Stop Waiting for Someone to Tell You You’re a Writer

Way too many people sit around waiting for someone to tell them they should write.

They want to write. They sense they should write. They have things they want to say. But they’re waiting for family or friends to point out how talented they are, or for a few hundred people to click a link on Twitter. They’re waiting for a publisher to pick up their manuscript or to be “discovered” by an agent.

Meanwhile, they’re missing the most important determining factor of great writing—a willingness to just get started.

I did this for way too many years of my writing life.

When I first set out to be a writer, I was full of energy and enthusiasm. I had finally discovered the thing “I was meant to do all my life,” so I was convinced all I would have to do would be to take a leap of faith and the Universe would respond.

click image to learn more

click image to learn more

So with a few freelance gigs under my belt, I quit my full time job, started writing my book and waited for publishers to show up on my doorstep.

Strangely enough, they never came.

I know. You’re shocked.

I went through a period of pretty intense frustration.

Actually, come to think of it, it was a little bit like a grieving process. There was denial at first—this couldn’t possibly be happening to me, I thought. A publisher would come any day. Any day they would be here.

Then there was anger, the kind of thrashing around that happens when we try to take things into our own hands.

Then there was bargaining. Like, “please God, I’ll do whatever you want me to do, if you’ll just help me make this happen.” Then, finally, depression, when no matter what I did, nothing seemed to change my circumstances.

But finally, I came to a place of acceptance.

And acceptance looked like this: I don’t need anybody to tell me I’m a writer because I just am a writer. I don’t have to make any money doing it. I don’t need an agent or a publisher. I don’t need to be on any lists or make a million dollars. I can even work at Starbucks.

I’m a writer. It’s in me. No one can give it to me or take it away.

And my biggest regret as a writer is that I didn’t come to this place much sooner. Because, somewhere in all of that, I lost years of great writing time waiting around, stalling, hoping for validation only I could give myself.

Somewhere along the line, while I was waiting for someone else to validate me as a writer, I forgot my being a writer had nothing to do with anyone else.

But here’s the beautiful part.

Although I lost myself in the process of becoming a writer—or, another way of saying it would be I realized I’d never had myself in the first place—nothing has helped me uncover and recover myself like writing.

Writing is incredibly healing. It is beautifully calming. It can help us find our way home.

So these days, when I sit down to write, I don’t wonder to myself who is going to publish my writing or who is going to read it or if it’s going to make me a bunch of money. I remind myself how writing is the only thing that has ever made me feel like myself.

And how that’s all I ever really wanted, anyway.

I’m not sure where you are when it comes to writing.

Maybe you know you’re supposed to start writing something but you’ve been putting it off. Maybe you are writing, but you find yourself wondering if it matters—and if so, for what? Maybe you want to take your writing to the next level but you’re not exactly sure where you’re supposed to start.

If that’s you, you’re not alone.

But here’s the deal: no amount of validation that will make you feel like you’re ready. You have to decide you’re ready for yourself. And once you do decide you’re ready, my guess is you’ll need a little bit of guidance to help you know the right next step to take.

I created this video course to help guide you through your next steps.

Don’t waste any more time waiting for someone to tell you you’re a writer. You’re a writer. It’s in you. And even if no one ever reads what you’ve written, it will be worth it. I promise.

Learn More About Find Your Writing Voice Now

A Course to Help Writers Find Their Voices

I read a statistic in the New York Times that said 81% of Americans, when polled by a small publisher, admitted they had a “book in them”. I’d say, from my incredibly informal research (by that I mean, my life) this seems right.

Most people I meet, when we get to talking, tell me about they book they’d write—someday—if time and space and money and “life” ever permitted them.

Here’s the saddest part of that statistic—most people will never do it.

Writing is really hard.

Some of what makes it difficult is logistics—questions like, “Where do I start? What should I include? What do I leave out?” But most of what makes it difficult is the sort of invisible resistance that seems to show up anytime we try to create something.

find-your-writing-voice

I work with writers on a daily basis and the biggest obstacle they are facing when it comes to writing is not a lack of skills or expertise.

