TSLS 0033 - Your negative emotions are your muse in disguise

If there's one thing I've learnt in my creative life, it's that you just can't sit around waiting for the right feeling to hit.

Sometimes it will be there, sometimes not.

Sometimes the feeling that does manifest will be negative, but none of that means you aren't still as creative, wonderful and useful as you were yesterday. In fact, now, you're bringing something new to the table. 

Your negative emotions are your muse in disguise

We put too much pressure on ourselves to put on a show, where we pretend to be happy and empowered all the time, because we assume that's what the world wants from us. But what the world really needs is your vulnerability and authenticity, no matter what form it takes. There is as much power in creating something using your negative emotions, as there are in your positive ones.

@@The next time you're feeling stressed or frustrated, consider that perhaps, you have the perfect set of circumstances to make great art.@@

You're allowed to show up in sadness or exhaustion.

Sometimes that's all you have to give to the world.

It is only by showing up, in all your frustration and anger and sadness, that you finally start to heal. Let your desperate, creative, artistic soul put its energy to good use, because it just wants to be heard and validated, too. 

Even in your darkness, even in the depths of your struggles, you deserve to be seen and heard. You are a force, an overflowing chalice of creativity, a vessel of truth, and your voice deserves it's pedestal.

Today is the day it matters most.

It doesn't matter that you're not feeling your best.

It doesn't matter that you're not feeling all that courageous.

This might just be the time in your life where you are the most creative.

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TSLS 0032 - 10 spiritual lessons that will make you a better writer

There will be times in your writing life where traditional writing advice just won't be enough.

There will be times where you'll need the sweet pearls of wisdom that can only be gleaned from the non-corporeal, the meta-physical, the emotional, and the holistic. This is the advice that will stick with you, that will soothe your soul, and get your back on your rightful creative path again.

I have ten pieces of that special kind of wisdom for you right now.

Lesson #1: You were born to write.

No matter how bad it gets, no matter how hard, or how discouraged the creative process might make you feel at times - the worst you've ever felt while writing will never compare to what you'd feel if you gave it up. So write, powerful one. Because you were born to do this. It isn't a choice, it's a destiny; and if you can't go a day without writing, or thinking about writing, it's your destiny.

Lesson #2: You are more than enough.

Too many people live their lives worrying that they're missing something, and they worry that they're not complete, or worthy, or qualified enough to fulfil their life purpose until they obtain that "something". Nothing physical can satisfy this sense of lack you're feeling, because all you need to fill this hole is an increase in confidence. You are more than enough, and once you truly appreciate that, you'll be free.

Lesson #3: You mean so much to this world.

The things you do everyday don't even have to be big in order to change people's lives. Your smile might be the only one someone sees today. Your compliment on someone's work might be the most flattering they've ever received. And your novel might be the one that inspires someone else to finally tell their own story.

Lesson #4: You are part of something so much BIGGER than yourself.

You, writer, are contributing to the entertainment and education of human beings. You are influencing a generation. What you do today is contributing to a much larger story. A piece of you will live on long after you go, changing the world as we know it forever, cementing your legacy.

Lesson #5: The Universe is on your side.

Even though it may not seem like it at times, spirituality teaches us that The Universe is always on your side, even when "The World" is not. We all have bills, and insecurities, and fears - but none of that will matter when you decide that you're ready to fulfil your destiny. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Lesson #6: Nothing is permanent.

Charlie Chaplin once said that nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles. So don't let embarrassment stop you from taking a risk. Don't let failure stop you from trying again. And don't allow pain to scare you away. Nothing is permanent - which can always be a good thing if you make it.

Lesson #7: The better you treat yourself, the better the world will treat you.

Tell me: what is the point of trying to destroy someone who thinks so confident in themselves that it is impossible to do so? What's the point of laughing at someone who laughs at themselves? There is no point...and that IS the point. 

Don't take life too seriously. Be courageous and unapologetic in your pursuit of happiness. Laugh in the face of setbacks, give people a reason to cheer you on, and just watch what happens.

Lesson #8: Your happiness contributes to the spiritual wealth of the world.

Does it ever make you feel bad that you're always striving to make yourself happy while so many others in the world are hurting? If it does, you are a good person. The best thing someone can do for the world though, spiritually, is to find happiness for yourself first. Why? Because happiness is contagious. 

You can't help anyone else find happiness unless you have found yours first. Then, and only then, will you have the option to help others find their happiness too.

Lesson #9: The logical choice isn't always the right choice.

Ask any successful person who they became successful, and I bet you $1000 that you will never get an answer like this:

"Well, I just figured out what was the most logical thing to do with my life, and I went and did that!" or this: "I planned my entire life logically, and everything went exactly to plan!"

There are times to be logical, but in aiming to become the best writer you can be, it's all about taking risks. Changing direction. Listening to your heart.

Lesson #10: Some people will just never get it.

This lesson goes for writing and spirituality. People who don't have a passion for these things will look at you as if you are insane if you try to talk to them about it, in the same way you'd react if someone wanted to talk to you about underwater basket weaving for a couple of hours.

It's not your job to convince anyone of anything. It's not your job to preach.

Everyone has their own destiny to fulfil, and they will discover the lessons they need in life in their own time.

You don't need to worry about their destinies. 

You've just got to focus on yours.

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TSLS 0031 - 36 more books in the process...and counting: follow my #wholewriter life

One of the main reasons I created The Authorship Program® was so I could move forward past my own fears and get back to doing what I loved: writing novels.

So of course, this blog is going to be filled with little snippets, anecdotes and personal stories about my own journey completing all these stories that plague my mind.

