NOTE: If you’re an adult that was bullied as a child… this story is for you. I understand, and I hold you virtually through your self-discovery of your own greatness.
She sat at the kitchen table staring at the object in front of her. The ivory white handle, polished to a shine. The silvery blade glistened as it reflected the ceiling light. Darkness, much like the darkness of her heart, spread out from the edges of the table beyond… seemingly to infinity. A tear slid down her cheek as she thought about what she was about to do.
Months of terror passed through her mind. A whirlwind of thoughts and regrets flooded through her entire body as she shook. The tears fell faster.
“Why did we even move here?” She asked herself. “Don’t they know this was the worst decision they have ever made?” She asked of her parents.
The ultra-sharp chef’s knife gleamed in front of her. Her mom was always good about keeping her prized knives sharp. The girl’s eyes ran down the blade and marveled at its craftsmanship. It would hurt, yes. But she’d read enough books to know the faster and deeper the cut, the shorter the pain would be before… darkness… the end… hopefully peace… unless…
She had been warned. Heavily warned. What she was about to do was the most selfish thing anyone could do, which meant an instant trip to Hell. No passing “Go,” no collecting $200, just straight to the depths of fiery pits and damnation… forever. She had decided this was a risk she was willing to take. Her fingers wrapped around that smooth handle as she thought about why this was worth doing.
She was smarter than most of the other kids. This wasn’t ego, it was just a fact. She easily got better grades and qualified for honor’s programs without even trying. Yet she was denied entrance to those programs because, well, she was told it was because her family didn’t have the money to buy her way in. She watched those who walked down to collect their rose, pin, and certificate for the elite program and tried to smile and be happy for them. Those who made worse grades than her and didn’t even qualify for the program, yet bought their way in. It was unfair, but she tried to be happy for them regardless. Deep inside she seethed in anger.
Then there was the band director, the only person in the entire school that seemed to like her. She was a musical prodigy, and he got her out of the most despised of all classes—Health—to play in his upper grade band. It was a time she relished, being away from her hateful classmates who would tip over her desk, poison the class pet with her markers, steal her homework, deface her books, and blame her for it all. That one time each day was her brief respite from the evils that surrounded her. And as soon as it was over, she was vulnerable to the abuse once again. Shaking, she tried to hide in the bathroom as long as possible, but even that wasn’t a long-term solution to stay safe.
The principle’s office became her haven. At first she thought she was constantly in trouble for the things the others did, as she was called there several times per week and made to wait in front of the secretary’s desk. She learned to bring a book to read, as she realized after the first few visits she may be waiting a long, long time (or what seemed like a long time to her 12-year-old mind). Finally one day she asked the principle why she kept having to spend so much time in his office. The secretary’s eyes shifted and she nervously said something about filing and left the room. He looked at me and said, “It’s for your own safety and I’ll leave it at that.” She would find out later about the death threats they found…
Which brought her mind to two of the most recent events… the pool party and the fire. She remembered being underwater, which was nothing new to her. Growing up near the ocean, her mom often called her “my little fish” as the water became her second home. Then there was the feeling of hands on her, which she dismissed as being bumped into by the other kids in her class. She looked up through the water and saw a shadow of adult legs walking by and realized she needed to breathe. She couldn’t push her way to the surface. The shadow legs paused, and right when she started feeling nervous, whatever was holding her down was lifted. She wouldn’t find out until she was grown and spoke to one of those very kids that those hands were intentionally holding her down, attempting to drown her… and those shadow legs saved her life. Yet somehow as she let the vivid memory play back, she did know.
The fire was the last straw. It had just happened. The police and fire department came out and said it was probably her fault that the shed caught fire. One more feather in the cap of her wrongs… Thankfully they were home and the fire department got there in time to put it out. They said if they had waited ten more minutes, the fire would have engulfed the house, as it had already begun to melt the siding. She shook in fear. If her mom had not woken up and seen the weird light outside their bedroom window, they would all probably be dead. Again, her fault… But then she and her parents discovered evidence of arson in the light of day. Just one more in a long line of attempts to end her life. Yet nobody believed the attempts were real, or that kids really wanted to harm her, because what kids would do that? “They’re just kids being kids.” In their minds, they’d be bullies… maybe. The kind that would call her names, “bump into” her desk hard enough to make it “accidentally” fall over… maybe. But murder? No way.
