Building Confidence As a… Writer (9)

Sorry for the lean week of posts last week, readers! We’ll be better this week.

beinghappyI’m going to call this series a wrap after today. The past 8 weeks have talked about building confidence as a writer, with posts covering: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, plan to avoid panic, appreciate your differences, and list accomplishments at the end of the day.

Most of these tips can be used for any aspect of your daily life, not just a writing-focused one.

Today’s tip is to soak up the good mojo by hanging around positive, happy people. I refer to it as ‘finding your tribe.’

These people can be:

  • Other writers
  • Small business owners
  • Readers (of your type of writing)
  • Locals (neighbors, people you meet at the local cafe, and so on)
  • Those you connect with through networking
  • Members of any organizations you belong to (writing & non-writing)
  • Social media connections
  • Fellow gym members, walking friends, hiking buddies, and so on
  • Clients
  • Fellow hobbyists (areas other than writing)

In New Hampshire, an organization that I find quite full of happy supportive people is Women Inspiring Women. I’ve made several great connections through networking on LinkedIn, particularly the 603 Networking Group (almost 6,000 people to connect with in the state). I also have friends with great inspirational posts all the time – Charlene and Steve. And they each have *so many* inspiring connections, that it’s easy to find a smile-along-with-a-kick-in-the-pants when I need one.

In my fiction life, I have fellow mystery author friends and connections through Sisters in Crime New England. And this month, there are fellow writers I’m meeting at NH regional “write ins” for National Novel Writing Month.

You can find your ‘tribe’ just about anywhere – they are the people you are attracted to and who are attracted to you for mutual support, inspiration, and camaraderie. They are people who can lift you up when you need a boost, hold you accountable for goals you’ve set, and be a familiar face in a crowd when you need one.

Having coffee, or lunch, or a drink, or an ice cream with someone from your tribe on a regular basis is great for giving you perspective, pulling you out of the isolation that writing can create, and keeping you looking forward to achieving and doing more with your business.

positiveenergyWe can’t all be positive and happy every minute of every day, but like honey is better at attracting bees than vinegar, keeping a positive and happy mindset goes a long way to moving forward toward your dreams than a negative and upset mindset.

Where have you found your tribe? What type of people do you turn to when you need a positive or encouraging boost?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (8)

Moving along in a series on building confidence as a writer, we’re building on prior weeks of: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, plan to avoid panic, and appreciate your differences.

This week we’re tying back into the first week where the tip was to start your day off doing something that makes you feel good. For me, I go out on my deck and greet the morning / new day giving thanks for new opportunities. Others snuggle with their children, spend time journaling, enjoying coffee and quiet… the options are limitless and unique to each of us.

create-an-end-of-day-feel-good-listToday, a way to help build confidence in your writing (or life, or any particular focus you may have) is at the end of the day, make a list of activities, accomplishments, experiences, and so on that made you feel good during the day.

This can be an actual list, a journal page, notes, a few moments meditating on the positives of your day – it can be whatever form you like, but take a few minutes at the end of your day to think back and realize:

  • you crossed off 1, 2, 3, or more items on your ToDo list
  • you wrote for 5 minutes, 24 minutes, or 45 minutes
  • you managed to edit 3 pages of a story you want to submit
  • you tried a new food and liked it
  • you caught a glimpse of the sun through a tree
  • someone said ‘thank you’ for a job well done
  • you turned a project in early
  • the man down the hall who never smiles, actually smiled
  • you have more than one thing on your end-of-day Feel Good list
  • you found the perfect gift for someone special
  • you laughed
  • you received a hug
  • you received a check
  • your cat/dog/child let you sleep until the alarm clock chimed

It can be just about anything that made you feel good. I felt good about having fleece socks on last night – they were so soft and warm. I also felt great getting 2,234 words written for a work in progress. I felt good about getting this blog post done. I enjoyed last night’s sunset. It felt good to help my neighbor with her grocery shopping.

The list can be as long or as short as you like – try to have a minimum of 3 or 5 items a day and at the end of a month read back through (if you keep a written copy) and I bet you’ll be amazed at all the good / happy / things that made you feel good become more and more related to your writing.

It’s like giving yourself a pat on the back when you focus on the good and take a moment to appreciate all that you’ve done.

What form does your list of end-of-day ‘feel good’ items take?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a … Writer (7)

Happy Halloween! Hard to believe tomorrow is November 1. Wasn’t it just March?

As I continue the series on building confidence, I’ve inspired myself to sign up for National Novel Writing Month this year (as I generally do) AND I have a story idea and time set aside to write.

