How to Get Book Reviews

goodread

By Editorial Intern, Anjali Ajmani
 

My experience in publishing has been in self-publishing thus far. I never looked into how to get book reviews before; as a result, my poetry anthologies remain on Amazon utterly review-less. That’s okay, I tell myself. It’s poetry, which isn’t particularly jabbered about on the market anyway. Then I compare my anthologies to other poetry volumes to see where those ones stack up on reviews. As it turns out, those poetry volumes have plenty of reviews. Talk about jealousy overload! The good thing about my self-publishing endeavor is that the whole shebang is a learning process. No one gets gazillions of reviews just like that.
 

Reviews are super important. A review is your best form of advertising. Nobody will know just how great your book is if you don’t have the reviews to show for its greatness. Of course, not all reviews will be positive, but that’s okay. The point is that reviews make you more credible. The more reviews that you have, the better. People today are driven by recommendations. In other words, if you like a book, chances are you’ll recommend that book to a friend. Right? Likewise, if you like a movie, you’ll probably tell all your friends about it. Reviews get people talking and give you exposure. As a published author, exposure is crucial.
 

So how do you get reviews, anyway? You have to have a plan in place. That plan begins with asking people for reviews. Friends and family are your best bet in the beginning. After all, they know you and they are most likely familiar with your work. Plan to give out several free copies of your book to family and friends. Kindly ask them for a review. Remember, no bribing! A review should not be a product of force, but something that is written honestly and naturally. Reviews are prominent on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and of course, wherever else your book can be found.
 

Other great ways to promote your book include advertising on social media, YouTube, your blog or website (if you have one), or a podcast. Let your friends, followers, and subscribers know that you’ve published a book and let them know that you’d love to get feedback on your book. The more people who know about your book, the better. Remember that getting reviews is a process and requires patience. You are your best advocate. So, how have you been getting book reviews? How are you promoting your book? I’d love to hear back from you about how to get book reviews.

 

Why You Should Never Throw Away Your Old Writing

writers

By: Editing Intern Zoe Andrews

Don’t worry, Writers, I understand, we all do. There are some things you write that seem so terrible you can’t possibly let them see the light of day. This feeling may be particularly prominent when it comes to your older writing, perhaps from when you were a wee lad or lass. You, at your ripe young age, were so full of joy and excitement that you wrote about everything and anything. What the cat down the road could have been doing all day, why the universe is out to get you, or some great adventure you dreamt of one night but you woke up before it ended and so your story never ended either and you shoved it away into the depths of a computer file.

Worse yet, now that you are a more sophisticated writer and you have a better grasp on grammar and what would be considered “good writing”, these little bits of ideas seem even more horrendous! Oh, the days when we didn’t know “their” from “there”. You look back at these works with the intention of maybe fixing them up but you get so overwhelmed by how badly written they were that you give off a cringe and quickly shove them back into the hidden file where they belong. I am guilty of this on more than one occasion.

But, Writers! Please, take another gander upon those poor lost children and look past their flaws. Some of them are coal mines with hidden gems. I have stumbled upon some great lines and ideas while delving into their depths. Although these short attempts may be filled with grammatical flaws or plot holes, there is still room for great work. You wrote it after all, so there must be something great about it! You were full of ideas when you wrote these, and you weren’t bogged down by what to do and what not to do. You had complete freedom in these stories, and I promise something good came of it. When I look back on my old writing from when I was still in middle school, I get jealous of myself. Why can’t I have such fun and wondrous ideas now? So I cheat, I take from these works and use them in new projects where my grammar is better and my knowledge of writing has grown.

By throwing away these wonderful works of youth and inspiration, you are essentially throwing away a gold mine. Just because something didn’t work in this situation, doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for another one. Save all your writing and when you are feeling especially in need of new ideas or something fun to write about, go back and browse through them. Even if you don’t find exactly what you need, I promise you will have enjoyed yourself enough to get back to work on your current project.