The one question every non-writing person loves to ask me is what book am I writing now? Which sometimes isn't a straight answer because I can often be working on multiple projects at one time, so I decided to create this little list that I could easily refer them to what's happening currently in my crazy, transgressive artistically-inclined mind.

As well as this, I'll keep coming back to this post and adding news to each project so you can have a peek at how it's all going. So the next time I say "I'm writing my book", it'll most likely be one of these. 

The "36 books" thing is my little inside joke,  because whenever people ask me how many projects I'm working on I say 36, regardless of the actual number. There's always around that number of projects swimming around in my head at any given time, though! So it's very possible since at the time you read this post, some may have been completed, new ones added and so on. 

Also, for anyone wondering how I manage all of these projects at once, the answer is I don't. I have certain weeks for certain projects, and compartmentalise my time, haha. So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to my upcoming projects...

AINAC

A cutting, satirical look into art and writing in the 21st century, how young people navigate it, and what to do about all the strange whispers and looks we receive along the way. 

PROJECT H

A book about how to aggressively achieve anything you want in life...(and more). This is shaping up to be an incredibly powerful, relatable, empowering book that will benefit so many people, even if I do say so myself. I can't wait to share the tagline too, it's killer.

FEMME FATALE

A spoken word poetry collection about a life, touched by the universe's multi-faceted young women that we all might be lucky (or unlucky) enough to encounter throughout our lives. Fuelled by personal and powerful real-life experiences, Femme Fatale is a journey that celebrates the spiritual, emotional and sexual power of women.

HOMECOMING QUEEN 

A spoken word poetry collection about overcoming adversity, coming of age and coming full circle.

THE SEVEN YEAR GAP YEAR

A book about a seven year adventure around the UK and how it changed my life forever, written in an exaggerated, transgressive, humorous memoir style.

CMIYC

A book about the origin of ideas, how ideas are formed, the lifecycle of ideas and what happens when an idea changes everything.

SPEED DEMON

This one will be a book but also another course, about the power of speed to not only get what you want done today, but also in the greater scheme of your life's goals and purpose.

SC - A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Ooh, I'm so excited for this one! It's something I've never done before - a steampunk novel for young adults - but it will be EPIC.

THE MINA SCHWARTZ EFFECT (BOOK)

Based on a popular article I did about comparison under this same name, I've decided to expand my thoughts about how to overcome jealousy and caring about what other people are doing on the journey towards your greatest good, including some killer case studies from people who have already overcome it.

E1, E2, E3 - A THRILLER SERIES

My fave, fave, fave thriller series. The first was completed ages ago but I realised as I went on that the full story needed to be told in three parts because there was so, so much more to tell. This series is about a silver screen siren turned serial murderer. (Yep, try saying it three times fast, folks.)

#WHOLEWRITER: THE BOOK

What kind of writer would you be if you weren't afraid? What would your #wholewriter do? That's right - the official personal development and spiritual bible of the #wholewriter movement is coming, and I'm so excited to lay its legacy down on paper. Featuring the movement, the journey, and you!

T.I.E.

A fictional post-apocalyptic novel about a world where everyone who dies immediately goes to Heaven, and the chaos that ensures in such an alternate Universe.

THE C+ MAN

A thriller about a guy who runs a large organisation...and that's literally all I can say for now...!

WHAT'S NEXT?

If you'd like to go real deep with me on any of these projects...(plus new ones I create especially for members!) you can check out Lennox Media: a Patreon studio and community that gets the everyday behind the scenes of how I write, when I write, and what I'm writing next.

With special features, opportunities to contribute and be credited as the projects expand, and guest appearances from some of my nearest and dearest - the most talented authors, songwriters, producers, lightworkers, podcasters and designers around...you will LOVE everything about this community and find the inspiration you need to complete your works, too.

Come join us!

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TSLS 0030 - 3 practical ways to make a living from your writing (and a special announcement!)

No way, you clicked...I'm so excited for you!

No seriously, making a living creatively is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so congrats for looking into it further for yourself, God knows you’ve found the best person to help you get there. *Cue shameless self-promotion grin*

It seems that most of the writers I come into contact with on social media these days are either jaded, hopelessly optimistic, or a combination of both. They've either succumbed to a life of poverty, or are spouting book links on Twitter and pretending that strategy works.

There's really no one in the writing industry today that immediately jumps into my mind when it comes to "an author making loads of money."

So today I hope I can be that person for you. I've been doing this for over 7 years, making a living and doing it strong, winning awards and bossing shit up. Take me as the example that it is possible before we move onto the next steps that will make it possible for you.

Now here are the three pieces of advice I want to share with you. If you take anything from this article, please take this - these three simple words of advice for your continuing journey. They’re the most important things to remember, and if you remember these things you’re golden. 

Don’t discouraged by the people around you
Don’t let the gatekeepers get you down, and
Build a business around your craft.

That’s it. That’s all you need to succeed, honest honest. But just so you completely understand what I mean, let’s dig into these things a little deeper, shall we?

Don't get discouraged by the people around you, the news or your peer's failures or successes.

This is the #1 thing that will mess you up on your journey - worrying or envying what other people are up to, or any other external influence that tries to convince you that it's not the right thing to do. Puh-lease! Please. I genuinely think what's wrong in the world is this obsession with trying to control or govern what other people are doing, but if you're going to succeed as a writer, you're going to have to learn to ignore all of this.

Don’t let the gatekeepers get you down

I am not the biggest fan of gatekeepers in any form. I like my creative control, I like my creativity as the ultimate act of rebellion and full self expression. Having said that, I know that you might be one of the people out there that do want the traditional publishing deal and are going about it with full force. In this case, there may be times when the vicious industry will break your heart.

