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You Can’t? Or You Won’t?

November 20, 2019– Ok, let’s be honest here. It’s time to get real and answer the question…Is it that you can’t? Or that you won’t? Whoa, let’s back up for a second. Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

It’s important to change the voice in our head that says we can’t do something. Make a list of all the things that you think you can’t do…here are some examples:

  1. I can’t find time to finish my manuscript! Is it that you can’t find time or that you won’t make time to schedule an hour a day to work on it?
  2. I can’t get bookstores to stock my books! Is it that you can’t get them to stock your books or that you won’t keep asking and finding creative ways to get them to say yes?
  3. I can’t stop writer’s block! Is it that you can’t stop writer’s block or that you won’t stop finding any excuse to keep procrastinating?
  4. I can’t get organized! Is it that you can’t get organized or that you won’t put systems in place to help yourself?

You get the picture. As soon as we get real about the things that are holding us back, the sooner we can deal with them head on. Stop saying you can’t because YOU CAN. You just have to be willing to do what it takes.

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Great Expectations…For Yourself

November 8, 2019– There’s a little book on my desk by Dr. Denis Waitley titled, The Psychology of Winning. I haven’t opened it in such a long time that I had forgotten most of the concepts, so today I flipped open to a random page. The text on the page read, “Winners expect to win. They know that so-called luck is the intersection of preparation and awareness.” I’d like you to complete the following exercise, get a piece of paper and a pen or open your laptop and answer the following questions:

  1. How do you feel about the above statement?
  2. Are you prepared and aware of the opportunities around you?
  3. What are 5 things you can do to prepare for opportunities coming your way? What opportunities would you like to have this year?
  4. What expectations do you have for yourself and your work for the rest of this year? What about 2020 and beyond?
  5. Do you expect to win as an author or as a publisher? How do you expect to win?
  6. What does winning mean to you?

Wishing you the most success, X LLB

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Your Habits Determine Your Future…

November 6, 2019– Habits are defined as something that we do often and regularly, sometimes without realizing it. What if I told you that if I looked at your daily habits, that I could predict your future? Well, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

  1. Success doesn’t just happen. Success and the quality of your life depend on the things you do consistently. Think of this, if you made a decision to work on your manuscript for fifteen minutes each day, or to make three phone calls to a potential client, or that you were going to pack a lunch instead of buying it, think of how much of a difference these little habits would make over the course of a year! Successful people don’t just float to the top, their success is based on their habits. Do you know what most billionaires have in common? They work out daily, they meditate, and they wake up early. They have good habits that carry into other areas of their lives.
  2. Bad habits will eventually catch up to you. Do you smoke? How do you feel? How will you feel ten years from now if you don’t quit? Do you procrastinate? Do you find ways to avoid doing what needs to be done to help yourself in the future? What will happen in a few months if you decide to keep procrastinating? Will you lose a promotion? Will you lose your shot at a dream job? Bad habits may seem like they don’t matter right now, but eventually they catch up with us. By improving one thing each day, you can dramatically change your entire life. If you smoked one less cigarette per week and kept building on your success, soon you’d be smoke free!

I could go on and on about habits and how they help or hinder us, but you get the picture. What habits are you creating to further your writing career? Are you working on them every day? I hope so!

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The Upside of Disaster…

November 1, 2019-I read an article somewhere that talked about the calming effect of acting instead of waiting. It was about a group of soldiers (special forces) that became super calm when they heard that they were just about to experience an overwhelming attack from the enemy. Why? Most people when put in any situation that is hard (let alone facing the threat of death) would immediately panic, so why didn’t the soldiers?

  1. They had a plan of action.
  2. They had a sense of mastery and relied on their training.
  3. They knew they were in control of their next move.

All of the things above made them feel less anxious than just waiting around, waiting to see what could happen. Now, I’m not comparing being an author to the insanely important job of being a soldier. What I’m saying is that we can take a lesson from those who protect our freedom.

Let’s use a real-life example. I had an author friend who I was chatting with tell me that they just suffered an enormous set back. Their book was being bounced from their current publisher and their deal got squashed at the last minute for a much anticipated sequel from a more well known writer. My friend told me that she was absolutely beside herself with anxiety and panic because she had just been completely blindsided and rejected once again after so much promise. What would YOU do? Here’s what I would do using the special forces way of thinking.

