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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.

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

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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

If You’re Saying “Try” You’ve Already Missed the Point

A few minutes ago I was thinking about my August goal to sell 10,000 books. And something I kept hearing was the word “try.”

In my head I was hearing myself say, I’m trying to sell 10,000 books this month. I even said that to a few people the other day, that I’m trying to sell 10,000 books this month.

And tonight as I heard the word “try” bouncing around in my head, I realized something: by saying “try” I’ve already failed.

Because there is no try. There’s either make it happen or make it happen. That is the only option.

There’s ZERO point in trying to do anything.

Sure, try something new now and then, but don’t ever try when it comes to your dreams and your purpose as a writer.

If you’re trying to make your writing dreams happen, you’ve already failed. You’ve already doomed yourself to staying stuck, continuing to buy into the BS and giving yourself a Plan B just in case.

If you have a Plan B for your writing life you may as well just go after Plan B right now, because you’ll never have Plan A. Not with that kind of thinking.

You can’t have a backup plan for your dreams.

You either want something and are willing to do what it takes, for as long as it takes, until it takes and then keep going. Or you’re not.

Having a backup plan shows a lack of belief. It says to the Universe that you don’t believe you can have Plan A or you don’t believe that you’ll get Plan A, so you need a fall-back plan.

And when you send that kind of message out to the Universe, what do you think you’ll get back?

Definitely not Plan A. Maybe not even Plan B.

The Universe will send back to you what you’re putting out there. So you can’t try to make something happen. You have to just decide you’re making it happen and that you’re unwilling to accept anything else.

This all begins in your mind.

When you do enough mindset work, you will very easily be able to give yourself new beliefs and accept things as true that you wouldn’t have been able to before.

For years I dreamed of being a best seller on Amazon, but I never allowed myself to really want it or to even say it out loud, because I had no idea how I’d make it happen. So I didn’t even bother to try.

Until this year when I decided that it was finally time. I was finally sick of my bullshit being bigger than my dreams. I set my mind to it: I would be an Amazon best selling author in 2016.

And amazingly, after doing this, it happened only a few short weeks later.

I literally called my best seller status into my reality by finally allowing myself to not only want it, but to actually go after it. Not by “trying” but by believing that it was already a done deal…because I decided that it was.

If you’re reading this right now and you’re resonating with it and realizing that you’ve been “trying” all these years to make your writing dreams happen, now is the time for you to STOP TRYING.

Now is the time for you to DECIDE.

Do you want what you say you want? Do you really, really want it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes, until it takes and then keep going?

Then decide. Decide right now that you WILL have it. There’s no Plan B, no just in case, no more trying.

Decide right now that your dream writing life is yours. And then burn all of your bridges.

It’s ALL IN or get the fuck out.

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Are you DONE trying? Share your decision statement in the comments. 

If you’re ready to go ALL IN on your writing life, send me an email and let’s chat about my new 1-1 coaching program: Build Your Writing Empire. I’ll help you map out the plan for your dream writing business all on your terms and the exact steps you’ll need to make it happen. And then you’ll immediately start taking action on it with me guiding and supporting you along the way. 

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! 

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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How are you stepping up your game right now to be more like the writer and author you want to be? 

Ready to take your writing life to the next level? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation, high-level accountability and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. 

Image courtesy of Nick Webb

What’s Your Author Message?

Last night I watched a stand-up comedy special on Netflix from comedian Mo’Nique. She’s hilarious, no doubt about that, and I loved her in the movie Beerfest (which I’ve watched 15 times in the last two weeks because I was deconstructing it for my story community, Students of Story).

But what stood out most to me wasn’t her rolling-on-the-floor, tears-in-your-eyes jokes (although those were awesome too). It was her message.

This particular comedy special was called, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate, and was filmed at a women’s correctional facility in Ohio. Mo’Nique took the stage to make those women laugh and laugh and forget their problems, even if just for an hour.

And throughout the program she shared a core message: love and acceptance—of yourself and each other.

I talk a lot about being who you are and being unapologetic about it. Mo’Nique is a woman who is unapologetic about who she is—and not everyone likes it—yet her message shines through.