What I need to say to you, dear writer, is don’t let it get you down.
Build a business around your craft.

I often ask people in coaching with me this question: name one writer you know that makes money simply from books. With a 99% success rate, I can usually point out that the author they tell me about or think about has some other means of sustainable income that they didn’t think about.

If you're counting on your £3.99 paperback to make you enough money for a house and a bi-annual holiday, you're probably going to be disappointed. Look at any successful authors these days and you'll find that not only do they do the writing (which is the part they love) but they also have some way of repurposing it for higher profit. J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were lucky enough to have their books turned into movies, then there's audiobooks and author signings and speaking gigs and tours and and and. 

I know this way of making a living from your writing is not “the dream” and it’s not the vision of what you have in your mind of what a “real writer” looks like, but to be honest, you just have to get over it because for now, having that additional thing will be what keeps you afloat as a writer and that’s just how the world works at the moment until you get to a stage where you’re famous enough to choose otherwise.

The idea that you can make millions from one or two books and will never have to work again is a fantasy. The book will become the anchor for a vast web of alternative money sources, but not the be-all and end all. And so, if your book sales are pocket money at the moment doesn't mean you're a failure, it just means you need to expand, repurpose, or use the impact/influence/opportunities that writing a book provides you.

Ultimately, I will leave you with this:

The thing about writing and making money is that there are no guarantees, and it will only ever work if you do. 

Thanks for reading, I love you.

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TSLS 0029 - ASPIRING IS LOSING.

I get a lot of "aspiring" writers coming to me to tell me all about their dreams of becoming authors and making a living from writing.

It usually sounds something like this:

I would just LOVE to be a writer! Sososososmuch!

When I tell them that there are many, many solutions to this issue, however - some that require effort over money, others that require money over effort - it's like I'm speaking another language. 

What do you mean I actually have to put some effort in to make this dream work? I'm out. 

I don't know what other people have been telling you, but you can't just have "aspiring" anything in your bio and not be putting in the work.

What you're saying is you want to be an artist, author, painter (like 90% of everyone else in the world) but aren't prepared to give it a real shot (like 90% of everyone else in the world), so please stop wasting everyone's time.

You're not doing yourself any favours. You're just highlighting the fact that not only are you one of the 90% percent, but also deluded about it.

There's just too much preening in this industry. Too much waiting for something to happen. Too much dreaming...when all you really need to get started is to take a little bit of initiative for yourself.

It's like standing on a street corner with a sign, wholly unqualified, with nothing to show for yourself in the field that you claim to be interested in...yet still expecting someone to discover you and give you a job. 

It's like demanding that someone hire you first, before you've started practicing the craft. Who wants to employ someone like that?

Aspiring is losing.

Aspiring is being offended by offers who want to help you out in exchange for your money - because even though you want it, you don't want it THAT much. 

It's giving up before you've even begun because you feel it would take too much time.

So what is there to do about this situation?

Write. Write today, write now. Because then you're not aspiring, you're writing, and that's what makes you a writer. 

You don't have to deny yourself the title of "writer" because you don't have any works out there yet, or because you're not making money from it yet. 

You'll have a lot better chance of getting someone interested in you (if that's what you want) by calling yourself a writer and actually doing the work, than calling yourself an "aspiring author" which is like trying to get something for nothing.

"Writer" is not a title someone gives you, it's a lifestyle, and you're free to live it. - Tweet this!

So start creating your body of work today - you won't regret it. 

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TSLS 0028 - How to find your strength in times of doubt and fear

Have you ever shared your dreams with friends and family, only for them to respond with objections that make you question your entire life? 

It's hard enough not to doubt your abilities/qualifications/potential as it is, and so, if you weren't thinking about their objections as issues before, the slightest critique or doubting comment probably means you're thinking about it now.

Here's the thing about objections: they suggest that we're not good enough right now, as we are. They suggest that the knowledge and experience we've gained throughout our lives so far is worth nothing, or isn't worth enough, and there has to be more, more, more. 

You are perfect exactly how you are right now, and you are absolutely enough. This blog post is about helping you realise and remember that for yourself, without having to be told. I'm going to teach you how to overcome these objections with five simple but powerful affirmations.

1. “This is my legacy.”

I don't want to wake up at 73 years old and realise that I never got around to doing what I truly wanted in life because I spent most of the time preparing instead of actually living.

Do you? Where does it end?

You've got to draw the line somewhere if you're ever going to get started.

Once you've dedicated your life to something you can learn along the way. It might not give you a qualification or title, but it gives you the best chance of becoming who you want to become.

2. "Life is short."

If you're feeling called to create, it's because you're meant to do it. The sooner you realise this, the better.

You don't get advanced notice when it's time for the final curtain call of your life, so don't waste time or make the show boring by dedicating the first half an hour with random umming and ahhing. So much of the creation process is asking yourself whether or not it'll be worth it before you actually do it! And I really think that needs to change.

3. "There are people out there who need me right now."

Your true fans are out there in the world, and they won't sit around waiting for you.

There will always be something you can do to make yourself appear more capable, experienced or qualified, but nothing will excite your true fans more than helping them with what you've got right now. This doesn't mean you screw people over who trust you to provide them with whatever quality you promise them, but it does mean that there is something you know right now that may be of value to others.

4. "I must share my knowledge."

Whether you have just one fan or one hundred thousand, you must share your knowledge.

I've never regretted creating a piece of work, no matter how terrible it was when it first came out. The act of creating something and putting it out there isn't just for your fans, but it is also for you. As you share, you grow.

5. "Nobody cares about all the things I DON'T have."

The value you provide is worth so much more than your writing qualifications.

