Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Next Up on The Lit Coach's Guide

Author of Kick Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers and Creative Professionals and accomplished musician, Mary Beth Maziarz; and Editorial Consultant, Marcela Landres will stop by The Lit Coach’s Guide to The Writer’s Life in July to blogshop as Creativity is the writer’s virtue of the month.

In a two part blogshop, Mary Beth will discuss:

· The importance of clearing away toxic clutter for prime creative productivity.
· How to identify and shift negative energy to powerful positive energy.

Marcela, also a former editor with Simon and Schuster, will share with us:

· How a beginning author can find and promote their unique voice in the sea of commercial fiction published annually.

We’ll also discuss how to get creative with your platform building!

Happy Creative July!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Confidence in Action!

You’re in that magical time of production where you’re feeling great because you’re ready to start looking for a publisher. You’ve probably received feedback from trusted authorities, and you’ve made the changes necessary to make your work the best that it can be. You feel good about it – confident! You’ve already begun making helpful connections and building a supportive community for your work. You’ve done it. You’ve completed your finished product, and you feel awesome!

Now you’re ready for a new level of virtuous achievement that requires an extraordinary level of confidence. Having the confidence to create and polish your work is personal and intimate, but putting your work and yourself out there to be scrutinized and contracted by someone, whose only interest is making money, is another thing altogether. Every writer asks themselves, “Am I really good enough?” And, to answer, “YES!” – is the virtue of confidence that’s required to climb to the next level. Without question, and if you believe only one thing I tell you, believe this – your confidence in yourself and your work is more important than any single factor in determining your level of success in your writing career.

So what does that look like, exactly, once you’ve been acquired by an agent, editor or even if you’re self publishing? I asked Michelle Howry, a Senior Editor at Simon and Schuster’s Touchstone Fireside imprint, who has more than a few New York Times Bestsellers to her credit. “How can an author's confidence make or break their career?"

MH: To an editor, “author confidence” really translates into “author action.” The most confident and successful authors on my list are also the most proactive – proactive in finding great ideas and writing about them, but also proactive in marketing and promoting themselves and their books. No longer can an author just deliver his or her manuscript and think that the job is done. (I’m not sure this was ever the case, but it’s certainly not so today.) A confident author is proud enough about their work that they want to get out there and tell the world about it. And that’s what we need in this incredibly competitive publishing world.”

TLC: Exactly. Five years ago, I would hear writers say, “But I’m not in marketing, I’m a writer!” Now, I’m starting to see more and more writers thinking about selling their work from the very beginning. I read an article about an author who had a book signing in a book store, which for an unknown author can be a terribly frightening experience. This particular author stepped-up to full-on sales guru. She knew her product. She knew her audience. She knew they needed her book. She was no longer the author. She was the best book seller in the world! She walked up to people and introduced herself as the author. She engaged them and asked questions. She discovered their interests and sold to them. She put the book in their hands and told them how it would change their lives. She sold out of every copy, took orders and created a data base. That’s how confidence manifests itself in the real world of publishing.

MH: I have an author who wrote a wonderful book last year called The Motion of the Ocean, a memoir of her two-year trans-Pacific boat trek with her new husband. Janna personally contacted dozens of sailing bloggers (who she knew about because of her deep involvement in that community), and many of them wrote about the book! She also reached out to many book groups and attended their discussions, either in person or on the phone. That book has been out a year, and she is still making personal connections and selling books. I don’t think she’s by nature an incredibly outgoing person, but she’s passionate about this book, and her drive to get the word out makes her confident – and effective! That’s what it takes.

As an author, you have to be confident about your message and your writing. We editors rely on you as the expert in your field – that’s why we tapped you to write that book! Dazzle us with your expertise, your knowledge, and your text.

TLC: Let your confidence in your career flow to your salesmanship. With all the avenues of publishing available today, it’s a challenge to even be noticed. If you want readers and a royalty check, you’ve got to sell your book. The best first step you can take is to believe that is exactly what is going to happen. Confidence in the morning, confidence in the evening, confidence at supper time – believe in yourself and all good things will flow from it.

Your exercise this week: Writers with unfinished work, join a supportive, reputable online writing group.
SheWrites and Writers Digest Community are great places to start. There are also many helpful groups on LinkedIn. Within the community there are many sub-groups depending on genre, locale, etc. There’s something for every writer. Join these groups with the intent to share, receive feedback, give feedback and build your community. Start making friends.

