The Truth About Writer Moms and Deadlines

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 20
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 20, 2015 at 10:28 am

It seems as though we live our lives by deadlines, and this is a good thing. After all, they keep us focused and productive, which is essential if we ever want to move forward in our chosen professions.

Deadlines are especially important for us writers–whether we’re writing an article for a major magazine or self-publishing a novella, it’s imperative to take our craft seriously, and that means sticking to deadlines–whether they’re self-imposed or not.

I never had a problem with deadlines; during my school days, my assignments were always done on time. During my stint as a pharmacist, I would stop at nothing to make sure that people had their prescriptions ready by the promised time. When I transitioned into my career as a self-published author, I created my own deadlines. Suddenly, I didn’t have teachers or patients breathing down my neck, and I was able to be totally self-directed, which I loved.

For the first year, I churned out one new book per month, sometimes two if I released a box set, and I stuck to my deadlines religiously. When Antonio and I were blessed with our daughter last October, I set slightly less aggressive deadlines, and was able to meet them all… that is, until about a month ago when I had to ask my editor for my first-ever extension.

Even if your clock is this cool-looking, it's still reminding you of the dreaded deadline. :)

Even if your clock is this cool-looking, it’s still reminding you of the dreaded deadline. :)

 

Every muscle in my body tensed at the mere thought of an extension. I felt like I had failed–my editor, my readers, and, most of all, myself. Yet there was no way that I could’ve submitted my book by the promised date. I’d been traveling, but I’d thought I’d have plenty of opportunities to make up for lost time while Xaviana napped. However, when she began teething, her naps (i.e., my writing time) became irregular, and I just couldn’t catch up.

The good news was that I set a new deadline with my editor, and was able to meet it. I released the book, and am now hard at work on the next one–and hoping to meet the next deadline haha. Xaviana is napping well again, I’m writing, and all is right with my world. :)

This made me think about how work for a writer-mom is constantly evolving–just like our babies themselves. As I’ve told myself so many times, we just need to be flexible, and I suppose our deadlines have to be, too. Writer-moms (and dads) out there, what do you think? What experiences do you have with deadlines? Do you always meet them, or do you find that it’s better to keep them a bit loose sometimes? What about those of you with older kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Kindle Unlimited New Pages Read Policy: What Do You Think?

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 7
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 7, 2015 at 11:41 am

As of July 1st, Amazon has rolled out a brand-new policy, which affects authors with books in the Kindle Unlimited borrowing program. Check out the details here. In a nutshell, authors will receive payment based on pages read instead of number of downloads. There’s even an algorithm called Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC), which Amazon employed to determine the page count of each book.

Will we have to write books this thick to reap the benefits of the new Kindle Unlimited policy? Only time will tell ;)

Will we have to write books this thick to reap the benefits of the new Kindle Unlimited policy? Only time will tell ;)

Admittedly, I didn’t realize the new policy at first; I’d somehow missed that particular email from Amazon. When I saw my borrowed units jump well into the thousands–just in the first week of July–I was ecstatic. The news of the change burst my bubble, but once I really thought about it, I had to admit that it’s totally fair. I have removed some of my books from KDP Select, and may yank out a few more depending on how my sales are impacted–and how high they are in other markets. As always, the process of choosing where and how to publish is one of trial and error, and always being adaptable.

Authors out there, what do you think of Amazon’s new policy? Has it impacted your decision to place your books in the Kindle Unlimited borrowing program? As always, I welcome your feedback and thoughts!

Writing and Kids: 5 Ways to Have Both

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 9
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

Shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, I wrote a blog post listing 6 essential tips for working from home with a newborn baby. The strategies I outlined worked well for me; in the past 7 and 1/2 months, I’ve released 4 books and am nearly finished with the fifth one. Of course, there have been setbacks and less productive days (and weeks), but one look into my little girl’s big, bright eyes and I realize I’m doing the right thing at the right time.

No doubt about it, balancing writing and parenthood is no easy job. However, this writer-mom combination can be immensely rewarding, and is much more common than I thought. I realized this when I went to the writing section of the library the other day and picked up a book called Writer Mama: How to Raise a Career Alongside Your Kids

This book, published in 2007, is chock-full of amazing tips and tricks on everything from identifying your writing specialty to time-management. It was written before self-publishing and eBooks were popular, and the emphasis on query letters and agents shows that. As I’ve progressed through the book, I’ve decided that writing is an even better career option for moms today, because of the flexibility that self-publishing allows.

