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The Side of Success You’re Most Likely Ignoring

I spend a lot of time with creative people—both online and in person—and one of the commonalities I find is this: struggle.
 
Creative people, for the most part, have a belief that being successful as an artist and creator is a struggle. That it has to be hard.
 
And that’s why, for so many creatives, it is. It’s a struggle and it’s hard.
 
No one is paying attention. No one is interested. No one is buying.
 
Those are the complaints I hear creative people speaking on a regular basis. But here’s the problem… and it’s two-fold.
 
First, so what? You either want it or you don’t. You’re either in it for the long-haul or you’re not. If you’re not, or if you have a backup plan, you might as well call it quits now. And if you are, then shut up and do the work.
 
Being creative is awesome and it’s the thing that drives us, but it’s not enough. You can’t just be creative. You also have to learn the business side of being a creative.
 
At least if you intend on making a living out of it.
 
If you don’t want to make a living out of it, that’s fine too. No one says you have to be a professional creative. But you wouldn’t be reading this post right now if you just wanted a side project.
 
You’re reading it because you want to make a living from your creative gifts. Because you need to. There’s this nagging pull inside you that says this is the only thing you can ever really do with your life.
 
Sure, you may try to do other things to keep yourself a float, but you always come back to the creative stuff. That’s the stuff that drives you. It’s the stuff that makes you get out of bed in the morning.
 
And making it your full-time thing is a dream you’ve had, pretty much forever.
 
So you grind and you struggle and you do the work. Sometimes. Other times you get caught up in your current reality that says it’s not working. Nothing is happening. You just keep getting rejected or hitting dead-ends.
 
And so you don’t bother to do the work. You stop being consistent and you stop caring. No one else does, so why the hell should you?
 
But then you look around you and see all these other creative people making it happen. Many of them you’d consider to be a lot less talented than you are. And it drives you insane!! Because you just keep thinking… that should be me.
 
I should be the one with the deal. I’m the one who should be featured in front of the masses. I’m the one who should be quitting my job to go full-time with my creative life.
 
Yet it’s happening for others, but not for me.
 
Then you start to tell yourself the same ‘old stories… they must be lucky. They must have rich parents who paid their way. Life is working against me. Maybe I’m just kidding myself. I must be doing something wrong. I must not deserve it. I must not have worked hard enough yet or struggled for long enough yet.
 
And it goes on like this for years.
 
When you start to build up some consistency and are starting to see little hints of success, you suddenly sabotage it by continuing to look around and declare that it’s not working and then you stop being consistent and doing the work… because no one is paying attention, no one is buying anything, and it’s not working anyhow.
 
It’s tough, this being a creative, thing.
 
But what if there was a better way? What if there was a way to guarantee your success?
 
This brings me to the second part of the two-fold problem with creatives: there’s a side of creating success that you don’t know about (or maybe you do know about it, but you’re not paying it any attention).
 
The metaphysical side.
 
And not knowing about—or paying attention to—this side of creating success is the reason why you’re not seeing the results you want yet or why things feel like such a fucking struggle.

The metaphysical side is the stuff you can’t always see, but that are in play 24/7/365: your mindset. Your beliefs. Your habits. Your consistency. Your commitment to doing the things that matter, every single day, no excuses (even when you don’t feel like it and even when you think it’s not working). Your willingness to do battle with creative Resistance and doubt and fear and self-sabotage, and finding a way to push through and keep going anyhow.

The truth is, THIS is the stuff that matters the MOST when it comes to creating success. Yes, you have to do the physical actions part. Without that nothing works.
 
And yeah, you could choose to do the creative thing only paying attention to the physical reality that you see around you to give you direction and tell you what to do next.
 
But you’d be choosing struggle. You’d be choosing difficulty. You’d be choosing lack and limitation.
 
And there will always be a better way. A better way that is totally in your control and that you can design and create EXACTLY how you want it to be.
 
You’ll still work your ass off. There’s no way around that.
 
But it won’t feel hard. And it won’t be a struggle. Everything will just happen with ease and flow, like it’s naturally supposed to.
 
