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Life Will Get In the Way–Accept It and Keep Going Anyhow

So on Wednesday, the city where I live had a horrific wind storm. It was almost tornado-like. They were warning people to stay off the roads and there was stuff blowing around everywhere.

And, of course, we lost power. About 100,000+ people currently have no power, including myself. It’s been more than 2 days at this point, and it could be a couple more before we see power again at my apartment.

Worst of all, we lost all the food in our fridge, and we don’t have any internet (that’s the worst of all for me… I need my internet!).

Not to mention it’s winter, and without power… it’s also FREEZING. (And the craziest part of all is that my apartment also lost power last Wednesday thanks to another wind storm… but last week we were the only ones who lost it, so they had it back up within 12 hours. This time… not so much.)

Suffice to say, life got in the way yesterday. So even though I tried my best to get my usual first things first stuff done, it just didn’t happen. I did manage to get my journaling and mindset work done, and I took care of my health stuff.

But my blog didn’t get written in the morning. And even if it did, I didn’t have internet access to be able to post it and share it around on social. And I also didn’t do the other daily activities that I need internet for (I even had to reschedule a training with my group because livestreaming requires a strong internet connection and my LTE couldn’t handle the load).

And here’s the thing… this is gonna happen.

Life will get in the way. Life chaos will happen. Some days you’ll wake up and feel totally out of control and nothing will go right.

It happens.

But even still, there are no excuses. No reasons good enough to stop doing what matters every day.

So even if you have an off day where things just don’t work out or don’t go right, that doesn’t mean every day has to turn into that.

Get back to it. Immediately. As soon as you can.

Last night I wrote my post. It wasn’t as good as what I usually write, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is I did it. I got it done. I made it happen.

Success is built on the back of getting the things that matter done every single day.

And when you can’t get the things that matter done, you do the best you can with what you’ve got in the moment, and you get back to it as soon as you possibly can.

My brother’s house has power and internet, so me, my hubs and our poodle moved ourselves here for a couple days. Last night I forced myself to go to bed early so I could get up super early this morning and get back on track.

It’s not easy to be in someone else’s space and continue on with your usual routine. I’d still call this life getting in the way.

But I refuse to stop or be stopped. By anyone or anything.

And so on I continue.

Even though I’m not in my usual comfort zone. Even though my daily routine is a bit off thanks to not being at home. Even though I’ve had a seriously shitty week and just want to call it a wash and be lazy for the rest of the weekend.

But I push on.

Because I have a vision. I have goals. I have a mission. And I will get there. No matter what.

So I allow myself to have an off day, because that’s gonna happen sometimes. There’s no way around it.

BUT I don’t allow myself to use an off day as a reason to have an off week or an off month. I deal with life as it comes, do the best I can, and get back to my usual do what matters first things first routine as soon as I possibly can.

Because that’s what it takes.

Success is daily practice. And what really matters isn’t what you do on occasion or every now and then. What really matters is what you do every day.

If you don’t have the success you desire, I’d take a good hard look at your daily habits and morning routine. That’s the starting point to getting yourself aligned with where you want to go.

You must set yourself up for success every day.

And on the days when that doesn’t happen, don’t place blame, don’t make excuses, don’t give up. Just deal with what’s happening and get back to it the next day.

Because anything worth doing is worth doing daily.

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

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How do you get back into your daily routine when life gets in the way? Share in the comments. 

———–

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The Responsibility to Write

I woke up this morning, took the dog out, did my journaling and mindset practice… but I didn’t want to write. Right after I finish my journaling is when I usually sit down and write my blog post for the day and then work on some fiction (or whatever book project I have going on).

But today, I didn’t feel like it.

I had nothing to say. I couldn’t think of any ideas. And it’s GORGEOUS out today. It’s a beautiful spring day in Western NY and the temperature is 63. In March!! SO not the usual for us this early in the year. Usually we’re buried in snow for another two months.

But today, it’s beautiful.