It’s great to be an inspiration to others, but it’s fantastic to inspire ourselves. And that’s today’s tip — don’t compare yourself to others.

avoid-comparing-apples-you-to-oranges-othersAs with other treats (since it’s Halloween) and tricks, find the balance that works for you.

It’s fine to use other writers as role models. If you find someone’s writing that strikes you as honest and what you are striving for in your own goals, sure, you want to learn from them.

You always want to improve as a writer, so seeing what works for others helps you progress in your own career.

This tip is more about avoiding the extreme of needing to be “as good as” so-and-so. Or getting frustrated if your writing career isn’t following the same trajectory as your favorite author.

It’s also about that inner critic that comes out when you’re in compare mode and you receive a compliment.

  • Example: “Lisa, I enjoyed reading that piece published in The Best Magazine Ever.”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment) but I had to rewrite it 57 times (inner critic).”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment), but Sally Jones had 3 articles printed just last month (inner critic).”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment), but I’ve been trying for 6 years to get in that magazine. Lady Next Door got her first submission published – and she never took a writing course in her life (inner critic)!”

It doesn’t matter if Joe Jellybean submits a first draft that’s published the next day. It doesn’t matter that Patricia Pumpkin lands a 3-book contract from a 60-second pitch to someone she hadn’t even realized was The Publisher of All Publishers.

We are each unique and bring different qualities to our writing. We each have a difference ‘voice.’ Embrace your style. Work at your craft in the way that feels right to you. Set your goals and work toward them. Write ‘as if’ you’re published in The Best Magazine Ever or have landed a 3-book contract.

You’ve got this – believe that and be proud of your efforts and celebrate every accomplishment along the way.

Earlier topics covered in this series: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, and plan to avoid panic.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (6)

Good Monday morning, readers! Welcome to the sixth week of a series on building confidence as a writer, where many of the tips can be applied to any career or part of your life.

We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, and focusing on others.

dontbepushedbyyourproblemsThis next one can be a bit challenging at times – I do my best, but can’t always avoid working in panic mode.

It’s exhausting and not-at-all beneficial to work and live in hurry up mode all the time.  If you start every day with a rush-rush must-get-everything-done frame of mind without knowing what that ‘everything’ is, you’re setting yourself up to be extremely stressed and on a path to failing to achieve the success you want.

Setting goals and planning out the days can help you focus on what’s important – and make sure the tasks you *must* get done are accomplished.

Having goals and planning days, as well as we can, enables us to move forward and meet deadlines.

I (generally) sit down on Sunday evenings to review the past week and plan for the upcoming week. This lets me see what I accomplished and what I missed. It allows me to decide if missed tasks are important enough to carry forward on the calendar or unimportant enough to remove from my ToDo list.

The review of the past week and planning for the upcoming week gives me control my days… for the most part.

I mean, we can’t control (or plan for) everything, right? Things do happen in our lives: kids get sick, cars get flat tires, trees fall on power lines, Internet gremlins eat important e-mails, calendar reminders fail, the cell phone battery dies, neighbors have loud parties into the wee hours of a work night… the chocolate supply in the house disappears.

yourockyourweekBut having a plan… having goals… having a map of where we are headed is important so that when something unexpected does come along and interrupts us, we can get back on track sooner rather than later. Without a plan or goals or a map, we’d most likely end up going in circles, retracing our steps, or moving off in a totally unrelated direction – and there isn’t any success there!

So tip #6 is to do the best you can to avoid working in panic mode.

Do you plan out your upcoming week? How do you avoid working in panic mode?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a …Writer (5)

Welcome to week five of the series on building confidence as a writer (many tips can be applied to any career or part of your life).

We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, and act-as-if.

bethereasonsomeonesmilestodayToday is one of my favorites – pay it forward by focusing on others and giving them a smile.

Remember the compliment jar in an earlier post? You know how great it feels to receive a compliment, right? Do the same for others. When you’re out and about, or at home or at work, give someone a smile, hold a door open, compliment a person for something you notice.

If you’re a writer and have received a review, thank the reviewer for his or her time. If you have clients, think of ways you can improve your service to make the client even happier with you. Give a person your full attention and ask them how their day is going. Be interested in their lives outside of the office.

Drop an anonymous card on someone’s desk that includes a beautiful picture, a compliment, a treat, or a small gift – even a smiley sticker can do the trick. Be a ‘secret Santa’ on a random day of the year and do random kind acts throughout the day.

Paying it forward makes others feel good, but it also fills you with a positive sense of satisfaction.

One phrase I find that isn’t used much, but can mean a lot is, “You’re welcome.” It feels good when someone says “Thank you,” for an effort you made, right? Of course it does.

