May 152019
 

Most people I know — especially other writers — subscribe to the “this may be good but I can do better” school of work. As a result, given the right combination of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) our minds can quickly flip over to “this will never be good enough.” That inner critic can grab hold and shake our confidence like a dog with a new toy. This is part of the reason that the online #WritersCommunity flourishes: there’s always someone there to be goofy or to share compliments with a floundering counterpart.

We thrive when others point out our good qualities and the things we are doing well. Compliments are some of the best gifts we can receive — especially until we learn how to provide this wonderful experience for ourselves.

That #InnerCritic can grab hold and shake our confidence like a dog with a new toy. Click To Tweet

I spent many years teaching women how to appreciate their own talents and strengths. While there are many ways to do this, one of the exercises I routinely used was called Building Emotional Muscle. Here’s an abbreviated version.

Below are 45 words for positive traits:

  • active, determined, kind, adventurous, energetic
  • lively, artistic, enthusiastic, loving, aware
  • expressive, observant, beautiful, forgiving, open
  • bold, friendly, patient, brave, generous
  • powerful, bright, gentle, ready-to-learn, capable
  • handsome, respectful, caring, happy, responsible
  • changing, hard-working, sensitive, confident, honest
  • strong, cooperative, imaginative, thoughtful, creative
  • inventive, unique, dependable, joyful, wise

Choose your favorite 5 and list an example of how it manifests in your life.

You can also use this list with some of your online (or in-person) “crew.” Tweet, text, or email an example of how each of them exemplifies one of these traits. Choose a day during the week or month to share this sort of support within that group. Eventually, each of you will have a great collection. In fact, while you’re at it, why not have each group member add 10 or 15 words to the list?

One of the problems with using this sort of technique to counteract your inner critic is that many of us have a hard time accepting compliments.

Sometimes this works best if you don't compliment the person directly -- let her overhear you. Click To Tweet

In that case, here are two more recommendations. First, don’t compliment the person directly — let her “overhear” you. Address your compliment for Ann to Barbara, like this: “Have you noticed the way Barbara’s writing has improved? Her creativity is really shining through!” Depending on the relationships between people involved, Barbara should either not respond or can say/post a simple “thank you.”

Finally, writing can be a lonely business. Comments on blog posts let writers know that someone is reading – and that alone is a great form of feedback. If you’re not sure what to say, refer back to this list. It makes a wonderful starting point for sharing compliments — online or in real life!

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Andrea Patten is the author of The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head.

Mar 232019
 

 

How would you like to tour Ireland with a small group of history lovers? And what if that group was made up of folks who love to read?

 

How would you like to tour Ireland with a small group of history-lovers? Click To Tweet

 

And how much better would that be if such a tour was led by Irish historical fiction author and all around awesome human Nancy Blanton?

 

And what if such a tour was led by Irish historical fiction author Nancy Blanton? Click To Tweet

 

I realize this is an unusual post for me but I’m excited about this wonderful opportunity for folks to explore Ireland with my friend and business partner, author Nancy Blanton. Virtuoso Tours has teamed with Nancy to explore the Emerald Isle, visiting many of the sites described in Blanton’s luscious 17th-century historical fiction. Pubs? Castles? Ruins? It’s all there — and brought to life by a premiere story-teller.

We all know that an epic trip of a lifetime takes a little advance planning so please share the opportunity with your friends.

Virtuoso has created a spectacular itinerary . Click here BLANTON Ireland TOUR for full details. And, to prepare, you can start to get to know Nancy and her spectacular 17th-century Irish historical fiction.

 

Jan 072019
 

grounded swallow

Want to fly?  Really soar?  First, you’ve gotta get unstuck.  Think about it, before you can fly you’ve gotta _______________.

How are we going to fill in that blank for you???? And what’s up with the ugly little bird?

I took this picture at my former home in New Hampshire.  I’d been watching a mother bird feed her little ones.  Suddenly, it was time for them to fly.  Only this little baby wasn’t convinced.  I’ll never know whether he didn’t WANT to fly or he wasn’t physically ready.  It probably doesn’t matter. What does matter is that somebody else set a goal for him and he didn’t achieve it.

Well… that’s not 100% accurate.  He and his siblings “flew” to the ground.  The others eventually made it to the top of the garden fences.  And then higher up in a tree.  And on to the roof of the barn.

