Mindset, Marketing, and the Art of Borrowing Ideas with Author Dacia Arnold
Dacia on Creativity Quest FB.png

I first met Dacia Arnold in a class that I was teaching at the Colorado Gold writer’s conference in Denver. What I was teaching didn’t answer her questions—so she went out and created a class that did! You’ll hear the whole fun story in this episode of the Creativity Quest podcast (keep scrolling for download and links to popular podcast apps.) Dacia inspired me with her energetic and action oriented approach to the creative process and I believe she will inspire you too!

Here’s the short form of this amazing woman’s bio:

Dacia M Arnold is an award-winning American novelist, freelance writer, mother, and ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of Apparent Power, Reactance and Shifting Power, and a small collection called The Brightest Firefly. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her relatively short experience in the literary world. She will never turn down an invitation to karaoke, because she is here to party but also be in bed by 8pm. Dacia’s pipedream is to one day narrate an episode of “Drunk History” and tell the story of “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Until then her friends must suffer through unsolicited rehearsals.

Dacia's books.png

You can find out more about Dacia and her books on her website: www.daciamarnold.com

Listen to the podcast here, or at one of the links below:

That Time Publishing Success Super Charged my Inner Demons

Taking that big leap - exhilaration or fear?

Last week my newest Kerry Anne King novel, Everything You Are, launched into the world as an Amazon First Reads selection for September.

If you don’t know about First Reads, it’s an awesome promotional opportunity in which Amazon makes a selection of eight novels available through its Prime Reads program a month before their official release. The books get a ton of visibility, often climb to the top of the Amazon Kindle bookstore, and accumulate reviews before publication day rolls around.

Exciting, right??? A dream come true!

In fact, when I got the notice that Everything You Are was up for this promotion, I screamed so loudly that the kids heard me from outside and wondered if something was wrong!

Add Success, Activate Demons

And then the book came out, and my demons were instantly activated.

I started stressing about where my book was falling in the pack of eight First Reads. Horror of horrors, it wasn’t sitting at the top! In fact, it was hanging out in the bottom half! Never mind that the bottom half is in the top of Kindle store and this is the kind of marketing I couldn’t even begin to pay for.

My brain got started on a comparison spiral, and from there it went into absolute disaster mode. The book, which isn’t even actually released yet, mind, was going to be a total failure. My publisher would be disappointed and never want another book from me. My career would be over. I’d be crawling back to my nursing job and spend the rest of my life in misery…

I used all of the writer mindset tools I teach to clients to help me manage the spiral. Emotional Freedom Technique to disrupt the negative thinking. Forgiveness work for my ingratitude and competitive attitude. Journaling to stay positive. It was all pretty much working until I got emotionally depleted (introvert at a writer’s conference) and all of my demons came out to trample me at once.

Which was when I realized that I needed to reach out to friends. I admit that I am very bad at asking for help. One of my self sabotaging behaviours, in fact, is always trying to do everything myself to prove that I don’t need anybody.

But I do. We all do. And so I let a couple of very good and wise writer friends know the space I was in, and Maddie Dawson, author of the fantastic novel Matchmaking for Beginners, responded with an email that took my breath away.

I’ve printed it off and it’s going to stay on my bulletin board where I can see it. I’m sharing it here with you, with Maddie’s permission, because I believe no matter where you are on your publishing and success journey these are words that you need to hear.

Wise Words from a Friend

“You are going to be okay. I think we can all relate to this panicky feeling you're experiencing, having been there so many times. It is such a familiar spot to fall into--it's like a habit that our brains go back to again and again, worrying and fretting that everything is going to come to an embarrassing, crashing and dramatic end.

We're going to have to go back to our real jobs, or subsist on beans and rice for the rest of our lives. We can already hear the hoofbeats and imagine all too well the email or the phone call when we're told that we're not getting any more books published, no one reads us anymore, and we might as well face that we were hacks all along. The greeter job at Walmart is where we truly belong.

