One of the Best Things I’ve Ever Done for Myself is Spend Time with People who Think Like I Do

I just got off a team call with one of my clients who’s in the middle of a launch right now. Her team is amazing and all of us think very similarly about life and business. Every time I spend an hour on the phone with these women, I’m reminded of something I decided I was gonna do more of this year: spend time with people who think like I do.

You’ve probably heard the quote, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” (Jim Rohn). And it’s true.

Yes, it’s OK to spend time around people who think different than you and who aren’t at the same mindset level that you are. But if that’s the only people you spend time with, you may have a problem.

You need to be around people who think like you do and who’ve achieved more than you have. It pushes you to higher levels of thinking, believing and doing.

It inspires you to BE MORE.

If you’re only spending time with people who don’t think like you do and who aren’t achieving, it won’t motivate you. You may even start to feel self-conscious that you don’t fit in with them, and then you’ll dim down your light even more so you can be like they are.

Which is why you must have the like-minded people to spend time with. This will pull you back up and make it OK for you to shine your light and be who you truly are. And that will inspire you to greater levels of success and achievement.

It will also give you the mindset strength you need for when you’re not around like-minded people.

This is becoming more and more true for me as I make this major pivot in my business, because there will be people who don’t agree with my new direction. (#November7 #ItsComing)

I’m OK with that.

Because I want to create a community of millions of multi-passionate writers, artists and entrepreneurs who all think like I do and who are all taking action and achieving, and yet still aspire to greater levels of success and achievement. And to do something as powerful as that, you will have detractors and people who don’t agree and who think you need to follow the rules and do things like everyone else is doing them.

But I’m a rebel. I don’t like rules and I don’t like being told what to do. I like to do things my way. Always have.

I want to lead a revolution of multi-passionate writers, artists and entrepreneurs who never want to choose just one thing. Because I never, ever wanted to choose just one thing. And really, I couldn’t.

My soul is multi-passionate. That’s just how it is.

So being forced to pick one thing or even trying to pick one thing made me feel like I was dying inside.

If you’re a multi-passionate person, you’re not meant to do one thing. You’re meant to do all of the things, whatever your heart calls you to.

And the truth is, you can’t be successful at the level you dream of if you pick one thing or if you continue forcing yourself to pick one thing. Because that’s not who you really are.

Success comes from just being who you are.

This is why I’m so grateful to have opportunities to spend time with people who think like I do and who inspire and motivate me to want to be, do and have more. My dream life and career and business, exactly as I want it, all on my terms.

If it weren’t for my like-minded and beyond mentors and entrepreneur friends, I wouldn’t be at this place right now. Getting ready to jump into a whole new business and life and ME.

To finally say what I really want to say to the world. To finally allow myself to BE on the outside the me I’ve always been on the inside. To finally once and for all fully stand up for what I believe and what I want to be known for going forward.

For the last decade I’ve been showing one side of myself to the world. And while it’s been a great bunch of years, there’s been so much of myself that has been surpressed and dimmed because I kept telling myself I had to pick one thing.

But I could never pick one thing. Not even when I actually tried.

And now I don’t want to.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. The doors to the Revise Your Damn Novel workshop with myself and Editor Sarah Fox, are opening on Monday, October 9 and we kick things off on Monday, October 16. Save the date and get ready to join us!!!

This is Why You Must do Your Work in the World

Between the senseless tragedy in Vegas, the unexpected death of the wife of my husband’s friend, and the loss of a musical icon, October 2 really gave us a lot to think about. My thoughts, as usual in situations like this, traveled to purpose and soulwork and legacy.

Losing Tom Petty was hard. His music has been a part of my life since I first heard Free Falling back in the mid-90s, when I was trying to learn how to play the keyboard (I have long-since given that up, ha!)

Tom was most definitely doing his soulwork–that’s undeniable.

The man was one of the best singer-songwriters of our time and his catalog of work is a legacy that will live on for the rest of time. He was a true artist.

And he was a writer who acted on inspired ideas.

In his documentary (available on Netflix right now) he says that he had no idea where the songs came from. He just heard a riff and the lyrics came to him. He described it as going up into the stratosphere, pulling down the words and bringing them to life in the song.

He never questioned where this inspiration came from, for fear that it would go away.

By acting on these inspired ideas (aka: Divine Downloads), he was able to build a beyond-incredible dream life and career. One that most musicians aspire to, but many never reach.

He was an artist who was willing to do the work.

