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“Why Would Anyone Care?” <---The Voice That Keeps You Playing Small

This morning I had a Divine Download for something really cool to create. I got excited about it and started making a whole page of notes for how I could do it and what it would be called.
 
And then that voice came up; that voice that comes up everytime I’m feeling good and clear and certain about what I’m doing…
 
“Why would anyone care? What makes you think you’re so damn special and that anyone would want to follow you or pay attention to you?”
 
That voice has shut down so many ideas and projects over the years. In my life and other peoples’ lives (maybe you can relate?).
 
Because why would anyone care, right? What makes you think any of your ideas are even valid or important or worth putting out into the world? What makes you think you’re good enough to do that or be that or have that?
 
I spent most of my life feeling not good enough. Bullied throughout my childhood and high school years, I just wanted to blend into the crowd and not stand out. I didn’t want people to pay attention to me, because all the bullying over the years programmed me to believe that standing out and being seen was a bad thing.
 
I still battle with the feeling not good enough thing, more often than I’d like to. But I’ve reprogrammed my beliefs around what it means to stand out and be seen.
 
Now I know that standing out and being seen means being able to help more people and make a bigger impact. It means getting my ideas, my stories, my message and my creations out in front of more people.
 
Even if you feel not good enough at times, that doesn’t at all mean your ideas aren’t valid or important or worth putting out in the world. It just means you’ve got subconscious programming going on that’s telling you your ideas aren’t valid or important or worth putting out there and you’re currently accepting those beliefs as true.
 
But here’s the thing… you weren’t born with those beliefs or that programming! You didn’t come into the world feeling not good enough or thinking your ideas weren’t valid or worth putting out there. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
 
You were born feeling worthy. You were born feeling so much love for yourself and for everyone and everything around you. You were born with loads of creative ideas and a brilliant imagination that can create anything you want and more. You were born with a gift(s) that’s meant to be shared with the world.
 
THAT is who you really are. THAT is your TRUE NATURE.
 
It’s society and the media and the people around us and our life experiences that have programmed our true nature out of us.
 
When you were a kid, if you had an idea or wanted to create something, you just did it. You didn’t think about it. You didn’t agonize over whether or not it was worthy or worth putting out. You just drew the damn picture and made your mom put it on the fridge.
 
But now because of all the other voices around you, those ridiculous, unhelpful, negative thoughts come up… “why would anyone care? What makes me think this idea is any good? If I put it out there no one will pay attention to it anyhow. The world doesn’t need another book. I should probably just quit and go watch Netflix for the rest of my life.”
 
And that shit just isn’t necessary.
 
The only voice, the only opinion, the only thing that matters is YOU. What you think, what you feel, what you believe. That’s it.
 
If someone doesn’t like it, too fucking bad (or as my mom would say, TFB; she was using acronyms long before they became the “cool” thing).
 
So when an idea like the one I got this morning hits me, I run with it. Even with that voice popping up that says, “why would anyone care?” I’ve made it a core value in my writing business to act on Divine Downloads. (Notice I didn’t say question or judge or analyze… I said ACT!)
 
There’s a huge element of creativity that’s often forgotten about… the element of trust. You must have infinite trust that whatever idea or story came to you chose you for a reason and that it not only deserves your attention and effort, but it also deserves to be finished and put out into the world.
 
When I run with a Divine Download idea, I never know what’s going to happen. I never know how it’s going to turn out or how it will be received by my audience.
 
But I do the work, I finish it and I put it out there anyhow.
 
It’s not up to me to judge the idea. That’s not my job. My job is to channel the idea, the message, the story and be the creator who brings it to life in the physical world.
 
That is how I’m able to create so much stuff on a consistent basis. Because I no longer judge it. I no longer worry or criticize. I just do the work, put it out there and move on to the next thing.
 
This may not seem like a rational way to operate, and most of my business mentors have told me that I need to slow down and do less. But I can’t. Because slowing down and doing less means fewer creations and ideas and stories make it out into the world.
 
And I have way too many to let them sit inside my head and die a slow death.
 
So I push on. I create and I write and I unleash my creativity. And when the voices of negativity pop up, I deal with them and push on. And when the doubt and the fear pops up, I deal with it and then push on. And when [insert distraction or trigger] pops up, I deal with it and then PUSH ON.
 
