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)

What You Focus On Expands, So Focus On What You Actually Want

For a long time in my life, I focused on the bad stuff. The negative, annoying, bad things that were happening all around me. The news. Society. Other people. My bad habits. My insecurities. My “not good enough” bullshit.

I focused on that stuff, all day long most days. And hating my day job caused me to complain with people about how bad things are.

During my final job working for someone else I spent upwards of eight hours a day complaining with my coworkers about how bad things were there. Eight hours!!

Talk about focusing on what you DON’T want.

‘Cause here’s the thing… whatever you choose to focus on, expands. It grows. And you start to see more and more evidence of it.

This is true whether what you’re focusing on is “good” or “bad.”

And that’s what I finally realized when I was still working a soulsucking day job: I get to choose. I get to decide what I focus on and what I take my attention away from.

I’m not gonna lie, I definitely still complained with my coworkers. (It was kinda hard not to, things were really shitty at that company.) But when I got home, I left the complaining at the door.

I shut off my work phone and put it away and didn’t look at it again until I was sitting at my desk the next morning. Whatever happened, happened. I didn’t care anymore. I was DONE working for someone else and DONE working at a place I didn’t believe in.

I made the choice to block it all out, like I didn’t even work there. And instead I focused as much of my attention and energy as possible on what I actually wanted: to work for myself.

I got home at night and I blogged and I wrote and I worked on building my writing business. I got really good at acting as if I wasn’t working for someone else anymore (even though at the time I still was).

I had a quit date, it was written down and I declared at the beginning of 2012 that this was the year I’d finally leave my job and work for myself.

I believed it. With every ounce of my being. Even though I had ZERO clue how I’d make it happen. I just trusted and I kept acting as if.

When I got to the office every day, I told myself I was at my side gig and I was consulting and wasn’t really an employee. I pretended I had a contract and that it was over on my quit date.

I believed it.

And I FOCUSED on it.

So when I ended up quitting and leaving three months before the quit date I set, I wasn’t at all surprised. Because what you focus on expands.

And I’d been focused on working for myself and being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. That was my dream.

But I was also focused on complaining with my coworkers when I was at the office. So that continued to expand too, and before I knew it, the entire place had become one big fucking shit show.

When I put in my two weeks notice I didn’t even end up finishing the entire thing. I’d had enough and I didn’t want to have ANY of my focus on that stuff anymore. So I went to the HR lady and told her I was done.

And I walked away–OK, I admit, I danced away like a fool in my car–and started a brand new life as an entrepreneur.

Whatever you want, you can do it too. You can use your focus to create whatever YOU dream of doing and having and being. ANYTHING.

It’s all up to you. And simply by placing your focus on exactly what you WANT in your writing life and beyond, and REMOVING your focus from all of the things you DON’T want, you will totally change your life. Why?

Because life grows where focus goes.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. It’s the FINAL DAY to join us for the Manifest Your Writing Dreams to Life workshop. We’re kicking things off and jumping right in.

Thirty days of guidance, support and accountability so you can create the writing life (and more) that you’ve always dreamed of. This is an action-taking workshop–you won’t just be sitting around learning a bunch of stuff about manifesting, you’ll actually be diving in and DOING every single day.

DOORS CLOSE AT 11:59 PM CDT TONIGHT!!

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

I Live In A Magical Writer World… Care To Join Me?

There are two main types of writers: the ones who buy into the lack thinking and limitation spewed by the writing industry and many of the writers and authors in it, and the ones who know you create your own reality.

Which one are you?

I admit, there was a point in my life where I did buy into the BS beliefs of the writing industry, like it’s hard to be successful or you can’t make a living from your books unless you’re traditionally published or writers are broke/poor. I used to believe the starving artist mentality.

But then I discovered that’s all it is: a mentality. A mindset. A WAY OF THINKING.

And I didn’t like it one bit.

Because deep down I didn’t really believe it. I believed it on a surface level, because that’s what I thought all writers believed.

Until I started to meet authors who were making thousands of dollars a month from their books and authors who make $100k+ a year from their books and writers who got an agent the first time they pitched one and writers who got signed with a NYC publisher their first time around.

And I realized that it really is true: you create your own reality.

YOU get to decide what you achieve, how successful you are and whether or not your writing dreams come to life. YOU. No one else.

There are no limitations except the ones you put on yourself. Period.

I read a survey the other day of authors who make $100k a year from their books, and this was one of my favorite quotes from it:

“Never give up! I was told I could never make it, but I proved everyone wrong. I was rejected by one 300 agents and publishers. And it was a blessing in disguise!!! I now run my own ship and make my own rules. I keep 70% of my earnings! Getting shot down by publishers was the BEST thing to ever happen in my entire life! I wish I could give them a hug! They did me a huge favor and I found indie publishing.”

