focus, focus, focus on what’s going well–when things go well, a lot of times we sabotage it by turning to the negative and telling ourselves all the things that could go wrong or worrying about what might go wrong. This is when you must have an unbreakable mindset and force yourself to IGNORE all the bad stuff that could happen and all of the worry and just stay focused on the good stuff and on what you want to create and on what could go right. What you focus on expands.

When I’m feeling really good, I know it’s because I’m on the right path and that I have arrived at a new level. And I know the success I’m starting to see will keep going and will expand even further if I just stick with it and don’t get deterred by haters or by feeling good or anything else.

 

Now sometimes you may feel like you’re on the wrong path because “nothing is working out” or “it’s not working out fast enough.” And I get it, believe me. I am the Queen of Impatience. (I wanted to get to where I am right now like 5 years ago, so by this point I could be where I actually will be 5 years from now.)

But success requires patience. (As one of my favorite musicians, Tom Petty, says, “The waiting is the hardest part.“)

So even when things aren’t totally working out, if you’re seeing some signs of success, then you’re doing something right. Just keep going.

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What are your success signs? How do they show up in your life?

Ready to take your writing life to a whole new level? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. Doors are opening to new members soon! 

 

The #1 Mistake Emerging Authors Make

Let’s be honest, emerging authors make A LOT of mistakes. Especially the first time around (and especially when they go at it alone). But out of all the mistakes I see them make, there’s one that stands out as being the most deadly.

And that’s thinking writing and life are two separate things.

Writing and life can’t be treated as two separate things, not if you plan on making a career of being an author. Because they aren’t two separate things.

That’s like trying to separate yourself from being a writer. Can you do that? Of course not! Because being a writer is who you are, at your core.

But I still see so many emerging authors trying to fit writing into their lives or trying to find time for their writing, when what they really need to be doing is creating a lifestyle around being a writer. 

It’s BS to think you can keep your writing separate from your life and be successful with it. You don’t FIND time for your writing, you MAKE time for it.

BIG difference.

And you make that time by setting up your lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs and habits so that they support you doing your writing and support you being the writer and author you want to be. That’s what it really takes.

So it’s a mistake to separate the two or to treat writing like it’s just something you do. If writing if just something you do, if it’s just another hobby, that’s fine. But you’ll never be a successful pro writer.

For a pro writer, writing is a lifestyle. It’s not just something they do, it’s who they are. They can’t separate it because to do so would mean to lose a part of themselves, like losing an arm or leg.

When I think back to the very few times in my life where I set writing on a shelf and didn’t touch it, those were some of the darkest and most painful times I’ve ever had. Because I was blatantly suppressing an innate part of myself. Like if you purposely covered one of your eyes all day every day, even though there’s nothing wrong with the eye and it’s perfectly functioning.

That’s the reason I’ve always, at the very least, kept a journal of some kind. Because if I couldn’t write something, I’d die.

Being a writer is who I am.

And it’s who you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. So it’s time to stop treating it like it’s a hobby or an interest or just something that you do. 

It’s time to start treating your writing like it’s your life, like it’s a priority, like it’s that thing you were born for. (Unless you don’t feel that way. But if you don’t, this probably isn’t the community for you.)

I know I was born to be a writer and to transform people’s lives with my words. Out of all the things that ring true for me, this is the truest. 

If this also rings true for you, then I urge you to step up your game and start thinking and acting like the author you dream of being. It’s the only way.

Because writing isn’t something you do, it’s something you are.

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How are you stepping up your game right now to be more like the writer and author you want to be? 

Ready to take your writing life to the next level? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation, high-level accountability and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. 

Image courtesy of Nick Webb

Why You Need to Start Trusting the Process (And How To Do It)

NOTE: this is a guest post from Mary DeRosa Hughes of the Grateful Scribe

A few weeks ago, my best friend and fellow writer Kelly called me up on the verge of a panic attack. She was swamped with projects, when one of her clients came to her with an assignment she had no time for: writing employee profiles for a group of highly successful metropolitan realtors. Never one to disappoint a customer, she asked if I could pinch-hit for her.

I had room in my work schedule, so I accepted the assignment. After her breathing returned to normal, she gave me the details.

“They need a full page bio for each realtor. Twenty five of them. In five days.”

So it’s a tight timeline. 

“And you also have to interview everyone. ”

Now it’s a really tight timeline.

Then she hit me with the final piece: “Just a heads up:  they’re insanely busy people.  If you get five minutes of their time, that’d be a serious miracle. As in turning-water-into-wine kind of miracle.”

Uh oh.

