10 Steps to Making Shit Happen (aka: The “I Don’t Know How” Guide)

For a long time I dreamed of seeing my book at #1 on Amazon; of more readers finding my books and transforming their lives, because the books is at #1 and actually has a chance at being shown to potential readers.

Problem was, I had no idea HOW I was going to make this happen. I didn’t know anyone who’d done it. And I had never done it before, so the steps were unknown to me.

So because I didn’t know HOW I was going to get my book to #1 on Amazon, I didn’t allow myself to want it. I just pretended that I didn’t care and that it didn’t really matter to me.

I even recall making fun of authors who called themselves “best selling authors” just from hitting #1 on Amazon. (And now I do it–ha!)

The point being, I did everything I could think of to downplay the fact that I really wanted to hit #1 on Amazon. Just because I didn’t know HOW to do it.

Thankfully this year, I finally accepted the lesson that was given to me over and over again for years… the HOW is NOT up to you.

What that means: HOW you do something isn’t what matters. It’s DOING SOMETHING that matters.

My Story

In February I came across an author who has published 47 eBooks–46 of which were best sellers on Amazon. It finally made me realize that if she could do it that many times, I could do it at least once.

Suddenly my fear of not knowing HOW I was going to do it shifted to a belief that I could do it.

At that point, the specifics of HOW didn’t really matter, because I was finally to a place where I not only wanted it, but I believed I could have it. It finally felt possible for me to be #1 on Amazon.

So I started writing in my journal every day that, “I am a best selling author” and “I am #1 on Amazon.” And then I started talking about wanting to hit #1. I even told my accountability buddy about it.

And then I made a decision: I would hit #1 on Amazon in 2016.

(Still at this point had no idea HOW I’d do it.)

Not long after, I got an email about a tool called Bestseller Ranking Pro. Out of no way, a HOW had shown up.

I could use this tool to find the right category to put my book in, so people can actually find it. And that will help me get to #1. Boom! I bought the software.

After looking through the BRP categories and info, I decided I was going to write an eBook about the structure of love stories. The “craft” category was a good fit for this book.

I wasn’t totally thrilled with that book idea, but it was an idea to get me started. Thankfully, right after that I got another idea–what if I took the 30-day challenge I just did to help me revamp my writing habits and turned it into an eBook?

That idea really inspired me, so I decided to put that book together and publish it first, and then go back and write the structure of love stories one.

The more practical side of me also had a thought: if I’m going to hit #1, I need to write and publish more books.

So I announced that I was going to write and publish 9 books in 2016. And then I got inspired to invite people to watch me as I wrote and published these books and turned one of them into a best seller.

(Still no real idea HOW I’d do this. Just some nudges and ideas.)

I published “Align Your Writing Habits to Success” in May and two days after it went live it hit #1 on Amazon. (And then my book, “The 15-Minute Writer”hit #1 in multiple categories two months after!)

I had achieved the goal of hitting #1 and being a best selling author on Amazon.

Looking back, I never had any idea HOW I’d do it. I just took whatever actions I could think of.

And that’s the whole point.

It’s NOT about the specific actions that you take. You can take actions that seem random and if you’re still moving in the direction of your desired outcome, the right HOW will eventually show up and you’ll get there.

My story is the perfect example–I was planning on a totally different book hitting #1 by me using the BRP tool and writing a book for a specific category; and a book I never even expected to have hit #1 did, multiple times. (Pretty much shuts up the “you need to know HOW” argument, right?)

How I achieved a #1 best seller on Amazon didn’t happen because of any one thing I did. It happened because of ALL the things I did–this year and all the years leading up to this one.

The HOW that gets you to your desired end result can only be found by creating momentum. And you create momentum by taking action–any actions–that move you in the direction you want to go.

The actions can be simple, easy things and still be powerful enough for the Universe to meet you half-way.

Because the Universe doesn’t care what actions you take. Big or small. Super risky or playing it safe. It just cares that you’re DOING SOMETHING. (Although the bigger, bolder actions always pay off more than staying in your comfort zone.)

Want to become a published author? Write a book. Show up every day and put words on the page. Learn the steps in the self-publishing process. Do your research.

The specific HOW that gets you to the desired end result of being a published author will show up as a result of you doing all those other things.

What you don’t want to do is decide you want something and then sit on your ass thinking it’s just going to show up one day. ‘Cause it doesn’t work like that, sorry.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen

If you’re been feeling stuck or frozen because you don’t know HOW you’re going to achieve something, or because you’re overwhelmed by HOW much there is to learn and know and do… I’m gonna simplify it for you in 10 basic steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax–it’s not that serious.
  2. Remind yourself that you’re in the right place, exactly where you are right now.
  3. Write down your desired end result (one or more).
  4. For each end result you want, make a list of all the things you can think of right now that you could do to move in that direction. It doesn’t matter if the steps are out of order, totally random, or make no practical sense; just write everything down that comes to you.
  5. Choose one of the steps/actions you listed and do it right now.
  6. When that action is done, do the next one. (Whichever one pops out to you as the one to do next.)
  7. Repeat steps 5-6.
  8. Add any new inspired actions and ideas to the list as you go.
  9. Act on as many of the actions and ideas from your list as you can.
  10. Trust that any specific HOW you need to get you to that final end result will show up as a result of you doing steps 5-9.

And there you have it–get the hell out of the HOWS and stay focused on the end result.

