13 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Funk

13 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Funk

Writer’s Block.

Oh yeah. I’ve been there.

Endless hours spent staring at blinking cursors, or guilting yourself because you should be writing. I once spent an entire day listing everything I needed to do, only to not get myself moving on it because of a writing funk. I had to do something else, to try to get out of that writing funk naturally, so every time I started to feel that fogginess, I tried a couple of different things.

Let’s see how they work for you.

 

Exercise

It’ll clear your mind.

Dance.

Step away from your computer or notebook and do a few push ups, or take in a bit of yoga.

Exercise gets the blood flowing in your body and kicks the fog out of your head, like a great gust of clean air.

If you’re feeling frustrated then stand up and get moving. Pump up the tunes, take a walk or jump on the treadmill.

There are a million different things you can do, but I guarantee you that after you feel your heart racing from that awesome workout, the clarity you’ll have will be amazing.

My Choice: I love yoga, but I’m not afraid to jump on the elliptical for 10 minutes or take a walk outside. It clears my mind and I get some fresh air. Just do it.

Meditate

I stand by this 100%. I saw amazing results – clarity, contentment, awareness, joy, less drama, less worrying about crap that didn’t matter, self-reflection skills, and much more – after 4 months of studying this technique and partaking every day.

My Choice: Insight Timer is a great app that has hundreds of meditations to choose from. Take a 5 minute break and clear your mind. You can also find me on there and we can do this together.

Put your writing away

I always put my writing away once I write the first draft. Stepping away for a few hours, days or even weeks can help. That crappy first version seems like it’s someone else’s work once I take it back out for Round #2 for some major edits.

My Choice: I’ll finish writing something then put it away for 2 weeks. During that time, I’ll step away – only writing in my daily journal – then come back to it and give it another go around. 2 weeks might be too long for you. Try a day and look at your work again.

 

Write outside your normal spot

Especially if it’s your house.

Writing in the same spot isn’t always best. I read advice all the time about how a writing routine is what you need to succeed, but that’s not necessarily true. Everyone is different, but even if your place to write is in your office or outside on your porch, it’s always good to try new things.

Try going to the library, the park, a coffee shop. Change it up and ideas might come to you that you never even knew you had.

My Choice: I love a good coffee shop. Cliche, I know. My favorite places have a variety of coffee, beer or wine, along with food. I have no choice but to stay there and knock out my writing because there’s no excuse to leave.

I can’t stand routine, so my “non-routine” routine helps a bit.

 

Get off the computer/cellphone

Most distracting thing ever.

I write all my outlines plus some basic content by hand before typing them up and adding more information to each part. I don’t want the internet to distract me because I know it’s going to happen. Remove those temptations.

My Choice: Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and set it face down, with the ringer off. You don’t need it when you’re writing. Don’t use your computer unless you have to. I always warm up with writing by hand, and get the unfiltered first thoughts out. You don’t need a computer until you get into the nitty-gritty.

Try a TV/video cleanse

I’ve done this a few times and I love it. The first time was a full 7-Day TV detox, which meant no TV, Netflix, Youtube, Amazon – nothing. For a whole week I was only allowed to listen to music or do things that didn’t involve video. It was BRUTAL, but it made me get shit done.

Pro Tip: Try detoxing on the thing that’s distracting you. I’m serious. Cut it out for 7 days and see how strong your willpower is. For the first few days, TV show scenes from 10 years ago were popping in my head, and I really wanted to watch them. The middle was better and by the end I had everything done. I just wanted to watch TV because I actually wanted to, not because I’d been procrastinating on other things. It wasn’t compulsive anymore.

Give it a shot. Tell me how it goes.

Take a trip – a change of scenery

It doesn’t have to cost a lot or take too much time. I took a road trip an hour away and ended up loving it. A change in your weekly routine can open your mind up to new ideas.

Try a cheap trip or take a weekend somewhere you want to go. It’s not expensive if you do it right. Going to NYC for my birthday in 2016 got me out of my head and opened my mind to new ideas.

I got out of being stuck, and you can, too.

Pro Tip: Make it as awesome as you want it, but don’t let fear hold you back. It’s just money. You can make it again. It’s only a plane ride that’s over pretty quick. Take a leap and let your writing flow from your experiences.

Meet up with writers

I’m not the best when it comes to social situations, but meeting up with other writers can definitely light the spark.

Whether we admit it or not, we like to talk about our ideas and get feedback on them. It’s scary, but we want that response to see if we should even pursue it. When I went to a meetup in Nashville, I met some great writers (and some not so great writers/people). I saw their successes, their ideas, their drive, and it made me want to write more.

Pro Tip: Find a meetup in your area or get together with some creative friends. It doesn’t have to only be writers. I get together with graphic designer friends of mine and their sheer presence gives me energy on my projects. Just be careful that you’re not surrounding yourself with people with negative vibes.

 

Talk about your writing to people

They might inspire you.

It might not be your friends or your family. It could be an old friend or cousin that sparks your flame.

When I went to NYC, I met up with my long-lost aunt, and my mom’s childhood friend. They didn’t know much about me, so talking to them about my writing over drinks was fantastic. It inspired me to take a chance and look at publications in NYC.

Pro Tip: List some old friends that you might want to talk to again. Maybe you have a cousin or aunt that you know you can talk to without judgement. Tell them about your stories and see what they say. They might have ideas of how to get published, continue your story or just words of inspiration.

Try freewriting

I write everyday in a crappy, bright orange, Mead Five Star notebook that sits by my bed. Every night before bed, I just write. Freewriting opens the mind and basically brain dumps any ideas you have. If you feel funky and literally nothing is coming to you, then write that down. Keep your hand moving, and eventually your brain will get with the picture. Your muscles will remember to write, even when your brain is getting in the way.

Pro Tip: Take 5 minutes and write anything that comes into your mind. Put a timer on it if you have to, but just do it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away and free write anything on your mind. Maybe something’s bothering you or the idea you have isn’t connecting the way you want. Freewriting can help

Write about something new

Let your curiosity carry you

I have a lot of big novel ideas. Romance stories, mysteries and short story pieces, but sometimes my brain just won’t work and I need some fresh blood.

Are you curious about something? Coffee? Gardening? Aliens?

Write about it.

Even if it’s just research, writing about it can open your mind to new story ideas. Your character can explore that idea in their storyline.

Pro Tip: List 25+ things you’re curious about. Now take one of those and list 10+ questions you have about it. Now write about it. Research if you have to, but don’t get distracted. You can write fiction about that subject, where you describe its origin or a story about how coffee was actually created by the government to control the masses.

Just go with it. Keep all the ideas you have, even if they seem crazy.

 

Learn a new subject

When I wanted to learn about dragons, I took time to research them. I explored literature, legends connected to them, and traits that are commonly found in stories. When I wanted to know how creativity worked, I studied articles, listened to podcasts and brought my own questions to the game.

