When You Master Craft, It Opens Up A Whole New Level Of Confidence and Belief In Yourself

I wrote my first novel back in 2008. I was SO proud of myself the day I wrote “the end” on my first draft. And I fought hard to get that draft finished–I actually wrote the final chapter in the dark, by candle light, during Hurricaine Ike, on a laptop with a dying battery.

I was that committed to finishing.

After I finished I popped the bottle of champagne I bought for that very occasion. I was beyond excited. I finally did something I’d been wanting to do for most of my life… write a novel.

But little did I know, that was just the very early beginning stages of my fiction writing career. Because while I did have a first draft, what I didn’t have was a novel.

Instead I had an episodic narrative of a character’s day-to-day life. And that is not a novel. It’s barely even a story.

Because a novel–and a story–are very specific things. They have criteria and principles. If you don’t follow them, you’re not technically writing a novel (or a story).

In 2009, after months of trying to revise the first draft of my novel and getting nowhere, I finally accepted that I didn’t know what I was doing. Despite having read thousands of novels over the years and taking dozens of fiction writing classes and reading dozens of books on writing.

Because having read a ton of novels isn’t enough. Taking a few classes or reading a bunch of writing how-to books isn’t enough. Writing a compelling, cohesive, engaging story takes more than that.

Thankfully, not long after I accepted that I didn’t know what I was doing, I came across a blog post that totally changed my life. It was a blog post about story structure, written by best selling novelist and author, Larry Brooks.

I remember sitting on my couch, reading the article and feeling like the entire world had just opened up to me. I felt like I’d found the holy grail of storytelling.

Structure.

As I sat there reading the article over and over and over again, taking it all in, I finally got why nothing I’d written prior to that moment ever worked. I finally understood the core of craft.

Structure.

All stories must have structure. All stories must have plot points that fit specific criteria and fall at specific places in the story.

That day in 2009 was the first time I’d ever heard of story structure, and I’d taken evey class and read every book I could get my hands on. No one talked about structure, or at least, they didn’t talk about it in a way that actually made sense to me.

Larry’s article on structure filled in all the gaps that were left by the books and the classes I’d taken all those years. And I knew my writing life would never, ever be the same again.

I spent the next five years studying craft–and especially structure–like my life depended on it. I watched 2-3 movies every single day, breaking down the story and paying attention to the execution of the plot points. I devoured every blog post and eBook Larry Brooks had available at that point (and every post and book since as well).

I made it my mission to not only master the craft of storytelling for myself, but also to teach it to other writers, so I could save them the years of stuggle and stress I went through trying to write a story that worked.

Eight years after I found that article by Larry on story structure, I have mastered the craft of storytelling (although I’d argue no one ever really masters it because there’s always a new layer or level of understanding you can get to). And now, as I gear up to write my first screenplay, I’m feeling insanely confident in my ability to do a good job.

BUT even with all the studying and practice I’ve had these last eight years, I’m still re-reading Screenplay by Syd Field and I’m still watching 2-3 movies a night and studying the structure and scene execution, and I’m still looking up screenplays online and reading them.

Because even though I know craft and I know structure and I can pretty much do that shit in my sleep now, I also know that I can always learn more and do better.

I’ve committed to being a lifelong student of story. And I’m not dumb enough to think that just because I’ve watched thousands of movies in my life means I can just sit down and write a screenplay (nope!!).

All of this practice and studying and implementing on my own stories has made me feel amazing about my ability to tell a kick-ass story. I may not be the world’s greatest prose writer, but I’m a damn good storyteller.

I believe in my stories and I have confidence that I can turn any idea in my head into a compelling, engaging story that my ideal readers (or viewers) will love.

And that confidence and belief in myself came from being willing to do what others aren’t.

Most people won’t spend years of their lives studying story. Most won’t watch 2-3 movies a night and break down the structure. Most won’t put off the writing for months on end until they’ve got a solid story plan.

But I will.

So now as I move into a whole new arena (screenwriting), I still feel damn good about my ability to tell a great story. I know there’s still a lot for me to learn and I’m open to learning all of it.

And I fully believe in my stories and in myself as a storyteller. That came as a byproduct of my willingness to dive in and master craft.

Want to amp up your confidence and belief in yourself as a storyteller? Stop telling yourself that just because you’ve read a bunch of novels means you can write one.

Master craft. Study story like your life depends on it. And commit to being a life-long student of story.

It’s the only way.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. I’m opening a few spots this week to work privately with me on planning and developing your story idea into a cohesive, engaging story roadmap that you can use to write your first draft. Private coaching isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been wanting to work with me on your story, stay tuned…

Clarity and Confidence Come From Taking Action and Continuing to Take Action

In January of 2008, I decided I was going to write my very first novel and have the draft finished by my 25th birthday that year. Two months blew by and I still hadn’t made any progress. I needed to put pressure on myself and give myelf massive accountability.

