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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Face your fears head on today

My hands were a six on the seismic scale as I stood, naked, in front of the mumbling crowd.

Not really.

But having been out of the social scene for two months while working on new projects, it felt that way. 

I'd decided that the best way to dip my toe back into the water was to do a speech in front of over 500 people, including celebrities. Y'know, just to warm myself up. Because that was the rational thing to do, right? 

On the count of three, I forced myself to stammer something out. And there it was. My humble sound-wave, travelling at light-speed into 500 people's eardrums:

"Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie Lennox, and I'd like to thank you all for being here today."

I'd over thought, over-analysed and obsessed over every single word of that introduction. I wrote, then deleted. Wrote, then deleted again. And still, it was terrifying. But it taught me a lot about fear and how to charge right past it.

That thing you're most scared of doing? The thing that's been keeping you up at night? It's suffocating you.

As we speak.

Stealing your creativity, potential and motivation, when you should be working with these things instead of allowing fear to drain them away. How many more things is your relationship to fear costing you, right in this moment?

You don't realise how deeply fear has imprisoned you until you try to break free.

"We are so accustomed to the comforts of 'I cannot', 'I do not want to,' and 'it is too difficult,' Pandora Poikilos once said, "that we forget to realise when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak."

The more you stall on an idea, the higher the pedestal rises and the more unobtainable it seems, but avoiding your fears will never make them any easier. Walk up with your head held high, however, and you'll see them shrink before you.

You are not weak. You have the power to carry this thing out, and you have the courage to get through.

When I used to send messages to editors and agents, I'd walk away from the computer to stop myself from sabotaging the emails. The voice in my head would hiss at me:

"OMG what did you just do? You look so desperate. Email and tell her it was a mistake!" 

But still, I'd sit with the discomfort. 

"She's probably opening it right now, and laughing at how much of a loser you are." 

Still, I'd sit with the discomfort. 

Eventually, the voice would change. It would say: 

"Okay, that wasn't so bad. It's done now, I did what I could, and I'm okay with that. I can't ever say that I didn't take the opportunity. Now, on to the next thing."

Don't worry about the "no's", or the worst case scenarios, because whatever happens, you'll grow.

You'll strengthen yourself in preparation for better things to come. You'll learn something. You'll have the courage to do it again, and even better. The most important thing, always, is that you simply move past the first hurdle, because it only gets easier from there.

And don't forget to consider the alternative.

What happens if I never face up to this thing you’re scared of?

The alternative for me, if I had chosen not to stand up and share my story with that audience, was that I'd have ended up with no one to be vulnerable with - no one to laugh with, share resources, or celebrate my successes with. I might have missed the opportunity to meet the people I did, who I know will support me for life. 

If I had chosen not to stand up on that day, I wouldn't have received the thunderous applause and ovation I was destined for.

Consider your alternatives - the best outcomes, and the worst - then ask yourself:

 Isn't it worth the risk?

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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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3 things you need to write a book this year

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

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

Get some support: accountability is the key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But don’t worry…there’s still time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is how you find out.

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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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The 15 principles of highly successful authors

What if there were 15 principles that could take you from who you are now, to the successful author you always wanted to be?

The Authorship Program® can help you do just that. I discovered the principles through research of hundreds of case studies detailing the key similarities, habits and qualities of some of the most famous, wealthiest, and most celebrated authors in the world.

Theoretically, every author that has ever had any measure of success has learnt how to harness the power of these principles - and now you can, too.

1. They commit to writing the damn book. (Commitment)

@@"Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it's a relationship, a business or a hobby." - Neil Strauss@@

This might sound obvious but, a writer writes. They dedicate themselves to an idea, they dedicate themselves to an actual day of the week (not “someday”), then they make plans to see the idea through to the end no matter what.

2. They believe in the possibility of their success. (Self-Confidence)

@@“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” - E.E. Cummings@@

If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? To be a success you need to hone your craft enough so you can always confidently say, "Yes - success is possible for me right now”.

3. They believe they are worthy of success. (Self-Esteem)

@@“Believe you can and you're halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt@@

People only work within the confines of how they perceive themselves, and when your self-esteem is low, that perception is usually far from the truth. You won’t be successful until you believe that you are truly worthy of it.

4. They take control of their lives. (Self-Efficacy)

@@“Become major, Paul. Live like a hero. That's what the classics teach us. Be a main character. Otherwise what is life for?” - J.M. Coetzee@@

You can’t waste time waiting for permission from an imaginary, all-knowing mentor to tell you exactly what you need to do with your life. No one in this world is now, or will ever be qualified enough. If you want to get your novel(s) published, you need to be the one who gets things moving.

5. They learn how to truly connect with others. (Emotional Intelligence)

@@“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” - Mark Twain@@

Learning to connect with others makes you a better writer, a better communicator, and greatly improves the chances of people liking you and your books. Once you’ve mastered the art of emotions, you can create content that provides readers with the connection they crave.

6. They transform their mindsets. (Mindset)

@@“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” - John Dryden@@

Our minds often become set in their ways, creating repetitive thoughts, bad habits and patterns that often hinder us from moving forward in our writing careers. Successful authors take the time to find these sets, combat them, and change them.

7. They decide what they stand for. (Values)

@@“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” - José Ortega y Gasset@@

Every word you set on paper, every page you punctuate, and every story you finish becomes an extension of yourself when you’re a writer. Successful authors know their values come through in their works and tell the world who they are.

8. They connect with their purpose. (Purpose)

@@“What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question.” - Margaret Atwood@@

Successful authors have come to terms with the fact that writing is their personal mission, accepted how worthwhile and valuable it is to the world, and offer it to the world without reservation.