Surely this kind of weather in the beginning of March can be an excuse for not doing my writing for the day. I did my writing for the last two days, so I don’t need to do it today.

And besides, I don’t feel like it.

But, wait.

What’s that?

This nagging voice inside… telling me that I need to. That even though I don’t feel like it, it’s my responsibility to sit down to the page and show up. 

Even if I don’t feel like it.

But, UGH!!! I have nothing to say! I’m out of ideas. I’ve written enough this week!

And yet, the voice nags on…

You’re a writer. You were BORN to write. So you have a RESPONSIBILITY to SHOW UP every day and do the writing. 

Writers who are born to write are messengers for the world. They have ideas and stories and stuff inside that needs to be unleashed—that people NEED to hear. And it’s IRRESPONSIBLE and WRONG to keep that stuff to yourself. To hoard it and not bring it out into the world where it rightly belongs. 

Your community, your readers, your people need to hear those stories, those ideas, those messages. They’re waiting to hear them. Waiting for the moment when you come along and write something that changes their lives. That makes them think. That entertains them. That causes them to wake up and take action in their own lives because they’re so inspired, motivated and blown away by that little piece of writing you put out into the world. 

These stories and ideas came to you for a reason. They CHOSE you. 

Because you’re the one who’s meant to channel them from stories and ideas and messages in your head, to words on the page. 

And by NOT writing, you’re doing a disservice to all of the people who need to hear from you. Who wake up and the first thing they do is wonder what you have to say today. Who check their emails every morning, looking for a blog post from you.

Who are DISAPPOINTED when they don’t find one. 

Because your community, your readers, your fans WANT to hear from you. They want to hear what you have to say. They need to hear it. So they can keep going. So they can put one foot in front of the other today. So they can stay focused on their dream life and creating it for themselves.

Are you really going to DENY them of what they need by not writing today?

OK—I get it! Loud and clear.

I must write. I must write every day. I must write and create and unleash what’s inside me. The stories, the ideas, the messages. 

Even when I don’t feel like it.

Even when I don’t have the time.

Even when it’s the last thing I want to do.

I must write. I must write for those who need to hear from me. For those who are motivated, inspired and empowered in their own lives by reading my words.

So I take the dog for a walk and I ask a question, out loud, to the Universe: what does my community need to hear from me today? 

And then we walk. Soon after, a phrase comes to me… the responsibility to write. 

Now I’m getting impatient. Dog—stop smelling everything in sight! We need to get back home so I can write. The words are piling up in my head with every step we take.

Responsibility to write… You must… It’s a non-negotiable when you’re born to write…

Back in the apartment, I sit at my computer, open my doc and let the words flow.

What comes out is this post. This post that I didn’t want to write. That I didn’t even feel like writing.

But I wrote it anyhow. Because that’s what a pro writer does.

And you’re a pro writer, aren’t you?

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How do you get inspired to write when you don’t feel like it?

 

What Stories Are You Telling Yourself?

As writers and storytellers, we’re often thinking about the fictional stories we want to tell and the fictional reality we want to create for our characters. 

But we don’t often think about the fictional stories that we’re telling ourselves. The fictional programming we’ve had since childhood that’s creating our lives and our realities right at this very moment.

While the fictional stories we want to tell are important, what’s more important is the fictional stories we’re telling ourselves.

Because it’s THOSE stories that are causing us to either have it all or have nothing. To love ourselves and our lives or to dislike all of the above.

You may not realize it because it’s a mostly subconscious thing, but there are stories you’ve been telling yourself your entire life—or that you’ve been told your entire life—about the so-called reality of the world and of life and of you.

But here’s the thing… just because you’ve had those stories and told those stories for so long, doesn’t mean you have to keep telling them. Because you don’t.

You can create ANYTHING you set your mind to, and ANYTHING is possible and achievable when your mind believes it is.

ANYTHING!!!

