Posts

Are You Choosing “Thriving Author” Or “Starving Artist?”

So many writers and creative people hold the belief that, “it has to take a long time” and “you’ve gotta pay your dues.” And yeah, it’s also true that A LOT of people hold this belief.

But you know what isn’t true?

That belief. It’s not true. Not even remotely true.

Unless YOU decide that it is.

I’ve decided that 2017 is the year I break six-figures from my book sales. I’ve decided it’s the year I’m going to thrive in my writing career like never before.

Sure, this year has been amazing and I’ve built up some killer momentum. But it’s not enough.

Because I want to blow the ‘starving artist’ mentality OUT OF THE WATER. And, yes, it IS a mentality. One that’s keeping most authors insanely broke and unfulfilled.

But here’s the great part–you can change a mentality. 

You can actively choose the thoughts you think and the beliefs you hold. You can choose to create exactly the writing life you’ve always dreamed of having.

But you have to CHOOSE. Consciously. Actively. Every single day.

You have to decide that you’re not going to accept the ‘starving artist’ mentality as truth for you. You have to decide that you’re going to be an author who THRIVES. 

Yes, it will take time to create this in your physical reality. But it will happen a whole lot faster if you get your mind there first.

And yes, there are people in the world who refuse to see past the limitation that is the ‘starving artist’ mentality. These are the creative people who say things like, “I can’t quit my job and become a full-time writer or I’ll end up living in a cardboard box” or “writing is a hobby” or “one day I’ll make it happen” or “writers are broke” or “it’s just a pipe-dream” or [insert whatever lame excuse you give or have been given for why you can’t thrive as a writer].

Those are the creative people who will never see their full dreams come to fruition. Because it’s impossible to create a big, successful, thriving creative career with a belief like that.

And what’s sad is, just by changing that mindset and by seeing themselves as thriving artists, those same creative people could have a totally different experience.

Because you create your own reality. And you do it with your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions (or inactions). 

So if you’re looking around and you don’t like what you see; if you’re dreaming of being a thriving author, meanwhile you’re still holding a day job and barely making book sales, it’s time for a mindset intervention.

It’s time to go within, dig around, pull out those limiting beliefs–the ones that are stopping you and holding you back–and GET RID OF THEM!!!

And you really don’t even have to dig around. If you want to know what limiting beliefs you currently have, you can find out by doing 2 things:

  1. Looking around you–your reality is a reflection of all that you’ve thought, believed and acted on up to this point.
  2. Start telling yourself new, empowering beliefs–just by doing this, you’ll start to catch all the limiting beliefs because they’ll show up as that negative voice inside that tells you you’re wrong or that you can’t do it, etc., whenever you say the new beliefs.

You really can change your life by changing your thoughts. 

So your choice is to either continue buying into the ‘starving artist’ mentality, and believing that it has to be a struggle, that you have to work insanely hard and pay your dues, and that even if you do eventually make it, you’ll be lucky to earn low five-figures a year from your creative work.

OR, you can tell yourself something different.

You can tell yourself that you make millions from your books. And that you quit your job and become a full-time writer who thrives and has more than enough, always. And that your books hit the NY Times Best Seller list and get turned into Hollywood movies. (‘Cause that’s what you’re really dreaming of, right?)

Which one inspires you? Which ones makes you feel better? Which one motivates you to take action?

Exactly. The thriving artist version.

And when it all comes down to it, it’s just a perspective. If you choose to believe in ‘starving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience. And if you choose to believe in ‘thriving artists,’ then that’s what you’re going to find in your experience.

The reality you choose to experience is totally up to you. 

For example, a few months ago I decided that I’m well-known in the writing industry and that big-name people contact me and want to partner with me and work with me. I decided that my podcast is a must-listen for writers everywhere and that big-name people want to be interviewed by me.

This past weekend, I booked a big-name guest for my podcast AND I got contacted by a big-name author who wanted to talk to me about how we can help each other out.

Your reality is what you decide it’s gonna be. So decide you’re going to be a thriving author and you will be.

Share With Us

Do you choose “starving artist” or “thriving author?” Declare it in the comments! 

———–
Are you ready to drop the ‘starving artist’ mentality and learn how to sell more books? Check out the masterclass I’m hosting: www.jenniferblanchard.net/sellmorebooks

Are You In It For This?

A common complaint I hear from writers is this–why does it take so long? 

And when they say that, they mean: why isn’t my book selling? Why am I still revising when I want to be published? Why have I been looking for an agent for a year now without any bites?