Writers with finished work:
Do the same. Go ahead and join a group to your liking but also join a group that discusses marketing, publicity and the future of publishing. Share, learn, and grow more confident about the new direction your career is heading. This is what you always wanted. Make the most of it!

Have any Confidence building tips or stories you’d like to share? Send them to me,

Michelle Howry is a Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Fireside imprint, and before that she has held editorial positions at Grand Central Publishing, Penguin Book Group, and McGraw-Hill. Since joining Touchstone in 2007, Michelle Howry has specialized in acquiring and editing commercial nonfiction, from how-to/practical titles to narratives and memoirs. Recent books include the New York Times bestseller A LITTLE BIT WICKED (by pint-sized Hollywood diva Kristin Chenoweth), the New York Times bestseller THE BRO CODE, bestselling psychic Sylvia Brown (ALL PETS GO TO HEAVEN; THE SECRET HISTORY OF PSYCHICS), and her most recent New York Times bestseller: THE NEW ATKINS FOR A NEW YOU (which re-launched the bestselling diet franchise in 2010). For Michelle, editing a nonfiction book is like taking a “master class” from one of the top experts in the world … and she’s always looking for new experts to learn from!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Confidence: Decoding Agent and Editor's Feedback

In my agenting days, I was the first in line to receive the inevitable pass letters (or rejection letters, as many negatively refer to them). For my fiction writers, the feedback was varied…mainly the editor passed on the novel because they just didn’t “fall in love” with the writing, characters or story. And really, for an editor to commit to a novel for one to two years worth of priceless editorial attention, the editor must fall head over heels in love with the book and the publishing house planets must align. I’ve heard tale of Stephen King wallpapering rooms of his house with this type of pass letter; some authors use them as fire kindling. This type of feedback is subjective and I counseled my writers to take it worth a grain of salt. For a few others, editors had very direct feedback about the style of writing and construct of the book. This is the kind of valuable feedback a writer needs to seriously consider. This is usually non-subjective feedback and is directed toward the mechanics of the craft and voice. Even though reading an editor’s less than glowing comments about your “baby” can be painful, it’s critical to eventually see their point (especially if several are singing the same song) and make plans to implement their suggestions to the best of your ability or hire a professional editor to give your work a make-over.

Feedback for nonfiction is very different, very black and white. Either the concept is compelling and the author has made it totally relevant and unique or it’s dated and unoriginal and it’s a no-go. The author either has a platform or doesn’t. If the latter is the case, the project is a no-go. The writing is good or it isn’t. The author is either media ready and ready to rock some major book events or they’re not, in which case the book deal is definitely a no-go. The great news is, nonfiction publishing is fairly formulaic and the feedback relatively easy to implement; all the writer must be is open to implementing the feedback, willing to put in the grunt work and patient. There is a wealth of info available guiding writers how to create a nonfiction book from concept to platform to completion and I specialize in this counsel.

I know this sounds shocking, but agents and editors don’t want to hurt your feelings with their pass letters. They may not spend much time making you feel great about your work (and it would be unreasonable to expect this), but they’ve got precious little time in their day and any constructive feedback you receive should be appreciated. Now, there will be some pass letters along the way that make you say, out loud, “huh?!” Just disregard those or remember them when you need a laugh.

Another kind of feedback is through finding a mentor, a trusted professional who is where you want to be. Getting feedback and ideas from these folks is not only extremely valuable, it’s a major success step in the right direction and will make you feel great about where you’re going with your writing career.

What’s the difference between finding a mentor and just asking a publishing professional, be it agent, editor, author, literary or publishing consultant, questions when the time comes? No doubt just starting out in the business you have many questions. Everyone does. In choosing a mentor, you discuss with them: 1) Your goals; 2) Your admiration of their work, success and your desire to be where they are; 3) The guidance you’re hoping to receive from them; and 4) A mutually beneficial time to discuss your path as you move along and their feedback of your work. Mentors don’t charge you for their time. Your relationship is mutually agreed upon.

Periodically emailing a few questions to an agent, editor or consultant you’ve made a connection with is fine, but don’t expect a timely response and loads of advice. Do expect them to tell it like it is and don’t take it personally. This doesn’t really count as a mentorship. Agents are busy selling their clients’ work, editors are busy editing their authors’ books and publishing consultants are paid by their clients to answer a multitude of questions and guide them through the process of publishing from concept to completion and beyond. If you do get a thoughtful response back, make sure to thank the publishing pro for their time and ask if they wouldn’t mind answering a few questions from time to time (not every week). If they get back to you with a positive response, value their time as you would an attorney’s. If you don’t hear back from them, give them a week and email again to ask if they had received your previous email and what their thoughts are. If you still don’t hear back, consider it a lost connection and graciously move on.

