RELEASE DATE: COMING SOON!
Have you ever wished your life was a novel, and that you were the brilliantly brave antagonist of the book, overcoming your inner demons and fighting the good fight in order to live the life you've always dreamed of? Well, I'm here to tell you it IS possible (more or less). After all, what is life if not a blank book waiting for us to fill each page with our own wonderful, thrilling, magical story?
The sad thing is, many of us forget that; we just let life happen to us instead of going out and making things happen. So what's stopping us? Money, sure. Circumstances, maybe. Lack of time, certainly. But when we really get down to it, the main thing stopping us is ourselves: our mindset, our attitude, our open-mindedness (or lack thereof), and most importantly, our fear. Fear of going outside our comfort zone, fear of what people might think – and fear of what will happen if we actually succeed and achieve all of our wildest dreams. So we self-sabotage. We tell ourselves there's nothing we can do. We allow our pasts to dictate our future. We let the novel of our life write itself, no matter how mundane, stressful, or depressing that book may turn out to be.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way! Whether you're a writer or nonwriter, you can complete the specially designed exercises in this book to help you come to terms with your past, learn how to really live in the present, and – most importantly – take the steps you need to get yourself on the right path... a path that will take you right to your dream life. You are the author of your own life, so pick up that pen and get writing!
Write Your Life: The Ultimate Life Hack For Achieving Your Dreams is out now in ebook and paperback – just check out the links below!
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” – George Bernard Shaw
Do you want to change your life? Change your path? Change your story? What if I told you that, at any time and for any reason, you could sit down and completely rewrite your story? Would you do it?
We are the authors of our own lives, but many of us never even pick up the pen; we just let life happen to us without ever deciding what we really, truly want – and without putting a plan into action so we can accomplish our goals and achieve our wildest dreams. Instead we just go with the flow, letting other people write our stories for us. We let them dictate our purpose in life, telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Life is what you make it. Life is what you write it to be. And you can write whatever you want.
We have just one incredibly short life on this earth, but many of us never find our purpose, the reason we were put here on this planet. Well, what if I told you that your ‘reason’ for being here – your ultimate purpose – isn’t some ethereal thing blowing in the wind that we’re never quite able to catch, but is actually something you choose and create for yourself? We may not know the big purpose behind the existence of humankind, but we can certainly figure out our own individual purposes, and perhaps that’s enough. Perhaps that’s everything.
Do you wake up every morning less than enthused about getting up and going to work? Do you wish there was something more? Something else? Something better? Surely there must be more to life than toiling away at a job you hate for 40 or 50 years until you retire? Or even at a job you tolerate or even occasionally like? Surely this constant struggling is not the point of life – this ‘meaning’ we’re all meant to be searching for? Surely that’s not our ‘purpose’? What would be the point of that? I’m sure that whoever or whatever created this wonderful, beautiful, magnificent planet didn’t have this in mind for the people who live here. Why create this amazing world just to fill it with miserable, unfulfilled human beings?
Find your purpose – and if it’s nowhere to be seen, create it!
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. It’s how many people feel all around the world, and it’s how I felt up until around 2014, which was when I started making a series of life-changing decisions that led me to this point, right now, when I’m writing the introduction to a book I believe can help hundreds of thousands of people change the way they think, transform the way they look at their lives, and allow them to achieve the dreams they’ve been ‘chasing’ for years. That’s my purpose, my meaning, and I got here not by coincidence or by some kind of miracle, but through endless hours of research, studying, and working to change my perspective on my past, my present, and – most importantly – my future. It’s taken me years and years to get to this point, but with the help of this book, you can get there far sooner. With the Write Your Life Method, you can and will get there – and, more importantly, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way. You just need to be willing to think outside the box, take a step or two outside your comfort zone, and do the specific writing exercises and action steps I’ve laid out in the following chapters. It may seem a little weird and a little crazy at first, but what’s the point in life if we don’t get a little weird and crazy every now and then? Our life is our own to live, but even more importantly, it’s our own to design. And I’m not going to design mine to be mundane, predictable, and uninteresting – who would? – I’m going to design mine to be as amazing as I can make it. What’s the point in aiming for anything less? Some people might say it’s too hard or too difficult, and yes, that’s true – stepping outside your comfort zone and working towards your dreams is hard. So is spending your entire life slogging away for a few pennies here and there and hating the existence you’ve created for yourself and your family. Choose your hard. I know which one I prefer.