So in March of 2008, I started a blog called Procrastinating Writers. (I figured that name fit considering I’d been procrastinating on my novel-writing dream for most of my life.) And I only had one goal: I was going to write and publish one post a week and share about my journey to writing the first draft of my first novel. This would keep me accountable to showing up and doing the work.

Back then the only goal I could see was getting a novel written, published and out in the world. It was my ultimate dream at that point.

But then in 2015, I finally got that novel finished and published. I had achieved my ultimate dream. And that’s when even bigger dreams began revealing themselves to me.

Dreams I hadn’t even allowed myself to think about, let alone utter a word of, because it felt so far away and so impossible. Once I had a published novel, though, the next piece of the puzzle showed itself.

And that’s how it happens.

We often tell ourselves that we have to know the entire picture or that we have to know every single step we’ll encounter along the way. But we don’t. In fact, most of the time, you won’t. You won’t have a freaking clue what the next step is.

You just have to take the first step and trust that as you do, the next step will be revealed and then the next, until you inevitably achieve your goal.

And taking that first step is always the hardest and the scariest. We’re not taught how to deal with uncertainty. But uncertainty is a big part of living your dream life.

You have to trust in yourself and believe in your vision–whatever you can see of it–and act in faith.

Easier to say than to do, I know. But it doesn’t have to be.

When you start to take action on your dreams–any actions, even baby-step actions–you begin to get clues and hints for what the next step is. Or you get feedback in the form of how you feel or a gut instinct that says something is slightly off and you need to pivot.

Recently I’ve been getting all kinds of clarity around my bigger purpose and vision for my life and my business. The dreams are getting bolder and more expansive, and my faith in the next step revealing itself if I just keep taking action is growing every day.

Today I own a company. Not just a side gig or a hobby, but a real business that makes money and changes people’s lives. I get to spend my time doing stuff that I love to do. I have total freedom and control of everything.

In 2008, I never could’ve seen the vision for where I am right now, or the vision for where I’m now headed. Back then all I could see was my goal of writing a novel and finally becoming consistent with my writing practice. And now I run a full-time business that supports me in creating my dream life and making the impact that I want to make in the world.

But none of that would’ve happened if I hadn’t take that first step way back when and started a blog to share my journey to writing my novel.

The kind of clarity and confidence I now have as a writer, an author, a speaker, a leader and a business owner came from taking action. And not just taking a little action, but taking A LOT of action and then continuing to take action, over and over again. It came from seeing what works and what feels good to me, and giving myself permission to pivot when it doesn’t.

If you want to achieve something or if you want a bigger vision and purpose for your life to be revealed, then you must START and you must commit to continuing on. No. Matter. What.

Action. Consistency. That’s what you need to see more of the steps and the bigger picture revealed to you.

And, again, those answers to what you need to do to make your dream writing life happen will continue to reveal themselves, the more you take action, test things out and then tweak based on the results and how it feels for you.

The more you do that, the more confident you’ll start to be. And you’ll build inner strength and an inner knowing that you will finally begin to trust.

Clarity and confidence comes from taking action and continuing to take action. Period.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. The doors to the Writer’s Confidence Boost workshop are open!!! Are you in need of a serious confidence boost?? Right now you can join the workshop for 93% OFF the full price!! But hurry–doors close Sunday May 14 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

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

You’ve Got To Throw Out “The Rules” and Write Them for Yourself

To me, living your dream life means being you, doing what you love, having freedom and living on your terms. To create that dream life, you must be willing to write your own rules.

And writing your own rules starts with digging up any old, limiting beliefs, especially unconscious ones, that are currently holding you back or keeping you stuck or creating a reality that you don’t want.

You may not think you have any limiting beliefs, but we all do. And many of them are unconscious, which means we’re sending these unconscious belief-signals out into the Universe every day… and that’s what’s coming back to us.

To figure out what unconscious beliefs you have, all you need to do is look around at your life and your current reality. What you see around you is what you’ve been unconsciously creating up ’til this point.

Here’s the hard part. Now you actually have to be brave enough to look around–and most importantly, look within–and put words to the unconscious beliefs you currently have. The good and the bad.

For example, a few years ago I made a realization: somehow everything always works out for me.

I’d be running late for work, but then I’d get there and my boss would be running even later and never found out I was late. I needed money for something unexpected and somehow the money would show up. I got to the restaurant for dinner and someone would be backing out and leaving their front-row spot, just as I was getting there.

From this I made the discovery that I have an unconscious belief (a GREAT one!) that everything always works out in my favor. Somehow over the course of my life, through things people told me and what I experienced, I created this belief. And it has served me very, very well in my life.

But what about when you find an unconscious belief that’s been wreaking havoc on your life?

For example, from a very young age, I was programmed with the belief that I’m not good enough. This came from various things that happened to me during my childhood–getting bulled by my older cousins who I looked up to, my parents’ divorce, bullying from other kids at my babysitter’s house and all through my school years. From those experiences, I created an unconscious belief that I wasn’t good enough.