Writers, So You’ve Done Your Research, Now, How Much Of It Should You Include?

publish your book

By Editorial Intern Zoe Andrews

 

As an aspiring author, the fear of looking like a complete dunce through your work can hang over your head like a mistletoe at an office party. In order to battle this, many authors will spend hours researching what they are writing about.
Perhaps your story takes place in a mining town and your main character is a miner. It would probably be a good idea to research how mining works, what all of the instruments and processes are called, and even the colloquialism of the miners.
It’s good to know what you are writing about, otherwise someone reading it may look at it and think, this writer has no idea what they are talking about, and you have just lost credibility (unless of course, your story takes place in a mining town in a different universe on a planet called Yvelerak, in which case you aren’t bound to earthly conventions of mining).
However, this extensive research can be just as detrimental as not doing research at all. If little research is the office mistletoe, let’s call this abundance of information the punch bowl at the party that your one heavy-handed coworker made a little too fun.
It’s okay in small doses. You can even get away with a few glasses, but if you start losing count, you’ve probably had too much. The same goes for the technical lingo and information you shove into your story to make it more believable. You want your reader to believe you have been in a mining town doing hard labor in the mines, but not that you sound like you want them to believe that.
I once had a writing teacher who told us about a story she was working on for one of her grad classes. The main story took place in an archeological dig, so of course she researched and researched until she could have a discussion with any archeologist. Her teacher, though, tossed the paper at her and told her it was awful. Definitely harsh, but his reasoning was sound.
She had compiled so much information, and inserted so much of it into the story, that it made the otherwise five pages’ worth of plot into a seventeen-page encyclopedia of archaeology. There was so much mumbo jumbo her teacher could hardly stand to read it. The same thing will happen to your readers if every other line is explaining, in depth, how mining works, where the rocks go, and why it’s called what it is.
If the reader doesn’t need to know where the rocks go after the miners dig them out, then don’t tell them. It’s good that you know in case you decide it becomes relevant later, or if it’s mentioned in passing, but don’t overwhelm your reader all at once.
Now, what is considered too much information is all dependent on how long your story is. For a short story, I would say try to only explain things if it is absolutely necessary to convey your plot. Otherwise, the page count is so short, you won’t have enough room to fully engage the characters and conflict. In a longer story, you have much more wiggle room.
Say you have an average book length of about two to three hundred pages. Assuming this story has much more happening in it than a twenty-page short story, it will most likely be necessary to explain why the miners are putting the rocks where they are or how the machines work.
It might even be necessary to explain why Big Jimbo is the name of your mining drill—it used to be called ‘the Drill’ but one of its operators died and they all decided to honor his memory by naming it after him. Your reader has prepared themselves to sit down and be completely engrossed in the world you have created.
If you are writing a trilogy, you have even more room to explain your world and the world of the miners. At this point, your reader will want to know how everything works, because, with such a long story, the miners will probably find themselves in many more situations involving mining equipment and processes.
Maybe there is a cave-in and your character has to find a way out because no one knows he was down there and all he has is his equipment—he heard the story of Old Chancy who died down there after three days with no food and trying to eat his left thumb, because he was right handed you see, and he didn’t really need it.
The important thing to remember is to know your limit. If you don’t have work the next day and you have a ride home, indulge all you want in the punch. However, if you have to be up at 6AM to take your child to school, it’s best not to go too far.
Know how much space you have and work within it. Always remember that you are writing your story because you want to convey something, and unless you’re writing a how-to manual on working in a mine, don’t overwhelm your reader with technicalities.

7 Ways to Crush Your Writer’s Block

writers block

By: Editorial Intern, Anjali Ajmani

 

We all know that writer’s block is frustrating. Picture it: you’ve written several chapters that you feel great about until one morning you hit a door. You felt like you knew where you were going, that you knew where your characters would take you, but then you don’t. You start to type some words, but nothing seems to flow like you want it to.