So with that kind of knowledge and that kind of power… what would ever make you think that you have to continue living those old stories that you’re telling yourself? And you know the stories I’m talking about…

  • I’m broke
  • I can’t do this
  • It’s too hard
  • Money is so hard
  • Life is a struggle
  • Writing is a struggle
  • Writers are broke
  • Writers don’t make money
  • Writing isn’t a real career
  • I can’t get paid to do what I love
  • Doing what you love is for retirement
  • I’m fat
  • I’m ugly
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too young
  • I’m not good enough
  • [insert your own BS stories and excuses here]

All of these (and more) are just FICTIONAL STORIES!! They’re made up, bullshit things that you’ve been telling yourself your whole life—or have been told your whole life. BUT—you don’t have to keep CHOOSING to tell this story or to let this programming run in the background of your mind.

You can consciously CHOOSE every single day, to write a new story. To wake the fuck up and realize that you are the only one who creates your reality. YOU. No one else. And no one else has ANY control over you or your life—unless you CHOOSE to give your power and your control over to them.

Life doesn’t happen to you. You DON’T have to live your life just reacting to what’s happening around you.

You can CHOOSE to create the day, week, life, MOMENT that you want to have, right fucking now. You can choose it and you can create it. All you have to do is set your mind to it and not deviate from that thought.

And you do not, do not, DO NOT have to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, you shouldn’t. Even if your best friend is doing it. Even if your siblings are doing it. Even if your parents are doing it. Even if every damn person around you is doing it.

That is their choice—and yes, they are making a choice, even subconsciously—to buy into the bullshit. To believe that reality is what’s true and imagination is what’s fictional.

When the TRUTH IS, it’s the OTHER WAY AROUND!!!!

Your thoughts and beliefs are CAUSE, the current reality you see around you is EFFECT. Which means your imagination and thoughts are what’s actually REAL and your reality is FICTION.

Because you can change and shift your reality anytime you CHOOSE to. You can wake up today and think a new thought and create a new, empowering belief, and act in a different way.

Normal people who know me think I’m out of my damn mind. People tell me on a regular basis that I live in La-La Land. And you know what?

I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!!

Because I KNOW what’s true about the Universe that we live in and I KNOW that living in La-La Land is the ONLY WAY to make your dreams a reality.

Yes, you have to take real, practical and consistent action in your actual physical reality, every single day. BUT—if you can get your mind to your destination first (via your imagination), you WILL see the results you want to see.

It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE for you not to. Because THAT’S HOW IT WORKS!!

If you keep showing up, keep directing your mind to where you want it to go, and stay entirely focused on your dreams and on the goals you have for yourself and your life, you will get there. It’s inevitable.

You just have to find a way to IGNORE everything in your current reality that you don’t like, don’t approve of or don’t want to live as a story anymore.

I get up every single morning and spend 30-60 minutes journaling and creating the reality I want to see in my real life. Over and over and over again programming into my mind and into my beliefs what I know and want to be true for me and my life.

Some might call that insanity. I call it using your power to intentionally create the life you want.

I no longer let life’s little BS get to me. Because I know that will always happen, and it’s my perspective, attitude and choice how I respond to it that really matters.

It’s time to release the old stories. Time to figure out what you actually WANT to see and have happen in your life, and then reprogram any thoughts and beliefs that oppose it.

Because it’s totally up to you. And a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. Which means you can CHANGE IT anytime you CHOOSE TO.

No, it won’t be easy. But it WILL BE easier than continuing to live a life that makes you miserable, depressed and causes you to wonder if this really is all there is.

I’m here to tell you it’s not. Not even close. Because the reality you currently see around you is just a product of—the EFFECT OF—your previous ways of thinking, believing and acting. And your thoughts, beliefs and actions are ALWAYS in your control.

Really, they’re the only things you need to be in control of. Because once you’re in control of your thoughts, beliefs and actions, you can and you will be able to create absolutely ANYTHING you want for yourself and your life.

Even if what you see in your current reality is a million miles away from where you want to be.