Kelly was relieved, but my anxiety-fueled monkey mind was off to the races.

I have to track down twenty five real estate agents who barely have time to breathe, let alone talk to me. And if they do give me five minutes of their time, they’ll probably be hostile because they could have used those precious minutes to sell sixteen condo units. I’ll never get anything good from them, so the profiles will be horrible. Why did I say I would do this?

But then the chatter stopped. And I shifted from questioning my sanity to questioning my lack of faith, in myself and in the Universe.

I have been writing professionally for almost 20 years. I believe infinite wisdom is at work in everything. The Universe sent me this assignment for a reason.

So why do I think I can’t handle this?  I have to embrace it and trust the process.  Believing fully that everything will work out.

After pondering that for a moment,  I logged into my email, pulled up the contact numbers for every agent and started dialing.

My initial call was simply to set a time for us to chat. But surprisingly, quite a few of them agreed to let me interview them right on the spot, and they offered up some great info. Many of them even spent well over the coveted five minutes with me.
Several days later, I turned in the project, feeling not only relief, but a renewed sense of confidence, in both myself and the Universe.

Learning to trust the process is great for everything from supporting your work in the world to your mental and physical health. But what exactly can you do to snap into “trust autopilot” when faced with scenarios that are unfamiliar, nerve wracking or downright scary?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Inventory Your “Work Outs” (and I don’t mean time at the gym)
– How many times have things you initially doubted and stressed over actually worked out? Probably more often than not, right?

Keep a list of all the successes you’ve had when you just relaxed, took action and let the Universe orchestrate the “How.” When you feel like your sense of trust is headed for the exit, grab that list and read it.

Stop Fearing The Fear – As long as you are learning, growing and trying new things, you will encounter at least some level of fear at the outset of whatever you’re doing.

And contrary to what your churning stomach and racing heart may seem to indicate, you’re not going to die. Honestly.

You are actually becoming more alive by facing – and conquering – these uncomfortable feelings.

Curtail the “Cursed Hows” – You’ve set your intention. You’ve put positive energy around the situation. You believe that the Universe will deliver an awesome end result.

But…you can’t stop thinking of how it will all come together. Which people will or won’t cooperate? Where will the money come from? Is this going to take a week? A month? Forever?

When you catch yourself running this tape-loop in your head, stop.

Then remind yourself that you’re dealing with a powerful, loving,  unlimited creative force with riches and resources far beyond what you can imagine.  And all of them will be at your disposal the moment you choose to trust the process.

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What steps can you take to learn to trust the process in your own life?

About the Author:

About the Author: Mary DeRosa Hughes is a freelance writer and blogger based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been writing professionally for over 18  years, with experience ranging from corporate video scripts and motion picture screenplays to marketing copy and website content. Her short film Anniversary was an Official Selection of the 2013 Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, U.K.  She is also working on the rewrite of her first fiction novel, and is excited to be releasing her second short film Waiting For Goodbye in the summer of 2016.

If you’re ready to trust the process and want to up-level your writing life and get serious about putting your words out into the world, check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind for high-level accountability and kick-ass motivation. 

Image courtesy of farhad pocha

You Can’t Let This Go To Your Head

My new eBook, The Pro Writer Mindset, debuted yesterday, and I’m super excited about it. It’s a book I’d been wanting to write for a long time and now it’s finally here.

Last month, the eBook I published, Align Your Writing Habits to Success, became a #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon and sold almost 600 copies during the month of May. I could have stopped there, rested on it and tried to coast. Or focused all of my time on marketing and promoting this book.

But instead I decided to keep going. Keep writing and keep putting books out there.

Because you can’t just rest on one success, even a big one.

You have to keep going and keep creating. That’s what it takes to be a pro writer who self-publishes.

So that’s what I’m doing.

And that’s what you need to do after you successfully get a book out there too.

There’s no point in waiting. Yes, you have to take some time to enjoy it and celebrate it. But then you’ve gotta get back to work on your next one.

I think this is where a lot of authors get stuck because they have a momentum built up, but instead of continuing to build that momentum by writing another book, they rest on the book they just wrote and spend the next year or two marketing and selling it. (Or not doing anything at all.)

And yes, you do have to do that–you do have to market and sell your books. But you know what really helps sell a book?

Another book.

At the end of each book, you add a teaser for another book that you’ve written. If the reader gets that far, there’s a very good chance they’ll buy and read another one that you wrote.

So rather than focusing and spending all your time marketing one book, instead market all of your books, in general, choosing one specific book to focus on each day or week.

Now this is just my opinion, but I feel like so many badass authors just don’t write and publish enough books. I want to see multiple books every year from my favorite authors.