And, most of all, when am I finally gonna make some money?

I know it’s tough. You’ve been at this for years, possibly even most of your life so far. You’ve dreamed about it, you’ve set goals around it. And yet things just seem to be moving like molasses.

And here’s what I always say to the writers who make this complaint: I feel you, but it takes as long as it takes. 

Because the truth about this whole being a pro writer thing is that it’s long-term. Being a writer and having a successful writing career doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of hard work, commitment and consistency to start seeing the results you want.

So you either have to be in it for the long-haul, or you may as well get out now. 

Because, like everything in life, writing success is a journey, it’s a process, it’s something that builds over time. And you may not see it at first, but when you look back 10, 20, 30 years down the road, you’ll see how far you’ve come and how long it actually takes to create success.

No one does it overnight.

I started freelance writing professionally in 2007, and launched my writing blog in 2008. I wrote and published my first nonfiction eBook in March 2010. Since then, I’ve written and publish 7 other books, including one novel. And it’s only since mid-2016 that things have finally started to take off for me.

This year, I’ve written and published more books than I ever have before. This year, I had 2 of my books hit #1 in multiple categories over multiple days on Amazon. This year, I’ve started making real money from my books, anywhere from $400 to $1,000+ per month, and growing.

But I had 8 years online and another 7 years before that learning and training and practicing and working toward the moment when I would hit a tipping point and my writing career would finally take off.

It happened this year. 

And if it happened for me, it can and will happen for you. But you’ve gotta give up the idea that it’s gonna happen fast. It’s not. It’s gonna happen when it happens.

For now, you need to keep going and do whatever you can to create good writing habits, get in alignment with the goals you have, and be as consistent as possible. Because it’s in the consistency over an extended period of time where results really come from.

When you look at the stories of successful people, you’ll see it wasn’t just one thing that got them where they are today. They didn’t find a magic bullet that changed everything.

No, it was all about the daily habits and actions they took, over years and years of their lives, that got them where they are today. 

Because that’s what it takes. Daily: Consistency. Commitment. A never-give-up attitude. And some serious elbow grease.

So, again, I ask you: are you in it for the long-haul? 

Are you willing to stick with it and do whatever it takes?

Even if it looks like it’s not working?

Even if it looks like it’s never going to happen?

Even if there’s barely a shred of hope left inside you?

Did you answer “yes” to those questions? If you did, congratulations. You’re gonna make it. You’ve got what it takes.

And yeah, it is gonna take time. Some days it’ll feel impossible. Other days it will feel easy like Sunday morning.

But every day you show up will feel worth it. And eventually that worth-it feeling will grow into more than just a feeling. It will grow into an actual writing career where you get paid to write and put your words out into the world. 

Because you can’t not get where you want to go if you show up every day and keep going no matter what. It’s literally impossible. 

It might take blood, sweat, tears and time, but it will happen. That much you can count on.

And whenever you find yourself freaking out, panicking or worried that it’s all for nothing, I leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes, from the book, A Course In Miracles:

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” 

Share With Us

Are you in it for the long-haul? Say YES in the comments! 

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 3: The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes

Show Notes:

In this episode, I talk you through my bestselling author mindset formula–the one that helped me go from unfulfilled author to 2x best selling author in multiple categories, with 5 new books written and launched in the past 5 months, and selling an average of 1,000+ books a month. THIS will change EVERYTHING for your writing life, if you let it.

Here are links to things I mentioned in the episode:

Share With Us

What’s the biggest takeaway you got from this episode? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and share it with your writer-friends (share links below)

5 Ways to Make Money From Your Writing

Last week in my Facebook group, The 1% Writers Club (you can join the group here—it’s free), I asked: who wants to be a full-time writer? 
 
Out of the 65 people who responded, 60 said HELL YES, that’s me! 
 
And it makes sense. Most writers who were born to write want to do it full-time. That’s kind of a no-duh, I think.
 
Problem is, most writers don’t know what it really takes to be a full-time writer (and most aren’t willing to do the work—but that’s a whole other thing). They just imagine Stephen King or J.K. Rowling and see themselves sitting around all day drinking coffee and writing fiction. 
 
And that’s totally fine. We’ve all imagined that scenario before.
 
But a lot of times it doesn’t quite happen that way. And when you look at most writers who are making a full-time living from their writing, you’ll find that, nine times out of ten, they’ve diversified. 
 
They’re not just writing novels. They’re also writing nonfiction eBooks, freelance articles, doing some editing and creating digital products and services, for example. 
 