 

I have heard that when an author experiences a bout of writer’s block, it’s important to write through your lapse in creativity and to just see where your writing goes. Having tried that myself, I haven’t found it helpful. What ends up happening is that I delete whatever it is that I’ve written. My advice to authors is to take a break from your writing. Your writing will not decide to abandon your desk or your computer’s drive one day. The following list will help guide you, the author, out of your writer’s block. One of my favorite English professors in college constantly reminded my class that writing is a ‘process of discovery.’ Let your freedom from your writing help you discover something about yourself and your project.

 

  • Grab a dictionary or a thesaurus. Look up new words. You’ll see that when you find a word that you like, you’ll start forming pictures in your head. You might even get the perfect sentence for what you want to describe. Sometimes, it takes just one sentence to break through the dam of ideas in your head.

 

  • Grab a children’s book. Children’s books are simple, but inside those pages of simplicity are lines of beauty and wonder. When I read a children’s book, I’m usually reminded of my childhood. I think back to my favorite childhood authors, becoming inspired to change the tone of my writing. At times, I realize that the tone of my writing is too serious. Having a children’s book to fall back on helps me soften any rigidity in my writing.

 

  • Try a different genre of writing. Give your mind a break from your usual writing routine. For example, if you usually write fiction, try composing a poem.

 

  • Exert yourself. I find that pulling weeds helps me get my frustration out. There is something about that little tug of destruction that I find enormously satisfying.

 

  • Go to the grocery store. Yup, you read correctly. The grocery store. Pick up boxes and read ingredient labels. Buy ingredients for a soup or a salad, something that requires a hefty mixture of items. Be choosy. Find the freshest tomato, or grab the bread that just got done baking. Think of your writing as ingredients for that soup, salad, or whatever it is that you want to make. This thinking will provide you with the mental structure that you need to get out of your writing rut.

 

  • Meditate. Find the place that makes you the most happy. Clearing my mind is easiest when I’m sitting outside under the stars.

 

  • Brainstorm. When I was having trouble working on my novel, my mother told me to journal words, places, feelings, and anything really that could give me a shot of inspiration.

 

The most important thing to realize is the following: accept that your writer’s block is not an end to your writing.

What I Have Learned from Reading 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

depression

By: Editorial Intern, Anjali Ajmani

Having battled depression and anxiety throughout high school and college, I can wholeheartedly say that M.A. Nicole McCance’s 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally is a godsend. Nicole guides the reader through several tips including but not limited to: training the mind to focus on the positive rather than the negative, eating and sleeping better, allowing oneself to fully feel one’s feelings, trying new techniques like acupuncture or aromatherapy, and allowing oneself to reflect on one’s day through writing or meditation. Aside from maybe incorporating vitamins or supplements where a person needs them, Nicole leaves out drugs altogether. Reading 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally has inspired me to pursue a more natural avenue to treating my own depression in the future. I want to share a few tips that I find particularly helpful.

  • My favorite tip from 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally is the rubber band tip. Nicole says that those battling negative thoughts should wear a rubber band on their wrists and that whenever a negative thought arises, the rubber band should be snapped in order to dissuade the individual from suffering any further. Anyone at anytime can get depressed or anxious and become blocked in by doubt or negativity, so all can benefit from this tip.

 

  • A similar tip that Nicole mentions is the ‘thought stopping’ tip in which the individual imagines seeing a stop sign in front of his or her negative thoughts. The stop sign, as you’ve most likely guessed, is designed to stop negative thinking in its toxic tracks.

 

  • Because I’m the sort of person that believes that food solves everything, I always recommend food to friends or family members in turmoil. As it turns out, there is some truth to my obsession with food after all. Reading 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally has taught me about the importance of tryptophan, a chemical that when consumed helps the body make serotonin, the hormone associated with being happy. Foods like fish and other seafood have good sources of tryptophan, as do veggies like mushrooms, squash, carrots, and turnips. Foods like beef, chicken, turkey, cheese, and eggs have tryptophan as well. I like to think that happiness is only a plateful of shrimp cocktail away.