I’ve also realized that life as a writer mom (or dad) is very individualized. Author Christina Katz’s thoughts prompted me to reflect on my own experiences balancing writing and motherhood, and I just have to share them with you.

Writer-Mama-Cover-Final-257x300

Here are 5 ways to balance writing and kids (okay, in my case kid. We’ll probably get to the plural form in a couple more years.)

  1. Record your inspirations – Creative story or blog post ideas come to us moms at the most random times, and sometimes those ideas have to sit for awhile before they can be transformed into brilliant prose. In Writer Mama, Katz recommends various kinds of notepads or notebooks. I keep an inspiration notebook, but I’ve also been known to send myself an email every so often if a new idea strikes when I’m out and about.
  2. Write during nap times - New moms are often told to sleep when the baby sleeps, and I agree with this–to a degree. At night, Xaviana and I sleep around the same time; my earlier bedtime (around 10 or 10:30 PM) helps me to be more alert when she’s raring to go in the morning. But daytime naps are a different story. I use those to get as much writing done as I possibly can, especially now that Xaviana is more playful and aware, and is not content to just sit there in her chair and watch me write. The nap time schedule is an ever-evolving one, and some days Xaviana naps more than others. But I’m usually able to write two chapters of my Amish book per day and one to two blog posts per week while she’s asleep.
  3. Meet other moms and babies – As Xaviana becomes interested in other babies, I’ve been attending more and more meetups and one-on-one playdates with my mommy friends. Meetup.com has been amazing, because it’s allowed me to network with other moms at exercise classes, picnics, and coffee dates. Some of us are mompreneurs, and it’s fun to bounce ideas off each other. After these events, both Xaviana and I are energized and happy, and I’m more productive for the rest of the day.
  4. Set daily and weekly goals – I find that the best way to optimize my achievements and efficiency on any given day is by setting goals the night before and writing them down. I put my daily goals in the form of a to-do list, and take pride in checking them off. However, mom-life is variable, so I don’t always meet them right away.  This brings us to #5…
  5. Don’t stress – Any time you’re freaked out about your seemingly-endless to-do list, remember how blessed you are to be able to work from home and spend time with your baby. It’s an incredible privilege and responsibility. If I don’t meet my writing quota for the day, I just remind myself to treasure the gift of work flexibility–and the irreplaceable opportunity to bond with my child–that I’ve been given.

Moms out there, how do you navigate life as a writer-mom? Writer-dads, do you face similar challenges? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

KDP Self-Publishing Glitches–And How to Fix Them

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 17
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

Let me preface this post by saying, I absolutely love Amazon, and I’d be willing to bet that most indie authors feel the same way. IMHO, Kindle Direct Publishing is the best way to self-publish and distribute eBooks around the world. However, KDP is not without its glitches, and, unfortunately, our chances of encountering them increase with every eBook we publish.

I’ve published 22 eBooks, so I’ve encountered some rather interesting–and irritating–glitches. The good news: I’ve learned more trouble-shooting tips to share with you! Here are two glitches I faced, and how I overcame them.

life_is_a_glitch___wallpaper_by_me_by_pawlakkonrad-d6dr8k8

Problem #1: The Amazon description of my book was showing html code!

When I published Amish Awakening, I was appalled to find that the html code had shown up in the description. My first thought was, OMG, did I mess something up? But a quick and frantic check confirmed that the problem wasn’t on my end; a glitch in the system had caused all of the eBooks published between certain hours to show up with the html code in the description.

How I Fixed It: Naturally, I contacted Amazon support right away, and the representative emailed me that technical support was working on the problem and should be fixing it “soon.” However, I didn’t want my book description to show up looking unprofessional and sloppy for some indeterminate amount of time, so I took all the html code out of my description and republished the book. There may have been no bolds or headings, but at least my description didn’t look like some type of “Coding 101″ project. When the representative emailed me the next day to inform me that the glitch was fixed, I re-inserted the html code and republished the book once again–a lot of work, but the best alternative. There’s nothing worse than seeing a funky description under your book on your launch day!

Problem #2: It took forever for my book to become available in the Kindle store!

Last week, I hit the publish button on my newest creation, Amish Gossip, and checked to make sure it was available in the store the following day. I was shocked to find that it was not, since the usual turnaround time for a book to become available in the Kindle store is usually 12 hours or less. In my author dashboard, it showed up as “in review.”