And all the years of his life he continued writing and performing and creating and putting stuff out in the world, both through his own music and by producing the music of other musicians he believed in.

But there was another side of Tom that not everyone remembers, and that was the side of him that had strong convictions and was willing to fight for what he believed in. He fought the industry to keep record prices from going up. He organized an independent tour with his band, The Heartbreakers, to pay for the legal bills he endured from standing for what he believed.

And he won.

The legacy of Tom Petty will for sure live on forever. Both his music and his legacy as an artist willing to stand up against an industry that tried to take advantage of him and of so many other artists.

Tom’s legacy is undeniable.

But what about everyone else? All the other people in the world–those who are gone and especially those who remain…

Are they living their dream lives? Are they doing their soulwork in the world? Are they standing for what they believe in? Are they spending their time doing what really matters?

I have no idea the answers to those questions, as I don’t personally know every person in the world. But what I do know is all we ever really have is right now.

Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year aren’t guaranteed. We have no idea what the future holds for us. Any of us.

And so that’s why we must wake up every morning, grateful to be alive, and we must live our legacy. We must create and we must finish and we must put our soulwork out into the world.

There are no more excuses.

There’s no more time for procrastinating or puting it off.

There is only NOW.

And we, the lucky ones, who still remain here on planet earth, must create our legacy and live our dream lives. If for no other reason than to honor those who are gone.

We must show up every day, do our soulwork and put it out into the world.

For those who would give anything to have one more day, one more breath, one more chance. To do the thing they always dreamed of. To live the life they always wanted. To finish what they came here to do.

Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

And so we must live NOW, create NOW, put it out there NOW. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring…

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Is it time for you to finish your story? Then mark October 16 on your calendar and get ready to join myself and Editor, Sarah Fox, for Revise Your Damn Novel. Stay tuned…

When Was The Last Time You Actually Finished Something?

Over the weekend I wrapped up two big client projects. It felt good to get them finished and be able to call it done. And it got me thinking about finishing.

If you’ve ever actually finished something–and by finished I mean, gone all the way until it was DONE and then hit “publish” and put it out into the world (if that’s applicable)–you know the feeling that comes with it. That feeling of YES! I did it! And it’s DONE.

The sense of relief that you’ve not only finished, but you’ve freed up much-needed mind space. You can officially stop thinking about it because it’s done.

You don’t have to worry each day how you’ll get it done or spend wasted energy procrastinating or putting it off.

You just got it done, it’s finished–for real–and you can now take a deep breath before moving on to the next thing. Because there’s always a next thing.

Now some projects can’t ever really be finished, the nature of it doesn’t have an end in sight. Like blogging. You never really finish blogging. You may finish a blog post or finish a week of working on the blog, but there’s always something else to do. A blog is a living, breathing project that requires constant attention and maintenance.

It’s perfectly fine for a writer to have one or two projects that never end. For me, that means my blogging. There’s no end to it unless I consciously decide to stop.

But with other projects–books, short stories, songs or whatever else you’re working on–there’s an endpoint. There’s a point where you can actually call something done. It’s published. It’s out in the world where it can be read and enjoyed by others.

It’s finished.

Along with procrastination, finishing tends to be one of the biggest hurdles that writers and creatives face. Because it’s easy to start projects; to pick up a new hobby or begin yet another story.

But finishing said project or said story?

Harder. And for some, MUCH harder.

Because if you’ve never actually finished anything before, you haven’t yet built the habit of finishing. You just keep on starting stuff and working on it, but you never actually get to the point where you can call it done.

Now done means something different for each writer and each project. Some projects require more time than others, and some writers need more time to work on and process stuff than others do.

But either way, you have to eventually get to a point where you’re done. Where you’ve finished and you no longer have to work on that project.

It’s done.

It’s published.

It’s out in the world.

It’s FINISHED.

Becoming a finisher is a super important thing for every writer and creative person. If you’re not a finisher, you’ll always be starting things, but never having the satisfaction of getting it done.

And then you’ll always be a hobbyist.

One of the biggest differences between a pro and an amateur is the pro finished. That’s what makes the person a pro.

Finishing is the line in the sand. It’s what separates the successful from everyone else.

Pros have created a habit around finishing. They don’t drag projects out forever and they don’t spend years and years of their lives revising and rewriting and editing and fixing things up.

They get the project done to the point where they’re happy with it and don’t feel there’s anything else they can do to make it better, and then they call it done. They hit “publish,” put it out there and then take a short break before moving on to the next project.