Maybe I’m alone in that opinion.

But since that’s what I want to see from my favorite authors, that’s the kind of author I also want to be. Because it’s very likely that the readers who are attracted to my stuff are readers who, like me, prefer to see multiple books a year.

This is how you build a self-publishing career. And it’s important to note, because a self-publishing career is much different than a traditional publishing career. In a traditional career, you can get away with only writing and publishing one new book every few years.

But in self-publishing, you’ll stand out a lot more if you publish frequently and especially if you publish a lot of books all in the same category (this is known as “authority publishing”).

Having multiple books is also the best way to actually make money from your writing. Because one book will sell the other, and vice versa.

Which is why I say don’t let the success of publishing your book go to your head. Absolutely celebrate it and be proud of it, but do not stop.

Keep writing, keep publishing. Keep going.

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How did you/will you celebrate publishing your book? 

If you want to create an unbreakable mindset that will set you up for success in your writing life, check out my eBook, The Pro Writer Mindset: What It Really Takes to Be A Bestselling Author, available now on Amazon.

Image courtesy of GotCredit 

The Pro Writer Mindset: What It Really Takes to Be A Bestselling Author

The Pro Writer MindsetThis is a book I’ve wanted to write for a while now, because after spending the last decade and a half of my life deep in the writing world, I’ve found success mindset to be the biggest thing missing. And the truth is, a lot of writers have bad habits, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs and all kinds of BS nonsense holding them back from being the writer and author they dream of being.

Are you one of those writers?

If you are, you have a choice (and even if you’re not, you still have a choice): do you want to create the writing life you dream of having, where everything you desire is possible? Or do you want to live in a reactive writing world created by the limiting beliefs and negative mindsets of those who came before you?

I believe we can write our own rules and that destiny isn’t a pre-destined place… it’s a place you create along the way as you discover and decide what it is you really want. 

There’s nothing that you must do in order to have the writing career you dream of, but there’s always something for you to do. What that means is, you get to create the writing life you want and you can do it on your terms BUT you can’t just want something and sit on your ass. You have to actually take action every single day.

That’s what The Pro Writer Mindset is all about. It’s about going inside, clearing out the clutter, deciding what you want, getting aligned with it and then watching it show up in your real life.

This interactive eBook will help you get clear on what you want, clear out the internal clutter, get your mind in the right place and get you taking action on your writing dream, whatever it may be. And I even did a full breakdown of the mindset, practical and energetic actions I used to make my book (Align Your Writing Habits to Success) a Best Seller on Amazon (in multiple categories!!).

>> Get your copy here 

 

Are You Letting the “How” Stop You?

I talk to a lot of writers on a daily basis, and a common thing I’ve noticed is, they all have big, huge dreams for their writing lives. They want the bestselling novel and the movie deal and to be a household name in the reading world.

Problem is most of them will never get it. And it’s NOT because they don’t have what it takes to get it (well, maybe some of them don’t).

It’s because they’re either:

  • Not allowing themselves to truly want what they really want
  • Not taking action
  • Not taking enough action
  • Not taking consistent action

And all of these non-allowing and non-actions stem from one thing: not knowing HOW something is going to happen or HOW it could happen… and using that as a reason not to start (or continue). 

And here’s the truth: the HOW doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter!

You never, ever need to know how you’re going to do something or make something all happen. All you need to know is what you want and be committed to making it happen, regardless of what the how ends up being.

I read a lot of books about manifestation and creating your dream life, and something that has been repeated over and over in lots of different ways in these books is this: just moving in the general direction of your dreams is enough. 

You don’t have to do everything, you don’t have to go into debt (unless you can afford to pay it off), you don’t have to sell your soul or sacrifice everything you own. You just have to, as bestselling author, Mike Dooley says, “do what you can, with what you’ve got from where you’re at.”

And what that means is, start from where you are. Take whatever action you can take, right now, today, and don’t worry about the rest. 

By taking that action, you are signaling to the Universe that you’re ready for more and you’re ready for your dream writing life. You don’t have to know the HOW. You don’t even have to take linear actions. You just have to take action, period.

And sure, some days it may feel like you’re throwing darts randomly, with no idea where they’re gonna stick or even if they will. But as the late Steve Jobs always said (and I’m paraphrasing here): the pieces don’t add up ’til you look backwards at them.

So right now it may feel like you’re just doing random things that aren’t really adding up, but when your dream writing life begins to manifest in your reality, you’ll be able to look back at all the seemingly random things you did over the years and see they were actually amazingly perfect stepping stones to where you wanted to be.