Personally, I know exactly what it’s like to get up every morning dreading the day ahead. After all, I used to be stuck in a dead-end job… or, more accurately, a long string of dead-end jobs. I tried so many different occupations over the years – canal boat cleaner, chambermaid, call centre operative, data entry clerk, administrator, administrative assistant, shop assistant, cinema worker, cinema team manager, administrator and retail assistant yet again – before I realised I needed to make a more radical change in my life. I was working minimum wage jobs because I didn’t think I deserved to earn any more. I didn’t think someone like me ever could do more with my life than work long, crappy hours for someone else. These limiting beliefs held me back for years, but eventually I reached breaking point. I’d had enough. I didn’t want to do it anymore – I wouldn’t do it anymore. I needed to take action, and not just in the form of applying for yet another low-paid job that had nothing to do with my interests or dreams. Instead of looking for meaning and purpose in a ready-made role, I needed to create that role myself, create my purpose for myself. It was going to take guts, but even though I was terrified, I knew I had to do it. In my eyes, I didn’t have any other option. Life is so ridiculously short and I didn’t want to spend the few years I had on this earth hating my job or waking up every day filled with a horrible, deep foreboding feeling. That doesn’t help me, and it certainly doesn’t allow me to help anyone else. I knew that if I was to have any chance of living an exciting, fulfilling life, I had to push myself right out of my little comfort zone and into the strange and wonderful land of uncertainty, instability, and pure, unadulterated, wonderful fear. So that’s exactly what I did.
It was while on a family holiday in Majorca that I made the decision to quit my low-paid job and start my own business. I’d had such a nice time in the sun, far away from work, but the whole time I was there I’d felt this underlying dread knowing that as soon as I got back to the UK, I’d have to go back to a job I hated with all my heart. Surely this heart of mine could be put to better use elsewhere? At this point I was 27 years old, I was living with one of my best friends in a share house, and I was working part-time as a team leader at the local cinema while doing freelance copywriting gigs on the side. On the last day of that holiday, as I sat in the gorgeous Spanish sun looking out at the beautiful blue water, I brought up the subject with my brother, who has run his own businesses for most of his working life. Prior to coming on the holiday I’d tried running a Facebook ad asking if anyone needed an editor, and from that ad I’d got a couple of clients and had made quite a good profit (this was back in the day when Facebook ads were only a few years old, and weren’t quite as complicated as they are today). Because of this initial return on investment, my brother encouraged me to go after what I wanted and to make a living doing what I loved – writing. I knew I didn’t need ‘permission’ from anyone to do this, but it certainly helped knowing that someone else thought I was capable of making money in this way. I wrestled with this decision as we headed back to England, and on my first shift back I handed in my notice. I started my own proofreading, editing, and ghostwriting business, and I continued self-publishing my own novels and non-fiction books. I never looked back.
It took a while to get things right and for everything to click, but now I get up excited for the day ahead, knowing that I don’t have to suffer through a long commute to get to work, knowing that I don’t have a boss to please or endless pointless meetings to attend, and knowing that I get to write my life the way I want to write it… every single day. I used to dream of working for myself, and now I get to live that dream. But it’s better than that – better than I could possibly have ever imagined – as now I also get to help others achieve their dreams, whether that dream is writing their first ever book or changing their life through writing. That is my purpose, the meaning I’d been searching for all my life. And I created it myself.
Making the most of a global pandemic
Life is all about making the most of the time we have, something that’s very much on my mind – and everyone else’s – as I write these words. I came up with the idea for this book when the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic started locking down several countries, and by the time I’d planned it and started writing, the UK was in full on lockdown. You might have had the same thing in your country, depending on where you live. Basically, we were only allowed to leave the house for essential things like shopping for food or for medical needs, and for one walk a day. Key workers could obviously still go to work (and what heroes they are), but the majority of us – if we could – had to work from home. If you were on the ‘vulnerable’ list, you were told not to leave the house at all if you could help it. I am fortunate enough to work from home anyway, and due to some back problems I’d been having for the previous year or so I’d pretty much been house-bound for ten months (off and on) before the pandemic hit, so you could say I’d been in training for it.
