Category Monday Inspiration

Monday Inspiration: Forgo the good for the better

Every day, you have to make a decision that will impact your whole life.

What will you do with your time given to you?
We all have only 24 hours.

The possibilities are endless, everything around lures you in with magnetic hands, competing for attention. Travel, vacation, social media, Netflix, online shopping, food – the list is endless.

There is no harm in those things, right? They are good and can be useful. But don’t forget: Today, you only have 24 hours. That’s it. You have to decide how to use them.

 

In addition, the ever-present FOMO (fear of missing out) is haunting our every day lives. We want to be informed, anticipating the trends, knowing the latest movies and sensations. There is too much choice. And all of it seems harmless, good even. But how do you decide what the “better” choice is?

In today’s fast-paced world, we are accustomed to satisfying every need straight away. We want to be everywhere and do everything, chasing our own urges, seeking the good feeling of the moment. Tomorrow will be different, right? You won’t eat the whole bag of potato chips, you won’t swallow the chocolate bar, you won’t binge watch the new Stranger Things season. Except that, you will. Because you are used to making the easier choice.

So how to recognize the “better” choice?

The better choice is always the less comfortable one.

Get into the habit of making the UNCOMFORTABLE choice. Don’t take the easy route. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. Get used to making the hard decision and oftentimes to just say “no” to things you really really want right now.

The better choice considers the long-term results.

Do you write the next page of your book or go shopping? Today, shopping might seem like the more satisfying choice. It will provide you with a great feeling right away. But consider what happens in a year? Either you have a book or you have spent all your money. It is about the SUM of your decisions, but every decision you make today is one important component of that sum. It counts.

Te better choice hurts in the beginning but makes you strong and happy in the end.

Consider working out. To actually get up and go to the gym while your inner couch-potato yells with pain – it hurts. But once you have completed your workout, you feel energized, happier and stronger. This goes for all those activities where – in the end – you feel like you have really accomplished something meaningful.

The magic word that got lost in society is Forgoing.

And forgoing is a matter of training. You can train yourself to make the better decisions as long as you stop making excuses.

In life, we need to learn to forgo the good things for the better things. Click To Tweet

Today, choose the better things. Forgo the good ones.


These are the resources that will rock your week:

  1. LOVED the Podcast from Joanna Penn where she interviewed the creators of the “Bestseller Experiment”
  2. I discovered the Novel Marketing Podcast this week, and it’s top notch for those who want to market fiction
  3. Need a new push for email marketing? Here are amazing templates to copy & paste.

Monday Inspiration: The Power of Habit

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

Did you know that once you form a habit, it will stay in your brain forever?

The problem is: Our brain cannot distinguish between good and bad habits. The good news is: You can!

You can deliberately destroy bad habits and form good ones, and benefit from them your whole life.

Our brain is an amazing construction, but as much as we are dependent on it, isn’t it marvelous how we can also influence it? If we form a new habit, we can build paths in our brains that will always remain there.

So this week, I want to encourage you to form a new habit. Start with the one you have always wanted to form: a daily workout, a writing routine, healthy food, getting up earlier.

To learn more about this amazing process, read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. But I want to lay out a simplified version for you.

There are three components to a habit:
1. Trigger
2. Routine
3. Reward

What most of us start and end with is the routine, but to form a sustainable habit, you need to start with a trigger first. It can be anything, ranging from a song you listen to every morning, to a hot lemon you drink or a chair you sit down into before you write. But make sure you never miss the trigger to ACTIVATE the habit loop. This makes it easier to plunge into the routine, without having to rethink whether you really want to this now.

Then, you follow a routine. The important thing about the routine is that you know in advance what you will be doing. Don’t go to the gym, clueless about what machine you want to start with. Don’t sit down to write without a plan of what you want to do today.

End with a reward. Never forget the reward. This signifies to the brain that the effort was worth the pain.
The reward can be anything, from a nice meal to a snack to a great feeling.

As I am doing intermittent fasting, I always have my tasty first meal and a coffee after the workout. After I have written a certain amount of words, I have lunch (lots of my rewards have to do with food, I admit).

So again, when forming a habit, think of those three components:

What habit do you want to start forming this week?
Let me know in the comments below!

