A Writer’s Worst Enemy (It’s Not What You Think)

A Writer’s Worst Enemy (It’s Not What You Think)

A Writer’s Worst Enemy (It’s Not What You Think)

 

I’m here to talk about a writer’s worst enemy, and I can promise you, it’s not what you think.

Lots of writers talk to me about writer’s block. They’re not sure what to write, and feel stuck. They don’t know where to go, what to say next, or what their next chapter should be.

I think I’ve heard it all, but we put that all under the umbrella of writer’s block. Most people get stuck and they don’t know why, and I’m here to explain how you get stuck in writer’s block.

You’re not going to believe it, but what gets in the way is your own brain.

Many of you know that most of the work that I do over in the Writing Gym is based on my study of neuroscience, how the brain learns and creates, and the secret is this:

Your mind will tell you anything to keep you in the comfort zone.

When you sit down to write, which is a risky endeavor, you’re going to share it with the world. You’re sharing your most intimate thoughts. You’re sharing a story, whether it’s your own personal narrative, or close to it.

There’s risk. It’s scary. You might not get distracted and not get it done. You might get stuck and not find the right words.

There’s lots of scare factors, and your mind wants to keep you safe and comfortable.

It sends you these messages that say things like “you can’t do this,” “this is okay, but you could do this so much better.” These are lies that come from our brain to keep us comfortable.

If you want to be a successful writer, you need to get out of that negative feedback loop, and get into the right relationship with your inner critic.

Then, the writing can flow.
Then, you write with confidence.
Then, you can circumvent some of that negative feedback and know what your strengths are.

As a writer, I have confidence based on real facts, not empty praise like “good job.” That’s not real confidence.

If you’re ready to break out of that loop, you may have had it with writer’s block, being stuck, and letting your mind take control of your writing future. I’ve opened up some time in the next week or so to chat with writers who are serious about becoming their best writer, finally finishing that novel, and getting over fear to get the writing done. 

If you’re serious about finishing your novel this year, I’d love to chat. You can get on a call and talk about where you are, where you’d like to be, and how you can get there.

Until next time. Happy writing.

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How To Avoid A Character Takeover

How To Avoid A Character Takeover

How To Avoid a Character Takeover

I want to share a story about Sonee Singh, one of the members in the Writing Gym. Like many writers, Sonee has a very specific goal: traditional publication.

Traditional publication is not easy, especially with strict industry standards. However for Sonee, the goal seemed unreachable, because she didn’t even have a completed novel. 

Sonee had trouble progressing with the plot of her novel. She felt stuck. She had most of the story put together, but saw holes, and wasn’t sure how to solve that problem.

In March of this year, Sonee had a draft of her novel that didn’t have a complete ending. She had an ending per say, but it wasn’t where she wanted it to be.

She knew she needed more work and more clarity, but wasn’t sure how to get there. 

Her plot had big events that marked her protagonist’s journey, yet felt disjointed because nothing tied the bigger events together. 

Sonee looked at her work and felt frustrated, and considered dropping the piece all together. 

“I kept coming back to it, I just had no idea how to do it.” 

Sonee knew she had a story worth telling, but didn’t have the tools to express her writing the way she wanted. Reluctant to give the story up, she tried out some resources. 

She initially turned to beta readers that provided unhelpful, conflicting feedback. Afterwards, Sonee decided she had had enough. 

She decided to reach out to me.

We began working together, and I read through her manuscript twice. After some revisions, she created a second draft.

The first revision focused on details such as character arc, plot arc, the big picture, and how these could be used to create a cohesive narrative.

Through discussions around the revisions, I was able to help Sonee organize her thoughts and equip her with tools needed to look at these details on her own. 

Another part of the process is I asked Sonee guiding questions about her plot, helping her realize how to solve any issue she comes across in her writing. 

As a professional, I know what you need to do to make your book better, but most importantly I value your voice and want you to create the solutions to your novel. 

“I think the beauty of what you do is that you have that insight, but you also don’t give the answer. You just pose questions that force me to come to that answer and I think it’s become a very organic process.”

With my help, Sonee has had multiple breakthroughs in her writing, and is on the journey to finishing her novel with confidence. 

Before coming to me, Sonee knew she had a problem to fix, and traditional publishing was a far-off dream.

Today, Sonee believes she’s capable of meeting industry standards, and she’s one step closer to achieving her goal of traditional publication. 

I’m so happy to see Sonee grow as a confident writer, and am excited to see where she goes from here. 

Do you feel stuck in your writing and don’t know where to go next? Have publishing dreams but have no idea how to get there? Let’s chat.

Until next time. Happy writing. 

Confused About Publishing? Got Writer’s Block? Let’s Fix That.

Confused About Publishing? Got Writer’s Block? Let’s Fix That.

Confused About Publishing? Got Writer’s Block? Let’s Fix That. 

 

In order to become an author, let alone a successful one, you have to do a lot more than write.

The path to publication is long and there are many, many places to get lost.

That’s why our VIP programs are designed to walk you through the whole process, or just the part you’re stuck on if that’s what you need. 