A writer who makes a full-time living from their writing knows you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. At least not at first. 
 
Unless you really do want to stay in your day job until you can write fiction full time. (That could take a while.) If you do, then go ahead and wait. 
 
But if you’re totally impatient like I am, I want you to know that can actually make a living from your writing in 8 to 12 months (maybe even sooner) if you diversify and don’t just try to do one thing. 
 
And really, why would you want to do just one thing? Owning a writing business and being a full-time writer is so much more fun when you’re doing lots of different things.
 
When I first quit my job in 2012 to take my writing business full-time, 90% of my money came from freelance writing projects, including writing copy, blog posts, emails copy, and social media content for companies. The other 10% came from my eBooks and coaching writers.
 
After a couple years, those percentages shifted, and most of my money was coming from coaching, writing services (like editing) and selling digital products. 
 
And now, after years of dreaming about it, a decent chunk of my income each month comes directly from my books (like this month, for example, I’ve made $1,190 so far… and the month isn’t even over yet).
 
Did this happen overnight? No.
 
Did it happen from one book? No.
 
Did it happen from doing only one thing? No. 
 
It came from diversifying. From writing fiction and nonfiction. From creating digital products and doing virtual workshops. From offering writing services and private coaching. 
 
I no longer do freelance writing. I no longer take on writing projects where I’m required to write for someone else.
 
All of the writing I do is stuff I actually want to be writing. It’s writing I want to be doing. 
 
The point of all this is to show you what it really takes to make a living as a writer. And also to inspire you to see that you don’t have to wait until you’ve made enough money from your books to become a full-time writer.
 
You can start right now. Here’s how:
 
Act As If—whoever that writer is you dream of being, be that person RIGHT NOW. Pretend you’re already a writer who makes a full-time living from your writing and then ask yourself every single day, what would I do if I was already that writer? When you absolutely believe at your core that you ARE that writer—even if your reality says otherwise—you WILL become that writer.
 
Start Doing Some Freelance Writing—there are tons of websites out there that list paid freelance writing gigs. Some pay more than others, but even the lower paying ones can be great experience for a writer who wants to get a foot in the door. One of my favorite freelance gig sites is: jobs.problogger.net.
 
Get On A Freelance Site—sites like fiverr.com and upwork.com are great places to offer writing services, depending on the kind of writing you enjoy. You can set up a profile and then offer yourself up as a writer-for-hire. 
 
Ask Around—let people know that you’re looking for paid writing gigs. You never know who has a connection or contact. When I first left my job I reached out to all the people I used to work with and asked them if they knew of anyone looking for content marketing and social media services (which is how I was using my writing back then) and I ended up with several new projects only a couple weeks later. 
 
Write A Self-Help Book—now you should only do this if you’ve accomplished something worthwhile or if you’ve got a lot of knowledge and experience in a certain topic. But in 2014 (the most recent stats I could find), self-help was a $10 billion dollar industry, a big chunk of which included books. Just imagine where it is now! And the reason?

People, more than ever, want to learn, grow and achieve things in their lives. They want to save money and learn how to do stuff themselves. They want to self-heal by using advice and experiences from people who’ve gone through what they’re going through and came out the other side. 

 
So writing a book about something you’ve been through or know a lot about is a great way to jump-start your pro-writing life and, if you do a good job, make some money. 
 
There are so many ways for you to start your pro writing career RIGHT NOW TODAY. You just have to be flexible and open to the idea of diversifying. 
 
Yes, we’d all love to do nothing more than write and publish our novels (or nonfiction books). And, yes, this can absolutely happen. 
 
But it’s not gonna to happen fast (in fact, it could take years and years and years). Whereas you can literally start freelance writing tomorrow. Money in hand, writing out in the world.
 
Pro writer, baby.
 
A lot of writers who see themselves as making a full-time living from writing only see themselves writing books. And while you can do that, you’re much better off diversifying. 
 
There are a lot of different ways to get in the pro-writer game, so don’t limit yourself. Explore all of your options and push yourself to try new things. 
 
Your full-time writer self will thank you for it.

Share With Us

Which of the 5 options will try to start getting your writing out there and making some money.

Ready to write and publish your nonfiction eBook? I have a self-paced eCourse coming out in mid-August that will help you do just that. Stay tuned! 

I’m Totally Selfish With My Time And Here’s Why You Should Be Too

Being a professional writer and authorpreneur is tough. For more reasons than one.

