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10 Steps to Making Shit Happen (aka: The “I Don’t Know How” Guide)

For a long time I dreamed of seeing my book at #1 on Amazon; of more readers finding my books and transforming their lives, because the books is at #1 and actually has a chance at being shown to potential readers.

Problem was, I had no idea HOW I was going to make this happen. I didn’t know anyone who’d done it. And I had never done it before, so the steps were unknown to me.

So because I didn’t know HOW I was going to get my book to #1 on Amazon, I didn’t allow myself to want it. I just pretended that I didn’t care and that it didn’t really matter to me.

I even recall making fun of authors who called themselves “best selling authors” just from hitting #1 on Amazon. (And now I do it–ha!)

The point being, I did everything I could think of to downplay the fact that I really wanted to hit #1 on Amazon. Just because I didn’t know HOW to do it.

Thankfully this year, I finally accepted the lesson that was given to me over and over again for years… the HOW is NOT up to you.

What that means: HOW you do something isn’t what matters. It’s DOING SOMETHING that matters.

My Story

In February I came across an author who has published 47 eBooks–46 of which were best sellers on Amazon. It finally made me realize that if she could do it that many times, I could do it at least once.

Suddenly my fear of not knowing HOW I was going to do it shifted to a belief that I could do it.

At that point, the specifics of HOW didn’t really matter, because I was finally to a place where I not only wanted it, but I believed I could have it. It finally felt possible for me to be #1 on Amazon.

So I started writing in my journal every day that, “I am a best selling author” and “I am #1 on Amazon.” And then I started talking about wanting to hit #1. I even told my accountability buddy about it.

And then I made a decision: I would hit #1 on Amazon in 2016.

(Still at this point had no idea HOW I’d do it.)

Not long after, I got an email about a tool called Bestseller Ranking Pro. Out of no way, a HOW had shown up.

I could use this tool to find the right category to put my book in, so people can actually find it. And that will help me get to #1. Boom! I bought the software.

After looking through the BRP categories and info, I decided I was going to write an eBook about the structure of love stories. The “craft” category was a good fit for this book.

I wasn’t totally thrilled with that book idea, but it was an idea to get me started. Thankfully, right after that I got another idea–what if I took the 30-day challenge I just did to help me revamp my writing habits and turned it into an eBook?

That idea really inspired me, so I decided to put that book together and publish it first, and then go back and write the structure of love stories one.

The more practical side of me also had a thought: if I’m going to hit #1, I need to write and publish more books.

So I announced that I was going to write and publish 9 books in 2016. And then I got inspired to invite people to watch me as I wrote and published these books and turned one of them into a best seller.

(Still no real idea HOW I’d do this. Just some nudges and ideas.)

I published “Align Your Writing Habits to Success” in May and two days after it went live it hit #1 on Amazon. (And then my book, “The 15-Minute Writer”hit #1 in multiple categories two months after!)

I had achieved the goal of hitting #1 and being a best selling author on Amazon.

Looking back, I never had any idea HOW I’d do it. I just took whatever actions I could think of.

And that’s the whole point.

It’s NOT about the specific actions that you take. You can take actions that seem random and if you’re still moving in the direction of your desired outcome, the right HOW will eventually show up and you’ll get there.

My story is the perfect example–I was planning on a totally different book hitting #1 by me using the BRP tool and writing a book for a specific category; and a book I never even expected to have hit #1 did, multiple times. (Pretty much shuts up the “you need to know HOW” argument, right?)

How I achieved a #1 best seller on Amazon didn’t happen because of any one thing I did. It happened because of ALL the things I did–this year and all the years leading up to this one.

The HOW that gets you to your desired end result can only be found by creating momentum. And you create momentum by taking action–any actions–that move you in the direction you want to go.

The actions can be simple, easy things and still be powerful enough for the Universe to meet you half-way.

Because the Universe doesn’t care what actions you take. Big or small. Super risky or playing it safe. It just cares that you’re DOING SOMETHING. (Although the bigger, bolder actions always pay off more than staying in your comfort zone.)

Want to become a published author? Write a book. Show up every day and put words on the page. Learn the steps in the self-publishing process. Do your research.

