Commit To Doing At Least The Bare Minimum Every Day

For the last three weeks I’ve been prepping and preparing for my move to Texas. Cleaning things out. Clearing out stuff for donation. Selling things. Whatever needed to get done.

Which has meant that a lot of what I’d usually be doing in my days and weeks wasn’t getting done or was being pushed off for the time being. This is a sacrifice that sometimes has to get made when you have bigger things going on.

But that doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to completely fall off on everything.

That would be a huge mistake. And it’s the mistake that a lot of writers make that derails them. Because it’s hard to get back on track once you fall off.

So many fall off and don’t get back on.

Yes, sometimes life gets in the way and interrupts your best-laid plans. It’s gonna happen. Unless you’re committed enough to keep going no matter what.

And I am.

The thing that helps me keep moving forward and making progress is to have a daily bare minimum. My daily bare minimum are the tasks that–even on my most insane and busy of days–still must get done.

For me, that list includes:

> Walking my dog
> Journaling and mindset practice
> Writing a blog post (or at the very least, posting something thought-provoking and engaging on my Facebook page)
> Checking in with clients/students
> Promotion and sales activities (at least one activity)

My daily list of things I do is a lot longer than this, but on days when life gets in the way, I’m totally happy if I’ve done at least my bare minimum stuff.

That bare minimum stuff will still help me make progress on my writing goals. Which is why I’m writing this post right now when I should be finishing up what needs to be done before we get on the road to Texas Wednesday morning.

I could’ve made the move an excuse and not written this post–it would have been totally relevant and legit. Most writers would have and no one would give them a hard time about it either. Making a cross-country move is stressful! It’s a lot of work! It requires a lot of energy and focus! So it’s totally fine not to do your writing.

But I’m not most writers and I’m committed to doing what needs to be done. Even when it’s not convenient.

So, what’s your daily bare minimum? What can you commit to doing every day, bare minimum, that will still move you forward and make you progress on your writing goals?

You probably don’t want to do the bare minumum EVERY DAY. The bare minimum is for days when life gets in the way or when you really are legit way too busy to do everything you need to do or you’re intentionally choosing to take it easy that day.

You want to be committed to doing whatever you need to do every day, which usually means a whole lot more than the bare minimum. But if all you can do is the bare minimum, you will still make progress and move forward.

That’s what matters.

And if you’re just starting out or need to build some habit and consistency into your writing life, then committing to doing your bare minimum every day will get you on track to eventually being able to take on more.

This week, I’ll definitely be doing my bare minimum stuff, but once I get to Texas and get a bit settled in, watch out! There’s a whole lot of awesomeness coming in June.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Are you ready to take the idea in your head and turn it into a fully-developed story plan? You can get access to my upcoming 4-week Plan Your Damn Novel workshop for FREE when you join the Bestselling Author Mastermind, my mentorship group for multi-passionate writers and authors who want to create the habits, mindset, craft expertise, follow-through and consistency of a bestselling author.

Doors close on Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

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

Want Your Life To Flow And Be Easy? Then Stop Putting Off Your Soul Work

(Side note: literally as I typed the headline of this post, the word count on my WriteRoom app said 67777… for me, seeing 777 is a nudge from the Universe saying YES!!)

I discovered something a while back: when I do my fiction writing–my soul work–every day, my life just flows and everything becomes easy. I no longer have to struggle, for anything.

Money flows, opportunities pop up, new clients hire me, and magic unfolds. Good vibes and confidence are the norm.

But on the days when I DON’T do my soul work, and especially when I’ve not done my soul work for several days in a row, things start to break down. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I question everything. I consider quitting. I doubt. I fear. I worry. I procrastinate. I resist.

I get stuck. Sometimes for days.

And the funny part is, I could make all of that go away if I just DO my soul work.

It really is that simple.

When you’re putting off or pushing away or “one daying” the soul work that you know you’re meant to be doing (aka: your WRITING!!), life doesn’t work.

Because your soul work, the whole reason you came here to this world, isn’t being let out. And it’s dying.

Worse off, you’re the one killing it.

Every day that story idea sits in your head instead of being down on paper and out in the world, your soul gets crushed a little more. Eventually, if you continue to do nothing about it, it will be completely crushed and nothing will be left except the dust of what might have been.

Isn’t it time to let it out?