But one of the biggest reasons it’s tough is because in order to do it successfully, you have to be really freaking selfish with your time.

And most people won’t get this. Most people won’t understand and will think you’re a workaholic or that you only care about work.

Most people aren’t living life on purpose or with any kind of mission or intention. They’re just floating along letting stuff happen to them and then reacting to it, complaining mostly, and continuing to live in Mediocre-Life Land.

But I’m different.

I have a plan, a dream. I have goals for my writing life that are so big they scare the shit out of me 99 percent of the time.

And yet I press on.

I keep showing up and doing the work and playing the game. I live with intention, purpose. I am fueled by passion and my message. I’m insanely ambitious and unwilling to accept anything but my dream life.

And I’m really freaking selfish about my time. I spend most of my day in front of my Macbook. Pretty much every day. (Although I try to take Saturdays off and maybe even part of the day on Sunday).

jen_13Yeah, it’s because I’m a workaholic. But it’s also because it doesn’t feel like work to me. It feels like play. It feels like I get to have recess all day, every day.

What could be better than that?

And even on the toughest days I still walk away feeling fulfilled and like I made shit happen. When I go to bed I’m accomplished and super hungry for more.

How many people can really say that about their lives and mean it?

Living the writing life, the creative life, is not for everyone. I’m guessing since you’re here with me, you resonate with this. You want more for your writing life and you know that you can have it if you do the work and stay focused.

And that’s great. It’s awesome.

Now you’ve gotta prove it–to yourself more than anyone else (I don’t believe in proving things to other people). Now you’ve gotta step up and do the work.

And it starts with being selfish with your time.

That’s not to say you don’t have a family life or a social life, you can have all of those things and more. But the biggest focus needs to be on doing the work, on taking the action to make your dream happen.

When it’s not, you’ll find yourself getting cranky because there’s a desire burning inside you, but you’re not seeing results. That used to happen to me a lot, until I finally committed to being the writer and author I dream of being.

Now I show up and I do the work, every day. I lock myself in my writing room or I leave the apartment and go to Starbucks or to my husband’s band room where I have no internet access, and I get shit done.

When people call themselves writers but then tell me they’ve gone months without writing a single word it kinda blows my mind. That’d be like calling yourself a gym rat and yet you haven’t gone to the gym in years.

Not gonna cut it.

Professional writers and authorpreneurs don’t take months or years off. Hell, many don’t even take weeks or days off.

It’s not because they don’t need a break (everyone does from time-to-time), it’s because they’re so driven by the passion and the desire to put words on the page that they can’t not. Taking a day off is like torture to their souls.

The ideas start piling up and soon they feel like exploding.

Or maybe it’s just me?

I write every day, because I can’t not write. When I don’t write, when I don’t create, I feel dead, like I’m just occupying space.

So that’s why I’m selfish with my time. That’s why I go out of my way to avoid people and events as often as I can in favor of getting to spend time alone with my Macbook.

Deranged, I know.

Most people don’t get it and won’t ever get it, and I’m OK with that.

I chose the creative life, the writing life, and everything that comes with it.

And I choose it every day, over and over again. Because success is a daily practice.

Share With Us

How do you make time for your writing? 

Do you want to drop the excuses, overcome your procrastination and start seeing results in your writing life? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a membership group that will give you kick-ass motivation, keep you inspired and help you get your writing done. Doors are opening to new members soon. Learn more and get on the waitlist here.

Go From Hobby Writer to Pro By Focusing On These 5 Things

Being a hobby writer and being a pro writer are two totally different things. Although they go together as we all start out as amateurs and hobbyists before crossing over to that pro writer world.

But if you want to go from being a hobby writer to being a pro writer (aka: making money from your writing), there are several transitional steps you need to take.

I wrote a guest post for the Huffington Post sharing my top 5 tips for going from hobby writer to pro. The very first tip of which is: Work On Your Mindset

Wait, what? Did I just say “work on your mindset”?

Yep.

Because mindset is everything. Especially when you want to do something at a professional level.

The professional level requires a different mindset than the hobby level. In the hobby level, it’s OK to be half-committed or to not care if you only do your writing once a week or once a month.

The pro level requires you to go all in. To be fully committed to showing up every day and doing the work. And this all begins in your mind.

When you create a success mindset, you’ll be in a better place to take the actions needed to go pro.

You can read the rest of the article and get all 5 tips by going here.

Share With Us

What are you going to do to begin moving from hobby writer to pro? 