The specific HOW that gets you to the desired end result of being a published author will show up as a result of you doing all those other things.

What you don’t want to do is decide you want something and then sit on your ass thinking it’s just going to show up one day. ‘Cause it doesn’t work like that, sorry.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen

If you’re been feeling stuck or frozen because you don’t know HOW you’re going to achieve something, or because you’re overwhelmed by HOW much there is to learn and know and do… I’m gonna simplify it for you in 10 basic steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax–it’s not that serious.
  2. Remind yourself that you’re in the right place, exactly where you are right now.
  3. Write down your desired end result (one or more).
  4. For each end result you want, make a list of all the things you can think of right now that you could do to move in that direction. It doesn’t matter if the steps are out of order, totally random, or make no practical sense; just write everything down that comes to you.
  5. Choose one of the steps/actions you listed and do it right now.
  6. When that action is done, do the next one. (Whichever one pops out to you as the one to do next.)
  7. Repeat steps 5-6.
  8. Add any new inspired actions and ideas to the list as you go.
  9. Act on as many of the actions and ideas from your list as you can.
  10. Trust that any specific HOW you need to get you to that final end result will show up as a result of you doing steps 5-9.

And there you have it–get the hell out of the HOWS and stay focused on the end result.

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What have YOU been holding off or playing small on because you don’t know HOW you’ll make it happen? Share in the comments!

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. 

It’s Not About Discipline, It’s About This

The other day one of my mentors posted a picture of her dinner on Facebook. She was at this nice restaurant and had ordered a meat and veggies dish–no carbs in sight–that had my mouthwatering (and I’m not a big meat eater).

Lately I’ve been working on eating healthier, and have actually been free of refined white sugar and even natural sweeteners, for almost two weeks now. But it’s been TOUGH. Like, really tough.

And yet my mentor seems to eat the way I want to eat almost effortlessly. She doesn’t even like carbs.

I commented on her pic and said, “I wish I had your discipline when it came to food.” (Because I love carbs, especially French fries, salt-and-vinegar chips and anything with sugar. )

As I’m sure you guessed it, her reply to my comment sent me into a tailspin that I’m still rolling around in my head. She commented back: It’s not that I’m disciplined, it’s that I’m committed to having the result.”

BOOM!

Kinda smacks ya in the face, doesn’t it?

You don’t need discipline when you’re committed to the result you want to create, because the result automatically tells you what choices you need to make.

Easier said than done, sure. But is it really? When you’re that committed to seeing what you want show up in your life, seems like taking the actions would be a natural progression.

And I’ve been rolling this around in my head for days now. It’s really bugging me!

Because it’s made me re-think all the things I thought I was committed to. Made me question which results I’m really willing to do the work for, and which I’d be OK having something else in place of what I really want.

Annoying.

Who wants to look at the fact that they’re not as committed as they thought they were?

If you want to write your novel (or whatever you dream of doing), are you so committed to having the result (aka: a published novel) that you’re doing the work day in and day out? If you’re not, maybe you’re not as committed to the result as you thought you were.

And that’s what I’m contending with right now. Because I have big, HUGE dreams for my writing life and my life in general. But there are some things I don’t really feel like doing most of the time (i.e. going to the gym). So what that means is I won’t ever really have what I want in those areas of my life.

Because to have what you want, you have to be committed to the result.

This is a whole new level of accountability and commitment. It’s a whole new level of assessing what you really want and picking it all apart to determine what you really care about and what you can die never having accomplished and not be bothered by it.

That’s the way to get to the core of what you really want for your writing life.

It’s tough–this being a professional writer stuff. When you write as a hobby you don’t have to worry about how much writing you get done, but when you’re an authorpreneur, you can’t lose focus. You have to know what you want, be very clear on it and specific about it, and then take action.

But if you’ve got goals or dreams in your head that, underneath the surface you don’t really care about or if you didn’t ever make it happen you wouldn’t lose sleep, you can give yourself permission to drop them. To drop them and no longer pursue or even think about them.

Now you’ve just reigned your focus in even more.

That’s what alignment is all about. It’s about knowing what you want, truly, deep down, knowing, and being willing to let go of the other stuff (the stuff you’re holding onto because someone said you should do it or because that’s what everyone else is doing).