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What have YOU been holding off or playing small on because you don’t know HOW you’ll make it happen? Share in the comments!

Are You Born to Write? You Need to Hear This

You know that day when you finally realized you’re meant to be a writer? That day you knew there was nothing else in the entire world you could see yourself doing forever except writing? That other things will come and go–as is typical for a multi-passionate person–but writing will never say die.

Because you are born to write. It’s in you. It’s who you are.

You couldn’t separate you from your writing, because it would be like separating yourself from a vital organ. Impossible.

If you’re born to write, you know it. You feel it in every cell of your being. And even if you’re not totally 100% confident yet, you know what you are called to do.

Write. Put words on the page. Inspire, motivate, teach, instruct, lead, entertain… with your words. Tell stories, share experiences, pass along messages that connect us all.

I believe those who are called to write have a responsibility–to show up every day; to put words on the page; to hit publish and get those words, those stories, those messages, out into the world.

You have a RESPONSIBILITY.

You were gifted with the written word for a reason. You were born to be a vessel for the ideas, thoughts, lessons, messages, experiences and stories the world needs to hear.

Those things you hear inside you–the characters, thoughts, stories, ideas–they’re REAL. And they want to be let out.

But only YOU can let them out. There is no one else.

They came to you for a reason. Because you’re born to write them. And no one else could ever come close to doing it the justice you will do it.

There is incredible power in being born to write, because words are powerful, stories are powerful, and sharing your thoughts, experiences and message is powerful.

Being born to write isn’t for the faint of heart. No, it’s gifted only to those who can handle it. Those who truly have what it takes to go all the way–to finish and hit publish and get those stories and messages into the hands of the people who need them most.

Writers who are born to write often struggle with it more than writers who choose to write because it’s a hobby they enjoy. This happens because we often have a deep Resistance to doing our soul’s work, our creative work. (Read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield for more on this.)

And because that Resistance is inevitable–as it is for ALL creative people–writers who are born to write must be that much more committed and that much more disciplined to put words on the page each day.

Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Even if it’s right before you go to sleep. Even if you have a million other things that seem way more important.

Nothing is more important than putting those stories, experiences and messages on the page and getting them out into the world.

Nothing.

The sooner you see that, the sooner you will start to have everything in your life fall into place. Because here’s the thing–when you’re born to write, you’re connected to writing on a soul level. It’s part of your being.

For that reason, when you ignore your writing, when you skip your writing sessions, when you tell yourself your writing is not that important, when you put it off for later–THAT’S why things are a mess–internally and/or in your life.

Because you cannot ignore your soul and think anything else will work. It might feel like it’s working, even without your all-in on being an author. But I promise you, it can and will work a ton better if you’re putting first things first and getting your writing done.

Every day. Writing is a priority. Before anything else.

If you do this, even 15 minutes a day is enough time to start creating the writing life you’ve always dreamed of having. The writing life you were born to have. And along with it the success, money, fame and whatever else you dream of having.

It all starts with making your writing a priority. Because when you’re born to write, writing is your tool for creating everything you desire.

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Along with having a responsibility to write and to publish, born-to-write authors also have a responsibility to get their writing in front of the people who need it most. My Sell More Books masterclass will show you exactly how to do that. Details and sign up here.

Are You Choosing “Thriving Author” Or “Starving Artist?”

So many writers and creative people hold the belief that, “it has to take a long time” and “you’ve gotta pay your dues.” And yeah, it’s also true that A LOT of people hold this belief.

But you know what isn’t true?

That belief. It’s not true. Not even remotely true.

Unless YOU decide that it is.

I’ve decided that 2017 is the year I break six-figures from my book sales. I’ve decided it’s the year I’m going to thrive in my writing career like never before.

Sure, this year has been amazing and I’ve built up some killer momentum. But it’s not enough.

Because I want to blow the ‘starving artist’ mentality OUT OF THE WATER. And, yes, it IS a mentality. One that’s keeping most authors insanely broke and unfulfilled.

But here’s the great part–you can change a mentality. 

You can actively choose the thoughts you think and the beliefs you hold. You can choose to create exactly the writing life you’ve always dreamed of having.

But you have to CHOOSE. Consciously. Actively. Every single day.

You have to decide that you’re not going to accept the ‘starving artist’ mentality as truth for you. You have to decide that you’re going to be an author who THRIVES. 

Yes, it will take time to create this in your physical reality. But it will happen a whole lot faster if you get your mind there first.

And yes, there are people in the world who refuse to see past the limitation that is the ‘starving artist’ mentality. These are the creative people who say things like, “I can’t quit my job and become a full-time writer or I’ll end up living in a cardboard box” or “writing is a hobby” or “one day I’ll make it happen” or “writers are broke” or “it’s just a pipe-dream” or [insert whatever lame excuse you give or have been given for why you can’t thrive as a writer].

Those are the creative people who will never see their full dreams come to fruition. Because it’s impossible to create a big, successful, thriving creative career with a belief like that.

And what’s sad is, just by changing that mindset and by seeing themselves as thriving artists, those same creative people could have a totally different experience.

Because you create your own reality. And you do it with your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions (or inactions). 

So if you’re looking around and you don’t like what you see; if you’re dreaming of being a thriving author, meanwhile you’re still holding a day job and barely making book sales, it’s time for a mindset intervention.

It’s time to go within, dig around, pull out those limiting beliefs–the ones that are stopping you and holding you back–and GET RID OF THEM!!!