Pro Tip: What interests you? When your mind gets a workout, it begs for more, just like your body. It might get tired, but that’s just a sign to keep going, while taking care of yourself. List a few things that you want to learn about, but never got a chance to, and take the next two weeks to learn about it.

This interest might spark your writing career or the next novel idea you have.

 

Read

Then write your thoughts about specific parts of the book. I mark the sentences or sections in a book that interest me with a tiny post it note so I can refer to it later and write my thoughts on it. This usually happens more in nonfiction, rather than fiction books, but it could work for both.

Any writer you ask will tell you that if you want to find success in writing then you need to read. It’s our fuel. Reading is a pleasurable act for me and a mode of research. Even though I enjoy the fiction and nonfiction books I read – with no expectations placed on them to rock my world – I still take notes. I recommend you do the same.

Pro Tip: Use mini post-it note tabs to mark a sentence or spot you find interesting in the book. Use post-it notes to write your ideas and save that page. Later, go back and explore those thoughts in your journal. I have a business journal for the books that spark ideas for my business or I’ll write the ideas down in my personal journal.

Give it a shot and see what happens.


 

Hopefully these options can pull you out of your writing funk. I know how much it sucks, which is why I’m a big fan of these tricks. I also have another blog post you can read with some of my favorite writing exercises if you’re feeling frustrated.

Try them out, even if your mind is telling you not to, then come back and tell me how it went.

What do you do to get out of a writing funk? Leave me a comment below.

13 Ways to Get Past Writer's Block - Find the Freedom Writing Tips

 

6 Easy Ways to Build Your Writing Portfolio

6 Easy Ways to Build Your Writing Portfolio

Build your writing portfolio. It’s something no one told me in the beginning, which is why I’m tell you now. Spend time on this task because it’ll be the difference between you getting a job or client, and not.

A portfolio is the single most important thing a writer can have in their career – and I didn’t have one.

It’s not difficult to build a writing portfolio.

When I first started writing seriously I scoured the internet, and printed off a million places I could submit to, but I rarely ever did. I didn’t realize that there were a lot of different ways I could publish my writing and build my portfolio.

Don’t waste time wondering. Start with the easiest things that are actionable.

Here are 6 ways you can strengthen your writing portfolio today.

 

Publish on LinkedIn

Did you know you could? A lot of folks don’t.

Publishing on LinkedIn is a great way for potential publications or clients to find your work, regardless if you want a blog or not. Repost your blogs with a link back to your site or publish articles that will attract potential clients. If someone you’re hoping to nab as a client is a tech company then publish articles about how tech companies can better sell their products.

I have a few of my blog posts on LinkedIn, which you also read here on my site.

Clients as well as readers can find you on LinkedIn, but make sure to post your best content there. That way your writing portfolio can be visible to any potential clients or jobs. A lot of people think that you should hoard your good writing for your website, but it’s easier to see it if it’s posted on other trusted sites – like guest posts – and you pull in readers by linking back to your site.

All you have to do is go to your LinkedIn profile, and click the button right below your name and picture that says to write an article.

 

Guest Post

Guest posting is a great way to connect with other writers, capture emails for your personal use, and get your work out there to other audiences.

Find people in your niche, or a similar field to pitch to.

When you pitch, don’t lie and say you’re a big fan of so and so blog post, but really you’ve never read any of their work. It’s insulting and definitely will not get you published. Read their sites, share their work and build a relationship before you pitch.

Also, the actual email pitch should include how your writing will benefit their readers – because this isn’t about you. It’s about how you can help their audience.

Building your writing portfolio like this opens your readership as well because someone else’s site already has an audience and you’re putting your work in front of them.

 

Start an Email Newsletter

It’s as easy as setting up a page and collecting emails.

You send out your work privately – like Colin Wright does – and get loyal readers in the process. Promote it on social and through your friends by simply sharing the link and talking about what they’ll read.

Giving out sneak peeks and helpful tips on social can help draw your readers to you. Another way to promote this would be to write for others, and make sure the link to sign up for your newsletter is included in the work they publish for you.

You can add this to your writing portfolio by simply stating that you run a successful newsletter with # number of subscribers, and include some image captures if you prefer.

 

Blog/Submit for Free

I cringe as I’m writing this, but sometimes blogging for free is okay.

**Cringe** **Double Cringe**

It sucks. I hate it, but sometimes it’s okay to write for free when you’re starting.

To. A. Point.

There’s a difference between beefing up your portfolio and bleeding yourself dry. Be weary.

I wrote for a travel blog and a travel magazine during college, as an “internship” without credit when I studied abroad. It was fun, added to my portfolio, and I got “published.” There was also an online publication called Creative Control Mag, which is focused around music, which I wrote for without pay.

There are several others, but the reason I didn’t mind not getting paid was because I was a novice. I wanted to strengthen my writing portfolio and see if I enjoyed writing about the subjects. It also helped cultivate great relationships, which is something you need to get anywhere in life.

Don’t let that go on forever, though.

Your writing deserves payment, so if you’ve been submitting to a publication for 6 months… it’s time to ask for more.

 

Start a Blog | Showcase Your Writing Portfolio, too

Hold up. Don’t click off yet.

Creating your own website doesn’t have to be this huge thing, filled with a million to-do lists and things you hate.

Blogging gets a bad rap because the thought is, “That’s one more thing I have to write…”

Not. True.

Technically yes, but it’s actually not ANOTHER thing to add to your list.

Think about it this way – It’s another way to talk about things you love.

That’s all. Doesn’t sound so scary. You can talk about things you love, right? This distinction drastically changed the way I thought about blogging.

Another option for a blog is for you to also publish your work on your site. Short stories, snippets, poetry – the site is yours so make it what you will.

Blogging is a lot like self-publishing. Take advantage of that freedom.

I use Bluehost and wordpress.

 

Submit to Publications/Contests

There are plenty of sites and contests that take novice writers – and when I say novice, I mean not yet published.

Do you have a site you read a lot, like Buzzfeed or anything in your niche? They almost always have a contact or write for us page. Pay attention to what they’re looking for, and read the directions on how to submit. You can write for fellow bloggers, magazines, and journals to get your name out there.

Writing contests are also a great way to put your work out there, and get feedback. Google “writing contests” and you’ll get a lot of options to choose from. I found some at Poets&Writers and a few other sites.

 


None of these options have to cost YOU money. You might even make some along the way, but don’t let your writing be controlled by that. I got lost because I put pressure on my writing to make me money. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

The last thing – take action. Seriously. You can hunt for a million different ways to publish, but never actually do it. It’s easy to get lost in research and never take the leap. That’s what I want you to do now…

Take Action:

I want you to do this TODAY. List 5 different places you can publish, and submit at least one thing. If it’s LinkedIn, publish your work. If you’re pitching a guest post, then read what they’re looking for and start building that relationship. Start your blog, publish on social – just do something that gets your work out there.