Pretty early on in the lockdown, my self-employed work (writing, editing, and proofreading) started drying up, and realising that the lockdown was likely to stretch out into weeks and even months, I knew I had a decision to make. I could hustle myself to death trying to get editing clients to keep my current business afloat (which wouldn’t have been good for my health), I could give up and veg out for the remainder of the quarantine (which wouldn’t have been good for my health or my bank account), or I could do something positive that would help people and give them some form of purpose during this terrifying time. I chose the latter. I wrote this book. I also set up my new website and wrote all the content for it, as well as taking two online business courses, reading as many business and self-development books as I could, and listening to as many informative and uplifting podcasts as possible (I’d always pop a podcast on while I was hobbling around the garden, trying to get my daily exercise in whenever my back allowed). And yes, while the whole COVID-19 nightmare was scary and while I worried for my friends and family, instead of spiralling out and losing the plot I chose to look at things from another perspective. I had all this extra time (not having as much work on, not being able to go out or even move much), and I was determined to make the most of it. It’s all about shifting your mindset, looking at things from a different angle, and opening your mind to new possibilities. At the start of the lockdown I knew exactly what I wanted to do, so I set the intention, took the necessary action, and achieved my goal, using several of the tips and techniques included in this book. And that’s exactly what you can do too. It may not be easy, but it is that simple.
By the way, I didn’t spend the whole lockdown working myself to the bone; I also caught up on Better Call Saul and rewatched the entirety of Community, not to mention reading a whole pile of fiction books. The point of this is not to keep writing and hustling until you either achieve your dreams or you’re dead; make sure you give yourself time – and permission – to relax and recharge, and give your brain the time and space it needs to make adjustments to your perspective and your mindset. ‘The hustle’ is overrated, and if you’re trying to work 24/7, it will kill you. Taking time off is all part of the process, and sometimes, you just need to give your mind a break so it can continue working ‘behind the scenes’ while you binge watch the latest series or get lost in a good book.
Some questions to keep in mind
The Write Your Life Method that we’ll be exploring in this book builds up over the chapters with each action step I ask you to do, but to start off with, I just want you to ask yourself the following questions:
If you could build your life from scratch, what would it look like?
What kind of person would you be?
What job would you have or what kind of work would you do?
Where would you live?
Who would you hang out with?
What goals would you want to achieve?
What would your purpose be? Your big ‘why’?
What legacy would you want to leave behind when you’re gone?
You don’t have to write anything down right now, but just keep these questions in mind as you work your way through the chapters. Many of us ask ourselves these questions all the time, but we never really stop to consider our responses because we don’t actually believe a ‘dream life’ is possible for us; we never think about these questions long enough to answer them properly. We say “wouldn’t it be nice if…” or “if only I had the money…” without stopping to think that, actually, if you really set your mind to it, you could achieve your dream life, whatever that may be. Fortunately, through doing these writing exercises and making several subtle shifts in your mindset, you can set yourself on the path to achieving whatever you want.
How to use this book
In this book, I’m offering you a unique way of looking at your life from a different perspective, and of working through your issues and problems in order to get you on the right path towards achieving your goals and dreams. However, I can’t guarantee this book will help you if you simply read it without doing any of the exercises – the whole point of the Write Your Life Method is to do each exercise in turn, in as much detail as you can, and to use the techniques outlined in these pages in your daily life. If you just read it, you’ll definitely learn some things, but you won’t have learnt how to apply these things to your own life and your own unique situation.
So, please do take action. As one of my heroes, Marie Forleo, says, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” You need to actually do the work if you want to see the benefit, and you might be surprised at what you uncover about yourself as you make your way through the action steps; I certainly was when I did them. At the end of each chapter I’ll also be reviewing the key points from that chapter, listing them in easy-to-digest bullet points for future review.
There are ‘Journal Action Steps’ in each of the chapters, and you can choose to either do these exercises as standalone ‘assignments’ and ignore the rest, or you can do the ‘Change Your Story Action Steps’ as well, which involves taking what you’ve learnt and writing these lessons into your own short story or novella, with you as the main character (and hopefully as the protagonist rather than the antagonist – I didn’t write this book for villains!). Of course, you can also do both (as they all connect to one another), and if you do, you’ll get much more out of this book.
If you’re going to do both the Journal Action Steps and the Change Your Story Action Steps, I recommend keeping the exercises separate, either by using two notebooks or by typing in two separate Word documents (or whichever word processor you choose) on your computer. I’ve done it this way because not everyone will want to write the novella/short story, at least not the first time they read through this book, and that’s fine. Just do the Journal Action Steps and perhaps work your way up to doing the Change Your Story Action Steps in the future. Just keep in mind that if you are doing the Change Your Story Action Steps, at the end of the book I’m going to ask you to put all of these stories together to create a whole, coherent short story/novella, and this is far easier to do if you’ve been typing your stories up as you go – you can just copy and paste them into a new document. At the end of this book, you’ll be able to read my own short story that I created from the Change Your Story Action Step exercises.