Anyone who has suffered from depression and/or anxiety knows that it can be numbing and debilitating, but Nicole’s book gives me lots of hope for myself and others struggling with depression. Don’t let your depression dominate your life. Grab 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally today and stay in control of your thoughts. What works for you in treating your depression or anxiety? I’d love to hear back from you.

Purchase 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

 

3 Things That Aspiring Authors of Fiction Need to Admit to Themselves

3 things that authors need to admit

By: Editorial Intern Zoe Andrews.

Welcome to Writer’s Anonymous, where we help authors who are struggling with moving forward in their works. Please state your name and affliction. Now that we have that out of the way, I am here to tell you that unless you can accept these 3 immutable facts—although nothing is always true in creative writing, another immutable fact you must learn—you are forever going to be stuck on that one paragraph, or word, or detail that you are sure will unlock the wonders of your story.

 

  • The First Paragraph Stinks

The First Paragraph Stinks

For most authors, including myself, the first paragraph you write is very exciting! It is the beginning of your story, the tale you wish to tell, full of all the passion and glamor that a new idea brings. Now, if you are anything like me, you would have started this paragraph with absolutely no research, too excited to watch your idea be born to care about anything else. I’m here to tell you that your first paragraph, no matter when it takes place in the story, stinks. I’m sorry to break it to you like this, but it’s true, no matter what your mom says. I can guarantee within that first paragraph, sometimes more if you wrote multiple pages in your first sitting, one or more of these things is present—too much information, not enough information, unclear character introduction, unnecessary or clichéd character introduction (i.e. “He looked into the mirror, his blond hair tousled from a sleepless night and his baby blue eyes dull from exhaustion”), or too much narrative. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure if you scrounged around you could find more, so keep an eye out and rewrite it. You’ll be thankful you did.

 

 

 

  • Minute Mysteries

Minute Mysteries

By minute mysteries I mean the small little details that the reader is supposed to intrinsically know or figure out, like the fact that the otherwise insignificant hotel manager’s name means “one who is slain” and he is the victim of a murder a few chapters later. Maybe the flowers the victim kept in his home symbolize tragedy. These are details that an author can spend hours researching, I know from experience, and ultimately they do nothing for the overarching story except make it a pain to write. Unless your reader is a botanist or a master of onomastics (the study of the meaning of names) they are not going to know or even think to inquire about the meanings behind your small decisions. Unless the hotel manager’s name holds a specific significance that progresses or strengthens the plot, or the flowers help the detective solve the murder because only one flower shop sells those flowers, stick to simple names like Roger or Sally.

 

 

 

  • Writing is a Hassle

writing-is-a-hassle

This is a simple one. The process of writing is tedious. It’s a fact. No one enjoys sitting down and hand writing or typing up their stories. If you told an aspiring author that there was a way for their stories to write themselves from their thoughts, most, if not all, of them, would jump for joy and ask for two. So don’t make things harder on yourself by trying to edit while you write. You will sit there for hours on one paragraph until you hate it and don’t want to look at it anymore. You won’t remember the word while banging your head on the table and you will never be able to see what is wrong until you know what comes next. Wait until after you are finished (at least with the chapter) before you begin to edit. Until then, just let the words flow and let your hands be that magical tool.

 

Now that you are aware of these painful yet helpful facts, I leave all of you aspiring authors to flourish.

How To Get Your Book Published: Advice From A Publishing House

how to get your book published

How to Get Your Book Published

 

Many people dream of becoming an author. Becoming a published author can be daunting, and as any professional writer will tell you, requires real work. Authors invest countless hours into developing a story. You conduct research, you create exciting and relatable characters, and you write, write and re-write. Past the point of your manuscript being infused with your tears and sweat, let’s hope not your blood, you find you’re ready for someone to read your work. Someone other than your mother.

 

Your work as a writer may be done, but in order to become a published author there is more work to do. Fear not, while becoming a published author does take work (we’d be lying if we said otherwise) it is possible. Read ahead for some tips from a real publishing house on how to get your book published.