And you really don’t even have to dig around. If you want to know what limiting beliefs you currently have, you can find out by doing 2 things:

  1. Looking around you–your reality is a reflection of all that you’ve thought, believed and acted on up to this point.
  2. Start telling yourself new, empowering beliefs–just by doing this, you’ll start to catch all the limiting beliefs because they’ll show up as that negative voice inside that tells you you’re wrong or that you can’t do it, etc., whenever you say the new beliefs.

You really can change your life by changing your thoughts. 

So your choice is to either continue buying into the ‘starving artist’ mentality, and believing that it has to be a struggle, that you have to work insanely hard and pay your dues, and that even if you do eventually make it, you’ll be lucky to earn low five-figures a year from your creative work.

OR, you can tell yourself something different.

You can tell yourself that you make millions from your books. And that you quit your job and become a full-time writer who thrives and has more than enough, always. And that your books hit the NY Times Best Seller list and get turned into Hollywood movies. (‘Cause that’s what you’re really dreaming of, right?)

Which one inspires you? Which ones makes you feel better? Which one motivates you to take action?

Exactly. The thriving artist version.

And when it all comes down to it, it’s just a perspective. If you choose to believe in ‘starving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience. And if you choose to believe in ‘thriving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience.

The reality you choose to experience is totally up to you. 

For example, a few months ago I decided that I’m well-known in the writing industry and that big-name people contact me and want to partner with me and work with me. I decided that my podcast is a must-listen for writers everywhere and that big-name people want to be interviewed by me.

This past weekend, I booked a big-name guest for my podcast AND I got contacted by a big-name author who wanted to talk to me about how we can help each other out.

Your reality is what you decide it’s gonna be. So decide you’re going to be a thriving author and you will be.

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Do you choose “starving artist” or “thriving author?” Declare it in the comments! 

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Are you ready to drop the ‘starving artist’ mentality and learn how to sell more books? Check out the masterclass I’m hosting: www.jenniferblanchard.net/sellmorebooks

Are You In It For This?

A common complaint I hear from writers is this–why does it take so long? 

And when they say that, they mean: why isn’t my book selling? Why am I still revising when I want to be published? Why have I been looking for an agent for a year now without any bites?

And, most of all, when am I finally gonna make some money?

I know it’s tough. You’ve been at this for years, possibly even most of your life so far. You’ve dreamed about it, you’ve set goals around it. And yet things just seem to be moving like molasses.

And here’s what I always say to the writers who make this complaint: I feel you, but it takes as long as it takes. 

Because the truth about this whole being a pro writer thing is that it’s long-term. Being a writer and having a successful writing career doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of hard work, commitment and consistency to start seeing the results you want.

So you either have to be in it for the long-haul, or you may as well get out now. 

Because, like everything in life, writing success is a journey, it’s a process, it’s something that builds over time. And you may not see it at first, but when you look back 10, 20, 30 years down the road, you’ll see how far you’ve come and how long it actually takes to create success.

No one does it overnight.

I started freelance writing professionally in 2007, and launched my writing blog in 2008. I wrote and published my first nonfiction eBook in March 2010. Since then, I’ve written and publish 7 other books, including one novel. And it’s only since mid-2016 that things have finally started to take off for me.

This year, I’ve written and published more books than I ever have before. This year, I had 2 of my books hit #1 in multiple categories over multiple days on Amazon. This year, I’ve started making real money from my books, anywhere from $400 to $1,000+ per month, and growing.

But I had 8 years online and another 7 years before that learning and training and practicing and working toward the moment when I would hit a tipping point and my writing career would finally take off.

It happened this year. 

And if it happened for me, it can and will happen for you. But you’ve gotta give up the idea that it’s gonna happen fast. It’s not. It’s gonna happen when it happens.

For now, you need to keep going and do whatever you can to create good writing habits, get in alignment with the goals you have, and be as consistent as possible. Because it’s in the consistency over an extended period of time where results really come from.

When you look at the stories of successful people, you’ll see it wasn’t just one thing that got them where they are today. They didn’t find a magic bullet that changed everything.

No, it was all about the daily habits and actions they took, over years and years of their lives, that got them where they are today. 

Because that’s what it takes. Daily: Consistency. Commitment. A never-give-up attitude. And some serious elbow grease.

So, again, I ask you: are you in it for the long-haul? 

Are you willing to stick with it and do whatever it takes?

Even if it looks like it’s not working?

Even if it looks like it’s never going to happen?

Even if there’s barely a shred of hope left inside you?

Did you answer “yes” to those questions? If you did, congratulations. You’re gonna make it. You’ve got what it takes.

And yeah, it is gonna take time. Some days it’ll feel impossible. Other days it will feel easy like Sunday morning.

But every day you show up will feel worth it. And eventually that worth-it feeling will grow into more than just a feeling. It will grow into an actual writing career where you get paid to write and put your words out into the world. 

Because you can’t not get where you want to go if you show up every day and keep going no matter what. It’s literally impossible. 

It might take blood, sweat, tears and time, but it will happen. That much you can count on.

And whenever you find yourself freaking out, panicking or worried that it’s all for nothing, I leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes, from the book, A Course In Miracles:

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” 

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Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Start Like This

I work with a lot of fiction writers on their stories, and one of the common things I see is what I call Story Ambition. They’ve got major ideas for the stories they want to tell–for a complex theme, a Concept that kills, and a character every reader can root for.