That gap can be filled QUICK when you tune into your inner world and connect with the power of your mind. A current reality that looks dire right now can totally transform in a matter of days—even minutes—when you get your mind in the right place.

Transformation does not have to take years and years of your life. Transformation can happen in an instant—if you’re open to it and believe that it’s possible.

Because that’s what it all comes down to. What do you believe is possible? And not just what do you believe is possible, but what, specifically, do you believe is possible for YOU?

Most people won’t take on the responsibility of caring about how they think, what they believe, how they act and how they feel. They won’t because it’s easier to just keep focusing on the negative stuff and to keep telling yourself the same old BULLSHIT stories that you have up to this point.

It’s EASIER.

But really… is it?

Because living a life of struggle, of lack, of limitation, of NOT ENOUGH is one of the HARDEST things I’ve ever lived through. And it made life SUCK.

What I do now is so much easier. I get up every single day and I journal and I set intentions for my day and my life and for who I am and want to be. And then I do the work, I take action and I show up for my dreams. All the while trusting that it will all work out, because it always does.

Do I have days where I get caught up in my current reality and worrying that I’ve lost my mind thinking that things will ever change for me? You bet. We all do. It’s part of being human.

But I REFUSE to stay stuck in that. I REFUSE to let that take over my mind and all the work I do to keep my focus on my dreams and where I want to go.

I REFUSE to live my old stories of struggle, lack, limitation and not enough anymore. I just flat out fucking refuse.

Why?

Because I’m better than that (and so are you). And I know what’s possible when you believe it is. I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it and I’ve lived it.

And that is what I will continue living. A life of ease. Of flow. Of abundance. Of unlimited possibility and potential. A life where dreams come true, success is inevitable, and I can HAVE IT ALL and ON MY TERMS.

That is the life I CHOOSE to create. And so it is.

#DreamLifeOrBust

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What life are YOU choosing to create? What old stories are you telling yourself? What can you let go of right fucking now? I wanna know! Share in the comments.

You Can’t Let This Go To Your Head

My new eBook, The Pro Writer Mindset, debuted yesterday, and I’m super excited about it. It’s a book I’d been wanting to write for a long time and now it’s finally here.

Last month, the eBook I published, Align Your Writing Habits to Success, became a #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon and sold almost 600 copies during the month of May. I could have stopped there, rested on it and tried to coast. Or focused all of my time on marketing and promoting this book.

But instead I decided to keep going. Keep writing and keep putting books out there.

Because you can’t just rest on one success, even a big one.

You have to keep going and keep creating. That’s what it takes to be a pro writer who self-publishes.

So that’s what I’m doing.

And that’s what you need to do after you successfully get a book out there too.

There’s no point in waiting. Yes, you have to take some time to enjoy it and celebrate it. But then you’ve gotta get back to work on your next one.

I think this is where a lot of authors get stuck because they have a momentum built up, but instead of continuing to build that momentum by writing another book, they rest on the book they just wrote and spend the next year or two marketing and selling it. (Or not doing anything at all.)

And yes, you do have to do that–you do have to market and sell your books. But you know what really helps sell a book?

Another book.

At the end of each book, you add a teaser for another book that you’ve written. If the reader gets that far, there’s a very good chance they’ll buy and read another one that you wrote.

So rather than focusing and spending all your time marketing one book, instead market all of your books, in general, choosing one specific book to focus on each day or week.

Now this is just my opinion, but I feel like so many badass authors just don’t write and publish enough books. I want to see multiple books every year from my favorite authors.

Maybe I’m alone in that opinion.

But since that’s what I want to see from my favorite authors, that’s the kind of author I also want to be. Because it’s very likely that the readers who are attracted to my stuff are readers who, like me, prefer to see multiple books a year.

This is how you build a self-publishing career. And it’s important to note, because a self-publishing career is much different than a traditional publishing career. In a traditional career, you can get away with only writing and publishing one new book every few years.

But in self-publishing, you’ll stand out a lot more if you publish frequently and especially if you publish a lot of books all in the same category (this is known as “authority publishing”).