I’ll start by going to bed in time, which is a hard one for me 😉


Those are the resources that will rock your week:

  1. Want to crush it in Medium? Here are 7 great ways how. I thought they were really surprising and interesting, and I intend to try them out.
  2. Check out JK Rowling’s 8 Rules of Writing. Rule One is amazin g, especially coming from her.
  3. Free courses at Reedsy – I’ve already subscribed and am excited to see what the content brings.
  4. Publishing strategies for fiction authors: here’s something like a case study that we all can benefit from “How a New Fiction Author Made $109,000 in 10 Months”.

Monday Inspiration: Fight the Winter Blues

As “Winter is coming”, it’s important to adjust your body and set your mind on the right track – preparation is key!

The sun is stepping back in the northern part of the world. The days get shorter, and it’s dark almost every day already – the depressing season is about to begin.

I understand why they say “Winter is coming” with dread in their shaky voices in GOT. I’m dreading winter as well. It’s the flu season, the cold and dark part of the year that seems to suck all of my creatives juices out.

But this year, I want to be prepared. As winter is coming unavoidably, I better be ready to fight off the monsters.

What do I like about winter?

Let’s think about all those things we love in the winter season. Christmas. The gifts, the music, the lights. Freshly baked cookies. Sitting at a chimney while it snows outside. Hot chocolate.

Try to incorporate those things into your winter preparation. Redecorate the house with indirect lights, candles or even fire, warm cozy blankets, and put on some cookie ingredients on your December grocery list. Think about those beautiful things, and look forward to them. Don’t mourn for summer or you will miss the beauty winter can bring!

As the sun is nowhere to be found when you wake up, make sure you have another light source.

Nothing is worse than waking up while it’s dark and cold. Be prepared to fight those two obstacles directly in the morning. Put a warm bathrobe next to your bed, and have a light source you can switch on immediately when the alarm sounds, or, ideally, get yourself a Wake-up Light.

If you have speakers close or maybe even an Echo, turn on motivational music that will help you get into a the creative mood, and drink something hot to get the body juices flowing.

Vitamin C, a scarf, workout and enough sleep are key to staying healthy.

To get through flu season, you need to start strengthening your immune system now. Drink Vitamin C every day, work out on a regular basis, dress according to the weather and make sure you get enough sleep! Take special care of your body during winter season as nothing is more destructive to your creative goals than lying in bed with a fever.

To get through flu season, you need to start strengthening your immune system now. Click To Tweet

Winter can be an amazing season if we adjust our body and mind to it. But many are often still caught in “summer mode”. Don’t let the dreadful winter zombies overrun you, but instead be prepared to face them and stay as creative as you were during the warm and sunny summer days.


Here are the resources that will rock your week:

Monday Inspiration: Lessons from Frankfurt Book Fair

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

 

Let’s start this week with some lessons I learned at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

There are tons of books out there.

And while this might read as a rather discouraging note, it all depends on the perspective. You could view those authors and books as rivals, but this is not a competition. Seeing the multitude of people coming to the book fair from all corners of the earth, I realized that there are enough readers for all of us. Our readers are out there, and they are looking for  new and exiting books. It’s like a harvest waiting to be reaped, and while you still have to stand out from the crowd and get the reader’s attention, your target audience is out there waiting for you.

Your target audience is out there waiting for you. Click To Tweet

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You need a Unique Selling Proposition.

Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, you should, by all means, refrain from writing a “me too” book. And while probably all the topics have been written about already, and you should be unafraid to pick up an oldie, you always need a unique twist, something nobody had ever done before with this topic, genre or type of story. For this, you have to know your niche and know the market you are writing for. You may think you have a new idea, but do your research to find out how new it really is, and if you might need another twist for it to become unique.

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Be a sponge. 

Absorb everything around you. Be curious. Be bold. Get your inspiration from literally everything you see, read or experience.

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The German Self-Publishing Market is way behind the English/American

Unfortunately, many trends arrive in Germany pretty late. The same goes for self-publishing. And while there are several companies and publishers who jump on the wagon now, everything is still very new and fresh. In fact, all the information discussed on the panels was so basic that I felt out of place – and I am a self-publishing newbie. So the places to go for better input and information are definitely conferences and summits in the English speaking market. 

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All in all, it has been an interesting experience.

The one thing I want you to take away for this week is: The market for creatives is HUGE. People are still thirsty for amazing stories, hungry for knowledge. And the fact that the self-publishing market grows around the world is amazing because it gives authors the platform to tell those stories. Never think that the market is exhausted already. In fact, the more people write, the more people read because writing prompts you to read more books! So really, all of us should start writing, right?