Problem is, they’ve never written a cohesive, engaging story before, not even a simple one.

And that makes it really difficult. Because you can’t just go from zero to 100 in one day. It takes time to learn how to implement craft and to understand it enough to be able to use it in your own stories.

You wouldn’t attempt to jump 100 feet in the air if you’ve never even jumped 50, right? No, you’d first practice with something simple, like jumping 10 feet in the air, and then 25 feet, and then 35 feet. You’d master the principles of being able to jump high. Once you mastered jumping 50 feet, then you’d go for 75 and eventually 100.

And that’s when you’ll actually hit it. When you’ve practiced enough and attempted enough simple heights, that’s when you’ll be able to do the bigger stuff.

But most writers’ Story Ambition causes them to go big right out of the gate.

Now I’m not gonna say that’s a totally wrong thing to do, because it’s not. But it will make your learning curve a lot steeper, and your story planning process will be that much more frustrating.

And let me just add that a steep learning curve and frustration are a part of the story planning and development process. But doing this process will save you from frustration, headaches and heartache later when you write the first draft. (Whereas not planning pretty much guarantees you frustration, headaches and heartache when you discover your draft is a total mess.)

So if you’ve been working on a story for a long time now, and it just doesn’t seem to be working, or you just can’t seem to make it work no matter how many attempts you make, it may be time to consider that your Story Ambition is bigger than your storytelling capabilities.

There is nothing wrong with admitting that you may have bitten more than you can chew. It’s fine, we all do it.

What I’d recommend is setting this story aside, and focusing on planning, developing and then writing one that’s simpler. A story with a straight-forward storyline. One that doesn’t require multiple Antagonists or fifteen characters or a series of books.

Because that’s another thing I see a lot. Writers who have never written a cohesive story are trying to write an entire series of stories, sometimes all at once.

Again, not saying you can’t do it, but the level of skill required to pull off a successful series is more than most new or even emerging writers can handle.

Yeah, you know me, I’m positive and believe in unlimited possibility and being able to achieve anything you set your mind to, and yet I’ll still tell you exactly how it really is. And the reality is most new and emerging writers never actually finish or hit publish.

It’s not because they don’t have what it takes or because they’re just not good storytellers. It’s because their Story Ambition doesn’t match their storytelling capabilities.

Which is why I always recommend starting simple and growing from there. Don’t make your first attempt at writing a novel be a six-book series.

This isn’t because you can’t do it. In theory, you can do it. But if you’ve never created a successful story Premise before, how do you expect to create six of them? You’re jumping in the deep end when you haven’t learned to swim yet.

And that’s why your story isn’t working. That’s why you’re feeling way more frustration than you need to be. That’s why you constantly skip your writing sessions and procrastinate on working on your story.

Because your Story Ambition doesn’t match your storytelling capabilities.

Take a step back and focus on developing a really good simple story. When you can do that, try another one. Once you’ve got two or three under your belt, then try something bigger and more complicated.

But when you start with the complicated, you’re starting at a disadvantage. And that will only cause you to lose your confidence and feel like you can’t do this.

When the truth is, you can do it. You’ve just gotta start small.

If you want to knock it out of the park this month and finish 2016 strong, you have to stop getting in your own way.

There are already enough obstacles in a writer’s way without having to invent your own. So, stop.

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Have you ever taken on too much with a story? What did you do? 

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Here’s Why You’ve Gotta Put First Thing’s First

The last few days I’ve been Upper Limiting like a mofo and I’ve been feeling really annoyed and even resentful of all the stuff I had to do (especially work-related stuff). I was also self-sabotaging by napping too much and only doing the bare-minimum work every day.

And that was making me even more annoyed.

This past weekend it all just got worse. I seriously found myself questioning everything I’m doing and literally wanting to tear down my entire business and rebuild it from scratch. It took me ’til last night to finally realize what the real problem was.

Last night I realized that over the last few days–and especially the days where I was feeling the most annoyed and resentful–I hadn’t been working on my novel revisions. 

Instead, I kept putting everything else I had to do before the revisions, and was watching the draft sit on my coffee table , but I wasn’t touching it. BIG PROBLEM!

Because writing novels–writing fictional stories–is my soul’s work. It’s the one thing I am meant to do, more than anything else that I’m meant to do. It’s the one thing that truly feeds my soul and fuels me to stay motivated and productive in other areas of my business and life.

But I wasn’t doing the work.

After I realized that’s what the problem was, I hit up my accountability buddy about it and she suggested that we support each other in making sure we do AT LEAST 15 minutes of work on our fiction every single day, no matter what.

‘Cause that’s the thing about your soul’s work. If you don’t do it and if you don’t make it a priority, it will ruin everything else in your life. It will make you feel angry, annoyed, resentful, and a whole array of other things that you don’t really need to be feeling.

This morning, before I did any of the other work I needed to do, I spent 30 minutes working on my novel revisions. After that I was able to quickly complete the other tasks on my list.

But on the days when I don’t do that? On the days when I think all the other stuff I need to do is more important than my fiction?

That’s when my life, my business and my happiness starts to suffer. 

And it doesn’t have to be like that. You can intentionally choose to put first thing’s first, every single day, and do the work your soul calls you to do.

The thing you’ve gotta remember is that it’s a CHOICE. It’s a choice to put your writing–your soul’s work–before everything else. And even if it’s a tough choice–or sometimes feels like an impossible choice–choose it anyways.