The truth is creative humans fuck it up for themselves, because we get in our own way so damn much. And then we’re too damn stubborn to throw in the towel on struggle and choose the easier path, because we’ve been programmed to believe that the creative path is struggle.
 
So even though the easy path looks so good and sounds so good, we can’t bring ourselves to choose it, because we’ve convinced ourselves doing that would mean we didn’t really earn it.
 
Creatives are a stubborn bunch.
 
I used to think and feel the exact same way. Used to procrastinate and tell myself that’s just how it is. Used to be inconsistent with my writing and my marketing and I’d just blame it on my job at the time or make excuses about life getting in the way.
 
And I even accepted all of the bullshit stories and told myself that it was OK.
 
Until I finally woke up one day and decided, you know what, I don’t want to struggle anymore. I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. I don’t want to have the same shitty, mediocre existence that so many other creatives have because they’re continuing to tell themselves bullshit stories about “what’s true for them” and refusing to choose the easy path.
 
I committed myself to the easy path. To a life where I get to be me and write and create what i want to, all day, every day, AND get paid for it.
 
Committing to the easy path and choosing to give up struggle didn’t come with a silver platter. It came with a massive responsibility.
 
To show up every day. Even when I don’t feel like it. To work on my mindset. DAILY. To create daily habits that support my success. To be consistent. To put first things first. To be disciplined enough to do what matters, every single day, even if that means sacrificing other things. And to no longer accept excuses from myself.
 
It’s a lot of work to be successful. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
 
So you can continue to tell yourself that it’s a struggle and that you just have to keep on manipulating things in your physical reality to try and make something work (UGH!! It’s SO HARD!!!)
 
Or you can choose to tend to the metaphysical side of creating success, and deal with your inner bullshit—the patterns and the BS stories you’re still telling yourself about who you are or how the world works—and figure out what actually matters and actually moves the needle in your creative work and commit to doing that stuff first things first, every single day, before you do anything else.

Commitment, consistency, doing what matters, putting first things first, creating habits around the most important stuff, and daily mindset work… that’s what it takes to be a successful creative on the easy path.

Are you in?

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What do you need to be putting first things first every day? Share in the comments. 
 
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Want to start tending to your metaphysical side of success? Grab a copy of my FREE eBook–The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: How To Think Your Way to #1 and start moving in the direction you really want to be going.

What Would You Need To Believe To See The Reality You Want To See?

That’s a question I ask myself A LOT. What would I need to believe to create the reality I want to see?

Because your thoughts and beliefs create your reality. 

So if you want to achieve something or have something show up in your life, you need to be directing your thoughts and beliefs toward that goal or that thing. And the more you do that, the more your brain will accept it as real until one day it actually will become real.

You’ll be able to see it, hear it, touch it, maybe even taste it and smell it (depending on what it is). It will have manifested in your life.

The more you give your time to directing your thoughts and beliefs, and focusing on the things you want to create, the easier and faster you’ll see these things show up. 

This whole ‘thoughts become things’ may seem crazy when you first hear it. It’s contradictory to everything you’ve been told about life and how the world works.

But even as contradictory as it sounds… there’s this weird feeling in you that, it may actually be true. Because when you hear it, your ears and your brain perks up. It resonates with you.

Or it might scare the fuck out of you.

Because the idea that you’re in control of what shows up in reality and that your beliefs and thoughts create the reality that you see around you… that puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

You have to actually take control of yourself and your life. 

The whole ‘thoughts become things’ scares me at times, too. But I’ve practiced it enough now to know that it actually DOES work. And it’s INSANE at times when stuff shows up in your life after you’ve thought about it.

And the Universe is always giving you little signs and signals to tell you that what you’ve been thinking about and focusing on is showing up. I see signs of my dream life ALL the time.

Lately I’ve been writing in my journal that my novels get turned into movies. This is my ultimate dream for my fiction—to turn my novels and my stories into movies on the big screen, with big-name actors and actresses. And of course, I get to help with the screenplay and have a cameo in the movies 🙂

Now no one would know that I’ve been writing about this in my journal unless I told them, right? (I haven’t told anyone until right now.) And yet the other day, a girl in my free Facebook group posted the craziest message… she had a dream that she was on the movie set for my novel, SoundCheck. 