And that belief was unconsciously creating my life. It kept me from trying out for parts that I wanted in the school plays, it made me pretend to be someone I’m not, and it made me self-sabotage when I did get an opportunity to shine.

Thankfully I had a whole bunch of other empowering beliefs that balanced out the bad ones, but until I was conscious of the fact I had a deep-seeded belief that I wasn’t good enough, it continued to create negativity in my reality.

Once I was fully conscious of it, I was able to do something about changing it. So I started to plant new beliefs in my mind, ones that actually support me in achieving my goals and the success that I want.

That’s what it means to write your own rules. You get to choose your beliefs that you hold, that you live by and that create your life. Because your beliefs, thoughts, perspective and actions are what has been creating your reality up to this point.

But if you want to create your dream life and have everything you’ve ever wanted, it starts with giving yourself permission to change the limiting beliefs–conscious and unconscious–that you’ve had programmed in you all these years, and also to drop and ignore anything you’ve been told to think or believe that doesn’t feel good to you.

Permission is everything here. Because until you fully give yourself permission you’ll never make the change. You’ll continue to operate your life from these beliefs, telling yourself that you “have to” because that’s what society says or what your mom says or what your spouse says or whatever you’re telling yourself.

I know it’s hard. It is. It really is.

Changing an entire belief system; shifting your entire perspective and all the thoughts you’ve had your whole life; it can be scary. Those old beliefs and old ways of being are very comfy. And it feels good to be comfy, kind of.

But not in the way that feeling good could feel if it was coming from a place of excitement and purpose, rather than a place of fear and comfort.

It’s been said that people only change out of necessity or severe pain. But you don’t have to wait ’til that point. You don’t have to get to the end of your rope before you do something different.

You can choose right now to be inspired into changing. To be motivated by possibiilty and empowered by new beliefs, thoughts and ways of being.

You can make this choice every single day, and you’ll have to, until it becomes a habit for you to think and believe this way.

A few years ago, I heard an Abraham-Hicks quote that stuck with me so much I painted it onto a canvas and hung it on the wall in my living room. And every day, I try to remember this quote. It’s absolutely life-changing. It was when I first heard it and it still is today, maybe even more so because I now understand success mindset even better now than I did back then.

And that quote, is… a belief is just a thought you keep thinking.

A belief is just a thought you keep thinking. A BELIEF is JUST A THOUGHT that you KEEP THINKING.

A belief is just a thought that YOU keep thinking.

Really take that one in. It will totally transform your entire belief system and your life along with it.

You hold the power. You get to decide. Life does not happen to you, you create it with your beliefs and your thoughts and your actions. Yes, bad stuff does happen sometimes. And that bad stuff is often unconsciously created by a limiting or negative belief you hold that, unfortuantely, you didn’t know about.

But the silver lining of the bad thing is that you can use it to identify any unconscious beliefs you do have, so you can shift them and create a new belief that supports you in creating the things you actually do want to have happen in your life.

You create your reality. You. No one else can create it for you. Your energy is always what attracts what you see in your reality.

And your energy starts with your beliefs.

Negative beliefs have a magnetism for negative thoughts, actions, situations and people. Whereas positive, empowering beliefs have a magnetism for positive thoughts, actions, situations and people.

That’s just how energy works.

So it’s your responsibility to guard your energy, to protect it and to feed it with positive, uplifting beliefs and thoughts that will support you in creating your dream life, whatever that may mean or look like for you.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Doors to my Writer’s Confidence Boost eCourse are opening later tonight!! And because confidence is SO important when it comes to achieving success as a writer and creator, I’m offering this at a ridiculous price that anyone can afford. Stay tuned for more details…

And if you’re not already on my email list, get on it right now so you’re the first to know when the Writer’s Confidence Boost eCourse is available. Go here to join my email list and get a free copy of my eBook, The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: www.jenniferblanchard.net/newsletter

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Resolutions Are Made With Your Conscious Mind, BUT Change Must Happen At A Subconscious Level If You Want It To Stick

