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6 Ways to Defy the “Societal Norms” for Being A Writer

When it comes to being a writer (and a creative person in general), there are societal “rules” that will automatically be placed on you. Rules like, it has to be hard work, if you’re not working hard you’re not really earning it, you have to pay your dues and work your way up from the bottom and you can’t make a full-time living as a writer.

These rules are generally considered to be true by most of society, including a whole lot of writers. But that doesn’t mean you have to play by them.

You create your own reality and you do it with your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions. So that means you can create whatever reality you want to live in, including one where all of these bullshit societal norms do not apply.

You can choose to create a reality where you get to make up the rules and you get to decide what it’s like for you as a writer.

Here are 6 ways to do that:

1. Decide What You Want Your Reality to Look Like

This is the super-fun part. You get to make up what you want your reality to be like, look like and feel like. Because you create your own reality with your thoughts.

But before you can create what you want, you have to first get really clear on what that is (otherwise you might doom yourself to having default success). The clearer you are, the better.

The easiest way to get clear is to grab your journal and write down what you want your life to look like in every area: your writing life, money, relationships, possessions, your body, your health, your hobbies, whatever areas are important to you. Write about your dream life as if it’s already happening right now.

(Here’s a video that talks more about how to do this.)

2. Choose the “New Normal” You Will Live By

Now that you’re clear on what you want your life to be like, it’s time to set the rules for your new normal. Right now you’re living life based on societal norms, telling you things that are unsupportive of the dreams and goals you have for your writing life.

It’s time to buck that by instead creating the rules that you will live by, regardless of what everyone around you is doing (and I’m not talking about breaking actual real laws, like the kind that will put you in jail).

Here’s what I mean by creating new rules: if everyone in the writing world beliefs that “it takes years of hard work to write a good book,” you can decide not to live by that “rule.” You can decide that you can write a good book in one year, with ease.

Crazy? Maybe. But doesn’t it feel so much more inspiring and motivating to live by that rule? Doesn’t that rule open up so much more possibility?

Now, of course, there are specific actions you’d need to take to make that rule actually work (like mastering craft, hiring a story development coach, writing the book, hiring an editor, finding some Beta Readers, doing the revision work, etc). But it’s absolutely possible for you to write a good book in a year.

And it doesn’t have to be hard, either. You can decide that it will be easy (that, again, comes with specific actions, like hiring help to make it easier for you).

The point being, whatever you want your new normal to be, it can be. But you have to choose it and then step into it. You can’t just choose it and then keep doing the stuff you were doing before, hoping it will work.

You have to choose it and step into it.

3. Commit to It and Be Consistent

The next thing you have to do after you step into it is commit to it. You must commit to having it exactly as you want it, no matter what it takes.

And committing also means being consistent with it. Because it’s not gonna happen overnight. It will take time for it to manifest in your physical world.

The commitment and the consistency are what help it show up faster.

4. Don’t Stop, Ever

This goes hand-in-hand with number three, because at first your new normal will only be in your mind and on paper, but it won’t have fully shown up in your physical world. For this reason, most people who start to defy societal norms and ways of thinking will turn back soon after they’ve left the shore.

Because “nothing is happening.”

The funny thing is, there is more happening in the “unseen” that you can ever even begin to imagine. But to bring it forward to your physical reality, you have to show up, do the work, be consistent and keep going until what you want to see actually manifests, physically.

Think of it like a seed. When you plant a seed it takes weeks, sometimes months, before you see signs of life. Every day you look at your little cup of dirt and see nothing. Nothing is sprouting. All the watering and sunlight is for nothing.

But what you don’t see are all the roots growing under the soil, grabbing on and taking hold so that when the plant does finally pop through, it will have a foundation in place to actually stick around.

Same with creating your new normal. It takes time. When you start doing the “write your reality” exercise, you’ll feel things starting to shift internally before you’ll see the results in your physical world.