The knife gleamed in front of her. Clearly it wasn’t worth fighting anymore. Everyone she knew wanted her dead, so why not grant their wish? The sharpness of the knife taunted her… reminded her how much she hated needles. “This will be much, much worse,” it said. “You can’t go through with it because you’re a coward,” the voice in her head whined.
Slowly she pressed the knife against her left wrist, imagined it dragging across… imagined the mess her parents would find… imagined the relief the town would feel that the bane of their existence was gone… and fear of pain overwhelmed her. She slowly stood up, walked to the knife box, put it back, and walked zombie-like back to her room where she sat on her bed for the next who-knows-how-long staring at her hands. The tears fell. She wasn’t strong enough. She was exactly who they thought she was. Pathetic.
That moment haunted her for the next 26 years. Not because of what she had been about to do, but because of the cowardice of not being able to follow through with it, even in the tiniest attempt. The fear of failure, pain and, well, to be honest… Hell, kept her from acting that day. And for the next 26 years, deep down inside, she saw herself as an utter and complete failure for not being brave enough to even try to take her own life. Which somehow made her a failure at everything.
Her life actually turned out to be pretty awesome. Through ups and downs along the way, she paved her own path as an entrepreneur through the tangled brush of traditional jobs. She married the man of her dreams, who supported all her crazy ideas, and they began to build an incredible life together. She got involved in her community, found her place and finally found home. Her voice got stronger as she sat down with that little, scared girl sitting at the table caressing the shiny blade of that knife and told her that she was amazing, would touch thousands of lives, and had to live. She held that little girl and they both cried through the pain, the grief, and the realization that it wasn’t cowardice that made the girl put the knife back after all…
I feel like I’ve been crying practically nonstop for the past 16 hours. The tears started with anger, frustration, and mega doses of fear. Now as they slowly cascade down my cheeks to splash on my keyboard while I write this, they’re tears of relief, gratitude, and dare I even go there… maybe joy?
For you to understand the depth of my past few hours, I have to go back to 2003. My ex-husband and I were asked to help a man start a publishing company. The “boss” was highly successful and wanted to get in on the ground level of this new technology called “print on demand”. Not knowing anything about publishing at the time, but having always loved books and writing, I agreed to help start the company. I quit my corporate temp job and threw myself head first into this brand new world.
Fast-forward about nine months and I was managing well over a dozen authors, stretching my new marketing muscles, and suddenly we stopped getting paid. He told us he had a job with his primary business that fell through and he would catch us up on pay the next week.
The next week came and went. He left the country for a business trip… and the first month of no pay passed by. At this time we started scrounging, quite literally, for food. We were already in the process of building a house and suddenly found our savings quickly depleted. We immediately started looking for other work.
Five resumes went out each day. Then ten. Then fifteen… and the rejections poured in. I heard statements like, “You’re overqualified because you have a college degree.” And, “I’m sorry, but we’re just not looking for someone like you right now.” In the meantime with nothing else to do, we kept working to build the man’s publishing company, in the hopes that he’d use the money we brought in to pay us.
Three months of no pay, hundreds of resumes and a hell of a lot of desperation later, we finally decided to quit and start our own business. The “boss” told us that paying his mother’s $3,000/month mortgage was more important to him than making sure we had money for groceries, and then he threatened to sue us if we started our own publishing company, even though we never signed a non-compete agreement. I remember getting in his face and screaming, “Go ahead, you’ve already taken everything from us, what else could you take? Our debt? Go for it—I QUIT!”
After we left and started our own company, some of the former authors (who weren’t getting any answers to their phone calls) tracked us down online and we agreed to re-publish their books for them as long as we re-designed everything so it was fully under our label, at our expense… Then the old “boss” threatened to sue us again for “stealing” his clients. I determined to be a success in spite of his antics.