Because in doing the soul’s work first–in making your soul’s work a PRIORITY–everything else will work better. Everything else will fall into place, and you’ll be happier and more motivated and productive, because your soul work is done for the day.

Fifteen minutes a day. That’s the bare minimum you need to focus on your soul’s work. And if you do that, you’ll find yourself a totally different person. 

Your soul’s work is important. It’s imperative. And if you’re not doing it, that could be why other parts of your life aren’t working as well as they could be.

You can’t ignore your soul’s work and still be happy. You can’t ignore it and be motivated and productive. You can’t because you’ll walk around feeling resentful of all the stuff you have to do or all the stuff you’re doing that doesn’t feed your soul.

And your creativity will suffer.

Don’t do that to yourself. Make a commitment right now TODAY that you will put your soul’s work first. That you will spend at least 15 minutes a day, every day, working on the writing that makes you feel ALIVE.

If you do this, I promise you, you’ll see significant improvements in your mood, your productivity, your motivation, your personal relationships and more.

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Do You Agree With This?

I saw something in a Facebook group for writers the other day that kinda got me fired up. And it’s not the first time.

To be honest, it’s something that gets me fired up every time I see it.

Someone posted a meme in the group that showed a writer being stressed out and having a hard time. And then the comment from the poster was: who else agrees it’s hard to be a writer? 

I cringed when I saw this while scrolling through my feed the other day. Talking about writing and being a writer in that way always makes me cringe. Because it’s so totally unnecessary.

If you think being a writer is “hard,” then it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s actually hard to be a writer. That’s just how you’re choosing to see it. 

Now, of course, this Facebook thread about it being hard to be a writer was super popular in the group. People kept commenting on it, adding their two-cents about how hard writing is and how much they struggle with it. The “likes” kept coming.

And I just kept shaking my head.

Because these writers are dooming themselves to writing being a struggle for them. They’ve just decided and declared to the Universe–in a public forum–that being a writer is hard. 

And so IT IS.

That’s what you have to remember about this whole writing thing. It will be as hard–or, as easy–as you decide it’s going to be.

There are writers out there who don’t struggle. Authors who write multiple books a year because it’s easy for them. Writers who sit down at their computers and the words just flow like water. 

That doesn’t mean these writers aren’t working hard. You can bet your ass they’re working extremely hard.

Writing is HARD WORK. Maybe the hardest creative work in existence (especially for fiction writers).

But that doesn’t mean being a writer has to be HARD. Hard and hard work are NOT the same thing. 

And that’s a distinction I want you to really take in, because it will change your writing life.

For writers who achieve flow and who never have to worry about getting inspired or not knowing what to write about, they have created intentional ways of BEING. 

They don’t sit around in Facebook groups complaining that being a writer is hard. They sit their asses in their chairs every single day and they put words on the page.

When they’re not inspired, they find ways to become inspired and they get their writing done.

When they’re tired, they find ways to pep themselves back up and they put in their writing session.

When they’re super insanely busy, they still find ways to sneak writing in and they put words on the page.

There are no excuses. No focusing on the fact that being a writer is hard. They just do the work.

Writing is only hard if you decide that it is.

I used to tell myself writing was hard… and so it was for me. Sure, I could crank out a blog post without a problem, but writing a book was always a struggle for me. Until I realized it was only a struggle because I was letting it be.

So this year, I took charge. I decided that I was gonna make my writing life easy, breezy and FUN. I was gonna go big, aim higher and write more books. I was gonna finally have my dream writing life, exactly as I’ve always imagined it, all on my terms.

And so IT IS.

I never have to get inspired anymore or worry about not knowing what to say. I just sit down and something always comes to me. And if it doesn’t come right away, I just close my eyes and ask myself, “what do people need to hear from me today?” and soon after the answer always comes.

I keep lists of ideas, on Post-its, in my various journals and notebooks. So I can always reach for the lists and choose something off one of them.

But the funny thing is, I rarely ever do. Because I’ve created intentional ways of being around my writing where the inspiration just COMES TO ME. I get badass high-concept story ideas on the regular. I have a huge list of eBooks I could write.

There is no stopping this well of creativity. It will never run dry. I will always have something to say. I will always have something I can create.

And it all goes back to making the DECISION to let my writing life be easy, breezy and fun.

Your words have power. They create things. And intention makes it so.

The last thing you want to do is say out loud–or even type in the comments of a public forum–and agree with writers who say that being a writer is hard.

Being a writer is whatever you decide that it’s gonna be. Period.

Here are some of the intentional ways of being I’ve created around my writing life:

  • Writing my realitythis is a journaling exercise I do several times a day, every day. I write out what I want my life to be like, feel like and look like. This includes details about my writing life, my current writing projects, and even intentions around how I want my day to go. This is the most powerful practice I have in my life.
  • Setting intentions before I start–rather than just jumping into my writing session or working on whatever project or task is in front of me, I take a second to just set a few intentions for how I want it to go. I’ll say things like, “the words flow with ease. I get this written in record speed and it totally kicks ass.” Simple. And then I get into my session (or whatever task I’m working on). This practice works for anything, even cleaning your house and doing dishes (I will say, “the dishes get done in lightning speed and I enjoy myself the whole time;” corny, but it works!).
  • Regular idea generation–I am constantly brainstorming and writing down ideas. I don’t use 90 percent of what I write down, but I write it down to get it out of my head and to clear a pathway for the really great ideas to come through. A big problem a lot of writers have is they don’t generate enough ideas, so when they finally get an idea for something to write, they don’t even consider whether or not it’s worth writing. They just write it. And that’s how a lot of novelists end up with mediocre stories about everyday people and everyday places. A snooze-fest as far as a reader (and agent and publisher) is concerned. But by generating loads of ideas, you’ll ensure the really great ones actually come through clearly.
  • Daily writing tasks–writing is one of my top 5 priorities every single day. Which means I always get my writing done in some way, shape or form. I may not always work on my books every day, but I’m always writing blog posts or creating new content for my community. I write something every day, even if it’s just a mini-blog post on my Facebook page.
  • Create something new daily–creating is a top priority for me. As a creative, multi-passionate being, I can’t not create. Whether I’m writing, making art, recording a video or just cooking in my kitchen, I create something new (usually multiple things) daily.
  • Act as if–this one is a biggie. Making the decision to show up every day and act AS IF I am already the writer and author I dream of being has made a huge difference in my success. When you act as if, you send a powerful message to the Universe that you believe what you’ve asked for–your dream writing life–is yours. But in order to receive it, you need to take consistent action on that dream. Receiving what you want is not a passive thing. You can’t ask for the dream writing life and then sit on your couch and watch Netflix. You’ve gotta ask for the dream writing life and then GO OUT THERE AND GET IT.
  • Creative wellness–I believe in the connection between what you eat and how you feel. And I also believe in the connection between lifestyle and your creativity. So I make it a priority to eat right and get movement in (even if it’s just walking my dog and doing some stretches) every day. Food is fuel and movement is energy. You need both. And as a writer, you’ll benefit so much more from treating your body like the creative temple it is. Junky food and lifestyle habits equal junky creative juices.

These intentional ways of being have helped me to become the writer and author that I am today. And now that I’ve been at this for so long–and especially as I’ve cleaned my act up this year–these ways of being have become a habit. I no longer have to really think about them, it just happens naturally as an extension of showing up every day as the writer and author I want to be.

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What intentional ways of being have you created around your writing life? 

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Are You Addicted to This?

Here’s something you may not know about me… I used to be addicted to feeling not good enough and constantly telling myself that I didn’t measure up. That I didn’t quite have what other people had.

I was plain. Unoriginal. BORING.

Brown hair and brown eyes. Five-foot-five-inches tall. Size 9 shoe.

Fucking average.

I had a middle-class lifestyle. Nothing was picture-perfect, but everything was status quo.

And there was nothing special about me. Nothing that made me stand out. Nothing that made me feel like I mattered.

Yes, I was always surrounded by love and support, but I still felt alone. Because deep-down inside, I knew something.

I knew that I was born for more. I looked around me and at what I saw in the mirror, and while it all felt average to me, I didn’t feel average on the inside.

As a young child, I saw myself as a star. I saw my name in lights. I imagined myself hanging out with all the celebrities, just like I was one of them.

And when I was young, that’s always what I was: a star. I would find ways to get myself on a stage whenever I could.

I took dance classes and performed on stage with the older girls. I was chosen to speak on the microphone and introduce my first-grade chorus during our school event. I went to an art camp where the final project was to create a piece of art (a mask) and then stand on the stage and show it to everyone.

I used to find a million different reasons why my summer camp leader should let me go up on the stage in the gymnasium and perform for the group (one time she actually let me when I’d been reading a book on magic tricks from the library and wanted to show everyone what I learned).

I was always in the school musicals and plays. I was always performing and showing off and putting myself out there.

Because that’s how I felt inside. I felt like this amazing super-star performer who people needed to pay attention to.

I WAS BORN THIS WAY.

I didn’t know any different. It’s just who I was.

And then somewhere around middle school things started to change. Suddenly I found myself being made to feel not good enough… by the girls who bullied me, by the guys who called me ugly, by the people who treated me like I didn’t matter.

I didn’t know how to deal with any of this. It was like a barrage of feelings and thoughts I had never, ever had about myself before, coming at me at a speed I couldn’t stop. It overwhelmed me and freaked me out and made me retreat.

And that’s when I turned to writing.

From a young age I was fascinated with words and most especially with reading. I couldn’t get enough of it. I carried books around with me everywhere.

I had always been a writer, but it wasn’t until middle school that the writing came pouring out of me like a spout that couldn’t be turned off.

Suddenly I had poems, I had short stories, I had ideas, coming out of my freaking ears.

I couldn’t write them down fast enough to capture them all.

All of my life up to that point I felt so average. Like there was nothing special or important about me. Sure, I was creative and had some talent. But I just never felt good enough.

When I was at art camp making my mask for the final presentation, all I could think about was how weird and crazy mine looked compared to everyone else’s. I just wanted my mask to look as good as the girl sitting at the table with me.

When I was in dance class we painted t-shirts to wear for our final recital and everyone else’s shirts had their names in the center with perfect little dots and squiggles surrounding them. I drew a big-ass hot-pink flower with a giant green stem and a bunch of other random things. And then I squeezed my name in at the bottom.

When we looked at all the shirts, everyone’s looked pretty similar and mine looked like a crazy person painted it. All I could think was–why can’t I do it like they do? What’s wrong with me?

I felt this way about pretty much everything. Except for writing.

Writing was always that thing that made me feel good enough. That made me feel special and talented and worthy. That made me feel like I was more than enough. That I was so much, I actually had something leftover to share with others.