The Universe always knows the fastest, easiest way to get us where we want to go–because the how is up to the Universe. So as long as you don’t muddle in the hows or worry about the specifics of how you’ll make something happen, and instead just know what you want, focus on it and then take whatever actions you can think of from where you are with what you have right now, you can trust that the dots will be connected and it will lead exactly where you want to go (or somewhere even better!).

Now this is all a lot of woo-woo stuff, which I’m into. But I also like to ground it out with examples.

An Example of Not Messing With the Hows

Let’s say you want to be a bestselling author. That’s the goal you’re focusing on. Now at this point, you have no idea how you’ll make that happen, but you’re going to trust that as long as you do what you can with what you’ve got from where you’re at, that the Universe will show up for you and connect all the dots.

With that in mind, what actions could you take right now, from where you are? Here are some ideas…

  • Write a book–your chances of being a bestselling author increase when you actually write something
  • Publish your book–your chances increase exponentially when you actually publish the book and put it out in the world where other people can find it and buy it
  • Get started writing and publishing another book–because your chances of being a bestseller will increase even more when you don’t get attached to any one book being the bestseller, and just stay focused on being a bestselling author
  • Work on your mindset–this is super important, because when your mind is in the right place, your reality will follow
  • Intend what you want–do this over and over again. Intend not only what you want–to be a bestselling author–but intend it like it has already happened: I am a bestselling author, all of my books hit #1.

This is what it looks like to take action in the direction of your dreams without messing with HOW you’re going to make that specific dream happen.

An Example of Messing With the Hows

I wanted to show you this example too, because this is the version that most people do. Most people try to mess with how something is going to happen, instead of just taking action in its general direction.

With that in mind, here are some examples of what it looks like to mess with the Hows (and therefore get frustrated and pissed off when things aren’t working out, and then possibly even give up or quit, which is worse):

  • Coming up with a book idea, deciding this book is going to be your bestseller and then writing it–great, step one is obviously to write a book, but what’s going wrong in this action is the “deciding this book is going to be your bestseller.” That’s messing with the hows of becoming a bestselling author. That’s trying to tell the Universe how to make something happen, instead of just letting the Universe figure it out
  • Publishing the book you’ve decided is going to be your bestseller and then spending weeks, months, maybe even years marketing it–maybe to some degree of success and maybe not. The idea isn’t to pick a book you want to have become a bestseller and then turn it into one. It’s to write lots of books and trust that as you do, one of them will be the one that tips the scales in your favor.
  • Refusing to write or even focus on another book until the one you’ve already published is a success–rather than just writing and publishing and then writing and publishing again, you’re focused on this one specific book being successful. That is, again, messing with the hows. It’s not up to you to decide this will be the book that makes you a bestseller. It’s up to you to stay focused on being a bestselling author, and a bestselling author doesn’t just write and publish one book, right?

By being so attached to this specific book being the one that makes you a bestseller, you are limiting all other options and possibilities. That’s messing with the hows. Don’t do that.

An Example from My Real Life

And one final example, this time from my real life. So in February this year, I met my current mentor, Kat Loterzo, who is the author of 47 books (46 of which have been bestsellers on Amazon). Before I met her, being a bestselling author was something I wanted, but it wasn’t something I was allowing myself to be open to.

And why? Because I couldn’t see HOW it would happen!

But when I met Kat, it finally dawned on me: I don’t have to worry about how it will happen. I just need to trust that by being open to the possibility of becoming a bestselling author, and doing the work, the how will take care of itself.

So I wrote down that I am a bestselling author. I declared it and I decided to be open to it. Soon after I got the idea for a 30-day “align your writing habits to success” challenge that I would do to help clean up my writing habits and get aligned with being the bestselling author I wanted to be. Then I invited my community to participate with me and more than 100 people signed up to join in.

When the month was over, my writing habits were completely overhauled and I was inspired to share the challenge with more writers. I decided to turn the challenge content into a multimedia, interactive eBook.

I put that book together in 15-minute daily sessions over the course of 30 days and then published it. During that time I also committed publicly that I’m going to write and publish one eBook a month for the rest of the year. I had a book idea in my mind that I was going to write after I published the writing habits book.

In my mind, this new book was it. It was going to be my bestseller. It’s a book the writing world has needed for a long time now. So I just put the Align Your Writing Habits to Success eBook out there with minimal promotion or even attention paid to the launch, because I was ready to move on to the next eBook.

And then I discovered the day it launched that it was at #3 in its category! And a thought hit me: what if this is the one? Could I get it to #1? 