Meanwhile, our school loans were still in deferment, we used credit cards and checks from credit card companies to pay all our bills in our new house, and thus began a long, hard year and a half. We only ate because my mom bought our groceries each week. The internet and electric was only paid because we used credit card debt. And when we met with a financial counseling service, they said we were doing everything we could and there was no help… or hope… they could give us.
It was then that I swore an oath that if I ever had employees or contractors, I’d never be late paying them. In fact, when I did finally get another supplemental job, in my interview I told my boss-to-be that if she was one day late I’d walk out the door and she’d never hear from me again. There was one time in the couple of years I worked for her that she was going to be late on pay, only because the book keeper was on vacation… so she hand-wrote me a check. I then swore to be like her when I became a boss.
Fast-forward to today and my husband Tony and I have three very successful businesses… and I discovered even successful businesses aren’t immune from mistakes. Last night a $9,500 “mistake” that was no fault of mine sent my world into a spiral. In-between phone calls to multiple banks to figure out what happened and how to fix it, I found myself on the floor in front of my desk in a full-fledged panic attack… the kind I haven’t had in almost two years. I was finally facing my deepest fear…
While I used to suffer from chronic anxiety (more on this in another post), I’d just started to feel a turn… a shift… almost a lift-off for my businesses. Yet there was this little voice telling me to pay attention to an emotion that kept creeping up, usually accompanied by the thought, “I will never be like him.”
Did you know that if you focus so hard on not being like someone or doing something, you’ll practically will it into existence?
And that’s exactly what happened. It took a $9,500 “mistake” for me to wake up and listen to that voice. To realize that no business was immune to the same mistakes that he made. I realized my focus on not being “him” didn’t keep those mistakes from making me just like him. He didn’t start out malicious. He started out with an honest mistake, and didn’t have the foundation of integrity to do the right thing, then took advantage of us when he saw we’d stay on and work for free.
I thought I’d forgiven him. Thought I’d moved on, built an awesome new life, and was ready to see all my dreams fulfilled. Yet in the back of my mind this one nagging thought said, “This is going to ruin you if you don’t pay attention. You will lose everything you’ve built and worked hard to achieve.”
So after a chat with my coach, my best friend, and a very very long talk with my incredible, supportive husband, I allowed those tears of fear and anger to dissolve into tears of realization and gratitude.
So to you, the man that screwed me over all those years ago, THANK YOU. If I could go back to my younger self and tell her how what YOU did set her on the path to the most incredible life she could ever have dreamed of, I would.
To the person that made the $9,500 “mistake”, THANK YOU. If it weren’t for you, I may have self-sabotaged myself right out of my biggest dreams. Because of what you did, my stubborn self finally listened to the fear and anger I had buried so deep inside me… and faced it head on.
You may have huge dreams and goals and wonder why you just can’t get closer to achieving them. You may also have that little voice creep up every so often and give you whispers, hints of something you think is entirely un-related to your dreams. My wish for you in reading this post is that you listen to that voice before it becomes a 2×4 covered in nails swung into your head. And if you had a heart breaking experience or tragedy in your life, look back at it and ask, “How did this circumstance contribute to who I am today?” You may be as surprised as I was at the connection you find.
The man who didn’t pay me for three months forced me onto a solid path of entrepreneurship. It’s because of him that The Book Ninja exists. If he hadn’t set me on this path, I wouldn’t have made over $1.5 million in the publishing niche in just the past few years. I wouldn’t be starting other businesses like our toy store(s), using the knowledge I gained from the ground up building The Book Ninja. I wouldn’t be providing jobs to families. I wouldn’t have helped thousands of authors’ dreams come true. I wouldn’t have built a solid foundation to launch my new brand, The Business Ninja. Frankly, I wouldn’t be the success I am today if that man had continued to pay me on time and kept me employed.
I can finally say with confidence that I am grateful for what he did to me. It’s taken me 15 years to see it, and due to who it made me today, I wouldn’t change a thing. Now I can finally heal, put aside this part of my own self-sabotage, and build something amazing. And I give you permission to do whatever it takes, even cry like a baby for a full day, to heal and build your own amazing life.