So what does all this talk about feedback have to do with building confidence? The first answer’s easy…when you receive good feedback, you know you’re on track and that feels great! That’s an easy confidence boost. Keep doing what you’re doing but always strive to improve your craft and product. When you choose to consider and implement constructive feedback, you’re actively making you and your work better. You will begin to act and create more confidently which ultimately, is better for your overall career.

Whether you’re fresh to the writing world or a well-heeled member of the literati, knowing what to do with feedback is critical to your confidence and your overall success. Choose to react wisely to the feedback you receive along your path. If it’s purely subjective, literally and figuratively toss it. If it’s constructive, tell the ego to take a back seat while you polish your work and turn that so-so project into a masterpiece!

Caveat: Make sure you’re sending the right project to the right agent and editor so you get the best feedback possible. Literary fiction only goes to agents and editors who have a track record of acquiring and selling literary fiction; likewise with commercial fiction and nonfiction work. Only commit to making changes once you've heard the same type of feedback from several agents and/or editors, not just the professional opinion of one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Confidence: Harnessing the Power of Feedback

Writers have often expressed to me that one of the most daunting tasks they deal with is sifting through all the various feedback they receive from those who review their work. Yet, taking that feedback, digesting it and applying it to the project, platform building, novel and career in general is a successful writer’s best practice. Writers today are faced with multitudes of opportunity in publishing. From freelancing to scoring regular columns and from self-publishing (in any format) to traditional publishing, the savvy writer collects not only info on publishing trends but carefully considers feedback from their peers and professionals about their work. Yes, the publishing world, no matter the avenue, is competitive, but hasn’t it always been? Getting the edge you need to succeed and be read is crucial. Receiving valuable feedback from trusted authorities is not only a good idea, it’s your professional compass.

So what is feedback, exactly and what does all this have to do with Confidence, the virtue we’re focusing on this month? Feedback is a response you receive from your actions. The action in this context is your writing. Feedback can either be positive or negative. When you receive positive feedback, you know you’re on the right track. You know you can keep doing what you’ve been doing and the response will be positive. When you receive negative feedback, (I’d like to think of this as constructive criticism), it’s your choice to either adjust your work based on this feedback or ignore it. Positive or negative, this feedback is your guide. Like a compass, it directs you toward making the necessary changes your work needs to be better or by letting you know you are so on track. And don’t you love the feeling of being on track?! I can think of no better confidence boost. When you feel confident you’re moving forward with the best work possible, success will follow.

I asked Canadian award-winning speaker and author, Doreen Pendgracs how harnessing the power of feedback has helped her succeed and grow more confident in her career. Here’s what she had to say:

When I was taking the Creative Communications Program at Red River College in Winnipeg (from 1990-92) I hadn't really thought of a freelancing career as I was employed by a large insurance corporation and was only attending the classes for upgrading purposes. Who knew that a year after completing the program I would be embarking on a freelance writing career? I never would have had the courage or determination to leave the comfortable safety of corporate life had it not been for an instructor at the college who told me straight out, "You are not good at news writing as you're too opinionated. So focus on magazine work as that's where your natural talent lies." I never forgot those words of wisdom. Had I tired to stick to a "Just the facts" style of writing, I would have been swimming up stream throughout my career. But focusing on non-fiction feature writing allowed me to bring my personality into my work, and to eventually apply that style to the writing of non-fiction books.

TLC: It’s important for writers, especially those just beginning, to heed the advice of professionals who’ve long been in the field. As an agent, I very frequently read work from “green” authors whose voices were still developing…there seemed to be this trend with those fresh out of college to write very edgy and melodramatic fiction. The result was the same; it all sounded forced and inauthentic. The point? You can’t force a style that doesn’t work for you. Your writing style and voice is organic; it’s a part of you. When a professional offers you feedback about your writing voice, listen.