What you’ll get out of the Write Your Life Method
You may have several objectives in mind as you’re reading this book – and subsequently when you’re doing the exercises and putting the techniques into action – and that’s fine. There are so many things you can get out of going through the assignments in these pages. For instance, this book can help you:
Make minor and major life decisions
Come to terms with certain things in your past and get closure on events, people, and anything else you’ve been holding onto, whether you knew you were holding onto them or not
See how the things you’ve done in the past (or the things you’ve had done to you) have shaped who you are, and accept them and be grateful for them – whether they’re good or bad – for making you the awesome person you are today
Identify the ‘ambitions’ you have about your dream life, and whittle them down to your top three dreams that you can start taking action on today
Come up with a clear, precise ‘dream blueprint’ to help you achieve your goals and attain your dream life
End up with a written memoir, novella, or short story you can publish or self-publish if you wish, or perhaps just give to your family members
Turn your finished story into a physical paperback just for yourself (if you don’t want anyone else to read it), and flick through it whenever you need to remind yourself how amazing you are for completing this book, or whenever you need to review your dream action plan.
Pick up your speed with confidence
One last thing before we get going. If you’re already into self-development and personal growth there’s a good chance you’ve read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it). It’s all about conquering fear and finding your ‘zone of genius’, but there’s one bit that really stood out to me, an excellent example of limiting beliefs and how it takes just one moment of bravery – and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone – to achieve something truly wonderful:
“In the early days of the steam-powered train, learned scientists urged capping the speed at thirty miles per hour because they believed that the human body exploded at speeds greater than that. Finally, some brave people risked going beyond that limiting belief and found that they did not explode” – Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap.
Crazy, right? It’s even crazier when you know that some people believed going above 50 miles an hour on a train would cause women’s uteruses to fly out of their bodies!
Imagine if no one had ever dared going above thirty miles an hour because they were sure they were going to die? Imagine if no one had set sail to explore the world because they were scared of getting to the end and falling off? Imagine if no one had ever invented chocolate because they were worried it would be too unhealthy? Truly inconceivable.
Now imagine that you were one of those brave souls who went, “You know what? Let’s do this thing! If we explode, we explode. And if we lose a uterus or two along the way, so what? If we don’t, we’ll be the only people on earth who know what it’s like to travel at high speeds! Badass!” (That’s probably how it went, right?). So, are you ready to get on that train and start increasing your speed? Are you ready to start exploring your world? Are you ready to eat that delicious chocolate, and really enjoy it (because some things in this life are truly sweet, if only we let ourselves go after them)? If you are, let’s get to it. And the good thing is, you’re not going to explode – that’s a Write Your Life guarantee.
You may have some concerns about whether or not this book is for you, which is completely natural. With so many books out there, how on earth do we choose what to spend our precious time on?! So, I thought I’d address these concerns, fears, and limiting beliefs here.
Q) Is this book just for women?
A) Absolutely not. As with all the WTA resources, all genders can benefit from this book. Women may resonate more with the book simply because it’s been written by a woman, and the examples I use are personal to me, but that doesn’t mean the exercises won’t work for all genders. I want this book to be useful to any person, of any age, from any country, with any background – as long as they have the desire and the drive to change their life. Yes, your experiences may be different, but the principles I use are universal, and (if you need to) you can tweak them to suit your own life and your own circumstances.
Q) What if I don’t have time to do all the exercises?
A) We make time for what’s important, and ‘not having time’ is just a story we tell ourselves in order to get out of doing the hard things or to avoid changing things in our life we know we need to change. Getting up 15 minutes earlier every day in order to read a chapter or do an exercise isn’t going to kill you, or perhaps you could do some on your lunch break, or maybe you could watch one less show on Netflix once a week and put that time towards your self-development. If this is really important to you, you’ll make time. If it’s not, you won’t. In which case, this probably isn’t for you anyway. Be honest with yourself about why you want to do this, and if you discover it’s a priority, make it one. It’s that simple.
Q) What if I feel guilty about spending time doing this and working on myself when I should be looking after my family/working hard at my job/taking care of all my other responsibilities?
A) I know everyone has different responsibilities, but you absolutely must take care of yourself first if you are to take care of anyone else, and you should never, ever feel guilty about taking the time to improve yourself. Besides, if you change your life for the better, it’s going to have a huge impact on everyone else in your life – and if you’re happy, I’m sure they will be too. Your family loves you and wants you to succeed. Never feel guilty, and never feel like you’re being selfish – that’s one hundred percent the opposite of what you’re doing.