Since I was four years old I’ve wanted to be a pilot. I still remember my first “solo flight” when I visited grandparents… and the Captain gave me my first set of wings. Of course, you can’t fly alone as easily as I did back then, but it was too late anyway… the flight bug bit me.
Several years ago I met a special lady in an elevator… I had no idea who she was, just that she was carrying one of the coolest Snoopy bags I’d ever seen. I complimented her on it… and when we walked into the room of the event I was attending everyone stood up and applauded. I tried to hide my embarrassment that I had no idea who she was… and I’m pretty sure she thought it was cute in that I didn’t bother to try to be anyone except myself around her, even after the room cheered and I discovered it was Jeannie Schulz the window of “Sparky”, Charles Schulz.
To be honest, I mostly ignored her speech about Peanuts and all things Sparky. It was when she talked about being a pilot that my ears perked up. After the event I waited for the swarms of people begging for books to be signed to die down before I approached her. I told her how I’d always wanted to be a pilot, and started to grill her with questions. She lit up like a siren on the car of an over-anxious police officer finally getting to chase someone after a long day of sitting on the side of the road watching passers-by. It was then I realized, everyone had asked about Sparky. Everything was about him, and Peanuts. And all I cared about was this woman who flew… and who I later found out also took trapeze lessons.
We stayed in touch over the years and every quarter she sends me her copy of the women’s pilot club magazine, Ninety-Nines once she’s read it. I’ve read some, skimmed most, and kept all of them (along with all her fun, hand-written personal notes) After a year or so I got the chance to take a Diamond DA20-C1 up for a spin. Not realizing it until later, I actually did the take-off solo… and the instructor beside me said I was “a natural” as we practically buzzed the Sears Tower (with permission) and flew over Navy Pier in Chicago.
That was it, if I wasn’t bit so bad before, now my skin crawled with flight bugs. I just had. To. Learn. How. To. Fly. I began researching flight schools, and at the time my business was just starting to take off… and it was never enough. So I put the dream off for a while… always there in the back of my mind.
Fast-forward about five years and my business became ultra successful, I married the ultimate man of my dreams, we started several more businesses together… and within the past year I fell into a big mindset trap. I started to tell myself, “either or”. Either I could hire another employee or I could set aside money for flight lessons. Either I could pay the contractors to build the addition on our house or I could save for flying lessons. Either I could buy inventory for our new toy store or I could start taking flight lessons.
It got to the point that I started pushing fear of flying on myself in order to talk myself out of my dream. I got nervous when I flew commercially across the country. The tiniest bit of turbulence would result in my heart racing and me grasping for my husband’s hand (if he was there) even though I knew the science behind turbulence. And I started to tell myself, “There’s no way you’ll ever learn to fly, it’s too scary.”
This morning the “ah-ha” hit me like a ton of bricks. I was afraid to fly, afraid to take lessons, thought it was too complicated or too hard, all because I wanted an “out” from my dream. I wanted a good excuse so when my friend Jeannie asked me why I haven’t started lessons yet, I’d have a good reason. A really good reason rooted in fear… and cloaked in the guise of survival.
And the “either or” mindset led to look at every bill, every exchange and every new business decision (especially any that cost money) as costing me… my DREAM.
This morning for the first time in over a year I asked myself, “So why can’t I have BOTH? Why is this an ‘either or’ scenario? What’s so bad about achieving ALL my dreams, no matter what those dreams are?” And this afternoon I unexpectedly got the next edition of Ninety-Nines in the mail, along with an update letter from Jeannie accompanied by her signature hand-written note, and I broke down in tears. Talk about perfect timing. Here was this woman I considered a friend, and I didn’t even know she had recently lost the house she and Sparky shared since 1980 in the Sonoma County fires. This woman who still looked at the bright side of everything, the side of “I not only CAN have it all, I DO have it all.” This woman who believed in my dream enough to keep sending me this magazine when I haven’t written her in almost a year… after her home burned to the ground.
Inspired by her, I logged onto Google and started searching for the closest flight schools. I found one that looked promising, and discovered the investment through them was half what I expected to pay for my license. And they had a flexible option for busy business owners to get this… achieve their dreams of flight. I don’t know how it will happen or even where the money will come from when there are so many other things going on right now demanding a piece of my bank account… but what I do know is, however it happens, it WILL happen. The dream has re-awakened.