The market for creatives is HUGE. People are still thirsty for amazing stories, hungry for knowledge. Click To Tweet

Here are the resources that will rock your week:

 

 

Monday Inspiration: Business is Creative

This week is about an important mind shift that I am in the process of: Business is Creative!

Being an author-entrepreneur is actually more creative than being “just” an author – that is what I came to understand! At least for me, it’s such an amazing mind shift that it gets me excited. 

I always thought I just wanted to write. Create worlds, bring words on paper and move on to the next story. But now that I’ve submitted my manuscript to an editor, and am working on a marketing plan, I begin to understand how much I love the process of what lies beyond writing: learn marketing, decide about the cover and everything that will bring my book to the reader.

Of course, it’s easier to leave it to the pros, and move on. And not everybody is wired for marketing. But I always had the misconception that marketing has nothing to do with the creative process, while in truth, it’s an insanely creative task. Let me tell you why.

There is no formula for marketing

Like with any creative task, there is no math you can do, no formula you can follow to make it work. And this is what makes it so exciting!

There are principles in marketing like there are principles in storytelling, but you never know if they will truly work. You have to be creative, try things out, retry things, come up with new and fresh ideas. If everybody does something in marketing, it stops working. So the secret is coming up with something new and bold, and see if it succeeds.

Business is creative because you have to be innovative about it.

 

Your product is something you believe in

I believe that my book provides value to the reader. It’s not a scam, it’s a product that precedes years of work that come from the heart.

It would be hard to give creative control up now that I’ve come so far. I believe in the story, and I want to believe in the way I present my product as well.

I love creating my author website, having control over the cover and editing my book trailer. I love writing a business plan and coming up with ideas of how to present this book I truly believe in to the reader. Those things are important for me because they are part of the book and part of my body of work. And wouldn’t want to give up the creative control of it!

Business is a creative craft indeed if you are not chasing the fast money but building for the long-term. Click To Tweet

I truly discovered the love for entrepreneurship in the past weeks, and I want to inspire you to do the same. Build your own brand, your own body of work and the products you believe in. Business is a creative craft indeed if you are not chasing the fast money but building for the long-term. 


Here are the additional resources that will definitely rock your week:

  • If you are interested in languages at all, here’s an amazing graphic & article about how languages developed! Just loved the way it is presented and really shows unexpected insight.

 

Monday Inspiration: Fighting Doubt

This Monday is a somehow a rough one for me, so this week I want to provide inspiration for how to: fight doubt. 

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep.

But maybe it’s the simple tiredness of seeing everyone succeed, watching from the side line.

It brings back all the questions lurking on the inside: Am I even good enough? Will I ever succeed? Will anyone ever appreciate my creative work?

You know the drill.

When all the insecurities suddenly resurface, we just feel down, discouraged and tired.

You have two options now:

#1 Get all depressed and bathe in self-pity.

#2 Fight the feeling.

Now that you look at it spelled out, the choice seems fairly obvious. So why are most of us choosing the first option far too often?

We elaborate on those thoughts. We let them drive us. We enjoy the sad and sickening feeling inside our hearts, because option #1 is convenient. It doesn’t require conscious and hard action.

Tell yourself to stop now and consciously choose option number two, promise to choose number two always when those feelings return to you. And they will.

Here are two great strategies to fight the doubt:

#1 Hard work always pays off

If you are willing to put in the hard work, you will succeed sooner or later. Everybody who has not given up along the way, at a time when the road became the hardest, reaped the rewards.

Its just a universal law: You will reap what you sowed.

So the best strategy against doubt is standing up and starting to put in the hard work day by day, week by week. A seed sown into the ground is invisible first, and needs time to grow. But you will reap, because hard work always pays off.

 

#2 You will become the person you believe yourself to be

If you get up every morning, a perfectly healthy person, telling yourself that you have cancer, you will die of cancer one day.

This principle is works also vice versa: If you tell yourself every morning that you are healthy, creative and successful, you will become this person.

Business people do this all the time. They pin affirmations to their desks, they say it out loud every day: the vision of this person they want to become.

What is your vision of yourself? A person filled with doubt and fear? No?

Then stop thinking those thoughts and begin to make new ones. Because we have the privilege on deciding which thoughts we want to think. Those doubts only stop you from getting what you want. They are a serious obstacle.