Has anyone actually interrogated you on your writing qualifications? Told you that you weren't good enough, or not "allowed" to do what you do? It really doesn’t happen all that often, but despite that, it’s one of the main things writers worry about (see: impostor syndrome).

The fact of the matter is, unless you're a full-out scammer or plagiarist, most people are not dedicated to taking you down - if they don't like your stuff they'll generally just move on to someone better suited to them, so it's nothing you really need to worry about. No one is lurking in the shadows, waiting to "out" you. And if by some weird reason they are, they are in need of a qualification in being a better person. For every one person that might doubt you, there are hundreds that will actually really appreciate what you do.

A person's qualifications are almost never what make me like a person, personally. As long as they can tell me something I didn't know before, they have a place in my life - and I promise that your tribe have the same attitude towards you.

A final note: you are perfect exactly as you are right now.

You are enough, always have been.

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TSLS 0027 - Why are you waiting to be handed your dream writing career?

Have you ever felt as if you're just waiting to be handed success by somebody? 

Waiting for that agent to discover you on Twitter, or for that celebrity journalist to feature you in a magazine, or a publisher to seek you out and sail your works all over the world?

This is for you. Because I don't want you to get discourage when you struggle your way through the marathon of creating a publishable novel...only to find that the magnificent agent, publisher or book deal you dreamt about isn't simply there for you right away on the other side. (And to pose the question, whether that's even the best option for you at all...)

Do you know what most authors who manage to get a book deal are actually rewarded with? A huge lack of creative control, a template to have to fit or else they lose the opportunity, a lot of decisions made for them and their work that they wouldn't have chosen for themselves, and an advance or book sales that are usually not enough to leave the day job. That, after years of hard work, isn't what most authors expect.

So what else is there for a writer to do these days?

There has to be a better way to continue on your creative path than simply waiting for a rescue, a golden ticket, or an "out" that may never come, right? But of course.

You have to define success for yourself.

Your version of success doesn't have to be the cookie-cutter version everyone else is striving for.

Your ideal version of success may just be getting your novel in the hands of friends and family and the people you really care about. It might be simply to do it for yourself. Or it could be to make large amounts of money (but do you really need a publisher to do that?)

Your idea of success might simply be to teach, entertain, or inspire, and if it is - don't wait around while your message gets stale, waiting for some magical deal to come and make it happen for you. Don't let your ego trick you into believing that your success always has to be something granted to you by others to be worthwhile.

Your version of success should not have to depend on other people handing it to you.

@@If your current version of success is based on trying to impress other people, rethink your version of success.@@

If your version of success really really is to get that publishing deal with a top company, then by all means pursue it with all your heart. But do you want it because you want it, or is it something you've been led to believe you want?

(Because "self-publishing is lame" and "the real money is in the deal", right? Please!)

Tell that to people like the wonderful Regina Anaejionu, who used her books as essential tools to build credibility, then create the ultimate infopreneurial empire.

Or Mariah Coz, who didn't sit around waiting for anyone to publish her works - she published them herself and went on to make millions with her incredible e-books + courses.

Then there's my good friend Kayla Hollatz, the community-building superstar who fulfilled a goal of hers by publishing a personal poetry book that is touching thousands of people's hearts around the world, right now. 

You don't have to wait for anyone's permission. 

Times are changing, the lie of there being authority over our creativity is crumbling before our very eyes.

These days, the right author with the right mindset can make money from their living room; with no one breathing down their backs from a publishing house, telling them what is appropriate and what is not, stifling their creativity with their outdated laws and practices. No one dumbing down their message for fear of limiting their target audience, or blaming the lack of sales on them, despite providing little to no support with marketing. 

I don't know about you, but that sounds like the real "vanity publishing" these days.

I honestly don't have anything against publishers - but for the majority of authors, being published by one of the top five is an empty fantasy, and charging blindly towards it causes nothing but large amounts of stress, frustration and resentment in your creative life where it doesn't need to be. It's like striving to obtain the perfect bikini body: it doesn't just solve all of your life's problems once you get it.

So if there's anything I can tell you, to save you from that...it would be to think outside the box and realise that there are SO many other opportunities out there for you.

Your ideal version of success may be way closer than you think - just around the corner, or within arm's reach. And the more personal it is to you, the happier you'll be when you achieve it.

Go get it.

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TSLS 0026 - Why you've been denying your call to write

You know what's more painful than going all out and trying to achieve your creative dreams?

Not doing so.

Because your soul will never stop wanting it, and your fingers will never stop aching for it.

There's nothing more damaging to the soul than not being who you were meant to be - and nothing more damaging than not writing, when your calling is to write. So if you haven't giving it your all so far in your creative life, these thoughts and feelings are at the heart of the problem.

You think you have time (haha, hahaha.)

Are you so busy pushing your writing career into the future, and thinking about it in future terms, that you haven't even started on it in the present? Have you ever noticed that when you talk about publishing your first book, it's always "later" or "tomorrow" or "next week"?

Sacrificing real work for daydreaming is a classic sign that you’re scared of using the power you have to change your own destiny. But here's the thing:

There's nothing riskier than waiting on tomorrow to make a start on your dreams.

The situation you were in today may never be the same again. The opportunities you had today may never come around again. Your life, your dreams, your health, your options could all change at any time - for better or for worse. No time will ever be perfect, so stop waiting and start now.

You're scared that you might fail (so you're holding back.)

As a coach, it never fails to amaze me how people self-sabotage themselves. Clients tell me that they want to write more than anything in the world, but when I set them a task, they find every excuse under the sun to not do it.

They're usually afraid of making a real effort, in case their work doesn't turn out as brilliant as they imagined it would. But here's the thing about that:

If you're not working to the best of your ability, you have no one but yourself to blame when it fails.