Writing Tips from The Vampire Diaries

Writing Tips from The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries is a fantastic show with excellent character development and pacing. Even if you hate vampires – thanks for that Twilight – and don’t want another vampire show, this show is still a great tool for your writing.

This might be something you’re aware of already, but there are some definite feelings when you’ve spent years investing yourself in a story and it ends. There’s some bad moments, some you didn’t care for, and others you cherished. What makes a story worth experiencing is what you learn from it.

With the beloved series coming to an end, I thought I’d go over some things it did and didn’t do well in its storytelling.

Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of The Vampire Diaries. I think the first season was pretty corny, they grew into the story through season 4, then it all went downhill from there. I’ll get into why later and show you some awesome writing tips, but let me first say that I did like season 5 and 6, and after that the story went horribly, in my opinion.

Everyone has different opinions and we might clash on this. All I ask is that you have an open mind. Discuss ideas and make a healthy contribution to this idea. Now let’s get started.

As Doctor Who’s River Song would say…

Spoilers….

What The Vampire Diaries Story Did Well

We focus too much on the negative in our society, so let’s go over some of the good shit.

The Vampire Diaries has great content, excellent writing and a huge fan base. As writers we need to look at the storytelling technique, rather than just the fact that we L-O-V-E-D this show.

Let’s start with a few things that the show did well in its storytelling.

Epic Moments

The Vampire Diaries had a lot of epic moments – both big and small.

– Elena and Damon kissing at the motel in Colorado.
– Bonnie and Damon “dying” as they enter the prison world at the end of season 5.
– Klaus and Caroline – all moments they had because seriously, that chemistry.

There were epic mini scenes that took up space in our hearts such as:

– Stefan kissing Elena after she said she loved him in season 1.
– Klaus ripping out hearts and throwing rolled up newspapers through the Gilbert’s window.
– Caroline kicking Mason’s ass as a baby vamp.
– Liz accepting Caroline as a vampire twice.
– Liz pointing a gun at Caroline’s father, Bill, when he held Caroline captive.

There were a lot more, I know. What’s great about these moments is that they’re minor in the storyline, but they make us love the characters. They keep us coming back for more.


Storytelling Tip: Use epic moments to your advantage.

I know you have some. They’re the ones that stick out in your head, that you relive over and over again. They’re the fanfiction stories you want to write, the movie scenes you wish you saw that play over in your mind. Build it up. Don’t go throwing epic moments around like confetti. Spread them through your story and make sure they aren’t every five seconds.


Tension

You never quite knew what was going to happen as a viewer.  People died left and right, Damon was going around ripping throats out or snapping Alaric’s and Jeremy’s necks, and the whole brother vs. brother thing played out quite nicely.

Tension provides proper pacing in story.

There was always a moment where the reader didn’t quite know what was going to happen before the big action (otherwise known as the purpose of that scene) or when the episode cuts to another scene. There’s tension – even in a split second – where we don’t know what’s coming, but we keep moving forward in the story.

Every episode has multiple things going wrong with several characters involved – and the circumstances just keep getting worse.

– Season 3 episode 5, “The Reckoning” – Klaus traps the gang in the school on Senior Prank Night in an effort to figure out his hybrid issue. It starts with Klaus taking Elena, threatening lives, and Stefan waking up and turning against Klaus for Elena. Tensions rise when Rebekah gets involved, kidnapping Tyler. Then Matt and Bonnie get involved. Stefan has a countdown timer put on him for the rest of group to figure out how to make Tyler a hybrid or he kills Elena.

You can see how the story keeps getting worse for the characters. It had excellent pacing, always keeping you on your feet, and several factors making it worse.

Tension keeps your readers involved with the characters. The Vampire Diaries writers executed this pivotal part of storytelling in nearly every episode. It was part of their style.


Storytelling Tip: Use tension between your characters to move your story forward. How do you do that? Don’t let your characters or your story be predictable, for one. Damon was somewhat predictable because he lashed out, but you never knew what would make him snap, until you looked back on the previous behavior.

Good tension comes from characters with different goals that are important to them. Keep adding on the bad elements to raise the stakes, and always have more than one thing adding tension to the situation.

Extra Tip: Epic moments and tension should play hand in hand with one another.


Relationships

They make your story. How your characters interact is pivotal, so simply writing about how your two main characters are making dinner won’t cut it. The characters in The Vampire Diaries were loved and hated simultaneously, and they went through things that we as human beings can relate to.

Let’s look at a few –

Elena and Stefan: Love interest, torn apart multiple times, and sometimes on opposite sides of the struggle, especially post-Damon/Elena get together in season 4. This relationship worked because you saw Stefan struggle with his humanity, while Elena tried to keep him that way.

Elena and Damon: This relationship had more tension than most in the show. From being acquaintances, to opposite sides of the struggle, then friends, then lovers. There was always Elena’s relationship with Stefan pulling them apart, and even after they got together, their choices had an impact on their relationship, too.

Damon and Stefan: These brothers go from a love to hate relationships faster than you can take a breath. They add tension to the story, epic moments of brotherly love and betrayal. That bond that lasted, despite a promise of eternal misery, caused the viewers to cheer them on in their bromance moments.

Klaus and Caroline: Fans broke the internet over a phone call because writers knew how to tease well. Over season 3 and 4, the Klaroline storyline was sprinkled into the show, giving viewers a taste of them. When the Originals left at the end of season 4, the crossovers hit record high numbers because of these characters. This relationship had opposing forces in the storylines pulling them apart – Klaus being the bad guy and Caroline’s loyalty to her friends – but they were still attracted to one another. It helped the fans think about bad behavior of the characters as something we all partake in, and forgiveness is possible.

The Mikaelsons: We see a dysfunctional family dynamic that is chock full of constant betrayal and secrecy, but we also see a bond that is tested and lasted centuries. This relationship between siblings (and their parents) showed us the humanity in the monsters. It worked well because despite their “always and forever” bond, we constantly saw conflict pull them apart. At any point in The Vampire Diaries or The Originals you didn’t know which side each of them would be on.

Liz and Caroline: The lack of a mother-daughter bond in the first season morphed into a healthy relationship throughout the series. We saw a teenager and her mother unable to connect with her, then a baby vampire figuring out her place in her new world while her mother hunted her kind. We witnessed her mother understand vampirism for her daughter twice, then eventually accept her completely and protect her from the council that she was once a part of. When Liz died of cancer, we felt that loss for Caroline, and it stuck with us.

