Episode 20: Intuition and Success for Authors with Becca Syme

Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

In this episode I chat with best-selling author and Gallup Strengths coach, Becca Syme. Becca shares how honing in on your strengths and trusting your intuition can better set you on your path for success in your author career. We discuss the five different types of intuition, how we can get better at trusting our intuition, why you won’t find success following someone else’s path, and why you should fail fast.

This is an amazing episode that will have you re-thinking everything you think you know about intuition and how to be a successful Indie author.

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Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Episode 20: Intuition & Success for Authors with Becca Syme

Jo: Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors.

Before we get started, I just wanted to remind you about INDIEpendence month- a wonderful initiative created by my friend, best-selling author, and creator of Author Revolution, Carissa Andrews.

For the month of July, Carissa is offering two amazing course bundles to help you along with your author career. There’s a starter stack for newbie authors. And an accelerator stack for those who are ready to up-level their author career even more. And I have first-hand experience, and these courses are amazing! What’s more though, for each bundle purchased a donation has made,towards one of four non-profit charities dedicated to women’s rights. So not only are you investing in your author career, you’re also supporting a wonderful cause. Now the link to find out more is in the shownotes so make sure you check it out and share it with a friend.

Now back to today’s show. I am so thrilled to be sharing this episode with you. When I first had the seed of an idea to create a podcast, I would daydream and imagine who I’d have as a guest, when, of course, I was confident enough, or established enough, or famous enough. You know the drill. Good old imposter syndrome reminding me that I wasn’t enough yet. And I may not be, but I am just so glad that I pushed that horrible voice aside, took inspired action and followed my intuition, because today on the show I have the amazing bestselling author and Gallup Strengths coach, Becca Symes. And she has such an amazing wealth of knowledge when it comes to embracing your strengths and creating an author career in alignment with who you are.

And what’s more, she shares about the positive impact our intuition can have on our author careers. So this episode is going to get you not only questioning what you thought you knew about intuition. And trust me, it’s not half as woo woo as you might think. But it might also just get you thinking differently about the why’s and the how’s of your author career.

So when you’re ready, grab a drink, find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the show.

Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. I am a huge fan of, and so excited to chat with today’s guest, Becca Syme. Now I’ll be a little shocked if you haven’t heard of Becca before, but Becca is a Gallup certified Strengths coach with over 16 years of coaching success, alignment systems. And as a fiction writer, she realized that her success coaching could be helpful to fellow creatives, and started the Better Faster Academy in 2015 to help authors write better, faster. So Becca is also the author of the Quit Books for writers and the host of the Quit Cast on YouTube. So welcome Becca to the show. I’m so, so excited to have you here.

Becca: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here and I love the title of your podcast so much. I’m so excited for the discussion.

Jo: Oh, thank you. Now, one of the reasons that I wanted to have you here today is to chat about your most recent book, Dear Writer, Are You Intuitive? But before we get to that, I was hoping you could share with us what brought you to the path of being an author? How did your writing journey begin?

Becca: Yeah. I was raised by English teachers who are readers. Right? So, my grandpa and mom, aunt, like a lot of us kind of have that reading bent. And so I just kind of fell in love with books really, really young, and always wanted to be a writer. In fact, I think I had to answer a questionnaire not long ago where people were like, what did you wanna be when you were five? And I was like a writer. And what did you wanna be when you were 10? A writer. And 15? A writer. And 20? And I’m like, you could keep going. Every year, it’s just gonna say the same thing. My favorite experiences, I think growing up, were all around story and the power of story and how we both escape into and live in and are creating and are created by story. And so, that’s always been just part of my life. And I did not believe that I could make a living at it. So I always had like other, you know, like other things that I would be doing. And when I started publishing, like when I got my first contract and I started publishing and I wasn’t making a full time living at the time, and then when indie started, it was like, you know, I was early, I was publishing in 2012 and it just kind of happened that like, you could make a lot of money very quickly in indie publishing at the time. And so it allowed me to not have to go back to work. So that was really exciting. And then I just kind of didn’t look back at that point.

Jo: That’s, that’s amazing. Now I think I read somewhere, actually, I think it was in your most recent book and correct me if I read this wrong, but you’ve written 65 books. Is that right?

Becca: Yeah. Yeah. And it might be more than that. Yeah. Yeah. I, I went through a couple of periods, like one, probably three year period. And then another three year period where I was trying to like write a million words, you know what I mean? Like every year. So like I was writing my gosh 850,000 words or more a year for several years. And, and then I took a break and then I came back and tried to do it again. And it, it’s harder for me to produce that quickly. Like I don’t always like the product that I produce when I produce that fast. But I’m definitely one of those people who tried, right? Like tried to play the game and, and write really fast. So, yeah, it’s a lot of, it’s a lot of publishing. It’s a lot, but I loved it. It’s been fun.