We give you the coaching, support, knowledge, and support you need to go from struggling writer to published author.

We work with writers at three different phases:

 

  • Write or finish a novel in eight weeks
  • Revise novel to publishable and find an agent
  • Expand author platform and sell their book

We’ve had many authors in different stages of the writing process get published. 

 

Sounds like something you’re interested in?

The Writing Gym is accepting select writers to join our community of successful, published authors.

If you’re serious about publishing in 2020, let’s chat. Drop yourself into my calendar here to talk to a member of our team.

Until next time. Happy Writing. 

How To Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

How To Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

How to Overcome Self Doubt and Get Published

 

Today, I want to talk about an extraordinary Writing Gym member, Lauren.

I met Lauren at a writing conference. She had been working on a novel for years, but was caught in destructive circles of doubt that prevented her from finishing. At times, these negative feelings were so overwhelming, sitting down at the keyboard felt impossible. 

Weeks would go by where Lauren didn’t touch her writing at all.

“I was afraid of my own writing at times,” she told me. “I felt like I was walking down a dark hallway without a flashlight. I had this story that I wanted to tell really, really badly, but I didn’t know how to do it. And I was scared of doing it wrong.”

Like many serious writers, Lauren was determined to overcome this fear so she could pursue her writing career. She tried various DIY solutions: she read what felt like a zillion articles and books on writing, and even tried a different writing program, but nothing seemed to reach the core of the problem. She received conflicting feedback, which left her more confused.

As you can imagine, this led to more negative emotions, which inhibited her writing even further.

“I was worrying myself to death, I was really getting in my own way and was really frustrated.”

Lauren and I touched base a few times in the years after that conference. Every time we did, she would tell me about her latest efforts: writing classes, books on writing, writing conferences. Each time, she hoped to find a solution to her writing problems. Yet months later, on our next call, Lauren was still stuck.

All that changed when Lauren decided to enroll in the Writing Gym

She began working through our instructive modules, which armed her with a new arsenal of writing techniques. She met weekly with our personal trainer, Gretchen, who helped Lauren restructure her mental approach towards writing. I met with her weekly, took a close look at her writing, and gave her personalized feedback.

That wasn’t the only support she got. The weekly salons in the Writing Gym “transformed my writing,” Lauren says.

Salons are weekly writing workshops we hold among our Gym Rats, in which we spend an hour writing together in a supportive, fun, productive environment. Using neuroscientific principles, this activity rewires the brain to overcome the inner critic, and fall into creative flow.

Lauren’s summary of the value of her experience in the Writing Gym:

“The Writing Gym provides authors with knowledgeable, insider industry information, knowledgeable feedback and a true understanding of how the writing process works so that you can be your best writer.”

The secret to Lauren’s final breakthrough was the robust combination of encouragement and the means to discover HER best writer. She quickly transformed from a reluctant, self-doubting writer to a prolific and confident author.

After a few months, Lauren said: 

“I didn’t realize the Writing Gym was going to so thoroughly revolutionize the way that I write. I don’t want to say that I didn’t love writing already, but the Writing Gym has made it so much more enjoyable to write. I didn’t expect that. I thought that writing is always scary and it’s always going to be scary. I had no idea that the Writing Gym would help me to get really, truly excited about writing again.” 

Lauren’s new attitude and approach to writing brought quick success. With her true creativity unlocked, she began to produce original, inspired work, and publishers took notice. Here are the results she began to see:

  • Lauren had a short story published in an anthology just months after joining the Writing Gym.
  • Lauren won a writing contest and her story is now featured on Alexa device.

Like many writers, Lauren had always had talent and originality, but it was buried under her own limiting beliefs. Tragically, many writers don’t take the steps Lauren did to shed these beliefs, and unlock their greatest writer. Neither themselves, nor the world, will get to witness their full creative potential.

Lauren says her only regret is not joining the Writing Gym sooner.

 

“If there was a way for me to tiptoe back in time to when I met you two years ago, I would show myself the reel of all the needless trouble I put myself through. That’s what it was–two years of pointless turmoil, when what I really needed was already right there. I just didn’t realize it. I wish I could condense the two years between then and now.”

If you resonate with Lauren’s story, and you know that you possess deep creative potential, we can help you bring it to the surface.

A word of caution: this is only for serious writers, writers who are tired of solutions that don’t get them where they want to be, and are ready for change NOW.

To go through the Writing Gym process, you need to be ready and determined to publish your work.

 

If that sounds like you, book a call with our team so we can talk about how to unleash your best writer, and help you finally reach your publishing goals.

 

Until next time. Happy writing.

 
Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Don’t Waste Any More Time. Finish That Book Today.

Today, I’m focusing on Steve Cummins, a member of the Writing Gym. 

He has just completed the VIP Program where writers finish their novels, and I’m excited to share some of his amazing celebrations.

Steve is working on a character-driven medieval fantasy novel. The book touches on themes of sexual inequality and racial inequality, both of which are very relevant today. 