Isn’t it time to make your soul work a daily priority?

Isn’t it time to DO SOMETHING with all those ideas and inspired actions?

I get it–making a change is hard. Habits and ways of being are so ingrained it’s like trying to break apart two magnets. Tough, but not impossible.

The best way to jump in and make a change is to SET A DATE and then PREPARE for it as best you possibly can–mentally, emotionally and physically. Work your way up to it, that way you actually stick with it instead of sabotage it.

The other thing to know about making a change and creating new habits is there will most likely be a relapse period. Even several. But if you keep going, you will eventually beat that old pattern and old habit and you’ll have created a new one to take its place.

And the best habit you can ever create–for yourself and your life–is making your soul work a daily priority.

Even for fifteen minutes. Even for five.

It’s not about the amount of time you spend on it, it’s about just doing it. And doing it daily.

When you do, you’ll soon find that your life just begins to flow and be easy. You’ll be happier and more productive and motivated. Because you’ll finally be doing what really matters to you.

Putting off your soul work is a recipe for a chaotic life that never seems to work right.

You can’t ignore or put your soul work on the backburner. Not if you want a life of ease and flow.

Ease and flow comes from making your soul work the most important thing you do in your day.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

P.S. If writing stories is your soul work, mark June 5 on your calendar because you don’t want to miss this… Plan Your Damn Novel: a 4-week story planning and development workshop to take the idea in your head and turn it into a full-blown story plan with structure and a scene-by-scene roadmap you can use to write your first draft.

We’ll be working through all the pieces of creating your story, including Concept, Premise, character arc, subplots, structure, scene and sequel, and more.

And–best of all–you can get access to this workshop as a BONUS for joining the Bestselling Author Mastermind, my high-level mentorship group for multi-passionate writers who want to create the habits, mindset, craft expertise, follow-through and consistency of a pro author.

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

Trust Is A Key Ingredient For Manifesting Your Writing Dreams (And Dream Life)

The other night I rented an old romantic comedy on Amazon and decided to make some popcorn to go with it. I put a pot on the stove, dropped in a couple big scoops of coconut oil and then put the lid on to get the oil hot.

I let the oil heat for a few minutes and then I put the kernels in. Immediately they began heating up. The oil was bubbling, the kernels were turning a roasted color. Any minute now I’d have popcorn.

But then the kernels didn’t pop as fast as I thought they should.

I kept shaking the pot, hoping to stir the kernels around and get them hot enough to pop. But still nothing.

Nothing.

The kernels just kept on cooking, the oil getting hotter and hotter by the second.

Still, nothing.

Then I got annoyed and started yelling at the kernels. What the hell is wrong with you? Why aren’t you popping? You should be hot enough! The oil is bubbling like crazy. What the fuck?!

Still, nothing.

Then I shook the pot again. Stirring the kernels around while simultaneously telling them they should already be popping.

Still, nothing.

And then I realized–holy shit! This is a metaphor for LIFE!!

Often in life we have a dream or a goal and we declare it and start taking action and move in that direction. And yet nothing is happening. Or at least, it’s not happening at the speed WE think that it should.

So you say it’s not working and then you start to look for what’s wrong and what you should fix. And all the while your life kernels–your dreams, your goals, your desires–are heating up and getting ready to pop… but you get impatient and remove your energy from taking action and instead get caught in self-doubt and fear and procrastination and Resistance and worrying about whether you’re good enough.

But here’s the thing I know to be true about popcorn–and life–when the oil gets hot enough, the kernel gets hot enough, and when the kernel gets hot enough, it pops.

It has to. There’s no way around it. A corn kernel at a specific internal temperature will turn into popcorn. This is inevitable.

The same is true in life and in living your dreams.

If you know what you want and you commit to it and consistently take action and do the work and keep going and don’t let yourself be stopped by anyone or anything, you WILL get there. It’s inevitable.

But getting from where you are now–a kernel–to where you want to be–the popped corn–there has to be a level of trust there. You have to trust that if you go all in and show up fully and do the work that you will eventually get there.

You will. It’s inevitable.

Except the timing will never be what you think it will. When it happens and how it happens are totally out of your hands. The when and the how are up to the Universe.

Your job is the what and the why. Your job is to take baby-step actions, whatever ones you can come up with, in the direction you want to go. And as you do, trusting that what you want will eventually be yours.