How I Fixed It: I emailed the help center after 24 hours, and was told that the book was being reviewed and a representative would let me know when the problem was fixed. Imagine my surprise when the problem was pending for a week! I replied to the same email thread periodically, and would get a different representative every time. The responses were very vague, and no one ever told me what the exact problem was. Finally, one week after the intended release date, I started wondering whether I should just try republishing the book. I replied once again to the pending email, and the representative suggested republishing the book. I did, and the book became available about 12 hours later. The original publication, however, was still stuck in review. I wished that the representative had told me this sooner. If this happens to you, I would recommend republishing your book right away instead of waiting for a satisfactory answer from customer support.

Writers out there, have you encountered similar glitches when self-publishing? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

 

Judging a Book by Its Cover: Changing Cover Designs of a Published eBook

by Kristina Ludwig
Dec 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: December 18, 2014 at 10:35 am

You’ve written your eBook, had it professionally edited, finished your own spin on the edits, and composed a dynamite description. So you’re all ready to publish right?

Wrong! The book cover is one of the most important–and most often overlooked–aspects of an eBook. A professional-looking cover can make or break your sales. And furthermore, the cover must capture the unique flavor and mood of your book, as well as appeal to your audience. If the book is part of a series, the cover must create unity with the other books of the series. That’s a lot to think about!

Sometimes, no matter how polished and well-written a book is, it may not sell because its cover is just…wrong. Either it’s not eye-catching, the audience thinks it looks lame-o, or it appears amateurish. I have experienced this firsthand. Back in 2011, I designed the cover for my first ever eBook, Unlucky 13. At the time, I was writing and publishing as a hobby, and it showed. The book only sold to my family, friends, and a few totally random people who stumbled across it. This was due in part to the fact that I did zero promotion, but another huge reason was because the cover looked unprofessional. Last year, I had a new cover designed for the book; although Unlucky 13 is still far from a best seller, the sales are a whole lot better than they’d been with the first cover!

I encountered a similar problem with Book 1 of the California Mermaids series, The Mermaid’s Curse. I loved writing the book; in fact, I’ve never felt so inspired. Yet, when I published it, sales and borrows on Amazon were lower than I’d expected, despite the fact that I marketed it the same way as all my previous best selling Amish books. This was partly due to the fact that I was dabbling in a new genre, but Antonio, my hubby and expert professional cover designer, had another theory: perhaps the cover was turning people off.

I loooove the original cover of The Mermaid’s Curse. To me, it captures the essence of the book: the mermaid caught between two worlds under the full moon. However, when I evaluated it critically, with the target audience’s eye in mind, I realized that it is too dark; it draws your eye in, instead of popping out at you. Sales of Book 2 of the series, The Mermaid’s Wedding, have been much better than The Mermaid’s Curse. Since I’ve been promoting it the same way, I can only guess that the hike in sales is due to the more colorful, girly cover. The hot pink lettering and couple bathed in sunshine are vibrant, and very appealing to YA and NA mermaid fantasy romance readers.

So, Antonio and I decided to create a brighter, more beachy cover for The Mermaid’s Curse, using the same font and basic design as that of The Mermaid’s Wedding. I will be monitoring sales, and, of course, will keep you posted on how they are impacted by the change! Incidentally, I just changed the cover last night, and the rank of the book has already risen from around 100,000 to 84,000–still not where I want to be, but we’re taking baby steps here. :)

Here's the original cover of The Mermaid's Curse--very dark, and perhaps not as appealing to readers of the YA mermaid fantasy romance genre.

Here’s the original cover of The Mermaid’s Curse–very dark, and perhaps not as appealing to readers of the YA mermaid fantasy romance genre.

 

Here's the new cover of The Mermaid's Curse... What do you think?

Here’s the new cover of The Mermaid’s Curse… What do you think?

Authors out there, have you ever changed the cover of your already-published eBook, and if so, why? Did you see an increase in sales after you changed your cover? I’d love to hear your experiences!

They’re Here: Cover Teasers for The Mermaid’s Wedding!

by Kristina Ludwig
Dec 11
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: December 11, 2014 at 9:30 am

I’m excited to announce that the cover teasers for my new eBook, The Mermaid’s Wedding (California Mermaids #2) are ready, so of course I’m sharing them with you. :) The book will be released next week, and I can’t wait for you to read about Oceania’s adventures as she and Xavier plan their wedding on land!