That shit used to stop me. It used to make me procrastinate and resist doing the work and especially finishing. But that was also back when I used to question the speed at which I create and the amount of stuff I put out into the world on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
 
Now I don’t question. I just act.
 
Do the work. Put it out there. Repeat.
 
And when it really comes down to it, the only thing that can actually stop you and keep you playing small and listening to those BS voices is YOU.
 
Write with a purpose, live with intention,
 
 
#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

 

P.S. If you’re ready to STOP playing small and START unleashing the stories and ideas and creations you have inside you, it’s time for you to join the Bestselling Author Mastermind–my high-level community and mentorship group for multi-passionate writers, authors and creators who want to create the habits, craft expertise, mindset, consistency and follow-through of a professional.
 

How To Turn Off Your Inner Editor

By Joe Williams

An inner editor is that voice inside your head that seems to pop up whenever you’re writing just to tell you your writing sucks or you need to go back and change that paragraph or rewrite that entire chapter, etc.

In actuality, your inner editor is just you. And so what you say to yourself is entirely up to you.

When an inner editor reveals itself, uncertainty is present, and therefore you second-guess yourself. A lack of confidence–in your work and yourself–makes this self-defying subconscious appear.

Whatever weight you may be carrying on your shoulders, or the bothersome thoughts running through your head, ignore them and complete your writing piece with the assurance that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re doing it well.

Ideas flourish when minds think soundly, and confidence will enable your mind to think in that manner.

When writers get “stumped” on a word, or can’t finish a paragraph, they often get flustered, which causes the inner editor to appear. And then the writer doesn’t finish the piece with 100 percent confidence (and sometimes the writer doesn’t finish the piece at all).

Self-reliance is another key factor that needs to be present in order to dodge your inner editor.

Maybe you were counting on another person for an interview before you could write your article and now the person hasn’t called you back. Or maybe you were counting on your writing partner for some research, but they didn’t get it done.

No matter, if you go into any writing situation prepared to complete it, regardless of any obstacles, you’ll be better able to turn off your inner editor and get your writing done.

Push on when you think it may not be thorough enough or it’s beginning to ramble, because that’s not portraying confidence in your self and your work, and it will show in the writing.

Use your second draft to make changes.

For now, just get used to the fact that you are your own enemy and the moment you choose to remain confident, you’ll be able to turn off your inner editor and get your writing done.

Tips on How to Stay Confident

  • Come up with a writing affirmation–such as “I am a great writer” or “This piece of fiction is the best I’ve ever written”–and then repeat it to yourself whenever your inner editor pops up.
  • Post the affirmation by your writing area and refer to it whenever you feel your confidence shaking.
  • Use the voice recorder on your cell phone (or a handheld recorder if your phone doesn’t have one) and record yourself  a little pep talk. Play it back to yourself whenever you need a confidence boost.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself reaching your writing goal (whatever it may be). Visualizing yourself attaining your dreams will help give you the confidence you need to continue writing.
  • Ask your friends and/or family to make a list of all the great things about you. Refer back to the list often. (You can also make a list yourself.)
  • Stay focused on the task at-hand. It’s easy to get distracted while writing (this is usually when the inner editor starts popping up), so try to keep focused on just getting the words down and not thinking about or doing anything else until you do.

About the Author: Joe Williams is a rock-n-roll singer/songwriter. He creates original writing daily, and believes it’s important for writers to find their own style.

How To Move Out of Your Writing Comfort Zone

By Devon Ellington 

For years, many freelancers have bought into the myth of the need to have a “niche” and “branding.” And many of these same freelancers are struggling in the economy, because they’ve written themselves into boxes where opportunities have dried up.

You want to know how to make a living as a writer? Work at your craft so that you’re damned good; write whatever you’re passionate about, and market your butt off to find people to pay you for writing about your passions. It’s not easy. But it can be done.

You want easy money? Writing’s not for you.

If you’ve spent a lot of time writing in one particular area, how do you break out? How do you move out of writing something that’s comfortable into something else?

You treat it like on-the-job training. You avoid the content mills that pay crap at all costs, because if you get stuck in that hole, you won’t get out and you’ll be trapped in an even bleaker prison: The cheap labor prison.