We’re a quarter of the way into the year already, which means if you made any resolutions in January, you’ve probably long since fallen off track or stopped doing them. This is when gyms are the emptiest, a few months into the year, when most people have thrown in the towel or are just ignoring the goal completely.
I spent years of my life saying I was going to step things up in my writing life that year and then a few months would go by and my motivation would wane and that would be it, for the most part. I’d still do some writing and other projects, but never the fiction that was calling to my soul.
Sound familiar?
You blame yourself and call it self-sabotage. You say you’re a procrastinator and worry that you’ll never achieve your BIG writing goals, because you’re barely achieving your small ones.
But what if there was something else going on? What if there was something happening behind the scenes that was sabotaging you…without you even realizing it?
Here’s the real reason resolutions and new habits and good-intentioned people fail to make lasting change: those changes are being made with the conscious mind, but change must happen at a subconscious level if you want it to stick.
Your conscious mind is your awareness in the present moment, whereas your subconscious mind is the autopilot mind that’s controlling your body functions and running whatever beliefs and thoughts you currently have installed as your programming.
Or to make it even clearer, I’ll borrow an analagy from my friend, Jenn Scalia… your subconscious mind is like your computer operating system, it runs everything, and your conscious mind is like the apps or software you have open on that operating system that you’re currently using.
So if you want to make changes, you can’t just do it on a conscious level. You also have to address your subconscious mind and reprogram it along with actively making changes in your physical reality with your conscious mind.
At least if you want the changes to stick.
So, how do you do this?
1. Make a list of all the old, negative, limiting, BS beliefs and thoughts you currently hold about yourself, your potential, your ability to achieve your goals, etc.
2. Flip all of these beliefs and thoughts into new, empowering beliefs and thoughts. For example, if one of the old thoughts is “I’m not good enough,” then the new empowering thought is “I am good enough.”
Be sure to also include new belief and thoughts related to the goals you want to achieve. For example, I am a New York Times Bestselling Author, I finish all of my novels with ease, I am a successful novelist, etc.
3. Program these new beliefs and thoughts into your subconscious mind. This step is super important. You don’t just want to be saying these things with your conscious mind, you need to get your subconscious mind to pick up on them too. There are a few ways to do this…
> Read your new beliefs and thoughts to yourself (or out loud) first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up (your subconscious mind will still be active if you do it immediately upon waking)
> Read them again immediately before you go to sleep (your subconscious mind is active in prep for sleep)
> Alternatively, you can write your new beliefs and thoughts out in a journal first thing upon waking and/or immediately before you sleep
> Repeat, repeat, repeat! Repetition is how you reprogram your subconscious mind; the more you repeat something, the more it will hear it and take it in as real and true
It’s awesome that you’ve decided to make a big change in your life. That’s really the first step to achieving what you want–you have to decide that you’re going to.
But then you also have to make the decision to reprogram your subconscious mind to be supportive of the changes you want to make. Otherwise you’ll just keep sabotaging yourself or you’ll continue the pattern of making some progress, but then relapsing back to where you were before.
It’s true that making changes can be a bit of a dance… two steps forward, three steps back, five steps forward, three steps back. But you can minimize the time it takes and see progress faster if you make a commitment to making changes in your physical reality and also making them in your subconscious mind.
Write with a purpose, live with intention,
#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are now OPEN!! If you’re ready to step into being the writer and author you’ve always dreamed of being… if you’re ready to FINISH… if you want to develop the habits, craft expertise, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a professional author, the BAM group is for you.

 
As a member you get:
 
> 3x a week live-virtual work sessions where we come together as a group and get our writing/writing projects done
 
> A monthly live-virtual workshop or group challenge –you either get access to a workshop I’m doing that month or I run a challenge inside the BAM group to get everyone motivated and taking action
 
> Daily accountability check ins
 
> Unlimited access to Jennifer in the private BAM Facebook group
 
> A monthly story deconstruction, and training in Revision, Publishing, Mindset and Productivity
 

> FREE access to all of Jennifer’s workshops and digital products that cost $100 or less

Create Your Habits with Intention or Continue to Suffer from Default Habits

 “We can either make a habit, or some habit will form and start making us,”—Ken Hughes

The other day someone on Facebook asked, “if you had to pick a song to be the theme song of your life, which would you choose?” 

Several people commented that there were too many to choose, but I knew right away after reading it which song I’d pick. I already call this song the theme song for my life.

The song, Make Yourself, by Incubus, has been the theme song of my life for more than a decade now. Because the lyrics fit exactly what I believe about life—that you have to create who you want to be and what you want your life to be like. 

Some of the lyrics…

“If I hadn’t made me

I would have been made somehow

If I hadn’t assembled myself

I’d have fallen apart by now

If I hadn’t made me

I’d be more inclined to bow

Powers that would be have swallowed me up

But that’s more than I can allow

If you let them make you

They’ll make you papier-mâché

At a distance you’re strong

Until the wind comes

Then you crumble and blow away…”

(You can hear the full song here.)

I consciously took the wheel of my life when I left for college at age 17 and went off on my own. But over the last few years as I’ve worked a lot more on my mindset, I’ve been consciously creating myself in a whole new way. 

Which started with a total revamp of my habits (multiple times over). 

The things we do every day are the things that are making our lives. The things we get used to; the things we do by default, those are the things we are living for. 

Which means you’re either living for your writing dream and for doing the writing that will get you there… or you’re living for Resistance or procrastination or numbing out with food and TV or whatever else you’re doing in place of doing your writing. 

The choice is always yours. You get to decide, every single day, what will make you.

Whatever habits you currently have—aka: the things you do daily—that’s what you’re giving your life for. 

So the thing that needs to be looked at here is—what’s your default? 

Because unless you’ve been intentional about your life and have created the things you want and the habits that will support you in getting it, you’re operating and living by default with whatever default programming you picked up throughout your life so far.

Really think about this one and don’t be afraid to take an honest look at the things you’re doing every day. It may even help to keep track of everything you do every day for a week and then look back at what you’re giving your life for. 