Let the internal feelings and shifts be enough for right now. If you keep it up, the rest will follow. I promise you.

5. Ignore Everything Around You That Doesn’t Match This

Another tough one. Because when you’re not seeing stuff happening in your real life, you may start to worry that it’s “not working.” Or, some things you’d generally consider to be negative might start showing up, and then you’ll freak out and really think it’s not working.

Just know there is a “clearing out” period that comes with any big transition. Right now you’re up-leveling your new normal, and that will come with growing pains.

You have to stay focused on the big vision and know that it will show up, and right now everything in your life is just realigning itself with the new normal you’re asking for.

Back at the end of 2014, I made the decision to give up freelance writing in order to focus 100 percent on story development coaching. It was a very scary choice for me, because at the time freelance money made up the biggest percentage of my income.

But I hated freelance writing. I hated being told what to write about. I wanted to have full control of my time and my writing.

So I made the decision to let it go and to focus on story coaching. And not only did I make the decision, but then I declared it to the Universe (out loud, to my coach, and on paper).

Before I could even start taking action on it, something crazy happened.

I lost my high-paying freelance gig. The company decided they wanted to save money by bringing the position in-house and so they ended my contract. I had one payment left from them and then I was on my own (although I’ll add we’re never really “on our own”).

Fucking scary. Especially because that project was bringing in the money I needed to pay for my bills and living expenses for the month.

And then even scarier, a long-time client I’d be working on a nonfiction book project with decided he wanted to take his business in a new direction and he was going to shelve working on his book for a while.

It was like the rug got pulled out from under me, twice. All the consistent work I had was falling apart. I wanted to cry.

But I held tight. I reached out to my support system (my coach, my accountability partner) and they talked me off the ledge of panic.

I stuck with it. And literally the same night my client and I parted ways, I received an email from someone who wanted to sign up for my 90-day program and get help writing his first novel. This told me that my new normal was already in play, and all I had to do was keep going.

Without even taking much action apart from making the decision to give up freelance and focus on fiction coaching, and then declaring it to the Universe, my life started rearranging itself to match what I was asking for.

Growing pains. Time-gaps. It’s gonna happen. Hold tight to the big vision and trust that when you show up and do your part, the Universe will show up to support you in making it happen.

6. Expect It to Show Up

This might be the hardest one, especially for writers who a lot of times tend to be very skeptical and overanalyze everything. This step is really about having faith. Not religious faith (unless that appeals to you), but faith in the Universal law of “like attracts like.”

If you’re putting something positive out there, you will get something positive back. That’s what like attracts like means.

That’s why writers who bitch and complain about how hard it is and how many hours they’re putting in and seeing very little result from or whatever they’re bitching about, you can see what shows up for them. Writer’s Block. Excuses. Life-chaos that distracts them from doing the writing. Procrastination.

And with an attitude like that, it doesn’t matter if they put in 10 hours of work a day, it still won’t make a difference.

Because they’re not aligned with the success they want to have. They’re playing by societal norms and having those same results show up for them.

It doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to give up your whole life and just write. You don’t have to spend 5 hours a day writing.

I wrote my #1 bestselling Amazon book in 15-30 minute blocks of time over a 30-day period. I no longer buy into the belief that it has to be hard or take a ton of time. I live by a new normal and I’m flourishing.

You get to choose. You get to decide which societal norms you apply and which you defy. And it’s OK if the writers around you follow different “rules.”

You don’t have to live in their realities.

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Which of these steps are you going to act on right now?

Are you ready to defy societal norms and create the writing life you dream of having? Then be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, the high-level, kick-ass accountability and success mindset group for emerging authors who won’t settle for anything less than their dream writing lives. 

Want To Reach Your Writing Goals? You Need To Take These Two Actions

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What Practical Actions and Energetic Actions will you take to move in the direction of your writing dreams?

