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    6 ways to keep going (and 1 way to quit) // Brand Camp

    In this week’s episode of That’s What She Said, I hit a reader question hard, and it’s a really freaking good one:

    …when you do hit those business funks/blues/frustrations.. the SERIOUSLY am I shit? or am I good? and want to keep moving forward, what/where or how inspires you to keep moving forward without giving it all away? — Lorraine

    I’m sharing six ways to keep going (and one way to quit) in this week’s episode of That’s What She Said.

    To get all bullet-pointed on you, I’ll explain:

    + why asking the wrong questions could be sabotaging your every effort
    + when and how to make space for a pause in your business
    + why taking your business to Tokyo (metaphorically) is a really, really bad idea
    + simple changes to the scope of your projects that might make all the difference
    + two questions to ask when you feel overwhelmed by all your ideas
    + getting out of the ‘how do I move forward AGH’ mental quagmire
    + my favorite way to quit, as well as my top reminders to help you keep going

    BOOM go listen.


    P.S. It’s difficult because it matters.

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    100 ways I

    I routinely scoff at books I know I need to read,
    like The Ultimate Guide to Making Your Retirement Make Sense
    or Master Your Cravings 4 Life (4 Real This Time)
    or How to Adult Like You Care About Adulting.

    I love sugar even though it makes me weepy
    and dairy even though it gives me zits
    and Facebook even though it gives me zombie-screen-face.

    I want to save the world and blow it up. (Sometimes in the same breath.)
    I don’t watch the news because it hurts
    and care more about homeless dogs than homeless adults.
    I’m not sure my efforts to save the world have made any difference,
    just like I’m not sure my art means anything or my life has an ultimate
    deep-down-for-real-for-real purpose other than the one I give it.

    I can’t extrovert for more than an hour at a time
    and would take last place in the Small Talk Olympics.
    “So um…yah…um…”

    I’ve got a soft spot for baby animals on the internet
    and “Eeep!” loudly at dogs in public
    and wish I could hug the porcupines at the zoo.

    I routinely eat too much bacon.
    I wear tights as pants sometimes.
    My I.Q. is embarrassingly high when compared with my credit score.

    I suffer from seasonal affective disorder
    and depression and abibliophobia —
    the fear of running out of reading materials —
    so I packed twelve books for my last trip
    and my suitcase was almost too heavy to fly.

    I routinely shrink clothing in the dryer and
    would rather travel than spend money on just about anything else.

    I am, officially, ‘obese’ on the medical terminology scale
    and am better at marketing other people’s work than I am my own.

    I cried when I watched a movie about ethical fashion
    because I didn’t know I was causing so much harm with my clothing choices.
    (I hope my pre-knowing-about-ethical clothing sparkly gold sneakers last a long time.)

    I don’t let myself go to Target alone
    because I need that haphazard $150 for other things.

    I still don’t know how to do contour makeup.
    That one time I tried to do eyebrow stencils I had a crooked eyebrow
    and looked exceptionally skeptical all afternoon.

    I would rather live in a shoebox by the water than anywhere else
    but I live a landlocked life. Missing the ocean hurts every day.

    I want to say I’m wise and above try to fix myself
    but really, I suspect the broken
    is where the magic seeps in,

    and so when I make extended eye contact with kids
    and we break into dance at the restaurant
    I can call it ‘broken’ or ‘magic’
    and either label will fit, depending.

    When we gather and don’t talk about the weather
    or exchange recipes but discuss souls and light and dark
    and you show me who you are
    we can call it ‘broken’ or ‘magic’
    and either will be true

    and when we agree that having to feed yourself three times a day,
    every day,
    is really the worst,

    One and the same.

    So let’s be magic, forever and ever,
    which means broken, forever and ever,
    and let’s enjoy the way the sunshine hits your forgotten to-do list,
    the way you failed at meal planning again,
    and all the other ways magic has found
    to weasel its way into your existence,
    today and every single day.

    (But really: you’re not allowed to go to Target alone.)

    Once we establish that you are, in fact, magic — listen to Magic vs. Muggle: the struggle is real and do a little something about it.

