Posts in Your Work Has Value
TSLS 0044 - 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 0043 - The frustrated creatives' manifesto (for when things aren't going well and you need a perfect revolution)

Writing isn't a real job. Creativity doesn't make money. Everyone online and on television got lucky, or are lying. We've just been fooling ourselves all this time.

These are the kind of things I think to myself when writing isn't going well. 

When I want to write, but don't know WHAT to write. Or when I don't know whether or not it'll be worth anything to anyone at all. Whether it's good enough by the imaginary, insurmountably high standards I've set for myself. 

And then I get frustrated with yourself because I want it to work so bad, and it seems so simple, and if I were to explain any of this to anyone, they'd think…how pathetic. 

And I judge myself so hard because if anyone were to come to you with the same struggles, you know exactly what you'd say, and it wouldn't be at all sympathetic. Stop being a loser! I'd say. Buck up! Get it done!  

But sometimes, honest to God, there just are no words. Right? There is a block so large and heavy and unseen that it ruins everything. Sometimes you're just overwhelmed by pressure. Sometimes you're just over the rejection, over the pain, over the insecurity and you have just mentally given up.

Writing hurts, writing judges, so let's be done with it. 

I don't want you to write. From now on I want you to do anything but write. 

You find something to say, and say it. You find something to get angry at, to stand behind, to show up for. Then you let it stream out of you from here. It's not writing then, it's living on the page. It's sharing a message, it's having something to say, and it's not judging yourself. It's never allowing fear or perfectionism or doubt hinder the essence of your perfect revolution. 

Don't just write - explain. Express. Make art. Scream through words. Shake the world.

No longer shall you beg for the words to come out of you. 

You need to wait for something so big, so important and rare, that the words beg you.

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TSLS 0042 - #AskStephanie: How can I 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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TSLS 0040 - 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 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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TSLS 0035 - You're way closer to becoming your "best self" than you think.

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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TSLS 0034 - 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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TSLS 0031 - They are cool, but so are you. (A spiritual solution to comparison, insecurity, and doubting your life path)

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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TSLS 0030 - The other human beings (or, why you should ignore everybody and write what you were meant to 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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TSLS 0025 - Stop struggling, start thriving: A quick ten-minute guide to turning your writing day around

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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TSLS 0022 - 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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TSLS 0019 - Introducing The #Wholewriter Movement

Inside each and every writer who has ever been afraid to spread their message or use their voice...

Every writer who has grown terrified of what people think, or how they are perceived; who has ever received abuse for their art, or has ever failed, or has ever felt like giving up...

Inside each and every writer who has experienced these things, is a #wholewriter.

I'm talking about the person inside you who is not afraid. 

The inside you, somewhere, who is still a dreamer, a romantic, and who is still creative as ever. And who has never been harmed by criticism or negativity from others or from your own troubled thoughts. A person who is strong, and confident, and perfect. This person is just waiting for the day you realise that staying small isn't doing you any favours. 

This person is lying dormant under the weight of your fear and your insecurities, but it's easy to reconnect with them if you're willing to do so.

This is the movement:

The #Wholewriter Movement is an open conversation on social media dedicated to developing the next generation of writers through empowerment, advocating self-care & ending creative shame.

THERE IS A #WHOLEWRITER INSIDE YOU WHO IS NOT AFRAID. Welcome to the movement.

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TSLS 0014 - You are not "just" a writer, my friend.

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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TSLS 0012 - 3 simple practices to awaken your wholewriter (+ your fearless writing life)

When you were born, you were without doubts, fears, and worries. You were whole.

Wholewriter: The strongest, bravest, healthiest version of you. The person inside you who is not afraid.

Along the way, people or events took you off course.

These people and events chipped away at you, and caused you to feel drained, stressed, and otherwise “lesser” than you truly were. 

They caused you to doubt your writing ability, and your potential to succeed, so much that you weren't sure you'd ever get back to who you were before. Am I right?

If this sounds like you, don't worry, you're not alone. 

As a writer, the ability to rebuild your self-worth quickly is what makes or breaks you, and that comes from within. So today I wanted to share something that you can use to get started with embodying your whole writer in everyday life. These three simple practices will help you do just that.

1. What do I want most right now?

What do you want most in the world right now? What would you like to achieve? What do you need to feel happy, fulfilled and successful?