If You Were Born For This, Then Act Like It

I’ve always known I was born to live a big life and to do great things. From a young age I took the world by storm, setting goals, creating stuff, being an entrepreneur (my first biz was a lemonade stand, my second was a craft business, I wrote a 120-page novella in three days when I was 13).

Back then it was easy. I didn’t know limitations or norms. I just did what I felt like doing and had fun with it.

But then it got hard. The people around me weren’t like me. They spent all their time playing outside and doing sports, while I spent a good portion of my time alone with a notebook and pen (or some other creative project).

And a part of me just wanted to fit in.

So I tried. I spent less time doing the stuff my soul wanted to be doing and I spent more time trying to be like my friends. It never worked, of course, because I kept evolving past all of the people I hung out with and then things would go south and we’d no longer be friends.

Growth can be really hard.

It followed me into young adulthood. I kicked serious ass in college, jumping on as many opportunities as possible. My senior year I became the first person in the history of my school to be the editor of the newspaper and the editor of the literary magazine at the same time (and I had totally amazing managing editors on both projects who helped keep things in check).

When I graduated, I went straight into a paid internship for what I thought was my dream job: magazine editor. I was hired on and worked as a magazine editor for several prestigious pet publications, and went from Assistant Editor to Managing Editor within two years of working for the company. I even helped launch a brand new magazine.

I was finding so much success in the work I was doing. Except I wasn’t doing very much writing. Real writing, the kind that I cared about and that had meaning to me.

Sure, I was writing on a daily basis for the magazine and it was fun, but I had stories inside me that wanted to come out. So when I left my magazine job and moved halfway across the country to Texas to work in online and social media marketing, I decided it was time to take on my novel writing dream. For real.

In 2008, I started my blog and committed to writing one blog post a week talking about my journey to writing my very first novel. I was fired up, but then I fell off and ended up doing more blogging than working on my novel.

It took a lot, but I got motivated to write my novel as my deadline came closer, and by my birthday, I had the completed first draft.

But I wasn’t committed to it. I wasn’t committed to being the writer I really wanted to be. So I wasn’t consistent with it.

I was scared, and worried that I’d never get any further than that. One draft.

As the next few years passed by, I saw that I wasn’t at all where I wanted to be. So I finally stepped up and finished a damn novel and then published it.

But I still wasn’t committed. I wasn’t all-in. I didn’t have any consistency with what I was doing.

Yes, I did have consistency with my blogging and my marketing stuff, but not with my soul writing, my books (and especially my novels).

Viva ut vivas is the Latin phrase for "live a full life" or what I like to call "live life to the fullest."

Viva ut vivas is the Latin phrase for “live a full life” or what I like to call “live life to the fullest.”

And the thing that makes no sense is I’ve always known I was born to be a writer, a storyteller, a creator. I’ve always known I was born to inspire and motivate people to get off their asses and live their lives to the fullest. (I even have that phrase tattooed on my inner wrist; see pic.)

But I haven’t always acted like it.

I’ve played small and hided out. I’ve been inconsistent with my art because I’ve been afraid to be the full-out, insane, crazy version of me that I used to be (back when I got bullied for it). Afraid to say the things inside me that I know writers need to hear, but things it’s scary to say.

I’ve been afraid to be the hardcore version of me who holds myself to really high standards and smashes my goals and wants to have it all and believes that I can. And also who DOES THE FREAKING WORK.

That’s all over now. These last few months have been life-changing for me.

I’ve cleaned up my writing habits. I’ve aligned myself with the success I want to have as an authorpreneur. And I’m all-in, doing, as my mentor says, “what it takes, for as long as it takes, until it takes.”

I’m now fully living the writer’s life. Where before I was only dipping my toe into the water, I am now day in and day out living and breathing being a writer, a creator and an entrepreneur.

Because I know I was born for this. The more I’ve stepped into it the more I can feel how aligned it is with my soul. This is who I’m meant to be.

I am an authorpreneur.

Were you born to write? Born to put your words and your stories out into the world? Have you known for a very long time that you’re meant to do big things?