Now, I need your help… Which of these cover concepts do you like better, left or right? Let me know by commenting below, and thanks in advance for your feedback!

 

Which of these rough draft cover designs do you like... Left of Right?

Which of these rough draft cover designs do you like… Left or Right?

It’s Here: Amish Awakening Has Launched!

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 24
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

Amish Awakening sliderI’m thrilled to announce that Amish Awakening: Rebekah and Braeden’s Book, has launched. I will be offering it for only 99 cents (almost 70% off regular price) today through Sunday, so be sure to check it out!

Amish Awakening has been a team effort in many ways. The cover is the product of tons of fan feedback on my Facebook page, and even the title of the book was my friend Jonathan’s idea when a big group of us had a brainstorming session during brunch. Thanks to everyone who provided me with helpful feedback throughout the writing and cover design process!

Here’s a free excerpt from the new book. Chapter One can be found in the back of Amish Bakery Challenge: Mercy and Samuel’s Bookwhile I shared Chapter Two on a recent blog post. Happy reading!

Chapter Three: Rebekah

 I sip my second cup of coffee, typing furiously on Braeden’s laptop. For the past hour, I’ve been Googling summer veterinary internships in the Pittsburgh area, and even outside the city. So far, however, I haven’t found anything promising. Everything I’ve found has been closed; the interns have been selected, and some of the internships have even started.

Braeden peeks over my shoulder. “Impressive typing skills, lightning fingers. I can’t believe that there was once a time when you didn’t know how to type at all.”

I laugh at the memory of my first experience with a computer. In my years of Amish schooling, I’d never touched a computer, and when I’d had a biology report due, I’d tried using the computers in the Cathedral of Learning lab to type it up. Braeden had been with me, printing off his own lab report, and he’d watched with amusement as I’d hunted and pecked my way around the keyboard. Thankfully, he’d been there to show me how to save the report, and print it out. Otherwise, I would’ve had to spend another two hours redoing all my work.

“Yeah, I think I’ve improved a bit.” I smile at him, and when he grins back, I appreciate just how handsome he is for the first time that day. His glossy black hair falls into his bright blue eyes, and a bit of stubble coats his chin; it’s just enough to look rugged and manly without seeming scruffy.

Without warning, Braeden takes my coffee cup from my hand. And then, a second later, my toes curl and my entire body rushes to life when his lips land on mine.

Braeden really is the best kisser, not that I’ve had a ton of experience. The only other boy I ever kissed was Jakob, an Amish guy who is now married to my old friend Hannah, and already has a child.

When Braeden and I finally pull apart, it seems like I have to spend a full minute just to catch my breath.

“I guess we should get back to work,” I say, rubbing my lips, which feel swollen and hot. “This was the best possible distraction, but I have to focus now. There’s got to be some internship that’s still hiring.”

Braeden points to the computer screen. “How about this one?”

“Ugh, it’s in Butler County—that’s so far away. And it doesn’t start until next month. Plus, it’s with a vet who specializes in farm animals, and I really don’t want to work in the country.”

“It’s funny how much you’ve changed, Rebekah,” Braeden says. “A couple of years ago, treating farm animals was your dream. Now it’s like your nightmare.”

I shrug. “People change. Back then, the country was all I knew. I actually thought I’d want to move back to my Amish community after graduation. Now I definitely know better. I like the city. There’s no way I’m moving back there unless I’m forced.”

Braeden chuckles. “Well, you know I wouldn’t force you. I like having you here. But Rebekah, don’t you feel like you’re just a bit in denial of your Amish past?”

“Not really. What did we learn in freshman psych? People adapt to their environments. So do animals, for that matter. It’s a survival mechanism. So, of course, I’m not going to want to go back to the way things were before—not when I’m so happy now.”

“Okay,” Braeden says, quirking his mouth up on one side. “But still, why don’t you apply for the internship anyway? It’s better than nothing.”

“I guess.” I click the link, and fill out my application. Braeden is right—it is better than nothing, and right now, nothing else is out there.

5 Ways to Become a KDP Select All-Star

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 18
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 18, 2014 at 11:44 am

A few days ago, I was blessed and humbled to receive an email proclaiming that I had been chosen as a KDP Select All-Star for the month of August. This is a brand-new incentive offered by Amazon “to reward the books that are most popular with our customers.” Amazon determines ‘most-read’ rankings by combining the number of books sold with the number of qualified borrows from Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. My book, Amish Baby, was ranked #95 on this list, so I will be receiving an All-Star bonus.