[The survey was pretty inspiring and had some eye-opening results… check it out here: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/06/07/100k-author/]

This survey–and all the authors who took it–are living proof that you CAN make a living from your books. There are many, many authors out there doing it.

You can do anything. You can be anything. You can create anything. And it can all be on your terms.

That’s the life I’m committed to living–a life that’s all on my terms. Where I get to decide, I get to choose and I get to say what’s true for me.

I believe that I can have it all and do it all… everything I dream of.

And you can too.

There’s no difference between me and you. I’m just a little further along than you are.

So I invite you to STOP. Stop buying into the BS lack thinking and limitations the writing industry and other writers try to place on you. Stop believing that it has to be hard (yes, you have to work hard, but it doesn’t have to feel hard). Stop getting caught up in other writers and authors limited beliefs around what’s possible (or not) for them.

Here’s the truth… if you want to live an extraordinary life where all of your dreams come true and everything is on your terms, you have to give up the notion that you will ever be able to be “normal” or fit in with most other writers.

You won’t and you can’t.

Because normal writers don’t live extraordinary lives. Normal writers buy into lack thinking and limitation. Normal writers email me to say things like, “who are you to charge $10k to ghostwrite a novel?”

Normal writers DO NOT GET IT.

But writers who think different do. And there are lots of these writers and authors out there.

They’re the ones actually hitting ‘publish’ and actually making money from their books and actually pushing the limits of what they believe is possible.

Big dreamers are not normal. Big dreamers are extraordinary. Big dreamers are willing to do the work and willing to risk it all for what they really want.

Big dreamers go all in on their dreams and they refuse to give up. Ever.

Big dreamers fully live my mantra, Dream Life Or Bust.

I’m damn proud to be a big dreamer, to not be normal and not think like most other people out there. Damn proud. Because I love my life and I love being me.

I live in a magical writer world where I get paid good money for my words and sell lots of books and believe and know that I can achieve everything that I decide I will and then act on.

Want to join me?

It’s all up to you.

You get to decide.

You get to choose which writer world you live in: the one with lack and limitation, or the one with unlimited abundance and possibility. Because whichever you choose is what will be.

I know you’re scared. I know all the BS you’ve heard your whole life about what it means to be creative or to be a writer. I know you worry that you won’t be able to pull it off.

But you will. You just have to choose.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Are you ready to create YOUR magical writer world? Then be sure to join us for Manifest Your Writing Dreams to Life–30 days that will totally shake up your ways of thinking and being.

This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for multi-passionate writers who want more.

Is that you? If it is, you don’t want to miss this!!

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

This Is What Discipline Looks Like

You want to achieve something; to write a first draft; to publish your novel; to put words on the page every day. You know what you want. It’s clear in your mind and has been for some time now.

You figure out what actions it will take to start making some progress on said achievement. You write them down and make a to-do list.

You commit to doing the work.

Then you sit down in front of your computer, open a blank document or Scrivener file and get started. You may have to start from scratch, building something brand new that’s still living in your head. Or you may be able to rework something you wrote previously.

You work for about 20 minutes and then go take a quick break before coming back for another session.

The next day, you do the exact same thing.

The day after, the same.

And the day after…

And the day after…

And the day after…

Then you might have some Resistance pop up and try to pull you away from the page. But you fight it and get there anyhow.

Same thing happens the next day, and words still get on the page.

Then you have a really, really rough morning. You’re not feeling great, and your dog is driving you nuts and you’re kind of tired. All you want to do is curl back up in bed.

But instead you write your daily word count.

The next day you’re feeling like your old self again and you bang out an hour’s worth of words without even realizing it.

The next few days are tougher, because you have family in town visiting and they’re pulling your attention away. The Resistance is strong. Stronger than ever maybe. And you’ve done so well the last couple weeks, there’s no reason you can’t give yourself a break.

But just for today.

Except now the words pull at you, beckoning you to the page with their magnetism. You can’t not write. So you get some words down on the page before heading to lunch with the family.

After they’re gone, it becomes harder to get back on track because you’ve let yourself be looser with your daily writing while they were in town.

But you still sit down at the page anyhow.

You have no idea what you’re going to write. The words won’t come. But you continue to sit there. You read something inspirational or you do a writing prompt, just to jump-start your creative juices.

And then the words bubble up and spill out. Maybe faster than they ever have before… like they’ve been built up and held back by a dam that is now gone.

And you feel good. Better than ever, maybe.

You feel like a real writer.

You smile as you step away from your laptop, closing the lid. This was a good day.

And tomorrow, the battle starts again…

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Have you ever heard of the Law of Attraction? The idea that you can attract into your life whatever you think about and take action on? What if you really can have whatever you dream of having? What if you believed it was all within reach?

What if I told you that you can use this same law to get whatever you want in your writing life? (Hint: you can.) Stay tuned…