And alignment, much like success, is a daily practice. Life happens, it’s always going to. It’s always gonna come in and get in the way.

You’re going to lose your focus sometimes, you’re going to fall off the wagon and be unproductive for a bit. It happens to all of us. Checking in with yourself on a daily basis is a great way to stay aligned with what you want and where you’re going, and also to pick yourself back up faster when you do lose focus.

But please, stop forcing yourself into dreams and goals that have other people’s names on them.

Here’s an example… maybe you’ve been telling yourself you want to write a novel. You’ve tried a few times, but nothing seems to be working. When you look deep-down, you know it’s because you don’t really want to write a novel. Novels are hard work and take way too much time. You’d be happier writing a series of short stories. But every fiction writer has to write a novel, right? So you have to as well.

Ahhhh…wrong.

You don’t have to do anything. You should only do the things you truly care about, the things you’re passionate about and actually want to be doing.

Don’t be afraid to go deep and really question the goals and dreams that you have. If you’ve been after something for a while and you’re still coming up short, maybe deep-down you don’t really want to do it and it’s time to let it go. Or, maybe you’ll find you want it more than anything and now it’s time to step up your commitment to the result.

There is no right or wrong here. It’s all about what works for you and what you want.

And what it really comes down to, is if you know that you truly want something and wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if you didn’t get it, maybe it’s time to get clear on the result and then commit to having it. No discipline needed.

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What’s one result you’re so committed to you don’t need discipline to take action? 

If you’re committed to making your BIG writing dreams a reality, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a high-level accountability and mentorship group for emerging authors and novelists.

Featured image courtesy of Ibai

Take Control of Your Writing Destiny: A 5-Step Roadmap

There was a time in the writing industry where a writer could write a good book, and because the book was so good–and so much better than most books people were writing–that book stood out and agents and publishers came out of the woodwork to represent it and publish it. And all an author had to do was publish a really good book, and they’d be on the bestseller list, doing book signings around the country and getting interviewed in the media.

Ah, it was a lovely time to be an author.

Except that you had very little control of anything. Your fate was in someone else’s hands.

Good thing that time is over now.

Yes, over. Finished. Done-zo.

It just doesn’t work like that anymore. And it can’t. The market is way too saturated.

So what emerging novelists in today’s digital age need to do, is step up and take control of their own writing destinies.

If you have a dream, a vision, a goal for your writing, it’s up to YOU to make it happen. Y. O. U.

No one else can make it happen for you.

It’s in your hands.

I realized this a while back. I had a finished draft of my novel, SoundCheck, and was sitting on it. I was procrastinating and not doing the work.

And my soul was suffering for it.

Because writing stories is my soul’s work, and I know it.

And that’s when I realized it–I was (subconsciously) waiting for someone else to give me the go-ahead. For someone else to give me permission to take things to the next level with my writing life.

I was leaving my destiny to chance, instead of being intentional about it.

In the digital age, emerging novelists have a unique opportunity to be intentional and use that intention to achieve their writing goals.

Because there’s so much more in your control. You no longer need a gatekeeper (aka: agent or publisher) to get your novel out into the world. The doors to the self-publishing world are wide-open. All you have to do is just walk in.

But there’s more to it than that. And a lot of writers don’t see it and end up publishing something subpar and then wondering why no one buys it or writes reviews or really even cares.

Don’t be that kind of self-published novelist. Be the self-published novelist who took control of her writing destiny and did things as professionally as possible, and who learned what it took to write a good novel, to publish it, promote it and make sales.

Be that kind of authorpreneur. The kind who publishes an awesome book that builds a foundation for a long writing career (one that grows with each book).

Here’s my roadmap for taking control of your writing destiny:

1. Learn the Craft of Novel Writing

Novel writing is unlike any other kind of writing out there. It’s a very specific beast that needs to be put together in a very specific way. You can’t just write whatever you want and call it a story.

You have to follow the principles of storytelling.

And yes, once you’ve got the principles down you can break them when you need to. But only when and if it works (and NEVER if you’re a first-time author, and most especially NEVER if you’re a first-time author who’s trying to get traditionally published).