What you do is approach it like taking a class or learning a language or taking up knitting. You put in the time and you learn from qualified people.

I’m going to give two examples of working out of one’s comfort zone.

First Example
Let’s say you wrote reports and newsletters while you were the administrative assistant in a big corporation, but you really want to write for non-profits.

  • Put together your portfolio, using samples of the work you did for the big corporation.
  • Look at non-profits and find one about whose mission you are passionate about.
  • Learn everything there is to learn about them.
  • Take the time and write one or two short pieces for your portfolio that are specific to their line of work.
  • Take them on as a pro-bono client.
  • Write up a contract, the same way you would if they were a paying client. In my experience, you often have to set firmer boundaries for a pro bono client than for a paying client.
  • Decide how long a period of time you are willing to work with them and what you’re willing to do for them.
  • Do it.

The clips you get from working with them, even as a pro-bono client, will give you the skills, the quality of clip, and the legitimacy to vault you into the paid arena.

In the meantime, while you work with them:

  • Attend every networking event and meet as many people in the non-profit world as possible.
  • Go to conferences and lectures.
  • Maybe even give a few talks yourself.
  • Network, network, network.
  • Find discussion groups and message boards and loops.
  • Start scouring the job listings for paying work—not a percentage of a grant “someday,” but paid work.
  • Use the pro-bono work you’ve done as part of your portfolio package.
  • Take on freelance assignments from a variety of non-profits—these paid—until you land the job you want.

What about your original pro-bono client? In the best of all possible worlds, a paid position will open in the organization and they’ll hire you.

Unfortunately, an organization who receives pro bono work from someone sometimes doesn’t see the person as a viable hire. If you develop a clear relationship, you should be able to communicate your wish to move into a paid position. After working with them for six months, you may be ready to move on for a variety of reasons.

Second example
You’ve published a handful of romance novels, but you have the hankering to be a sports writer. Maybe you’ll even write a mystery series set in the sports world.

  1. Pick your sport.
  2. If you don’t know about it, immerse yourself in it. Go to games. Write up articles about the games as an observer. Maybe even start a blog—but only if you’re willing to commit regular content.If you love a sport that happens to have a minor league team in your town, such as a minor league baseball team or a minor league hockey team, see if you can cover it for a local newspaper or community website. The money won’t be great, but it will be better than a content-mill site or a $1/post blog-mill site; and the clips, again, will be of a better quality and give you a legitimacy to gain better paid work.
  3. Talk to fans. There are some unique fans with unusual views of the world out there. They make great human interest stories.
  4. Attend charity events for the team. Better yet, work them.
  5. Attend press events. Ask questions.
  6. Get to know the staff of the team. Let them know you’d like to write about the team. If they like what you wrote for a local paper, you’ve already got a leg up if an internal marketing position opens up. Find a reason the team can’t live without you, and convince the staff.

I write both fiction and non-fiction about ice hockey. I spent a lot of time with several minor league teams a few years ago, and everyone was lovely. They were delighted to talk about the ins and outs of what they do.

They knew I wouldn’t burn them by misrepresenting them in my articles, they also knew if I disagreed with them about something I’d be upfront with them.

I’d been a hockey fan since I was a little kid, but it wasn’t until I started writing about it that I really learned the game intimately. I grew even more passionate about a sport I loved.

On the flip side of that, I pitched an idea to a publication for which I write regularly to cover the America’s Cup. I can’t even swim and knew nothing about sailing. I had two weeks to learn.

I tracked down some former racing yachts, got my hands on them, and learned the basics.

Part of my angle for the articles was the outsider perspective—an unusual sport, along with a sense of “come learn with me” communicated to the readers. The articles got a great response.

If you love it enough, you find a way to make it work.

My approach to freelance writing has always been to follow whatever interests me and convince someone to pay me for it. I’ve put in the work on my craft, so I’m a good writer. I’m also passionate about my interests. That communicates to both editors and readers, and helps land assignments.

If you move out of your comfort zone in a purely mercenary sense, chances are you’ll just build yourself another prison. You don’t want your work or your time disrespected.