Now 48, Steve began his journey with this book when he was 22. He couldn’t sit long enough to write, and the novel sat neglected for a good decade before he picked it up again in his 30s. 

He got halfway through, and then set it aside for 5 more years.

Until he and I started talking.

Steve is obviously passionate about his novel. So why did it take him so long to finish?

Time and fear. 

Steve was frustrated with his writing experience. He spent hours trying to reacquaint himself with the characters and what they were doing in a particular section, resulting in only getting 45 minutes of writing done.

 Setting aside time to write is hard, folks. You have a lot more free time in your 20s, and then you start to make bigger commitments as you move into your late 20s and 30s. By the time we get to a certain age, we have a lot of commitments.

Despite all his commitments, Steve found the time to write—which is a huge celebration. I want to commend him on that.

How did he find the time? 

Steve’s personal life was so busy, and the friends he talked to about his novel would say, ”Please, you’re never going to finish.” His parents knew he had dreams of being an author, but they probably thought, “Okay, we’re going to die without seeing that happen.”

 

So, he just had to commit. In terms of finding the time to write, Steve told himself, “I’m going to write in the mornings,” especially because his brain is clear in the mornings.

 

What Steve found was that if he didn’t get an hour every morning like he wanted, he found 45 minutes in the evening to continue working. He gave himself a weekly goal, and if he missed a day, he carried that hour over to the next day. 

What Steve utilized was the power of decision.

We are going to have moments where things are happening- recessions, natural disasters, and other events out of our control. I mean, we’re in a pandemic. It is a unique time.

Taking the power to decide to write and standing with that power is so important.

 

 

I asked Steve, “What are some of your experiences in the celebrations you have, things that you were able to see that you hadn’t ever thought of before?”

He said there is a theme with the mindset, both relinquishing control and taking control. There are circumstances where your best-laid plans won’t go the way you want, because life gets in the way. 

Instead of letting circumstances defeat him, Steve tries to recognize the parts that can’t be controlled and remember that it’s okay. 

“Instead, I focus on how I am I going to respond and what I’m going to do? I think about it, and then I move on and focus on what I’m going to do in the present.”  

“It’s about getting rid of the resentment for the things that happened outside of my control, and focusing on what I can control for my next steps.” Such an amazing philosophy.

Through joining the Writing Gym, Steve rediscovered the fun of writing, and also realized his dream of writing a book was not something he gave up on 15 years ago, but a dream he could actually fulfill.

What else did Steve get out of the Writing Gym? He got a community and the personalized help he needed to fully commit to writing his novel.

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but as an extrovert, Steve had a hard time on his writing journey alone. Through the Writing Gym Facebook page, he was able to see all the different celebrations on the page and feel a sense of camaraderie with his fellow writers.

Our Writing Gym coaches, Gretchen and Jill, allowed Steve to share his thoughts and ideas with other writers, and get personalized comments on his writing while also creating room to build his creativity.

Steve loves the Writing Gym, and would recommend joining as a solution to any writers out there who feel stuck. 

Why is the Writing Gym so helpful?

  1. It creates commitment to make the time to write, instead of using the excuse of “I don’t have enough time.”
  2. The neuroscience behind the writing process helps writers remove fear from their writing and embrace creativity
  3. Weekly writing sessions focus on building creativity, and receiving personalized help on whatever writers are working on.
  4. There is a sense of community

All these reasons help Writing Gym members speed up the writing process to get you to publishable- fast. 

Steve has grown so much as a writer during his time in the Writing Gym, and I can’t wait to continue working with him and help realize his dreams of becoming a published author. 

Don’t put your writing dreams on hold. Let’s work together to get to publishable. If you’re interested, let’s chat. I’m happy to help. 

Until next time, happy writing.

 

The REAL Cause of Writer’s Block? Probably Not What You Think

The REAL Cause of Writer’s Block? Probably Not What You Think

The REAL Cause of Writer’s Block? Probably Not What You Think

Many of you may know that I’m a little bit obsessed with the Middle Ages.

Recently, I was sitting in this middle-aged “laverie,” which is where the people would come to wash their clothes. There’s a structure above that the river runs through so people can wash their clothes. This is something that really captivates my imagination.

I feel as though I can see the people here, see them working, living, being human. 

We all get our inspiration and our imagination from different sources and different things.

One of the things I’ve learned in my years of working with writers is it’s important to know how your brain works, and how you get inspiration. You may have seen some of the work that I’ve done with writers here in the group.

One of the things I do is tap into into my study of neuroscience to find out:

      1. what kind of thinker you are
  1. what kind of creator you are

By learning these two details, we can optimize your creativity and tailor our methods to suit your individual needs.

 

 If you’ve ever participated in one of our salons, you know sometimes people talk about writer’s block. “I’m so stuck, I don’t know what to write next.”

I’ve got a lot of strategies to help with through studying how the brain learns and creates. Through this approach, I can help you get to a beautiful, expansive place of imagination.  

I’d love to talk about where you are with your writing,  where you’d like to go, and how you can get there and be successful in your writing career.

If this sounds like you, let’s chat. Until next time, happy writing.

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