DP: Another important influencer in my professional life as a writer has been Toastmasters International. As a Toastmaster (and I think every writer should also belong to Toastmasters) we thrive on positive feedback and learning from growth points given by anyone evaluating our presentations. The same attitude applies to my writing. I always take whatever feedback is given and try and incorporate the suggestions or techniques in my writing. It is truly my belief that we can never get too good at anything we do. We must learn from what we've done right and what we may have done wrong (or not as good as we could have done) and continue to strive for growth and improvement. Fortunately for me, by following Mr. Harding's words of wisdom from the 1990's, I have been able to work in an area of writing in which I haven't faced any major rewrites or reworking of my style. It is indeed a good fit.

To complement that, I am very fortunate in that I love people and networking. So I belong to several writers organizations, I attend conferences whenever possible (there is a post about the power of networking on my blog at: and I seek interaction with like-minded individuals at every opportunity. That way I am always learning, always honing my craft and always striving for improvement. By harnessing the power of feedback, I am fueling my desire to engage readers with the most powerful impact possible, hoping that will draw them to seek out and return to my work again and again.

TLC: Right. Feedback isn’t just about craft, it’s about receiving and also giving information about your industry or genre by networking. Ideally, you want several trusted peers in the know to review your work once it’s complete. Their feedback is critical to your revision process before you start querying agents and editors. Even if you choose to self publish, don’t neglect this step. Just because you have a few less steps in the process doesn’t mean you have a great book. If you want sales reaching beyond your family and friends, you’ll want to make sure your book appeals to your target audience. You’ll set yourself up for the best success by seeking feedback, considering it and making the necessary adjustments to your work to make it the best it can possibly be.

Doreen Pendgracs’s features have appeared in a variety of print and online publications including: WEST, Canadian Geographic, Highways, RV Lifestyle, CAA/Going Places, DreamScapes, Winnipeg Life, ComFree Homes, Aquascape Landscapes, Hotelier, The Costco Connection, Your Office, My Winnipeg Business, Canadian Insurance, Your Convenience Manager, Your Foodservice Manager, Meetings & Incentive Travel, 55 Plus, German Life, The Cottager, The Manitoba Cooperator, Farmers' Almanac,,,,, and over the airwaves on CBC radio.As well, Doreen has co-authored two books: a travel guidebook on Canada's most easterly province: Frommer's Newfoundland & Labrador (April, 2004, Wiley), and more recently, the bestselling Manitoba Book of Everything, (October, 2008, MacIntyre Purcell). Before You Say Yes is Doreen’s latest book, just published in March 2010 by Dundurn Press. It serves as the ultimate guide to anyone sitting on a board of directors in the non-profit sector. To find out more about Doreen, visit

Your exercise this week: Head to your library or local book store and check out or buy Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles. He devotes an entire chapter on feedback and why it’s so important to master and apply this principle for your overall success.

Have any feedback tips or stories to share? Email me at and I may share them with the group. Do you have any feedback for me? Let me know!

There really is so much I want to share about feedback, I couldn’t jam it into one blog. I’ll publish another blog mid-week to discuss the kind of feedback you’ll receive from agents and editors and what to do with it. Also, I’ll discuss the importance of finding a mentor and appropriate agent/writer “I just have a quick question” relationships.

Here's to a great week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Next Up on The Lit Coach's Guide


June is all about Confidence in a writer's life. This Monday, award winning Canadian author, speaker and blogger, Doreen Pendgracs will pop in on The Importance of Using Feedback and Positive Affirmations to Boost Confidence workshop.

Stay tuned later in the month...Michelle Howry, Senior Editor at Touchstone Fireside, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, will share with us how Confidence (or lack thereof) can make or break an author's career. Michelle boasts many bestselling authors on her list. You don't want to miss what she has to say.

Know any writers who could use a Confidence boost? Pass The Lit Coach's Guide on to them! Tips from authors, editors and more all this month!

Thank you for subscribing!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Confidence: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone, Part Two

“All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.” Robert White

Question: If we agree professional success means making a living by doing something we’re passionate about and that something is writing, what is keeping you from being a successful writer?


Sure, old emotional baggage, time and even financial constraints might make it on the “what’s keeping me back” list, but according to many success experts, fear is the number one boogey man keeping people from succeeding in realizing their dream. If we’re really being honest here, what’s usually the first weapon of choice in combating that fear? Denial. And that denial looks like you wearing your favorite sweat pants parked on your favorite cushy couch snuggled up in the afghan your grandma made all ready to drown yourself in the entire series of LOST that just arrived from Netflix. It’s your weekend off from working that job you’re just “OK” with and it’s time to relax. This is comfortable…not want you want, maybe, but good enough.