HOW CRAZY IS THAT??!!

OK, maybe that’s too woo-woo for you and you’ll brush it off as coincidence or random. It’s totally fine if you want to do that.

But here’s what I know: coincidence doesn’t exist. It’s not random when things happen that you’d usually call a coincidence. 

It’s a sign, a signal from the Universe that what you’re asking for is unfolding. All you have to do to continue seeing signs and signals, is to KEEP GOING.

So I ask myself all the time what beliefs (and thoughts) I’d need to have to see what I’m asking for show up in my life.

When I look at this novel-to-movie dream, some of the limiting beliefs that pop up for me are:

  • No one I know has ever done this
  • What makes me think my stories are good enough to be on the big screen?
  • Being a Hollywood screenwriter is a pipe dream
  • There’s too much competition for me to achieve this dream
  • Millions of other novelists have this exact same dream—to see their novels as movies on the big screen—what makes me think I’ll be one of the novelists who actually does it?

YUCK!

Thoughts and beliefs like that are NOT going to help me achieve my goal of having my novels turned into movies. 

That’s why I have to ask myself what I’d need to believe in order to create what I want to see, so I can dig out those limiting, negative beliefs and thoughts that are going to hold me back.

When I think about the beliefs I’d need to have to align with my novel-to-movie goal, I think of:

  • Nicholas Sparks, Sophie Kinsella, JoJo Moyes, Stephenie Meyer, Kathryn Stockett… just a small handful of novelists who have seen their novels turned into movies. If it can happen for them, it can happen for me.
  • I know my genre and I know my readers and I know my stories would make awesome chick flicks
  • You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to… even this
  • There’s no such thing as competition because no one else can ever be me
  • Shared dreams are powerful connectors between writers, and it motivates and inspires  them to know what’s possible for one writer is possible for another

BOOM!

Beliefs and thoughts like that are much more likely to get me to my end result of seeing my novels turned into movies. 

And that’s why I spend time each day creating and crafting my reality, exactly as I want to see it. First by writing about it in my journal as if it’s already my real life; and then visualizing it and feeling as if it’s already real; then going into my day acting like it’s already real and taking action in alignment with the belief that it’s real.

I taught a workshop locally last weekend all about my Bestselling Author Mindset Formula, and after I explained my daily mindset practice to the group, one man raised his hand and said that what I’m doing is a self-hypnosis exercise that focuses your brain.

And that’s really what writing your reality and crafting your thoughts and beliefs is. It’s reprogramming (or self-hypnotizing) your mental computer to focus on, think about and believe what YOU want it to.

Not what society has told you to think and believe. Not what you were taught to think and believe. Not what you see other people thinking and believing.

But what YOU want to think and believe.

That’s what matters. That’s the only thing that matters. Yes, action is involved too. You’re not gonna create your dream life sitting on the couch watching Netflix. You have to take daily actions that align with your goals.

But you knew that already.

What’s hard is getting yourself to take the actions and take them daily and consistently, like you know you need to be. And that’s where the beliefs come in.

Because when you believe something is already true, you’re much more likely to take action and do the work. When you believe it’s possible for you to have, do and be something, you’ll turn off the Netflix and get to it. 

But when you have beliefs and thoughts that contradict the goal you have, that’s when you’ll use Netflix (and procrastination, and binge-eating, and wasting time on Facebook) as a way of sticking your head in the sand and avoiding the work.

Which is why you’ve gotta get your mind to your goal before your life will get there. Beliefs create thoughts which create actions which create results. 

Want to hear the best part?

You can get wherever you want to go in your writing life, by starting right where you are right now. And by consciously deciding that you will direct your thoughts and beliefs toward the outcomes and results you want to see in your life.

I really challenge you to take this one on. To spend 5-10 minutes a day consciously directing your thoughts and beliefs to where you want to go. Do it first thing in the morning if you’re able to. (Here’s a book and journal that can help you do this.)

Direct your thoughts and beliefs every day for the next 90 days. Report back.

Expect miracles. 