If you have a dream you’ve let die, or one you’ve shoved under a rug in a hole in the floor somewhere hoping to forget, pull it out, dust it off, and ask yourself, “What is my first step?” Maybe it’s doing a simple Google search. Maybe it’s hiring a business consultant like me to help you get started. Maybe it’s grabbing that domain name for a related product idea. Whatever it is, take action and do it.
Ever since this article was published about Amazon laying off 58 workers at their North Charleston self-publishing services, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen authors panicking all over social media.
And before you freak out, let me ask you one question… Would it really be smart of a major company, whose foundation has always been books, to amputate one of their legs that their company stands on?
In case your eyes are huge and you’ve started to hyperventilate, the answer to that question is NO.
No company in their right mind would do that! Now, would a company choose to get back to their roots, because one division they opened later isn’t earning the profit they hoped it would?
And that’s exactly what Amazon is doing. In case you’ve been living under a rock and still don’t realize this, Amazon owns CreateSpace. Back in the day they bought a little book printer called Booksurge, revamped that entire company under the new brand of CreateSpace, fixed some serious quality control issues, then added self-publishing services as the demand for professional editors, cover designers, and the like increased.
Then all of a sudden “independent publishers” (aka: vanity/self-publishing service providers, etc.) popped up everywhere, giving CreateSpace and other big author service providers a literal run for their money. And it seems like now, CreateSpace has finally had enough of dwindling profits, and they’ve gotten smart and decided to go back to their roots of offering book printing services.
This means you can still print your book with CreateSpace!
This means CreateSpace is NOT closing and NOT going out of business! (Yet…)
This means you don’t have to freak out anymore! (YAY!)
CreateSpace makes a lot of money off authors. And it still remains to be seen if they will eventually blend with the new “KDP Print” program… which is a topic for another post.
For now, rest assured that your book is safe, you can still print with CreateSpace, and you can still easily use their portal to get your book on Amazon.
In Part 2 of this series last week we looked at what some of the most powerful Jedi Masters in the Star Wars universe had to say and how it relates to you as a writer. In this final installment, we’re going to dig deep into some of the lessons I’ve learned writing my own books… including a quote from our all-time favorite “villain” Darth Vader. Enjoy this final installment in this series!
9.You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting. ~ Shmi Skywalker
Human nature may never change, but human interest does. The topics you read and enjoyed 20 years ago aren’t the same as the ones you read and enjoy now. If you’re a writer of non-fiction, it’s especially important to be aware of current trends, new discoveries, and different perspectives.
For example, the subject of food will always be a topic of interest to people; but the kinds of foods that should go into a healthy diet can change based on new research and studies. The importance of possessing good communication skills is timeless; however the means through which we communicate advances along with technology.
So, if you want your book or blog to be relevant to readers five years from now, make sure your content is “evergreen”—not subject to change. On the other hand, there’s definitely a niche for writing that covers current trends, events, and views; and if you’re interested in covering popular topics, you have to stay on top of change and deliver in a timely fashion.
10. Who’s the more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him? ~ Obi~Wan
Do your research. Take the time to vet your sources of information, whether you’re getting online advice or training for becoming a successful author or you’re pulling quotes off the internet for your newest blogpost. To have credibility as an author, you must ensure your sources are credible and accurate. What are the credentials of the person you’re quoting? What kind of studies and research are you referencing, and where and when were they done?
To be successful as an author, make sure you are following the advice of people who are already successful in the field. What is their track record? How many books do they have published? Do they get good reviews? Are there reliable testimonials for their training courses?
There’s a lot of great resources out there to help you in your writing endeavors; but there’s a ton of crap out there too. Know the difference!
11. I’m rather embarrassed, General Solo, but it appears that you are to be the main course at a banquet in my honor. ~ C3PO
And sometimes things don’t quite turn out the way you expect. Maybe you didn’t follow all the steps that should have been followed when you published your book. Suddenly you’re getting bad reviews on Amazon because of bad Kindle formatting, or—because you didn’t want to spend the money on professional proofreading services—there’s 14 glaring errors on the first two pages alone. Now, instead of accolades, instead of being the “guest of honor,” you’re being roasted by the critics.
