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Why I Believe In Procrastinating

This may make me unpopular, but it has to be said… I believe in procrastinating. I believe in waiting ’til the last minute to do things.

I used to fight it and tell myself that I shouldn’t be that way. I tried to change it. Tried to fix myself and change my ways and do things ahead of time.

In fact, I spent years of my life trying to overcome procrastination. I even had a blog dedicated to it!

But it never really worked for me.

And if I did do things ahead of time, it just made me feel anxious and caused me to be much more of a perfectionist. When I was doing things right on deadline, I felt in flow and like the words and the magic and the ideas were just pouring out of me, like I was channeling something beyond me.

So then I asked myself… what if this is just who I am? What if this is just my process and how I do things? What if I’m trying to fight being me, instead of just owning who I am: a purposeful procrastinator.

I’m a trained journalist and spent many years working on deadline for newspapers, magazines and online publications. I’m programmed to be a badass right at the last minute.

And while I may not always be physically working on the project or whatever I need to do, I’m always working on it in my head and I’m always marinating on it in my subconscious.

If I try to force it out before its ready, it just doesn’t work. Getting things done at the last minute is when I do my most badass work.

Something I’ve really been working on lately is totally trusting in the timing of my life. And rather than thinking I should be further along than I am right now or that I need to make things happen faster or that I shouldn’t procrastinate like I do, I just accept the flow.

What usually happens for me is I have a bit of life chaos or “stuck” moments where things feel like they’re falling apart, and then immediately after I have several breakthroughs and miracles and Divine Downloads happen for me all at once. I kinda like it, even though it’s not what’s considered “normal.”

We’ve been programmed to think that things need to happen faster and now, now, now. But here’s the thing–wanting something to happen FAST or RIGHT NOW is actually a product of several things:

1. Not trusting that what you want will actually happen for you
2. Not believing enough in yourself to know in your heart of hearts you will get there
3. Having a limiting belief that it’s possible to miss your chance

If you don’t trust that you will eventually get what you want, you’ll constantly be trying to force things and make things happen faster, out of fear of never getting there.

If you don’t believe enough in yourself and in your ability to create your reality and live your dream life, you’ll constantly be pushing and grinding and working your ass off, out of fear of never getting there.

And if you actually believe that it’s possible to miss your chance, you will miss it, out of fear of never getting there.

Fear actually holds you back from getting what you want. It stops you from feeling high vibe and from having the kind of energy required to make your dreams happen.

It attracts more things for you to be afraid of.

When you fully believe in yourself and trust in the timing of your life, you don’t have to worry about never getting there and you don’t have to push, push, push ’til you burn out or decide to retire or give up. You can sit back, relax and do your thing, fully knowing that you will get there.

Because you have to get there. It’s inevitable. That’s what happens when you’re consistent and you take daily action from where you want to be.

Giving up is what stops you from getting there. Not doing the work is what stops you. Not believing in yourself or having limiting beliefs that hold you back is what stops you.

YOU are what stops you.

I don’t give myself a hard time about my procrastination anymore because I know now that’s just how I roll. I know that I need to procrastinate to do my best work and not get caught up in perfectionism (and I’m a Virgo–it’s in my nature to be a perfectionist).

And I know it’s not an excuse because I always get things done and I always do what I say I’m going to.

It might take me ’til the absolute last minute available, but it always gets done, and I trust that whatever comes out is exactly what was meant to and that it wouldn’t have come out any better if I’d done it ahead of time.

So if you’re like me and you procrastinate like a mofo but always with purpose and your work, your projects, your daily actions always get done and you always do what you say you’re going to, there’s no reason to give yourself a hard time about your procrastinating behaviors. (If, on the other hand, you procrastinate like a mofo and you never get things done, constantly miss deadlines and never do what you say you’re going to, you’re not procrastinating with purpose, you’re just straight-up sticking your head in the sand in avoidance. BIG difference.)

Procrastination used to stress me out. It used to give me anxiety and I used to worry that I wouldn’t get things done. But after years and years of living with this process and seeing it work over and over again, I no longer worry.

I trust. Fully. In myself and in the Universe. I trust in the timing of my life and in my ability to always get things done and do a damn good job in the process.

‘Cause at the end of the day, you’ve gotta do you.

Dream life or bust,

 

 

 

P.S. Doors to the Bestselling Author Mastermind are re-opening later this week!!! And I just created a brand-new workshop that I’ll be revealing soon, which BAM members get for FREE. So much awesomeness is about to unfold!! I can’t wait to welcome in the new members. Stay tuned…

From Procrastinating Writer to Author of 10+ Books (and Counting)

Most people don’t believe this about me, but I used to be the biggest procrastinating writer in the world. In fact, I was Queen Procrastinating Writer. If I could find something to put ahead of my writing, I would. I once got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed my bathroom floor with a sponge to avoid doing my writing.

Yes. Really.

I used to have long stretches of time where I wouldn’t do any writing. My longest stretch was two years.