 

Get Feedback On Your Manuscript

Getting feedback on your work is very important prior to sending it to an agent or publisher. Ask family and friends, and other people you trust for honest feedback. Constructive criticism helps you become a better writer and will result in a cleaner manuscript.

 

Finish Your Manuscript

Edit, edit, rewrite and edit again. When submitting to a publishing house you want to showcase your best work so make sure you thoroughly edit and proofread your manuscript and query letter.

 

Research What Market Your Book Is Appropriate For

Is your book a children’s story? What age-group is it appropriate for? Think very carefully about the target audience for your book and have that research done prior to submitting to a publishing house. When you do submit your manuscript, having some statistics and market research data included in your query letter shows the publishing house you have done your homework.

 

Know What The Publisher Wants

Make sure you are aware of the submission requirements for the publishing house before you submit your manuscript. Some book publishers welcome new authors and give them a platform to help get their books published, while other publishing houses only accept solicited works. Do you have a clear synopsis or summary of your book? Do you have a query letter with a sound bite of your book? Is your work in the correct format? Following the rules for submission shows the publishing house you are professional and serious about your work.

 

Even though publishers will aggressively market your book, the author-publisher relationship is a partnership. Publishers can get discouraged when an author is disengaged or the publisher cares more about your success than you do. Publishers appreciate authors who are proactive about their self-marketing and are active on social media.

 

Submit Your Work

Are all your manuscript ducks in a row? If yes, it’s time to submit your manuscript to a publishing house. Each publishing house has a different turn-around for submission inquires, some take a week to respond or it could be months. When you do hear back from a publishing house, keep in mind that there are many factors involved in choosing to publish a book, so if your work is rejected don’t take it personally and keep submitting to other publishers. If you do get accepted, do a happy dance, and then congratulate yourself for you are on your way to becoming a published author.

What’s Undermining Your Dreams? Take the Life Survey and Exercise from “UnderMind,” by Tanya Chernova and Joanna Andros

Here’s an exercise from Tanya Chernova and Joanna Andros’ “UnderMind: Discover the 7 Subconscious Beliefs That Sabotage Your Life.” Where’s your starting point?

 

Your Results Reveal Your Patterns

 

It behoves us then to take a closer look at your results to get an indication of where there may be survival beliefs holding you back in certain areas. Why do we want you to look at your results and not your individual beliefs or desires at this moment? Because your results give you direct access to your subconscious beliefs.

 

The life experience that you are now living is the proof that you think a certain way, making your life BE a certain way. The only problem is that these beliefs are often below your awareness.

 

It’s the parent who wants a connection with her child but doesn’t realize that her form of communication, primarily nagging and critiquing, is sabotaging the results.

 

It’s the teenager who wants more responsibility and independence but doesn’t see that breaking curfew is causing the lack of trust and hindering that freedom.

 

It’s the employee who wants a promotion into management but doesn’t see that he isn’t a team player and is disliked by his co-workers.

 

It’s the woman who wants to have a fulfilling sex life but doesn’t realize that she is pushing her husband away to avoid getting intimate.

 

It’s the salesperson who wants to make more money but doesn’t realize that his fear of rejection prevents him from closing the sale.

 

If there is something that you want but don’t have, it’s because there is something sabotaging you below your awareness that you haven’t realized yet, and it continues to undermine your life. Conversely, if there is something you do have in your life that you don’t want, the same principle applies.

 

As coaches and therapists, we are often in conversation with someone who says, “I am ready for my dreams to come true. I have high self-esteem; I love myself.” Yet, when we look into the results of their life, they reveal a different story. They show a person who is overworked, doesn’t give themselves a break, has a hard time receiving, is constantly demanding more and more of themselves, puts others first, does not ask for support, and so on.