When you do your absolute best, you won't feel any shame, even if you fail. You would grow from the experience, you'd realise failure was not the end of the world, and you could try again with your head held high. But if you don't try your best, you're wasting your time. It won't feel good, it won't deliver results, and you'll always wonder: "What if I'd given it my best shot?"

You're overwhelmed (I hear you.)

We're all overwhelmed. If the pressures we all carry on our shoulders every day were physical, we'd all be pretty ripped right now - flat stomachs and six pack abs from carrying it all.

When you're feeling overwhelmed, it just means you need to take a break.

You'll find inspiration soon enough. You'll feel the urge to get started on something right away, and when it happens, attack with full force.

No matter how much you think you'll want to do it later, nothing can compare to the excitement and drive you get in that first moment. Use it!

You're waiting for "God in the machine" (but he's not in there.)

If you're waiting for "God in the machine," it means you're waiting for a solution to your struggles to appear one day, by magic. Like a pen, for instance, that downloads your manuscript from your brain right onto the page! (Okay, that's a little over the top, but a girl can dream...)

You may not be waiting for something quite as unrealistic, but even waiting for "inspiration" and "motivation" are examples of god in the machine.

You're not in a novel, finding a magical item is highly unlikely, and happy endings just aren't guaranteed...by any measure.

The only way you can secure a fulfilling future is if you set out to create one for yourself.

Your entire success depends on you and the choices you make, and on being responsible for your own actions. It might be scary at first, but it's way better than leaving it to The Universe to determine your success or failure in life.

You've given up already (and you shouldn't have.)

You may not have said it out loud, and you might never say it out loud, but that doesn't mean you haven't had some thoughts.

It may be that your subconscious has convinced you that you're not ready for greatness yet, or that the creative life just isn't a possibility in your life right now. Or it may be that at some point you concluded that you're just an "ordinary" person, and that your vision is just too big. And so, it ends up that everything you do is half-hearted, or you stop trying at all.

If you do have any of these thoughts, there's nothing I can do to change them for you. If you believe you're ordinary and can't do it, that's your truth - and no one will ever be able to change that besides you. But that's actually the good news. Because at any time in your life, you can decide not to be simply ordinary anymore. You can raise your own standards, and answer the call.

The world is waiting.

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TSLS 0025 - The real reason writers write

Being a writer isn’t a choice...it’s a destiny. 

You can choose to ignore it if you want to. You can choose not to pick up the pen today, and slob out on the sofa instead - but there’s only so many days you can evade your purpose without starting to feel like a huge epic failure, and that’s a fact. 

There are hundred of glorious aspects of being a writer - but there will also be a lot of times where you'll wish it was easier. So, if you’ve ever looked at your manuscript and thought to yourself: 

“Why couldn’t I have had an easier lot in life? Why did The Universe hand this purpose down to me?”

Here’s the groundbreaking revelation you need to understand: 

@@Your life's purpose is not about you.@@

You weren’t given a purpose in life for your benefit - it was given to you so you can benefit the world. You have a duty to fulfil, and only in fulfilling it will you find your rewards.

Instead of thinking about how hard and unfair it is, think about how many reader's lives you'll touch. Think about how many people will smile as a result of your words, and how many people will be inspired by you throughout your career.

If you decided not to bring your stories into being, no one else in this world would. No one else could. And that’s a wonderful reason to stick at it.

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TSLS 0024 - Is your first draft terrible?

Allow yourself to be terrible!

You need to start somewhere.

Give yourself the grace period, the opportunity, the freedom of creating something completely, unabashedly, embarrassingly bad.

I know in your mind and in your heart, you will die a little inside when I tell you to start the e-book you've been dreaming about in a shitty Word document. Or to start your blog with one lone post.

I know your soul will cry out:

"No graphics? No formatting? Arial font?!"

But that's just perfectionism speaking.

Perfectionism is an emotional block, and a huge one at that.

It will never come out as the masterpiece you see in your mind right away...but that's not a bad thing. Because as soon as you surrender yourself to the idea that it will never be as perfect then get it down in physical form anyway, you will free yourself. 

Not only will you have something physical to work with, but you'll open space in your mind for even bigger, better ideas. New opportunities will come into your life in a way they simply weren't able to before, when you had your blinkers on and were closed to new things.

Unless it's on paper, you're not in control of your idea, it's in control of you. 

You might think you're protecting your idea from being ripped apart by the world, but really, your precious idea is holding you back from moving forward in your creative growth like a jealous boyfriend.

I'm not saying your idea can't ever be good. I'm saying that you need to bring it into the light before you can see what it really is right at this moment.

You need to analyse it under the magnifying glass, naked, expose its vulnerabilities, then when you realise that you love it anyway... you can truly commit to make it as awesome as it can be.

What you bring into the world won't ever be perfect...

But it can still be really, really good.

At first it will be terrible, but you can always make it better.

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TSLS 0023 - "Who am I to share my story?" (Avoiding impostor syndrome as a writer, teacher or speaker.)

"Who am I to teach? I'm not perfect."

"Why would anyone want to listen to me?"

"Doesn't wanting to teach and help others make me a huge hypocrite?"

I used to think admitting struggles or setbacks in my creative life would somehow make me look less credible, but most of the time, I've found that the case is usually the complete opposite.

According to Carl Jung, all this means is that we're all "wounded healers".

And that's not a bad thing.

Jung believed that the main reason people feel compelled to teach is when they've been through an experience themselves and want to help others through it too, because they don't want anyone else to suffer the way they did.

They try to heal others, because they themselves know what it's like to be wounded, and that's a beautiful thing. Wouldn't you agree?