No matter what else you do, learn craft. Master the craft of writing stories that work.

This will serve you to no end. And I can think of nothing more aligned with being in control of your writing destiny than knowing what the fuck you’re doing.

If you know what you’re doing you can surpass even the authors out there who know what they’re doing but don’t have the language to describe or talk about it (meaning they intuitively know how to write a story, but they don’t have the words to describe how they know what they know).

When you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to repeat it over and over again (and never make an ass of yourself in Writer’s Digest magazine by suggesting that you have no idea how you write your books, even though you’ve written a ton of them, including one that was a smash-hit bestseller). A repeatable process based on the principles of storytelling.

And no one can ever take that away from you.

2. Master Your Mindset

I harp on this a lot, but it’s because honestly this is the secret sauce that totally shifted my life.

I’ve always been an insanely positive person. But I had a ton of negative programming about myself. And that’s where things started to fall apart as I got closer and closer to finishing my novel and publishing it.

Because you can’t think negatively about yourself or having tons of limiting beliefs if you want to be successful. Sure, you can still achieve things with that kind of mindset (I’m proof of it).

Except there’s no joy in it. You’ll just achieve the goal and feel like it’s still not enough and you probably won’t even take time to celebrate and will just go on to the next thing (yep, that’s what I used to do).

But when you get your mind to a place of feeling like your goal is already yours and already a done deal… then when you achieve it, you’ll actually enjoy it and it will actually feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Because you’re in control, and your mind is in a place where it’s open to receiving what you’ve asked for and you’re not sabotaging it.

When you don’t work on your mindset and you just let your thoughts run wild, you’ll never be in control. And then things will just happen to you, instead of you intentionally making things happen.

Whereas when you focus on being intentional about how you want to feel and what you want to think and believe about yourself, that’s when you’re taking control of your destiny.

Taking control of your writing destiny is about being intentional.

3. Create Your Own Reality

Some people believe they have no control of what happens to them. They believe the reality they see with their eyes is the only reality that exists and it’s the only one that’s real.

So that’s how their lives unfold. Stuff happens to them, they have no control over it. Then they use the stuff going wrong in their lives to make excuses for why they don’t have what they want or why they haven’t finished their novel or published it.

And then there are the others. The crazies. The people who not only believe they control their own realities, but know that they can change that reality almost immediately, just by changing their thoughts, beliefs and the things they focus on.

I consider myself to be one of these crazies. Because I’ve seen the power of focus and of being intentional, and I choose to live my life no other way but that.

If you know that you can control your own reality, then you can see how easy it will be to take control of your writing destiny.

When you set an intention and believe it’s possible and that you can have it… you will. You’ll have everything you’ve ever wanted.

But you’ve gotta be intentional about it. You have to know what you want and then you have to create it with your words, your thoughts and your actions.

The best tool for this is getting a journal and doing a daily “write your reality” exercise where you write about your dream life as if it’s your real life. You do this every single day, until what you’re writing about starts to become your life.

That is an intentional way of being. It’s a way of focusing yourself on what matters most to you.

And what you focus on expands.

4. Be Your Own Publisher

This is an extreme “take control of your writing destiny” tactic, but self-publishing is a great way to keep creative control and get your book out into the world.

But if you’re going to self-publish (I do, and totally recommend it), you have to do it as professionally. You can’t just write your book and put it out there. You need to hire a team of people to support you–an editor, Beta Readers, a story coach, a cover illustrator–whoever you need to bring your book to life and as professionally as it would be if a traditional publisher put it out.

That’s taking control of your writing destiny. That’s being in charge of your writing career. That’s setting yourself up for success.

If you self-publish and then just put your book out there… that’s not professional. In fact, that’s the opposite of taking control of your writing destiny. That’s kicking your writing destiny in the balls.

You’ll never be successful that way.

Professional authors treat their books professionally. You need to do the same.

5. Get Out There and Be Visible

This is maybe the hardest part of taking control of your writing destiny. Especially because most writers are introverts and prefer not to have the spotlight on them.

But succeeding in the online world requires you to get out there and be visible.

Because you can’t always be in front of people in person. So you have to get creative and find ways to show up and get in front of your audience.