I jumped in and actively started telling people about it, sharing the book, making short teaser videos for Instagram and telling my friends and family on my personal Facebook page about it (which I don’t always do). And this time I told them I wanted to hit #1 and I asked them to buy the book.

And then it happened. My book, Align Your Writing Habits to Success, hit #1 on Amazon in the authorship category, stayed there for a day and a half, and then went back to #1 a few days later. 

I didn’t even have one shred of a thought that this book would be the one to make me a bestselling author…until I saw it at #3 and realized, with some effort, I could pull it off.

Now yes, I did a lot of work to make this happen, but looking back, all of the HOW came directly from the Universe–everything from the inspiration to create the 30-day challenge to the desire to turn it into an eBook to spread the message further to randomly thinking of checking in on launch day to see where the book was at in the rankings (which, to be honest, is something I never really do. But now I will be!). 

That was the HOW for me becoming a bestselling author. But in order for it to happen, I had to do my part, which was to jump on the inspiration I received back a few months ago when I created the challenge. It was to take action from where I was at.

I could’ve instead tried to figure out which book I needed to write to become a bestseller, I could’ve gotten attached to it being one book over another… but instead, I just focused on what I wanted: to become an Amazon bestselling author, and then I acted from where I was with what I had.

Magic can happen when you let go of the hows and focus instead on what you want and then taking action in its general direction.

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What are you going to start taking action on right now, today? 

 

And speaking of the book I originally thought was going to be my bestseller, it’s called The Pro Writer Mindset and it comes out on June 14! Get on the waitlist here so you’re the first to know when it’s live.

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Are You Suffering From “Carry-Over Tasks” Syndrome?

I noticed something last Sunday, when I was writing out my list of calls and must-do tasks for the week to come: I had a lot of “carry-over” tasks. Things I wrote down as needing to be done last week, but then here I was going into the next week and those tasks were still there.

And this happens with some of my goals as well. As I look back I see I had years of my life where the same goals were carrying over from December to January, over and over again. (Things like, writing and publishing a novel, for example.)

Maybe you can relate?

After months and/or weeks of carrying tasks and goals over, it kinda makes you stop and think… why am I doing this? If I’m so convinced these tasks or goals are important enough for me to keep carrying them over from the previous year or week, why haven’t I managed to complete any of them?

If you’re having the same experience, it’s time to get real with it. There are two things potentially causing this problem.

The Root Cause of Carry-Over Tasks

There are two main reasons you have carry-over goals (or tasks):

  1. Resistance–you know this is a super important task that could move you forward in a big way, so you avoid it by filling your day with meaningless tasks that keep you spinning on a hamster wheel
  2. You’re “Shoulding” Yourself–the tasks or goals are on your list because you think you should be doing them, not because you actually want to do them.

So, which is it for you? 

Resistance

For me, it’s always Resistance. I’ve come to a place in my life where I no longer “should” myself into goals or tasks I don’t want to do. I am clear, focused and have a vision for my life and writing business.

But I do have a ton of Resistance, especially to the tasks and goals I know will help me make major progress. And in case you’re not familiar with the term, Resistance was coined by Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art. He defines it as: the internal avoidance of your creative work. Because you’re trying to avoid a calling that you feel inside, you create chaos in your life or make excuses.

When I find myself watching too much Netflix, having too many days (or–gulp–weeks) where my tasks are carrying over, or am overindulging in sugary, processed foods….I know that I’m Resisting my creative work. It’s tough to look at, because then you have to admit how much the creative work really matters to you and how afraid you feel inside, and that’s why you’re avoiding it.

Or at least that’s how it goes for me.

The good thing with being in the creative game this long now is I can recognize my Resistance in-action and usually stop it and start moving in the opposite direction pretty quick. But there are those occasions where I’ll get totally caught up in it. Usually when I’m overthinking something instead of just taking action on it.

Shoulding Yourself

The other option, is that you’re not Resisting anything, you’re just shoulding yourself into tasks and goals that don’t really matter to you. So that’s why you’re avoiding them.

If you’ve been telling yourself that you “have” to do something and yet that something never seems to get done, it’s time to call that task (or goal) into question. You need to ask yourself:

  • Do I really care about completing this task or goal?
  • Why do I feel this task or goal needs to be on my to-do list?
  • What is the purpose of this task or goal (as in, how will it move you forward)?

You’ll know from your responses whether or not you’re shoulding yourself. If you are, it’s time to stop that shit, pronto.

