Posts in Fearless Creativity
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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How to write more

I don't know you, but I know that one possible reason you're not writing as much as you'd like is because you're waiting for it to happen on auto pilot.

Somewhere along the line we got caught up in the romantic idea of an idea striking us from the heavens, resulting in a flurry of fingers and a pile of papers to show for it at the end of the day. No stress, no fuss. There are too many movies where writers just yawn, stretch, and mosey over to their computers knowing exactly what to write and getting it all perfect the first time.

You may have lost your initial motivation and passion for your project, but you're praying that someday by some miracle, it'll all come rushing back and you'll get that thing done...finally.

The simple actions we do everyday to live take millions of micro actions in your brain to perform - but they're all on autopilot. The steps we need to take in order to start and finish a piece of writing? Not so much, unfortunately.

Writing always has, and always will require a conscious choice.

This is the reason why we don't actually go and sit down to write immediately when we consider it instead of whinging about it all the time. It's not that simple. We know how to take the first technical step, but not the first courageous step. So what is the first step, exactly?

Find the story that desperately needs to be shared.

That message needs to be stronger and more important than anything else in the moment.

You need to be convinced, wholeheartedly, that what you have to say is the most important thing in the entire world in that moment. That what you have to say will be important and worthwhile to someone, even if that person is just you. 

So today, think about what really, really needs to be said. What is really important and needs to be brought into the world, by you.

That's when it comes easily.

That's when you'll begin.

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The answer is always yes

There is no need for doubt, because the answer is always yes.

LISTEN TO ME!

There is NO NEED for DOUBT, because the answer is ALWAYS YES.

In your life, in your work, in your relationship, in your destiny.

When you have a success-centered mindset, you have to know that the answer is always yes. Even a failure or a setback is a yes to something in your future that you don’t even have any idea is coming for you. If you succeed, there was nothing to worry about because it was destined for you. You were meant to have it. Doubt is a useless emotion that only hinders either of these outcomes.

So when you’re doubting that what you have to say is worthwhile, and let me tell you, it is. The answer is always yes, fact.

And when you’re doubting that you don’t have the talent, remember that it’s not about you. No one is telling you to take off your clothes. You are the one who has been called to share a certain message, a message worth sharing. And sure, the journey might feel a little uncomfortable at times, because you’ll always feel that desire to portray the message in the best way you possibly can, but just know that's not doubt. That's being vulnerable, and that's what the world needs.

When you’re doubting that your message is too BIG, or too small, or whatever other worry you have in your mind right now - know that even if you make the biggest mistake of your entire career tomorrow, you'll keep breathing.

The sun will still rise.

And the only thing you'll have to face is your own embarrassment, which you can CHOOSE not to have! You can start right now. Because you are not the centre of everyone's universe, you are but a piece. And you do not have to carry the burden of embarrassment on your journey because it is a self-inflicted form of torture or sadomasochism that affects no one else’s life but your own.

If you fail, you can just do something else.

If people don't like it, you can just change you strategy.

If you were vulnerable, you can be proud of yourself.

There is no doubt strong enough in this world that has the power to ruin your dream, unless you give it the power to do so.

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Who are we to share our stories?

"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 it’s usually the complete opposite.

According to Carl Jung, all this means is that I’m a "wounded healer". We all are.

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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The artist and the judge

There are two parts of every writer: you, and the judge.

You are carefree, passionate, and someone who loves the act of turning words into art. You laugh at spelling mistakes and swear in your first drafts. Your grammar is terrible, but you don't care. You paint with your words, make up things that make no sense at all, and when you're in the zone in this way, you love it. 

The Judge is a hard-faced cow who only cares about the outside world, the impact the work will have, and to whom. She's the one that makes you change words, backspace, edit plot points and structure. She is uptight, terrified and of course, judge-y.

The Judge is always over at your house during the first draft, which drains your creative energy. She always asks things like, "Who would read this? Who would even want this? What is the point of this?" which creates two issues: doubt, and unfinished work.

If you have 200 unfinished manuscripts in the "Misc" folder on the computer right now, you know what I'm talking about. The judge has judged.

Now, please note that The Judge isn't a bad person. She does only have your best interests at heart. Like a mother, she stops you from doing stupid stuff or unleashing something completely unfit for purpose into the world. But in the midst of creation, you just can't worry about that. 

You know what you want to express. You have to do it your way, no matter how messy or flawed or ridiculous, while the iron is still hot. Because if you don't, you risk losing the message of the work, and the passion in the message of the work.