9. They learn how to motivate themselves (Motivation)

@@“I said 'Somebody should do something about that.' Then I realized I am somebody.” - Lily Tomlin@@

If you can’t motivate yourself, you’re screwed in so many ways. Successful writers don’t just have motivation for their writing, they know exactly what that motivation is, and what they need to do to regain it if they lose it from time to time.

10. They create affirmations for themselves. (Affirmations)

@@“There is no affirmation without the one who affirms. In this sense, everything to which you grant your love is yours.” - Ayn Rand@@

All the successful authors you can think of have used affirmations at some stage in their lives to propel them forward, so the sooner you create some for yourself, the sooner you will be able to claim your rightful place among them.

11. They set goals for themselves. (Goal-setting)

@@“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” - Paulo Coelho@@

It’s hard to remember where you’re going if you don’t set checkpoints for yourself along the way. Successful authors ultimately know what they are trying to achieve, and continually make small steps towards it.

12. They write the damn book. (Productivity)

@@“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” - Stephen King@@

That’s right! At this stage, successful people have actually written the book. This is not to be confused with the first point in this post, which was simply making the decision to write. Commitment can only be measured by action.

13. They manage their time. (Self-Management)

@@“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” - Bill Watterson@@

They learn to manage their time like it’s the most precious thing in the world…because it is. They spend more time on the things that are important, and find ways to consciously remove the stresses (no matter how small) from their lives.

14. They create their own paths to success (Success)

@@“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” - Viktor E. Frankl@@

A big part of being a writer is finding your own way. You might want to research what the greats did before you, but at some point you have to take the first tentative steps on your own personal journey.

15. They make writing work towards their happiness (Happiness)

@@“I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” - Elizabeth Gilbert@@

The only thing that matters is your happiness. All successful authors know this. Write about the things that truly matter to you; that entertain you, interest you, and will contribute to your happiness in the long term - because the success will follow.

How many of the principles have you mastered?

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10 essential spiritual lessons for writers

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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The reason writers write

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

You can choose to ignore it if you want to.

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

There are hundred of glorious moments as a writer, but there are also a lot of times where we all wish it was easier. So, if you’ve ever looked at your manuscript and thought to yourself: 

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

Here’s the groundbreaking revelation you need to understand: 

Your life's purpose is not about you.

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

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

If you decided not to bring your stories into being, no one else in this world would. No one else could.

And that’s a wonderful reason to stick at it.

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Writing doesn’t have to be hard

I stumbled into writing at a super young age.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, in conclusion...

Change your beliefs, like I did with mine. 

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

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Traditional writing advice doesn't work

Most traditional writing blogs today are inane, outdated, and just generally unhelpful. 

You know the ones - they talk about plot points and characterisation, sentence structure and three story arcs. When I'm stuck on a project, I have never gone to a traditional writing craft blog, read an article and been like: "Oh wow! I'm cured now!"

These blogs have their purpose, for a small segment of well adjusted creatives looking to expand their education, but they're next to useless for the issues that way more writers actually need help with - like creative blocks and feelings of worthlessness. 

If knowledge on its own was enough to inspire action and solve writing blocks, everyone and their mothers would have written a book by now - which proves that writing craft blogs just aren’t enough. Never have been, never will be. And I’ll tell you why:

They don’t speak to the part of you that’s scared.

Writing takes so much more than facts and figures and we all know this. And therefore, it’s not craft posts we need — it’s courage.

How often do we trawl through posts online, searching for something different, something new, something more? That’s not because we don't know the mechanics of how to write. It's because we're looking for permission - something to give us the fire to do everything we deeply want to do, the things that are burning inside our souls. It's not just about the technical side, but the emotional side, too. 

Writing advice needs to be practical, but also spiritual, for the times you feel like giving up on it all and need that extra boost of worldly encouragement. 

And THAT is what holistic writing advice is all about.

So let’s end reading craft blogs and feeling productive without having anything to show for it, and let's focus on what really works.

Writing advice with soul beats boring grammar tips, every time.

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Start.

Hey you,

You who has always wanted to start a creative life, and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. You who is feeling time and life slip away because they haven’t done the things that would really make their soul sing. You who is thinking it’ll be too hard or you don’t have time or you’re too old, or too young.

To the person who knows a full life is lived through self-expression and leaving a legacy behind to inspire, educate or entertain future generations.

I know that little voice has been working overtime on you every day, making you feel worse than you should. I bet that at some point or other in your life you’ve told yourself that you’ve done “nothing” with your life. Or worse, telling yourself that you’re nothing.

Well, this may seem a little out there, but stick with me on this: being nothing right now isn’t such a bad thing.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Everyone who has any modicum of success has had to walk that line of fire and fear not knowing whether they’d even make it to the other side. But they do. And they’re stronger and braver and more ready than ever for the journey.

You have nothing because you are doing nothing. And if you continue as you are you’ll always consider yourself to BE nothing... but now is not the time to feel hopeless. Your hopelessness is the only thing preventing you from putting a dent in the universe.

So what if you’ve done anything yet? So what if you’re nothing right now?

With the right guidance, you are about to be really SOMETHING.

All you need that push that I hope I’m providing for you right now, and who knows where this life and this opportunity will take you.

Since you think you’re nothing right now, nothing you do can make you anymore insignificant than you already think you are. Nothing is at risk, except that insignificance. There’s no reason not to try.

You’re already experiencing the worst it will ever get. 

You might as well do something.

You might as well try something.

I promise you - it can only get better from here.

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