That being said, none of this is real. NONE NONE NONE. You are a wonderful, excellent, fantastic writer and a successful author, and, with all due respect, you must stop checking your numbers. You must. Tell yourself whatever you have to: you're going to take a little numbers break, you're going to send your numbers on vacation to New Zealand and they're not going to be available to you for a while.

Stop reading your wonderful reviews, (they are anxiety-producing, too) and for God's sake, stop seeing how the backlist is doing, just stop everything. Even the good stuff--the reading of your many fun and glowing reviews. Trust that all is going so well. Even if the last time you checked, it wasn't as perfect as you wanted it to be, trust that now all is fine.

Because this stuff can make you crazy. And you can't control it. You can't change it. All you can do is worry about it. Lucky for you, I am reading the book you recommended--The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks, so I am in a position to remind you of his very wise words--which is that worry is simply a sign of a Big Leap moment coming your way. Worry only about the things you can do something about--which this is decidedly not.

Worry, Hendricks says, is simply an Upper Limit problem. You have been doing so well, and now your mind is terrified that you've exceeded what you were "allowed" to accomplish and that punishment--low sales, etc., etc.--is coming your way.

But it's not true. Your book will fluctuate up and down, up and down. Trust that the readers meant to find it will find it. The ones meant for your book will seize upon it. You have to trust it to find its readership.

Trust, trust, trust. Read The Big Leap again. Do what you most love. You are so so good at the things you choose to do...and right now this is just a little moment of fear, a little spasm you're going through. Some good news will come soon.

Turn to the better-feeling thoughts, even if right now they have nothing to do with your book. Just wait it out. Be gentle with yourself. Feeling fear is a sign that you're growing in some way. You have a new book clamoring to be written. Do that. Immerse yourself. Treat yourself like a person who needs nurturing and healing.

The runup to publication is a really stressful time, and you've been doing a lot of events to birth this book into the world, and now perhaps you're taking its temperature a little bit too often. Just redirect your thoughts whenever you start feeling afraid. When the thoughts come up that all is not well, say to yourself, "Nope. That's not real. Everything is going perfectly. It's all unfolding just the way it should. I am reaching readers, I am creating more stories, I am loving this work and my life."

Sound Familiar?

I’m sharing this with you so you will know that if you have these kinds of thoughts, you are not alone. The whole writing community is right here with you. We are so hard on ourselves. So quick to accept criticism and so challenged at acknowledging and celebrating success.

Which is exactly why I am offering the Dancing with Your Demons transformational class, starting September 26. We need each other in order to heal from our writer wounds. We need support and companionship as we learn to shift old beliefs, to accept success, to allow ourselves to rise to each new level.

Begin in small ways by refocusing on all that is good. Come back to the joy of the creative process over and over and over again.

When you fall prey to your own inner voices, accept that this is common to us all and reach out to your writer friends. We will be waiting to pick you up, dust you off, and remind you that you are engaged in glorious work.

Say Yes to Everything with author Michele Northwood

I love podcasting so much! Michele Northwood is another absolutely fascinating person I would not have met otherwise.

Michele and I chatted about the events that led her to write her fascinating memoir, Fishnets in the Far East - A Dancer's Diary in Korea, and so much more! In addition to her adventures as part of a cabaret dance routine in the middle east, Michele has said yes to working in the circus as a contortionist, trapeze and high wire artist. And then, you know, she started her own language school, because the opportunity showed up. Listen in to find out why Michele's favorite motto is "Say Yes to Everything" and how this philosophy can benefit your own creative life.

Listen or download here or at any of the podcast sites below.

Creativity Quest Podcast: the Creative Power of What if with guest Patrick Crerand

Patrick Crerand entertains fabulous and fantastic possibilities in his short stories, answering questions like: "What if an airline pilot decided the sky is not the limit? What if a teenager sent his car to school in his place? What if the drawings on the Pepperidge Farm box were alive?" Join us for a conversation about giving yourself permission to explore ideas and for dancing with the inner critic. 

You can find Patrick’s book of fabulous (literally) short stories, The Paper Life They Lead , here on Amazon.