The biggest obstacles they face are things like:

  • Distractions
  • Insecurity
  • A fear of insignificance
  • Uncertainty about their voice

In fact, most of the writers I work with—even those who have never been trained as writers, but are moms or lawyers or executives or business owners or teachers—are far more gifted as writers than they give themselves credit for.

They could write a book someday. They should write a book someday. They will write a book someday—if they can get over the obstacles I listed above.

Here’s the craziest part about all of this.

I have two degrees in writing. I have a bachelor’s degree in Writing and a Masters in Teaching Writing. I could put together lesson plan after lesson plan filled with the skills of great writers. But learning those skills won’t help you as much as you think they will.

At least not if you didn’t understand your purpose as a writer.

Not if you don’t understand the why behind your writing—who you are and where you fit.

Not until you discover your unique voice.

This is the predicament I found myself in a few years ago.

I had been writing for as long as I could remember. I had gone to school to be a writer, had started a blog and learned everything I could about narrowing the focus of that blog and growing my platform. I had followed dozens of other writers and tried to learn from what they were doing.

But at the end of the day, I didn’t know who I was as a writer.

I didn’t understand what made me different.

And because of that I would say to myself, “well, there are all these other people who are better writers than me, and they’re saying the same things I want to say, so what’s the point? Why should I even try? Why would I keep writing?”

What was stopping me from writing wasn’t that I didn’t have the skills to be a writer. It was that I didn’t understand:

  • Where I came from and how this was connected to what I wanted to say
  • What made my message unique from everyone else’s
  • How I could connect in an authentic way with my audience—without being cheesy, but without being totally self-centered
  • How to keep the creative energy flowing

That’s why I created this course for writers.

After working with writers for the past several years—and being a writer myself—I finally decided I wanted to do something to help.

I wanted all of us to be able to live into our brilliant and beautiful voices.

So I developed a set of lessons and assignments to help writers uncover the unique voice already inside of them. My approach has four parts (I developed these intuitively, based on the questions hundreds of writers were asking me and the questions I was asking myself).

The parts went like this:

  • Where do you come from?
  • What do you want to say?
  • Who do you want to say it to?
  • How can you nurture your innate creative spirit?

What I found is, when I could help a writer answers these four questions for themselves, all the other excuses and blockages and supposed “obstacles” keeping them from what they wanted to write simply faded away.

It didn’t always come easily (nothing important ever does) but when I could give them a little support, they were far more likely to make progress.

It was important to me to make this material accessible to as many writers as possible.

So, I decided to film the whole thing.

I invited my friend Raechel over to my house and guided her through the process, one-on-one. She’s a gifted communicator and I knew she would benefit from the curriculum I had created—and that others would benefit from listening to her process the information.

I also created a 42 page workbook to walk each writer through the process.

And here’s the best part—after months (and really years) in the making, I get to release this resource to the world in about two weeks.

This course is going to help you:

  • Know where to start when it comes to writing
  • Overcome the needless obstacles getting in your way
  • Generate and re-generate creative energy
  • Answer the questions, “who am I?” and “why does my voice matter?”
  • Connect in an authentic way to your audience
  • Understand your message

Ultimately, I hope this course gives you the confidence you need in who you are as a writer to continue on the path to becoming the writer you were always meant to be.

Check out this video to learn more about the course. If you’re interested, visit the page and sign up to learn more. Also, if you know any writers who need to discover their unique voice, please pass the message on to them!

Learn More About Find Your Writing Voice Now

The Real Reason You Feel Powerless to Change Your Life

Honestly, I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I didn’t have the power to change my circumstances.

My romantic relationships would always end in heartbreak and despair, but I figured that was just the “way it was” with love. Best case scenario, I figured, it was that way for everyone. Worst case scenario, it was something about me that I couldn’t help.

Maybe it was predestined—I would never have a happy relationship.

power

When it came to money, I was never poor necessarily, but never lived in abundance. I was tight with finances, all the time. I had hard time being generous and rarely could afford the things I wanted.

Everything was “too expensive”.

Again, I figured this is just how it was with money. Some people were born rich. Others were born poor. A lucky few would be able to afford the things they wanted, but most of us would just have to adjust our expectations.

