Academy for Wayward Authors: Rewrite the Stories Holding You Back From Your Full Potential

The stories we tell

You are a storyteller.

You tell and sell stories to yourself even if you’ve never published a book.

Oh, you thought we were getting into the business stuff today? Nope, we’re still focused on you.

I want to spend this article exploring the stories you’ve told yourself about publishing, money, and success.

What is it exactly that your inner voice has told you about your publishing career?

What do you believe about the business of writing?

What myths do you believe get shared among the community?

Let’s understand how they influence your default mode network and keep you trapped in the same thoughts and actions.

You must first see the matrix before manipulating it to your will.

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We are hardwired for story.

We can’t stop ourselves from applying  meaning and seeking cause and effect. It is as essential for our species’ survival as DNA passes on information from generation to generation. There’s only one problem.

Like habits, bad stories can also get passed along.

We rarely think about how much of our default network programming is anchored to a story, how we self-reinforce by repeating these stories and validating them to each other.

“You have to pay to play.” How many times have you heard that?

Do you?

Who’s promoting someone who is selling advertising services?

“You have to write fast to stay relevant.” Do you?

“You have to write slowly for a quality book.” Why?

I can give solid examples for and against each of the statements above. We seek to be correct and avoid mistakes, so we look to stories to save us from pain and illuminate the path to truth.

They are all fictional representations of our best grasp of what reality is.

Each story is just a perception; when we give them too much weight, they become our reality.

Stories that can hold you back from your full potential.

Stories become a way for us to evade responsibility. We can look into the past or project into the future and tell a story.

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Why are you immune if you believe, like I do, that your readers connect their identity with your stories and characters?

Let’s go one layer below that of a pop culture association and look at the story you tell others when they meet you, how you grew up, and where you went to school. All of that frames to others how you see yourself and how you want them to see you.

So before we build up, we have more breaking down to do. Ask yourself what stories the voice in your head is telling you every day.

We have even more work if you think I don’t do that. If you can’t see the stories, then they are embedded.

In season two, I introduced you to Yellow Kid Weil, the godfather of confidence men. He was a consummate storyteller, a wizard at getting you to believe the too-good-to-be-true stories he got you to tell yourself.

Now, it’s time to take control, reject, or rewrite the stories holding you back.

This week you have homework. I know, I know—but it happens at every school.

Take twenty minutes to unpack the stories you tell yourself, particularly about making money, how publishing works, and what success means to you.

Write these stories out by going to this link and answering the questions.

It’s all anonymous, so bare your soul.

I’ll pull all of the answers together, share them with you, and show you how much of what is holding you back is false and self-imposed. Let’s see what we can dig up together.

Read: Rewiring the Mind From Default Modes to Dynamic Thinking