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.
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:
- Take a deep breath and relax–it’s not that serious.
- Remind yourself that you’re in the right place, exactly where you are right now.
- Write down your desired end result (one or more).
- 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.
- Choose one of the steps/actions you listed and do it right now.
- When that action is done, do the next one. (Whichever one pops out to you as the one to do next.)
- Repeat steps 5-6.
- Add any new inspired actions and ideas to the list as you go.
- Act on as many of the actions and ideas from your list as you can.
- 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!
Share With Us
What Practical Actions and Energetic Actions will you take to move in the direction of your writing dreams?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Share With Us
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.
“The only limitations we encounter in life are those
self-limiting ones we place on ourselves,”–Anonymous
By Jennifer Blanchard
Have you ever wanted to enter a fiction contest? Learn how to write a screenplay? Write a novel?
What stops you?
Do you think you can’t do it? Do you “know” you can’t do it? Do you think you need to know more about the subject first? Do you believe that you have to be an expert in order to write?
Whatever it is that holds you back, know this: Your limitations are self-imposed.
That means, whatever you tell yourself is what your limits are.
For example, if you keep telling yourself you can’t do it because it’s “too hard to write a novel,” then you will never be able to write a novel because in your mind it will always be “too difficult.”
But if you start to realize and accept that your limitations are self-imposed, you can then begin to overcome the barriers that keep you from writing (and chasing your dreams).
Look at it this way, if your best friend came to you and said, “I’m going to write a novel!” would you encourage her? Would you support her and be the voice of reason for her if she started to doubt herself?
Or would you start to impose limitations on her and tell her she needs XYZ before she can write a novel? Would you talk her out of it before she even attempts? Would you tell her that her dream is impossible?
Of course you wouldn’t! You’d be supportive and most likely her biggest cheerleader.
So why can’t you do that for yourself?
You need to start thinking of yourself as your own best friend. And you wouldn’t set limitations on what your best friend can achieve. You wouldn’t talk badly about your best friend. You wouldn’t make your best friend feel like her dreams are worthless.
So stop making yourself feel that way!
You are a smart, talented writer…and the limitations you supposedly have are only limitations because you say they are.
But once you let go of any self-imposed limitations you have put on yourself, something amazing will happen: You will finally see that you can have anything; you can be anything; you can do anything.
Become your own best friend–When you become your own best friend, you realize that the way you’ve been treating yourself all these years (placing limitations on yourself; saying you can’t do things; talking yourself out of your dreams) is absurd. If you wouldn’t treat a friend or family member like that, why would you treat yourself like that?
Start to consider why you’ve imposed these limitations on yourself–Is it because you’re afraid? Is it because you think people will reject you?
Figuring out why you’ve imposed limitations on yourself is the first step to removing them.
Change your self-talk–This step is extremely important! If you’re ever going to truly remove the limitations you’ve imposed on yourself, you need to change the way you talk to and think about yourself.
I’ve mentioned this before, but one very helpful way to start changing your self-talk is to come up with a writing affirmation. Something simple like, “I am a brilliant writer,” or “My writing is amazing,” will get you started on the path to self-acceptance and self-encouragement.
Begin accepting yourself for who you are and who you’re not–So you’ll never be Stephen King or Joyce Carol Oates or Flannery O’Connor…so what?! You get to be you instead, which is the best thing you can possibly be.
You are unique and bring a different perspective to the world, so why would you ever want to be anyone but who you are?
Sure, self-acceptance takes time. It’s not something you’re going to have overnight. But when you stop telling yourself you can’t do it, and start telling yourself you can do anything, you will finally lift the barriers that hold you back from doing what you love–writing.