One thing we cannot change is the past. Okay, so you messed up. Remember the thing about your focus becoming your reality? If you beat yourself over the head with your mistakes, you’ll never get anywhere. Take the focus off what you did wrong, put your energy into correcting it, and then move forward. Even professionals flub up at times, and maybe even achieved the status of “expert” because they learned from their mistakes, made the necessary changes, and kept on going.
12. Someday I will be the most powerful Jedi ever. ~ Anakin Skywalker
Great, kid! Don’t get cocky. ~ Han Solo
In time, with practice and persistence, you might become the most powerful author or Authorpreneur ever. And if not the most powerful, then ranked among the best. That’s great! Just keep in mind that “success” can be powerfully intoxicating, and if you’re not careful it has the potential to take you from hero to zero in a hurry.
Quick! Off the top of your head, can you name any authors, musicians, or actors who were “one hit wonders?” Someone whose book, song, or movie became a best-seller and then no one ever heard from them again? What happened? Where did they go? If I thought long enough and hard enough I could come up with a few names, I’m sure. But for the most part their names elude us because they stopped producing. Maybe they thought they could ride on their success indefinitely—we’ll never know.
We can learn a great deal from this: if you want to continue being successful, you have to keep producing. Fans won’t stay fans forever, and readers will move on to other authors if you don’t keep fresh content coming.
13. I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan… The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master. ~ Darth Vader
You’ve arrived. Congratulations! You’ve got a few hundred (or thousand) followers on your blog. You’ve published 11 books and 18 journals, and have dozens of good-to-excellent reviews. You’ve been a guest on several podcasts. Now think of the possibilities.
If this is just where you want to be, that’s great! But if you want to take your career or business to another level, consider teaching others. You’ve established the credibility, now you’re in a position to make a difference. Share your knowledge and expertise in whatever subject you’ve been writing about. Continue to learn and grow and touch the lives of those around you and of those you may never meet. True Jedi masters never keep “The Force” to themselves; they turn it outward for the good of all.
In my last post (Part 1 of this series), I took a look at four famous quotes from our most beloved franchise, mostly having to do with belief in yourself, starting small, and not underestimating the power of beginning. Now we’re going to look at a few quotes by one of our favorite characters, Yoda… probably the wisest of all in the Star Wars universe… and some of the other wise Jedi Masters.
5. Do. Or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda
Part of your success as an author or Authorpreneur is determined by your mindset. If you go into something always “leaving the back door open,” you’ve already told yourself that you’ll probably fail. Think of it this way; if the love of your life proposed to you by saying, “Well, let’s try this marriage thing for a month and see what happens,” would you enthusiastically say yes? Or what if you asked your sweetheart to marry you and she responded by saying, “Sure! We’ll give it a go for six months and then decide if we want to continue”?
There’s this little itty-bitty thing called commitment, and its essential to your success in business as well as in marriage. Do things always work out? Is success guaranteed? No. But if your mindset is non-committal right from the get-go, your chances for success drop dramatically.
6. “Fear is the path to the dark side.” ~ Yoda
Are you afraid you might not succeed, that people won’t like your writing, books, products, or services? Are you worried they might not like YOU? What if your beta readers (the friends and family members you recruited) offer so many suggestions on what to change that the wind is taken out of your sails? What if you get a less-than-stellar review? What if you just don’t have what it takes (whatever that is)?
YIKES! You MUST get past your fear or else you’ll be caught in a never-ending spiral of self-doubt, discouragement, and failure. Choose to be courageous. Courage is not the opposite of fear; courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of your fears.So what if your mother-in-law hates your book! Smile, thank her for the input, and shrug it off. So what if your story doesn’t place in the national writing contest you entered. So what if you get a 1-star review that seems to take on a life of its own among the two dozen great reviews you got.
