So over the holidays I read Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. And to say it was eye-opening is an understatement. The entire concept revolves around identifying your self-sabotaging behaviors, learning to love yourself and manifesting the life you want with concrete tips and tricks of how to actually go about pursuing each idea.
But have you ever noticed that most personal development books deal with examples like finding your soulmate, making more money or losing weight? There are none specific to life as a writer, and that’s a huge area in my life and the lives of many others.
So today I am going to take the activities and lessons learned from Sincero’s book and apply it to writing and publishing!
Some of these activities may seem a little mumbo jumbo, but people across the world swear by them. And I will be doing them right alongside you, so we can feel silly together.
Identifying Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Do you ever notice yourself using the same excuse over and over again? They typically begin with phrases like:
- I don’t have…
- I never…
- I can’t…
- I suck at…
These are often the lies we tell ourselves or the stories we create to keep us in our comfort zone. But they are far from truly comforting. Instead they are keeping us from moving forward into the life we truly want.
Specific to writing, mine look something like this:
- I don’t have any idea what I am doing.
- I never have enough time to write.
- I can’t find an agent/publisher because there are too many other (better) writers out there.
- I suck at creating high stakes, and my romances always fall flat.
So why do I tell myself these stories? What reward am I getting out of it? Well for me, it’s because if I limit myself from truly giving it my all, I’ll never really fail because I didn’t ever truly try. But that’s a copout. Because if I never truly try, then I’ll never really succeed either.
By identifying these excuses and behaviors as well as the false rewards, we can then turn them on their heads or “flip the fear” as Sincero says. Then they become something like this:
- I am learning the best way to improve my writing.
- I prioritize and make time for things that are important to me.
- The right agent/publisher is out there, just waiting to fall in love with my book.
- I rocked my writing today with breathless high stakes and sizzling romances!
They may not be totally true yet, but by repeating them over and over again, eventually they will be. Which leads us to…
Learning to Love Yourself
You’ve all seen the scene in the movie or TV show where the character stands in front of the mirror and says positive things to himself. It’s cheesy and silly, but it really works. The words sink into your subconscious and eventually become your truth.
Here’s the thing though: they can’t just be empty praise or total lies. Whatever phrases you decide to use must be honest and meaningful, not just temporary mood-boosters.
Say you’re feeling a lot of self-doubt about yourself as a writer. Maybe you feel like a phony because you don’t really know what you are doing.
Stand in front of the mirror and say “I am a writer. I am creative, and I do the best I can.”
It’s not too specific and it’s within your own control, but you have to really believe it. If you still feel like you are lying yourself, take it up another level. But baby steps work toward eventually getting you to where you need to be.
Write your affirmations on a post it note and stick them to your mirror, repeat them while you’re driving to work, copy them each night before you go to bed. And then take actionable steps toward making them as true as they can be.
Manifesting a Life You Love
For me this was the most fun piece of homework Sincero assigned both because I am a very visual learner and I love crafts. So whip out your scissors and glue sticks, it’s time for…
A vision board!
What the heck is a vision board, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s a collage of images and phrases that represent your goals and dreams. It’s intended to serve as motivation and inspiration, so that every time you look at it, you remember what you’re working toward and manifest that future into your life.
Sincero refers to the creating of a vision board as having “a craft day with God” which I totally love and it couldn’t be more true.
So let’s get started on how to make one:
- Start by listing the goals you’re working toward. Then imagine what your life will look like once you’ve accomplished those goals. For example, once I am a bestselling author, I want to live on the beach, have an awesome library in my house and ride horses everyday. But don’t just focus on tangible things; remember to include how you want to feel as well. I want to live my life with passion and determination, and I want to feel strong and empowered and fulfilled.
If you are feeling lost on where to start with this, Christie Inge has a great workbook for setting intentions for your life.
- Set the scene. Creating a vision board isn’t something you want to do when you are in a rush or feeling exhausted and bored. This is supposed to be fun! Turn on some great music, pour yourself a glass of wine, gather your tarot cards and crystals, whatever! But remember that by making it fun, you will associate your vision board with positive feelings and make it that much more successful.
- Design your layout. Now you can absolutely make a vision board just for writing related things. But I chose to do one for life overall, and I found these handy images that really helped me sort things out. Try it, build your own or just go with what feels right!
- Grab some magazines (these are the best for vision boards) and start searching for images/phrases that stand out to you and represent the life you’ve built in Step 1. The more emotion you feel when you look at them, the bigger chance of success you will have in this exercise. Pinterest is also a great place to look for images when you are searching for something really specific.
- Get to glueing!
Yes it’s really that easy!
The final step is to put your vision board somewhere where you will see it often – every day! Mine is currently on the wall right next to my computer. If you don’t have space in your home, take a picture and make it the background of your cellphone. Whatever you have to do. And when you see it, let those images fill you with inspiration and motivation, tell yourself it’s yours and manifest the exact life you’ve designed for yourself.
None of these activities seem very hard, but trust me, it’s more difficult than you think. Being this honest with yourself brings up a lot of negative feelings and experiences. But by flipping them into a more positive intention, you can really use it to transform your life. Whether it’s losing weight, finding your soulmate, starting a new job or publishing a book.
Let me know how your exercises go and send me pictures of your vision board in the comments below! I’d love to hear how it’s going.