Any dues paid without physical money changing hands has to be worth it for you—not something a content site will resell and make money from indefinitely. Pick your pro bono slots carefully and use them to work—quickly—into reasonably paid work.

If you move out of your comfort and into your passion, chances are the quality of the work will be superior, and, after the first one or two articles, so will the pay.

About the Author Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction. Her work appears in publications as varied as New Myths, Books for Monsters, Espresso Fiction, The Rose and Thorn, Femme Fan, The Crafty Traveler, Hampton Family Life, The Armchair Detective and ELLE. She writes “The Literary Athlete” for The Scruffy Dog Review. Her Jain Lazarus Adventures are published by FireDrakes Weyr Publishing and the YA horse racing mystery Dixie Dust Rumors will be published under the Jenny Storm name by eTreasures, summer 2008. Her plays are produced in New York, London, Edinburgh, and Australia. Visit her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee, the site for the Jain Lazarus Adventures and her websites www.devonellingtonwork.com and www.fearlessink.com.

How To Not Let Rejection Kill Your Confidence

By Donald E. W. Quist

“There can be no great courage where there is no confidence or assurance, and half the battle is in the conviction that we can do what we undertake,” Orison Swett Marden

So you rush out to the mailbox only to discover you’ve received your umpteenth rejection letter. Now then, rather than cursing the literary world for not recognizing your genius and swearing off writing forever, this is the part where you need to renew your resolve.

When pursuing a career in writing it is crucial to maintain one’s confidence. Besides talent, confidence is the single most important component of getting your work read. If you don’t believe in what you do then why should anyone else?

It seems so simple and cliché—Believe in yourself. However, it is something we too often forget when reading over an elegantly worded NO. I decided to get a professional opinion from Sarah Pekkanen, former features writer for the Baltimore Sun and author of The Opposite of Me—a novel soon to be released by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. As Pekkanen put it, “It’s incredibly important to maintain one’s confidence when trying to get published. So much of this is luck and timing and perseverance, not just talent.”

We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get discouraged by rejection and remember it comes with the territory. As Pekkanen reminded me, “Think of all the big-name writers who were turned down at first—including J.K Rowling and John Grisham. Rejection is part of the process; it’s not personal.”

In regards to the relationship between self-belief and procrastination, it is only natural a lack of confidence lead to a lack of productivity. Your query letter gets shot down after an agent asks to see a partial and suddenly you’re spinning excuses for not writing. You tell yourself you have to do more research before you continue with a particular passage, or you spend hours surfing the internet while a blank Microsoft Word document sits unmodified from its last save.

I know this cause I’ve been there. I’m currently finishing up a novel I once let sit untouched for over 6 months after I received my first batch of rejection letters for a short story I was working on. It’s easy to think that no one will ever be interested, but as my e-mail-pal, Young Adult Fiction writer Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson, helped me realize—for every reason I feared my writing wouldn’t find a home there is an example of an author overcoming a similar obstacle.

You’re scared you’re too young—S.E. Hinton was 16 when The Outsiders was published. You’re scared you’re too old—Gabriel Garcia Marquez didn’t hit his stride until 40 with One Hundred Years of Solitude, and at 82 years old shows no signs of stopping.

And neither should you. Keep at it. Keep writing and stay positive.

By now most of us have heard the name Susan Boyle breeze past the lips of friends and co-workers enamored by the operatic timbre of this pudgy, Scottish, church volunteer-turned-viral video phenomenon. (I mean seriously, the lady’s already got her own Wikipedia entry.) Though I hate to dedicate yet another blog entry to Boyle and risk being dated, she best embodies what it takes to succeed in any type of arts industry—the confidence to put oneself out there and the strength to withstand rejection. She stands as a model for all of us. If you enjoy doing what you love then do it and continue to seek out opportunities to show the world your talent.

About the Author: A freelancer for Media General, Inc., Donald E.W. Quist has written several special interest features for the Florence Morning News, the Hartsville Messenger and InnerViews Magazine. He is the recipient of the 2005 Coker College Write-On Award, and his creative work has appeared in Xcursions Magazine and ERGO magazine. Currently he is shopping for a home for his first novel—Young Folks.

He hopes to launch a website this summer. He invites you to follow him on Twitter: @DonaldEWQuist.