I got an email recently from a client, asking how I write so many short stories and books while sometimes working full-time, being a wife and a mom, starting a business, working with other writers, and doing a million other things (including dealing with three surgeries in two years, and not writing or working at all for a long time).
Here’s my secret: Doing more didn’t work (and wasn’t possible most of the time). In fact, doing more almost killed me.
Doing LESS is the key to my success. By giving up the following things, my energy shifted, and I found a sense of freedom and acceptance that resulted in people, resources, and offers flowing to me with almost no effort on my part.
Words flowed like rivers and inspiration came from everywhere.
1. Give up perfect first drafts.
Let go of the idea that you need to fix every mistake or worry over each sentence until it is just right before moving on. If you’re stuck on anything (details about a place, a character’s name, how to commit a murder), don’t stop to research.
Write, and know you can go back and fix things later. Bracket items, add a comment or highlight text to remind yourself what needs attention later. Leave spelling mistakes alone. Screw punctuation.
Learning how to write, worry-free and full of mistakes, was a life changer. It gave me a creative space of non-judgment that allowed me to produce work much faster. Everything can be fixed when you edit. It’s actually easier when you can see the whole picture.
2. Give up negative language.
It won’t happen.
Get rid of limiting statements. They prevent you from seeing possibilities and opportunities.
3. Give up draining relationships.
Also, get rid of people who make you feel crappy or say anything from the list above to you. Stop hanging out with people where the relationship isn’t balanced, or doesn’t make you feel good.
Go ahead. Unfriend and unlike and block anyone who spews negativity or who never fails to make you feel like you ‘re not good enough. Stop wasting time on them. Breathe a sigh of relief.
4. Give up unhealthy food.
I’m an 80/20 girl. 80% of the time, I am an angel. 20% . . . not so much. Junk food depletes energy instead of filling you with it so you can perform at your best.
Try eating vibrantly colored, real food for breakfast and lunch. Or try a vegetarian diet for those meals then splurge at dinner, eat meat, and enjoy wine, beer, or even dessert.
5. Give up too little sleep and electronics.
Your body and soul need time to recharge. Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night so you can thrive during the day. Remove electronics from your bedroom.
6. Give up being reactive or defensive about your writing or genre.
Writing is hard enough without dealing with reviews. Elizabeth Gilbert makes a great case for never reading them here.
Some people delight in tearing others down. Stop paying attention to them. See #3 again if you need to.
If you are stuck (as I was at a neighborhood party recently, surrounded by negative Nellies and haters), just take a deep breath, find someone nice to talk with, or leave.
7. Give up trying to change how people feel about your genre or writing.
It’s an impossible task. End of story.
“Hemingway sucks. If I set out to write that way, it would have been been hollow and lifeless because it wasn’t me.” – Stephen King
8. Give up trying to do it all.
Pick what makes you happy, and work on that. One project at a time.
Surrender to the idea that things happen in their own time when you do something (anything) toward your writing goals daily. A watched pot never boils, but the universe is always paying attention.
9. Give up not writing for you.
You are free to express yourself any way you wish. If your intentions are cloudy, the world will respond accordingly. If you try to write a bestseller, but your heart isn’t in it, readers know.
When you come from a place of love, passion for your topic, and honesty, good things happen for you and people around you. Readers feel the difference.
10. Give up believing the illusion.
Most writers never become millionaires, and that’s okay. Love what you do, and it won’t matter. Have fun, and use this knowledge to inspire yourself to write whatever makes you happy.
A writer’s best reward is often helping other writers. We’re all in this together.
If anything I said here helped you, please share this post with someone else.
Namaste, and happy writing,