My words. My writing. My stories.

And looking back now, it all makes sense. I wasn’t average. I wasn’t unoriginal. I wasn’t not good enough.

It’s that I was always hanging out with people who were further along than I was. Older, more experienced, not beginners. (I was always very mature for my age and I had a passion for learning new things, so I participated in stuff kids my age weren’t interested in ’til they were older.)

Connecting the dots now I can see it so clearly.

I am good enough. I always was good enough. I just always liked to push myself more than most people and try things I wasn’t very good at and fail and fail and fail and keep going.

And now I’m choosing to SEE MYSELF this way.

I’m choosing to feel like that little super-star girl who just wanted to perform and be on stage and have all eyes on her.

These days I’m choosing to “perform” through my writing (though you never know when you might see me singing, dancing or doing some acting some day!) To take center-stage with my words.

To share what I believe to be true about me AND about YOU.

And that is this: you have what it takes. I have what it takes.

You knew from a very young age that you have what it takes. You’ve always felt different inside. You’ve always felt like you have star-quality inside.

You just didn’t always see that inner feeling reflected in your outer reality. And because you were so young, you didn’t know yet that reality is relative.

It’s relative to the thoughts you think and the things you believe.

So you chose to believe the reality that you saw around you. Just like I chose to believe it.

And then we internalized what we saw and made it mean something about ourselves. That we’re average. Not special. Not good enough.

Yet deep-down we still felt it. We may have pushed that feeling away, squashed it with negativity or just flat-out ignored it.

But it was still there.

And it’s still there right now.

Because here’s the thing–what you feel inside is real.

Your dreams, your desires, the things you want to achieve and create for your life. It’s all real. And it’s all possible for you to have all of it (if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t feel pulled to it).

You just stopped believing that it was real. You were too busy shoulding yourself about nonsense and telling yourself you’re not good enough, not special enough, not talented enough… not enough.

So here you sit now. Still with that deep-down feeling that you were born for more.

Born to write. Born to create. Born to put words on the page.

Well, let me tell you something right now…

If you feel this way…

If deep-down inside you KNOW…

If every part of you rings true with the things I’ve said here…

Then it’s time.

It’s time for you to drop the mask and drop the false-front. Time to stop pretending that you’re something other than what you really are.

Time to come out to the world and BE the author you are meant to be. That you’ve always known you were born to be.

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that this feeling you have inside–this feeling that you were born for more, born to shine, born to share your words with the world–it’s never gonna go away.

Never.

Not ever.

NEVER.

Are you hearing me?

You will wake up with this feeling every single day for the rest of your life. You will go to sleep with it, nagging you, begging you to let it out.

It will taunt you, it will haunt you. It will follow you EVERYWHERE.

You cannot escape it. It will be there until you are no longer here.

So the choice is yours… do you take this feeling to your grave and bury it with the shell of who you lived this life as?

Or do you let it out RIGHT NOW? Unleash it to the world and finally realize that if you are born to write, if you are called to put words on the page, if you feel deep-down inside that you were BORN FOR THIS…

Then it is your RESPONSIBILITY to STEP THE FUCK UP. It is your PURPOSE to serve the world with your gift of the written word.

You are doing the entire world a disservice by not showing up every single day and doing your writing, by not pushing through the BS and the excuses and finally finishing and hitting publish.

That not good enough feeling? It’s always gonna be there too. And right now, if you’re MIA in your writing life, then most of the time, you’re letting that feeling win. You’re letting it win over the feeling you have deep inside that you were born for more.

It’s time to CHOOSE to let that other feeling become the priority. To stop listening to the BS and realize once and for all that feeling not good enough DOES NOT COME FROM YOU.

You are NOT born feeling not good enough. You are born feeling that feeling inside that says YOU ARE A STAR, BORN FOR MORE, HERE TO DO BIG THINGS, HERE TO SHAKE THE WORLD.

THAT feeling is real. THAT feeling you were born with.

Feeling not good enough came as a byproduct of your environment, programmed into you without much you could do about it.

But just remember that feeling not good enough does NOT BELONG TO YOU. You may have claimed it all these years, but it’s not yours.

Once you realize this–once you really, really take it to heart–you can finally choose to let it go and to focus on the feeling you were born with… that feeling that says, I AM BORN TO WRITE.

You’re here for a reason. If writing is it, then it’s time to put on your big-girl pants, step up and do your part.

The world is waiting for you.

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Are you BORN to write? Are you ready to claim it? Claim it in the comments!

Are you ready to step up to the next level in your writing life? Be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, motivation, strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to create their dream writing lives all on their terms. 

The Fear, The Doubt, the Uncertainty…It Never Goes Away

I’m about to hit “publish” on m 9th eBook (fourth for the year), and the more I think about it, the more freaked out I get.

I start to question everything–is the book too short? Is it valuable enough? Are people going to like it? Is it going to be useful for writers? Am I doing a good job?

Even though I’ve already done this 8 other times, it still doesn’t make it any easier. The same doubts are present, the same fears are still there.

The only difference now is that I always push through and keep going.

Before this year, I’d have let that shit stop me for days, weeks or maybe even months. I’d have sat on the eBook and not put it out there.

But I’ve done it enough now, where I know fear, doubt and Upper Limit Problems are all a part of the creative process. Now I feel the fear, the doubt…and I send the book to my editor anyhow. I feel the worry and the “not enough” and I hit publish anyhow.