Here's how you kick The Judge out of your house.

  • Pick any manuscript and start writing.

  • Go and make a fucking mess, and don't worry about it! Know that you'll probably - no, definitely - have to change it all up later.

  • Embrace your work. Go. Play. Ignore spelling mistakes or grammar and just say what you have to say. 

You are going to hate doing this at first, because it feels mean. The Judge will be outside the door, yelling her concerns through the letterbox. You need to ignore her and write. Anything. Whatever comes to mind. Do it as fast as you can, until you complete something. 

No matter what she says, you'll only truly know whether something is good or not when it's complete.

You'll only truly know if there's a place in this world for your work, or not, if it's complete. 

And if you decide it's not, it wasn't a waste of time. It will be a complete work of art that you can learn from, expand on and feel great about. And thats incredible.

Forget about The Judge entirely until you're done, if you can. She can visit later.

For now though, you know what to do.

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The ultimate writer's block pep-talk

We've all experienced "writer's block" at one time or another, right?

You know, that feeling that all your best ideas have been stolen away by "the boogeyman".

Where you can't remember your writing voice and everything you spit out seems stale and unoriginal. That is, if you're spitting out anything at all. A lot of the time you're just in the staring phase, paralysed by the blank page and the thought of defiling it is making you a little sick, to be honest. Right?

This feeling has been annoying, frustrating and even debilitating for me in the past, so I can relate if you feel like this is where you are right now...but I also have some ultra-fantastic news for you.

"Writer's block" is curable, you've just got to stop acting like it's not.

And I don't mean that in some fluffy woo-woo, "The Secret" kind of way. This is a fact:

If you freak out every time you get stuck on your latest writing project and convince yourself that it is forever instead of just a season, you'll turn something that was really only a small setback into a hideous, debilitating long-term issue.

You are not blocked forever. You're not going to suffer forever. And in fact, the suffering can end exactly when YOU decide.

"Writers' Block" is simply a type of fear that gets stronger every time you call it by this name.

@@"Writers' Block" is simply a type of fear that gets stronger every time you call it this name.@@

In The Authorship Program®, we discuss the importance of knowing that some beliefs are limited, and some are unlimited. Some beliefs are useful, and others are detrimental. Writer's block is the most detrimental belief of all.

Feeding into the idea of it and giving it more strength and weight in your life than it should have is only keeping it around longer than it needs to be.

So, how long is it going to take you to gather the courage to turn on the lights and peer under the bed, only to find that "the boogeyman" is just a pair of old socks?

How long will you let fear eat away at everything that was fun and good about writing, instead of plunging in and remembering that it isn't so bad after all?

There's no physical reason you can't pick up a pen and start writing whenever you want to.

Don't tell yourself you can't - you can.

And you will when you're ready.

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Your best self

We as human beings strive so hard to succeed.

I know I’ve worked day and night on a goal without coming up for air for months in the past - but I never realised how crazy it looked until I saw my other friends doing the same. Constantly changing and updating things that didn't need to be updated. Fixing things about themselves that didn't need to be fixed. Pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion and burnout. It’s too much!

But we really don't need to stress out so much. It's gotten to the point where we all need to relaaaax.

We expect too much of ourselves, and I'd like to propose a change. Because here's what you should know:

Your best self isn't the impossible standard you hold yourself to in your dreams —

It's how you show up in the every day

I promise you this: no singular accomplishment, no matter how badly you want it, will ever make you say: 

"Great! I've finally reached my greatest potential."

The goal posts from The Universe shift, and you'd soon find another goal to attach your self-worth to. So that's not what it's all about. It's not about goals, it's not about what you want, it's about who you are and what you're doing with your life in the everyday moments.

  • Your best self is not the person on the bestseller list - they are the person who wrote a page today, even when they didn’t want to.

  • Your best self isn’t the person who “needs” to lose thirty pounds - they are the person who chose to buy gluten-free desserts instead of defaulting to donuts.

  • Your best self isn't the person on a writer's panel, they are the person who works 9-5 but is still fighting hard every weekend for their dream.

Don’t force yourself forward all the time, because all that does is stop you from appreciating the now.

In this moment, you have all you have been and all you will be inside of you. In this moment, you have it all.

So you don't have to bully yourself into doing more, or throw yourself desperately at whatever it is you think is "success". You're on an important journey right now, and the most important thing is that you fully live every moment.

