A few months back I joined an online writer’s mastermind called “The Bestselling Author Mastermind Group”. We communicate mostly through a private Facebook group, but the leader – Jennifer Blanchard also has a very full BAM website for us with so much useful information: video courses, audio courses, and worksheets galore on everything from mindset, writing (both Fiction and Non-Fiction), publishing, selling, and everything in between. It’s been an amazing group and I can say, without a doubt, that joining has turned my entire writing career around.
If you read that last paragraph and stopped at mindset – you are not alone. When I was looking into a mastermind or similar type of group earlier this year it was because of a writing book I was reading that talked about leveling up and getting very clear about your goals and your mindset. And I stopped reading and thought – what? What does mindset have to do with a writing career? It turns out…everything. What you think you create. If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are correct. These are phrases and quotes we’ve heard over and over and they sound totally woo-woo and weird, but I’m going to tell you – they are very true.
Back around April I spoke at my son’s elementary school on Career Day and talking to those kids gave me a much needed kick in my butt to resume the revisions on my novel and get it out into the world. I’ve since finished those personal revisions and sent the manuscript to a professional editor and I am now working on her editorial revisions and notes in preparation for self-publishing in early 2018. But I really could not have gotten this far without my daily mindset practice and I’m going to give you a little insight into how I do this.
Step 1: Morning Pages
Most books about mindset or morning practices, in general, will tell you to do them first thing in the morning. That’s good advice, but when you have a 6 year old that needs to be up, fed, dressed, and out the door to the school bus fairly early (7:15 AM) well – first thing in the morning won’t work (at least for me – I don’t really want to get up at 5:30 AM to do these things) so I do them as soon as we get upstairs from saying Good Bye to cutie as he gets on his bus. This works for me so don’t feel like you have to “follow the rules or else” – make things work for you and your schedule.
Okay…so that’s out of the way. My little rebel disclaimer I guess. Once I’m back upstairs I go straight to our bedroom and work-out – either bodyweight circuits or yoga – then I grab my cheap wide ruled notebook (usually one I’ve bought during Back To School sales) and do morning pages. If you’ve read any book by Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way being the most famous) you know about morning pages. If not, it’s basically 3 pages of long-hand free-form stream-of-consciousness writing. You put the pen to the paper and don’t stop until you get there. Here’s my other rebel disclaimer – I usually only do 2, so front and back of one notebook page. Now that’s not a hard and fast rule for me. Some mornings I’m short on time and do less and some mornings I need to write more and I do…but usually, it’s 1-page front and back.
Morning pages are where I vent about the fact my kid isn’t eating or some douche’s car alarm went off at 4am or how I desperately need coffee – literally, anything and everything goes onto the page. This morning I was working through some limiting beliefs (things that are holding me back, those negative tapes we all say to ourselves about various things) surrounding my daily schedule and my need to Get All The Things Done! I worked through some old feelings of perfection that are not serving me or my writing anymore and I even created a new affirmation (we will talk about those in a minute): I will listen to my mind, body, and soul in relationship to my passion work and make mindful, conscious decisions about breaks, pauses, and much needed rest periods without guilt.
Next, I grab my prettier journal (I bought mine from Staples – it’s this one HERE) and write Daily Intentions. These are things I intend to do that day, written in present tense. For example: I will write the first draft of my weekly blog post or I will make time to read and journal today. I usually write 3-5 of these and they can relate to my writing, health, or work goals. Then I skip a line and start writing my Affirmations. You’ve heard of Affirmations, most likely you think of Stuart Smalley’s character from Saturday Night Live – I’m smart, I’m pretty, and doggone it – people like me! They seemed so cheesy to me when I first heard about them and secretly – I thought I would hate them. And honestly, I did for awhile. For a long while – about a month, but then I started realizing that the things I was writing down were making it into my daily mental tape. I was actually replacing negative thoughts with positive ones – without much effort.
I’m going to give you a real-life example of some of the things I personally write down. I usually fill up a page or two with these and sometimes I divide them into sections (writing, health, work, life, etc.) but usually, I just write a long list and everything melds together. I tend to divide them once a month for clarity and goal setting purposes.
- I am a full-time writer.
- I am a multi-book self-published author.
- I am a trusted member of the writing community.
- I am surrounded by smart, creative, professional women that are helping me become the person and writer I am meant to be.
- I know the Universe has my back!
- I am an idea magnet.
- Words flow easily and first drafts simply fall onto the page.
- I have an abundance of energy.
- I have thousands of loyal fans and readers.
- I create entertaining and informative content that my readers love to receive and share with others.
Step 3: Visualization
Lastly, I spend 2-5 minutes visualizing everything I write down. This is new for me, maybe the last two months – and it has really helped me carry over all the good feelings I feel when writing the affirmations into the rest of my day. I’ve been carrying myself more confidently, talking with more people while out and about, smiling more, engaging more in life and my surroundings, writing more, taking the necessary action steps to complete my goals, and live the dream life I want and deserve to live. It’s been eye-opening and a game changer. I just start feeling what it would feel like if each of the affirmations were true, right now in this moment. I hold on to those feelings while playing a mental movie that moves from writing to my health and fitness goals to my apartment projects and to life in general with my family and friends and I come out of the movie with just so much energy I almost literally jump up and get started!
Once I’m done with my exercising and my journaling/mindset practice I usually have breakfast, drink my coffee, go over my daily schedule for both personal and work, check emails, and then schedule in my fiction writing time, work time, blogging time, and downtime to read and rest.
So…what do you think? Could you incorporate something like this into your life? Do you think it would help you (I say YES) – would you like to learn more about the writing group I’m apart of? Would you like to know more about the other items on the What Would a Pro Writer Do index card in my title image? Let me know in the comments!