 

The fact of the matter is that the concrete results in your life RIGHT NOW reveal exactly what is UnderMind (what is in your subconscious, or “under mind,” as well as how you have undermined yourself with your beliefs). There is what you want and the reality of what you have. There is the weight you want to be and the weight that you are now. There is the money you want to have and the debt you have now. There is the fulfillment you crave and the emptiness you feel now. There is the certainty you want and the fear you feel now. Your patterns and what your life looks like today speak volumes. If you are willing to courageously look and listen, your results will quickly reveal your negative core beliefs and the reasons you are struggling.

 

If you are overworked and want time to relax but you just can’t get away, there is a part of you that prioritizes others before your needs.

 

If you want to lose weight but you can’t choose healthy foods, you can’t stick to a plan, or you lose only to gain it back again, there is a part of you that sees a benefit to being heavy and you need to heal that.

 

If you want an intimate relationship but your life history is filled with short-term relationships, you have a pattern of choosing unavailable or unsuitable partners, or you are not being vulnerable in the relationship you are in, there is a part of you that is afraid of commitment and keeps you guarded.

 

If you want to feel confident and relaxed in social situations but feel you need several drinks before you can talk to anyone, there is a part of you that doesn’t feel safe and you have to numb it out to open up.

 

If you need more money to live your dream but every month you are living paycheck-to-paycheck or going deeper into debt, there is a part of you that is comfortable with the familiarity of just getting by.

 

The voice in your head is likely saying, “But that’s not true! My circumstances or situation are this way, and I have no control over it. I am doing my best, and nothing is working!”

 

You are not alone. We sincerely acknowledge you for doing your very best with the resources you have to manage the situations you are in.

 

However, we are here to boldly say that, undisputedly, your results will reveal what’s truly UnderMind. They are indicators of what’s buried deep below your awareness that is sabotaging your conscious goals, dreams, and desires.

 

 

What’s UnderMind in Your Life? What is Your Life Showing You?

 

Now is the time to take a look at your life to discover your starting point. Remember while you are unique, you are not alone.

 

The survey below is designed to take an inventory of your current level of satisfaction and happiness in several different areas of your life. Rate your current situation within the scale provided. We are always shifting; therefore, you can take this survey every three months and notice the answers may vary.

 

By being honest with yourself, you will become profoundly aware as to what may be missing or how you would like things to be different or better. Once you discover what’s missing, it will lead you to the source of what has kept you stuck with these results. Taking this first step will help you create your vision for a new life or a new strategy to get more of what you want.

 

Trust the process, as this road will lead you to a more fulfilling life. Many people resist looking at their life—like stepping on a scale, looking at their bank account, or opening up that closet. It requires courage to stop and get a true sense of where you are so you can chart the course to a new and happier life destination.

 

UnderMind Life Survey
What is your assessment of your life experience right now?

 

Consider each of the following aspects of your life and enter a number using a 1-10 scale (1 low, 10 high), that you believe is true for you at this point in your life. If a point doesn’t apply to you, skip it.

 

You are doing this for yourself and no one else. Answer the questions with your gut feeling and trust your first response. If you begin to think too much about it, you’ll have a hard time justifying a number.

 

What is your evaluation of how you have done in terms of the following? (Low 1, High 10)

 