Then start acting like it.

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How are you going to step up and take your writing life on full-force? 

If you’ve been procrastinating but you’re ready for MORE in your writing life, check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, it’s the high-level accountability and ass-kicking motivation you need to reach your writing goals. 

It’s Not About Discipline, It’s About This

The other day one of my mentors posted a picture of her dinner on Facebook. She was at this nice restaurant and had ordered a meat and veggies dish–no carbs in sight–that had my mouthwatering (and I’m not a big meat eater).

Lately I’ve been working on eating healthier, and have actually been free of refined white sugar and even natural sweeteners, for almost two weeks now. But it’s been TOUGH. Like, really tough.

And yet my mentor seems to eat the way I want to eat almost effortlessly. She doesn’t even like carbs.

I commented on her pic and said, “I wish I had your discipline when it came to food.” (Because I love carbs, especially French fries, salt-and-vinegar chips and anything with sugar. )

As I’m sure you guessed it, her reply to my comment sent me into a tailspin that I’m still rolling around in my head. She commented back: It’s not that I’m disciplined, it’s that I’m committed to having the result.”

BOOM!

Kinda smacks ya in the face, doesn’t it?

You don’t need discipline when you’re committed to the result you want to create, because the result automatically tells you what choices you need to make.

Easier said than done, sure. But is it really? When you’re that committed to seeing what you want show up in your life, seems like taking the actions would be a natural progression.

And I’ve been rolling this around in my head for days now. It’s really bugging me!

Because it’s made me re-think all the things I thought I was committed to. Made me question which results I’m really willing to do the work for, and which I’d be OK having something else in place of what I really want.

Annoying.

Who wants to look at the fact that they’re not as committed as they thought they were?

If you want to write your novel (or whatever you dream of doing), are you so committed to having the result (aka: a published novel) that you’re doing the work day in and day out? If you’re not, maybe you’re not as committed to the result as you thought you were.

And that’s what I’m contending with right now. Because I have big, HUGE dreams for my writing life and my life in general. But there are some things I don’t really feel like doing most of the time (i.e. going to the gym). So what that means is I won’t ever really have what I want in those areas of my life.

Because to have what you want, you have to be committed to the result.

This is a whole new level of accountability and commitment. It’s a whole new level of assessing what you really want and picking it all apart to determine what you really care about and what you can die never having accomplished and not be bothered by it.

That’s the way to get to the core of what you really want for your writing life.

It’s tough–this being a professional writer stuff. When you write as a hobby you don’t have to worry about how much writing you get done, but when you’re an authorpreneur, you can’t lose focus. You have to know what you want, be very clear on it and specific about it, and then take action.

But if you’ve got goals or dreams in your head that, underneath the surface you don’t really care about or if you didn’t ever make it happen you wouldn’t lose sleep, you can give yourself permission to drop them. To drop them and no longer pursue or even think about them.

Now you’ve just reigned your focus in even more.

That’s what alignment is all about. It’s about knowing what you want, truly, deep down, knowing, and being willing to let go of the other stuff (the stuff you’re holding onto because someone said you should do it or because that’s what everyone else is doing).

And alignment, much like success, is a daily practice. Life happens, it’s always going to. It’s always gonna come in and get in the way.

You’re going to lose your focus sometimes, you’re going to fall off the wagon and be unproductive for a bit. It happens to all of us. Checking in with yourself on a daily basis is a great way to stay aligned with what you want and where you’re going, and also to pick yourself back up faster when you do lose focus.

But please, stop forcing yourself into dreams and goals that have other people’s names on them.

Here’s an example… maybe you’ve been telling yourself you want to write a novel. You’ve tried a few times, but nothing seems to be working. When you look deep-down, you know it’s because you don’t really want to write a novel. Novels are hard work and take way too much time. You’d be happier writing a series of short stories. But every fiction writer has to write a novel, right? So you have to as well.