Having multiple books is also the best way to actually make money from your writing. Because one book will sell the other, and vice versa.

Which is why I say don’t let the success of publishing your book go to your head. Absolutely celebrate it and be proud of it, but do not stop.

Keep writing, keep publishing. Keep going.

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How did you/will you celebrate publishing your book? 

If you want to create an unbreakable mindset that will set you up for success in your writing life, check out my eBook, The Pro Writer Mindset: What It Really Takes to Be A Bestselling Author, available now on Amazon.

Image courtesy of GotCredit 

I’m Starting A Motherfucking Writing Revolution: You Want In?

There are two kinds of writers out there: the ones who do the work and see the results and the ones who don’t. 

Which one are you?

You’ll know the answer right away. And the answer’s not, “it’s complicated.”

Because it’s not.

You either do the work and get the results. Or you don’t. 

I say this to myself as much as I say it to you, because I don’t always do the work. Sometimes I sit on my ass and watch Netflix and tell myself I need to do the work, but then it never gets done.

And I go to bed feeling like I failed at being the writer I want to be.

It’s a daily practice, you know? Being the writer you want to be.

You have to recommit to it every day. You have to intend it. And then you have to act from that place. 

My mentor told me a few weeks ago that success is a daily practice. And it’s now sinking in that it’s true for any kind of success (she was referring to business success).

It plays majorly into being successful as a writer and as an author.

I’ve been feeling serious Resistance these last few days as I’ve begun living my life from the place I want to be (and ignoring my reality–super hard to do this, by the way!).

Because while there’s a huge part of me that wants the success I dream of, there’s another part of me that wants to be fucking lazy. (Maybe you can relate?)

And sometimes that part of me does win. I’m not perfect and I never will be. So all I  can ever do is just catch myself as quick as I can whenever I fall off, and then recommit to being the author and writer I want to be.

The writer and author I want to be:

  • Writes and publishes one eBook a month
  • Writes and publishes two novels a year (one a year, bare minimum)
  • Has a ginormous fanbase with millions of readers all over the world who buy my books, write five-star reviews and share with their friends
  • Gets featured in the media, in and out of the writing industry, on a regular basis
  • Blogs on a daily basis and writes at least 2-3 guest posts a week
  • Produces a shit-ton of content–blog posts, guest posts, social media content, worksheets, trainings, etc.
  • Doesn’t let excuses get in the way, not ever (you’ll never stop making excuses, it’s part of being human. But you can make your excuses and then do the work anyway)
  • Has complete and total freedom of time and location

What kind of writer and author do you want to be? Grab your journal and make a list of all the qualities the writer and author you want to be would possess. And then figure out who you’d need to BE, to show up in the world as the author and writer from your list.

In order for me to be this author, the one who lives up to the stuff  listed out, I know I’m gonna need some major accountability. And for me, accountability is teaching others through example. It’s publicly sharing my goals so that I can’t not hit them.

That works for me.

Which is a big part of the reason I started the Students of Story community and membership site. Because I needed to force myself to be accountable to doing the work and getting my writing done.

It’s SO easy to slack off when you have no one holding your feet to the fire. And it’s even harder to hold your own feet to the fire (though I’m getting much better at that as the days go on).

For me, leading helps me stay accountable and stay motivated.

So I’m leading. I’m leading a motherfucking writing revolution.

I’m so sick of seeing writers complaining about not having time and life getting in the way and just that oh-whoa-is-me bullshit that they tell themselves about why they didn’t show up and do the work. I see my old self in so much of it and it makes me feel sick.

Because I was totally fucking pathetic.

There was a time in my writing journey where I would go so far out of my way to avoid doing the work it’s insane. And there was one Saturday I’ll never forget.

I had the whole day free and open. I was going to work on my novel. Finally.

But first I had to clean the apartment, do all of my laundry and wash the dishes.

So I did all of that.

My apartment was clean and organized. The laundry was washed, dried and put away. And for once, there were no dishes in the sink.

