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I’m not a self-help guru or motivational speaker,
but I know human nature.

And I know writers.


Today I’m sharing a story that might change your life. It reveals the mystical missing link that might be preventing you from landing a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal.

I feel like I should warn you though.

This article might not seem (right away) like it’s about publishing, or YOU. But it is. So hang in there, and wait for it. I promise you the payoff is there at the end.

Now the story…

I was born premature
(go ahead, laugh it up).


Yes, I was one of those babies that couldn’t wait to get into this world. So I arrived early and ended up in one of those little incubators. You know, one of those miniature holding cells where they stick preemies (babies that weigh half as much as everyone else in the hospital nursery).

Why was I born that way?

Good question…

Maybe it was random. Maybe it happened so I could write this article 42 years later. Or, maybe it was because my mother is only 4’8”. Does anyone really know the answers to these things?

Regardless, I grew up scrawny.

I’m not looking for sympathy. Really. That’s because, although I had an ectomorph body type (the puniest of the three body types you can have), I genuinely believed that I could look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.


If I worked hard enough.

Yes, I’m one of those sometimes-slightly-annoying-you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to types of people: romantic, idealistic, and a bit delusional (in a good way, I hope).


When I was 16 years old, I set out to create my dream body as part of my dream life. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I started working out anyway. I didn’t have a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a clue.

Just a few used weights at home.


After a few months of giving it everything (and seeing nothing), I got bored. A couple years later, in college, I started working out again. This time with a couple friends who shared what they knew with me. There’s actually a term for that. It’s called bro-science (and it can do you just as much harm as good).

Yes, I got a little bit bigger and stronger, but I was inconsistent and didn’t have the balanced diet necessary to get real results.


That’s not me but you get the idea

So I quit…

That was 20 years ago.

It was all downhill after that.

Two decades of immobility made my small muscles even smaller. And two decades of eating unhealthy food covered my small muscles in fat. I’d like to say that I had love handles, but I was a hardcore slacker.

I had a full-blown spare tire that stretched
all the way around my midriff.


Fat Boy.

Then, one magical day a few months ago, I saw the light. Maybe it was the health issues I was dealing with. Maybe it was my wife (and business partner) Ingrid telling me I needed to buy new (bigger) pants. Or maybe it was just me wanting to feel good about my body again.

Whatever it was, I started thinking (seriously) about working out again. But the second I did, all the excuses started running through my mind. It was like they were on a treadmill. A sweaty stink of streaming consciousness.


You don’t have the genes for this… You’ll kill yourself working out and only see minimal gains… You’re 42 years old, dude, your best years are long gone… You’ve never been to a gym, except those two times you took a tour and then paid for memberships you didn’t use… You don’t know how to work the machines…  You’ll look pathetic in front of the hot women and muscle heads… You’re going to pull a muscle… You’ll have to wake up early… You’ll have to neglect your responsibilities… You’ll have to watch less TV… You’ll have to share machines with other people and wait…  You’ll have to get naked in front of other people in a locker room… Someone could steal your stuff… You might get a staph infection…  You could just write about going to the gym instead.

Oh, God.

What a ninny.

Why am I telling you this?

I can admit my wussiness now because I finally “manned up.” Yep, I’ve been in the gym every day over the last 2-1/2 months and I’m LOVING it. Don’t worry fitness freaks, I’m not overtraining and I take days off for my body to recover.

No, I’m not breaking any weightlifting records. I’m not entering any bodybuilding competitions anytime soon. And I’m not taking my shirt off for anyone, either (you can breathe a sigh of relief now).

But I am feeling better, looking better, and getting stronger/healthier. In fact, I’ve already lost 20 pounds of fat and replaced it with 20 pounds of muscle. Now, the million-dollar question is… what took so long?

I was afraid.

Yes, I was scared.


I thought about what it would be like to spend hundreds of hours in the gym and still not lose weight or build muscle. I also thought about what it would be like to succeed (that was just as intimidating). Who wants to spend an hour or more a day torturing their body and counting calories?

Not me.

Not any normal person.

But now working out is a reward for me.

In fact, I look forward to my time at the gym the same way that I used to look forward to eating a Quarter-Pounder with Cheese at McDonalds.



It’s true.


This morning, when I was on the treadmill at the gym, I realized that I could use my gym story to help YOU see your fears, face them, and overcome them. Not your fears about working out (unless that’s relevant for you). But your fears about writing and/or getting published.

So, here’s my question for you…

What are you afraid of when it comes to your writing and you getting a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal? Don’t try to blow me off here either by saying you’re not afraid of anything.

That would be B.S.


Be honest…

Being afraid is like breathing (even for those who strive to be an enlightened-and-empowered-and-or-body-mind-spirit-and-or-new-age-and-or-personal-development-focused-and-or-religious person).

It’s a fact.

We all do subtle (and not so subtle) things in our lives partly inspired by fear, to survive and thrive. We do it a lot. And we sometimes (oftentimes) justify it by thinking we’re being “smart,” “practical,” or “responsible.”


But we’re really just being wimps.

Here’s my point…

When it comes to you getting a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal… getting in shape… or staying in shape… the rules are the same. You need to admit that you have fears. You need to see them. You need to face them. And you need to overcome them.

If you want to be successful.



Here’s your assignment or mission,
should you choose to accept it.

#1: Identify your biggest fears, resistance, and excuses related to writing that are currently preventing you from reaching your publishing goals (or reaching them as quickly as you could). Are you afraid of failure, success, or both? Have you already dealt with a lot of rejection? Are you afraid of getting feedback? Worried about the work it will take to reach your goals? Make a comprehensive list like I did above with my gym story. And be completely honest.

#2: Write down what you need to do next (concrete action steps) to demolish your fears so you can achieve your publishing goals. Do you need to write a certain number of words per day? Do you need a quota for the amount of queries you send out each week? Do you need to hire a writing or publishing coach (like me) to help you finish what you started… or simply get started?

#3: Quit being a ninny and just freaking do it. But first, tell me what you’re thinking below. It’s only fair (I just revealed some of my innermost thoughts). Don’t worry, I swear I’ll be supportive. After all, it took me 20 years to start working out again!

Who am I to judge?

– Mark
How do I get published comments
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