If it does’t look how you want, it’s time to consider a habits overhaul. 

To do this, just pick ONE habit… one thing that if you did it every day (or stopped doing it every day) a year from now would totally transform your life. And then start doing (or not doing) that habit every day. 

Be consistent. Stick with it. 

What you’ll find by changing one habit is not only will your life start to change, but you’ll want to add in more new habits (or continue removing old ones you no longer want). 

But the best thing to do is to pick one to start with. You don’t want to try and change everything all at once or go cold-turkey on everything because that’s just setting yourself up for a setback. 

Pick one thing. Choose something massively important that would actually transform your life. Do that one thing every day. 

And can I make a recommendation? Choose the one thing that will totally change your writing life first (‘cause you know you want to!). 

A couple months ago I tried to change EVERYTHING all at once. I started new daily writing habits, I changed my diet completely, I started new exercise habits…AHHH!!! 

It was all too much too fast. My body went haywire and it took me almost 3 weeks to get back to feeling normal again.

So I decided to take a step back and just do one thing. I picked building a daily habit of doing my writing (blog post and work on my fiction) every morning first thing before I do anything else. 

And I’ve kept it up. I’ve been on track for almost 2 months now with doing a daily blog post and working on my fiction. I give myself a break on the weekends, meaning I still make a point to write something, but I don’t force myself into it has to be a blog post or I have to work on my novel. 

Usually that’s what I end up working on anyhow, but I give myself the freedom to write or work on whatever I want on the weekends, as long as I write something. 

I’m starting to feel pretty stable with my daily mindset practice habit, as well as my daily writing habit. So I’m to add in some food-related habits, a little at a time. 

Creating yourself exactly as you dream of being is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

The important part is that you make the decision that you will consciously create yourself and who you want to be, and not continue to live your life based on default programming that may or may not actually align with who you want to be.

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. Writing Life Rehab is happening later this month!! This workshop will kick your ass and get you out of default mode and into creating your writing life exactly as you want it to be. Best of all, if you’re a member of the Bestselling Author Mastermind, you get the Writing Life Rehab workshop for FREE! Doors to BAM open to new members next week. Get on the waitlist so you’re the first to know when the doors open.

The Only Reason You’re “Time Poor” Is Because You’re NOT Doing What Matters

There was a point in my writing life where I made way more excuses than I did put words on the page. Back then, I used to say, “I don’t have time” on a regular basis. I was working a full-time day job and trying to run a blog and write books and maintain a personal life. 

It was a lot to fit in.

So I’d constantly find myself saying, “I don’t have time” or “there’s not enough time in the day” or [insert whatever other time excuse you can make]. But then one day a thought hit me…

What if “I don’t have time” and “there’s not enough time in the day” are just limiting beliefs that have been programmed into me… and I can choose to create new beliefs around time?

So I started writing in my journal every day: I am productive as fuck today. I bend the fuck out of time today. 

I’ve now instilled beliefs in myself that there’s always plenty of time for everything I need to do, and I can bend time at will. And funnily enough this has become true for me.

My productivity is at an all-time high right now, and it gets better and better every day.

I can now intend that I will bend the fuck out of time for the next 30 minutes or whatever, and somehow I always manage to get everything I need to done in that time. 

Why? 

Because time is an illusion. Einstein proved it. So that means you get to decide how time feels for you. 

You know when you go to work on a slow day and time seems to drag on? Eight hours feels like 20 and when you finally get to leave at the end of the day you’re spent. But then when you go on vacation to your favorite beach resort, the week flies by faster than you can blink.

That’s a perfect example of time feeling different based on the situation. But you can change the way time feels at any point during that work day or that vacation. 

You can choose to live in the moment on your vacation and savor every little second of the day and fit in as much living as possible. Suddenly it feels like enough. You can choose to take advantage of your work time and work on something you’ve been wanting to work on, but didn’t have time for, and suddenly your day flies by. 

You can make it feel like you have time abundance. 

And here’s the other thing about time abundance: it will always feel like you don’t have enough when you’re not doing what matters every day.

When I look back at the years of my life where I felt like I didn’t have enough time in my day, it was the years when I wasn’t doing what actually mattered each day. I was putting the things that mattered off to do all these other things—a lot of which I didn’t really want to do. 

But as soon as I started doing what matters every single day and doing it first, before I do anything else, suddenly I had all the time in the world. Suddenly by dedicating 1-2 hours of my morning to what matters, my entire day opened up. 

And because what I really wanted to be doing—journaling, writing, creating—was finished early in my day, my mind was free for the rest of the day.

When I wasn’t doing what matters, I’d find myself thinking about my writing or my stories all day long. But when I sit down and do my writing and work on my fiction first thing in the morning and get it done, then I’m not thinking about it all day long, which gives me free mental space for other things that need to get done.

Sure, my story may stay on my mind as I go through my day, but I’m not feeling resentful that I’m having to be doing other things, because I’ve already done what matters.