 

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What old belief(s) are you going to let go of? Create a new belief(s) and share it in the comments. 

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Want to reprogram your beliefs and thoughts so you can align them with the writing goals you have? Grab a free copy of my eBook–The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula: How To Think Your Way to #1 here

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:

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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.

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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! 

Have You Actually Decided This?

Sounds like a pretty obvious question–have you decided that you’re going to be a successful self-published author? But the problem is, most self-published authors or emerging self-published authors haven’t actually answered this question.

Because they never decided.

Sure, they decided to write a book and to self-publish it. But did they decide that they would be successful?

Nope.

Because that’s just not the way we’re programmed to think. And really, why would we need to decide something like that? Isn’t the act of doing the work and becoming a self-published author enough?

Nope.

It’s not enough, not nearly. Because without the decision that you, yes Y-O-U, are going to be a successful self-published author… you won’t be.

You’ll flail around, you’ll get discouraged and you’ll operate on default mode, reacting to things that happen, rather than creating what you want to see happen. Until you either quit or just sorta stop making an effort.

But when you set your mind to it, when you decide it, when you make it non-negotiable and when you’re UNWILLING to accept ANYTHING ELSE… that’s when you will create the success you dream of.

And not a minute before.

It all comes down to the decision. The decision is the thing that cements it in your mind, making it a must-happen.

Because whatever you set your mind to, you will achieve. That’s how it works.

Back in April, I DECIDED that it was time. I was DONE fucking around, I was DONE with my excuses and my bullshit reasons (even the valid ones) for why I didn’t have the writing career I dreamed of.

I DECIDED that I was going to be successful. I was gonna be a successful self-published author and prove wrong the stigma and all the other BS things people believe about self-publishing. I was gonna be a bestselling author, multiple times over. I’m gonna make millions and impact millions with my books.

Two weeks after I decided this… my new eBook hit #1 in multiple categories on multiple days on Amazon. I became a bestselling author. And it didn’t stop there.

The next month I sold 1,007 books in only 30 days. And the month after, I had a day where I sold 529 books, and finished that week with a total of 885 books sold.

Why? Because I decided it. And I refuse to accept anything else but the success I want to see.

DECIDE that you WILL BE a successful self-published author. Decide and it is a DONE DEAL.

First, decide in your mind, and then, second, take the actions to make it happen.

Just don’t take the actions before deciding, otherwise you’re wasting your time. Action is pointless if you’re not all-in. And if you’re not all-in, you may as well be all-out.

Because no matter what you do, if you’re not doing it 100 percent, all the way, you’re doing a half-assed job. And the world doesn’t need another self-published book (even a good one) by another self-published author who has no intention to support the book with the marketing it deserves.

If you want this, if you really, really want this…then you’ve gotta go all-in. That means setting your mind to it and doing the work to make it happen.

And it starts with deciding.

When you DECIDE to be a successful self-published author (and then take action from that place), THAT’S when you WILL BE. Period.

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Have you decided? Declare it in the comments. 

Now that you’ve decided, are you ready to step up and take your writing life to a whole new level? Then check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability, motivation, marketing strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs who want to create their dream writing lives all on their terms. 

The 5-Part Authorpreneur Action Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the specifics of what I’ve done to get where I am today, not just with my writing career, but with the following I’ve built and continue to build. And when I looked at it, there were five things that stood out to me:

  1. Mindset
  2. Connecting (aka: building relationships)
  3. Creating Content
  4. Consistency 
  5. Visibility 

Those five things, when done simultaneously, will help you to create the success that you dream of having in your writing life.

To go a step further, I even made a little diagram to show you how these things are interlinked:

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.53.32 PM

Mindset is at the very top as the umbrella over everything else, because mindset is the thing that makes everything else work 10 times better.

Under that we have the three Cs of being successful online: Connecting, Creating Content and Being Consistent. 

And all of this creates Visibility–which is when you’re out there, being seen and people know who you are.

Pretty simple, right?

It really is. The difficult part is doing the work and keeping it up. That’s the part where most writers totally fall off (or don’t even start).