These are obviously not all the relationships in the series, but they’re a few notable ones. The relationships work because we see turmoil. They fight, cry, work side-by-side and fight again from episode to episode. We see loyalty, betrayal and love from all types of relationships. We see our characters challenge each other, force the other to come to term with something and grow.

Relationships in this story are well written because as the viewer we can put ourselves in their place.


Storytelling Tip: Write down the relationships your character has, then figure out how you want the relationships to begin and progress. What do they bring to the progression of the story overall, and the development of each other’s character. If you want to add tension between them, ask “what would cause conflict between these characters?”

Your characters can’t always be on the same side, even if they’re mother and daughter, or best friends. Sometimes they need pulling apart to help them find their way separately and grow.


Murphy’s Luck

What can go wrong will go wrong. It’s what keeps stories from burning out.

In nearly every episode of The Vampire Diaries the characters had a mini-problem. They thought they could kick ass, then ended up failing.

Some examples are:

When they thought Mikael was going to kill Klaus, but he ended up killing Mikael instead in season 3.

– When Damon realized that Katherine was pretending to be Elena in the season 1 finale/season 2 opening. – Then she caused a rift between the brothers immediately, and killed Caroline, declaring war and turning her into a vampire.
– The gang goes to the island in Nova Scotia for the cure and there’s a mess of bad occurrences – the natives on the island, the hunters, Silas appearing, Katherine killing Jeremy, the cure disappearing, plus conflict inside the group caused multiple bad things to happen in the story.
– Klaus kidnapping and killing Jenna, Elena dying, Elijah betraying the group, Klaus escaping, and all their work did nothing.

These moments make you love and hate characters. Apply this type of luck to your characters and your story will thrive because your characters can’t always live happily ever after. They can’t always win. It’s not plausible.


Storytelling Tip: Make a list of some of the worst possible things you could do to someone in your character’s situation. Now make it happen to them. I know how much it sucks to kick your character while they’re down, but it needs to happen. It makes them stronger, and helps them develop.


New take on an old story

Vampires, werewolves, and witches are everywhere, but the way The Vampire Diaries and The Originals developed their mythical creatures is different from any others I’ve seen. Unlike Buffy (which I love by the way), which makes the vampires become soulless killing machines automatically, vampires in The Vampire Diaries have an on/off switch for their emotions. They’re still people, but when the heightened emotions become too much, they can turn off their humanity.

Vampires are sort of like a different species – the prey that became the predator after their transition period post-death. They have veins crawling up their face when they’re hungry or angry, and compulsion abilities to control the mind. The best part is that you get to learn where the vampire species came from – and it’s a story about family. It’s not some demon from Hell or a pact with the devil.

Witches in the series practice magic in connection with spirits, or their ancestors, which gives them more power.

And it kind of sucks being a werewolf. It’s a curse that breaks every bone in your body when you turn, and they’re weak when they’re human.

Hybrids, magic siphoners, ancient immortals, sirens – their versions are much different from the shows that came before them.

Basically, putting a new spin on an old legend can work.


Storytelling Tip: Develop your story with a new take, even if you think it’s all been done before. The Vampire Diaries is about vampires, witches and werewolves, but it’s also about friendship, love and family. Write down all the crazy ideas you have regarding your main ideas.

Their hair is white. Their skin turns colors. They can fly. Write it all down, then look at it later when you try to work it into your story. It might be crazy, but so is sparkling vampires.


Character Deaths

You never knew who was going to die and Julie Plec was not afraid to kill someone off. That’s part of what made the series great in the beginning. No one was safe.

Unfortunately this tapered off into something else I’ll go more into below, which caused the story to lose points – Resurrections.

Character deaths meant something in the story though. Vicki’s death in season one spun into several storylines until the end of the series. Kol’s death in season four not only strained the Mikaelson’s story in The Vampire Diaries, but also started several storylines in The Originals. Bonnie’s first death completely changed her character’s development from a witch, to ghost, to anchor, to witch without magic.

Characters must have a purpose in your story, which means if they die, it has to serve a purpose, too.


Storytelling Tip: Write a death that’s meaningful, if you must at all. Think about how the character’s death will move your story forward. Will it affect the characters connected to them? If so, how? This is how you make deaths meaningful.

Liz Forbes, Caroline’s mother, dies in season six. Her death was a catalyst for Caroline’s character to do one thing you thought she never would – flip her humanity switch and start killing people. This pushed her character forward and made her become everything she didn’t want, only to claw her way back.

Can the death force your character to become what they hate most and try to make up for it later? Can it cause them to change for the better?


What The Vampire Diaries Story Didn’t Do Well

There’s a downside to every story. You can’t get past it because if you have hardcore fans, they’re going to see it. There are critics everywhere. That doesn’t mean your writing requires perfection. But there are a few things you can do to avoid these issues.

The Vampire Diaries wasn’t perfect, so to dissuade your idea that you must have perfection to publish, let’s go over the bad parts, too. Hopefully you can learn from them, like I did.

Fall Back Conflict: Elena-saving

Their fallback conflict throughout the show was to save Elena, because somehow that girl ALWAYS got into trouble. From human, to vampire, to human again, then put in a mystical coma and being carted around in a coffin. Somehow she always got in trouble. Even after Nina Dobrev left the show, they kept putting the coffin that held Elena Gilbert in danger, during her stint in a magical coma.

When she was human, it was easier. Being human in seasons 1-3 meant she was fragile, so the bad guys used her to their advantage from kidnapping to actually killing her. When she turned into a vampire she had as much strength and skill as everyone else around her, yet the story still revolved around saving her.

– Finding the cure to vampirism.
– Turning her humanity off and everyone trying to turn it back on.
– Getting taken by the Augustine Society, and The Travelers.
– Getting kidnapped by Kai, and Klaus.
– Dealing with Damon’s death, and turning off her memories.

The writers of The Vampire Diaries fell back on it more than they should’ve.


Storytelling Tip: Don’t depend on one character to cause all the problems or be the reason the problems all happen. Storytelling needs multiple factors making it worse, and no fallback because you ran out of ideas. It doesn’t help your story or your character.

Look at your Murphy’s Luck list and create situations out of that. Spread them around to your characters.


Falling back on one character to save everyone

Case in point: Bonnie Bennett

Daylight rings, locator spells, fight Klaus, try to turn Elena back to human before she fully transitions, bring Jeremy back, fight Silas… and the list continues.

It’s great if your character is powerful and kickass, but the character shouldn’t only exist for that purpose. Their existence in the story needs to have a larger meaning, and sometimes they need to push back on being the savior. Bonnie did this sometimes, but multiple characters repeatedly let it be okay that she sacrificed everything for her friends.


Storytelling Tip: If you have someone in your story that’s the fallback savior, then why not make them on the opposite side? In The Vampire Diaries Bonnie was part of the inner circle, but what if she’d been out for herself? Or wasn’t on any side and created some I.O.Us for all the favors she did?