I grabbed my laptop. Sat down on the couch in front of my coffee table. Opened up my novel draft Word doc (this was back in 2008, I now use Scrivener), laid my fingers on the keys and then…

I decided I just HAD to clean the bathroom floor. On my hands and knees. With a sponge.

Yes. Seriously.

And I HATE cleaning.

In that moment as I scrubbed away on the floor, I knew. It was now or never. It was step up and do the work… or quit.

So I stepped up and I did the work.

That work paid off for me (FINALLY!) in June 2015 when I published my debut novel, SoundCheck.

And since then, I’ve done pretty good. Even wrote another novel that I’m about to start revising.

But I haven’t been the writer and author I want to be.

I’ve been coasting. Living on the high from getting SoundCheck out there.

And, well, that high is wearing off.

I’m coming down and realizing that I may have a published novel, but I’m far from the writer and author I dream of being.

And so now, like that moment on the floor of the bathroom, I come to the edge.

I’m standing on one side of the cliff, exactly where I am with my writing right now, and then there’s a giant black gap with a hole so deep you can’t see into it. And on the other side of the gap is being the author and writer I want to be and all the stuff that goes with it.

Now I have to choose… do I make the leap and be the writer and author I want to be? Or do I stay where I am, in my comfort zone, and just be OK with the mediocre progress I’m making?

I’m choosing to jump. To leap and not worry about the hows or the what ifs. To just let the net appear as I make my way back down to the ground. 

I’m choosing to believe that the Universe will not only catch me, but will show up for me and support me in reaching my dreams. As long as I keep going and don’t give up (which I never will).

So, what do you choose? 

Right now you’re standing on the edge of the writer you are today. There’s a giant gap and on the other side is the writer and author you dream of being.

You can choose, right now, in this moment, to BE that writer and author. To make the leap and let the pieces land where they may.

If you’re really ready to give up the bullshit, drop the excuses and BE the writer and author you dream of being, I have something freaking awesome for you.

It’s so awesome it’s going to kick your ass and make you step up and BE that writer. Every single day, until you reach your dream.

Because all you have is right now. The past is over and the future isn’t here yet.

The time to be the writer and author you dream of being is right NOW.

Not tomorrow.

Not next week or next month or next year.

Now.

Are you going to make the leap?

Introducing: The Bestselling Author Mastermind: for emerging novelists who want daily motivation and ass-kicking to reach their writing goals. Learn more here.

Featured image courtesy of Daily Motivation

How To Create Your Own Writing Retreat

Have you ever thought about going on a writing retreat to a place that’s peaceful, distraction-free and you have all the time in the world to get your writing done?

And, really, what writer wouldn’t?

These retreats are held in beautiful locations, such as the Rocky Mountains or Napa Valley, for up to a week and are intended to be inspirational and tranquil. The focus is usually on spending time doing exploratory writing and working on creative projects, as well as sharing with the other writers and getting feedback.

These retreats are definitely worth the experience if you have the time and money. Unfortunately, these writing retreats can be upwards of a thousand dollars (sometimes more!), and aren’t always within your budget.

Creating A Writing Retreat At Home

Rather than spend the thousands of dollars to go far away from home to write, why not create your own writing retreat right at home?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Gather all your writer friends for an afternoon of writing. Invite them to your house, make some delicious, energy-sustaining snacks and sit around together and write. Play some soft music or light some candles. Make the room as tranquil and inspiring as possible.
  • Create a private retreat somewhere in your house. Find a place that you’ve never written before–the back porch, the closet under the stairs, the laundry room–and try writing there. You’ll be amazed how a change of location can spark your creativity.
  • Make your home office a daily writing retreat. Set up your desk with things that inspire you, such as flowers, photos or quotes. Cover the desk with your favorite table cloth or buy some fabric from your local craft store. Buy a Betta fish or a plant to place on your desk. Hang beautiful photos/images or create a vision board on the walls surrounding the area.  If you make your writing space as inviting and retreat-like as possible, you just may find yourself spending time there more often.

