I am excited to announce a new feature on Sheep Dressed Like Wolves. This is the first in a series of interviews with reluctant leaders and gentle rebels (inspiring people who live, love and create interesting things, led by conscience and not conformity).
This week I am joined by Bryan Hutchinson, the founder and author of PostiveWriter.com.
Find out below about how you can enter Bryan’s writing competition to be in with a chance of winning a bunch of Amazon vouchers.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a writer. My goal is to inspire and encourage others through my writing, to give them the motivation to do whatever it is they want to do. However, I’m not just another guy out there spewing forth words of clichéd wisdom – I went through years of depression and it took hard work and specific steps in order to become the productive, happy person I am today.
Today I am happy, I am confident and I know what I want and more importantly, I am doing what I want. I couldn’t say that years ago and the reality is, most people can’t and won’t, until they know how. I didn’t know how and only through another’s sharing did I find my way. It’s impossible to give true to life advice from life-lessons if you haven’t been there, done that and made it through to the other side. Readers know the truth regardless of what you write, and there’s no way to hide it.
What was it that pushed you to start ‘PostiveWriter.Com’?
I’ve been blogging for 6 years in a very specific niche and I built the blog into one of the most read in its niche, but I felt it was very restricted to the main topic. Over the years I have had fellow writers, bloggers and readers in general ask me questions about how they too can get their message heard. They wanted to know how I was able to build a loyal following, and that’s part of it, but what I noticed from a great deal of readers is that they found the information I provided helpful even though they were not interested in the main topic itself. So with Positive Writer I decided to branch out.
Positive Writer was not intended to be a blog about writing, but it just seemed to go that way and before I knew it the blog was getting noticed by other writers. Pretty cool. I wanted it to be more about creativity, but I let my writing go in the direction it wanted to go – I followed my intuition, if you will.
Do you have a philosophy that you live by?
Yes, treat others as I would like to be treated. Respect everyone. Always give the best I have at any given moment, and above all, be generous.
What is your favorite quote?
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
Norman Vincent Peale
My favorite self-help book of all time is The Power Of Positive Thinking. That book helped lead me down the path of recovery from stress, anxiety and depression.
ABOUT YOUR WORK
How often do you write? What does your creative routine look like?
I write every day. I wake up in the morning, pour a cup of coffee (My wife is always up earlier and she makes the coffee – lucky me!), and then I sit down at my desk and give myself about 10 minutes of silence, then begin writing. I typically write about 2 hours every day, but sometimes longer.
I recently read your brilliant guest post on The Write Practice about actively inviting, rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. On the days when you’re not feeling quite so positive or motivated to write, what do you do to pull yourself out of the mire?
Who says I have those days? I Write Anyway! There is no cure-all for writer’s block, but I always find something to write about. I’m lucky, I have more than one blog and when I don’t have content for one, I’ll think of something for the other, or I’ll work on my latest book. However, there are days when I simply cannot write for whatever reason and on those days, I punt.
You have a new book (‘Happy Every Day’) coming out later this year. What is the story behind that, and the premise of the message that you are delivering?
The premise to “Happy Every Day” is the same as it is for Positive Writer, to share my experiences, lessons learned and help others find their way. The truth is our emotions have a lot to do with our creativity and productivity. When we are not happy that affects our output whether we like it or not. Too many people are unhappy and are resigned to being unhappy, but I know that there are simple ways to become happier and doing those things every day is not only easy, but effective.
If you want to become the best you can be, then you absolutely must take being happy seriously. We are all meant to be happy and we all deserve to be happy. That doesn’t mean there won’t be hard, and even, dark days, but it does mean the sun will come back out and better days are ahead.
You talk about the need to stop being so hard on ourselves as we feel the pressure to seek perfection. Where do you see this problem most prevalently in your experience of the world, and what can we do to overcome it?
I see it everywhere and with most everyone. We all think we have to achieve some kind of perfection in order to be accepted and appreciated. The truth is quite the opposite. Perfectionists are never happy with their work and this makes anything we create inherently not good enough. Being flawed and imperfect is okay, it’s called being human. There’s nothing wrong with doing your best, and being good enough. Good enough is not about giving in or surrendering to failure, it is about doing the best you can do at any given moment and that’s more than good enough.
What would you say to those of us who are experiencing self-doubt and the insatiable need for approval as we struggle to find motivation/validation for that thing we are working on at the moment?
Give in to your feelings and use them to create work that matters. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-doubt. As we’ve already established, there is no such thing as perfection. It is natural to be doubtful and careful. Again, that’s what makes us human. People only have doubt because they have desire and it is within one’s desire where all the willpower one has lives and breathes. Don’t give up, keep going and if you fail, try again. It’s okay to desire more and it is okay to doubt you’ll ever get it, but it is not okay to not go after your dreams!
Good Enough is a wonderful free e-book. It is so easy to read and full of mood lifting words. It really underpins the message of Positive Writer.Com, almost like a manifesto for the website. What inspired you to write it? Was it driven by a classic case of ‘writing the words you needed to hear’, or did you have other people in mind?
It is a manifesto for recovering perfectionists. Not long ago I believed I’d never be good enough to be noticed, to write words that matter to anyone else. Then I met someone amazing, I only talked with her a short time, but she was like a Swan, and she taught me a very valuable lesson: We all have something special within us, it’s begging to get out and be noticed. I needed to give in to it. But most of us get too caught up in how perfect our work needs to be, and the added need for appreciation and approval sabotages our efforts. Most of us don’t even realize this is what is happening when we give up and give in. I wrote the book for you, for me, and everyone reading this interview. I hope your readers download it, read it and let me know what they think.
ABOUT THE FUTURE
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
To keep doing what I am doing. In September my new book “Happy Every Day – Simple, Effective Tips to Better Days” will be published in the Kindle format. Subscribers will receive a special notice on how they can get a copy of it for free, if they’d like to review it for me.
Finally, can you offer any advice to artists that you might have found useful when you began the process of finding your voice and starting out making art?
Don’t wait to ask for help. If you’re an okay writer, but could be better then take some courses to improve your writing. Network, get to know your fellow bloggers and writers. If you’re a blogger, you must get to know your readers and you can only do that if you care about them. When you know your readers you’ll know what to write, but never be afraid to say what you mean and mean what you say, just remember to always be respectful.
What led you to becoming a writer? What did you go through to get here? Do you remember the moment you finally realized that’s what you are? Or, did it come to you gradually? How did you feel when you finally realized it? Were you elated, or doubtful, or both?
To be in with a chance of winning Amazon gift cards: 1st $75, 2nd $50, and 3rd $25:
1. Post your essay between 300 to 1000 words on your blog as a blog post. (You need a blog.)
2. Consider leading in to your post with: “I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer.” You can phrase it as you like, but please make sure there is a hyperlink back to this blog post.
3. Go to PositiveWriter and paste the link to your entry in the comments.