  1. Loving and accepting yourself as a person? ______
  2. Loving and accepting your body? ______
  3. Finding meaningful and fulfilling work? ______
  4. Finding a suitable, romantic relationship/spouse? ______
  5. Building a successful relationship with your spouse/partner? ______
  6. Being vulnerable, honest, and intimate with your spouse/partner? ______
  7. Fulfilling your desire to have children? ______
  8. Being the parent you wish to be to your children? ______
  9. Building and/or maintaining a close relationship with your parents? ______
  10. Building and/or maintaining a close relationship with your siblings? ______
  11. Developing close and intimate friendships? ______
  12. Earning the money you deserve? ______
  13. Managing your finances? ______
  14. Living up to your intellectual potential? ______
  15. Nurturing your spirituality (Relationship to Higher Power or greater good)?  ______
  1. Dealing with your fears? ______
  2. Ability to trust yourself, your life, or others? ______
  3. Taking care of your emotional health? ______
  4. Taking care of your physical health? ______
  5. Serving the community and contributing to others? ______
  6. Being at peace with yourself? ______
  7. Communicating your boundaries? ______
  8. Coming to terms with the process of aging and your own mortality? ______
  9. Forgiving and healing your past, hurts, or resentments? ______
  10. Having a clear vision for your life’s direction? ______
  11. Acting on your dreams and desires? ______
  12. Keeping your word to yourself or others? ______
  13. Setting goals and staying focused to achieve them? ______
  14. Taking regular holidays to refresh or recharge? ______
  15. Prioritising your needs before the needs of others? (Putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others) ______
  1. Exploring and being open to new relationships? ______
  2. Discovering your passion and purpose? ______
  3. Acknowledging and celebrating your successes? ______

 

Step 1: Now that you have rated each area of your life, take a moment to circle the lowest scores. It’s your numbering system, so you determine what you believe are “low scores” based on what you feel falls below your expectations and requires your attention. (As a guideline, you may wish to circle anything that is a 6 or lower.)

 

Step 2: Review the items you have circled and star the ones you have been struggling with for a long period of time.

 

Step 3: Is there a common theme to the areas with low scores?

Look at the areas below and check the ones that apply.

  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Purpose
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Self-esteem
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Other(s) ________________________

 

Step 4: Take a moment to reflect on the areas you have identified. Are you considering some of these areas for the first time?   Yes   or   No   (circle one)

 

Have you attempted to resolve these areas in the past?   Yes   or   No   (circle one)

 

What were some of the strategies you used?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

What has this exercise revealed for you?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Your self-worth determines your net worth.

This exercise may have been difficult to do—to acknowledge your true feelings about yourself—but being honest with yourself and your life is the first step to genuine change. You may notice that you have tried several strategies to create the results that you want in persistent areas of your life. Most people feel that they simply haven’t found the right strategy or system yet, just like they haven’t found the right person yet or it isn’t the right time yet. It’s not always the strategy that is missing. More often than not, it’s the mindset that’s flawed.

 

Now that you have identified the areas that require attention, you will have the chance to discover your own patterns and beliefs in the chapters ahead. Your goal through this book is not to make more of a to-do list. This book is not about making new “strategy” goals or resolutions. We invite you to use this list to inspire a vision or a focus and then have the courage to go deeper to find out which beliefs are holding you back from creating the fulfillment you desire in each of these areas.

 

 

Depression-Busting Tip from Nicole McCance: Diaphragmatic Breathing

indigo river publishing

Here’s a tip from our author Nicole McCance, M.A., to help you beat depression naturally!

 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

In times of emotional distress, the nervous system jumps into a higher gear and causes a number of physiological responses. We can begin to sweat, our muscles tighten, and our heart rate increases. You may notice that when you feel particularly anxious or distressed, your breathing quickens and your chest heaves up and down.
 

However, you can fight these responses just by consciously changing your breathing patterns. Studies have shown that the way we breathe is central to our ability to ease stress. By practicing diaphragmatic breathing, you influence the body and cause it to relax. You can interrupt the anxious response you are feeling; and once you master this technique, you should be able to calm your nervous system in just a few minutes.
 

Try This!
  • First, remove yourself from the stressful situation, whether it is a disagreement with a friend, family member, co-worker, or another stressor. Move to a quiet room like a bedroom or office.
  • Sit or lie down.
  • Place your palms flat on your abdomen just below your rib cage.
  • Close your eyes and start to focus on your breathing. Imagine an invisible barrier around your body, and any stress from the external world simply bouncing off of that wall. Think only of your breathing.
  • Inhale through your nose and think about the flow of air into your body. Count to 3 slowly each time you inhale, and again, count to 3 as you exhale.
  • Imagine that there is a balloon in your abdomen, and as you inhale, the air causes the balloon to expand. As you exhale, the balloon deflates.