And that’s because the most effective and powerful way for her to deliver that message—to spread the message of love to the women of the correctional facility and all the people who watch her comedy special—is to be one-hundred percent herself.

If she got up on stage in a dress suit and started preaching a PC-version of loving each other and accepting who you are, everyone watching would’ve tuned her out. Her message, while extremely valid and valuable, would have been totally ignored.

But going out there as herself—proud-to-be-loud, dressed in a custom-made orange prison uniform with her own prisoner number, and then preaching the message of love and acceptance while telling jokes laced with f-bombs and sexual innuendos—that’s why her message shined through. That’s why she got claps and cheers and standing ovations from the crowd.

Because her message was so much more powerful delivered by Mo’Nique being exactly who she is. Her message resonated so much more because it came draped in laughter.

Creating Your Author Message

I’ve been thinking a lot about messaging as I’ve begun my transition from being a “story development coach” to doing alignment, kick-ass motivation and success mindset for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. And the funny thing is, even though I’m changing what I’m doing, my core message is still the same: take control of your writing destiny.

I’m all about freedom and taking control (of the things you can control, of course). I’m about knowing where you want to go with your writing life and then stepping up to do the work to get there.

That’s what it means to take control of your writing destiny. It means knowing what you want, writing it into reality, taking the physical actions to move in the direction of it, and then acting as-if it’s already a done deal.

That’s my message. A powerful one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops of the writing world. And that’s what I intend to do.

It’s what I’ve been doing. Only the previous version was not nearly as powerful as the version I’m shifting into. Because the previous version—while just as important and necessary—had me teaching craft to writers. And while writers totally need that—there are other people out there doing it. Lots of other people out there who teach the craft of writing novels.

So my message was getting muddied in all of that. Bogged down in trying to teach people craft while simultaneously helping them take control of their writing destinies (craft is a big part of taking control of your writing destiny).

Except I’m not really a teacher. I’m a leader. And there’s a big difference.

A teacher teaches you how to do something. But a leader shows you by example.

My message of freedom and taking control of your writing destiny is SO MUCH MORE powerful coming from me as the authorpreneur who walks my talk and lives the writing life on a daily basis than it is coming from a story development coach who helps people plan their stories.

And while I was still doing the authorpreneur thing while I’ve been doing the story coaching thing, I wasn’t really sharing it with anyone. I wasn’t talking about it very much—the details of what it’s really like to own a writing business and be an authorpreneur in the digital age.

So my message got watered-down.

But now my message is shining through from me showing up in the world, acting like the writer and author I want to be, and being one-hundred percent, unapologetically myself.

If you want to stand out and make an impact as an author—regardless of what kind of author you are; blogger, nonfiction, fiction—you need to have a core message. And then you need to let that core message shine through by showing up in the world as who you are (and who you want to be).

So, what’s your message?

What’s that thing you want to share with your readers, followers and fans? What do you want to be remembered for? What does the world need to hear?

You need an author message, no matter what kind of writing you do. People who follow you and read your stuff will resonate so much more with you if you do.

Because you’ll be resonating with them at a core level, not just a story level. They won’t just be connected to the stories you write, they’ll be connected to you as an author.

And that’s what you need if you want to make a career of this.

Any yahoo can sell a bunch of books one time, but it takes a true authorpreneur to stay in it for the long-haul.

To help you get started, I created a worksheet where you can brainstorm and create your author message. This message will then inform all of the choices you make for your author platform and all of the content you put out there.

>> Download the author message worksheet

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What’s your author message? What do you stand for?

If you want to craft your message and create your author platform, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation and success mindset group for emerging authors and authorpreneurs. We do monthly group workshops that include building your author platform, crafting your message, growing your readership and more.

 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

What You Have to Do If You Want to Make An Impact

Something very few pro authors in the online world talk about is all the “icky” stuff that goes on behind the scenes: the haters, the unsubscribes, the fear, the doubt, the self-sabotage. But I always make it a point to talk about that stuff.

Why?

Because if you want to do this pro author thing, like, for real, you’ve gotta know what you’re up against. Being an author in the digital space isn’t the same thing as being an author in the offline world.