If you're feeling stuck, there's no better way to get it out of your heart and mind than writing it down. I personally jot down notes on this in my AP daily planner every day. Dumping your thoughts, feelings and emotions on paper is super helpful, because it allows your mind to explore options freely.

2. What's preventing me from achieving it?

Did you know that 98% of the thoughts we have today are exactly the same as we had yesterday? And the day before? This means that more often than not, our issues are stemming from a deeply embedded insecurity that I like to call your "house principle". Every one has one, and they're all different.

For example: mine is perfectionism. When I have creative blocks or issues, 9 times out of 10 it's down to my perfectionist tendencies, so I think up ways to tackle this regularly. I tend to read the chapter on perfectionism in The Authorship Program® most days as part of my practice, just to put my mind at ease.

If you're not sure what your house principle is, get on my email list. I've got a free e-book that will tell you all about it, and help you discover yours.

3. What would my #wholewriter do?

Isn't that a powerful question? 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?

There is a person inside you who is not afraid. Live accordingly.

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TSLS 0007 - 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 0004 - The secret to writing well is feeling well.

Do you know what is one of the most common ways writer mess up their creative mojo?

They spend way too much time daydreaming about how good they‘ll feel and what will happen after they finish writing their book.

And for sure, you will feel amazing once you finish your book or your latest project — but being laser-focused on the future tends to just drain the happiness from the present. Because here’s what happens: 

The more you think about how much you want to be a best selling author and you can’t wait, the further and further away it can seem when you’re trying to get all the smaller tasks done every day. You get frustrated and overwhelmed.

Your worth becomes more and more connected to this idea of success, and that causes more harm to you than good. And this creates the biggest problem you’ll face in your writing life: not feeling good about the work anymore.

So you’re probably thinking I will say the writers best kept secret is to stop dreaming about how are you feel after you finish writing the book, but that was an example (out of thousands) of how you can derail your creative life if you don’t know the secret to writing well, which I’m about to tell you. It’s actually very simple.

Feeling well is the secret to writing well.

By “feel well”, what I mean is being in a healthy relationship with yourself. And to do that, you need to rewire your brain completely and get back to the purest part of yourself that loved to write before there was a need for validation - your #wholewriter. You need to fight your way out of this idea that you must suffer for your craft before you can be happy — and if you can transform your mindset, you can and will transform everything else in your life.

Here are a couple of other reasons why this really is the only secret you need to succeed:

1) Writing is a long, long game.

It’s a game that requires energy, strength and stamina. You will experience your fair share (and sometimes MORE than your fair share) of rejection along your journey, from editors, to agents, to publishers. You will also experience a bunch of people known as “haters” in your writing career, and these range from strangers to ex-friends, to *gasp!* family members. The last thing you need on top of all that is YOU telling yourself that your work is terrible.

2) As the famous African proverb goes: “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.”

When you have that inner strength, that high self esteem and that high belief in your own worth, it’s harder for the smaller, less important things to get inside your brain and disrupt your experience.

3) When you’re fulfilled within yourself, you stop needing external validation.

I know as a writer you do a ridiculous amount of work when putting something creative together and trying to make your dreams happen, but because it is a solitary profession, there will be times where no one else will be around to see it.

There might not be anyone to acknowledge you in your proudest moments, so not only do you have to learn how to work without that kind of praise from other people, but you have to learn how to cheer yourself on in those proud moments. I hope you’ll find that making yourself proud can be just as fulfilling as when you finally put that work out into the world.

4) You will see a lot of people around you succeed, but you can’t let that phase you.

5) You will see a lot of people around you fail, but you can’t let that phase you.

6) When you love and accept yourself, you stay true to your purpose.

There are a million things that you could do that are easier than writing. Writing takes work. And so there will be a parade of tempting opportunities that will come your way that seem like the quicker, easier roads to success, but ultimately pull you away from your destiny.

Only your values and inner strength will be able to save you from the barrage of lesser activities designed to steal away time from your ultimate purpose.

7) You deserve to feel good about the work you do.

How many people do you know that write spend 90% of the time complaining and crying about it? How many people, instead of focusing on how glorious it is to be able to create in this world, and what an incredible responsibility it is to be a messenger and story crafter on this earth today, are bogged down by stresses and insecurities that not only are they imposing on themselves, but that society imposes on them, too?