Featured image courtesy of Eelke

The Pro Writer Mindset: How To Get Your Mind In the Right Place

In this Periscope I share all about the Pro Writer Mindset:

  • What it is
  • Why you need it
  • The daily mindset practice I use to keep me in the Pro Writer Mindset

Share With Us

How do you get yourself in to the “pro writer mindset?”

———–

Do you want to be a more effective storyteller and cut years off your learning curve, so you can write a kick-ass novel and get it out into the world in the next 12 months? Join me for a free Clarity Call

The Professional Writer Puzzle: 7 Pieces You Need To Be Successful

I’ve been a professional writer for more than a decade, and a couple weeks ago I celebrated my three year “Quitiversary” (the day I quit my day job to take my business full-time). So lately I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting back and thinking about the steps I took to get where I am today.

Since I know you dream of being a published author and having a writing career, I thought it would be useful for you to see what it takes.

So here are the 7 things I did to become the published author and writing coach that I am today:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Can’t stress this one enough. You have to write. All the time. As much as you can. Over and over again, write.

Write. Toss it. Start again.

The more you write, the better you’ll get at writing. And practicing helps you find your voice as a writer.

2. Never Stop Learning

There’s always more to learn when it comes to writing a novel. There’s always a way you can dig deeper into a topic and discover things you didn’t know (or clarify things you’ve heard before).

As a professional writer, you have to be committed to growth. And growth comes from learning and practicing.

3. Get Support

If you want to reach your writing goals, you have to get support. Whether that’s a writing buddy, an accountability partner, a writing group or a coach, do yourself a favor and get support.

Having support is invaluable for when you have a deadline to hit, are feeling low and need a pep talk, or just want someone to celebrate with.

As writers, we spend a lot of time alone. But we can’t do it alone. The writing yes, but the rest of the journey requires you to have support.

Especially if you want to do this professionally.

4. Invest In Yourself

Speaking of getting support, you also have to be willing to invest in yourself. Not just monetarily, but also your time, energy and focus.

If your writing is important, you have to make it a priority. Period. There is no other way.

And you have to step outside of your comfort zone and be willing to invest in your writing education. Whether you buy books to read, participate in writing programs or hire a coach to help you get results faster, is up to you.

Like I said in a previous email, I’ve invested upwards of $150,000 on my writing education–that includes a journalism degree, several writing (and business) training programs, hundreds of books, and hiring a team of people to support me on my journey (a writing coach, editor, book marketer, designer).

5. Build Your Author Platform

Sure, you can write and publish a book, but unless you build an author platform you’ll never have the readership you need to do this professionally.

Building a platform means having a:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • ​Social media presence
  • Email list

Having an author platform allows you to spread the word about your books, share your stories and ideas, and connect with your readers.

I’ve gone through several shifts in my online presence (my blog used to be called Procrastinating Writers, and InkyBites, back in the day). But today I’m out in the world as me.

6. Grow Your Readership

Once you’ve got your platform built, then you have to grow your readership. This includes doing things, like guest posting, getting media coverage and offering a free opt-in on your website to get people on your email list.

Every time I guest post on a popular blog, I get tons of new readers. In fact, I launched my current email list about four months ago and it already has almost 700 people on it!

7. Improve Your Mindset

Last, but most definitely not least, you have to work on your mindset. Being a professional writer requires you to have a much different mindset than being a writer by hobby does.

When you’re a hobby writer, you can write only when you’re inspired. But when you’re a professional writer, you have to write even when you’re uninspired. Because sometimes that’s what it takes.

When you’re a hobby writer, you can allow negative thoughts to distract you from your work. But you’ll never become a professional if you can’t push past those negative thoughts, beliefs and fears that stop you from writing.

You have to cultivate the mindset of a professional. You do this by asking: “If I was a published author, making money from my writing, how would I act/think/feel?”

Make a list of how you would act, the things you would think and how you would feel. And then you have to embody everything on that list.

For example, a published author making money from her writing would be dedicated to writing daily. She would make it a priority, above a lot of other things.

A published author making money from her writing would think positive things about herself and her work. She would get support. She would hire someone to help her make her books the best they can be.

Of course many of the steps on this list come AFTER you’ve written something that’s worthy of publishing. If you haven’t done that yet, let me ask you this:

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from having a novel you can publish?

Whatever stops you, I invite you to step up and join me for a free Butt-In-Chair session. Let’s kick that shit to the curb right now and get you on track to write (or finish) your novel.

>> Claim your free Butt-In-Chair session

Image courtesy of Nana B. Agyei