And when you fully trust in the timing of your life and stop trying to rush things, what you want will happen a hell of a lot faster.

Right now it’s not happening as fast as you want because you’re constantly looking around for results and saying that it’s not working. You’re actually pushing it further off when you do that.

Because what you pay attention to and put your focus on will expand.

Keep focusing on it’s not working or it’s not happening fast enough and that’s what will keep expanding. Or place your focus on what you want and why you want it and on taking whatever actions you can from where you are and don’t worry about whether or not it’s happening fast enough.

As my mentor says, head down and do the fucking work.

As I stood there–FINALLY–watching the kernels turn into popcorn, I realized it was time to trust in the speed and timing of my life. Because it’s already perfect and divine.

We always think we should be further along than we are. This is part of being human and especially being humans who dream big and are driven to achieve.

But things take time. And you really wouldn’t want things to go any faster or you won’t be ready to handle it and you’ll go into self-sabotage mode.

It’s true.

You think it would be badass to just wake up tomorrow and be on The NY Times bestseller list. But for most writers, it wouldn’t be. Because they haven’t journeyed far enough yet to be ready for that kind of success.

If it happened overnight–the instant fame, the hundreds of emails and phone calls and guest appearances and traveling and whatever else comes with it–it would scare the shit out of you. And you wouldn’t be able to handle it.

It would make you run and hide. It would cause you to blow past your inner comfort zone and you’d sabotage it. It would be the end of who you are right now.

The Universe doesn’t want that for you.

So that’s why life is gradual. That’s why things take time to unfold. That’s why you see it in your head and feel it in your heart way before you see it in your physical reality.

Because you need time to get used to it. You need time to process each level before you get to the next one. You need time to work through all the things you need to learn and discover to be able to handle what’s next.

So when it does inevitably happen, you’re ready. You’re present. You’re able to accept it and receive it and hold on to it.

When the kernels finally pop, you’re ready for them.

And while it was heating up and doing its thing, you had time to gather a bowl and figure out what seasonings to put on it and make the spice mix. You’re prepared for its inevitable manifestation.

You do that with popcorn and you can also do it with life.

Figure out what you want. Commit to it. Then pretend it has already happened and ask yourself what you’d be doing and thinking and being. And then do, think and be that stuff RIGHT NOW.

No worrying about how long it will take. No second-guessing yourself or your actions. Just do the work and trust in the inevitable arrival of everything you dream of.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are opening later this week!! And with it a story planning workshop that you don’t want to miss.

Get on my email list so you’re the first to know when the doors open–and you’ll also get a free copy of my eBook, From ‘Eh’ to ‘Awesome!’ The 9 Questions to Turn Your Idea Into An Actual Story: www.jenniferblanchard.net/awesome

Want To Live Your Dream Life Now Instead of “One Day”? Here’s How

Something I’m constantly thinking about is the idea that all possibilities exist at the same time, and it’s the choice we make to either believe in what’s possible and be open to it or to place limitations on what’s possible and not be open to it, that makes it happen (or not).

And if all possibilities exist at the same time, why not choose the one you really want?

Rather than settle for some lame-ass version of what you really want. Rather than tell yourself you can’t have it or you’re not worthy of it or good enough. Rather than keeping yourself in a holding pattern that just repeats over and over again.

Instead, you can just choose. You can choose that you’ll live your dream life–to whatever extent you can–right now, today.

And then you go and do it.

It really is that simple. But not always that easy.

Which is where the “making space” exercise comes into play.

I’ve been doing this exercise on and off over the last year and every time I do it, I get closer and closer to living more of what I want my dream life to be like.

Here’s how to do the exercise…

1. Grab a journal and a pen

I highly recommend you do this by hand, if possible. If not, open a file on your computer

2. Make a list or do some freestyle writing on what you need to make space for in your life every day

This is when you’re going to write down not only the things you need to do every day, but also the things you want to be doing that you’re not right now AND anything you know you’d be doing if you were already living your ideal dream life.