Time abundance comes from doing what matters, doing it daily, and doing it first things first. 

Action Steps

Here’s what to do next…

1. Figure out what old, limiting beliefs you have about time (there’s not enough, etc), and then flip them into new beliefs that will allow you to feel differently about time (There’s plenty of time for everything that matters” etc).

2. Start doing what matters, every day, first things first. It will change your life, I promise you. 

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. I get it now. I saw this light around doing what matters a year ago around this same time, but somehow managed to forget and get lost again. But thankfully it came back to me, and this time around I’m holding on to it and creating the discipline and habits that I need to have to turn it into a daily thing. 

I’m now fully, 150% committed to doing what matters, every day, before I do anything else. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be a year from now!! 

Want to join me in doing what matters, every day and doing it first? Stay tuned! Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are opening soon!! And since it’s the one-year anniversary of the group, I’m doing some MAJOR celebration bonuses, including a workshop that will kick your ass into finally making your writing a priority. 

BAM is a high-level community and mentorship for writers who want to create the habits, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a bestselling author. You get insanely awesome tools and resources every month to help with whatever stage you’re at in your writing journey, plus we do 3x weekly work sessions where we meet up virtually and work on our writing projects together. 

There will be a bonus for anyone who signs up that was on the waitlist, so get on the waitlist here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/mastermind 

Embrace The Chaos And Carry On

As I sit here writing this, there are dishes in the sink and on the counter; there’s a pile of towels and pajamas on the big-red chair in my living room, which my dog, Weiland, has now made his little nest for the day; while we’re at it, my living room could definitely use a vacuuming; and don’t even get me started about the laundry baskets and clothes rack in my bedroom with last week’s laundry still hanging-dry on it. 

But this blog post is getting written.

And when I’m done writing this blog post, I’ll work on my novel revisions. Then I’ll work on my sections in the eBook I’m coauthoring with a friend. 

The dishes and laundry and vacuuming will still be there. But my writing will be done. And I will have made progress on my goals and my writing dreams.

This is the way of the writing warrior—the writer and author who refuses to let anything get in the way or stop them from getting their words and stories out into the world. 

There will always be life chaos. Wait, let me repeat that one… on stereo… THERE WILL ALWAYS BE LIFE CHAOS!! 

It never goes away. If you do the dishes, there will be more soon after. If you put the laundry away, more will take its place on the drying rack. 

You can always find something that needs cleaning or organizing or repairing or whatever. It’s a never-ending cycle. 

But if your writing—your soul work—isn’t getting done at the expense of the cleaning, organizing, repairing, etc., it’s time to make some changes. 

You’ve been waiting your whole life to be the writer and author you dream of being. How much longer are you willing to wait for? How much longer are you going to put your dream on hold for bullshit excuses and housework (or whatever you’re doing that stops you from writing)? 

I used to think all that stuff mattered. That I had to have a perfectly clean house and everything had to be put away and neat and organized before I could spend time doing what I really wanted to do. 

And some days I’d procrastinate and resist my writing so much that I actually made the housework more important, even though deep down I knew it really wasn’t. 

Do you know what happened? 

I had a neat, clean, organized space to live in, but was dying on the inside from not letting the writing out. 

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I finally allowed myself to do the writing—the stuff that really mattered—before I did the housework. It was magical, because after I finished writing and finished doing what really mattered to me, not only did the other stuff get done, but I didn’t resent it anymore. 

The laundry, the dishes, it all gets done eventually. (You can even hire someone to do it for you, amazing, right?) And now so does my writing. 

I’ve learned to embrace the chaos. I’ve finally accepted that I’ll never get it all done and I’ll never really keep on top of everything in my life. But so long as I’m keeping on top of and doing the things that really matter to me—my writing, creating and teaching—then everything else will work itself out.

How can you embrace the chaos in your life and get your writing done anyhow? 

Write with a purpose, live with intention!

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. Could your writing life use a pick-me-up? Then stay tuned… more details about the Bestselling Author Mastermind, my high-level community and mentorship group for writers who want to create the habits, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a bestselling author, are coming soon. Get on the waitlist here so you’re the first to know when the doors open (and you’ll get access to a waitlist-only bonus!): www.jenniferblanchard.net/mastermind 

How To Finish Revising Your Novel in 30 Days

The other day I told you my 30-day game plan for finishing the first draft of your novel. Except what if you’re revising a novel?

Well, luckily the process isn’t totally different. But there are a few things you’ll want to do before you follow the 30-day-finish-your-draft process.

1. Start Fresh Off A Break

A really important part of being able to revise your story objectively is to get enough distance from it before you come back to do the revisions. If you finish the first draft and then just jump into revisions, you won’t have fresh eyes and won’t properly be able to judge how good or bad it is.

The best way to get into a revision is to start off fresh.

Action Step: take at least 4-6 weeks away from your first draft before you attempt to revise in 30 days. Schedule it into your calendar and actually mark down the ‘start revisions’ date so you’re accountable to it.