Comfort zones are prisons of your own making. You stop yourself from succeeding.

What do some of the most talented writers fear the most? I’ve heard it over and over and many have shared their tale with me. It’s tragic! They fear success. Sounds crazy, right? They fear what will happen when they actually do succeed in getting their work published and out there for the world to read. They fear the bad reviews, the poorly attended book signings, and their publisher’s eventual disappointment in them when they don’t sell through their first print run. Or if they do intend on making the bestsellers list, they fear failure: failure to write a follow-up bestselling book; failure to manage their money and time; failure to stay true to their core amidst all the media frenzy that follows great work. Others fear exposure. Writing and having a few people review your work favorably is all well and good, but the whole country?! The world?! Some writers can’t deal with that level of exposure.

Does any of this sound familiar?

The first step toward breaking out of your comfort zone is this: realize that horrible gnawing feeling that turns your stomach into knots when you think about all the “what ifs” is totally natural and there is nothing wrong with you; it’s what happens when you step out of your norm. If you want to continue to succeed with this dream, it’s going to happen more than once. Congratulations! It means you’re growing and that’s awesome! If you want to become a successful, published author, you HAVE to put yourself out there. Many likeminded people, your target audience, will accept you. You will inevitably encounter those who don’t care for your work or an indifferent. Big deal. I’m sure you have several friends who don’t care for a particular author you love. Do you care, really? I’m sure you’ve got better things to think about.

Second, ditch the sorry what if I don’t make it talk, already! If people genuinely like your work on the home front, you’re passionate about writing, have all kinds of great ideas brewing, your craft is good and continues to develop, you’re open to learning and aren’t afraid of meeting people, know that you can make it! Accept no other reality. Ever! You will make it and you know what? You’re already on the road. It takes a lot of work on your part, but you’ll do it.

Your exercise for the remainder of the week: Write down all the reasons why you think you can’t make it as a successful writer. Realize these are thoughts that chain you to your comfy couch. It’s important to confront these thoughts and deal with them rationally so you can move on unencumbered by all that hefty baggage. Then, shred the list. Toss it! Understand only you can make your writer’s life the way you really want it. You are the person in charge of your success, not your mom, dad, spouse, boss, or anyone else. It starts with you.

Share your success stories with me! I want to hear them! Post on the blog or email them to me at Don’t be shy.

Next week, author of Before You Say Yes, Doreen Pendgracs, shares with us how harnessing the power of feedback and using positive affirmation boosts your success.

Have a great week, writers!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Confidence: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone, Part One

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” Robert Allen, author of bestselling book, The One Minute Millionaire.

This week, I asked Little Rock political journalist and author, Suzi Parker to join in on our Confidence in a Writer’s Life workshop. Our focus this week is breaking out of comfort zones, creatively and professionally. This will be a two part workshop; the second installment will be out Wednesday.

I’ve known Suzi for a long time. She was one of my first clients as a literary agent and her stop-at-nothing to get a good story and write a good book attitude has always amazed me. The woman knows how to get things done, sells books and has fun doing it.

I asked her, how has breaking out of your own comfort zone helped you creatively and professionally?

SP: In order to be a good writer, you cannot play it safe. When I first worked at a newspaper, I could have chosen to stick with what I knew – hard news and features about the South. Instead, I made it a goal to land a story in every section of the newspaper. I knew very little about food but wanted to land in the food section. I could write profiles well so I asked if I could profile chefs. The editor gave me the go-ahead and I began writing a monthly feature on local chefs. I left the newspaper after three years but not before I had landed stories in every section including on the editorial page, which was a tough page to crack.

People often ask me if I should have written my non-fiction book “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt” using pseudonym. The book is an edgy, racy look at what happens in the South when the preacher isn’t looking. I never considered writing the book under a pseudonym. If I had done so, people wouldn’t know me as the political/sex writer. I have never been embarrassed a single day for writing that book. You have to push yourself into new adventures in order to keep your writing and ideas fresh. Sticking to what you write best – whatever that may be – could lead to success but it will not take you to the next level as a writer.

TLC: Right. You always hear in writing workshops, “Write what you know.” That’s great advice to start with, but eventually, to grow as a writer you must take the next step into the unknown not only to further develop your craft, but broaden your senses and mind. That isn’t to say a cookbook author needs to take a crack at writing a children’s book. Maybe that cookbook author needs to explore new combinations of flavors and spices, develop totally new recipes and take a crack at crafting a cookbook focusing on cuisine they’ve never written about.

Suzi’s Tips: Try writing a story about a subject you have never explored. Write a short story about something you have never even imagined. Force yourself to explore places you would never explore – a homeless shelter, a dark alley, the state capitol. Whatever makes your uncomfortable, try it once and then write about the experience.

Your exercise this week: Take a tip from Suzi and workout your mental writing muscles. If you’re a short story writer, write a poem. If you regularly write nonfiction pieces, try a short story. If you’re thinking about writing a second novel and don’t know where to start, pick a subject you know little about but are interested in (that’s the key) and start researching. Draw up an outline and see where it takes you.

As always, writers, let me know how it goes! Stay tuned…more to come this week.

Suzi Parker is an award-winning journalist and author, focusing extensively on politics, sex and Southern culture. She is a regular contributor to Politics Daily and its Woman Up blog, The Economist, US News’ Washington Whispers column, and The Christian Science Monitor. Her stories have also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, where she worked as Arkansas’ correspondent for seven years,,,, The New York Times Magazine, The New Statesman, Penthouse, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Washingtonian and several other national and international magazines. In 1999, Parker won a Society of Professional Journalists Award from the California chapter for her investigative story about tainted Arkansas prison plasma and its connection to dying Canadians. Her Washington Post essay “When Death Was My Muse” was re-published in Shop Talk & War Stories: American Journalists Examine Their Profession (Bedford Books, 2003.) Parker is also the author of Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt and 1000 Best Bartender’s Recipes. She has appeared on numerous television and radio shows discussing her books and national politics including “The Dr. Phil Show.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Confidence: You're Driving!

I’m going to be bold and wager as a writer, you’ve had issues with self-confidence. More times than you care to count, you’ve met up with your little inner beastie critic who is all too glad to tell you your piece stinks, you have no talent, you’ll never find time to write, your dream of becoming a writer is unrealistic, you’ll never make money with your writing, your blog will never reach the right/enough people, you’ll never grab the attention of an agent and your work will never be published. Stop. Your inner critic loves to jump in and say can’t, can’t, can’t! Tell the nasty beastie to get lost, already. He’s being a drag! You wouldn’t actually hang out with someone like that intentionally, would you? Oh wait…you gave life to the little devil. Now what?

Bottom line, dear brilliant writers, is we give birth to our own negative critics. Through past failures (yes, we all have them), hurts, disappointments and other not-so-fun baggage, we choose to either feed the beast by affirming this negative garbage as part of our identity or we choose to chalk it all up to learning and growing and cultivate a sense of wisdom. Moving on from all that negative stuff is critical not only for your success but for your overall well-being. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing to do; training your inner voice to speak optimistically takes time and a healthy dose of discipline, but it can be done.

Your confidence in your work and yourself is THE foundation of a successful writing career, period.

So when and where does all this unproductive, negative nagging end? Um, how about NOW?! It’s your choice. I know there’s a lot of literature out there right now that says the same thing I’m telling you: You’re your own worst critic. Get out of your own way. Tell your inner critic to shut up! Nothing new, right? You’ve heard it all before. It’s a hot topic right now. No matter how you hear it, hear it. Listen up and take heed, writers. Along with clarity, which we’ll get into in the coming months, your confidence directs which path you take, for better or worse. The great news is you’re driving! Choose the sunnier path.

All this month we’ll be focusing on Confidence as a virtue no writer can succeed without. We’ll discuss: why comfort zones are prisons of our own making and how to break out of them; the power of positive feedback and the importance of affirmations (I know what you’re thinking…no, I’m not going to ask you to repeat, “I’m smart enough and people like me.”); and how acting like the bestselling rock star writer you want to be actually turbo charges your success. And all along the way, you’ll hear insights from authors and other creative industry pros who’ve been there and have made it happen.

Your exercise this week: Make a list of EVERY achievement you’ve ever experienced in the last 10 years. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Nothing gives our confidence a boost better than remembering all the cool stuff we’ve done. So get to it. Post it somewhere you’ll see it frequently. Or carry it around with you. Feel good about it and carry this feeling with you throughout the week. Sometimes all we need are reminders to get us on the right track.
Good luck and happy writing!

As always, I want to hear from you. What are your Confidence success stories? Any Confidence building tips to share? The floor is yours!