Something you may not realize is that fear you feel, that uncertainty, that doubt you have inside… it will never go away.

It’s always gonna be there. Trying to knock you down, trying to sabotage you, trying to get in your way.

And rather than getting easier, it gets worse the most successful you become.

But the difference is in how you deal with it.

An amateur writer lets that stuff get in the way. An amateur writer gets stopped by that stuff. A pro writer knows different.

Because a pro writer has been writing and publishing and continuing on long enough to know that the icky stuff–the negative voices, the fear, the doubt–it’s always there. Sometimes it shows up in different forms, as life chaos, as inner noise, as haters on the outside.

But it’s all the same thing. And it never goes away.

What does happen, is the more you deal with it head-on and the more you push through anyhow and keep going, the easier it will get to keep doing that.

When you’ve written and published enough, you will start to recognize your self-sabotating patterns and what it looks like for you. For me, I know after I launch a book my Upper Limit Problems usually kick in and I start napping more, stuffing my face with junk food more and causing life chaos in my reality.

So now when I notice this stuff–and especially when I notice it right after a book launch–I can recognize it for what it is… Resistance, fear, ULPs… and just keep going.

How do you do this? Here’s how I do it:

> Daily Mindset Practice–this is a non-fucking-negotiatble for me. I do mindset work two-to-three times a day, minimum. Usually includes writing my reality (1-3 pages), visualizing and setting intentions.

> Hire a good editor–my editor knows me and my writing very well, so she’s great at pointing out changes or things that will make the book better.

> Build support and accountability into your life–I work with a private mentor and I have several accountability buddies that I check in with throughout the week, and I’m part of a writers mastermind group. All of which keeps me in check and moving forward.

> Set deadlines and announce them publicly–this is the best way for me to keep going even when I don’t feel like it or don’t want to. Because I’ve set a deadline and announced it publicly, I can’t not hit it. So I always do.

The fear, the Resistance, the “noise” in your head and in your outer world can only get to you and can only take you down if you let it.

And if you choose not to let it bother you and to keep going regardless of what comes up, you will win. Every single time.

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How do you push through and keep going when you don’t feel like it? Share in the comments.

Ready to push through the BS that holds you back and step up to a whole new level in your writing life? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, strategy, motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors who want to create their dream writing lives all on their terms. 

If You’re Saying “Try” You’ve Already Missed the Point

A few minutes ago I was thinking about my August goal to sell 10,000 books. And something I kept hearing was the word “try.”

In my head I was hearing myself say, I’m trying to sell 10,000 books this month. I even said that to a few people the other day, that I’m trying to sell 10,000 books this month.

And tonight as I heard the word “try” bouncing around in my head, I realized something: by saying “try” I’ve already failed.

Because there is no try. There’s either make it happen or make it happen. That is the only option.

There’s ZERO point in trying to do anything.

Sure, try something new now and then, but don’t ever try when it comes to your dreams and your purpose as a writer.

If you’re trying to make your writing dreams happen, you’ve already failed. You’ve already doomed yourself to staying stuck, continuing to buy into the BS and giving yourself a Plan B just in case.

If you have a Plan B for your writing life you may as well just go after Plan B right now, because you’ll never have Plan A. Not with that kind of thinking.

You can’t have a backup plan for your dreams.

You either want something and are willing to do what it takes, for as long as it takes, until it takes and then keep going. Or you’re not.

Having a backup plan shows a lack of belief. It says to the Universe that you don’t believe you can have Plan A or you don’t believe that you’ll get Plan A, so you need a fall-back plan.

And when you send that kind of message out to the Universe, what do you think you’ll get back?

Definitely not Plan A. Maybe not even Plan B.

The Universe will send back to you what you’re putting out there. So you can’t try to make something happen. You have to just decide you’re making it happen and that you’re unwilling to accept anything else.

This all begins in your mind.

When you do enough mindset work, you will very easily be able to give yourself new beliefs and accept things as true that you wouldn’t have been able to before.

For years I dreamed of being a best seller on Amazon, but I never allowed myself to really want it or to even say it out loud, because I had no idea how I’d make it happen. So I didn’t even bother to try.

Until this year when I decided that it was finally time. I was finally sick of my bullshit being bigger than my dreams. I set my mind to it: I would be an Amazon best selling author in 2016.

And amazingly, after doing this, it happened only a few short weeks later.

I literally called my best seller status into my reality by finally allowing myself to not only want it, but to actually go after it. Not by “trying” but by believing that it was already a done deal…because I decided that it was.

If you’re reading this right now and you’re resonating with it and realizing that you’ve been “trying” all these years to make your writing dreams happen, now is the time for you to STOP TRYING.

Now is the time for you to DECIDE.

Do you want what you say you want? Do you really, really want it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes, until it takes and then keep going?

Then decide. Decide right now that you WILL have it. There’s no Plan B, no just in case, no more trying.

Decide right now that your dream writing life is yours. And then burn all of your bridges.

It’s ALL IN or get the fuck out.

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Are you DONE trying? Share your decision statement in the comments. 

If you’re ready to go ALL IN on your writing life, send me an email and let’s chat about my new 1-1 coaching program: Build Your Writing Empire. I’ll help you map out the plan for your dream writing business all on your terms and the exact steps you’ll need to make it happen. And then you’ll immediately start taking action on it with me guiding and supporting you along the way.