Want to be the writing equivalent of All-Stars Kobe and Lebron? Check out these tips below! ;)

Want to be the writing equivalent of basketball All-Stars Kobe and Lebron? Check out these tips below! ;) Image courtesy of 5thquartermag.com

This honor made me think of all the steps I’ve taken to reach “All-Star” status, and of course, I want to share them with you! So, here they are:

  1. Know Your Numbers – We’re well aware of how important it is to track the sales of our eBooks. By noticing which of our titles sell well and which don’t, we can determine the direction of future projects and tailor our marketing efforts. But now, there’s another reason as well–to land on the KDP Select All-Star list, there are certain sales quotas. I can’t tell you how many sales and borrows the #1 book on the list had, but I can tell you how many mine had. Amish Baby, the book that landed me on the list, sold  3,782 net units in August, and 853 units were borrowed under Kindle Unlimited. As Kindle Unlimited continues to gain popularity, I expect that we will need a higher number of borrows in the future to make this list. My estimate is 50% more for the month of September, based on the fact that the number of borrows is rapidly increasing. It will be interesting to note how the trends change over time–as Kindle Unlimited continues to pick up momentum, we may need less sales to land on the list, as long as the number of borrows balances it out.
  2. Choose non-DRM versus DRM – When you publish on Amazon, you’re always asked whether or not you want to “enable DRM.” DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a feature designed to inhibit the unauthorized distribution of your book. Basically, it prevents your work from being shared with people who are not buying it. Amish Baby was the first of my books in which I chose the non-DRM option, since I’d heard that encouraging your work to be shared can actually increase sales. And I couldn’t have been more right. Amish Baby has been my best selling book so far.
  3. Try, Try Again - We’ve all heard this many times: It’s super rare to break out and be recognized on Amazon (or any other platform) with your first book. This means that, unless you’re an exceptional case, you’ll probably have to release many eBooks before Amazon will choose you as an All-Star. For example, Amish Baby was my fifteenth eBook!
  4. Have a Catchy Cover - I theorize that one of the reasons Amish Baby is selling so well is because of its cover. Before releasing the book, I did a split test with two different cover concepts, and the one I chose received the overwhelming majority of votes from my Facebook fans. Since readers really do judge a book by its cover, it pays to have a well-designed, appealing book cover.
  5. Use Your Free Days - KDP Select free days are an amazing way to jack up book sales. This is especially true when you have more than one book published on Amazon. I make it a point to schedule two KDP Select free days–and promote them heavily–every week. I have never offered Amish Baby for free, but sales of this book and my other books always increase on my KDP Select free days.

So there you have it, indie authors: 5 ways to become a KDP Select All-Star. I hope that these tips help you. If you landed on the list and have any additional feedback, please let me know. I always love comparing notes!

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #9

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 8
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

This past weekend, Antonio and I shot the latest episode of our BPL vlog! In it, we share a business tip specifically for writers about diversification in products and pricing. We also share a publishing tip about DRM versus non-DRM. And finally, in our life tip, we unveil a surprise from our 1-year wedding anniversary. It’s a super-fun episode, so you should definitely check it out!

BPL 9 Thumbnail

Writers, what so you think of the tips? Have you found the business and publishing tips to be true in your own careers? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Overcoming Fear: Unleash Your Inner Lion or Lioness

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 11
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

One of my favorite Sunday pastimes is attending church with Antonio, where we recharge our spirituality and find inspiration for the coming week. Yesterday, the priest’s sermon was particularly touching–he talked about fear: the way it can hold us back, and how so many people are motivated by it, when instead we should be driven by love and faith.

This really struck a chord with me. Fear impedes so many of us in our quest for self-actualization, and if left unchecked, it can prevent us from ever reaching our full potential. And fear affects even the bravest among us. In fact, it’s so sneaky that we may not realize it has caused us to fail until it’s too late.

I consider myself a pretty brave person–unless there are spiders or mold around. Then, all bets are off. But seriously, I have never been one to shy away from challenges, “scary” amusement park rides, weird new foods, or relatively adventurous activities. However, career-wise, I was always a play-it-safe kind of girl. I followed the prescribed path of academic success: high grades and a loaded extracurricular resume in middle school and high school, the accelerated and demanding Doctor of Pharmacy program in college, and, finally, the lucrative job as a pharmacist. I felt stifled in the box of the pharmacy, and felt that my very active creative side was begging to be unleashed. As a result, I packed my time outside of work with artsy activities like writing, piano, chorus, drawing, and various dance and fitness classes, but felt as though there was a schism between my real interests and my full-time career. I dreamed of becoming a successful published author, but fear of never being “discovered,” as well as fear of giving up my secure, well-paying job, prevented me from taking the risks I’d need to succeed.