What if her bloodline was obligated to help the Originals instead, but she was on Elena’s side? Talk about tension and character building.


Forcing characters together

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you need to. We tend to get this idea in our head that as writers we can do whatever we want because we control the story. That’s true. We do control it, but the sheer fact that you can do something doesn’t mean it’ll help your story, so be humble about it.  

Here are some relationships that either damaged the story or did nothing:

Liv and Tyler: Their short-lived relationship didn’t do much to add to the story, except give Tyler a purpose that disappeared in the show a long time ago.

Stefan and Caroline: Their relationship started out as friendship, which brought a fantastic platonic bond to the show. The writers demolished that unique relationship in favor of a chemistry-less romance that actually pulled their characters back in their growth.

Stefan and Valerie: This storyline was haphazardly thrown into the post-Elena departure. The relationship added tension between Caroline and Stefan, but it didn’t add much value to the story, and Valerie’s character disappeared at the end of the season.

Elena and Aaron & Elena and Liam: I’m combining these two because their purpose was to add tension to Damon and Elena’s relationship once Stefan couldn’t anymore. They were short-lived, lacked storyline progression, and honestly wouldn’t have made much difference to the story if they’d been taken out.

Alaric and Meredith: Although I liked Meredith and she played a part in season 3 and 4, the fact that her character disappeared quickly convinced me that she was a filler character/relationship. Her character’s main purpose was to administer blood to Elena and unknowingly  turn her into a vampire for the next few seasons. This gave her character a purpose, but she and Alaric together had no purpose for story progression.

Alaric and Caroline: I didn’t have much love for this relationship in a romantic way. In my opinion, it was kind of odd. As a storytelling catalyst, the only thing it really did was keep Stefan and Caroline apart. Their friendship was much better. Candice King’s pregnancy caused a shift in story, but honestly the writers didn’t have to use that in the story. There are ways around it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Gemini twins and Caroline’s mothering instinct, but it was one of those random storylines.


Storytelling Tip: Does this character collaboration make sense? Does it move the story forward in a big way? Does it challenge the character’s beliefs in some way?

The best relationships challenge your characters, which is why Damon and Elena, Klaus and Caroline, and Bonnie and Enzo worked. It’s why the friendship between Bonnie and Damon and the one between Stefan and Caroline were so big in the eyes of the fans. Don’t put characters together just to piss off fans and don’t make the relationship last longer just for minor tensions in the story.


Resurrections

When you keep bringing characters back to life, death is meaningless.

The Vampire Diaries gave us a lot of deaths – and I mean a frickin lot – and as someone who loves to see people come back, I say this with the best intentions –

You cannot repeatedly bring people back and expect people to still think your story is good. Why? Because death has to have meaning, otherwise we’ll ask “what was the point of that?”

Let’s go over a few:

Alaric – His death at the end of season 3 had big meaning. It was painful and pushed Elena into her vampire phase, but when they brought him back, it was less epic. We felt the pain of the gang when he died. Don’t get me wrong, I love his character and am glad he was back, but by the time he came back the fans were like “oh, so you’re bringing back ANOTHER character. Great. Can’t anyone stay dead?”

Bonnie – over and over again. I’m not even going to go into that. When they fell back on Elena-saving, the writers also fell back on Bonnie-dying. Hell, they made Bonnie the reason Elena was stuck in a magical coma, and she had to die for Elena to come back. Her deaths became meaningless because all the fans knew that eventually she’d come back.

Damon – He had a lot of close calls, eventually dying in the season 5 finale… then he came back. Again. Season 8 turned him into a soul collector for the Devil (Cade) and he died over and over again.

Stefan – Stefan died in season 5, then came back. He also joined Damon as a soul collector for Cade, dying over and over, but coming back.

Death became meaningless in this show where death was everywhere.


Storytelling Tip: If you’re going to bring someone back, make it mean something, give them a good story and stop killing them, just for dramatic effect.


Not providing closure

In the first season of The Vampire Diaries Damon and Caroline got together. Some less than savory things happened to her – including vampire abuse – and the writers never really closed that chapter. One thing that irked me most about The Vampire Diaries is that they didn’t address this at all. 

Caroline becomes a vampire in the season 2 opening, remembering everything that Damon did to her, but they never mentioned it after that. I have to say this was a big miss for the writers – especially considering her best friend (Elena) quickly forgave Damon, Stefan ignored it, her mother became best friends with him, and no one lifted a finger to help. Even if it was only an acknowledgement or an apology, that would’ve helped. An apology wasn’t common with Damon’s character, but they did let it happen with another character, Alaric. They probably wanted to move on from that storyline, but a bit of closure can go a long way with readers, even if it’s just an apology. Providing a small bit of closure addressing that specific issue is something to keep in mind.


Storytelling Tip: Pay attention to your character storylines. If two character hate each other, then are cool a second later, then your story won’t survive unless you show that catalyst. Write the hard conversations. Your fans will thank you for it and your storyline will be better.


Changing the Roots

Once you start a story, you can’t change the roots of it.

The Vampire Diaries did it twice.

It makes the story seem unstable, like the writer didn’t know what to do once the writing foundation was gone.

Once – when the Mikaelsons left to the spin-off The Originals.

Twice – when Nina Dobrev left the show.

When you do this, your story starts to not make sense anymore and your audience will notice. The entire show was based around the idea of Elena Gilbert as the Doppelganger, a weird link to Katherine Pierce, and the two brothers that loved the same women. But that’s only the first layer of the story. As the show goes on, you see that the Katherine Pierce storyline – including her time in Mystic Falls and turning the Salvatore brothers – rooted directly into the Original’s story. In fact, The Vampire Diaries couldn’t exist without the Originals. (Which we saw after they left, in my opinion).

This lead to random storylines like The Heretics, Valerie and Stefan, Cade and Hell, the Armory.

It was all cohesive until The Originals left. I can even include the 5th season, which included Silas, since that storyline opened in season 4.

The show was spun into this story about brothers when Nina Dobrev left. They said that was the story from the beginning, but Elena’s storyline was the main one, and that’s how they spun it to us in the beginning. You can’t just change that. It’s ingrained in your fans. What if Harry Potter wasn’t in the Order of the Phoenix novel? And JK Rowling said that the story was actually about Voldemort or Ron and Hermione the entire time? It wouldn’t work.


Storytelling Tip: Don’t throw in a story just to have one.

Here’s the thing – you can open one loop in writing before closing the current one in a ton of different ways, but that doesn’t mean you should. The writers did an excellent job of opening a new storyline in the series before they closed the previous one –

– Bringing in Silas before the Originals exited.
– Silas storyline leading to the Travelers.
– The Travelers storyline ending with Bonnie and Damon going to the prison world and the Gemini coven coming in.
– The Gemini coven leading to the heretics.
– Etc.