Or sometimes they don’t even take a break. They just jump right to the next thing and get started (although I highly recommend celebrating the success of finishing in some way).

And the more projects you take on and get finished, the better you’ll get at determining when “finished” is and being able to cut yourself off from continuing to revise or rewrite and calling it done.

Being a finisher is a habit. One that you build as you take on projects and actually finish them.

But if you’re never actually finishing anything, that’s a huge problem.

You won’t be able to transition from amateur to pro status if you don’t learn how to finish. If you don’t figure out how to be discerning and how to make decisions from the gut on when something is done.

That transition, from amateur to pro, is major. It’s everything, really. Because the whole point of being a writer is to be read.

But in order to be read, you must finish.

Dream life or bust,

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Are you ready to FINISH your story? Ready to finally work through that revision you’ve been putting off–or getting stuck in–for months and maybe even years? Then mark October 16 on your calendar and get ready! I’m hosting a revision workshop with Editor, Sarah Fox, called Revise Your Damn Novel. Five weeks of focused revision time to get your draft into a more final state, so you can either hit “publish” or finally send it off to an editor for feedback. Doors to this workshop open on Monday, October 9. Stay tuned for more details as the week goes on…

 

 

There is Never Anything to Fix, You’re Perfect Exactly as You Are

I just made a seriously bold statement: that there’s never anything to fix because you’re perfect exactly as you are.

An extremely bold statement. One that most people probably wouldn’t agree with me on.

But I stand by it.

A big problem that so many people have is that they’re always trying to fix things about themselves and their lives, when there’s really nothing to fix. Fixing something sends the message that you’re broken or there’s something wrong with you.

Couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s nothing wrong with you. You are perfect, exactly as you are right now.

Yes, there may be things you don’t like about yourself or your life, or things that you want to change or upgrade or improve on. But there’s never anything to fix, because you’re not broken.

And removing the “fix it” mindset is gonna be the thing that finally allows you to see yourself for who and what you really are.

For a long time now I’ve told myself that I need to “fix” my body, just because it’s not how I want it to be. But the thing is–there’s nothing wrong with my body. And many women would kill to have the body that I currently have.

But in my mind, it’s not good enough, because it’s not what I want it to be.

I want to be more toned and fitter. I want to be stronger and have better stamina. I want to my clothes to be loose and to be able to wear any damn thing I feel like wearing whenever I feel like wearing it.

So for months now I’ve been trying to “fix” my body and all the things I think are “wrong” with it. But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with my body and there’s nothing that needs to be fixed.

I had to finally see that there’s nothing to fix about my body. My body is fine just the way it is. Yes, there are improvements I’d like to make, but saying I needed to fix something would mean that there’s something broken about me, and nothing is.

I just had to start seeing it that way.

And I finally have, thanks to a reframe I gave myself about where I’m currently at.

And, really, it’s the “I have to fix it” mindset that has stopped me from actually sticking with my daily fitness habit in the past. Because if you think there’s something wrong with you or that you have to fix something, it doesn’t exactly motivate you to want to work out or get healthy.

So I had to shift my mindset around fitness and getting healthy, and stop telling myself that I had to fix something.

Sure, I’m not as toned as I once was. I don’t have the body I had in my 20s. I’m not as small as I’m used to being.

But I’m also not that far off. All it would really take is just changing up my eating habits and exercising daily to get to where I want to be.

And if I chose to never do those things, to never eat better or exercise daily, guess what, I’d still survive. I wouldn’t fall apart or become broken.

So there’s nothing that I need to fix.

Approaching my health and fitness from a place of “I need to fix this” is the thing that has stopped me from wanting to make any changes. Which is why I’m no longer coming from that place.

The other day after I worked out at the gym, I had an ephiphany: it takes time to create the body you want.

I didn’t get to where I’m at with my body right now overnight. It took almost 34 years of eating too much sugar and junk food and not exercising very much to get me to where I am right now. I didn’t just eat a bag of cookies one night and wake up with the body I have currently.

Nope. It took years of neglect and not caring about what I was eating and not having enough movement in my life to make this happen.

So change isn’t gonna happen overnight either.

Sounds obvious, but that thought had never really occured to me until the other day. And it has helped me to make peace with the whole “fix it” thing and to realize that so long as I commit to eating better, taking better care of myself and exercising/sweating for at least 20 minutes a day, eventually I’ll get to have the body I’ve always wanted.

The dream body, for me.

This way of thinking–that I didn’t get to this place overnight and so I’m not gonna get to where I really want to be overnight either–has changed everything for my fitness and health. And this way of thinking can also apply to anything else in your life that you want to change or improve, including your writing habits.