Q) Why should I even bother? It’s not like I’m going to do the exercises and then get feedback on my answers – how will I know if I’m even doing this right?
A) Why should you bother? Other than the obvious advantage of creating a life you love waking up to every day, you will get so many other benefits out of completing the exercises in this book – improved mental health, fresh perspectives, an increased feeling of gratitude for life in general, and much much more. In terms of how you’ll know if you’re doing this right, there’s no one set way to do this, and it will be different for each individual. If you’re reading the book and doing the exercises, you’re already winning. However, if you want feedback and guidance… check out the answer to the next question.
Q) It’s all well and good writing down the answers to the exercises, but then what? What if I don’t get around to putting anything into action? Where’s the follow-up?
A) It’s up to you whether you take action on any of the exercises in this book, and on any of the insights you gain from doing the exercises. You need to be the driving force here, and as I said in a previous answer, if you don’t want to make this a priority, you won’t. Having said that, I know that people work and learn differently, and some of us thrive from getting feedback. That’s why I offer exclusive Write Your Life Feedback Programmes, where I can go through the exercises with you, give you help and advice on what to do next, and answer any questions you might have. Please remember that I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist or any kind of medical professional, so I can’t offer you any specific advice on health, but I can take you through the steps, offer feedback on the work you’ve done, and help you with your goals. For more information on the feedback programme, check out this page.
Q) I’ve tried loads of self-help books in the past and they never really help. What makes this one so different?
A) For one thing, I don’t classify Write Your Life as a self-help book; I call it a self-development book. The term ‘self-help’ often gets a negative reaction from people who aren’t into mindset and personal growth, so you may be subconsciously thinking the same whenever you use that term yourself. Change your language and think of this as a self-development programme, one that will help you grow as a person and ultimately transform your life. We often feel like failures when we need to ask for help (which we absolutely shouldn’t, as asking for help is a great thing that needs to be encouraged), so when we pick up a ‘self-help’ book, some of us already feel defeated before we even open the first page. It's time to change that. Anyway, if the books you read don’t really help, you’re either reading the wrong books for you, or you’re not bothering to actually put yourself out there and do the required work. If you’re not all in, then it’s not going to help – whether you think you deserve that help or not. So, change your language, change your mindset, and just do it!
Q) I feel silly buying something like this, and I feel too embarrassed to read it or work on the exercises in front of my family/friends. Should I still try it?
A) I could tell you to buy the book on your kindle or other e-reader so no one will know what you’re reading, and to lie about what you’re writing when you’re doing the exercises, but that is what would be silly. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed about working on yourself and taking an interest in your own personal growth. In the end, people who are aware of and work on their mindset, attitude, skills, abilities, and self-development are the people who are going to be light years ahead of their peers in terms of knowing who they are, what they want, and exactly how they’re going to get it. You’re taking real, positive steps to having the best possible life you can live, and if anyone makes fun of you for it, they’re the ones who should be ashamed (besides, what they think about you and your actions often says more about them than it does about you). There will always be close-minded people – don’t be one of them. For even considering picking up this book or taking part in the programme, you are an exceptional human being, and I salute you!
Q) You say ‘write your life’ as if it’s really that easy. It’s not. Life is complicated and messy and we don’t get a say in where we’re born or where we grew up. Is this really going to help me?
A) If you believe it’s not going to help, it won’t. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t give things a chance (and you can apply this to any area of your life), then you’re not going to get anywhere. I know it’s complicated and it’s not that easy; that’s why I’ve written a whole book about it rather than just an article or a blog post. While you’re right that we have no say in where we were born or where we grew up (or how we were brought up, for that matter), we do have a say in what we do in our lives going forward, no matter how messy or complicated or full your life is. And that’s kind of the point of this whole book. Some people forget they have a say, and they use their past as an excuse not to take control of their own futures. I get that it’s not easy, and some people will find going through the exercises in this book pretty difficult if they’ve never done anything like it before, but life isn’t easy, so why should this be? The results will be worth it, so give it a try, have an open mind, and stick with it. If you don’t get rid of your deeply embedded negative thoughts of ‘this clearly isn’t going to work’ then guess what? It won’t.
Q) Should I read the full book or the shorter eBook guides? Are they the same content?
A) They are not the same content. If you're only going to do one thing, I recommend reading the full book. The content of the eBook guides support the ideas in the Write Your Life book, but instead go into more depth on certain areas of life or life goals. Some may be relevant to you, some may not, so take a look and see!