Authorpreneurs in the digital age use social media, videos, livestreaming, guest posting, getting interviewed on podcasts and in the media, and more, to be visible and get their names out there. And the name of the game with all of this is consistency.

You have to be consistent with being visible. You don’t want to be super visible one week, disappear for a few weeks and then resurface. Building a fanbase means being visible and consistent–pretty much on a daily basis.

Just follow the authors and writers and successful artists that you love and watch what they do. Pay attention to what they post and how often, and how they connect with their readers and audience.

Use what they do as a guide for what you do.

By following this roadmap, you will be able to totally take control of your destiny and create the writing life of your dreams.

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What can you do right now, today, to start taking control of your writing destiny?

If you’re ready to get over your shit (excuses be damned), learn how to write a kick-ass novel, and get the support and feedback you need to finish and publish it, check out the Students of Story community.

 

Want to Know the Real Reason Why You Procrastinate?

If you want something, you have to believe it’s yours and then act from that place.

I was on a podcast this morning (I’ll post the link when it’s live), and one of the questions interviewer, Lorna Faith, asked me was: what can newer writers do to move toward their goals? And the response I gave her was something she hadn’t heard anyone say before.

I told her that you don’t want to move toward your goals, you want to move from your goals

And then I went on to explain. Because there’s a big difference between moving toward a goal and moving from a goal.

Toward says, I don’t have it yet. And there’s a distinct feeling that comes with it. It’s not now, it’s in the future.

That feeling is totally uninspiring and un-motivating.

But when you move from a goal, it has a whole different feeling.

From says, it’s mine. I already have it. And the feelings you feel are happy, positive, excited, inspired.

And motivated to take action.

Writers procrastinate because they aren’t inspired from the inside.

When you get inspired from the inside, you’ll automatically take action on the outside. And the right actions. The ones that will actually help you bring your goal into reality. 

And to act from a goal, you have to first believe that it’s possible for you to have it. You have to believe you will get it and that you are worthy of it.

Otherwise you won’t be able to take action from the place of knowing it’s already yours.

You get to choose what you believe. And if you know that you’re someone who will not stop, let up, die out or give up before reaching your goal, then it’s a done deal. Right? 

Eventually, that goal will be yours. You will have achieved it and you’ll be able to add it to your list of accomplishments.

So if you know that to be true, and if you believe it will happen at some point, why not act like it right now? 

I know, I know, this way of thinking is so contrary to everything society tells us we should think. We’re told we have to work hard and pay our dues.

But that’s all bullshit.

I mean, yeah, you do have to work hard, but the work you do doesn’t have to be hard or, most importantly, feel hard.

When you’re moving toward a goal, it feels really fucking hard. It feels like you’re working your ass off and you have the world on your shoulders and you’re still not making it happen.

But when you’re moving from already having reached your goal, you feel light and airy. You feel happy on the inside. You are so excited you can’t wait to work on your writing project.

You’re still working hard, of course, it just feels easier now.

Because the Resistance is gone. And you’re totally lit from the inside and inspired to do the work to reach your writing dream.

And the more you act from this inspired-from-the-inside place, the more you’ll believe that you already have your dream.

I’m better with examples, so here’s one from my life:

I recently committed to taking on a whole new level of content creation. I did this because when I asked myself, “what would a bestselling transformational author, novelist and go-to story development coach be doing every day?” the answer that came back was: they’d be out in the world creating and sharing tons of content, spreading their message and moving forward on their mission.

So that’s what I needed to be doing.

I needed to start acting “as if” I have already achieved all the goals I have for my writing, my business and my life.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing ever since. This is the fifth blog post I’ve written this week (and there’s only been 5 days in the week so far).

Already stuff has started to shift in my reality. I’ve been getting contacted by people who want to interview me on their podcasts. I’ve gotten a bunch of new clients that I’m thrilled to be working with. I’ve sold a bunch of books.

And I’m happy. I’m insanely motivated. I’m inspired from the inside.

Which is by far the most important thing.

If you want something, you have to believe it’s yours and then act from that place.

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What’s your writing goal? And how are you going to start acting from it, rather than toward it? 

Featured image courtesy of urban_data