Success isn't attached to a single, tangible achievement or object. 

It's in how you feel and what you do.

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The "Mina Schwartz" effect (or, how to stop comparison from destroying your writing career.)

Frankly, I’m quite sick of women like Mina Schwartz.

She (or, insert other highly enlightened author/speaker/guru whose blog you follow here) represents something unintentionally daunting for the everyday writer: the idea that if you're not at her level of success, you're not a success.

She represents the plague of comparison that is sweeping across the nation due to the idea of “insta-success” that's being shoved down our throats at every turn.

I’m sick of writers coming to me believing that success is something they can buy. As if just by finding the right professional photographer or attending the right seminar, everything will fall into place, and they'll become successful by default. "That's what Mina Schwartz is doing," they say, "so it must be how I should do it".

Mina (and people like her) are probably the reason you're feeling so helpless about your writing career right now, and why, when the going gets tough, your first instinct is to throw in the towel.

You might have just realised that the dream they sold you isn’t exactly as advertised, so now you want to take it back to the store.

Like the time you published your first blog post? It was meant to go viral, right? Well, it didn’t - and now you’re all confused, thinking to yourself: “This was not how it was supposed to work. This is not how I was supposed to feel.”

@@The idea that you need to become “big” overnight is exactly what’s keeping you small.@@

Just because Mina Schwartz released 3 blog posts in the last hour complete with worksheets and an audiobook, doesn't mean that you should get all unmotivated, and not write the one or two blog posts you intended to write today.

And if it only reaches 15 people? Don't let that make you feel like a failure, or damage your ego. No one is judging you, comparing you, or assessing your achievements alongside Mina Schwartz, except you.

@@Your dream is something you have to grow into.@@

I know they say you should “fake it 'til you make it”, but that doesn’t mean wiping yourself out trying to keep up with your idols, getting into debt or losing your own sense of identity in the process.

You’re forgetting that they’ve been where you are. They’ve experienced their fair share of the failure and self-doubt that you’re experiencing right now. But they didn’t try to cheat, take the easy road, or sacrifice their authenticity. They fought hard to be the people you admire so much today.

You need to be at peace with the fact that you are where you are. That might mean that there are lessons still to be learned, or that you just haven’t figured out what your authentic rhythm is. Perhaps because you haven’t been listening.

What would make you happy to create today, regardless of what everyone else in the world is doing? Do this every day and share it with the world. That's all it takes for you to leave comparison behind, and to start enjoying the process again.

Do you have a story about comparison that you can share with me (without using names)? I'd love to hear it over on Facebook.

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What really holds you back from using your writing voice

Never start a sentence with "and" or "because". Never write prologues, or epilogues. Never start a novel with your main character waking up. Never say "never" and always avoid "always". You know, stuff like that.

These are the rules of writing you must never break otherwise you'll never become an upstanding member of the writing community and all your writing will fail. 

Just kidding.

The rules were created with good intentions, but it's time to rethink them - because your fear of doing something that might be "wrong" is what’s holding you back from finding your real writing voice.

There are no rules in writing.

At best the rules are but feeble suggestions, which didn’t hold back any of the most successful authors of all time - like Shakespeare whose works were filled with almost entirely his own lexicon of words and phrases; or writers like E.L. James, who may not have conformed to the standards of traditional writing, but still gained a raving fan base worldwide.

There are no rules in writing.

No list of rules will ever make your novel famous, or save you from critical comments. No formula will determine how people will feel about your story, or how well the world receives your characters. No one can teach you how to write. Teach yourself, through courageous expression and experimentation.

There are no rules in writing.

No one will ever be able to bring the same perspective or insight to the blank page as you. Not now, not in the future, not EVER, unless they actively copied you. Do you realise who incredible that is?

There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, and you have the power to sculpt, rearrange, and touch people's souls with them in a way that is as unique as your fingerprint! Why stifle that with regulations?

There are no rules in writing.

There are no limitations.

Write your novel even if you're worried it might not be in fashion at the moment. It might have never been in fashion before. It might be so experimental you don't even have a name for it yet. It doesn't matter, just write.

You don't know what the next big novel will be, no one does, so there’s nothing to say it won’t be yours.

There are no rules in writing.

Stop colouring within the lines, stop worrying about what other people will think of you. You already have everything you need to create the work you want to bring into this world.

Don’t allow the “rules” to hold you back, because there are none.