I was forced to face my fears when Antonio, who was then my fiance, was offered a great new job in San Diego. I knew in my heart that San Diego would be the best choice for us long-term, with its near-perfect weather and healthy lifestyle, as well as the lucrative and personally fulfilling position Antonio was being offered. Yet, I was incapacitated by fear. I was deathly afraid of venturing into the unfamiliar territory of California. I wanted to launch a new career as a YA author, but I was secretly afraid that I’d fail and be just another “starving artist.” Finally, I was afraid of leaving all the friends we’d made in Chicago, and of being so far from my family in Pittsburgh. The list went on and on.

At this point, I knew that it was time to manage my fear, not the other way around. So after my several-month-long period of incapacitation, Antonio and I finally arrived at a brave solution. We maintained a long-distance relationship for a year before our wedding, during which time we attended writing conferences together and focused fully on launching my career as an indie author. I continued to work full-time as a pharmacist, and the year was incredibly busy. But by our wedding last September, I had learned enough about the publishing process to feel as though my career leap was warranted.

I am so glad that I faced my fear, because now I’m happier than I ever thought possible. There is no longer a schism between my career and my innermost desires. I determine my own schedule, and the pace at which I release my new eBooks. I can work from home, which is ideal because we’re expecting our first child in October. And, for the first time in my life since teenagerhood, I feel creatively fulfilled.

This period of struggle taught me so much about facing my fears and unleashing my inner lioness. As the week begins, I urge you to examine your life and identify your greatest fears, and perhaps how they’ve held you back from your dreams. Like me, many people let their fears stand in the way of realizing their full potential and achieving their career goals–no matter how nonsensical those goals may seem to those around them. Morphing from pharmacist to writer seemed weird to some people, but it was the best decision I could’ve made!

An unwavering support system is essential in unleashing your inner lion or lioness.

An unwavering support system is essential in unleashing your inner lion or lioness.

So, here are some ways to overcome fear and unleash your inner lion or lioness. After reading this, I hope you want to ROAR!

  • Identify your greatest fears - Sometimes, fear is so sneaky that you might not even realize it’s holding you back. Identifying it is the first step to overcoming it.
  • Visualize your ideal life – Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then, visualize a day in your ideal life. Are you working in the same career, or a totally different one? Do you live in the same city and have the same relationships? When you open your eyes, compare your vision with the reality of your life. Maybe your dream career is the exact opposite of the one you’re doing, or you’re in some pretty toxic relationships. Identify the elements that differ from your ideal life, and pinpoint why they differ. Is it because you’re working toward change, but it just hasn’t happened yet? Or is it because fear of failure or change is preventing you from even trying to turn your life around? If this is true, then you’ll have to…
  • Set goals - Write down the goals that will transport you from your real life to your vision. This will make your goals more real and plausible.
  • Have a support system - Once you’ve identified your goals for change, share them with your significant other and trusted friends or family. This increases accountability and helps to alleviate your fears about making the change. Antonio was my biggest supporter as I launched my new career. Not only did he believe in me, he’s been with me every step of the way, helping me to build my platform, attending conferences and networking events with me, helping me to learn about marketing, and even designing book covers. In the end, I had to overcome my own fear, but his unwavering and loving support was instrumental in the process, as well as in my success.
  • Become comfortable with the unfamiliar - As you’re working toward facing your fears and achieving your goals, try other things outside your comfort zone, like unfamiliar vacation spots, new sports, and exotic foods. The stimulation and newness will increase your fearless factor, guaranteed!
  • Make the change - Change is slow, and it can only be achieved with hard work every day. Armed with your goals and support system, you can face your fear of change head-on. Change gradually. Just as I didn’t launch a new career overnight, you shouldn’t expect your change to occur instantaneously. Be patient, but work constantly.
  • ROAR - Soon, you will begin to see the fruits of your labor. And when that happens, make sure to celebrate! Maintain a balance between hard work and celebration. There’s nothing more exhilarating than facing your fears head-on and conquering them. Now, go forth and ROAR!