Because it takes effort to live this action plan. Not to just do it here and there when you have the time, but to actually build your writing life (and writing business) around doing all five of these things every single day. 

That’s what I do.

I built my writing life around these five things–I do mindset work 2-3 times a day, minimum. I connect on a regular basis with my community and with people in my industry. I blog five days a week, I write emails to my community, I create Facebook posts, I run a free Facebook group where I create videos five days a week and post valuable content, I post inspirational quotes and fun pics on my Instagram, I create and upload my videos to YouTube. I show up in some form online every single day, period. And from all of this, I’ve created visibility, where people are starting to know who I am and opportunities are starting to come to me because of it.

This action plan will help you create the writing life you dream of, where you’ve got raving fans ready to buy your books and whatever else you create. 

But while understanding this action plan seems easy, it’s in the implementation where you really see the results (or not) based on what you choose to do and how you choose to do it.

You have to commit to showing up, every day, in some form, and putting something out there. You have to commit to doing the work, to not giving up when it looks like it’s not working, even if it looks like it’s not working for a while. You have to commit to thinking and acting like the writer and author you dream of being.

That’s what it takes to build a following.

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What’s one thing you can do today to start building your following? Share in the comments. 

If you’re ready to show up online, build your following, create raving fans and sell more books (now or when you’re ready to), be sure to check out my upcoming GROW YOUR FOLLOWING workshop. Full details here

Want to See the Success You Dream Of? You Need To Build This Up

When you’re going along on your writing journey, you will inevitably come across other authors. A lot of them will be more successful than you are (right now).

You may see other authors selling thousands of books every month, while your book collects dust in the dark corners of Amazon. You may find authors who seem to have success fall into their laps.

And it can be disheartening. To see others growing in fame and success, and you’re just stagnant and feeling totally invisible.

But here’s the thing, you never know where someone started. Sure, you’re seeing the success they have now, but what about when they first began their writing journeys?

Everybody starts somewhere. 

And you have to remember that. You have to remind yourself of that. Because if you don’t, it will get to you. It will make you feel like you’re a total loser and like you might as well hang it up.

Everybody starts somewhere.

You’re starting somewhere, and so did all of the authors you’re watching have the level of success you dream of having. No one starts at the top.

Now, of course, there are things you can do to move from the bottom to the top pretty quickly. But you can’t start there. And really, why would you want to?

If you started at the top, you wouldn’t enjoy or appreciate it as much, because you didn’t have to do anything to get there. Starting from square one, being a beginner, failing and getting up and trying again. Those are the things that make getting to the top totally worth it.

But there’s no such thing as a true overnight success. The seemingly overnight success stories you see out there are either 1) total BS, 2) or the overnight results of someone who’s been at it for a while and has momentum built.

What You Need to Play in the Big Leagues

The biggest thing you need to be super successful in the writing world at a professional level is momentum. Momentum is really everything.

So when you publish book number one and only sell a few copies, do not, do not, do not let it get you down. Everybody starts somewhere.

The first year I put my eBooks on Amazon (in late 2012), I made like $150. It wasn’t until I published books 6 and 7 where I really started to see traction. Now I’m selling 1,000+ books and making around $500+ every month.

From the outside, it may look like my writing career just took off out of nowhere. But the truth is, I’ve been writing professionally since I was 18 years old. I’ve worked for a newspaper, several magazines and several online publications. I have a background in online marketing. I’ve got a journalism degree. And I’ve been blogging since 2008, and writing and publishing books since 2010.

I have momentum built.

So when I published my eBook, Align Your Writing Habits to Success–a book I wrote in 15-minute increments over a 30-day period–and it hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories on multiple days, things just took off from there.

But it had nothing to do with that specific book or me being better than anyone else. It’s just the momentum.

When you’ve got momentum built up, things eventually have to take off. That’s what momentum does. It builds up force so that when you get to a place where you’re fully aligned with the writing you’re doing, it’s like you’ve turned a corner on a rollercoaster. Suddenly everything is just flowing and building up speed–seemingly on its own.