By creating your own writing retreat–whether that be alone or with other writers–you’ll be able to kick-start your creativity and get some writing done.

The Everyday Writer’s Retreat

If you love to write, but are finding the time between your writing sessions keeps getting longer, it’s time for a reboot! Next Tuesday the doors open to my new virtual writing workshop with Author and Writing Coach, Suzanne Boothby.

While we’re not whisking you away to a beautiful beach location (this time), we are packing this workshop with exercises and writing prompts to get you in the flow. Best of all, we’ll be writing together on every call, and you can ask us whatever questions you have.

If you’re in need of a gentle nudge in the writing direction, I’d love for you to join myself and Suzanne for a virtual writing retreat.

To be the first to know when the doors are officially open, be sure to sign up for my free email newsletter (you’ll also get a 7-day email workshop on how to un-stick your stuck words so you can start writing).

 

Stop Procrastinating In 5 Simple Steps

By Jennifer Blanchard

Over and over writers say that they want to learn how to stop procrastinating. So here are 5 steps that you can take:

  1. Sit down in front of your computer.
  2. Open a Word document.
  3. Place your fingers on your keyboard.
  4. Start typing.
  5. Don’t stop ’til you’ve written at least 500 to 1,000 words.

Yes. It’s really that simple.

Write Or Die: A Free Tool for Procrastinating Writers


By Jennifer Blanchard

I was recently introduced to an awesome writing productivity tool from a follower on Twitter (@armselig). The tool is called “Write or Die,” which is “a Web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences,” according to the tool’s creator, Dr. Wicked.

Here’s how “Write or Die” works:

  • There are 3 modes: Gentle, Normal and Kamikaze.
  • In Gentle Mode, when you stop writing, you will get “writing reminders” that pop up on your screen reminding you to keep writing until your time limit is up/you have hit your word count.
  • In Normal Mode, when you stop writing, you’ll hear a very annoying noise, which will only go away if you keep writing.
  • In Kamikaze Mode, when you stop writing, it gives you a few seconds and then it starts deleting your words. To keep it from deleting everything, you have to keep writing.
  • Once you choose your word count/time limit, mode and how “forgiving” you want the tool to be, you’re off and writing.

Now before you try out this tool, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is for productivity ONLY—Do not expect to write anything even remotely close to The Great Gatsby or Grapes of Wrath just by using this tool. This tool is not here to make you a better writer. It’s here to make you write, period. (You can worry about editing what you’ve written after you’ve written it!)
  • Kamikaze mode is the BY FAR the best mode to use—Since it deletes your writing if you stop for more than a few seconds, you are forced to keep writing in order to not get anything deleted. If you are serious about getting writing done, this is the mode for you.
  • If you’re attempting this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge, Write or Die will easily help you reach your daily word count (of 1667 words).
  • Remember to select all the text you wrote and copy it—There is no way to save your text using this tool, and once you navigate away from the page, everything you’ve written is gone. That’s why you need to copy what you wrote and paste it into a Word document in order to save it.
By using this writing productivity tool, you are learning to shut off your inner editor and just getting writing done. And that, Procrastinating Writers, is what it truly takes to be a successful writer.

How To Overcome Procrastination

By Jennifer Blanchard

How are those New Year’s Goals going? Have you given some time to thinking about what you want in 2009?

One thing many of you probably have in mind for this year is overcoming your procrastination. So this is one post out of many to come in the months following that will begin to explore what procrastination is, why it happens to you and how you can overcome it.