But in 2008, I had enough. I didn’t know what the hell my problem was, but it was time for me to get serious about creating the writing career I wanted for myself. And also writing that novel I’d been talking about writing since I was 13.

Because it was torturous to go to bed every night feeling like I let myself down and didn’t do the writing that was burning inside me. I couldn’t take it anymore. 

So I decided I was going to write my first novel that year, by my birthday in September. And to help me stay accountable and get some consistency in my writing life, I’d also start a blog so I could write about my journey to writing my first novel, and motivate, inspire, educate and empower other procrastinating writers who struggled like I did.

My commitment was to write and publish one blog post a week for a year. It was the first time I’d ever been consistent with my writing. I missed a few weeks here and there, but by the end of the year, I’d written around 30-40 blog posts. Not too shabby for a writer who couldn’t stop procrastinating.

But I still wasn’t making a ton of progress on my creative writing goals. I wrote a novel, but I still hadn’t published a novel.

It wasn’t until several years later (in 2015) when I finally had enough of my BS excuses around why I couldn’t finish my novel and put it out there. I set a publication date and that was that. I got it out into the world. 

I rode that high for a few months, but I’d fallen right back into my usual patterns of procrastinating and not doing my writing. I justified it by saying that I’d published a novel already that year.

But so fucking what? If I want to be an author of hundreds of books, both fiction and nonfiction, I don’t have time to sit around twiddling my thumbs and not doing my writing. I had to do something major.

Then in 2016, everything shifted. I met a mentor who has written and published 47+ books (46 of which have been bestsellers). She inspired me to step it up BIG TIME in my writing life. That year, I wrote 9 new books and published 7 of them in different capacities (5 on Amazon, 2 as freebies on my blog).

And in 2017, I’m even more driven and focused and getting even more writing done than I ever have before. I’m currently writing anywhere from 3,000-5,000 words a day, and sometimes upwards of 7,000. All on my various writing projects (as a multi-passionate author I could never just work on one thing). 

So, how did I get here? How did I go from avoiding my writing by doing ridiculous household chores to writing thousands of words a day, unleashing new books on the regular and publishing blog posts almost daily?

Here’s how…

1. Have A Bigger Vision

When I first started my blog in 2008, I didn’t have a vision that went past that first year. I was just going to write and publish one post a week and blog about my journey to writing my first novel. But once I accomplished that, I needed to create a bigger vision for what I was doing. Otherwise I’d never stick with it.

That vision has shifted A LOT over the years and will continue to, as I learn and grow and change. But it started with one thing… teaching writers craft.

In 2009, I discovered Larry Brooks and his teachings on story structure. It changed everything for me. It upended my entire writing life and what I knew and had done up to that point. No one was teaching structure the way he was and I knew I needed to help spread this message and change writers lives the way it changed mine.

My novel, SoundCheck, and the one I’m working on right now (and all the ones that come after) wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for what I learned from Larry about craft. So sharing the message of craft was major for me. It kept me going, especially when things got tough and when I wanted to give up and quit.

And then that vision shifted again when I finally embraced the fact that I’m multi-passionate.

Instead of trying to run from it or trying to keep everything I was doing and wanted to do totally separate, I decided to create a personal brand and put everything under it. Because at the end of the day, I’m my brand, just like you are yours.

And now the vision for my company is bigger than it’s ever been. I’m no longer just on a mission to teach writers craft. I’m now on a mission to shake up the writing industry by changing the way writers think and challenging what they believe is possible.

That is the vision I’m living for right now.

But I never could’ve seen that in the beginning of my journey. I only came to this bigger vision by starting with a smaller vision and growing from there.

Journal Prompt: what’s the bigger vision for your writing life? What’s a smaller vision you can achieve right now that would be a stepping stone to that bigger vision?

2. A Why

Having a “why” is kindling that fuels the motivational fire. My why is freedom. It’s my core value in life and the biggest reason why I’m an entrepreneur.

Maintaining that freedom is a great motivator for me to show up every day and do the work. Especially considering the stakes of not showing up are so much higher now. 

You can’t really procrastinate when your living depends on you showing up.

Journal Prompt: what fuels your motivation? What’s your why?

3. A Purpose

The purpose of what I do as an author is to inspire, motivate, educate and empower multi-passionate authors to go all in on their dreams, and create a life and writing business where they never have to choose just one thing. That is the purpose that drives everything I do now in my own writing business. Every book I write, every blog post I publish, every workshop I teach. Everything.

By having a purpose for what I’m doing, it makes it all the more critical that I show up and do the work. I have people counting on me to do my writing and get it out there, so they can get what they need from it to heal, transform and create. 

Procrastination is no longer an option for me.

Journal Prompt: what’s the purpose behind your work as a writer?

4. Consistency

Creating consistency in my writing life is the only way I’ve been able to overcome my procrastination. Because the things you do consistently become a habit. And habits make it almost impossible not to do the work.