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The world needs you to be yourself (and by that I mean, to not hold back.)

A lot of people will tell you throughout your life to "be yourself", which is cliche.

We are being ourselves at all times, aren't we? Unless we're intentionally lying or deceiving. We are all here, right now, in our bodies, in our shells - we are here, we are present, and the only thing we can be is ourselves. 

People said it to me when I was younger and all it left me thinking was, "Okay, how? What do I specifically need to do?" 

(I was a very results-oriented child.)

"Be yourself" doesn't come with any further guidance on the matter. It has no before and after, and just doesn't mean much to anyone.

So I'd like to propose a better alternative...don't hold back.

That's where your story lies.

We are always ourselves, but we can all remember a time where we've held back out of fear, am I right? "Don't hold back" because when you not holding back can be measured, noticed, expanded upon. Here's how to put this into action:

  • Don't do anything that you don't like, just because you think it'll impress.

  • Don't be ashamed of the things you love.

  • Don't be afraid to say what you really feel, and believe that you truly believe.

  • Forget about wanting people to agree with you.

  • Forget that you might be writing in a way that the experts might not agree with.

There is something powerful in not holding back, for every single one of us.

We all have this sense of knowing when someone isn't being themselves, whether we're aware of it or not. There will be a lack of true connection - a cavern of unease between us and the people overflowing with insecurities, or the person trying to deceive us by acting like something they're not. Don't be that person.

You wouldn't believe how much better it feels, too. The moment you're ready and willing to say to the world, "I am who I am"? That's the moment that things will radically change for you. The moment your brand emerges. The moment your version of success truly becomes possible for you.

The people you meet, the places you go and the opportunities that arise will become more relevant than ever, and will take you closer to your ultimate goals than a lifetime of imitation or dishonesty ever could.

Don't hold back.

The Universe will respond.

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They are cool, but so are you.

Have you ever felt pressured to change after seeing someone who seems cooler than you?

Hip. On trend. Hashtag popular.

Last week you were secure in yourself and in what you wanted to do, rocking with your #wholewriter...today, you're confused because what this other person is doing looks so cool that now you can't even remember what you wanted or who you were before.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, they say, but I saw this person doing X so now I want to do that!”

You're not truly interested in this new passion or hobby, but you've seen someone else doing well with it, so now you're suddenly convinced that this is the way.

It’s all about seeking the easier option, the faster option, the path that’s already been travelled these days. The one that seems simple because there's a stick to measure ourselves against.

Taking influence from someone else is so much easier and faster than developing your own purpose, mission and goals, and devoting ourselves to them, isn't it?

How quickly we discard our talents for fear that it won’t work out, or that it’s not cool enough.

Your path, your identity and your image of yourself will always be growing and expanding, and it WILL be swayed and influenced by different things as you continue to live your life.

But sometimes, when you get lit up by someone else’s fire, you subconsciously forget your own.

We're pulled around and influenced by new things everyday - some good, some bad, some completely wrong for us - when all The Universe wants is to do is to pull us back and scream:

You don’t need to change yourself, no matter how shiny other people appear, or how cool the next big thing appears to be.

The Universe has its own unique plans for you.

Best believe it.

So take a deep breath, and trust that inner voice that knows exactly what would be best for you. And whenever you feel fear trying to take you off your path in the form of someone else's new product or video or latest instagram pic, you need to say to yourself:

“Wow, this is amazing, just like my future self/work/mission is going to be”.

Admire others, and be influenced by others, but don’t forget who you are.

No one on this earth is so amazing that you should overwrite yourself trying to become them.

Yes they are cool, and so are you.

Yes they’ve found their way, and so will you.

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The other human beings (or, why you should ignore everybody and write)

Typically, writing comes easily to me... 

It's just a streaming set of thoughts that flow from my mind through my forearms and wrists, and into this weird computerised machine that collects my thoughts and makes them readable for other human beings to enjoy. It's a simple process, a random and often mystical one.

All of that comes to a halt, however, when I think about the "other human beings". 

All the people in my life that have ever read something of mine and criticised. The people who love to give "helpful suggestions" on what you should have done, or could have done better. The people who always have something to say.

As soon as I do that, the words get stunted and stuck. It's like they're not coming from me anymore, they start coming from my insecurities and desire to please. 

But what I've learnt from past experience is that you can't force yourself into conformity or ban yourself from creating what your #wholewriter really wants to create, because you're just doing yourself a massive disservice.