Who wants to learn from someone who acts like they've always been perfect?

Who would even trust a person who is teaching about something they've never been through?

Using your experiences to help other people shouldn't be something to be ashamed of - it's actually something to be proud of, and to embrace. Because no one can deny your credibility when you're speaking from personal experience, your own journey of overcoming.

So if you're ever worried that you're not ready, or you're thinking: "Who am I to write this?" You're a wounded healer, which makes you the perfect person.

You don't have to be flawless or have completely "defeated" something in order to share your life lessons on the topic. Even if you fall from grace sometimes or don't always practice what you preach, it doesn't make you any less of a teacher. 

Your wounds don't all have to be neatly healed before you can heal others.

So please stop doubting yourself, and think about all the people you will help with your stories.

Then get out there and heal some wounds.

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TSLS 0021 - 3 Things You Should Never, Ever Say If You Want To Become A Successful Writer

I’m sure there’s more than three things people shouldn’t say if we want to become successful writers, if you actually think about it.

Like saying you’re a huge fan of Hitler; I can imagine that wouldn’t go down very well. Or how much you love Trump and what a fantastic job he did in office. But today I’m not talking about that! I’m talking about the things we as writers say to ourselves that can throw you off your path to growth and greatness. 

So check this out, because if you have heard yourself saying any of these things lately (consciously or unconsciously), this is your intervention.

“I know how to do it all.”

Most writers don’t say this one directly. Because that would be super arrogant, right? Instead it comes out in the world through action. For instance, you might convince yourself you don't need an editor because you think they're overrated and expensive. Or you don't need a cover designer, because everyone knows how to take a few pictures and edit them these days, don't they? 

I don't want to come across as high and mighty here, because I was absolutely one of these people. My first fiction book received extremely mixed reviews. People were going crazy over the story and the characters, and I'd receive personal letters and fan pictures from fans. The book was even long-listed for a national prize, so for the most part, I was proud of what I'd accomplished. But, there was also a dark side. People had criticised the book for its lack of editing. I'd made a few simple mistakes that irked some people. While I've completely learnt my lesson now, and am hoping to get the book republished with the help of a proper editor, but I could've avoided all of this if I'd invested in the proper necessities the first time around. 

Don’t be me. Independence is important, but the moral of this section is that just because you think you're alone, doesn't mean you are. And even though you can do everything alone, doesn't mean you should. 

“I don’t need to practice.”

Writers who say, "I don't need to practice" are always shocked when they come back to writing after a long break and end up blocked, or to find people who have less talent overtake them in the business. 

Practice is essential for learning and growing and becoming the best author you can be.So if you have a love affair with writing, treat it with the respect it deserves, and know that a writer that doesn’t regularly push themselves a little is a washed-out writer.

“I’ll always succeed.”

I feel like this one is relatively new and slightly my fault! In my quest to motivate and empower writers, I may have created a few egomanics that I’ve had to rein back in. 

The thing is: I’m always the first to tell writers that there is a specific destiny for them, a path laid out by The Universe that with simply a couple of intentional thoughts and actions, they can achieve. 

But the keyword here is actions. 

It’s absolutely not just going to happen on its own, so please don’t take your inevitable idea of success as a way of getting out of the work. It’s not an excuse to be reckless, or to not do your research, or flaunting common sense or the basic laws of the world and nature - thinking that you can do anything in the knowledge that life will sort itself out, that you will be fine and The Universe will always be there to pick up the pieces every time. 

Your horror book just might not be the best thing to put out on Valentine’s Day. Your book DOES actually need that fourth edit. No, the publishers didn’t have a personal vendetta against your greatness. We all have the potential to succeed, just not every time, because The Universe runs on its own time, and you just have to work with it.

Anyone can succeed if they work hard and earn it, but not simply because they believe they have the right to it. And honestly, don't be afraid to fail a couple times, until you win.

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TSLS 0020 - My terrible experience with @WriteToDone (and why you shouldn’t change your writing voice for anyone)

As a spiritual person, I try not to dwell on negative lessons from The Universe.

Once in a while though, they teach you something you wouldn't have learnt otherwise. I now have an experience I can pass on to other writers as a cautionary tale.

The lesson? Never, ever let anyone stifle your writing voice.

The choice of words YOU put on paper, the style YOU want to convey and the message YOU need to share. Because if you do, you sacrifice your purpose for theirs.

Here's how WriteToDone helped me come to this valuable realisation.

It all started with me contacting the website, politely asking them to remove a comment I had posted. I wasn’t applying to guest post - that hadn’t even entered my mind. It was the founder Mary Jaksch, who then asked me for the url of my website.

I was honoured, so I gave her the url, and here is the email she sent back in her exact words: "I like your style, Stephanie! How about writing a post for WriteToDone?"

 

I was thrilled! How exciting to do a guest post for such a great website. This, however, is when things started to go pear-shaped.

I drafted up a quote-based post (which I’ll probably end up posting here at a later date!) that I really believed in and was super proud of.

When I sent the post to Mary, her editor Vinita took over proceedings, and let’s just say it felt like I had just sold my soul.

Suddenly didn’t seem like an “invite” to guest post at all. Suddenly I was lower than them, just an employee, a person to be dominated and bossed around for their gain.

I could have handled critique on grammar or how to open the post better. But it was clear the post was being judged on a criteria that came straight from a checklist that just didn't work with the post I'd written. Here are a few examples of what Vinita wanted me to do:

  • "Connect with the reader": Okay, in what way? What do I specifically need to improve on to do that? This is one of those stock phrases from someone who really doesn’t have a clue.
  • Add a conclusion: No, sorry. This post is a powerful, drop-the-mic piece that is supposed to leave the audience in awe, not fizzle out like a college presentation.
  • Elaborate on each quote: Nope. Because what could I really add to the words of people like George T. Elliot and Martin Luther King? As if the quotes aren’t enough on their own? That only insults the original creator and patronises the reader.