 

Be sure to take slow breaths, but do not inhale to the point that you feel uncomfortable. This should be a relaxing process. If you feel dizzy or experience pain, return to your normal breathing pattern for a few minutes and try again. You may have been breathing too quickly or too deeply.

 

Practice this for a few minutes each day; and over the course of a week, you should be able to call upon this breathing technique any time to instantly reduce your stress.

 

For a free breathing technique download, visit www.nicolemccance.com.

 

 

6 Tips for Getting Your Priorities Straight in 2016

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With the beginning of 2016 finally here, you’ve probably been swamped with mentions of resolutions and the “new year, new me” talk we all seem to get into with another complete trip around the sun.

 

But before you can make all those big life changes you need to take stock of your priorities and where you are spending your time. “What we look for, what shifts towards our conscious mind, will present itself,” says Susan Sherbert, author of “A White Hat & Rose Colored Glasses.”

 

She continues, “Put more of those kinds of activities on the top of your priority list. Once you start to look for things in alignment with what you want, the opportunities will begin to appear right before your very eyes.”

 

Whatever you make a priority is what your mind will seek out.

How many times has someone tried to point out the reasons why we may be struggling or unhappy and given us advice, and we just won’t listen? Eventually awareness does happen, and once our priorities change we are now receptive to other options that would have been automatically ruled out before we had our major thought shift. Look for things that will help you get what you want, and you will find them.

 

Replace the squeaky wheel instead of greasing it.

People respond to the tasks that make the most noise. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Is our time spent on the tasks that get us the results we want or are we exhausting ourselves responding to the things that demand our attention but are not really in line with our goals? Don’t reward distractions with a squirt of grease! Go out and get a new and improved wheel that will get you to your destination without all of the drama.

 

If it’s important – make it a priority.

Responsibility, work, time, and money are all major factors in the grown up world. Money must be made, there are things to buy, bills to be paid. As a result, fun gets pushed aside. On those infrequent occasions that we do allow ourselves to embrace our passions and lose ourselves in the now, our brains are finally given the opportunity to forget about all that stress and worry. That means for those rare moments, time and money become meaningless and we temporarily allow ourselves to leave anxieties and troubles behind. So take time for yourself – you and your health are just as important as the bills.

 

Let positive emotions linger – they need more time to grow.

Negative emotions elicit a quick response. We are in danger, or think we are in danger, we must act now! We tend not to react forcefully and immediately to positive emotions because they are not a threat, therefore negative emotions get all the attention. If we want to attract more positive results and maintain the visions of our future, then we need to give our good emotions time to develop and space to settle in – confident thoughts and feelings need time to linger. Welcome positive feelings and encourage them to stay a while – now imagine how quickly we could change the direction of our lives if large portions of our thoughts were about positive possibilities!

 

Commit to adding some good times to your hectic schedule.

Do you really want your priorities to be all about staying busy or are there other things that should have a higher significance in your life? It’s all about awareness, but we must first get out of that automatic “don’t think, just keep going behavior.” Become aware that you are creating the hectic schedules that you think you must follow, and set some time aside for yourself.

 

Being busy can send the message that we don’t care.

Being busy becomes a way of life for some, and this is dangerous because being busy can also send the message that we don’t care. We are often not even aware of this because we are too busy to notice. Our priorities have changed so that we like the feeling of getting things done and hopefully making more money for our efforts. Plus, we all know that when something is important to us, we can always find the time, and the money for the things we put at the top of our priority list. The things we value are the things we get done. Look at what you’re finishing and spending money on – is it what you want?

 

When you take the time to examine your thoughts and actions, you will find what you are actually putting importance on. Get your priorities right and start checking off those resolutions!

 

Find out more in Susan’s new book “A White Hat & Rose Colored Glasses: Unlocking Your Power Through Clarity & Action,” the innovative new guide to rediscovering the fearlessness and creativity of childhood and how to apply it in your “adult” world, out now!