I have a habit of getting up in the morning and taking my dog for a walk. We may miss a few days a year due to weather or things like that, but overall, we walk every single morning. This is a habit that I created for us because I wanted to make sure he was getting enough exercise. We only started this habit a few years ago, but now I wouldn’t even think about not walking him because it’s just a natural part of my morning to do so.

Well, same goes with my writing. I just created a daily habit of doing my writing, first things first, before I do anything else or let the world in. And that daily consistency is what helped me to overcome the procrastination that used to run rampant in my life.

Journal Prompt: where are you not being consistent in your writing life? How can you step it up to start to create habits around doing the things that matter?

5. Master Craft

Whether you’re blogging, writing novels, self-help books, poetry or memoir, you have to master the craft of the writing you’re doing. There are principles and guidelines for each type of writing, and it’s your job as a writer and author to figure out the craft you need to master.

There’s no excuse for not knowing your craft. 

And when you know craft and you thoroughly inside and out understand the nuances of the type of writing you’re doing, procrastination becomes a thing of the past. Because when you know what you’re doing, it lessens your desire to procrastinate.

Journal Prompt: what pieces of craft do you still need clarity on? What do you need to practice more?

6. Planning and Development

Back when I used to be a major procrastinator, I not only didn’t know craft, but I didn’t know how to plan and develop my ideas into actual words on the page. So it was easier to avoid the page completely than it was to face a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

But once I started to learn craft and then created processes for planning and developing my ideas into stories and self-help books, I felt less need to procrastinate. I was actually excited to sit down and get to work on writing the draft of the story or nonfiction book.

Planning and development ahead of time gives you a roadmap for doing the writing. And that makes everything easier.

Journal Prompt: how can you incorporate planning and developing your ideas into your current writing life, in a way that feels good to you, but still allows for ease and productivity?

7. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

One of the biggest reasons most writers procrastinate is fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of the unknown… insert whatever fear you have going on. And many writers allow this fear to stop them from doing the writing or from going all the way and finishing.

But the thing about success and about becoming a successful writer is you have to be able to feel the fear and then do the writing anyhow. 

If you allow the fear to overcome you, you’ll continue procrastinating forever and never accomplish what you want. So you have to find ways to push past the fear. To allow it to be there and still do your writing anyhow.

I’m scared all the time with regard to the writing I’m doing and putting out there. But I don’t let it stop me. I just put it out there and move on to the next thing.

Journal Prompt: where do you need to be ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyways’ in your writing life?

8. Make Health A Priority

For a long time I didn’t think about or take care of my health. Back when I was procrastinating the worst I ever had, I was also feeling the worst I ever had.

I was suffering with back, neck and shoulder pain from an accident I had as a teenager, which made sitting for long periods of time painful. And I had all kinds of stomach pain and other issues from undetected food sensitivities.

So of course I procrastinated. It’s very hard to push through the “I don’t feel like it” excuse when you actually feel like shit all the time.

When I started taking control of my health, changing my food habits, eating differently, moving my body more often and getting under the care of an upper cervical chiropractor is when things shifted for me health-wise. Which, in turn, shifted my procrastination habits.

Journal Prompt: how can you make taking care of your health a nonnegotiable? What do you need to be doing that you’re not right now?

9. Reprogramming the Subconscious Mind

I’ve been reprogramming my old thoughts, beliefs and ways of being for years now. And it’s paying off big time.

By reprogramming my old thoughts and beliefs, I’ve been able to install new beliefs and thoughts that support my goals, rather than continuing to live by the thoughts and beliefs that are blocking me from achieving them.

Your subconscious mind is a powerful creative force, and it’s always running in the background, creating by default. And it will continue to give you more of the same until you finally take charge and change it. 

Journal Prompt: how can you create a daily mindset practice that will support you in creating new beliefs and thoughts that are aligned with your goals? What can you include in your practice that would feel great for you?

And that is how I’ve been able to overcome procrastination to write and publish 10+ books and more than a thousand blog posts (and counting).

I believe that writers are messengers for the world. If you identify as a writer and you know with every ounce of your being that writing is in your blood, then you’re meant to be sharing your writing with the world. It’s a huge honor to be someone who writes words that transforms others.

But it’s also a huge responsibility to get over whatever excuses and bullshit I have going on, so that I can do the writing that I need to be doing day in and day out. Because it matters whether or not I show up every day.

And I get that now. Fully getting that and taking it to heart is the thing that has truly allowed me to step into the identity of the writer and author I dream of being. And procrastination isn’t a part of that identity.

You can do the same thing. It’s a choice, and the choice is yours.

Write with a purpose, live with intention,

 

 

#DailyThinkDifferent #DreamLifeOrBust

P.S. If you’re ready to kick procrastination to the curb and finally finish what you started, the doors to my upcoming workshop, FINISH Your Damn Novel: 30 days of kick-ass motivation, inspiration and getting-writing-done for writers who have started a first draft or the revision of a novel and want to FINISH, are opening tomorrow. Get on my email list here so you’re the first to get in.

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.