In the offline world, the only way to get hate-mail is to have someone say it to your face or to send you a letter via your P.O. Box. But in the online world, hate-mail, complaints, people who want to criticize and point fingers and tell you that you’re wrong…that can show up in your email inbox on a daily basis (and believe me, as you grow into the author you dream of being and find more and more success, that’s exactly what’s going to happen).

If you want to be a pro author, you have to be OK with this. You have to be OK with the haters, the criticism, seeing unsubscribes from your email list.

If you can’t be OK with this, you may want to quit while you’re ahead (or, rather, quit before you’ve actually built up enough success for this stuff to start happening to you).

The truth is, you can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. The online world is full of creepy, annoying, mean, stupid people who have nothing better to do with their time than criticize others, hate on how hard you’re working and try to bring you down to their level.

But you don’t have to fall for it. You can hold a space in your heart for all the people who just don’t get it and never will. For the people who are going to die with their dreams inside them, because they just don’t have what it takes to make it happen.

And you’ve gotta have some compassion for that.

I used to get really upset by this kind of stuff—hate-mail, unsubscribes from my email list. It used to hurt me a lot, because I used to believe that I had to please everyone. That I had to appeal to everyone and everyone had to like me.

Now I know better.

Now I know that trying to appeal to and please everyone is a recipe for pleasing no one. It’s a recipe for keeping people on the fence about you.

And in the online world, that’s the worst thing you can do.

Sounds scary, right? Because we’ve been told that we have to be nice and sugar-coat things so that we don’t make people feel bad or so we don’t “outshine” them with our gifts.

If you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that I have only one thing to say to all of that nonsense: I don’t fucking think so.

The real truth is, if you want to be successful online, if you want to be a successful, thriving pro author in the digital age, you have to be OK with not pleasing everyone, not sugar-coating things, not caring if people get offended or if they don’t like you.

Success is built on being who you are, showing up as you fully, 100 percent of the time and being real with your audience/readers.

That was something that took me awhile to really get, because I grew up getting bullied for being different and for not conforming to what everyone else was doing. So when I started my blog back in 2008, I wanted to appeal to everyone. I wanted to help every writer in the world.

And I made zero impact. For an entire year.

Of course, I wasn’t really out there trying to make a big impact, but I was out there trying to get people to read my blog. And while I did get some readers (I think I had 25 by the end of the year), it wasn’t until I opened up to the idea that not only could I not please everyone, but I shouldn’t try, that things started to take off.

It was hard at first. When I first started blogging, I just wanted to be PC. I wanted to help everyone and I wanted to be liked by everyone.

Never going to happen.

And if you try, you’re totally wasting your time and you’re gonna end up not helping anyone and not making any kind of impact.

It wasn’t ’til I started being myself, writing in my voice, using my words (including the swear words that some people just don’t like) and writing about what I wanted to write about, when things got really good for me.

Yes, to this day (in fact, just yesterday morning) I still get haters and people who want to tell me I’m wrong and that they don’t like what I’m doing. I now choose to see that kind of stuff as a good thing.

If I was being plain-vanilla-boring, no one would care.

And as the great Jon Morrow says, if you’re not getting hate-mail on a regular basis, you’re doing something wrong.

If you want people to care about what you’re doing, to resonate with you and to stick around and eventually buy stuff from you (aka: your books!), you can’t worry about that stuff. You have to just go out there every day and be you to the fullest degree that you can.

Yes, some people will hate it. Some people will not want to follow you or will unsubscribe from your email list. And, yes, some people will make it a point to first tell you that they don’t like you or that they’re unsubscribing, because they can’t just go quietly. They have to make sure you know why they’re leaving.

And the reason is because when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

But by being you, unapologetically, you will call in your real tribe. The people who are meant to follow your stuff and meant to be on your email list. The ones who resonate so deeply with your words and what you’re creating in the world.

The ones who want to be a part of what you’re doing.

I like to write things that push buttons and piss people off. Because this helps me tighten my tribe. It helps me get rid of the people who don’t resonate with my message and who never will.

And it helps me get closer to the people who actually care, who actually want to hear from me, who actually see the value in what I do.