Writing for others only starts a downward spiral that drags everything courageous and brilliant about you to its depths. And before you know it, you’ll have settled into a boring, mediocre writing life based on all the things everyone else wanted from you.

@@If you create something to please others and succeed, it won't feel like success to you.@@

Worst of all, you lose the ones that would have loved it in your original voice, the way you crafted it in the first place. 

Oh, because didn't you know? There will be some absolutely perfect people out there; people who your words will be a complete revelation to. Because The Universe didn't create you in a vaccuum, unrelatable to absolutely no one else out there on the planet. No, you have a tribe - a big one. And what you have to say is in your mind for a reason. You just have to keep out putting your authentic voice and style out there, and shooing all the "other human beings" away with a broom, until you find them.

It's your responsibility to create. It's a reader's responsibility to like it or dislike it. But it's never your responsibility to tailor what you create to anyone else's likes or dislikes.

Never compromise your creativity for people who can go back to their own lives if the opinions they give you don't work out. There's no risk for them, and everything at risk for you. 

So stop thinking about the other human beings, and focus on what's in your heart.

It'll find the right "other human beings" in the end.

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Stop struggling, start thriving.

Are you struggling to finish, edit, promote or sell your creative project?

Trick question - the answer is no. You are NOT struggling.

"Struggle" is a hideous word that teaches you to feel helpless about yourself, it stems from an inaccurate, limiting belief that is blocking gratitude in your life. Nothing good ever comes from the word "struggle":

@@The word struggle is the arch-nemesis of abundance.@@ 

I can guarantee that 90% of the times you've used the word, it wasn't necessary. It's just a negative condition for your mind to attach itself to in times of stress, and doesn't better the situation in any way. What it does is just teaches your mind to despair, and surrender. 

There are so many other ways to describe your situation which won't create negative conditions in your mind, and won't bring you down. Sure, you might not be achieving the results you want right now, but you're not struggling - you're manifesting, preparing, creating, strategising, recalibrating, pivoting, transforming, transitioning, working.

Instead of: “I’m struggling to make ends meet” try, "There's no limit to the amount I can earn today."

Instead of: “I’m struggling to find a character name” try, "I have all the time I need to discover the perfect character name."

Instead of: “I’m struggling to find an agent for my book.” try, "I get closer to finding an incredible agent every single day."

Instead of: "I'm struggling to..." try, "I EXPECT to..."

Stop struggling, start manifesting.

@@I expect to change. I expect to receive. I expect to manifest.@@

Change your word from "struggling" to literally anything else, and I promise you'll feel better about yourself and the situation.

You might even unlock your brain and figure out a solution, simply because you're giving your brain the option to think in a completely different way. Radical. Banana. If you raise your expectations, your enthusiasm, your commitment and your intentions around the thing you want most from your creative career, The Universe has no other choice but to rise up and match the energy you're bringing to the situation.

Then, once you've generated the energy, you need to take action.

You manifest abundance by expecting good things from yourself and the universe, then stepping up to meet them.

Action is what closes the deal. Do what you think it would take to achieve the goal or dream that you want. Give yourself to something, in the true spirit of abundance. Believe that whatever you do will come back to you in tenfold...

And then, be ready.

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You have your own thing, go do it.

I've never in the history of my life, ever, wanted to climb a mountain.

That is, until I saw a bold, brave, beautiful woman rockin' it in a fitness magazine the other day. I stared mouth agape at the picture of her, completely confident and smiling into my soul, and suddenly I heard a voice inside myself whisper: "I need to climb a mountain."

Now, that's ridiculous, isn't it? Climbing a mountain wouldn't make me any happier, more beautiful, or confident (at least, I don't think it would). It certainly wouldn't allow be to BE that beautiful confident woman within the pages of this glossy magazine. So why? What was this compulsion to be someone I'm not and where did it come from?

If you're a Type-A person like I am, you will know this feeling.

You're chugging along nicely with your own ideas and goals, when suddenly a wild new concept appears that completely shakes your world upside down. And now all you can think about is that new concept, your ideas be damned. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea seems so much better than you feel yours could ever be. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea ignites your insecurities and makes you want to take the easy way out of the guilt you feel for not yet completing your own ideas and goals. 

Other times, it's because the person seems so confident and sure of themselves and the new idea, that you start to think it would be the coolest, most impressive and easiest thing for you to do, too.