  1. My plan of action would be to get to the bottom of what happened. I would see if there was a way around the situation and I would find an alternative route. If there was no alternative route available (there almost always is) then I would move on to my next step:
  2. Rely on my training. I’ve submitted manuscripts to hundreds of publishers over the course of my writing career which has made me a master at querying and the submission process. I’d rely on my training in this area (I’ve taken probably fifteen if not more, courses on querying to publishers) and get started submitting to other Houses. Then I would:
  3.  Remember that I’m in control of my next move. I can start sending out submissions or I can wallow in my disappointment. The soldiers were probably filling sandbags and cleaning their weapons. They were probably stockpiling ammo and getting whatever else ready before an attack. I would get out my submission list, check the requirements, and start the querying process. The point is, I’m in control of my future, no one else. What do I want? And how am I going to build a plan of attack to get it?

The point is, there will be disappointments. But the upside of disaster is that sometimes something better comes out of it-self reliance, a better deal (in my friend’s case), knowledge of self, inner strength, and confidence in knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way.  We would just like to say Thank You for your service to each person who protects our freedom.

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Ted Talk…Poe

October 30, 2019– To celebrate Halloween (1 more sleep!) check out this Ted Talk by Scott Peeples about why you should read (one of my most favourite authors) Edgar Allan Poe. Click on the link below!

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When You’re Struggling…

October 25, 2019– We all struggle. Every single one of us struggles at something or at some point in our lives. Difficulty is part of the process so trust it. Could you imagine if everything was easy and just handed to you on a silver platter? Part of being a human is overcoming challenges. When we find a solution to our challenges we end up building confidence, trusting ourselves, and believing that we can do whatever we set our minds to. Here are three ways that you can help yourself if you’re struggling with an aspect in your writing career:

  1. Get out of your comfort zone. When things feel uncomfortable, that’s a really good indicator that you’re on the right track. Maybe it’s making that phone call or tracking down that distributor or writing while being vulnerable, whatever it is, make sure you do it because getting out of your comfort zone has the power to change the trajectory of your entire life. Try to do one thing a day that makes you uncomfortable and watch your life change.
  2. Put a timeline on it. There are some days that are rougher than others. When you’re having a tough time, put a timeline on feeling sorry for yourself. Give yourself five minutes at most to feel crappy about the situation (it’s important to recognize the bad so that we can appreciate the good) and then roll up your sleeves to start fixing it. Do you need to scrap the entire intro to your novel? Do you need to have that hard conversation with one of your employees?
  3.  Know that it will pass. “My mamma told me there’d be days like this and man, she wasn’t foolin.” Aerosmith sure nailed that on the head. The good news is that time marches on. Whatever you’re dealing with, just know it’s a moment in time…it will pass and then you’ll be on to the next thing. If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. That’s a personal rule that I keep.

The point is, there is no success without struggle. Keep going, you’re doing great. X LLB

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Your Scene Sucks…Here’s How To Fix It…

October 23, 2019– We’ve all been there.  Pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we’ve all written scenes that don’t work;  they’re boring and bland and we sit staring into the abyss wondering where we went wrong. The good news is that we can fix it! Here’s how…by using our five senses.

  1. Sight-What is around your character? What do they see from their point of view? Are there landmarks? Describe in detail what your character sees. It’s better to write too much and pare down afterward, than it is to write too little.
  2. Sound-What does your character hear? Is there dialogue? Is more dialogue needed? Do they hear their own thoughts? Is there internal dialogue between the character in their head?
  3. Smell-What does your character smell? Is there the scent of salty ocean air? Fresh baked cookies? Rotting flesh? That escalated quickly, but you get my point.
  4. Taste-What does your character taste? Blood from biting their tongue? Vomit? Coffee? The taste of someone else?
  5. Touch-What does your character feel? Do they feel the softness of cashmere against their skin? Do they feel the brush of another character’s hand against their own? Do they feel cold metal against their temple?

Here’s the thing, it’s important to write and get the words on paper before you can even think of editing them. When you do find a scene that needs a bit of meat on it or that is boring, use your five senses to expand the part and then edit from there. Happy Writing! X LLB

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