That was just how the world worked.

I felt this way about most things in my life—career, calling, location, environment, friendships—like there was very little I could do to improve my circumstances. Things just were the way they were. I would just have to deal with it.

I watched a documentary called Rich Hill.

The film follows the lives of three families trapped in extreme poverty—poverty beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I understand there are layers and layers to poverty—and please hear me when I say I am not trying to simplify it—but the thing I identified with most wasn’t their circumstance.

It was their reaction to their circumstance—a feeling of extreme powerlessness.

They said things like, “This is just the way it is,” or “We’ve just been dealt a difficult set of circumstances…”

The truth was they had been dealt a difficult set of circumstances. But I could see how they were also surrendering the very power available to them to change those circumstances and re-imagine their lives.

I didn’t experience this insight from a place of judgment. I experienced it from a place of compassion.

I do this too.

It made me start thinking about how often I give away the very power I have to change my circumstances. Obviously, I don’t have total power over my life, but I do have tremendous power if I’m willing to recognize it.

Most days, I catch myself surrendering the very power I’ve been given.

The closer attention I paid, the more I realized specific ways I do this. Here were a few things I noticed.

First of all, I say yes when I mean no.

Any time we say yes when we really mean no—whether it’s to an addiction, an obligation, a function, a committee, a non-profit, an event, a good cause, or a bad habit—we give away a little bit of the power we have to shape the life we want.

It might seem like the smallest thing, but it is not small. Those tiny decisions add up over time.

Second, I find myself giving in to compulsions.

Compulsions are decisions we make without thinking. These are the things we know aren’t good for us—and if we stopped to think about them for a second, we wouldn’t do them—but we don’t stop to think about them, so we do them anyway.

This is the ice cream at midnight—out of the tub, with a spoon. It’s obsessively checking your cell phone (that’s mine) or stalking your ex’s Facebook profile.

This is addictions—like cigarettes, television, alcohol, caffeine and shopping—or even things like exercise and dieting.

When we give into our compulsions, over and over, we sacrifice the power we have to make what we know are the right decisions—the decisions that lead us to freedom.

Third, I take the easy way out

You know that feeling in your gut when you just know the right thing to do? You know you should tell that person the truth, confront someone in the wrong, speak up about something you’re feeling or noticing, or just walk over to a person who is having a bad day and say hello?

Here’s what I’ve found: when we respond in obedience to those urges, they lead us out of a crisis or into opportunity.

The problem is, all too often, we take the easy way out.

We think to ourselves, “Oh, he or she will never know the difference if I don’t admit the truth,” or  we find a way to get around the conflict instead of confronting it head-on. We justify not talking to the person having a bad day by saying we’re too busy and have to get going.

But every time we take the easy way out, we surrender to a reality we don’t ultimately want. The easy way out is never as easy as we want.

Fourth, I worry more about others than I do about myself

I don’t know about you, but I find myself in conversations with people, or just in relationships, thinking more about what matters to the people around me—what motivates them, what hurts them, what they want and need, what they’re thinking and feeling—than I do about my own wants, needs, thoughts and ideas.

In the process, I sacrifice a really important part of myself.

There’s nothing wrong with caring for others. But if we care for others at the expense of caring for ourselves, we sacrifice the power we’ve been given to shape our lives and ourselves.

Finally, I live in fear rather than love.

Dr. Carolyn Leaf—a researcher who has been studying the brain for decades—says fear and love are mutually exclusive. We can’t experience both at the same time.

In other words, when I’m living in fear—fear of what other people think of me, fear of not having enough, fear of leaving others behind, fear of being left behind, fear of success or fear of failure—I don’t get to experience the profound love that is meant for me and that motivates me and drives me to become love for others.

Fear steals our ability to love—and along with it, it steals our ability to shape our circumstances and surroundings through the power of loving ourselves and loving others.

Anytime we surrender to the notion that we have no power, we abandon the great power we have.

And ironically, even in that surrender, we shape our reality. If we believe we have no power, we will live powerless. It is only when we wake up to the great power we’ve always had that we’ll discover our innate ability to move, create, shift and change our world.