2. Make A Plan For What Needs to Be Done

Before you can revise your draft, you have to first:

  • Know what you have to work with
  • Create a plan of attack for working with what you’ve got

You can follow this step-by-step revision prep process here, which will walk you through exactly what to do to create your revision plan.

Be sure to categorize your notes by what you need to work on: plot, characterization, description, conflict, etc. Knowing exactly what to look for as you’re revising will make the whole process go quicker (which is great for when you want to revise the entire draft in 30 days).

Action Step: put together your revision plan by going through the revision prep process and looking at your story as a whole (or you can grab my Story Revision Kit and have checklists and resources to make it all easier on yourself).

3. Create A Schedule Around What You Will Work On and When

Once you’ve got your revision plan ready to go, it’s time to pull out your calendar and figure out when you’ll work on each piece of your revision. Go back through your categorizations of what you need to work on (see step #2) and divide them up across 30 days.

For example, during week 1 of the 30 days, you can focus on plot improvements and then week 2 you can handle characterization and character arc. Week 3 could be for layering in description and then week 4 could be copyediting and proofreading before sending to your developmental editor for notes and feedback.

Action Step: grab your calendar and your revision notes and map out exactly what you’ll work on and when.

4. Follow All of the Steps from the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days Article 

Before you officially start revising, be sure to go through the steps listed in the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days article and be sure to do all of them. You’ll need everything listed there to successfully finish your revision.

Action Step: go read the How To Finish Your Novel in 30 Days article and do all of the steps listed in it.

That’s how you get your novel revision finished in 30 days. But don’t just read this article, take action on it. Like right now. Today.

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

 

 

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. And if you want some kick-ass motivation, inspiration and accountability so you can step up and FINISH your novel revisions, be sure to check out my upcoming workshop, FINISH Your Damn Novel: 30 days of kick-ass motivation, inspiration, accountability and getting-writing-done for writers who’ve started a novel (draft or revision) and want to finish. Doors close TONIGHT at 11:59 p.m. EST so if you want in, now’s the time!! 

>> Details and sign up here

How To Finish Writing Your Novel in 30 Days

Thirty days doesn’t seem like a lot of time when you’re thinking about finishing a project you started and then put off. But 30 days is actually a lot of time! And the thing is, the time’s gonna pass anyhow. So you may as well be doing something you actually care about with that time.
 
Which is why I’ve put together this quick-start guide for how to finish writing your novel in 30 days.
 
Now I will add that this list is for writers who have already started the draft of a novel. If you’re still in the planning and development stages, you need a whole different list. And if you’re revising, you’ll need a different (although similar) list as well (the revise-in-30-days list is coming Friday!).
 

First—why 30 days?

 
Because I have a theory that when you cut down your timeline, you actually motivate yourself and light a fire under your ass that gets you out of your head (see ya later doubt!) and into action. Anytime I’ve cut my timeline down, whether that be 30 days, 10 days or something else, it always gets me moving in the direction I want to go.
 
But when I give myself unlimited time to get something done or I don’t set a specific deadline for finishing it, I end up not working on it consistently, making excuses for why it’s not done yet, and then half a year or more passes and it’s still not done.
 
It’s a vicious cycle.
 
I started the first draft of my second novel in November 2015. But I didn’t finish it until February 2016. And it’s not because it just took me that long. Not at all. I started it in November and then I stopped working on it for almost 2 months.
 
I was only a handful of scenes away from being finished with it when I met a mentor in February 2016 who inspired and motivated me to FINISH.
 
So I did. I wrote the rest of the first draft—as crappy as the writing may have been—and I called it done. (Don’t get me started on how long it’s been taking me for the revision, mostly because I haven’t been being consistent until the last month or so.)
 
And finishing that first draft didn’t take me very long, once I set my mind to the fact that it was DONE and it would be done that month. Yes, I still had to take the actions and do the writing, but by making the decision that it was done, the words flowed a lot easier and I got it done within the 30-day timeframe that I set for myself.
 
How did I do it? Here’s how…
 

1. Decide On A Daily Measurable

 
You don’t have to write based on word count or page count or even scene count. But you can. And you should write based on at least one of those things. Otherwise you’ll have no idea if you’re making progress or not.
 
The feeling of doing the writing is amazing and will definitely motivate you, but seeing actual progress in black-and-white will really, really motivate you.
 
Action Step: what daily measurable will you use to ensure you’re making progress on finishing your first draft?
 

2. Get Yourself Some Accountability

 
This is super important. I wouldn’t get half the stuff I get done every day if it weren’t for all of the accountability I have set up in my life.
 
I’ve got an accountability partner for the things I want to get done each week. I’ve got an accountability partner for things I want to get done each day. And I’ve also got an accountability partner for the things I want to get done each month.
 
And yes, I need this many. I need more! Because self-set deadlines and keeping yourself accountable only goes so far. At some point, you’ll need someone outside yourself to help you out. (Unless you’re someone who is super good at self-accountability. But let’s just be honest—most writers and creators are not.)
 
