What to Do When You Are Stuck, Stymied or Scattered

ET KissThree years ago, I hadn’t been paying any attention to my writing career, and it was suffering. Like E.T. when he was gray and hooked up to all those tubes at the end of the movie – that’s the level of distress I’m talking about.

It wasn’t until I did this one particular thing that my career as a professional writing came roaring back.

This step didn’t take long, didn’t cost any money, and only required a piece of paper and a pencil. (Although I could have used a computer, I am old fashioned when it comes to getting important things out of my head.)

Want to know what I did?

(It’s so simple that it almost seems silly.)

I sat down and made a list. I wrote down the exact qualities I was looking for from writing jobs.

Things like:

  • Working with people I respect and who respect me
  • Helping someone tell a story I think is important
  • Working with people who make it clear that they value what I do
  • Being part of a team, where I can collaborate with and learn from others, but I can also stick to the things I know and like best
  • Earning a very livable wage

Reading it over, it didn’t seem like so very much to ask. I wasn’t saying I needed a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown M&Ms taken out, for Pete’s sake. I just wanted to be treated decently, I wanted to be able to do what I do, and I wanted to feel like what I did mattered. Looking at it made me feel good.

And then I shared it with my coach and with my subscribers because sharing something gets it out of your head and starts to make it more real.

Then, within two weeks, I got an unexpected phone call: Would I be interested helping a well-known doctor write his book?

Here are some of the things I heard on that phone call:

“You are the best writer we’ve had the chance to work with.” (I had been working on a much smaller project for this doctor as a subcontractor.)

“We are more than fair in our compensation—name your price.”

“This book is going to help people change their lives.”

I named my price—more than twice as much as any other writing project I’d ever done—they said “great” and we were on our way.

That book went on to become a New York Times bestseller, and it solidified my career as a ghostwriter. (Which is something I continue to do, in addition to coaching clients one-on-one and writing my own books.)

And while of course I had spent years honing my craft and developing a specialty in writing about health, I credit this particular project—and all the subsequent opportunities it made possible—to that one piece of paper.

So if you’re looking to grow something—your business, your love life, your circle of friends, your career opportunities—stop talking about all the people or situations that are driving you crazy.

Start writing down the things that you truly want.

As a coach, I’ve had clients make lists of the types of people they want to work with, the types of opportunities they want in their next job, the attributes of the person they want to date. And every single time, it’s been magic. They email me even before we’re due to talk again and say, “I’ve not only found four new clients who are the exact type of people I’m looking for, someone else reached out and asked if I could do something I hadn’t even considered that I am really excited about.”

What are you waiting for? GO MAKE YOUR LIST!! And then share it –share it with a friend, your coach, or with me. I’d be honored to read it, just add it to the comments below.

Here’s to making all those important, juicy things you’re looking to create a little more real.


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