Here’s my list:

> Daily mindset practice (+ Your Hidden Mind)
> Write Daily Think Different
> Work on fiction
> Work on nonfiction
> Create content (paid and free)
> Wealth creation
> Sales activity
> Book #s
> Dream Life Or Bust livestream
> Student/client feedback and work
> Check in on Facebook groups
> Empire building time
> Inbox 0
> Reading
> Watch a movie
> Personal growth
> Fitness
> Cook/eat healthy
> Drink 64oz of water
> Joe and Weiland time
> Quiet/think/dream/vision/plan time
> Nap

This is a combination of things I’m already doing most days as well as things I want to be doing every day and things I know I would be doing as the dream-life version of me. These are the things I need to be focused on in my daily life.

And your list is what you need to be doing and focusing on every day.

This is the hard part. It’s easy to make a list of what you’d like to be doing, but it’s another to live it. Which is where the just go do it thing comes in.

Because if you want to live the life of your dreams, where you have space for all the things that matter to you, then you have to be willing to spend your time on doing the things you want to be doing, and let go of all the other stuff that doesn’t matter. Yes, this can even mean things like watching TV or social time, if that matters less to you then other stuff on your list.

Priorities. That’s what it comes down to.

And it’s time to start prioritizing your dream life.

No one can create it for you. No one’s gonna hand it to you on a silver platter. You have to create the dream life for yourself.

And it starts with simply figuring out what you want to be doing and then committing to making space for it. Daily. Every day. From here on out.

I can already feel the push-back coming… but what if I don’t have time? What if I have to work a day job? What if [insert excuse or reason]?

I know, I get it, I get it. You’re busy and you have to work 40+ hours a week and you have a family to take care of and a house to clean and.. but what about you? Remember you?

You, the only person who has been with you since day one and will be with you until the day you’re no longer here. You, who deserves to live the life you dream of living.

You, the only person who can make your dream life a reality.

So it’s time to start making space for what really matters to you.

Besides, if you’re not already prioritizing yourself and the things you dream of doing, you’re no good to anyone else anyhow. Fill yourself up first before you worry about everyone else.

3. Set a time limit for each activity or item on your list (where possible)

Some of the items on my daily list are timed, others I just do until I’m finished. Here’s my list again with the times:

> Daily mindset practice (+ Your Hidden Mind)
> Write Daily Think Different
> Work on fiction (30 mins)
> Work on nonfiction (30 mins)
> Create content (30 mins)
> Wealth creation (30 mins)
> Sales activity (30 mins)
> Book #s
> Dream Life Or Bust livestream
> Student/client feedback and work (30-60 mins)
> Check in on Facebook groups (15-20 mins)
> Empire building time (60-90 mins)
> Inbox 0
> Reading (30 mins)
> Watch a movie
> Personal growth (1 training)
> Fitness (20 mins)
> Cook/eat healthy
> Drink 64oz of water
> Joe and Weiland time
> Quiet/think/dream/vision/plan time
> Nap (when needed)

I have this list as a sticky note on my desktop so I can see it all day long. As I complete things, I delete them off the list for the day. And then at night, I reset the entire list for the next day.

These are the things I want to spend my day doing and want to invest my time and energy into. And doing so every day moves me closer and closer to living my dream life.

So, what’s on your list? Share in the comments.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. Eight days into the Writer’s Confidence Boost workshop and already participants are having MASSIVE shifts in their thinking and their ways of being. It’s AMAZING!!! I knew this workshop would be powerful, but I didn’t expect this level of transformation so quickly. It’s blowing my mind!! Which is why I’ve decided to re-open the doors to the workshop and let you join us for only $7 AND you’ll get access to the Day 1 audio training immediately upon signing up so you can jump in and get started.

Hurry–the price goes up to $97 at Midnight EDT on Wednesday May 24.

>> Grab the Writer’s Confidence Boost here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/confidenceboost

A Tribute To One Of The Greatest Writers And Voices The World Has Ever Seen

I was extremely saddened to wake up in the middle of the night and find out that Chris Cornell, one of the greatest writers and vocalists of our time, had died. Grunge rock lost another legend.

Cornell and I go way back… back to middle school when I was spinning his music in my CD player. Using his voice, his words, for comfort and joy through what would be one of the hardest phases of my entire life (middle and high school). Superunknown was the first CD I ever bought.

He had arguably one of the most unique and recognizable voices in music. I will miss him beyond words. And since I have no words… I thought I’d share his words instead.