But when this happens, you need to take a good hard look at what exactly it is you're jealous of. 99.9% of the time, it's not the actual "thing". It's the confidence surrounding the person and their thing. 

You don't necessarily want to do the "thing", but you want to feel the feeling. 

You admire the traits that have lead them into their destinies and into their highest selves and you know that if you can find that yourself, you know all the amazing things it could do for you. All the amazing ways finding it within yourself as well could transform your life.

Another example of this is when I see professional dancers.

I get instantly jealous and start thinking I want to become a professional dancer. When in reality, I’d have no passion to do that full time, I'd probably suck at it, and it isn't my calling. But I'm jealous because what they do looks so fun, I can see how hard they’ve worked at it, and I can see their best selves shining through their moves. I’ve got to stop that, and so have you.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing and focus on cultivating YOUR thing to provide the happiness you want. That kind of happiness won't come from you putting your own destiny off by looking for an alternative or easier option that totally isn't suited to you. Alright?

You have your own thing. Go do it.

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Your creative work has value.

When I started writing my spoken word poetry collection earlier this year, I had this constant nagging feeling that due to everything going on it wasn’t the right time to finish it, because it didn’t seem important enough.

It was about heartbreak which, compared to everything else that was going on in the world then and now...like, doesn’t even seem like it should be in the top #10 of things we should be worrying about in our society and lives right now. Poverty. War. Modern slavery. Racism. Ridiculous laws being brought into our world by greed every single day. How would a spoken word album about heartbreak help anyone?

Why create a spoken word album when all of this was happening and was so much more important?

Why create a spoken word album when speaking on political subjects instead might help someone more?

I tried to Google my pain to see if anyone else could relate, or to see if Google would have some kind of magical measuring stick or perfect timeline for when I would finally feel okay about creating fictional works again without feeling guilty about it. 

I typed in, “Is my work important enough?” which, as smart as Google is, it had no answer for.

I guess what I was looking for was permission to complete it.

As a black, female, and member of the LGBT community there’s almost always something that seems more important than fictional works. Something to protest, something I can be angry about if I want to be. There are countless injustices happening; and so many people, voiceless, dis-empowered and suffering. But there comes a time where you realise that you can’t always carry all of this pain on our shoulders all the time, because frankly it is exhausting. 

Creating art that is serious and political all the time would put me and my art into a box that I don’t particularly want to be in; contributing to a stereotype of an “angry black woman” in a way that most people tune out unless it’s presented to them differently these days. 

So what I realised was that yes, there were more important things I could be protest about or champion or fight for in that moment - but to even have the energy to take on those battles, you sometimes have to create for yourself first; create things that light your soul up, that make you happy, or you’ll burn out from all the stress (and that helps no one).

It’s okay to create something even if the only reason you have to do it is because your heart tells you to. This is how you will open up your greatest revelations. 

You don’t know how “important” your work might become until you do it. 

Heartbreak might not seem all that important to write about in relation to other issues that were going on at the time in the world. Not even in the top #10. But to someone who is going through it right now - it is #1 the most important issue in the world. And that’s okay. I would never go up to someone and minimise their pain, or compare it to other issues I believed were more important...so I have vowed not to do that to myself, or my art. 

I recognise now that importance is a subjective concept, and there is room for it all. I also recognised that:

“Not important enough” is simply another translation of the fear of actually creating something - the fear of wasting time and failing. 

Who knows where it could take you though if just this one time you ignored the fears that prevent you from trying and actually completed it?

Your work only has the potential to be worth anything if you actually make it

Everything you love today was once nothing but a doubtful idea in the mind of a neurotic creator. And it is often the things artists throw together in passion or frustration that turn out to become their most popular pieces, treasured and loved by their fans. 

It’s not your duty to analyse the thing you’re being told to create by the Universe. Ridiculous or serious, fiction or non, art is a bold statement in the world about your personal freedom, about the way you are choosing to express yourself, and your power to speak out.

So, this is me, giving you permission to create the art you want.

Your latest work might be the single piece of work that changes your life.

You literally, simply don’t know...but this is your permission to try.

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Don’t just wait for success, prepare for it.

Everyone is always so busy preparing to fail.

I see it everyday, in the people I work with; in the way my friends and family talk about their "Plan B"s and other options, how everyone around us in everyday life is seeking a back up plan that is cushy and comfy and easy to fall back on in case they never have the guts to go fully in.

So here's my question, my daily practice for you today, the thing to think about today and to consider seriously: have you ever tried to prepare yourself to succeed?

