Just. Keep. Writing.

Great advice and motivation for all of us out here daring against every opposition to follow our writing dreams.

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Hey there, lovelies!

I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve spent the last few months buried under deadlines and finishing up coursework–so far this year I’ve gone to grad school, and written and edited THREE books, all coming out next year–and getting ready to head back to Nashville.

But in the slivers of space between, I’ve been reflecting a lot–about writing, publishing, advice–and I wanted to talk about a piece of advice that I know seems trite, but is honestly the best I can give. I’ll try to explain why.

Five years into my publishing career, I finally feel like I have my feet under me, and because of that, I’m often asked for advice.

When writers–aspiring, debut, and established–ask for insight, I always say, “Just keep writing.”

And I know that sounds like a very Dory thing to say, but the fact of the matter is, if…

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The Alchemist

Alchemist

Some books entertain. A few inspire. For me, this book did an abundance of both.

On the surface, it is a story of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago on his journey to find treasure at the base of the pyramids in Egypt. Kinda sorta interesting, right? Don’t worry, that’s only the surface.

On a deeper level, it is a parable to its readers about achieving one’s Personal Legend. According to Coelho, that Legend is an innate thing we all have. It’s our purpose in life. That thing that we’ve thought of doing for years, nagging in the back of our minds, begging to become a conscious goal. I could immediately relate, being that my Personal Legend is to become an author. That’s another thing. No one has to tell you what your Personal Legend is. Somewhere inside you, you already know.

The Alchemist took me on an adventure that not so subtly outlined some of the obstacles standing in the way of one setting out towards their Personal Legend.

Fear: Whether that be the fear of losing more than you’ll gain or even the fear of succeeding. Yes, people can actually be afraid of reaching their goal because they can’t picture what they’ll do next–among other strange excuses.

Complacency: Getting to a place where you’re comfortable with getting less than what you really want out of life. Coming to the point where you start saying that you’re ok. You’ve achieved enough, you can stop. But are you really comfortable with that? Really, or does it still sting you every time you’re reminded of what you coulda shoulda mighta been?

Responsibility: Thinking that you have a duty to do something other than fulfilling your Personal Legend. I have to think logically. I have to make sure I have security and a fallback plan. I never saw anyone else in my family take such foolish risks. I have to make my parents proud, and there’s no way they’re going to go for this.

Love: Yes, love often stands in the way too. How many times have you heard stories of people who gave up their wild dreams to “settle down”? Or of others who were just so in love they couldn’t bear to move out of state to chase that once in a lifetime opportunity. Or worse yet, the stories of those whose lover actually made them choose between their Legend and that lover. We might need to revisit the definition of love in a later blog post.

Opposition: Anything, be it financial setbacks, health scares, rejections, etc. that make you struggle–and maybe stumble–on the way to your finish line.

Coelho, through the adventures of Santiago, simplified the solutions to all of those obstacles. He beautifully emphasized the power found within one’s self and their ability to connect with the Soul of the World. (Wondering what that is? Ha! You gotta read the book for that little gem. I can’t give away all the goods.)

Alchemy by definition is the magical process of transformation. This book definitely brought with it a magic that is still aiding in the transforming of my life today, and I know it will continue to change the lives of its readers for generations to come.

“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Just in case all my raving about its awesomeness wasn’t enough, I seriously recommend all my readers buy The Alchemist.

So check it out on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062315005/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_dQJHvb0STPRBJ via @amazon

-Much love and success!

The Key to Becoming Unstoppable

Ever wanted to get to the point in your life where you just know that you can stand undefeated against anything? Then there is one essential thing you must do immediately.

Become a honey badger.

Yes you heard (read) that right.

I am indeed telling you to be this funky looking skunk/sloth thing.

Well, not literally, of course.

Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

In which case…I don’t judge.

For those who don’t know, the honey badger is arguably the strongest animal alive today. Though not much bigger than a Shih Tzu, the honey badger will fearlessly take on anything from a cobra to a full-grown lion. Not to mention, their hide is so tough most other animals’ and insects’ stingers and teeth can rarely penetrate it–at least not while the badger’s still alive and fighting. And damn can they fight! Honey badgers in the heat of battle display seemingly endless amounts of ferocity and endurance. Like in the back of their minds they’re saying, “Bitch, please. I can do this all day!”

Hence the now famous mantra:

Now I know you’re still tripping off the strongest animal alive today part. In truth, the little devils aren’t from Krypton. So, no, honey badgers are not physically stronger than say a lion, a bear, or even half of the other things they take on.

“Changing the game is a mindset.” -Robert Rodriguez

It is their MENTALITY that gives them an edge over what would appear to be their betters. They don’t operate under fear or caution. They give whatever they’re up against everything that they’ve got as if they just know that they are incapable of losing.

That is what I am asking you to aspire to embody.

So lets break this down.
To be a honey badger you must have:

+Ferocity- The boldness that empowers you to fight through any situation with an intimidating passion.

+Endurance- The  mental stamina to last in the heat of conflict without ever showing weakness to your opposition.

+Thick skin- The “don’t give a shit” attitude that doesn’t allow any adversity thrown at you to penetrate and actually hurt you. 

+Confidence- The belief in yourself that nothing is too hard, too great, or too impossible for you to overcome.

So now that you know what it takes…

Are you ready?

“I may win and I may lose, but I will never be defeated.” -Emmitt Smith