And when you say ‘thank you’ to someone, do you feel better hearing “You’re welcome,” or a casual “Sure”, “Yeah, no problem,” or “Don’t think anything of it.”?

“Thank you” and “You’re welcome” can brighten anyone’s day. They show respect, sincerity, and appreciation.

What small act or gesture can you give to a stranger, friend, family member, coworker, client, or customer today? Smiles are easy to pay forward since they are contagious. 

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a … Writer (4)

Welcome to week four of the series on building confidence as a writer. We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, and eating for energy.

Now let’s talk about expecting success.

Think of it as the “act as if…” mindset. If you want to succeed and can envision it and feel it within yourself, you’ll turn every thought, comment, and action into a reflection of that expectation throughout your day.

Pay attention to self-doubt and negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

These aren’t only thoughts about yourself, but also words you say to others.

expect-successSee how quickly your attitude can change by eliminating statements that start with: I can’t / I don’t / I won’t / I’ll try, but..

And replacing them with:

  • I can
  • I do
  • I will
  • I’ll try, and also
  • I’m ready

Here’s a simple positive, encouraging, fun thing I do — a couple of years ago I read about a ‘Compliment Jar’. Every time a person received a compliment – personal or business – she wrote it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar.

Then if she needed a boost, she could reach into the jar, randomly pick out a piece of paper and read the compliment. Hearing (or reading) positive and encouraging words from someone you know (friend, client, co-worker, spouse, son, daughter, neighbor, etc.) is a great way to get back into the mindset of expecting your success. 

I have a little decorative box with a lid that I keep my compliments in, and they end up being written on whatever I have on hand, so even inside the box seems decorative with different colors and textures and types of paper.

I write the compliment along with the date and the person who said/wrote it to me. It’s amazing how powerful a compliment can be, and we all need a reminder sometimes.

Focusing on the success you want, and minimizing negative thoughts and words to others can keep you moving forward. When you do something that opposes your idea of success, you will feel uncomfortable, out of sorts, and a bit awkward – you’ll know you are out of alignment with your goals.

Do your best to focus on your goal of success, and take care to note when you feel yourself stepping off the path. The more aware you are of your thoughts and actions, the quicker you can get back on track.

Expect success. I know you can achieve it!

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (3)

Here’s the third installment in a series to help you build confidence as a writer (or anything you want to be).

The first week I talked about doing something for yourself every morning that made you feel good. It doesn’t have to be writing-related.

Last week it was the ever-important tip (particularly for writers) about writing as often as possible. As writers, we write!

This week is the equally important notion/rule/recommendation of eating as healthy as possible.

power-up

Our bodies need the proper fuel to help our energy levels stay steady and our minds stay alert. I’m not saying change your diet dramatically, but if you can avoid sugars and refined foods you’ll be on the right track.

Cooking and food prep are at the bottom of ‘Lisa’s Favorite Things To Do’ list, so don’t think I have it all figured out in this area. I do believe breakfast is important and I start the day with Greek yogurt with granola. The particular type of yogurt because it has more protein than others and there are several options to choose from now! (In the winters I switch to steel grain oats with blueberries.)

Protein is the ingredient I strive for at each meal – so for lunches and dinners and snacks I’m looking at chicken breast, eggs, pork chopswild caught salmon, hamalmondsbeans, steak (now and then), cheese, and a daily protein shake.

High-protein foods include: tofu, oysters, cottage cheese, minced beef, lamb, and swiss cheese. (The items in bold come from a Daily Health Lifestyles article.)

And it is the season for pumpkin seeds – which are a great protein snack option. Yum!

Tips that work for me, and might help you – or give you ideas:

  • Keep junk food out of the house so when cravings hit, it isn’t easy to grab a ‘bad’ treat
  • Write down everything I eat and drink. There are so many apps, such as MyFitnessPal (I only mention it because it’s the one I use), that after a little work at setting up recipes and selecting most-commonly purchased items, it’s a breeze to record everything – even from restaurants!
    • Benefit to using an app is that it most likely will tell you calorie, protein, sugar, fat and other content so you can keep a strong handle on what you’re eating and drinking
    • You can also have friends connected to your apps — and have them help you stay accountable to eating healthy by giving them the ability to see your food diary.
  • Drink a lot of water. I have a 24-oz cup with a lid that I keep full of ice water handy when I’m home. Bottled waters work well in a cooler when I’m out and about during the day.
  • Don’t eat after 7PM — or at least stop eating 3 hours before you’re going to bed.

Does your diet need to change at all? Do you notice you have higher focus after eating certain types of foods (or lack of energy after eating junk food)?

Lisa_2015 Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.