    P.S.  M-School is for bringing your particular brand of magic to life.  Check it out.

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    So you hate writing and avoid it like the plague, or force yourself to do it and then hate the results? Buckle up, buckaroo, ’cause I can help.

    what to do when writing feels painful and terrible // brand camp

    Often, what makes writing SO painful or SO terrible is feeling horribly confined by circumstances. Not a little confined, like keeping a piece to 400 words, but horribly confined, like not being able to talk about anything you find interesting or important.

    Writing is freedom put to paper. Anything less than freedom feels like torture.

    When I felt like I could ‘only’ talk about business topics like marketing and making more money and making blog posts more interesting/pretty/clickable here on the blog, I wasn’t nearly as happy with my writing as I am now. Also, and of course: I didn’t get nearly as many tearful e-mails that thanked me for helping people unlock bits of themselves, deep down.

    When you want to talk about the state of politics in the nation and you ‘have to’ talk about the photos you’ve just made or the necklaces you’re selling or the classes you’ve created, you end up in a shitty spot from which your brain screams “This isn’t fair!” and you agree.


    You don’t ‘have to’ limit your writing to a single topic. Ever.

    While there are many who will point you down narrower and narrower roads in business, my guess is that you’ll soon find those roads claustrophobic.

    What if you’re allowed to talk about all of it? What if you let yourself talk about the entirety of your life even though you sell shoes or bags or photos or songs or paintings or diapers or keychains?

    What if you were allowed to talk about those shows you binge-watched on Hulu, or how tired you are from travel, or how you long for the sea? How you made community from going to breakfast each morning, how you really can’t freaking stand six-pillar programs that cost lots of money, or how you fight depression over and over and over again?

    While these aren’t traditionally ‘business’ topics, they’re topics I’ve written about simply because they’re interesting to me. They’re facets of my life as an entrepreneur and as a writer.

    At the opposite end of interesting, you’ll create writing that bores the shit out of you.

    So, you’ll dutifully write and dutifully attach your bored energy to it, then send it out into the world with its little bored backpack and its little bored rainboots and it will generate little bored responses wherever it goes.

    It’s unfair to ask your bored writing to create excitement. Only excited writing can create that response! Same goes for the marketing materials you create when bored, or the offers you try to promote when bored: you’ll get more bored in return.

    At its root, writing is about giving yourself permission to say whatever wants to be said. Even if it’s uncomfortable, tired, dull, awkward, or seemingly unrelated to the topic at hand. Even if it’s slightly or mostly or entirely controversial. Even if it’s sure to offend a customer or two.

    If you’re not turning anyone off, you’re not turning anyone on, anyway, so you might as well go for fucking broke. Take a stand, make some statements, shake things up. Tell the deepest truth about the nightmares you’ve lived or are currently living.

    People need truth, not fluff and polish. They need the deep-down, hard-to-hear streams of light that come barreling through your darkness. And they need them now.

    So, with full permission to write whatever wants to be written and with utter disregard for the boring, safe topics that appear, we begin.

    what to do when writing feels painful and terrible // brand camp

    You’re likely to find anything at all more interesting than writing in this moment. Your curtains are dirty, your socks aren’t properly organized, your tax returns haven’t been filed correctly. Anything is better than telling the truth. This is the voice of procrastination. It lies. Keep going into your work.

    Start a timer for 20 minutes and sit with your notebook. Write whatever happens down. Even if it’s a journal entry or absolute garbage. Write it down. If you start weeping, write it down. If you start laughing, write it down.

    Putting five true words to a page is better than churning out the endless ‘content’ of the modern age.

    As you write, you’ll naturally encounter inner naysayers. They’ll say that what you’re writing was better in your head. They’ll remind you that you’re nobody. You’re useless. You’re worthless. You suck at this. Your brain is an asshole.

    Keep going.

    (It’s only twenty minutes. You can do this.)

    Keep putting pen to paper. You can write down what your brain is saying. You can fight against your brain’s inner voice, or you can just record it for posterity. Oh, you think I’m a useless piece of shit whose story is worthless? You think no one will ever read this and that if they do, they’ll think it’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever read? I’m recording you right now.