Here’s a look back at some of my favorite Chris Cornell songs, starting with my favorite song of all-time…

BLACK HOLE SUN (SOUNDGARDEN)

Listen here:

PRETTY NOOSE (SOUNDGARDEN)

Listen here:

HUNGER STRIKE (TEMPLE OF THE DOG)

Listen here:

I AM THE HIGHWAY (AUDIOSLAVE)

Listen here:

SUNSHOWER (CHRIS CORNELL SOLO)

Listen here:

BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD (SOUNDGARDEN)

Listen here:

Chris–wherever you are, thank you. Thank you for sharing your light. Thank you for sharing your words. Thank you for sharing your voice.

Grunge rock would not have been the same without you and your musical magic.

#RIPChrisCornell #RIP

The Four Things Your Protagonist Needs In Your Story

I’ve been re-reading Screenplay by Syd Field lately as I gear up to write my first screenplay (I’m currently in the early developmental stages of it). Now that I know craft as well as I do, I love to read badass books on craft, because it really refines and clarifies and expands my current understanding of how stories work and how to write them.

Creating characters–and especially your Protagonist–is one of the big reasons why I love writing stories. I have a deep desire to understand the human mind and the human condition, and why people do and think the way they do.

And a story is nothing if not a study of the human condition.

But this is where a lot of fiction writers fall off track. Because while a story is about a character, that’s not the whole story. There’s so much more to it than that.

If you don’t know this or haven’t implemented it properly in your story, what you’ll end up with is an episodic narrative that gives the day-to-day account of a character’s life. Almost like a journal.

The reason it’s episodic narrative as opposed to an actual story is because there’s no definitive end point. You could just keep going, writing forever about what happens in the character’s life.

But that doens’t make it a story (OR a series of stories).

What makes it a story is that it has a character who wants something, another character who opposes what the other one wants, and a journey ensues toward a resolution.

And that’s just the starting point.

Your character needs to be three-dimensional, so they feel like a real person and are believable as a real person. Otherwise your reader won’t be able to empathize for them.

Without reader empathy your story is dead in the water.

As I’ve been reading Screenplay, I’ve loved gaining further clarity on creating a character–in this case, a Protagonist–and how to really bring them to life.

There are four essentials to creating a three-dimensional character and making them compelling and someone readers can empathize with.

1. Goal–this is what your Protagonist wants in the story. It’s the whole enchilada. This is the reason we’re even reading the story or watching the movie to begin with.

The main character has a goal and we want to watch and cheer them on as they go up against an Antagonist to achieve the goal (or have another goal introduced by the Antagonist, which then causes the character to have to overcome that before being able to achieve the initial goal).

2. Point of View–this is the internal landscape of the character. It’s what they believe about the world and themselves and their backstory. This is where you really have to go deep on what makes the person tick. And beliefs are the core of what makes up a person.

It’s true that what you believe you become, and the same thing works in fiction. So what beliefs does your Protatonist have and how has this shaped the way he sees the world and himself?

This is also where the character’s inner demon will come into play.

3. Attitude--this is the external aspects of your character. It’s how he presents himself to the world and the opinions that he holds. It’s his mannerism and way of being.

This is where you’ll figure out how your character acts or would act when presented with certain scenarios and situations.

4. Transformation–this is the overall change the Protagonist makes in the story. It’s when they’ve finally overcome their inner demon(s) and defeated the Antagonist.

This is the other thing a reader comes to a story for. To watch a character go through hell and come out victorious or at least changed for the better.

What transformation does your character make in your story? And how does that transformation stem from dealing with and overcoming the inner demon and Antagonist?

Creating compelling, interesting, engaging and empathetic characters is what will bring your story to life on the page. But you can’t just write a day-to-day account of their lives or even a specific time in their lives.

You have to write about a character with a specific need or goal they must achieve and the journey that ensues toward a resolution when another character steps into the story and tries to stop them from achieving the goal, or creates an entirely new goal for them to have to acheive before they can achieve the original one.

Do that and you’ll have yourself a story that’s actually worth reading.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. I’m currently accepting new email story coaching private clients. Spaces are very limited. If you want to work privately with me to plan and develop the idea in your head into a fully fleshed out story plan that you can use to write your first draft–or you want to rework a story you wrote that’s not quite working yet–send me a PM right now and I’ll send you more info about how you can work with me.