How To Overcome Carry-Over Tasks Syndrome

Alright, now that you’ve identified which category your carry-over tasks fall into, it’s time to remedy it. Luckily, the remedy is the same for both, so even if you could’t identify with one or the other, it will still work for you:

  1. Prioritize–it’s time to accept that you can’t do it all and by having so many carry-over tasks, more important stuff could be falling by the wayside. It’s time for you to prioritize your top 5 and top 10 (which is the top 5 plus 5 more) tasks that need to be done to move you forward, in your writing life and your life in general.The top 5 are the most important priorities, the things you must do every single day, no matter what. And then the additional 5 (rounding out the top 10), are things that it would be awesome to get done. You’re not allowed to work on the top 10 until the top 5 are done for the day. (I made a video explaining this way of prioritizing here.)

    By knowing what your top priorities are and focusing on them, you’ll find yourself making progress each day, week, month, year, and not having carry-over tasks that do nothing to add value to your life or your writing.

  2. Go Pro In Your Mind–Steven Pressfield says the cure for Resistance is “turning pro,” which means showing up and acting like a pro would. I like to think about this as more of a mindset shift. You have to start thinking the way a pro would and when you do that, the actions will automatically follow.For example, a pro shows up every day and writes, even if she’s not inspired. A pro finishes and publishes, then repeats the process again. A pro accepts that life will always get in the way, and she finds a way to get her writing done anyhow.

    An amateur lets the little things distract  or get in the way. An amateur makes excuses for why the writing didn’t happen.

    If you want to do this for real, you’ve gotta go pro in your mind. You’ve gotta have a Pro Writer Mindset that thinks–and then acts–from a place of already being the writer and author you want to be.

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Which of the two categories–Resistance or Shoulding yourself–is responsible for your carry-over tasks? 

If you’re ready to go pro and step up into a Pro Writer Mindset and way of being, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability and kick-ass motivation support group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to make writing their life. 

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How To Manifest Anything You Want (And Fast!)

Two Decembers ago, two days before New Year’s, my husband, Joe’s, grandpa passed away. We knew he’d been sick, but weren’t expecting him to die so soon.

Joe and I currently live in New York, but his family lives in Texas. Which meant we had to take an unexpected trip (we were planning a visit, but not ’til the next month).

Problem was, we didn’t have the money for the trip. Christmas had just passed and things were tight.

At the time I was doing a lot of mindset and manifestation work, and something I knew in my gut was, if we really wanted to go down to Texas for the funeral, we had to decide right then and there that it was a done deal and then we had to take action like it was.

I asked him: do you want to be there for the funeral?

Or course the answer was yes, so immediately I said, OK, then it’s done and now we need to act like it is.

So we pulled out our suitcases and started packing. I got on the phone and canceled all the appointments we had scheduled for the week. We knew we’d be driving down, so Joe took the car to the shop to make sure it was safe to drive it. He called to tell me there was a minor problem that needed to be fixed before we took it on the road. It was a $200 fix.

Even though money was tight and we still had no clue how we were even going to pay for the trip to go to Texas for the funeral, we just kept acting as if we already had the money. We got the car fixed. We called the vet and got my dog flea medicine (’cause them Texas fleas ain’t no joke!)

In our minds, going to Texas was a done deal.

So later that day when I received an unexpected payment of $2,500 from a prospective client I spoke with weeks prior, I wasn’t totally surprised.

OK, that’s a lie. I was freaking blown away! After only a few hours of acting as if our Texas trip was a done deal… it was. We had the money we needed to go to Texas for the funeral.

This is still one of my absolute favorite manifestation stories (and I have a lot of them). And when I look back and think about what I really did to make it happen, this is how it breaks down:

Deciding

If you want to make something happen, it absolutely starts with deciding what you want. Once you know what you want, then you need to decide that it’s a done deal.

You have to decide you want it, it’s yours and that getting it is a non-negotiable. This is really the first step.

Acting As If It’s A Done Deal

Now you can’t just decide something and get it. You have to actually take action. And the actions you take need to be FROM the place of it already being a done deal.

If my hubs and I had decided we were going to Texas for the funeral, but then instead of taking action in that direction we just went about our usual day, there’s no way the money would’ve manifested. It manifested because we took action in that direction.

We packed our suitcases. I canceled appointments because we were going to Texas–we decided it–so we wouldn’t be there for the appointments. We spent money we didn’t have to repair something on our car that didn’t really need to be fixed, but it would be better for it to be if we were going to drive it 3,000+ miles to Texas and back.

We did this because if Texas was already a done deal, and the money was already in our hands, those are the exact actions we’d be taking.

So we took those actions… in faith.

The money wasn’t in our hands yet, but we knew it would be if we just kept moving in that direction. Because Texas was a done deal.

Which brings me to…

Take A Leap of Faith

In order to make the leap from where you are to where you want to be, it requires a leap of faith. You have to be willing to risk being wrong and go for it. You have to be willing to believe that it will happen.

Otherwise it won’t work.

A friend of mine recently announced on Facebook that she had applied for a temporary job, which she was really excited about. After her interview, she decided she wanted the job.

Even though she didn’t know for sure that she had it yet, she decided to act like she did. She dyed her hair a more normal color (’cause they didn’t allow blue in the workplace) and she bought some work clothes.

These actions sent powerful signals to the Universe, signals that said: I got the job. The job is already mine.

So not long after when she posted a status to Facebook sharing that she did, in fact, get the job, I wasn’t at all surprised.

Because she acted as-if. And acting as if is the most powerful way to manifest anything you want.

But it took a risk. She dyed over a hair color she really loved and spent money on new clothes. She did this in faith, believing that if she took action in the direction she wanted to go, she’d get what she wanted. And so she did.

Sounds too easy, right?

Can you really just decide you want something, move in that general direction and then get it? Yep.

Problem is, most people aren’t willing to take the risk, to deal with the uncertainty of not really knowing if it was going to work out. So they don’t take those actions. They just decide they want something and then sit around hoping it will happen, or they take tiny actions that are comfortable, but don’t push themselves to take the bigger, scarier actions.

And so they don’t manifest what they want, even though they want it.

If my friend had applied and interviewed for the job, but then didn’t get prepared to actually have the job–by dying her hair and getting some new work clothes–do you think she’d have gotten the job? Probably not.

Getting what you want requires a leap of faith and taking a risk–even a small one.

Be Open to the How Showing Up

So often people think they have to figure out how they’re going to make something happen before they can take action. And that couldn’t be more wrong.

The how isn’t up to you. The how is up to the Universe.

What’s up to you is the what and the why.

You don’t have to know how something is going to happen to make it so. You just have to decide and then move in that general direction.

We didn’t know how we’d get the money to go to Texas, we just believed that we would and moved in that direction. So of course the money showed up.

We were open to taking action. We didn’t know which action would make it work, so we just took whatever actions we could think of.

And that’s all you need to do too.

What Does This Have to Do With Writing?

Everything, really. Because this process of deciding what you want and then acting like it’s already a done deal, it works in all areas of life, not just with jobs and money.

It works with being a bestselling author, it works with getting your writing project done, it works with any result-based writing goal you can come up with.

You just have to decide what you want, know it’s a done deal and then move in the direction of it.

For example, when I decided a couple months ago that I wanted to hit #1 on Amazon, I had no idea how I’d make that happen. I just knew I wanted it to happen. And then I went to work moving in that direction, I:

  • Made a decision to write and publish one eBook a month for the rest of the year (because the more books you write, the better your chances are of hitting #1, right?)
  • Wrote my new eBook (in 15-minute increments over the course of 30 days)
  • Got inspired to create a high-level accountability group for emerging authors who were ready to make big things happen
  • Named the new group the Bestselling Author Mastermind and I actively told people they could watch me as I became an Amazon bestseller (a big risk–considering I had no idea when it would happen or if it even would, I just believed that it would)
  • Published the book
  • Paid $32 for a promo to a list of book lovers 
  • Posted stuff on social media and sent emails to my list

Those were the actions I took in the direction of becoming an Amazon bestseller. Again, I had no idea how it would happen or even which book it would happen with. But I knew it would eventually happen. So I acted like it.

Here’s how the Universe showed up for me, it:

  • Found 113 people to buy my book over a three-day period (and then another 476 over the rest of the month!)
  • Inspired a results-based title that helped the book to pretty much sell itself
  • Aligned the timing so that my book outsold all the other books in its category long enough for it to be at #1 for a day and a half (and then it went back to #1 again a few days later)
  • Dropped in my inbox a half-price sale for a software called Bestseller Ranking Pro (which I purchased and used as a research tool for how many books I’d need to sell to hit #1 and what category to put the book in–which turned out to be the one all my eBooks are in: authorship)

And on May 4, 2016, I became a bestselling author on Amazon. The how showed up because I was willing to take the actions I could think of and stay open to getting inspired ideas for additional actions to take.

You can have anything you want for your writing life and your life in general. Anything.

But you’ve gotta be willing to decide and then move in that direction until it takes.

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Have you ever manifested something out of seemingly nowhere? Share in the comments!

If you’re ready to act as if you’re already the writer and author you dream of being, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability and kick-ass motivational group for likeminded emerging novelists. 