Like, really. No back-up plan. No excuses. No easy way out when the going gets tough.

Instead of making plans for what you're going to do "in case I fail" - why not instead make plans to ensure that you don't? 

Instead of simply knowing you need to be better at writing if you ever want to be on The Oprah Show, why not start practicing your press release? Why not prepare an article every day in case she invites you to be a contributor? 

This isn't empty delusion - this is visualising a successful outcome so that it creates the conditions for success in the future. And even if it isn't the success you planned for, there will still be success. You will have still created the foundations for something that you will always have - in physical work and in mental strength. 

Let's face it - people who aren't prepared for opportunities rarely receive any. And on the rare occasion they do, they lose them, or mess them up, or feel that they are not worthy enough to receive them, right?

So think about it: what in your life do you want, but are nowhere near prepared for?

What are you not prepared for, and yet spend all day complaining that you don't have?

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You are not "just" a writer.

All my life I’ve known exactly who I am. I’ve always been secure in my creativity. 

Most of the time I’ve been content with this lot in life and haven’t wanted for anything else.

But there have been a few times where new people have come into my life and made me feel like what I was doing with my life wasn’t enough. In those times I’d go from being happy and safe in my purpose, to thinking, “Is what I do too small, too unworthy - and just not enough?

I’d think: “Why is my purpose so lame and misunderstood?

“Why couldn’t The Universe have blessed me with one of those skills that people instantly cheer on, love and adore in life, one that doesn’t take weeks of gruelling, thankless work to be impressive?”

Here’s the funny thing, though. Do you know what I would do to get myself out of those funks? 

I’d write.

Because that’s my thing. 

That’s my most comfortable, natural way of connecting with the world and inspiring others, whether I particularly love it or not. 

Writing is a specially engineered brand of lunacy, but it’s also a destiny, and that’s why we keep going. It’s a compulsion, and I personally had to stop pretending I had any say in the matter.

This post is for anyone in fact whose work may not always produce benefits that others cannot measure, like education, entertainment or inspiration. Anyone who has felt that pit of despair as I used to have as well where you wished things were different.

It’s to all the people who aren’t Mina Schwartz: travelling the world being flown over for speaking gigs and who don’t have the picture perfect Instagram life yet.

I want to tell you why that’s perfectly okay, and why it doesn’t take a single thing away from who you are or what you give to the world.

1. To the right person, you have the exact right gift.

It’s not for everyone, and not everyone will understand, but the exact right people will, and they will love what I offer with all their heart. Above all else.

Are you an author in need of inspiration? Right here, right here. If you’re not, then be on your way - because I don’t need you and you don’t need me. And that’s fine. But that also means that your opinions or thoughts on my business really don’t matter.

2. You are more important to the world than you think.

Education, inspiration and entertainment are not always things that can measured. There’s no global standard or level you have to hit to prove you’ve adequately impacted someone’s life. It’s often an invisible achievement unless a person wants to tell you directly but there’s no denying that we desperately need these things like we need air or water.

They keep the world interesting to a consumer of your works. They teach a different perspective. They let an observer live in someone else’s shoes for a while at a time where maybe, they desperately want to escape their own. It gives them room to breathe again. Who can put a price or a label on that? Writers fulfil those basic human, spiritual needs - needs that will always be there, needs that will never go out of fashion.

3. No matter how loudly someone brags about their life’s purpose, they wish for more bells and whistles secretly sometimes, too.

It’s human nature to be curious and envious of what other people have, because in our lifetime we all know we won’t be able to do IT ALL.

For every decision we make, we are leaving three or four behind; so take no notice of the person who seems to be all-confident and all-powerful in their confidence, acting like they know for sure they’ve made the right decision. They go home and envy others just the same. It’s not just you feeling this way, it’s all of us.

Don’t worry if their purpose / career / achievements seems bigger or better than yours. You don’t know what they’ve done to get there. You don’t know what it is costing them to maintain their status. You don’t know if you would like the situations they had to survive to lead the lifestyle they lead now.

Your purpose is yours because you are just the person to absolutely rock it. Your skills, interests, passions, were all created for this reason, and this reason alone.

So please don’t feel bad about this purpose, or your gift. Let the wrong people laugh and wonder how you’ll ever make a living or a life doing what you do.

Ignore them and just give what the world gave you to give.

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Your first draft is just the beginning.

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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4 signs you’re ready to write a 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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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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