Vinita the editor wasn’t impressed by someone actually standing behind their work, and wanted me to just do it exactly how she wanted.  

Well, you know what?

If you want something written exactly to your specifications, you don’t “invite” a writer, you HIRE a writer. - (Tweet this!)

You give them money in exchange for exactly what you want. But it’s much easier and cheaper to exploit writers that don’t know any better, isn’t it?

I’m appalled that this treatment came from a fellow writing website, in the midst of an important world outcry about writers being exploited and used for work without pay, championed by excellent writers such as Chuck Wendig and Kristen Lamb. It’s just plain wrong.

Oh, but the worst was yet to come.

It turns out I was actually being discriminated against because I wasn't as well-known as other guest bloggers.

Vinita had asked me to refer to the popular posts for how to write a conclusion (which I knew would have completely dampened my piece). But when I did just that, I found a wealth of articles written by people who HADN’T written conclusions.

People like Leo Babauta and Katie Tallo were free to keep their identities, their freedom of speech and their unique writing styles - but I had to surrender mine if I wanted a place on the website.

In the end, I did swallow my pride and changed the post slightly…defying my own golden rule:

@@Never do anything out of desperation or fear.@@

I didn’t want to be seen as a "trouble-maker", so I did add a short conclusion and changed a few other bits, but it stopped sounding like me completely. And it left me with the WORST taste in my mouth.

A voice in my head kept saying, “You did not become a writer to become a sellout. You did not become an entrepreneur to have people tell you what to do.

The next day, Vinita came back with even more hazy suggestions for improvement, and made it clear that this was my "last chance" to get it right, or else. So as well as exploitation and discrimination, extortion was now on the list. I was ready to let the opportunity go.

Without my personal style, Mary wouldn’t have taken notice of me in the first place, so to give that up seemed insane. If us writers are good enough to be noticed for it once, we’re good enough to noticed for it again in future, by people who fully appreciate it. People who won't invite you to guest post, then ask you to change your entire style.

They didn’t take my guest post, and I couldn’t be HAPPIER.

Honestly, so much stress over something I hadn't wanted to do in the first place, but was actually invited to do.

Here’s the lesson in all of this, for you. 

The Universe has a plan for your life, and your intuition is the only thing keeping you on track with it. It can be exceptionally hard to listen when someone comes along and waves a huge, supposedly golden ticket in your face. But at what cost?

How is your intuition supposed to guide you if you’re always prepared to give in to the quicker, easier option?

How are you supposed to discover the path that is truly meant for you if you willingly surrender it?

And if you don’t protect your style, your voice, your future, who will?

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TSLS 0019 - How to reprogram your mind to produce great work

I stumbled into writing at a super young age.

People picked up on the fact that it came naturally to me, and gave me opportunities. I’ve ghostwritten for executives, won national awards, studied with the UK’s best universities and showcased my work in the UK's best cities, and I feel like I’ve already had a better writing career than most people in their thirties and forties (which I'm so so grateful for). I was simply set on a path by The Universe, and I didn’t resist or argue - which is why I believe that writing is a destiny.

If it's yours, I'm sure there'll be a point for you too where you’ll realise:

This is it. This is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life."

When it hit me that I might have to deal with that, though - being a writer (and having all the associated pains that come with it) for the rest of my life - I started to worry. 

It’s not just the writing we commit to, is it? I thought. It's also the fear. The overwhelming, 24/7, around the clock fear. Fear of judgement from others. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that there's no specific roadmap to follow to keep it profitable and sustainable.

People search their entire lives for their purpose. It's supposed to be an incredible thing once you find it. And yet, when it happened to me, all I could think was, what am I going to do now?

I'd fallen into over-hyped, generalised, stereotypical thinking.

Let's get this straight right now: writing is a beautiful, spiritual thing. It's not something that should cause you emotional pain.

It is NOT natural to spend every day wracked with fear, and if you are, something is wrong.

@@Your life as a writer might be mandatory, but pain is optional.@@

You need to decide what you're going to do to make your life and your destiny work for you, and stop letting mass opinion dictate how you should feel about it. You need to ask yourself:

1. What can I do to end the cycle of fear that happens every time I start a new piece of work?

2. What can I use to help me move towards my dreams, and encourage me to become the best I can be?

When I asked myself these questions, they led me to create The Authorship Program®. It serves as my compass and guide to a better writing life every day. It's there for me whenever fear tries to take over and make me forget who I am.

Writing The Authorship Program® was the best decision I've ever made. And guess what? You’re lucky. Because if you're interested in getting a personal writing companion for yourself, you don’t have to wait five and a half years to get it like I did. It happens to be available right now.

So, in conclusion...

Change your beliefs, like I did with mine. 

I wasn't prepared to sit down and feel sorry for myself for the rest of my life. I wasn't prepared to think of my vocation, my life path, my future, my destiny as a curse. Are you?

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TSLS 0018 - Three things it'll actually take for you to write a book this year

Have you ever wondered what it actually takes to write a book? What you actually need to take the dream out of your mind and set it into motion?

There are three things I wouldn't have survived without. And you might be surprised because they're actually not that outrageous or expensive or out of reach - so if you want this year to be the one, this is for you.

Get some support: accountability is the key.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?
If someone strives for a goal and no one cares, does it matter if they fail?

It’s too easy to default back to procrastination when no one is supporting you or your goals...waaay too easy.

Most of us don't have the strength to be accountable for ourselves even if we want it more than anything. No one is watching so we start slacking, then we realise that no one cares, which allows you to slack even more.

There's nothing like a community of people either learning together or going for the same goals to make big things happen. Nothing like a reality-check from your personal board of directors to help you make the one snap decision that changes your life. 

You need accountability in your creative life, and help finding it...which is where I come in (because I can help you get the RIGHT type of accountability).

Get some clarity: acquire the right kind of knowledge to move forward with your goals.

It's my life’s work to help you get creative and paid, and not by a fluke. It’s a passion and a craft that I've practiced and preached and earned from for years...so that you don’t have to.

You can now come right to the source, and get the results you’ve been yearning for your entire life. 

Imagine if there was a step-by-step framework that could help you navigate the hard parts. Imagine if you could use 15 principles as a roadmap to your success, always knew how to move forward with your creative projects, and were never hindered by your anxieties, insecurities or fears ever again. How's that for clarity?

Get some empowerment: so you can do the exciting (but hard) work

Listen to me closely, now, and answer honestly. Do you want it? Do you really want this? 

Then you should value a longer term strategies that will serve your writing career for a lifetime, over the fleeting joy of a quick scam weekend. If 12 weeks sounds too long to you, you're not in it to win it.

Work, actual work must happen for you to achieve the success you want. That doesn't change no matter how much you try to wriggle out of it and procrastinate and complain. But when you're empowered it can be fun. You can be unstoppable. 

The sooner you empower yourself with the right practices, principles and tools, the better.

This is why you needed to be in The Authorship Program® online course, like, yesterday.

But don’t worry…there’s still time!

The Authorship Program® online course does all three of these things - it provides you with 12 weeks of all the SUPPORT, CLARITY and EMPOWERMENT you could ever need on your journey to become the world’s next bestselling author. 

This is a multimedia experience that shows you how to use spirituality and personal development to break through any creative challenge. Using holistic approaches and 15 guiding principles, it works through 100+ of the most common anxieties, insecurities and fears writers have around writing and the writing life. This 12 week program offers you a complete makeover that will transform your mind and spirit. By the end of the experience, you will feel rejuvenated, confident, brimming with fresh new ideas, and completely prepared to break through any creative challenge

This program is way more than your average course: it’s an all-around guide to surviving the writing life. You'll come out of this program with a complete system for finding mentors, boosting productivity and for creating the life you’ve always dreamed of.

So, you've decided that you're worth it, right?
You've decided that the world needs what only you can offer. You've decided that your time is now.

It's time to CHALLENGE yourself to step up and level up your writing game in just 12 weeks.

What would you do if you weren't crippled by insecurities? What would you be writing now? What would you be sharing? How would you be living?

This is how you find out.

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TSLS 0017 - 4 signs you're ready to write your book

Making the decision to write a book is a big task...so how do you know if you’re actually up for it?

In this blog post I just want to help out anyone who is thinking about it but has no idea where to start. Having written a truckload of stories, poems and plays, I have the top four signs that you might just be ready.

1) Are you playing scenes in your head?

Snippets in notebooks. Lines of dialogue. Conversations between people who haven’t even been transcribed into the world by you yet. These are all the key signs that you’re getting the creative itch, and a new story is in the works. 

Sometimes it isn’t even exclusively limited to simply book scenes either.Sometimes it is full on life scenes from your future life, too: you accepting your awards, holding them up in tears in front of an audience of your raving fans in the spotlight. Or you preparing with the director for reading of the treatment of your debut movie. You want something more, something bigger in your life and right now, your brain is dipping its foot out into the waters, daydreaming and seeing if it's possible - or more importantly, if it's possible for you.

2) Do you have a good idea of who you will dedicate the book to?

This one is always an interesting sign. When you’re thinking about writing a new book, naturally one of the things most authors do is think about their future audience, or their future fans, or who the book will entertain in the world. And you think about the people closest to you in your life or the social group you are hoping to influence with your words in the hope that one day you can dedicate a small piece of your heart to them.

(Oh, and if you hadn’t thought about that before, you totally are now. You are, aren’t you?)

3) Are you suffering from munschasen sydrome?

So there’s this syndrome and since I learnt it from Ash Ambirge, I haven’t been able to get over it because it is SO IMPORTANT for writers to know. It’s the idea that once you get an idea in your head, it holds space there until you either give up on it or do it. That idea literally haunts you, preventing you from moving forward or having space for any other ideas until you use up that one. Isn’t that crazy? But somehow I know you’ve had that feeling. It just sticks in the back of your head, stressing you out. And you don’t want that, do you?

4) Are the books you read calling to you, (or mocking you)?

Okay, so this sign has two factors. Factor one: the books you’ve been reading lately have just been so good and so inspiring and worldview expanding that you can’t help but feel that you want to bring your own goodness into the world in the same way. 

Then there is more commonly, Factor Two: you’ve read some read lame-o’s in the past couple of months and it is filling you with irrational envy. If these people could get their junk published, why not me? I could do better than this! (And that is the story of how so many authors are born…)

So those are four signs. But check this out.

The biggest sign of all is the fact that you're reading this article. 

No matter what you believe right now, you actually don't have to fit any kind of mold to truly be ready to turn the world out with your art. 

All your writing problems are emotional, and so above anything else, I know you're simply seeking that push to get started. That feeling that someone has your back, and can help you through the trials you know you’ll face along the way. The Authorship Program® can provide that for you, so join us in the online course today! We also offer the most incredible community you will ever experience in your lifetime. 

If you were looking for permission, consider this yours.

You can do anything you set your mind to. 

You have permission.

And you’re 100% ready.

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