The audience was used to the premise of the first 4 seasons. The other storylines weren’t stable because of it. The audience tends to roll their eyes and get a little fed up when things get crazy in the storyline.

When you’re writing ask yourself, “Does this hold true to my storyline?”

If not, don’t add it.


Breaking Rules

When you set up your own story, you have all the power with that world.

But every world has rules and when you start to unravel them, your story will fall apart and fans will notice.

Case #1: The Heretics (Season 6) The main story involving Klaus Mikaelson being the original hybrid was a huge part of foundation for The Vampire Diaries. Klaus was the only hybrid that could make hybrids, which made him unique. The Heretics storyline is unbelievable because the writers made the rules of nature say that a vampire couldn’t also be a witch. 

Vampire/witch hybrids are badass, don’t get me wrong, but you’re telling me that the oldest vampires in the world didn’t know about them? Why didn’t the Originals turn all the siphoners in the world, then compel them to be loyal to the Original family?

The fact that they exist makes Klaus Mikaelson being a hybrid not that important because guess what? Heretics are hybrids, too. The writers canceled out their other storyline, which was the basis for the show. The storyline with the Heretics was full of plot holes.

Case #2: Caroline getting pregnant. I know Hayley’s pregnancy was a loophole, but when the story went to Caroline’s magical pregnancy, the story got weird. As a viewer I rolled my eyes. I got annoyed as a writer.

Understandably, Candice King was pregnant, and I love the twins in the story, but this storyline made me think as a writer that they didn’t know what else to write. They love resurrections so much, but they couldn’t bring Jo back if they really wanted to keep the twins?


Storytelling Tip: You might be thinking, “well why not? It’s my story. I can do whatever I want.”

Some things are set. Readers get pissed when you change the rules. You can get by a few times, but it’s tiresome after awhile. Imagine reading a blog or website that constantly changes it stance on something. You’d get annoyed that they’re not consistent, right?

Set up your rules, then follow them. If you have to break them, do it epically. Not because you are on a power trip or you’re out of ideas. Sometimes it’s better to end a story on a high note than to drive it into the ground and break apart the world you created. Be cool, writer.

Writing Tips from The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries has amazing writers. They knew how to get to you as the viewer, to keep you engrossed, and make you root for the good and the bad characters. In fact, they showed us that there is no good or bad in the world, only opposing views.

Unfortunately, in my opinion as a writer, some of the personal feelings of the writers and circumstances of multiple actors caused the story to go downhill in some ways. There’s an annoyance that comes from readers wanting to know why something isn’t happening on the show, but as a writer, I suggest you take it with a grain of salt. Don’t do something in your storyline that makes it go downhill because you’re annoyed. Play to your strengths in the story and it’ll come out on top.

The Vampire Diaries might be coming to an end, but the storytelling magic continues in The Originals, which is taking its time slot. The series is over but you can learn a lot about writing from watching it. 


Do you have any writing lessons you learned from watching The Vampire Diaries?

Share them with me below!

If you liked my analysis and tips, and have another TV show or movie you’d like me to go over, I’ll dive in. Leave me a comment below!

Create Content You Love Without Fear of Selling Out

Create Content You Love Without Fear of Selling Out

So, you’re making no money in your favourite niche, but ‘selling out’ and writing copy for toilet paper companies really doesn’t appeal. All the job postings you find aren’t related to the niche you’ve invested years of your life to. Do you start over and gain experience in more popular niches, or keep hustling and trying to find paying markets for your tiny niche?

What if I told you there’s a middle way?

It’s as simple as expanding your ideal niche in two ways.

The first way is the content of your niche. For example, one of my niches is Tarot and Traditional Witchcraft. There isn’t a huge amount of interest in that niche, and even less paying opportunities.

So, I looked at what my target audience is for that type of content. My audience is mainly women, between the ages of 18 – 50, interested in self-help, spirituality and eco-friendly issues. I write about things my ideal audience are interested in that I still enjoy talking about, like crystals, alternative medicine, meditation and self-help, instead of catering purely to the limited niche of ‘Tarot and Trade Witch’.

Creating Content for Obvious Niches & Hidden Offsets

The possibility for audience expansion, guest posts, articles and who knows what else has expanded astronomically.

Sometimes the areas to expand your niche into are obvious. If you write about makeup, try writing about hair and skincare, or costumes and SFX makeup. If you write about books, interview the authors, publishing companies and graphic designers. Write about how books are made, or the changes made when a book gets turned into a film.

If you’re struggling to find ideas of what your target audience might like, look at a site which caters to your original niche. See what other things they write about.

Example: You like punk DIY fashion. Punk music, punk DIY decor, punk icons, punk hair and makeup, punk films and documentaries could be other things your audience likes and you can cover. Have a clothes focus? Create content for Steampunk, cyberpunk/cybergoth, Goth and other subculture clothing.

Sites that have a variety of contributors are good to look at because you can follow the different authors back to their blogs. Other topics they write about will give you a few new ideas.

Another way is to see what your ideal audience is reading. If someone is following your blog or social media accounts, click on them and see what other accounts they are following. You’ll find that writing about a subject is a lot easier than just picking something that is trending or popular. 

Incorporating Different Content Types

The other way to expand your payment opportunities is to branch out into different types of content. I was focusing purely on blog posts, guest blog posts and articles when I first started out. After some thought I found out there was different types of content that I would be able to write and still fit in with my niche.

I’ve written copy for spiritual business and partnered up with a publisher to review relevant books. I’m also writing a book and creating an online course. All of this content is still in my target niche, but there are many different types. 

Write scripts for YouTube videos or podcasts, newsletters, flyers, blog posts, reviews, sponsored posts, white papers, and even ghostwrite entire books. All of these are examples of “copy.”  

When you target businesses for copywriting work, don’t forget non-commerce or info-product based businesses. Doctors, markets, dentists and hypnotherapists all need copy!

There are other ways that you can make money from your writing, of course. You can be an affiliate seller for products that you enjoy using, and earn a commission every time someone buys an item you recommend. If you love writing recipes, you can sell your audience ingredients and cookware. Like using essential oils? You can sell all the equipment, too. You can sell your audience band merchandise and ripped tights if punk is your niche.

Put ads on your site or sponsored posts. Your audience may also pay to get involved in mini challenges, too.

That door never shuts once you open it to opportunities. Your niche is larger than you thought it was. As more businesses and content move online, it can only get bigger. 


Siobhan Johnson is a writer, Tarot reader and holistic coach. She writes and ponders self-improvement, Tarot, crystals and other mysteries of life, including why you can buy shoes for big-footed women easily, but not socks. Her website is www.siobhanjohnson.com, her Etsy is here, and you may as well follow her on Instagram or Twitter if you like cats and stuff.
Big Magic is the Worst Book for a Writer… Here’s Why | Book Review

Big Magic is the Worst Book for a Writer… Here’s Why | Book Review

Big Magic was written by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is my honest interpretation. 