I see myself as a leader. And a leader doesn’t show up to an accountability session and say that they didn’t do what they said they would. Creating built-in accountability has quadrupled my productivity.
 
Action Step: who can you find in your life to hold you accountable to doing your writing? Choose someone who will actually hold you to doing what you said you would, otherwise it won’t be very useful.
 

3. Find A Writing Sprints Partner

 
Writing sprints are basically timed periods of writing where you try to get as many words written as you can. Usually you do a writing sprint with a partner or a group of people (you could do it alone with a timer if you really wanted to, but it’s not as fun).
 
All you have to do is set a time to meet up virtually (you can check in via Facebook message, email or text message), and then decide on how long you’re sprinting for. Then you’re off and writing until the time is up.
 
For example—you could decide to meet up online at Noon and then do a 15-minute writing sprint and check in. Or you could decide to sprint until 12:30 and then check in.
 
How you do the writing sprints doesn’t really matter. But doing them, and especially with a partner, is major motivation to get out of your head and into action.
 
Action Step: who can you do writing sprints with? Find someone and get some writing sprint sessions set up pronto.
 

4. Use A Timer

 
I don’t care what you’re doing—writing, reading, watching TV—almost everything works better when you have a set time for how long you’re gonna do the activity for. Using a timer for my writing and other projects has seriously changed my life and amped up my productivity in a major way.
 
I like to do things in 15- or 21-minute sessions (sometimes 31-minutes if I really feel like it), and then take a break for a few before starting the next thing. That may not seem like a lot of time to work on your writing or creating or whatever you’re doing, but think of it this way… add 21 minutes a day up over 7 days. Then add it up over 14 days. Then add it up over 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.
 
And 365 days of writing for 21 minutes a day equals 7,665 minutes, or around 128 hours of time. Now imagine if you actually worked on your novel or writing project for 128 hours over the course of a year.
 
What you’ll find is that it’s enough. It’s enough time to actually make progress and get somewhere.
 
I’ve been revising my second novel for 15- to 21-minutes a day for the last month and I’m already more than a quarter of the way through. And I’ll be speeding things up and finishing the rest next month (more details on that below).
 
Action Step: find yourself a timer if you don’t already have one (or use this timer here). Start writing and creating by the timer. Do it daily.
 

5. Give Yourself A Deadline

 
Pretty obvious, but deadlines are a way to motivate yourself to take action. If you know something is due by a certain date, you’ll get it done.
 
But just in case you’re not great at self-set deadlines (as so many writers are not), that’s where the other stuff on this list comes in.
 
Action Step: open your calendar right now and set a deadline for when you will finish your first draft. Then use the other action steps to get it done.
 

6. Create A Distractions Checklist

 
I created a distractions checklist as a way of helping me focus. Here’s what it consists of:
 
> 10 minutes to check Facebook and/or email (set a timer to keep it to exactly 10 minutes)
 
When timer goes off…
 
> Close browser completely
 
> Turn on writing playlist
 
> Flip phone face down on the desk so I can’t see the screen (put it on silent if it’s not already)
 
> Start writing (use timer—15-30 minutes)
 
Having this checklist allows me to wind down the things that distract me so I can focus completely on getting writing done.
 
Action step: create your own distractions checklist that you can use in your writing life.
 

7. Commit to 15 Minutes of Fitness A Day

 
This could be taking a walk, lifting weights, running on a treadmill—whatever feels fun for you. When you’re committing to finish something in 30 days, it’s important that you keep up your energy.
 
Getting in some daily movement, even for just 15 minutes, is enough to do that.
 
Action Step: choose a movement-based activity that you love and do it for 15 minutes. Repeat daily.
 

8. Fill Your Fridge with Snacks that Fuel You

 
Yeah, it’s fine to have some chocolate or other snacks to munch while you’re writing. But don’t overdo it. Otherwise you’ll just feel sluggish and uninspired.
 
If you’re finishing your novel in 30 days, there’s a good chance you’ll eat several meals in front of your laptop. So give yourself an energy boost and actually stock your fridge with some healthy stuff.
 
I like to stock up with chia pudding, homemade chocolate, popcorn, raw veggies with dip and things like that. (Although lately I’ve been trying not to eat high-carb stuff, so popcorn is out for me… except for when I go to the movies 😉 )
 
Action Step: make a list of foods to have on hand when you’re finishing your novel in a 30-day period.
 

9. Join the FINISH Your Damn Novel Workshop

 
Sorry—had to plug this one right here. Because this workshop will seriously change your life if you follow along and do the work.
 
The FINISH Your Damn Novel workshop will help you become a finisher, which is pretty much the most important thing you need to be. At least if you want to be a pro writer.
 
Pro writers finish what they start. And then they take the next step. And eventually they publish. Then they do it all over again.
 
Want to be a pro? Then it’s time to step into the big leagues and finish what you started.
 
 
Write with a purpose, live with intention,
 
 
#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust