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How to Make Better Writing – and Life – Decisions


ZencopyrockstackOne of the more frequent questions I get asked is “Should I consider turning my writing into my business?” There are many variations on this question such as:

“Can I quit my day job and just write?”

“How can I make a living as a writer?”

“I love to write but how do I take it to the next level?”

“How can I be sure I can really make it as a writer?”

“Should I really be spending my time writing or is being a full time writer just a pipedream?”

Making decisions which involve something you are passionate about – such as writing (or your life), can feel truly challenging because there is no right or wrong, really. However, all the above questions, in fact, most deep life questions, have one big thing in common- our concerns are not the real issue.

The real issue is fear.

It’s much easier to just think about something rather than do it because actually taking steps brings up fears. In fact, many people are so paralyzed by fear, by the idea of change, that they never actually make decisions and never actually get to the action part.

And so, they never get to the good parts, either. The parts that include abundance and real fulfillment of purpose.

But here’s the thing:

Clarity comes from action, not contemplation.

You can visualize and imagine and consider and think about things FOREVER and still not have the kind of clarity that comes from a few actual action steps.

The dividing line between those that are truly visionary kickass writers who command the kind of salaries you dream about and live the life of dreams, and those that are “maybe someday” folk – is plain and simply ACTION.

Here’s the thing – the Universe supports action. You will never know for sure if something is going to work before you try it. You will never know for sure if you can succeed, unless you go for it.

So if you’re waiting for a guarantee or to “know for sure” before you take steps, you’ll be waiting forever!  Tweet this

There are a lot of things I am crappy  at. Trust me, you never want to hear me sing happy birthday to you – it’s kind of horrifying. You would also never want to put me in a footrace that relied on speed because you would be very disappointed in my performance.

But one thing I am good at – I mean really good at – is seeing a situation in my life and then going balls out right into the heart of change even when I am scared sh**less. Because of this- let’s call it a capacity – because of this capacity I get one of two reactions by people who know me: 1) Why can’t you just leave things the way they are or 2) How do you do it?

The “Why can’t you just leave things the way they are” people are those who like status quo and would rather not cause waves or they don’t want to be reminded that they should be making some changes.

The “How to you do it” people usually are faced with some unhappiness in their own life and long to make changes but fear stops them even if they think the reason is something else.

So, if you prefer status quo and are insanely happy with your life and your writing, well, you can probably skip the rest of this post. For everyone else, I’m going to tell you two (2) things you need to know so you can make big decisions more easily and learn how to embrace change so you get less stuck in the “OMG I can’t do this!” phase.

Thing 1. Understanding the Land of Change

Change, intentional and unintentional, takes us out of our comfort zone. Change forces us to define ourselves just a little differently and that makes most people a little squeamish. All change brings anxiety; even if its change we long for and work towards. But given the right tools and it doesn’t have to be as hard.

 According to Psychology Today, there are roughly three stages to change:

1. Resistance and Reaction

This is the phase where you object to the change and compare the upcoming change to your old situation. You are not seeing opportunity, you’re judging.

2. Adjusting/Exploration 

In this stage you go beyond your initial feelings and begin to gather information on how to make this new thing work. You begin making choices and asking questions.

3. Living Well

It’s this stage that you don’t really notice because you have arrived at your new destination and it no longer feels like a stage. At this point, you wonder why you resisted in the first place.

Tip: Recognizing which stage of change you are in will help you get through it.

When change happens, don’t expect yourself to feel great about it. In fact, just know that sometimes you are probably going to feel lousy. This will help keep you from beating up on yourself during the process. If you’re in the resistance phase, recognize it as such and know that this too shall pass. In the meantime, revel in it.

As you’re dealing with your anxiety, feel what you are feeling but also keep the facts in mind.

Tip: If you’re too focused on the anxiety, sit down and create a list of the actual facts of the situation.

For you: here’s a free “playsheet” to help you with anxiety

To the best of your ability, give yourself a time frame for the adjustment period. Remind yourself that even though change is happening, other things in your life are currently in place and already working for you. Most often you are not starting from scratch so enjoy those things that are staying the same for you—right now.

Tip: Don’t wait to feel good to do something to do it – motivation follows behavior, not the other way around!

Accepting that change is a journey unto itself, a journey with recognizable stages, will help you be less afraid. You see, change is not really an unknown but when we overly focus on being afraid of it, we forget that we’ve been through many changes – and lived to tell the tale.

If you think back on the last year of your life, unless you’ve been in a bubble, you’ve had to weather changes – either your own or from those around you. And yet, here you are, still alive, still doing. (yeah you!)

So, step 1, don’t get stopped by your perceived wall of fear but see it as the journey it is.

Now, the second (2nd) thing to keep in mind…

Thing 2. Seeing Past the Land of Change

When you are thinking about changes in your writing business, or your life in general, it’s important to view past the fear of change and envision what the world looks like beyond.

But here’s the thing – you need some of the clarity that comes from action in order to truly see past the land of change so don’t just create your dream and then put it in cement – you need to KEEP recreating what you envision, what you want, for your writing and your life, as you go through the process of change and action.

This is the big mistake many people make – they create their vision while they are still in front of or in the land of change and this can limit what you can see for yourself. When you are seeing past the Land of Change – through the window of fear – it can hobble your vision so for every few steps of action you take, you’ll have new ideas and clarity of thought you should bring into your vision. Which means, sit down with your vision and pay it a visit frequently as you go through the 3 stages of change.

There are a lot of tools you can use to help you make better decisions for your writing and your life – such as my find your Write Idea Now tool – which you can download here. If you want detailed instructions for this tool there is a post here.

To be human is to yearn beyond our current boundaries which means to be human is to have fear. Fear is good for you. Fear is the gift that keeps us alive and can make us wise. But if should not stop you cold (unless it’s survival fear saying warning warning, don’t step in front of that car!).

Now, take a bold step forward and share one of your fears with us – at the very least you will know, you are not alone.

Do you crave freedom and purpose? Would you like to be a Fearless Creativepreneur? Then take a cruise over to my site karendaniels.com for multi-passionate ninjas – there are lots of cool new things you’ll enjoy.

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

2 comments… add one

  • Al

    Thanks Karen for your thoughts on the fears with writing for dollars. If you are not aware, Katie Bryon has a wonderful process for working through any fear or getting unstuck. Here’s a video about her using the Work Process. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EP88LrO8k0. It’s a delight to watch. Enjoy and thanks for your insights. You got a Tweet.
    Al recently posted..Google Guidelines for Mobile Websites

    • Hi Al -you rock and thanks so much for your Tweet and link to the awesome video – there are so many different types of fear and ways to work through it we all need every guideline we can get! Hope your work is going fearlessly great.