Having your ideas turned down or challenged by other people doesn’t determine your worth, creativity, or ability. It could mean a lot of things. Yes, it could mean your writing needs more polish (and take that into consideration). But it could also mean that you pitched it to the wrong audience, or the literary critics are looking for an established name or a different perspective. Don’t let fear keep you from “doing” your dream.
7. Be mindful of your thoughts Anakin. They’ll betray you. ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi
People really are the sum of their thoughts. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between fact and fantasy when it comes to self-talk. What you say about yourself becomes the truth. So people who say, “I can’t” are just as correct as are people who say “I can.” Therefore, if you say you’re not creative, then you’re right. You’re not. Until you start believing it. If you keep reinforcing the idea that you’re “always a day late and a dollar short,” your subconscious mind will act on those beliefs.
Obviously, saying “I am a millionaire” 18 times a day won’t make it so. But telling yourself, “I have everything I need to be happy. I have abundance,” and then focusing on the talents, abilities, and blessings that you DO have will get you out of a “scarcity” mindset quicker than anything else!
8. Remember: Your focus determines your reality. ~ Qui-Gon Jinn
This goes right along with #7 above. Can I take a moment to be blunt? Do you want to be a published author, a successful entrepreneur, an achiever? Then start acting like one. Get your focus off your mistakes and shortcomings and put it on what you are doing right. The only moment you have within your grasp is the one right here, right now. So forget about all the wasted time and missed opportunities, and change things from here on out. Decide that you are a GONNABE, not a wannbe. It will make all the difference in the world.
Get ready to explore even more ways to become a Writing Jedi Master in Part Three!
With the long-anticipated latest Star Wars movie Rogue One being released in a few months, I thought it would be fun to apply the lessons learned in the first six movies to writing… So, enjoy Part 1 of 3 of this fun article series, and join me in my love of great storytelling!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a little boy and little girl who dreamed of growing up to be authors. There was something inside them (the Force, perhaps?) that pulled them, drew them, and beckoned them into writing. They came up with the most amazing tales, which astonished their parents and teachers. As luck would have it they grew up, and over time—on the battlefield of mundane living—they lost touch with their creativity until all that was left were distant dreams.
If you can relate, if you feel like your ambition succumbed to the Dark Side of the Force, then learn these Jedi-master skills to reawaken the creative spark within you.
1. “Remember, the Force will be with you always.” ~ Obi Wan Kenobi
You never lose the ability to be creative. It might go dormant, but it isn’t gone. So, how do you get it back? One thing I’ve observed is that adults don’t play enough! The power of play is sadly underrated. Learning to play again will reignite your imagination. It bridges the gap between problems and solutions. Grab some Legos, clay, crayons and a sketch pad (not all at once) and make something. You can even make a mess, and that’s okay! Get on your hands and knees and crawl on all fours around the house to see things from a different perspective. A simple change in perspective is enough to stimulate your creativity.
2. “The Force is strong with this one” ~ Darth Vader
Nurture the desire to write, whether its blogging, journaling, or getting your first novel started. Put your skills into practice. The more you write, the more you’ll feel like writing. Take action first and the feelings will follow. Make writing a daily practice. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be.
3. “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” ~ Han Solo
Becoming a successful writer takes work and effort. First you “dust the crops” in a slow, single engine plane, killing weeds (time wasters, procrastination, disorganization), preparing the ground and conditioning it (playing, dreaming, practicing) so it becomes fertile soil. A time for planting and a time for reaping. Be patient.
Patience is not one of my natural strengths, but I learned to develop it with all the health issues I had while growing up. Patience doesn’t come easy to most people, but it’s something you need to learn if you’re going to be successful as a writer. After you’ve kept at it and put in your dues you’ll be ready for hyperspace!
4. Judge me by my size, do you? ~ Yoda
Somewhere in the Bible it says, “Do not despise these small beginnings.” And this gets back to patience. Success doesn’t come overnight, and neither does your novel or non-fiction book. It might take months (or years) of producing content, networking, and marketing before making your mark in the world of books. Don’t turn down small opportunities because you’re waiting for that one big break. Big breaks usually don’t come until you’ve taken advantage of all the little ones.
Discover more ways to become a Writing Jedi Master in Part Two!
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