Listen to our fun conversation about where his stories come from as well as our thought on the inner critic here or at one of the podcast sites below.

Writer Mindset: Upper Limits and the Sneaky Secrets of Self Sabotage
Do you get in the way of your own success?

Do you get in the way of your own success?

Kerry woke with a headache. A few swallows into her morning coffee she realized her momentum had brought her head right smack against an Upper Limit and she was being crushed at the intersection of growth and limitation...
— Me

The quote above is from my journal.

You see, I have this weird little problem.

There are too many good things happening in my life.  I’m getting set to release Everything You Are and it’s getting some lovely buzz. I’m excited about my new Dancing with Your Demons class. I get to speak at upcoming conferences. Things in my life are positive and exciting and expanding in new and wonderful ways.

The morning I wrote that journal entry I woke up feeling miserable and a little depressed, with a low level headache just asking permission to turn into the real thing and disable me for the day, so that I could have a good and valid reason not to do a few important things that would help me fly a little closer to my dreams.

Right about now you’re probably thinking I’m crazy.

“Good things are a problem for you? Kerry, you are one crazy woman. Go ahead send all of your awesome positive things my way. I’ll take ‘em.”

I hear you. It’s completely illogical to shut yourself down when things are going well. But self sabotage is a common problem, and I’m willing to bet that you have a few self sabotaging behaviors of your own.

In his book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, Gay Hendricks talks about what he calls the Upper Limit Problem.

Hendricks believes that we all have unconscious limits that mark the boundary of how happy, successful, rich, famous, or loved we think we are allowed to be. It’s like our own personal glass ceiling, one formed by our own beliefs rather than the beliefs of others.

When we bump up against an upper limit problem it makes us uncomfortable. Anxiety kicks in—sometimes low level, sometimes an outright panic. And because we’re uncomfortable and anxious we do things to deflect further success, happiness or love so we can return to our level of comfort again.

Say you reach the amount of happiness you are comfortable with. The idea of more happiness makes you feel a little anxious, so subconsciously you do things to fix that problem. You start mulling on unhappy thoughts. Maybe you pick a fight with someone you love. Or you forget to do something important and drama immediately follows.

Or maybe you’ve been asked for pages by your dream agent. You forget to back up your work and lose your entire novel. Or you get into a big fight with your critique partner and feel too miserable to get the pages in the mail. Or you don’t have time, because you suddenly “have to” be involved in three different fundraisers at your kids school.

In my case, I got uncomfortable because I’d exceeded my comfort zone with the level of success I believe I’m allowed to have. My inner saboteur rushed in to save the day with a down mood, a headache, a desire to curl up in a corner and physically make myself smaller rather than to continue the actions that would lead to further success and abundance.

Fortunately, I’ve been dancing with my self-saboteur for a while now. I recognize the signs. I know what tends to trigger the impulse to dumb myself down, dim my shine, make myself smaller. And I know some surprisingly easy and effective ways to allow myself to keep soaring just a little higher.

I will be teaching everything I know about upper limits and dancing with self sabotage in the Dancing with Your Demons: Healing Writer Wounds class that I’m offering September 26, and I’d love to have you join us. We’ll be learning to identify our hidden barriers and shift them with EFT, forgiveness, mantras, anchors, journaling and other easy and effective methods that are going to open the skies for you and let you use the wings you’ve been given.

If you’re a DIY type, I get that.

Whatever you do, read The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks. I’ve been working with my own self sabotage for a long time now, and have learned from many wonderful teachers, but when I read about my dominant hidden barrier I was hit with clarity so powerful it stole my breath and brought me to tears.

And then read Author Your Life: How One Writer Changed Her Life Through the Power of Storytelling, and How You Can, Too  by Lara Zeilin. Lara teaches a journal technique of writing in the third person (as I did in the example at the beginning of this post) as a way of decreasing upper limit anxiety and creating new beliefs that allow us to live our dreams.

This is powerful and important work. How ever you go about it, I’d love to hear your story.