Personal development blogger and author, Steve Pavlina, explains in his article, Overcoming Procrastination, that there are 4 root causes of procrastination:

    1. Thinking you absolutely have to do something–“When you tell yourself that you have to do something, you’re implying that you’re being forced to do it, so you’ll automatically feel a sense of resentment and rebellion,” Pavlina says. “Procrastination kicks in as a defense mechanism to keep you away from this pain. If the task you are putting off has a real deadline, then when the deadline gets very close, the sense of pain associated with the task becomes overridden by the much greater sense of pain if you don’t get started immediately.”Pavlina says that the best way to overcome this mental block is to realize and accept that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. “Even though there may be serious consequences, you are always free to choose,” he says. “No one is forcing you to run your business the way you do. All the decisions you’ve made along the way have brought you to where you are today. If you don’t like where you’ve ended up, you’re free to start making different decisions, and new results will follow.”Overcome it: Choose projects to undertake in 2009 that you want to undertake. Choose something that inspires you or something that you’re really passionate about. (And if you’re having a difficult time figuring out what you want, do what I do, pretend today is your last day on earth–what would you regret not having done? These are the things you need to be pursuing now!)
    2. Thinking of the project as a whole–“Thinking of a task as one big whole that you have to complete will virtually ensure that you put it off,” Pavlina says. “When you focus on the idea of finishing a task where you can’t even clearly envision all the steps that will lead to completion, you create a feeling of overwhelm. You then associate this painful feeling to the task and delay as long as possible. If you say to yourself, ‘I’ve got to do my taxes today,’ or ‘I must complete this report,’ you’re very likely to feel overwhelmed and put the task off.”

Overcome it: Focus on one small piece of the overall task at a time. By doing this, you’ll complete the task in steps, which will make it easier for you to keep motivated.

  1. Being a perfectionist–Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons people procrastinate. They get so worried and worked up about wanting something to be perfect that they end up not even working on it for fear it will come out flawed.”Thinking that you must do the job perfectly the first try will likely prevent you from ever getting started,” he says. “Believing that you must do something perfectly is a recipe for stress, and you’ll associate that stress with the task and thus condition yourself to avoid it. You then end up putting the task off to the last possible minute, so that you finally have a way out of this trap. Now there isn’t enough time to do the job perfectly, so you’re off the hook because you can tell yourself that you could have been perfect if you only had more time. But if you have no specific deadline for a task, perfectionism can cause you to delay indefinitely.”Overcome it: Allow yourself to be human. Humans are not perfect; they make mistakes. That is part of what is so beautiful about life–you get important (sometimes life-changing) lessons from every experience you have, every mistake you make.
  2. Thinking that completing the task-at-hand will deprive you of fun–“This means you believe that undertaking a project will offset much of the pleasure in your life,” Pavlina says. “In order to complete this project, will you have to put the rest of your life on hold? Do you tell yourself that you will have to go into seclusion, work long hours, never see your family, and have no time for fun? That’s not likely to be very motivating, yet this is what many people do when trying to push themselves into action. Picturing an extended period of working long hours in solitude with no time for fun is a great way to guarantee procrastination.”Overcome it: Plan out your fun activities and schedule your work/tasks around them. By doing this, you’re making sure you have plenty of time for the activities you love to do (the activities where you usually don’t procrastinate). Then work/tasks won’t feel so overwhelming because you won’t feel like all you’ll be doing is working/completing tasks.

For more details on each of these root causes of procrastination and more tips for overcoming them, check out Pavlina’s article.

So for 2009, look at overcoming writing procrastination as small hurdles to jump, rather than as a huge thing you need to overcome.

10 Things Procrastinating Taught Yvonne Russell

In light of the fact that National Novel Writing Month is finally over, I thought I’d give you something humorous to read. This comes from the “Grow Your Writing Business” blog written by Yvonne Russell:

Ten Things I Learned From Procrastinating

1. I can get lots of things done, just not the one I should be doing

2. Procrastination can be fun and guilt inducing at the same time

3. Procrastination and perfectionism are a sure fire combo for stress

4. There sure are a lot of interesting sites you discover when procrastinating

5. Procrastination is often called research

6. Research is never called procrastination

7. Procrastination is often called thinking

8. Thinking is never called procrastination

9. Checking emails is high in the hierarchy of procrastination

10. Procrastination inevitably leads to doing… eventually…

Happy writing…jb