If you’re still here, you’re a part of my tribe. You’re an emerging novelist with big dreams who refuses to settle and who wants to make all your writing dreams come true.

Awesome. You’re meant to be here and I’m grateful that you are.

Big things are coming. For all of us.

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How do you deal with criticism that’s not constructive?

Featured image courtesy of julochka

You Can Have Any Writing Life You Dream Of, But…

Every writer I come across has big dreams. Not all of them will admit to it. Some will tell you they just want to write and publish a book for themselves, so they can say that they did it and if they never sell a single copy, that’s OK.

But you can see a fire behind their eyes when they talk about it. You can tell there’s a whole lot buried in there that wants to come out and see the light of day.

Except you’ll never see it, because some writers just aren’t willing to step up and claim what they want.

But you’re not one of those writers. I know this, because if you were, you wouldn’t be here right now reading this.

No, you’re a writer who has big dreams. Who wants to be a New York Times bestseller and see your novels turned into movies on the big-screen with big-time Hollywood actors playing your Protagonist, Antagonist and love interest. And you’ll get to help with the script and have a cameo in the movie, as well as walk the red carpet at all of the movie premieres all around the world.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Either way, here’s one thing I know: you can have ANY writing life you want. ANY.

If you want the kind of writing life where writing is a hobby and you keep your day job, you can have that. If you want to write full time, you can do that. If you want a writing life as massive as someone, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you can have that too. (Yes, REALLY).

It just comes down to a few things:

  1. Are you willing to believe it? Belief is the number one thing needed to make a dream come true. If you don’t believe or can’t believe in the writing dream you want for yourself, it will never happen.
  2. Are you willing to show up every day and do the work? If you’re not, you’ll never have the writing life you dream of, and I can tell you that with one-hundred percent certainty. Dream all you want, but when it’s all said and done, the successful writers are putting in the work, day in and day out.
  3. Are you willing to write your own rules and create your own reality? An important question, because if you’re not (and that’s OK), it’s gonna be pretty tough to achieve the dream writing life. And the reason is you’ll get stopped by or stuck in the societal norms of being a writer that tell you things like, you can’t make money; being a writer is a hobby, not a real job; writing is hard and takes a long time to be successful at; you’ll never make it to #1…whatever limited things you believe right now. Those things will hold you back and keep you from the success you really dream of. So you have to be willing to step outside what other writers believe and create a new normal for yourself.

Hey, if it was easy to have the dream writing life, everyone would have it. It takes work–both internal and external–to make it happen.

But it CAN happen.

Literally anything is possible in today’s world, so long as you believe it is and then act like it every single day. 

And just ’cause I love examples, here’s one for ya: let’s say you want to sell 50 books a month. That means you need to find 50 people a month wiling to pay money in exchange for your book. As long as the book is available digitally and easy to access (like on Amazon or BN.com), it can totally happen. And pretty quickly, depending on the work you put in.

There are billions and billions of people in this world. A very large percentage of those people are online. And you only need to find 50 of them. Fifty out of billions and billions? Seems pretty doable, doesn’t it?

And that’s the thing I love the most about being an authorpreneur in the digital age. The internet has dropped all barriers between the creator and the consumer and you can connect with people from all over the world and sell your books, services, products, etc. to the people who want and need them most.

This puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you total control of your writing destiny–where you end up and what you create along the way. Empowering, isn’t it? Kinda makes you want to sit your ass in a chair and write something right-freaking-now.

So it’s true, you really can have whatever writing life you dream of. But you’ve gotta believe it and act on it every single day.

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What are you going to do today to move closer to your dream writing life?

Featured image courtesy of LassenNPS 

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

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

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

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

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

Here are 6 ways to do that:

1. Decide What You Want Your Reality to Look Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have to choose it and step into it.

3. Commit to It and Be Consistent

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

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

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

4. Don’t Stop, Ever

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

Because “nothing is happening.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Expect It to Show Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You don’t have to live in their realities.

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

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

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.

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The Mentality You Have to Get Rid of If You Want to Make Progress With Your Writing

I’m writing this one to me as much as I’m writing it to you. Because I need to hear it too (and so do you).