Ahhhh…wrong.

You don’t have to do anything. You should only do the things you truly care about, the things you’re passionate about and actually want to be doing.

Don’t be afraid to go deep and really question the goals and dreams that you have. If you’ve been after something for a while and you’re still coming up short, maybe deep-down you don’t really want to do it and it’s time to let it go. Or, maybe you’ll find you want it more than anything and now it’s time to step up your commitment to the result.

There is no right or wrong here. It’s all about what works for you and what you want.

And what it really comes down to, is if you know that you truly want something and wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if you didn’t get it, maybe it’s time to get clear on the result and then commit to having it. No discipline needed.

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What’s one result you’re so committed to you don’t need discipline to take action? 

If you’re committed to making your BIG writing dreams a reality, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability and mentorship group for emerging authors and novelists.

Featured image courtesy of Ibai

The Truth About Being A Professional Author

There’s a question that’s been on my mind lately: do I have what it takes? Do I have what it takes to achieve all the writing dreams I have and to really get everything I want?

It’s an important question, because the answer will make or break your writing dream.

Do you have what it takes?

Like, really have what it takes?

Only you can answer that.

The Truth About Being A Pro Author

There’s something kinda scary that no one really talks about, but that needs to be said right now.

You may not have what it takes. 

Not everyone does. 

Not every writer is meant to be a pro.

It’s scary to say that (I felt panicked just typing those three sentences).

But it’s true.

And the reason is simple: most writers won’t do the work. 

Sure, most writers may actually write. Get blips of inspiration and sit down and start writing.

Because you can’t just write stories and be a professional. Not even if you write 100 stories.

Being a professional means you’ve actually finished something, published it and put it out into the world.

And not half-assed either. (Self-published authors who put their books out there without editing, Beta Reading or some kind of vetting process are not professionals.)

A professional author not only does the work and finishes, but also invests in (or barters for) professional services to do the self-publishing (an editor, a cover designer, a layout person, a story coach, whatever they need).

And the cold, hard, real truth is that not all writers have it in them to finish. Or to show their work to someone who knows what they’re doing and accept feedback that will improve their story.

Pro vs. Most Other Writers

Here are the main differences between a professional author and most other writers:

A pro author:

  • Finishes. Period. (Most writers have tons of half-finished or completed drafts that they never revised or have been revising into oblivion and never getting anywhere.)
  • Publishes. Period. (Most writers don’t actually publish anything. They talk about it and they may even say they’re working on it. But you never see it.)
  • Shuts up and does the work. Period. (Most writers have whiny complaints and excuses about why they haven’t finished or can’t finish or haven’t written their novel or don’t have the time or life is falling down around them or they are procrastinating…)
  • Hires help when they need it. (Most writers think they can do it all themselves and they can’t.)
  • Takes constructive criticism and uses it to make their writing better. (Most writers will shake off any kind of criticism. Because they’re right and they know what they’re doing.)
  • Has what it takes. (Most writers don’t.)

Having what it takes just means having the brass ovaries to get over your shit and do the work. No matter what is happening around you.

And you’ll know the answer as soon as you ask it.

I have HUGE writing dreams. And I refuse to stop ’til I get there (and even then I won’t stop).

But I had to ask myself if I really have what it takes to achieve everything I want.

And looking back on all I’ve accomplished in my life, I know that I absolutely have what it takes. I show up. I do the work. I put myself out there. I take huge risks. I just need to give up all excuses, be more consistent and keep doing the fucking work.

I’m committed to all of that now. So I know my dreams are a done deal.

Now you need to ask yourself: do you have what it takes?

If you have what it takes, I’d love for you to become a part of my membership site and community, Students of Story, where you can get over your shit, learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish and publish your book. Learn more here.

Want A Writing Success Crystal Ball? Two Things to Look At

When it comes to getting what you want–in life and in your writing–it all really comes down to two things. Two little things that can make or break you. Two things that will determine exactly how successful you’re going to be.