I’m less than 50 sales away from having sold 1,000 books in the month of June. And I know I’ll make that many sales today, maybe even more. Because at this point, my books are selling themselves. Without doing any additional marketing, I’m selling an average of 30-40 books a day, every single day.

Momentum.

I know what I’m doing now. I’ve got enough failures under my belt to know what not to do, and to know how to pivot in another direction when something isn’t quite working how I want it to. But only experience and practice and time can teach you this.

So next time you see an author out there, having the success that you dream of having, don’t let it get you down. Use it as fuel to build yourself back up. Because you know that you have everything it takes to create the success you want.

You just have to take enough consistent action in the direction of your writing dream so you can build up the momentum.

But no matter what, do not let the success of others make you think you’re not good enough or that you can’t make your dream happen. You totally can. Everybody starts somewhere.

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6 Ways to Create Your Writing Life On Your Terms

Life by design? Or life by reaction? That was the choice sitting in front of me (in front of all of us, really) back in 2008 when I decided to start my blog and take control of my writing life once and for all.

It’s been a bumpy ride since then, with ups and downs and all arounds. But one thing has remained constant: I’m creating my writing life exactly as I want it, all on my own terms. 

That’s what I dreamed of. I saw writers out there struggling to find freelance work and getting rejected over and over again by publishers and agents who saw no potential in their books. And I didn’t want to be like them. I didn’t want to hand my writing career over to someone else. Didn’t want someone else’s opinions clouding that inner guidance telling me which direction to go in.

I wanted to take control, to make the decisions for myself, to be in charge of whether I succeed or fall short. It’s all on me.

If I had to pick a theme song to represent me, it would be the song, Make Yourself, by Incubus. That song is all about creating yourself and your life on your terms. With lyrics like, “if I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now,” and “if you let ’em make you, they’re make you paper maché, at a distance you’re strong until the wind comes, then you crumble and blow away,” and my favorite line: “but if you really want to live, why not try and make yourself?”

I believe so deeply that we’re meant to make ourselves, that we’re meant to decide who we want to be, and that we can absolutely choose and then step up and be that person.

This applies to everything–including your writing life.

You can totally create the writing life you’ve been dreaming of and you can do it all on your terms. Yes, you.

The only limitations that exist are the ones that you place on yourself, in your mind. Remove those limitations and you will soar to heights you can’t even imagine right now.

You can choose, right now, to start taking control of your writing destiny, by:

  • Working consistently on your mindset–mindset is everything. If you can create it and believe in in your mind, it has to show up in your reality.
  • Giving up the excuses–whatever excuses you make may totally be valid, but they’re still costing you the writing life you dream of having. So give them up and commit to dealing with whatever comes and doing your writing anyhow.
  • Showing up every day–in whatever way you need to show up. Sometimes it’s actually doing the writing, other times it’s just being visible in the online world and letting people know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Stepping up and claiming what you really want–the first step to getting what you want is being very clear on what it is that you actually want and then claiming it and saying out loud to yourself and to others that you are going to make it happen.
  • Not being so rigid about how things happen–if you’re not making a lot of progress it’s probably because you’re being way too rigid about how things are supposed to happen. Writing can happen no matter how much time you have available (15 minutes is enough!). Progress can be made daily when you drop trying to be perfect. Dreams can come true when you stop worrying about how it will come true and just take whatever actions you can think of.
  • Ignoring what everyone else is doing–a big part of creating success on your terms is not worrying about, thinking about or focusing on what anyone else is doing and just doing what feels right to you. Now that’s not to say you should operate in a vacuum (big mistake to do that!). But you need to connect to your intuition and follow the path that your heart desires. All of the most successful times in my life came from following my heart and ignoring everything else.

Your dream writing life exists. Someone out there is already living it. Which means it’s possible for you to have it too.

But you’ve gotta step up, your mindset and your action-taking.

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Image courtesy of Lindsay Alachance

2 Signs You’re Moving In the Right Direction (And Should Keep Going)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “success signs.” As in, the little signs that start to show up in your reality the more consistent you are and the more progress you make.

As I’ve really thought about my “success signs,” or patterns that tend to repeat themselves every time I have a success of some kind, I’ve noticed 2 main signposts. Most people would probably freak out when they see these signs showing up in their lives (I know I used to!).