Image courtesy of Raelene Gutierrez 

What’s Your Author Message?

Last night I watched a stand-up comedy special on Netflix from comedian Mo’Nique. She’s hilarious, no doubt about that, and I loved her in the movie Beerfest (which I’ve watched 15 times in the last two weeks because I was deconstructing it for my story community, Students of Story).

But what stood out most to me wasn’t her rolling-on-the-floor, tears-in-your-eyes jokes (although those were awesome too). It was her message.

This particular comedy special was called, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate, and was filmed at a women’s correctional facility in Ohio. Mo’Nique took the stage to make those women laugh and laugh and forget their problems, even if just for an hour.

And throughout the program she shared a core message: love and acceptance—of yourself and each other.

I talk a lot about being who you are and being unapologetic about it. Mo’Nique is a woman who is unapologetic about who she is—and not everyone likes it—yet her message shines through.

And that’s because the most effective and powerful way for her to deliver that message—to spread the message of love to the women of the correctional facility and all the people who watch her comedy special—is to be one-hundred percent herself.

If she got up on stage in a dress suit and started preaching a PC-version of loving each other and accepting who you are, everyone watching would’ve tuned her out. Her message, while extremely valid and valuable, would have been totally ignored.

But going out there as herself—proud-to-be-loud, dressed in a custom-made orange prison uniform with her own prisoner number, and then preaching the message of love and acceptance while telling jokes laced with f-bombs and sexual innuendos—that’s why her message shined through. That’s why she got claps and cheers and standing ovations from the crowd.

Because her message was so much more powerful delivered by Mo’Nique being exactly who she is. Her message resonated so much more because it came draped in laughter.

Creating Your Author Message

I’ve been thinking a lot about messaging as I’ve begun my transition from being a “story development coach” to doing alignment, kick-ass motivation and success mindset for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. And the funny thing is, even though I’m changing what I’m doing, my core message is still the same: take control of your writing destiny.

I’m all about freedom and taking control (of the things you can control, of course). I’m about knowing where you want to go with your writing life and then stepping up to do the work to get there.

That’s what it means to take control of your writing destiny. It means knowing what you want, writing it into reality, taking the physical actions to move in the direction of it, and then acting as-if it’s already a done deal.

That’s my message. A powerful one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops of the writing world. And that’s what I intend to do.

It’s what I’ve been doing. Only the previous version was not nearly as powerful as the version I’m shifting into. Because the previous version—while just as important and necessary—had me teaching craft to writers. And while writers totally need that—there are other people out there doing it. Lots of other people out there who teach the craft of writing novels.

So my message was getting muddied in all of that. Bogged down in trying to teach people craft while simultaneously helping them take control of their writing destinies (craft is a big part of taking control of your writing destiny).

Except I’m not really a teacher. I’m a leader. And there’s a big difference.

A teacher teaches you how to do something. But a leader shows you by example.

My message of freedom and taking control of your writing destiny is SO MUCH MORE powerful coming from me as the authorpreneur who walks my talk and lives the writing life on a daily basis than it is coming from a story development coach who helps people plan their stories.

And while I was still doing the authorpreneur thing while I’ve been doing the story coaching thing, I wasn’t really sharing it with anyone. I wasn’t talking about it very much—the details of what it’s really like to own a writing business and be an authorpreneur in the digital age.

So my message got watered-down.

But now my message is shining through from me showing up in the world, acting like the writer and author I want to be, and being one-hundred percent, unapologetically myself.

If you want to stand out and make an impact as an author—regardless of what kind of author you are; blogger, nonfiction, fiction—you need to have a core message. And then you need to let that core message shine through by showing up in the world as who you are (and who you want to be).

So, what’s your message?

What’s that thing you want to share with your readers, followers and fans? What do you want to be remembered for? What does the world need to hear?

You need an author message, no matter what kind of writing you do. People who follow you and read your stuff will resonate so much more with you if you do.

Because you’ll be resonating with them at a core level, not just a story level. They won’t just be connected to the stories you write, they’ll be connected to you as an author.

And that’s what you need if you want to make a career of this.

Any yahoo can sell a bunch of books one time, but it takes a true authorpreneur to stay in it for the long-haul.

To help you get started, I created a worksheet where you can brainstorm and create your author message. This message will then inform all of the choices you make for your author platform and all of the content you put out there.

>> Download the author message worksheet

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What’s your author message? What do you stand for?

If you want to craft your message and create your author platform, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. We do monthly group workshops that include building your author platform, crafting your message, growing your readership and more.

 

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