Those two things are: your priorities and your habits.

Your priorities and habits are your keys to success. If your habits are supportive of your goals and your priorities are aligned with your writing dreams, there’s no stopping you. You are set up for inevitable success.

But if your habits are sabotaging your goals and your priorities are totally out of whack, guess what? You’ll never get where you want to go with your writing. Not ever.

Never. (And I never say never, but I’m saying it.)

It’s impossible to reach the level of success as a writer that you dream of if you don’t align your habits and priorities with your dreams. It can’t happen.

And the reason it can’t happen is because you won’t be taking the actions you need to take or making the choices you need to make to get to your dream writing life, because your habits and priorities are not working.

This was something I had to personally look at recently, as I take my writing career to the next level. I did a journal exercise the other day that was insanely eye-opening.

It can be scary to flesh it all out on paper and see it written down. Because then you can’t not look at it.

Sometimes it even seems easier not to look at it. To just live your life, never taking a minute to look at what you want and where you’re at, to see if it’s matching up (hint: if you don’t already have what you want, it’s not).

I avoided it for a long time… until I realized I had to look at it. I had to write down what I want, and then make a list of my current habits and priorities, to see if it was a match.

And, well, what I found did’t come as a huge shock: my priorities and habits don’t totally align with where I want to go with my life, my writing and my business.

For example, in my “what I want” list, I wrote down that I want “to be healthy and fit.” But when I look at my habits and priorities, they don’t align with that goal. Right now I don’t exercise regularly and I’ve fallen into a bad habit again of eating a lot of junk food.

If I say what I want is to be healthy and fit, you can clearly see that will never happen with the habits I have in place currently. Instead, I need to have habits that support the goal, such as doing 30 minutes of movement every day, no exception, and eating a 90/10 balance–90 percent healthy, 10 percent whatever I want.

Habits like that would support my goal of being healthy and fit.

So, now it’s time to turn the spotlight on your writing priorities and habits. The only way you can make a change is to see where you’re at and where you want to be, to determine the gap and what your next steps are.

An Exercise

Grab your journal or notebook. Set a timer for 10 minutes and go to town writing down exactly what you want for your writing life. What does your dream writing life look like?

For example, mine has me publishing a minimum of two books a year, having my books turned into movies, being a multi-bestselling author, and having millions of readers all over the world.

Once the timer goes off, flip to another page (or even at the bottom of the same page if there’s still space), and make two lists. List one is what your current priorities are. List two is what your current habits are related to your writing.

Be honest when making these lists. No one will see it except you, and by looking at exactly what is, you’ll know where to go from there. Just don’t kid yourself.

Now compare the two lists against the write up about your dream writing life. Do the habits and priorities you currently have align with getting you to that dream life?

If yes, congrats. You’re part of a very small percentage of writers who are showing up consistently and doing the work. Make any needed tweaks and keep on going.

If no, you have some work to do.

What To Do Next

I want you to make a list of what you think your habits and priorities would be if you did have your dream writing life. So if that life was already your current reality, what would you be doing on a daily basis?

Would you be skipping your writing sessions? Would you be putting other less important things before doing your writing?

Nope. If you had your dream writing life, you’d be writing every day. You’d be spending more time writing than watching TV or doing other meaningless things that won’t get you where you want to go.

Now it’s up to you. You can either keep doing what you’re doing (and not get where you want to go) or you can take a look at “what is” so you can realign and get on track to reaching your dreams.

A mentor of mine recently said, “success is a daily practice.” And it blew my mind when she said it because she’s so right. Success isn’t one of those things you get and then you just have it. It’s something you have to work at every single day.

And the foundation for success is your habits and priorities. Get those aligned to the writing life you dream of and watch magic happen.

Are you ready to align your priorities and habits with success? Grab my free training (short audio + worksheet) on Aligning Your Habits and Priorities to Success here.