But now that I’ve been doing this whole pro writing thing long enough, I’ve discovered that similar things happen to me over and over again, the more success I achieve.

Here are the 2 things that I find to be signposts for success, or at the very least, signposts for, “Yes, you ARE moving in the right direction. Keep going.” Those signs are:

1. Haters

Whenever I’ve reached a place in my writing business where I’m being bombarded by haters or by people who don’t like what I’m doing/who I am and want to give their two cents about it (which, to be honest, isn’t even worth 1 cent, but I digress…), I know I’m doing something right.

I used to take haters as a bad sign. I used to think if someone didn’t like what I was doing or how I was doing it, that I was in the wrong and should change in some way.

But after the last few years of working my ass off to up-level, I’ve realized that whenever haters show up in my world, it’s because I’m on the cusp on something awesome. For me, haters come out of the woodwork when I’m about to push through an old way of being/thinking and achieve a whole new level of success.

Now, rather than see haters as a bad thing or as a sign to retreat, I see it as a sign to PUSH HARDER. To KEEP GOING. To STICK WITH the path I’m on. 

So that’s what I do now. I push through. I keep doing what I’m doing. I commit, in that moment, to NOT letting it get to me, to NOT giving in and to NOT being deterred.

Because that’s what the haters want. They want to stop you, to drag you down with their bullshit. But the thing you need to always, always, always remember about haters is this: it’s NEVER about you. It’s ALWAYS about them.

Sure, maybe there’s something about you or something you’re saying or doing that’s pushing their buttons and causing them to feel reactive. But, again, that has nothing to do with you and everything do with them.

When I get haters (and I get them often these days), I do the following:

  • Avoid reacting to them, as much as possible–yes, sometimes it’s impossible and a hater has said something so ridiculous and unnecessary that you have to write back, reply and tear them a new one. BUT most of the time haters are just a test from the Universe to see if you’ve really got what it takes to do this writing thing for real. So by not reacting, you’re pissing the hater off more AND showing the Universe you’re ready to go pro.
  • Write my reality–even when I know the things a hater is saying are totally wrong and not at all valid, that shit still gets into your head. It still nags at you and irritates you and annoys you to no end. BUT most writers would let that spin into complaining and the total ruination of their day (it’s happened to me before). Talk about an energy drain. So what I do now, is take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, let it out slowly and then I grab my journal and write out the reality I want to create. I write out who I am, what I stand for and what I want to see happen. Mindset work–especially in the face of a hater–is the most powerful tool for overcoming whatever negativity is being spewed at you.
  • Dance–sometimes to “Shake It Off” and sometimes to whatever song feels right in the moment (this morning that song was “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow). Dancing always gets me out of my head and into a flow state.

Haters are gonna happen. How you deal with them is what really matters. 

2. Feeling Really, Really, Really Good

For me, feeling really good is now the norm. It’s how I choose to live my life. It’s the intention I set for my day, every day.

Problem is, as humans, we’re taught BS things like, “what goes up must come down” and “don’t be too happy or you’ll be crying later.” We “knock on wood” when something good happens because we’re afraid that if we don’t, something bad will follow.

We’re taught by the people we love most that feeling good and having good stuff happen is a fluke, but not the norm. And so we actually believe that shit. We actually take it in and believe it.

I can’t even count how many times in my life I’ve had good stuff happen and then immediately my thoughts went to, “Be careful, something bad is always on the tail of something good.” What???!!

Say it with me now… THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!

You are allowed to feel good. All the time. Good things are supposed to happen to you. You were born into an abundant universe where anything is possible when you set your mind to it. 

So feeling good SHOULD BE the NORM. It should not be a fluke and you should not feel like you “got lucky.”

Happiness, joy, feeling fucking amazing is YOUR BIRTH RIGHT.

But it’s up to YOU to claim it. To decide that you’re going to feel good every single day, no matter what.

For me, when I’ve had too many days in a row where things are working out or I’m feeling really, really, good and really really happy and really, really loving my life, I usually sabotage it. Find a way to do something that will push me back down in the dumps or make me feel bad again.