There’s a mentality going around that’s doing serious damage to writers (and creators, in general). And that mentality, when left unchecked, can pollute your entire system, causing a major breakdown that you may not come back from for a while.

Or maybe ever.

And this mentality, it’s the reason why you’re not getting nearly as much accomplished in your writing life as you want to. It’s the reason why you’re so far behind where you wanted to be or even thought you’d be by now.

It’s All Or Nothing

The mentality you need to get rid of RIGHT FREAKING NOW if you want to make real progress on your writing goals is this: it’s all or nothing. It’s black or white. There is no in-between. 

Because that’s total bullshit. And you know that, right?

All or nothing is the opposite of the mentality you need to be successful. Successful people do not think this way.

Because the all-or-nothing mentality says that if you can’t do it all (or can’t do something all the way), you’re better off not doing it.

Now I agree to a point that yes, you have to go all in on what you want for your writing life and you have to be willing to do the work and keep doing it, come hell or high-water, come failure, come whatever may.

But that doesn’t mean if you can’t do all of it, you shouldn’t do any of it. That’s a very bad way of looking at it.

Problem is, that’s how most writers look at things. Instead of realizing they can use a 15-minute block of time to make serious progress on their writing each day, they’ll tell themselves it’s not enough time, writing can only happen if I have thirty minutes or an hour or a whole day to dedicate to it.

Nope. Total BS that you need to let go of RIGHT NOW.

The truth is progress is made in the “pockets of time” that you have in your day, in your life. 

But most writers will ignore that. Most will hold onto the all-or-nothing mentality, if-I-can’t-spend-an-hour-on-my-writing-I’m-not-gonna-write-anything bullshit excuses that keep them from making progress, seeing results and achieving the things they want to achieve.

Here’s What To Do Instead

Write when you have time. Write when you don’t. Use the pockets of time–while waiting in line, when dinner is cooking, instead of watching some stupid show on Netflix–and get your writing done.

It’s as simple as that.

Most writers try to make it complicated and put all these restrictions and rules around it, by telling themselves lies like, I can only write when I’m inspired or I need at least 30 minutes.

You don’t. It’s just an excuse.

I wrote my new eBook that became a #1 bestseller on Amazon in 15- to 20-minute increments over the course of a month. Every day I sat down and set a timer for 15 minutes and I worked on that book.

I made excuses and told myself I didn’t have enough time, but then I got over it and sat my ass down in front of my Macbook and worked on the book. Every day. Every single day.

Because it’s only 15 minutes.

Even in the busiest of days I can find 15 minutes for my writing (although these days I spend anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours a day writing). Even on the days when I can’t find time to do anything else, I have 15 minutes for my writing.

It’s a choice. 

There are days when I’m insanely busy and running around and have no idea how I’m gonna get anything done. But I still manage to write on those days. And it’s because I’m committed to the result of getting my writing out there. I’m committed to being the writer and author I want to be.

And so I write.

When everyone else would take a nap or call it a night or go to bed early or just veg on the couch in front of Netflix, I write. I stay up late and I write. I get up early and I write.

I make writing happen every day, because making writing happen is my focus. It’s what I work my life around.

I am a writer, and that is more than just a hobby or a thing that you do. It’s a lifestyle. It’s who I am at my core.

Yes, at first it might be really freaking hard to make yourself sit down and write something, especially when you only have 15 minutes and you’re feeling totally uninspired. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.

It’s just like anything else. It’s a habit. It’s something you need to work up to.

And you do it in the pockets of time. The little in between time when you would usually distract your mind by scrolling through your Facebook feed or watching a stupid meme video on YouTube.

That’s when you do the writing. That’s when you make it happen.

You pull up a chair, whip out a notebook, open your Evernote app or sit in front of your computer, set a timer for 15 minutes (or however long you’re trying to kill time for) and you put words on the page.

But you can’t do any of this with an all-or-nothing mentality. Which is why you need to drop it PRONTO and realize that anything done is better than nothing done. Fifteen minutes of writing a day is better than no writing.

Any day of the week.

It’s about progress, not perfection. And if you’re seeing results–even just a little bit–every single day, then you’re making progress.

Now keep going.

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Featured image courtesy of r. nial bradshaw