If you ever feel you’re doing this to yourself try to take a step back and remember why you started in the first place, because you didn’t start writing to make yourself unhappy. You started writing to make something happen for yourself or for the world.

If you can hold on to that, no matter how long it takes, you will.

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TSLS 0001 - The intro episode

I’ve ALWAYS loved to write.

When I was younger I’d write every single day, without fail, about anything and everything. I’d write songs, short stories, poems, novels and embarrassing diary entries. I’d write stories for my friends as birthday presents. I infused every part of my life with my love of writing.

You’d always find me underneath a stack of books, too. My favourites were R.L. Stines’ Goosebumps Series (I had a weekly subscription where they'd post a new book to my house every week) and The Darren Shan Saga.

I was whole then.

But there comes a point in every creative person’s life where the world comes along, reaches out, and snatches your confidence away piece by piece until you aren’t so whole anymore.

Then came the time in my life where, if I wasn't fighting my own insecurities, I was fighting all the insecurities of others. The look you get from my career counsellor at school when I told them I wanted to work in the creative industries. Or the worry in my parent’s eyes (that they desperately try to hide) when I told them I wanted to write books — the look that said “I hope it's just a phase and she gets more realistic in time!”

All of these things mounted up, and I started really questioning myself. I was thinking, maybe I can’t make a living from being creative.

I guess this isn’t something that people can really achieve? Is everyone else right and I'm wrong?

It got so bad that one night, I'd been staring at the screen for hours with my hands suspended over the keyboard for two hours, and absolutely nothing had come out.

In my head I had all my own questions and concerns, but then I also had other people's comments reverberating through my head: telling me that writing wasn’t a “real” career, that it wasn’t something I would be able to make anything out of, that I was fighting an uphill battle I probably wouldn’t win and that I should probably do something else.

Having people tell me to give it up was like telling me I was worthless and didn’t have a place in this world.

And that also brought about the bigger problem: if I couldn't make it as a writer, what else did I have to give to the world? Because God knows, I was pretty terrible at almost everything else.

I was a "wholewriter" through and through.

(Now, write this down ladies and gentlemen, because you’re going to hear me say this A LOT throughout these episodes.)

#Wholewriter is a term I coined in my book, The Authorship Program®, for the person inside of you who is not afraid; The person who will hunger and strive toward creativity forever because they know that writing, or teaching or sharing is your destiny – or at least, you believe it to be.

If there’s a #wholewriter inside you, giving up isn’t an option.

When I thought about the life I'd have to live if I gave into my fears and gave up writing, I couldn't BREATHE.

I had to figure out a solution or I wouldn't have survived.

I didn't want to feel that way.

I knew, I could either sit there and let the fears get the best of me, or I could psych myself up, and find a way to ensure that I NEVER felt so helpless or dis-empowered ever again!

So as I sat in front of that keyboard, flexing my fingers, willing something - anything - to come out onto the keyboard, I had an important revelation. And this revelation I’ve used to transform my entire creative life, and it’s the thing that might change yours right now. I hope you're ready for it, because here it comes...

All creative problems are emotional. - (Tweet this!)

Through all of my self-doubt, even in my darkest moments...

Nothing about my ability had changed.

The rate I could produce work didn't change.

Nothing changed except the way I felt, and that changed everything.

If that was all that had changed, I could find a way to change it back.

That was the break I needed because suddenly, just as fast as the words had cut out in my brain was how fast they came streaming out through my fingertips again and haven’t stopped since.

From that day onward, I pulled my consciousness (kicking and screaming), through its own journey of self-transformation that freed me from fear and finally allowed me to reconnect with my wholewriter, write over 160 stories, poems and plays, win national awards and feel confident and fulfilled in my work every single day.

What I produced then also became my guiding philosophy for everything I now stand for - the comprehensive, step-by-step guide to removing the mental, emotional and spiritual barriers I know are preventing you from leading the life you were born to lead.

And THAT is what this blog and podcast will be about.

I know that all it takes is the decision to begin for you to start changing your life.

The decision to move past the haters, the naysayers, and all the other stuff holding you down right now. I teach from intensely personal experience, having gone through all of this myself, which is why I know:

Your emotional state can always be changed.

You can always find your way back to wholeness.

And I’m going to show you how.

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