The hunger clawed through my mind – and my bank account.

Like an addiction, I searched high and low for a new book about creativity or writing to devour. Fiction wasn’t on my list this time, so when I heard about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic book, I was there.

Creative Living Beyond Fear. What could it hurt, right?

Boy was I wrong.

I flipped through the pages, voraciously taking in each tip and introspective piece of advice. Little did I realize that Big Magic was ripping the comfortable blanket from me, leaving me with the cold stark truth.

There were no excuses left not to freely express my creativity.

Here are a few things it taught me.

Remove the pressure to save the world

So many people do things because they want to help someone.

That’s a noble goal and one I have myself, but Gilbert says that writing and creativity is for you to work something out. It might help someone, might not. Your goal isn’t to resonate with others. It should do that on its own by writing with heart.

“I would so much rather that you wrote a book in order to entertain yourself rather than to help me… I would prefer that you made your art in order to save yourself, or to relieve yourself of some great psychic burden rather than to save or relieve us.”

That pressure to save the world puts chokehold on your creativity resulting in overwhelming feelings, exhaustion, procrastination, negative thinking… and the list goes on. Probably a list you experience daily.

Remain sane. Work with what you have. Use your creativity to release enigmas for yourself and others will love or hate it. You don’t need to save the world.

“My creative expression must be the most important thing in the world to me ( if I am to live artistically)  and it also must not matter at all ( if I am to live sanely).”

You have no excuses left

“Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one… Creativity is a hallmark of our species.”

You can’t use that as an excuse anymore. I know far too many folks around me use this because they’re not as good of an artist as their friend or they don’t know how to write a novel, and prefer short stories instead.

I’m not creative… Yet they’re a carpenter

My job is analytical… Honey, you’re an accountant. Those numbers sing to you.

I don’t know how…. Does anyone? I use this excuse too often and so does everyone else, including you. You DO know how. Your logical mind is trying to get you out of it by focusing on the how.

Your excuses aren’t going to get you anywhere. If you want it bad enough, those excuses will be hurdles, not barricades.

You don’t have to know everything

“Creativity is way older than you are.”

It knows more than us, but it helps us discover the things we desire through subtle nudges. Like a teacher, it shows us how to look at things, not what we should think about them. We don’t have to pretend like we know everything about our craft because that’s not what Big Magic or creativity is about. There’s this pressure that society puts on us to be the best, create the top work, don’t dilly dally, but too often that pressure causes artists to crack – turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide.

Creativity continues to help us learn throughout our lives, despite what the world tells us about when our “peak” is.

“… Education isn’t over when they say it’s over; your education is over when you say it’s over.  So when can you start pursuing your most creative and passionate life? You can start whenever you decide to start.”

Far too many people think thirties forties fifties – hell even 80s- is too late to start. Even now, College grads in the early twenties think they’re starting too late. I know I did. That voice comes back a lot.

When I started looking at writing and my creativity as educational experiences, the pressure faded. I’m learning and I’ll always be learning. I don’t have to know anything, only be willing to learn.

Creativity is a being that you can connect with

Gilbert describes ideas and inspiration as a being – a buddy – you have a relationship with, like having a conversation with another person. Ideas require attention, compassion and working together 50/50.

Instead of berating your idea, you talk with it.

You stop putting pressure on it.

It’s not just this thing that you can kick aside. Instead it’s a person you need to treat with respect.

“Your idea will ask you, ‘Do you want to work with me?’  You only have two options.” Gilbert writes.

You stay or you walk away.

Go give your creative being an answer.

Fear is a friend, even though it’s annoying

The beginning of Big Magic tells us that we should accept fear as a friend, a road trip buddy, that has no say in how you do things. Befriending it doesn’t require you to combat fear like the world tells us, or become fearless.

It’s about not fighting, but embracing it. It’s that friend that puts their two cents in on everything and annoys you with their worries. I just don’t want you to be disappointed, it says, but you ignore it and do what you want anyway. You still love them though.

Try her exercise. Write your love letter to fear.

Say everything you want, then put it in the back seat.

You have places to go.

You have the innate right for creative pursuits

Far too much of my time as a teen and college student left me feeling like it was wrong to want writing as a part of my life. I realized that a lot of Western culture pushes us to grow up, get a job, pay bills, have a family – not taking into consideration that there are other ways of life. We don’t have to hate our everyday life nor do we have to only pay bills and die.

A lot of people I know are like that.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. We have creative entitlement, as Gilbert calls it.

“Creative Entitlement doesn’t mean behaving like a princess, or acting as though the world owes you anything whatsoever. No, creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here; and that – merely by being here – you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

You are allowed.

Permission.

There. You have it.

Take it because you’ll probably never get it from anyone unless you’re sitting in that cubicle or making a ton of money. That feeling won’t go away until they see success on a massive scale either.

There’s this odd sense of wrongness and shame that society tries to put on you if you’re pursuing your passion instead. A “pipe dream” or “never going to happen”, as a lot of people say.

My favorite is when people ask….

…. But what’s your real job?

This kind of rebuttal can leave many people with doubt or guilt. I mean, who are you to follow your dream when everyone else is slaving away at the daily grind? Then that voice follows up with a statement about how we’re being self-indulgent and crazy doing this thing that everyone tells you won’t work.

Ignore that voice.

Follow your curiosity.

That’s where Big Magic happens.

Denying what you love gets you nowhere

“She was appalled to discover that she had denied herself this life-affirming pursuit for so long, and she was curious to see if she still loved it.”

We deny ourselves – sometimes forever.

Regrets.

That’s what we hear from those at the end of their lives. What do you love enough that you never want to have regrets? What curiosities do you have that can lead you to a place where you’re actually excited about exploring? Those things you love will take you to amazing places.

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We all have jewels buried inside us

How can you find these Jewels inside yourself?

Well, the Universe nudges us in the right direction. It was hard for me to see this at first.

My logical mind shoved things away because the power of positive thinking and a good environment was such a crock, until I realized these intangible things were more than I thought. The signs that pushed me between countries and screamed at me to write that nibblet of an idea was the Universe creating a path to those jewels.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”


Big Magic is self reflection turned awesome

You thought I was going to rip that book apart didn’t you? How could anyone? It’s amazing, written for everyone and no one at the same time. Gilbert did a fantastic job using writing to work out the problems she was facing and in turn, creating a guide that would help others, even when it wasn’t her intention.

Too many bad reviews about Big Magic mentioned that she didn’t teach them anything. They said that in the book there was no definitive way to move past fear, but it’s because those readers were expecting a miracle. (LINK) She doesn’t know everything and as readers we can’t expect that. She wrote to work things out for herself.