Be the vision of you in your heart already, and you will be it to the outside world soon.


Here are the additional resources that will rock your week:

  • I had the absolute honor to guest post on the Creative Penn this week, and in my article, I’m writing about how we can train out “creator eye” to watch movies and TV in a way that will benefit our writing.
  • Speaking of mind shifts: here’s a great video which mostly relates to health and weight, but also to other areas of life. It inspired me to think differently about my life and pay attention to my beliefs.

Monday Inspiration: The finish line

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

This week is about: The finish line

“It’s not how you start the race or where you are during the race, it’s how you cross the FINISH LINE that will matter.”

– Robert D. Hales –

Loving the creative process is very important.

We have to enjoy the run, but there is no denying that a marathon is always difficult. It is hard on both body and mind. And no feeling in this world can compare to when you finally overcome the hardships and cross the finish line – it will literally change your life.

Runners also say: “The finish line is the beginning of a whole new race.” This is true for creatives as well. During the process, the marathon, you swear to yourself that this will be the last one. And if you give up now, this likely will be.

But as soon as you cross the finish line and send your creative product out into the world, you will be thinking about the next race, the next project. This feeling of accomplishment is addictive.

This week, I’m finishing my novel to submit it to my editor. This step is daunting for me, but at the same time exciting as my editor will be the first person to read this story. It’s not the finish line, but I feel I’m closer now.

I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the finish line. The end of the year is terrifyingly close, a time where we will be looking at the goals we achieved, or maybe did not. Keep your eyes on the finish line, even if it seems far away. If you keep them there, you will always reach it, no matter how long it will take or how hard it will be.

Look at what you want to achieve, see the finished product in front of you, see the deadline approaching, not with dread but with excitement that it will force you to take a step closer to the finish line. Crossing it will change your life, believe me.


In addition, here are the inspirational resources that will rock your week:

  • Last week, I wrote a blog post about the 10 steps that will lead you to a creative life, and thus to happiness, arguing the case for creativity and how it can change everyone’s life. The steps are practical and proven, and I will surely elaborate on them more in the future.
  • For all the bloggers out there, here’s an extremely valuable and inspiring podcast episode on evergreen content that prompted me to dozens of ideas for my own blog: 7 Types of Evergreen Content for Your Blog
  • I discovered the Sell More Books Show to be so helpful during the past weeks, so I really want to encourage all the writers to listen to the Podcast! The last two episodes were full of great news and ideas, including the importance and effect of book covers, video storytelling and creating a multiverse.
  • I loooove Christopher Nolan, and I think he is one of the most genius storytellers of our time! This is why I’m so excited that all of his screenplays are finally online, for us to read, to learn and to marvel. Here’s where you can download them.
  • Hugh Howey is one of the most successful indie writers, and he published an insanely helpful and insightful blog post series on becoming a writer – take some coffee and enjoy!
  • Some social media growth hacks in this blog post.
  • If you like futurist stuff and TV Series, I encourage you to watch Black Mirror. Every episode stands completely on its own and explores futurist ideas and issues to a maximum. If you’re writing sci-fi, or are just a fan, you have to watch this series. (Don’t be irritated by Season 1, Episode 1. It’s really disturbing, but the other episodes are great. If you want to, skip this one altogether).

Monday Inspiration: Priorities

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

This week is about: setting the right priorities.

I’m back from vacation, and my To-Do List is HUGE.

Monday starts, and I already feel overwhelmed.

Let me show you three steps of how to organize your week and set the right priorities.

1. Be clear about what you want to achieve and how

So, there are the tasks and there are the routines. Routines are highly important, as they will carry you towards your long-term creative goal. First and foremost, prioritize those routines in your daily schedule, no matter how tight. Leave it out only in absolute emergencies. Whether it’s workout or a writing routine, or anything else that you established as a lifestyle, put it first.

Then come your other tasks and projects.

Get a Programm to organize them and have your To-Do’s all at one glance.

I use Trello, which is free, and this is how my Trello Board looks like:

I have the first tab that says TODAY, and then I have several upcoming Calendar weeks where I can move my tasks from the themed tabs like OFFICE, BLOG, BUSINESS, JOBS aso.

You can organize your day in Trello however you like, I found this method especially helpful. But it’s important that you can have a look at your tasks at one glance.

 

2. Don’t put short term goals first

It’s always tempting to do the things that seem urgent now. But those won’t usually take you far.