    Read your asshole voice its Miranda rights: anything it says can and will be used against it in the court of writing law. Any triumph you have and every reader you find will be used as evidence against this fucker who’s trying to wreck your writing each day.

    In those last few minutes, you’ll have either: gotten into the flow in which time does not exist, or struggled to live through the longest minutes of your life.

    Notice which one is happening. You’re aiming for flow, but sometimes it isn’t possible. Like meditation, like yoga, like having a good day with your kids, like sleep: sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it isn’t.

    Try not to judge yourself for the writing day you’re having. Then, promise to show up tomorrow.

    The more frequently you write, the less each individual session means to your total output.
    Twenty minutes once a month? DEAR GOD THE PRESSURE TO GET IT RIGHT. Twenty minutes every day? Eh. If not today, tomorrow. I’ll get it right someday.

    When you can alleviate the pressure to get it exactly right in this moment, you’re freer to try new shit that goes somewhere. You’re freer to express your ideas, to keep going in the directions you find most interesting, and to keep the asshole in your brain at bay.

    To recap: if you’re bored, your peeps are bored. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind. Then sit down and freaking write for twenty freaking minutes. Ignore your asshole brain and keep writing. Don’t judge. Try again tomorrow.

    Permission to crush it, kill it, suck, fail, bite the big one, hate your work, love every sentence, and/or clean the curtains again: granted. You can’t do this wrong.

    As for what to share? You can share outtakes. You can share snippets. You can share your work, or what’s not working, or all the asshole things your brain said today. You can even share what you’ve written. (This is hardest of all, and takes practice, but is the most rewarding option available.)

    The point is to let whatever wants to happen, happen. Now go, get to writing.

    P.S.  Sell your services better with this writing technique.

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    What if you already know? // Brand Camp

    You think there are languages you don’t yet know, languages that will help move your work forward, and that thought is alluring. You can always learn Greek or Italian, SEO or marketing lingo. But.

    You already speak the language.
    Of feeling, and of knowing.

    The languages of dedication and of craft, of kindness and of steady perseverance speak loudest of all, and these, you already have at your disposal.

    You already know that the hardest work is letting yourself be seen. Letting your truest self be known, letting your feelings come to light and owning them as only a creator or artist or maker can; letting all that is you and your truest talent in the world come forward instead of hoping a plan, a formula, a class or a course will close the gap between your reality and your desires.

    You already speak the language.
    Of feeling, and of knowing.

    When you stop pretending you don’t know;
    when you stop acting like someone else has the answer;
    when you’re brave enough to go in, and in, and in,
    down and down and down.

    Then everything will change —
    and by everything, I mean nothing at all.

    The world will be exactly as it was, dirty and messy,
    boring and endless, small and tedious,
    but you will have grasped somewhere,
    all the way down, the tiniest kernel
    of your own knowing.

    You still won’t speak Greek or Italian or SEO.
    But you’ll know those aren’t the most important words,
    nor are they your hardest work.

    When you’re ready — you’ll stop distracting yourself.
    And that will make all the difference.

    What if you already know? is the focus of this episode of That’s What She Said.

    P.S. Magic often feels like broken.

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    Boundaries are the best thing ever. // Brand Camp

    Today on That’s What She Said, a reader question about boundaries!

    “…when setting boundaries, is it necessary/important to verbalize the boundaries to the person crossing them, or if the boundaries are clear inside my head, is that good enough? Meaning… Is it okay to politely decline or tell a white lie? How important is assertiveness in setting boundaries? (I’m pretty bad at assertiveness. I want to be assertive so very badly.)”

    I tackle all these questions and a few that weren’t answered in this episode of That’s What She Said, brought to you straight from the living room of my Parisian apartment during the final leg of my European trip.

    If you’ve a chronic people pleaser, an everyday white lie-maker, or the resentful soul who shows up at parties or events because you couldn’t think of a good reason not to do so, this one’s for you.

    Bonus! We talk about how boundaries affect your attitudes toward things like oral sex — and why that’s a very, very good thing. OBVIOUSLY.

    P.S. You’ll need episode 48, the 3 types of business time, after listening to this.

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