Because that’s what writing is.

There’s no magic pill that makes you a better writer. Big Magic shows you that writing is self-reflection. It’s storytelling used as a tool to work something out in your head. We don’t write for others. We write for ourselves.

That’s where everything goes wrong.

Everything we write is for us, not them.

Inspirational Role Models That Drive You to Keep Creating Despite Fear

Inspirational Role Models That Drive You to Keep Creating Despite Fear

Inspirational role models give people like you and me someone to look up to. We aspire to contribute as they have, and create a life that’s fueled with creativity and passion. I have a lot, so if you’re a writer, creative, blogger, business owner, newb or anything really, you can find a role model here.

These are just a few that I’ve found recently through personal experience, or an online presence that are wonderfully human role models. They teach us. They inspire us.

Now I’m honoring Inspirational Role Models Month, so bear with me as I show you how these inspirational role models help you move past fear and create.

Let’s go for the big ones first, shall we?

Joss Whedon

I’m a sucker for the guy to be honest. Not only did he create Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse, but he also brought the Avengers to life and dedicated his whole life to writing. He spawned a generation in the post-Buffy world, although a lot of people don’t know that.

Before his blonde heroine graced the screen, there weren’t any shows that had vampires and demons fighting on the good side, or a cheerleader as the chosen one. His stories created a new generation of ideas with strong female characters, witty conversation as a must-have, and truly human characters that he put through hell all so we could connect with them.

His advice on the craft inspired me to keep on writing even when the world might think they don’t want the idea.

My favorite one?

J.K. Rowling

Because who doesn’t love this author? J.K. Rowling is the creator of the Harry Potter series and is not afraid to stick up for people or give her **cough cough** well-rounded opinion **cough** via social media.

She’s been at rock bottom and clawed her way up, becoming one of the richest authors in the world. Although a lot of people think they’ll never be like J.K. Rowling because her story is like a lightning bolt, I like to think we can all create that amazing story, beat the self-doubt and influence amazing change.

I actually give authors with banned books a lot of props and I strive to have my name on that list one day.

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Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love was her big break, but she’s recently known for Big Magic – her creative living beyond fear guide. Although I know some people don’t like it – in fact, have you read the bad reviews for it? Harsh… – I realized that a lot of people don’t like the book because it didn’t give them definitive answers on how to be a writer, but that’s not what it’s for.

Gilbert has helped thousands of creatives work with fear, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that Big Magic wasn’t written for us. It was written for her, to help her work things out. That’s what makes it good writing. She seems like she’s talking directly to the reader and in reality she’s talking to herself. She also uses her personal experience – her story – to help you work through yours. That’s what most people struggle with. Trying to figure out what’s relevant and what’s not, what makes sense to others, and how to say it with clarity is difficult. Really though, we just have to tell it for ourselves and the rest will work itself out.

Alexis Jones

Have you read her book yet? I AM THAT GIRL was written with every girl in mind.

This guide works through some of the tough obstacles we face. I AM THAT GIRL has so many hard hitting stories incorporated into it that I lost track. Every lesson is backed up by experiences from all kinds of women with different backgrounds around the world, and personal anecdotes.

I think that’s why this book is powerful because no matter where you come from or who you are, it makes it impossible not to relate in some way. It’s like having a pep talk and a therapist all in one.

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Shannon Kaiser

Writer of Adventures for Your Soul, Shannon Kaiser is a rolemodel for any girl (or boy). She shows her readers that self love is a necessity and freedom can be found by training the mind and asking the right questions. I don’t have weight issues per say but her personal story still spoke to me.

You can use her methods of self reflection to get through your issues, too. Adventures for Your Soul reminded me that I need to create for my heart because my head only leaves me frustrated. It helped me think deeply about my goals and realize that I needed to slowly allow myself to work toward what I wanted. Her book takes you through fears, where they come from and how to get past them if you’re to live the life you want.

Melyssa Griffin

Creator of MelyssaGriffin.com – formerly The Nectar Collective – this epic entrepreneur is one I follow as well. Her kind demeanor and wonderful knowledge helps creatives monetize their passion with easy tips, strategies and advice.

She’s down-to-earth and tells her story in every piece of content. One thing I adore is her business-style. Her facebook group is a welcoming environment that fosters helping one another. She’s not one to stand for bad mouthing or negatives remarks, which is a breath of fresh air.

She’s open about her income methods and pet pup, too!

“They have the right to not like what you’re doing. And you have the right to do it anyway.”

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Mariah Coz

Her badass-ness attracts the rebels, like me.

Mariah Coz was a normal chick once, until she decided to create a course on restoring a vintage camper and made bank. Now, she’s a CEO of a multi-million dollar business and she’s just like us – human. It’s hard to remember that sometimes – that our idols are only human.

This inspirational role model built her business from the ground up and now she’s a millionaire, but that’s not why she’s awesome. Anyone can be rich. She’s true to herself. I enjoy her forwardness and strength through fear. Her ability to create content that is simple, yet engaging, and be honest about her process and style is truly unique.

“Be a producer. Stop watching other people make something unique.”

Sarah Elizabeth Lahoud

Sarah Elizabeth Lahoud is a writing & media coach for creatives & entrepreneurs. Her heart-centered site, down-to-earth demeanor, and no-bullshit attitude is an immense help to writers and creatives everywhere.

Her way of helping me was different than most people’s approach. She didn’t’ tell me what I should do. We just talked and through a genuine conversation, I figured it out myself. She didn’t allow me to bullshit myself and called me out on my uncomfortableness.

I’m biased here because Sarah Elizabeth was my first coach and now an amazing friend.

After 6 weeks of mini epiphanies I had a clearer vision of what I wanted and stopped worrying about the “how” of things. You should check out her site and services here.

Clarity comes from the smallest action. Maybe it's time to make a decision. You got this. - Sarah Elizabeth Lahoud - Inspirational Role Models That Drive You to Keep Creating Despite Fear | Sometimes we all need help writing, creating or brainstorming ideas. Check out a few of my inspirational role models and see their work!

Oda Sønju

During that coaching time I mentioned with Sarah Elizabeth, I met Oda Sanjou. She’s a plant-based health coach that’s just starting her business and is helping people live a more natural life.

What’s fantastic about Oda – besides her overall demeanor and kindness – is that I got to see her when she was just starting. Within weeks, she put out content to create her coaching business and help her customers. She put herself on camera daily in her Getting Back to 100% challenge and truly inspired me to do the same. Her courage and openness to share her story is inspiring, which makes her quite a rolemodel to me.

Look at her intro video for Getting Back to 100% here:

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Inspirational role models are everywhere. They can be iconic changemakers, celebrities, authors, friends, coaches, family and more! The only thing that matters is that they inspire you. Who are your inspirational role models?

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