Except for this one.  He was on the ground and going nowhere fast.  And not happy about it.  Can you relate? I know I can. I have (at least once in my life) managed to make myself miserable by ‘comparing my insides’ to what I saw others doing. Or, worse still, trying to reach goals I hadn’t chosen.  I can’t think of a better way to stay grounded.

I can't think of a better way to stay grounded than to go for a goal you didn't choose. Click To Tweet

I think “flight” combines both science and art.  

Some critters don’t do it because they lack the necessary equipment.  Others haven’t yet developed the required strength and coordination or mastered the timing. It’s not all that different from the way humans grow into the various roles we take on in our lives.

Whether writer, visual artist, salesperson or parent… living up to our potential requires a combination of science (skills and information) and art (choosing the right combination and making them part of what you do).  And as much as we’d sometimes like to pretend otherwise, there’s no magic bullet: when it comes to getting unstuck there’s no “one size fits all.”

Your particular version of “stuck” may be showing up in your monthly sales figures.  Or in that manuscript you can’t quite finish.  Or calls that don’t get made.  So you do what you’ve always done.  You read. Go to seminars.  Buy packages. Hire a coach. YOU FEEL GREAT!  You’re motivated like crazy… and then…

Nothing happens.

Can you relate?  It’s probably not your fault.  The tools you used were probably fine:  just not the right ones for this particular “job.”  It’s like trying to drive a nail with a bag of birdseed.

It's like trying to drive a nail with a bag of birdseed. Not quite the right tool, is it? Click To Tweet

Motivation is great… but not when it’s the only tool in the toolbox.  I’m sure you’ve had times you’ve been both stuck and motivated:  ready and willing to take action but unsure where to start. Remember, whether your learning to fly, to use social media, or to build your business there are predictable stages:

  • we don’t know that we don’t know
  • we know that we don’t know
  • we know…. but our skills are a bit shaky

And eventually, with support and practice, we get to “Woo-HOO!  I feel like I’ve ALWAYS known how to do this.”

Are you stuck? Or have you mastered something that used to have you that way? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Apr 042018
 

Hello, wonderful readers. Do you like free stuff?  How about the opportunity to help an up and coming author take important steps forward? Or to be among the first to read a new release? And maybe even see your name in print? (Have you ever wondered who all those folks in the ‘acknowledgments’ and why the author appreciates them so?) If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

Do you like free stuff? Click To Tweet

I don’t think I’ve told you that, besides trying to get a firm grip on my next non-fiction topic, I’ve been working on what many would call a passion project. I have joined forces with two dear friends and accomplished authors to create an author services co-op called Amelia Indie Authors. In this brave new world (and constantly shifting landscape) of independent publishing, it seems unusual for several reasons.

  • Authors can’t just wave a credit card and join. There’s an application process to make sure it’s a “fit.” If we can’t help, we don’t take their money.
  • It’s affordable. One of the things that drove us to create this is frustration at seeing authors over-charged for services they could easily learn to do for themselves.
  • It’s safe. Once again, we all get a little angry when we see authors getting ripped off. We don’t recommend services we haven’t used ourselves and believe to be of excellent value.
  • It’s a work in progress. Our wonderful early-adopters are providing us with feedback about what’s working for them and what else they need.

So what’s all that got to do with you?  Well, if you’re a writer and tired of paying too much for less than stellar results, check out the site.  But if you’re a reader? We’re looking for you. We’re in the process of creating a list of beta readers — the people who will give writers the type of feedback we need to improve. (Hint: We need more than, “It’s good.”)

Are you a writer, tired of paying too much for less than stellar results? Click To Tweet

What’s involved? Well, as I said, we’re a work in progress. (Our new and improved website will go live next week.) What I think it will look like? From time-to-time, we’ll message you to see whether you have time to read part of a work in progress. We’ll also give you an idea of the genre/subject matter to make sure it’s something of interest to you. If both of those are a “yes,” we’ll send you a portion of our author’s work and let you know the type of feedback requested. That’s it. You read and send us an email.

And chances are an extremely appreciative author will thank you. In writing. In the book!

If this is of interest to you, please respond in the comments or e-mail me at Amelia.Indie.Authors@gmail.com

Thanks. And happy reading!

 

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