To avoid the conundrum, put urgency and long-term usefulness on the same level of priority. So make sure you complete an urgent and pressing task today as well as one that will bring you closer to your creative goals but does not seem that urgent and important.

Don’t forget to also set goals for personal development (like reading a book), family (spending time with the spouse or parents), and also to stay spontaneous for fun time throughout the week!

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3. Take deliberate time to organize your day, week & month

It’s usually only 10-15 minutes a day, maybe 30 mins a week and a month, but it can make the world of a difference.

Before you rush off to the first task at the top of your head, sit down, look at your board for today and think it through in your head? Is it realistic? Do I have to put tasks back for tomorrow, and which do I do first? If it makes no difference, listen to your gut and feel free to pick the task you are most excited about.

Also, consider doing the more creative tasks in the morning, and the more analytic tasks in the afternoon, because in the morning your conscious mind is less active.

 

Hopefully, this helped you to stay focused this week and organize your tasks and priorities.


In addition, here are your weekly inspirational resources that will rock your week:

  1. Two new episodes of my all time favorite podcast: The Creative Penn.
    Mastering Amazon Ads With Brian D. Meeks
    Stop Worrying, Start Writing. How to Overcome Fear and Self-Doubt with Sarah Painter
  2. Is Facebook dead? Here’s a great Podcast for 5 actionable tips to get better Facebook results from ProBlogger.
  3. After having finished the last Game of Thrones season, I picked up a great printed edition of the first book at Oxford and I have to say: I love this book! Even if you’re not a fan of the TV series, you definitely need to check out the book. So much there to learn for writers!
  4. I’ve been traveling during the last two weeks, and I tried to stay offline, so I don’t have much more for you guys except for: Put Oxford on your bucket list and visit the Bodleian Library and the Blackwell’s book shop! Honestly, I wished I could have stayed there longer and just write, and read, and write, and read …

Monday Inspiration: disconnect

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

I am currently on vacation, so this week is all about: disconnecting.

I am a person who needs to learn that, I think we all are, especially now, where everybody expects us to be available all the time.

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Disconnect this week from:

1. the internet
This is so amazing! Resist the urge to check Whatsapp or see if anyone commented on Facebook. Just be there, and let your phone be somewhere else.
Actually, I’ll recommend to set aside a time a day where you connect and check social media, and stay disconnected for the rest of the day.

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2. work
This one is very tough, especially for creatives and freelancers. Our “creating” brain is always on, always pondering about our businesses, our work, our projects. Even if we are doing something else, our mind is mostly focused on work. Try to let go, say, after the 6 p.m. Set yourself a time where work day is over for you, and MEAN IT.

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3. other’s and your own expectations
But be aware of the expectations that pressure you throughout the day, and let on of them ON PURPOSE. Instead, focus on the life you want to lead and allow yourself mistakes on the way. Nobody’s perfect.

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Focus this week on “disconnecting” from those three things, and you’ll see how you will gain a new freedom in your everyday life.


In addition, here are your weekly inspirational resources that will rock your week:

Monday Inspiration: Do uncomfortable things

Happy Monday, Story Artists!

This week is about: doing the uncomfortable 

Yesterday inspired me and challenged me to do things that are uncomfortable because they bring real rewards.

Let old friendships catch a new flame by the power of forgiveness and insight. Speak about things long forgotten and pushed to the back of your mind. You may deny it, by they still nag at you. Once those words of apology are spoken aloud, admitted, brought to the other person’s heart, power is unleashed.

Take on more responsibilities that will form your character and help you serve people. We always want to know where our path is taking us. But we need to take it step by step, day by day. There are responsibilities that scare us, but if you accept them and do your best, you can serve the people around you. Some paths may be scary. Some might be difficult. But you need to take them to form yourself into a person you want to be. Because as you look back, you will discover that wonders happened once you were ready to serve.

Love people who are unable or unwilling to do it in return. Challange yourself to unconditional love this week. This means becoming vulnerable, but at the same time experiencing a freedom that your love and your actions are not based on what you get in return. You just love. And what freedom there is in love!

Challenge yourself this week to speak the truth, open your heart and do new things. Because this uncomfortable path is full of wonders, mysteries, and discoveries. Adventure awaits.


In addition, here are your weekly inspirational resources that will rock your week:

Let me know your thoughts, inspirations & goals for the coming week in the comments section. Looking forward to it!

 

Live your story.

Diana