That’s just how it is…right?

WRONG!

When I realized that wasn’t “just how it is” but instead was “just a choice I was making,” I decided to make the opposite choice. Now when I have days where I feel awesome and weeks where everything is flowing and success is literally just falling in my lap, I do the following:

  • Repeat life truths over and over to myself–“I am allowed to feel good. I am allowed to keep this good feeling going. Bad stuff cannot touch me when I am feeling this good. THIS is how it’s supposed to be. This is what I’m meant to feel. And, most importantly, it is OK for me to feel good and to be happy every day.” Doing this immediately changes my way of thinking and shifts me to a higher vibration where I am actually able to keep the good feeling flowing.
  • Focus, focus, focus on what’s going well–when things go well, a lot of times we sabotage it by turning to the negative and telling ourselves all the things that could go wrong or worrying about what might go wrong. This is when you must have an unbreakable mindset and force yourself to IGNORE all the bad stuff that could happen and all of the worry and just stay focused on the good stuff and on what you want to create and on what could go right. What you focus on expands.

When I’m feeling really good, I know it’s because I’m on the right path and that I have arrived at a new level. And I know the success I’m starting to see will keep going and will expand even further if I just stick with it and don’t get deterred by haters or by feeling good or anything else.

 

Now sometimes you may feel like you’re on the wrong path because “nothing is working out” or “it’s not working out fast enough.” And I get it, believe me. I am the Queen of Impatience. (I wanted to get to where I am right now like 5 years ago, so by this point I could be where I actually will be 5 years from now.)

But success requires patience. (As one of my favorite musicians, Tom Petty, says, “The waiting is the hardest part.“)

So even when things aren’t totally working out, if you’re seeing some signs of success, then you’re doing something right. Just keep going.

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The #1 Mistake Emerging Authors Make

Let’s be honest, emerging authors make A LOT of mistakes. Especially the first time around (and especially when they go at it alone). But out of all the mistakes I see them make, there’s one that stands out as being the most deadly.

And that’s thinking writing and life are two separate things.

Writing and life can’t be treated as two separate things, not if you plan on making a career of being an author. Because they aren’t two separate things.

That’s like trying to separate yourself from being a writer. Can you do that? Of course not! Because being a writer is who you are, at your core.

But I still see so many emerging authors trying to fit writing into their lives or trying to find time for their writing, when what they really need to be doing is creating a lifestyle around being a writer. 

It’s BS to think you can keep your writing separate from your life and be successful with it. You don’t FIND time for your writing, you MAKE time for it.

BIG difference.

And you make that time by setting up your lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs and habits so that they support you doing your writing and support you being the writer and author you want to be. That’s what it really takes.

So it’s a mistake to separate the two or to treat writing like it’s just something you do. If writing if just something you do, if it’s just another hobby, that’s fine. But you’ll never be a successful pro writer.

For a pro writer, writing is a lifestyle. It’s not just something they do, it’s who they are. They can’t separate it because to do so would mean to lose a part of themselves, like losing an arm or leg.

When I think back to the very few times in my life where I set writing on a shelf and didn’t touch it, those were some of the darkest and most painful times I’ve ever had. Because I was blatantly suppressing an innate part of myself. Like if you purposely covered one of your eyes all day every day, even though there’s nothing wrong with the eye and it’s perfectly functioning.

That’s the reason I’ve always, at the very least, kept a journal of some kind. Because if I couldn’t write something, I’d die.

Being a writer is who I am.

And it’s who you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. So it’s time to stop treating it like it’s a hobby or an interest or just something that you do. 

It’s time to start treating your writing like it’s your life, like it’s a priority, like it’s that thing you were born for. (Unless you don’t feel that way. But if you don’t, this probably isn’t the community for you.)

I know I was born to be a writer and to transform people’s lives with my words. Out of all the things that ring true for me, this is the truest. 

If this also rings true for you, then I urge you to step up your game and start thinking and acting like the author you dream of being. It’s the only way.

Because writing isn’t something you do, it’s something you are.

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Image courtesy of Nick Webb