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

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

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

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

Good thing that time is over now.

Yes, over. Finished. Done-zo.

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

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

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

No one else can make it happen for you.

It’s in your hands.

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

And my soul was suffering for it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Learn the Craft of Novel Writing

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

You have to follow the principles of storytelling.

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

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

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

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

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

And no one can ever take that away from you.

2. Master Your Mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking control of your writing destiny is about being intentional.

3. Create Your Own Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what you focus on expands.

4. Be Your Own Publisher

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

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

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

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

You’ll never be successful that way.

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

5. Get Out There and Be Visible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Two Things That Are Missing From Most Writing Education

I’ve been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil (and a reader for just as long). Writing has not only been a life-long passion of mine, but it’s something I’ve always been deeply interested in.

More so than any other subject on the planet (though as a multi-passionate authorpreneur, I’ve dabbled in a lot of things and will continue to do so).

So I’ve taken writing classes. A ton of them.

When I was 11 years old, I took a mystery writing class offered through my local continuing education office. When I was in college, I took every single fiction class and creative writing class that was offered. When I graduated, I found continuing education offices in my local area that offered fiction writing classes. And I have invested in pretty much every book on writing I could get my hands on.

Two things I’ve discovered:

  • Most classes (and books) are focused too much on the writing part, but not enough on the storytelling part
  • There’s no real integration of the information

Too Focused On the Writing

We’re writers–that’s what we do. Best, in many cases, and that means we know how to write. We’re already good writers.

Do we need to improve? Sure. Because if you’re not constantly growing, are you really living? Improvement is always a good thing.

But do you need more training in being a better writer?

Eh.

I mean, maybe. Maybe you do need more training in being a better writer.

But when improving your writing is happening at the expense of learning what really matters–aka: how to write a damn good story–that’s where most writing education goes wrong.

And as a writing teacher and story coach, it drives me crazy! We don’t need to be teaching writers how to write better dialogue or describe things better if they can’t even come up with a decent plot for a story.

No, we need to be teaching them the basics, the foundational things that will make or break you as a writer and most especially as a novelist.

You can write the best, most beautiful fucking prose the world has ever seen. Your prose can bring tears to everyone’s eyes, and it still makes no difference if what you have is an episodic narrative, void of a core dramatic arc, antagonist or even stakes of any kind.

Because it’s not enough. You need both good writing skills and a knowledge of the principles of storytelling.

Don’t rest on beautiful prose. Go further. Go the extra mile that most writers don’t go.

Learn craft.

No Integration of the Information

The other place where writing education goes wrong is in the execution of it. Most classes will teach you from a book and then make you write stories and read them to each other for feedback.

Problem is, that feedback is coming from other people who know as much about writing stories as you do, maybe even less. And the teacher may know what goes into a good story, but most don’t know how to explain it or teach it in a way that connects with the writer.

And so you go on writing good prose, and sharing your stories for feedback from other emerging writers who haven’t published anything, and you rest your entire writing dream on that as your foundation.

The problem isn’t with you, either. It’s with the teaching, with most of the fiction writing classes and workshops that are out there.

It’s with the integration not being there.

Integration means it’s part of you. Like your arm or leg. It’s just who you are.

And if you want to be a bestselling author with millions of fans who buy your books and write 5-star reviews, you’ve gotta make storytelling integrated in your being.

It has to be who you are, at a deep core level.

Authors who churn out a lot of books have story in their blood.

You integrate craft not just by studying it, but by implementing it. Practicing using it and then getting in-the-moment, real-time feedback to help you see what’s working, what’s not and how to fix it.

If you’re taking classes where this isn’t happening, you’ll never be able to integrate it. Because integrating can only come from doing something over and over and over again.

I integrated story in me from years of writing stories and working with other writers on their stories and studying popular movies and published novels to see how they do it.

For me now, the integration is seamless. I am story and story is me.

This is the level of education I want to bring to the writing world. It’s the level of education I believe emerging novelists need if they want to be professional authors with staying power.

The Next Level In Fiction Writing Education

This year I launched Students of Story, an online portal for emerging novelists who want to go pro. It’s a place to get over your shit, get educated in how to write kick-ass novels, and get support and feedback to help you revise and get your book out there.

In this membership site, you have access to the most important things you need as an emerging author:

  • Training in the craft of novel writing (so you can stay on top of your game)
  • Pro writer mindset (to keep the limiting beliefs and negative thoughts away)
  • Authorpreneur prep (for when you’re ready to publish!)
  • Access to a pro author and story development coach AND a community of like-minded emerging authors who all have similar goals (so you can get feedback that will improve your story and make you a better storyteller)

We do live workshops in the group once a month and are even working through the training in craft together.

It has become the ultimate place to be for emerging novelists who are committed to going pro.

And I’m insanely proud to be leading this group. I’ve dreamed of being part of a group of serious emerging novelists who are all committed to being professional authors. No bullshit, no excuses. Just ass-in-chair, get your writing done, get feedback, fix it up and publish it.

When I couldn’t find that group anywhere I created it, and in a virtual space where you can access it from anywhere in the whole world (internet connection needed).

Are you:

  • Done with your excuses?
  • Sick of procrastinating?
  • Ready to get inspired from the inside?
  • Committed to doing the work and getting your story out into the world?

Then definitely check out Students of Story. We’d love to have you join us.

And right now you can get your first 30 days for only $5! Learn more here.

Featured image courtesy of Jacob Bøtter

Is What You’re Doing Keeping You Unpublished?

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

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

Over and over again.

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

And they work really well.

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know what works for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you?

Do you know what works for you? Really?

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

Because you’re not doing the effing work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth About Being A Professional Author

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

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

Do you have what it takes?

Like, really have what it takes?

Only you can answer that.

The Truth About Being A Pro Author

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

You may not have what it takes. 

Not everyone does. 

Not every writer is meant to be a pro.

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

But it’s true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro vs. Most Other Writers

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

A pro author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to Know the Real Reason Why You Procrastinate?

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

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

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

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

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

That feeling is totally uninspiring and un-motivating.

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

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

And motivated to take action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s all bullshit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that’s what I needed to be doing.

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

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

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

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

Which is by far the most important thing.

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

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

Featured image courtesy of urban_data

Why You Should Act From, Not Towards, Your Writing Goal

“Act from, not towards”–Kat Loterzo 

When you think about what it is you really want for your writing life (and your life, in general), you probably think about what you want to move towards. You want to be a bestselling novelist. You want to finish writing and publish your book. You dream of seeing your novel turned into a movie.

But where you’re making a huge mistake is in what you’re focusing on. You don’t want to focus toward, you want to focus from. Let me explain.

When you have a goal you’re trying to reach, you’re often thinking about what you need to do to move closer to it. What steps or actions you need to take.

But doing that will keep you on the chase, constantly striving but never actually arriving.

And the reason is because you’re taking action TOWARD the goal, rather than FROM the goal.

When you take action from a place of already having what you want (even if you don’t yet have it), you send a powerful message to the Universe: I believe that what I want is mine. From this place, it’s impossible for what you want to not come to life. 

Yes, impossible. And I never say things like that because nothing is impossible.

But this is.

Because acting as if is the key to bringing your dreams to life.

When you act from a place of already having what you want, you will start to see it manifest in your reality, and faster than you can imagine at this point.

An Example

I’m all about examples to illustrate a point, so here’s an example of the difference between acting from having already achieved a goal versus acting toward a goal. The goal? Being a bestselling novelist.

When you’re acting toward that goal, here are some of the actions you’d likely take:

  • Write a novel
  • Publish the novel
  • Figure out how to market the novel
  • Try to sell as many copies as possible

But when you’re acting from already having achieved that goal, here are some of the actions you’d likely take:

  • Write and publish a novel you’re so proud of you can’t wait to shout from the rooftops to everyone about it
  • Get started on your next book because you’re too excited to wait
  • Send emails to your email list several times a week, sharing information about your novel, your process, where you get your ideas from, what you’re working on now, etc., and getting people as excited as you are
  • Show up every single day and take actions to spread the word and sell more books
  • Give up all excuses

See the difference?

One version is taking actions that feel generic and uninspired. The other is coming from a place of knowing that you’ve already achieved your goal, so every action you do take feels inspiring and intuitive.

Alright, so maybe you’re not seeing much of a difference. Maybe we need another example that’s more specific.

Let’s say your goal is to get 5,000 people on your email list.

When you’re acting toward that goal, you might:

  • Send an email out once a week (you’ll wait to send emails more often when you actually have 5,000 people reading them, right?)
  • Mention to your friends and family that you have an email list
  • Find ways to grow your email list

When you’re acting from already having 5,000 people on your list, you would:

  • Send several emails out every single week, no exceptions
  • Pretend that every email you write is being read by 5,000 people (even if right now it’s not)
  • Never, ever miss an email because you know people are waiting to hear from you
  • Write every single email like it’s being sent out to 5,000 people
  • Create tons of freebies for your website that get people subscribed to your email list
  • Write several guest posts for blogs with more traffic than you have, so you can get their readers on your list

See the difference?

The first version is taking action toward the goal, and the second is acting as if the goal is already done and you already have 5,000 people on your list.

The whole point here is energy. When you show up with the energy of “I have to work hard to reach my goal,” you’ll feel uninspired and make excuses for why you’re not consistently taking action. But when you show up with the energy of “I have already achieved this goal,” it feels totally different. It feels inspiring and motivating and you’ll be more consistent with your actions. 

When it comes down to it, it’s all about the energy you put into what you do. So stop taking actions toward your writing goal, and instead take actions from already having reached it. See what happens.

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How can you start acting FROM already having your writing goal? 

Are you ready to take action and get your novel out into the world? Then be sure to check out my membership community, Students of Story, where you’ll find all the resources, tools and support you need to get your ass in gear and get your novel published.

Featured image courtesy of Bailey Weaver

How Do You Want To Feel About Your Writing?

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive,”–Howard Thurman

Every year around this time you likely jump into making New Year’s goals and resolutionswrite more often. Finish (or start) the novel draft that’s been in the works for years. Make writing a priority… The list goes on.

And I’d be willing to be a lot of those goals and resolutions are pretty much the same ones you made last year, and the year before, and the year before… Are you sensing a pattern?

Every year you set goals and make resolutions to try and fix things that you think are broken about yourself and your life. But the thing is, this system is flawed.

Very flawed.

Setting goals and making resolutions do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself and your progress. Because you’re trying to fix something that’s really not broken.

And then when the end of the year comes and you haven’t made your goals happen, you feel like a complete failure, and like you’ll never make it happen.

Then you’ll start questioning everything–maybe I’m not meant to write a novel; maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer; maybe I’m not good enough… 

Maybe you even feel like quitting altogether.

But before you do, read this:

Flaws In The System

The reason you set and chase a goal is because you believe that achieving it will make you feel a certain way. But often that’s not the case at all.

And if you do finally reach the goal, you can’t even fully enjoy or appreciate it–because you’re too burned out from chasing it for so long. Or, even worse, reaching the goal doesn’t end up making you feel the way you thought it would all along.

Stay with me here for a minute and really think about this… what is the point of setting a goal to achieve something that will help you feel a certain way, when the entire time you’re chasing the goal you’re feeling like shit? 

So often in life you tell yourself that if you can just reach this goal you’ll be happy, or if you can just write your novel you’ll be a real writer, or if you just XYZ, then you’ll… Stop right there.

This system is majorly flawed, because it puts all the eggs in the basket of achieving a specific goal, so if you don’t achieve it you’ll never feel the way you want to feel, and if you do achieve it you won’t enjoy it because you’ll already be moving on to the next goal.

This system puts everything into the end result… and that’s a total flaw.

Because what really matters in life isn’t always the destination, it’s the journey. And if you’re not enjoying your journey, then you’re definitely not going to enjoy the end result.

How Do You Want To Feel?

Instead of chasing the same damn writing goals as usual, what if this year you tried something totally different? What if you figured out how you want to feel, and then aligned yourself with writing activities that make you feel this way? 

For example: you decide that you want to feel “joy.” Then you take a look at your current writing goals and realize that the idea of writing a blog post once a week makes your skin crawl… but writing fiction, especially short stories, makes you come alive. Boom! Give up blogging and focus on fiction. Joy in the making.

Yes, it really is that simple.

There’s an amazing book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, and it’s all about figuring out how you want to feel FIRST and then aligning those feelings with the activities you take on and goals you set for yourself.

While working through The Desire Map, I discovered that one of my Core Desired Feelings is: badass. Once I had that figured out, then I could start determining how to create my year.

I knew right away that several freelance projects on my plate had to go away, because they did not make me feel badass. I also knew that I had to finally take on finishing (and launching) my debut novel. I’d been putting it off for a really long time, but now I realize that goal lights me up and makes me feel like a total badass.

Already my year is heading in an amazing direction, because I know exactly how I want to feel and I’m able to align activities and intentions with those feelings.

For example, I’ve discovered that having cool nail polish and wearing a fancy cocktail ring make me feel more badass when I’m writing (while plain nails and no ring don’t elicit any badass feelings). Now I’m getting manicures twice a month, and wearing a cocktail ring every day. Already when I sit down to a writing session I feel way more badass than I did before.

Make sense?

You align how you want to feel about your writing with the activities that make you feel this way. You may even be surprised by which activities cause you to feel a certain way, and which ones don’t.

This year, I invite you to take on the Desire Map process, and really allow yourself to figure out how you want to feel. And then (and this is the hardest part), give yourself permission to do the things that make you feel the way you want to feel.

As Danielle says, “Feeling good is the whole point.”

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How do you want to feel about your writing this year? Share your Core Desired Feelings in the comments below. 

Image courtesy of Robert D. Brooks and Rossina Bossio 

What False Beliefs Are You Holding As True?

Transformation is a continual process of letting go”–Holistic MBA

When I was in first grade, I got punched in the stomach by a second grader while waiting for the bus to school. It happened on the front porch of my babysitter’s house, a place where I was supposed to feel safe.

Worse off, when I told the babysitter what happened, she didn’t believe me, because the second grader played innocent and said I was lying.

That day I created two “stories” about myself:

These “stories” turned into deeply-rooted beliefs that I held about myself. These beliefs became my identity and how I showed up in the world.

I was bullied on and off my entire life, by people in school; by family members; by the people I worked for. And all along I kept telling myself “I’m not good enough” and “no one likes me.”

I slowly went from being an extroverted person to being an introverted person. I figured if I shrunk low enough and hid away, no one would see me, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about not being liked.

The years went on and I attracted more and more things that made me feel “not good enough” and that “no one liked me.” Things like no one showing up to my birthday party; not getting an internship at a big magazine in NYC; and never getting to date the guy I ‘really wanted’ all made me feel inadequate and disliked.

I was living into the stories I made up about myself when I was six years old. The stories had become my reality.

Of course all of this was going on subconsciously in my life. And it wasn’t until recently when I finally realized that my whole life went the way it did because I created beliefs about myself that were false, but I lived with them like they were true.

What I’ve been doing the last two decades is letting a six-year old run my life (and now my business!) I’ve been living with beliefs that were given to me by a scared little girl who just wanted people to like her.

And while having those beliefs served a purpose at one time (to keep me safe), they no longer serve me today. Today, holding onto those beliefs is holding me back–in life and in my business.

So I am choosing to let them go.

Disillusioned In Life

It’s so easy to get disillusioned by the world around us. We see updates on Facebook about our friends’ successes or we watch celebrities or the people we admire most have these big, beautiful, amazing lives and we think to ourselves: “what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I have what they have?”

What we have to keep in mind is that what we see on the outside, what people show us, is just one facet of things. We’re not seeing below the surface.

And so we’re comparing ourselves and our lives to the shining moments in the lives of others, without realizing that they have a dark side too.

Every single person on this planet has fears. Everyone feels afraid. Everyone has doubts and worries. We all have beliefs we’re holding onto that are no longer true for us.

Even those people you admire who have amazing lives still deal with negative things. They don’t have perfect lives. It only looks like they do.

So it’s easy to get disillusioned and to think everyone else is so much better than you and that you might as well give up now. What’s not easy is choosing the opposite road.

The Road Less Traveled

Right now you have a writing dream inside you. That dream is being held back by false beliefs that you’re holding about yourself.

You can choose to continue living life as you are. Ignoring your writing dream, procrastinating and never working toward that novel you want to write (and publish).

Or you can take the road less traveled and face those false beliefs–acknowledge you have them and that you no longer need them–and let them go, so you can finally go after your dream.

The choice is up to you.

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What false beliefs are you holding (or have held) about yourself? Are you ready to face ’em and let ’em go?

Image courtesy of Jason Eppink