People Will Leave Reviews…If They Actually Make It To The End Of Your Book

A few months ago, I started seeing a ton of reviews popping up on my books on Amazon. Reviews from total strangers.

And I wasn’t even asking for the reviews. They were just showing up.

Then I discovered that Amazon added a new feature to Kindle where, after you finish reading a book, it pops up a message and asks you to leave a review. (I also recently started adding a “note from the author” at the end of my books, asking people to leave a review if they enjoyed the book.)

But here’s the thing about getting more reviews. Something really, really key that a lot of writers forget about.

People will only leave reviews if they actually make it to the end of your book.

No one leaves a review on a book they started and never finished. No one leaves a review on a book that didn’t keep their attention or that didn’t make them walk away feeling like they enjoyed their experience.

And they’ll only see the message from Amazon, asking them to leave a review, if they get that far.

This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself as an author: is my book engaging enough that the person reading it will read all the way to the end AND have liked what they read so much they will take the extra few minutes to leave a review?

If you’re not getting enough reviews right now–or any–there’s a good chance it’s because no one is making it to the end of your books.

I’m not saying this to make you feel bad. But I am saying it to wake you up to the fact that you may need to take a serious look at what you’re putting out there and whether or not it’s actually any good.

Some things to consider:

Did you hire a good content editor who actually knew what they were doing? Did you listen to the feedback and suggestions from said content editor? Or did you just take it upon yourself to think that you know what you’re doing and you don’t need to listen to the editor?

Or maybe you didn’t hire a content editor at all, and instead assumed your book was good enough because you’ve read hundreds of novels so obviously you can write a novel? (Not true, by the way.)

Did you find Beta Readers–who aren’t friends with or related to you–to check the book out before you published it? Does the book have an actual plot and story structure? Or is it an episodic narrative of a character’s day-to-day life?

Did you give the reader something to sink their teeth into? Was the book actionable? Did it give them information they could take away and use right now in their own lives?

Does the book actually have an ending that’s satisfying to the reader? Or does the ending come as a total disappointment or not even actually feel like an ending because nothing really gets resolved?

All of these are errors I see writers and authors making. And it’s a big part of the reason why no one reads, finishes or leaves reviews on their books.

Harsh? Maybe. But I’m hoping it’s also a reality check for what it really takes to write a book that gets reviews. And not bad reviews, but 4- and 5-star reviews. Rave reviews. Reviews that say the person loved the book so much they couldn’t put it down or it totally changed their life and way of thinking and being.

What it all comes down to is knowing the craft of what you’re writing and doing due dil to bring the best possible story or nonfiction book to your readers. It means stepping into the identity of the pro writer you want to be and treating your book with the same care and professionalism that you’d get with a traditional publisher.

Because when you self-publish, you are the publisher. And readers will still hold your book to the same standards that they hold books that come from traditional publishers.

A reader may not know the difference between a traditionally published book and a self-published book, but if you don’t do a great job with your book, they will be able to tell that something is off. Because stories require certain principles and criteria.

And readers have read enough books to know when a story (or nonfiction book) doesn’t work.

You’ll never fool your readers into enjoying your book if it doesn’t fit the principles and criteria of storytelling. For people who read a lot of books, even if they can’t tell you what’s wrong with the story, they will still have an innate sense of whether it’s good or not.

And even your beautiful prose will do nothing for you if your story isn’t compelling, engaging and cohesive. Beautiful prose is important, but it’s not the most important thing.

That’s why books without beautiful prose will still hit the bestseller lists and gain a huge readership and get turned into movies. Because it’s about the story more than it is about how beautiful the prose is.

Many people think Stephenie Meyer is a horrible writer. And I agree that her writing style is pretty basic. But her storytelling ability is so great readers can see right past the simple words and even cliche ways of describing stuff.

None of that matters when the story is awesome. When the story is awesome the beautiful prose is just icing on the cake.

But beautiful prose will never save a story that doesn’t work.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent

P.S. I have 3 spots available right now for private story coaching. If you’re ready to take the idea in your head and turn it into a fully developed story plan with structure and a scene-by-scene roadmap that you can use to write your first draft… and not just any first draft, but a first draft that’s a revision and edit away from being publishable, send me a PM (private message) right now and let’s get this show on the road.

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