You didn’t get to where you’re at with your writing today all in one night. No, the not writing often enough or not finishing your writing projects or constantly procrastinating (or wherever you’re at currently in your writing life) happened over a lifetime of putting the writing off and avoiding it and convincing yourself that it wasn’t important or didn’t matter.

So you can’t just expect to wake up tomorrow and suddenly be a New York Times Best Selling Author.

It takes time to get to that point. It takes working at it a little every day. It takes commitment to the outcome and being willing to do whatever it takes, until it takes and then keep going.

And even still, wherever you’re at today with your writing, your body, your health, whatever, there’s nothing to fix. Because you’re not broken. You’re perfect exactly as you are.

But if you want to change; if you’re inspired to change; if you want to improve things and get yourself to an even better and more pefect for you place, that’s the mindset to have. That’s the way to make the transformation that you want to make.

One day at a time.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are opening to new members on Monday September 18!!! When you join us you get access to a KILLER Bonus (which I’ll be announcing soon!!) AND you get to participate in my upcoming 100-Day Writing Sprint workshop where we’ll be banding together to kick some ass and achieve our 2017 writing goals. Stay tuned… (and if you want to be the first to know when the doors are open, be sure to join my email list here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/newsletter )

Yes, I Write Everyday and I Don’t at All Understand Writers Who Don’t

The other day one of my hubs’ bandmates was hanging out at our apartment. We were just shooting the shit about whatever, as we usually do when he asked me a question that almost caught me by surprise.

He asked me: do you write every day?

It took me a second to realize that he was being serious. He seriously wanted to know if I write every day.

Once I got over the initial shock of the question, I responded by saying, of course, I write every day, I’m a writer.

But then I took a step back from the question and realized that the reason he asked me that is because most writers don’t write every day. In fact, many people who call themselves writers rarely actually do any writing.

Sure, they think about writing and they talk about writing and once in a while they may even sit in a chair and type some words out.

But it’s not a regular thing. They don’t have a routine or a habit of writing every day.

And they even tell themselves that they don’t have to write every day. That writing every day isn’t a prerequisite to being successful.

That may be true, in theory. I suppose you can be a successful writer and not write every day.

But the question I have isn’t do you write every day… it’s how can you call yourself a writer and not write every day?

If a basketball player only plays one day a month, can he still call himself a basketball player? If a musician only picks up her guitar when she feels like it, can she really call herself a musician? If an artist only paints when she has the time, is she really an artist?

I mean, again, maybe. In theory, you can call yourself anything you want.

But what I can’t understand is being a writer, or a basketball player or musician or artist, and not writing or doing something related to your craft every day.

Maybe it’s just me, but honestly, I write every day because I can’t not. Because on the days when I don’t write I feel like shit and I get annoyed and resentful and can’t deal with life.

For me, writing every day is therapy (and much cheaper too!). It’s my way of exorcising all the nonsense going on in my head. It’s how I make sense of life and how I keep my mind clear and focused and ready to be creative at a moment’s notice.

There is no other way for me.

I have to write something every single day. Even if it’s just a blog post or a post on social media or even just in my journal in the morning.

But I have to write. I can’t not.

If I don’t write, I have no purpose.

A bit dramatic? Maybe. But that’s how I feel. For me, writing is like breathing. And when I don’t write, I feel like I can’t breathe.

But if you’re not living the writing life, if you’re not all-in on doing the work, that could be a big reason why you struggle in your life, in more areas than just writing.

You can’t be born to write and know that you’re a writer and feel called inside to puts words on the page and then not do it. And if you avoid your writing, knowing full well that you’re born to do it and feeling all these things inside–stories and messages and ideas–and leaving them unexpressed, you can’t expect anything else in your life to go well either.

Because you’re not doing your soul work, the one thing you came here to do.

And you can’t avoid your soul work and expect your life to work. It can’t and it won’t.

Avoiding your soul work is the thing that actually STOPS everything else from working.

Whenever I find myself struggling with something, like money or a project, etc., the first thing I do is ask myself: have I been doing my soul work lately? And if I’m struggling, I can almost guarantee that nine times out of 10 I haven’t been.

Because when I do my soul work every day, my life works. Things flow. Money is easy. Projects get finished with no problem.

But the second I stop doing my soul work–and then the second that stopping becomes a habit–everything in my life falls apart. I struggle again.

And all of it can be fixed by just committing to showing up and writing every day.

It’s so simple it almost feels ridiculous. But it’s true nonetheless.

Doing your soul work makes your life work.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Only a few days left to join us for Write Your Damn Novel: NaNo Edition!!! We’re kicking things off on Monday, September 11 and diving right into the story planning and development process. If you’re ready to take the idea in your head and turn it into an actual story so you can write a first draft and finally have something worth revising, you do not want to miss this!!

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

I Just Really Need to Tell You Something…

You’re not gonna screw this up.

I know you think you will and you have all this noise in your head that says why even bother and who are you to write your novel and you’re just wasting your time. But you won’t screw it up.

You can’t possibly screw it up because you’re always doing the best you can do. And so long as you’re always doing the best you can do, there’s nothing that can stop you, hinder you or prevent you from making it happen.

Well, except you, of course.

You’re the only thing that can EVER stop you or stand in your way. You and all that BS you’re still buying into.

You know the BS I’m talking about. Telling yourself you’re not good enough. Constantly guilting yourself for things you said you were gonna do, but didn’t. Listening to the nonsense: but what if you don’t have what it takes? What if you really don’t have it?

But let me ask you something… isn’t it time to write a new story? And I don’t mean your novel.

In this case, I’m talking about YOUR story–the story you’re telling yourself about what you can or can’t do, be and have. The limitations you’ve been placing on yourself for most of your life. The lack you’re buying into that’s caused you to struggle for as long as you can remember.

Yeah. That stuff. That’s the stuff I’m talking about.

That stuff is your current life story.

It’s the stuff that’s creating your beliefs, thoughts, and actions. And, of course, it’s the energy you’re sending out into the world, over and over again.

That you’re not good enough. That you’re unworthy. That you don’t rate. That you don’t matter.

So what do you magnetize back to you? More thoughts and feelings and situations where you can feel not good enough, unworthy and that you don’t matter.

It’s a vicious cycle, and you’re the only one who can stop it.

How?

By writing a new story.

By deciding that you will no longer live as that person, as someone who holds those beliefs and thoughts and who takes those actions out of fear and feeling unworthy and not good enough.

By deciding that you are good enough, exactly as you are right now.

By finally understanding that you WERE BORN WORTHY. Just the fact that you’re breathing right now means you that you matter.

So it’s time to stop living that old story. It’s time to stop telling yourself lies over and over again, just because it’s comfortable. Just because you’re uncertain of what will be on the other side of those old stories.

Just because you’re afraid.

The truth is and always will be that you are good enough. And you can’t do anything to change that.

Nothing you do or say will ever make you not good enough.

Ever.

You’re good enough for life–and you have been since the day you set foot on this planet.

The only thing that can stop you from owning this power and all that comes with it is you continuing to tell these old stories and refusing to step into new ways of thinking and believing and being.

That’s what it all comes down to… YOU.

If you don’t have the results you want yet, it’s on you. If you’re not “there” yet, if you haven’t made happen what you always dreamed you would, it’s on you.

If you’ve said you were gonna do things and then didn’t do them, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Not the weather, not your spouse, not your family, your kids, your pets, your job, not being tired or procrastinating or not feeling like it or any of the other excuses you make for why you don’t have a novel written or finished or published yet.

Nothing.

No one.

Except for YOU.

A huge responsibility, yes. No way around that. You have to be responsible for your life.

It’s a big responsibility.

Probably the biggest one you’ll ever take on. Because that means you’re in control and you get to decide.

Right now you’re not using that power because you’re afraid and you’re still buying into the old stories. So it’s time to rewrite your life story and what’s true for you and what will be true for you from this day forward.

You get to decide.

You get to decide if you will live by default with the default programming you grew up with and have subconsciously given to yourself over the years. Or if you’ll erase that programming and all the stuff that no longer aligns with who you want to be, do and have, and install a new program instead.

A new program that plays the new story of who you’re now choosing to be and do and have in your life. The story you’re gonna write based on your desires and dreams and not on the limitations or lack of the past.

The story that says you can be anything, do anything, have anything, achieve any dream and skyrocket past what you never used to believe was possible.

The story that says you’ve got what it takes. You’re worthy and deserving.

So often we’re afraid to leave that old programming and those old stories behind because we think we won’t be able to maintain the new version of us. The version who fully shows up and does what we say we’re gonna do. That it will be too hard or too much work or that it will stop us from having fun or enjoying our lives and being social.

But doing something at 100 percent is actually easier than doing it at 99 percent.

Once you’re all in, there’s no doubt or question or consideration in your mind. It just done. It’s who you are now. It’s what you do now. It’s what your story is now.

And you get to decide.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. You know my upcoming workshop, Write Your Damn Novel: NaNo Edition? Well, there’s something I totally forgot to tell you about that you need to know about right now… when you sign up for the workshop, you get LIFETIME UPDATES AND ACCESS. Which means anytime I update the course materials and bonuses, you get them. AND anytime I run the workshop (which will be twice a year going forward, in February and again in September for NaNo) you get to participate if you want to.

Imagine all the stories you could plan and get written having that kind of momentum and motivation twice a year!!

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

The Hard Truth About Being A Professional Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet you’re not acting any different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

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

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

7 Biggest Story Mistakes Writers Make

I’ve worked with hundreds of writers over the last seven years, in workshops, private coaching and through free challenges and events that I’ve run. And there are a handful of mistakes I see being made over and over again.

These are VERY common mistakes. So common, in fact, that I sometimes wonder if there are people out there actually teaching these mistakes to writers!

But the truth is, ALL writers make these mistakes, especially in the beginning of their storytelling journey. I made these same mistakes with my early stories too.

The problem is, many writers aren’t willing to see these things as mistakes. Sometimes they even tell themselves that it’s OK to NOT follow the principles of storytelling, and then they’ll spout off an example of a story that didn’t completely follow the principles.

But those one-off examples of stories that don’t totally follow the principles of storytelling are just that–one offs. They’re not the norm. They’re just a story that got lucky because somehow it happened to work, even if it did violate some of the principles of story.

It’s like being a one-hit wonder. And no real artist wants to be that.

How do you make sure that you don’t become a one-hit wonder? How do you make sure that you can not only write a great story, but continue to write great stories over and over again?

Simple. You learn craft. You pay attention to the principles of storytelling. And you actually implement this stuff into your stories.

No other way around it. Not if you intend to be commercially successful.

So, what are the 7 biggest mistakes I see writers making with their stories?

Brace yourself, because you’re probably making these same mistakes or have made them in the past…

1. Not Having An Actual Ending/Resolution to Your Story

I see this A LOT with writers who are writing a series. They set up all this stuff in the first story, and then instead of resolving it, they end the book with a cliffhanger that then forces the reader to have to read the next book to get a resolution.

BIG MISTAKE. HUGE.

Doing this will actually STOP readers from reading the second book, because you haven’t given them resolution to what was happening in the first one.

Yeah, I get that it seems logical to not resolve the story and to make the reader have to read the next story. But that’s a wrong way of thinking. Why?

Because a story should be able to stand alone, even if it’s part of a series.

Each book should have it’s own plot and it’s own Antagonist and opposition and goals. And each book should have its own ending and resolution to what was happening in the story.

And then it should also leave a couple loose ends for the next story. But it should close the loop on the core story (aka: main plot) of the book.

Not having an ending or resolution to all that went on in the story is a surefire way to turn your reader off.

2. No Plot

The next mistake I commonly see is not having an actual plot. A plot is a very specific thing. A plot is a Protagonist who wants something, an Antagonist who opposes what the Protagonist wants, and a journey that ensues because of it.

If you don’t have that going on in your story, you don’t have a plot. You have an episodic narrative.

Which brings me to…

3. Writing An Episodic Narrative

I probably should’ve made this number one on the list, because writing an episodic narrative instead of an actual story is by far the most common mistake writers make.

There are several differences between a story and an episodic narrative. Some of which include:

> A story has a true beginning, middle and end
> An episodic narrative doesn’t, because it’s just a documentation of the day-to-day occurances in a character’s life, so technically it could go on forever

> A story has a specific plot (see #2)
> An episodic narrative is just “this happens and then this happens and then this happens…”

> A story has opposition
> An episodic narrative just has conflict, but no true opposition

I could go on. But hopefully you get the point.

An episodic narrative will never get you published or gain you a readership.

People read stories to be transported into someone else’s life, to be part of a vicarious experience where a character has to overcome opposition, defeat it and be the victor at the end. So if you’re not giving that to them, your story won’t work.

4. No Character Arc

In a story, we start out with an ordinary Protagonist with a serious inner demon that’s holding them back from having what they want in life. And then along comes an Antagonist who not only opposes them getting what they want, but also brings out their inner demon in a whole new way.

Now the character must show us what he’s made of by becoming self-aware of his inner demon and then defeating it in the process of defeating the Antagonist.

Your Protagonist’s job in a story is to change in some way. He can’t be the same person at the end of the story that is was in the beginning. And for a very important reason: the person he was at the beginning didn’t yet have what it takes to defeat the Antagonist and resolve the story.

So that change, that character arc, is needed in order for the story to be successful. No one wants to read a story where the Protagonist learns nothing, makes no changes and is exactly the same from start to finish.

The whole point of a story is to turn an ordinary person into a hero.

5. No Concept

Concept is a foundational piece of writing a good story. Concept can be the thing that takes your story from “eh” to “AWESOME!!!”

And if you’re not aware yet, Concept is the landscape of your story. It’s the “gotta read it” factor. It’s what’s interesting and conflicted and dramatic about your story BEFORE you introduce a plot or a character.

So often a story that has potential ends up falling flat because there’s no Concept.

6. Random Stuff That Does’t Connect

I probably should’ve listed this as the #2 mistakes writers make with their stories, because it’s insanely common. I read lots of manuscripts and most of those manuscripts have random things happening that don’t tie into the story in any way.

The thing with a story is that everything must relate, tie together and be cohesive.

But so often I see stories with random things that have no purpose and serve no mission. It’s just there for backstory or characterization.

Don’t make this mistake. Everything that happens in a story needs to have a purpose and move the story forward in some way.

Which means, for example, if a gun shows up in the beginning, it must go off by the end of the story. Don’t just show us the gun and then never mention or bring it up again.

If you show us a gun, it needs to be because the gun has a purpose and a mission and moves the story toward resolution.

7. Running With A Half-Baked Idea

The last, but not less important, mistake writers make with their stories is running with an idea that’s only half baked.

And what I mean by half-baked is that they’re running with the first or initial idea they got, without consideration for the other possibilities and options that exist. Big mistake.

Because it’s in the exploring of other ideas and options and possibilities where your actual story is. The only way to find it is to dig around and go deeper and ask questions.

“What if this happened? Or what if that happened? Or what if I changed this? Or what if I swapped that with something else?”

Questions are the way to dig out your actual story. But when you just get an idea and then sit down to write it, you’re doing a disservice to your story because you’re not giving it the time it needs to marinate and come to life in a bigger, better way.

Whatever you do, stop making these 7 mistakes. Your story–and your future readers–will thank you for it.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Ready to STOP making these mistakes and learn what it really takes to write a kick-ass story? Then you don’t want to miss my upcoming workshop, Write Your Damn Novel: NaNo Edition. We kick things off on September 11 and we’ll be spending 8 weeks planning and developing your story from idea into a full-blown story plan and then you’re also getting bonus support during NaNoWriMo so that you actually go all the way, write and finish your draft.

The doors to the workshop officially open on Monday, September 4… BUT you can get $100 off the full price if you sign up between now and Sunday, Sept 3 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Full details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/nanoedition

How Do You Know When You Have A Good Story Concept? An Unlimited Number Of Plots Can Play Out On It

Since moving to Austin, I’ve finally picked up a Roku, which is a device for streaming on your TV (I used to use my Nintendo Wii for streaming–ancient, I know!!). And some of the programming on Netflix is different, depending on which device you’re using.

The other day I was scrolling through when I came across a movie I hadn’t seen on there previously. It was called “The Matchbreaker.”

Intrigued by the title, I clicked on the image to see a description of the movie. And this was essentially the plot: a guy gets paid by a disapproving mother to break up her daughter’s relationship, and this one-time gig turns into a career, which then becomes a problem when he falls in love with one of his clients.

Sound familiar?

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you likely remember a screenplay I’ve been talking about that I’m working on right now. It’s called The Breakup Coach.

In my story, the Protagonist is a female who’s been dumped so many times that she decides to become a breakup coach and help other people break up with their significant others, and she’s doing just fine until a client she doesn’t want to take on blackmails her into helping him.

Similar idea… but two totally different stories. How can this be? How can the exact same idea become two (or more) totally different stories?

For one very simple reason: Concept.

Concept is the landscape of your story. In the case of these two stories, The Matchbreaker, and The Breakup Coach, the Concept is the same: a person whose job it is to help people break up with their significant others.

Yet the plots are totally different.

And that is how you know you’ve got a good Concept. Not only is it compelling and conflicted in and of itself, but an unlimited number of plots could be created from it.

The Matchbreaker (or the Breakup Coach) could even be a TV series. The Concept would be the same–a person whose job it is to break up other people’s relationships. And then the plot would change in each episode.

Just like any other TV show.

Same Concept. Different plot (aka: Premise).

Concept is one of the most powerful pieces of storytelling craft. It may even be the most powerful. Because Concept creates the landscape for your story.

But it doesn’t give you a plot.

A landscape is like a stage for the story to unfold on. In this case, the Concept is a character: a person whose job it is to break up other people’s relationships.

That is the stage the plot will unfold on. But it’s NOT a plot on its own.

This is a seriously important distinction to understand. If you don’t get this distinction, you will be headed toward “episodic narrative land.” And that is the worst thing you can ever do for your story.

And a Concept like this, without a plot, lends itself very nicely to an episodic narrative. You could sit down and just write 50,000 words about a person whose job it is to break up relationships. And what you’d end up with is 50,000 words that show us the day-to-day life of a breakup coach.

Interesting to some, maybe. But not powerful enough to be an actual story.

Because something’s missing.

Something MAJOR.

And that’s a Premise, a plot. A purpose for the story. Opposition that’s going to get in the way and make things harder for that break up coach to achieve his/her story goal.

Without that, you don’t really have a story.

The Matchbreaker is now on my Netflix list of movies to watch. I’m insanely interested in how this version of my Concept plays out.

The other reason why it’s important to fully understand Concept (and Premise, and all the other pieces of story craft) is because otherwise you’ll think you need to have a super original and unique idea to be able to write a good story.

But you really don’t.

All you need is a Concept that’s worth writing about. A Concept that, even if it’s been done before, hasn’t been done by you.

You being you is what brings the unique twist to things. Because you’ll take the Concept of “a person whose job it is to break up people’s relationships” and create your own version of the plot.

And if that same Concept was given to 10 other writers, what you’d get are 10 totally different stories. All built on the same Concept.

Now, not every Concept warrants doing over and over again with multiple plots. Some Concepts are good just for that one story.

But what makes a really killer Concept is that it has potential to be multiple plots. That’s when you know you’ve stumbled upon something awesome.

So even though the Matchbreaker is a movie on Netflix, that’s not gonna to stop me from writing my version of the Breakup Coach. Because that story hasn’t been done before.

Yeah, the Concept has, but it’s a good Concept, one that warrants multiple stories.

Same goes for stories like Superman or Spiderman or James Bond or any other Concepts out there that have been used over and over again with many different plots.

The Concept is the same for each story, what changes is the plot.

And, really, that’s why they’re able to do so many versions of the story. Because Concept lends itself to that.

Without Concept, a story falls flat. It becomes average and everyday. Which is not what bestsellers or box office smashes are made of.

Concept provides the stage for your plot to unfold and your characters to come to life.

Want to know if you’ve got a killer Concept for your story? Ask yourself the following questions:

> Does this Concept provide inherent tension and conflict to the story, before the plot is introduced?
> Is this Concept compelling on its own? Would someone hear this Concept and want to read/watch the story, before you’ve told them what it’s actually about?
> Can you use this Concept to create an unlimited number of plots?

If you can truly answer YES to all three of those questions, then congratulations–you probably have a killer Concept, one that’s worth writing into a story (or several).

But if you didn’t answer YES to all three questions, then you may want to keep digging and developing until you have a Concept where you can answer YES to all three.

Coming up with a killer, compelling, I’ve-got-to-read-that-right-now Concept isn’t always easy (although once you fully understand craft, it can be). But it’s always worth the extra time and attention spent making it so.

Otherwise you may end up with an episodic narrative. And that’s not really a story.

Or, at least, it’s not a story that will get you published, land you on the NY Times Best Seller list or get turned into a movie (and I know that’s what you REALLY dream of and want to happen, right??!!).

Spend the extra time working on your Concept. Play around with as many ideas as you can until you’ve landed on one that makes you scream HELL YES!!!

Your story is worth it.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Ready to come up with a killer Concept for your story?? I have a FREE video series coming later this week that’s all about how to create opposition in your stories… and then we’re heading into a FREE 5-day challenge where I’m gonna help you develop a killer Concept for YOUR story. NaNoWriMo is almost upon us, which also means it’s almost time for my annual story planning workshop!! LOTS of storytelling awesomeness coming over the next few weeks. Stay tuned… (and if you’re totally impatient like I am and don’t want to wait, you can grab my FREE story training and development workbook, “From ‘Eh’ to ‘Awesome! 9 Questions to Turn Your Idea into An Actual Story,” and get started right away: www.jenniferblanchard.net)