Jo: Yeah, that was just absolutely mind blowing. When I read that I’m like 65 books, oh my gosh, how does a person even do that? What do you think was the key then for you that you were able to do that? What was it just pure, stubbornness that you were going to do that? What was it?

Becca: I think it was, can I do it, right? When I wrote my first book, especially like the very first novel that I wrote, I wrote when I was in college and it just kind of came out of me like, like water, right? It was just like, wah. And I had so much fun. And then of course, like everybody, I started learning how to do things better and I got a lot slower, because I was trying to like do all these things you’re supposed to do. And of course, with the, the Strengths, it was like, is that really your best work? Like is your best work the whole, you know, completely structured and like outline everything and do this. And I just was like, what if I just didn’t worry about it and just let my intuition kind of guide me in storytelling and just did the thing. And it was so much easier for me to write, I think, and then, I really just loved the idea of like, could I try to do this? And let’s, you know, set goals and, and everything. But what drove me, I think was just the question of can I do that? And I started collaborating with another writer, and actually that was when I was my, at my fastest was when I had a writing partner and we would trade chapters back and forth. And sometimes like I would write a chapter in the morning and she would write one at night and then I would read her chapter. And then I would write one the next morning. So like we were writing books very quickly and release, you know, over half of the books that I’ve written were with her. And so yeah, we wrote a lot together and kind of drove each other’s creativity, uh, collaboratively, which was a lot of fun.

Jo: That is just so fascinating. That is so cool. What a great story. Oh my gosh. Now, cause you’ve already talked about this, you’ve already just mentioned about trusting your intuition and following your intuition, which really leads into your newest book, which I think was released in April. Is that right? Mm-hmm yeah. So, Dear Writer, Are You Intuitive? And I’ve absolutely loved your book. It made me think about things in quite different ways, but a lot of aha moments as well, which was really cool. But what led you to write a book about intuition?

Becca: So I’d been coaching writers. The first time I thought about writing this book was about two years ago and I’d been coaching writers for something like six years, five or six years. And I’d coached quite a high volume of people cuz that’s kind of my, uh, my goal had been to try to help as many authors as possible with this success alignment stuff. And so I was just coaching like 12 hours a day sometimes, and trying to help everybody. And every time I’d come up against something that was like, how do we fix this? Like, how do we let authors know that this is not a problem to be solved, that they just need to let this happen? I would write a book about it. Right? Cause I’m like, I don’t have time to coach every single person through the process of like, what should I be quitting in my career, if I wanna be successful? I’m like, let me just write a book about it. And then writers block and burnout and all these things. And when it came to the intuitive book, what I would find is a lot of people would question their own intuition because they had been taught things, right? Or they had been told things by experts and especially things that had to do with being a concrete thinker, like planning and executing things and outlining, and all that kind of stuff. It’s like, it’s great for some people, but when it doesn’t work for you, like I always say we are very different and those differences matter in every decision that we make. So if I’m an intuitive author, I shouldn’t be making decisions the way that concrete thinking authors are making decisions. And if I’m intuitive in certain ways, I shouldn’t be trying to force myself into a mould that is, goes against that intuition. And so I was like, well, we better write a book about it. And I have another coach who’s super high intuitive. And she was like, I’ll help you with the parts, cuz I’m not like in the Myers Briggs, I’m not intuitive feeler the way that she is, like, she’s an intuitive feeler, I’m a sensing feeler. And so my intuition is very different from hers. So I was like, we need both of those perspectives in the book. And you do you see her sort of like represent the Luna Lovegood’s of the world, right? And I’m like, okay, but the Hermione’s are all so intuitive. It was definitely born out of, I see writers consistently having this problem over and over, how do we help fix this problem of not being able to trust my intuition?

Jo: I love that. I find it so fascinating. I’ve been really passionate about Myers Briggs for a long time, so I’m quite familiar with that. And then it was a few years back that I stumbled across the Gallup Strengths. And then I came across your podcast, where you were talking about how they relate to you as a writer, which was just mind blowing to me, like absolutely mind blowing. Yeah, just so absolutely cool. When you talk about intuition though, what do you mean by intuition? Can you explain for my listeners what intuition means to you?

Becca: So intuition is anytime you know something without being able to say exactly how you know it. So when I learn a skill, for instance, I could tell you it’s step A, step B step C, because I learned how to do that skill. Or if I’m an extremely specific concrete thinker, non-abstract right, non-linear thinker, I can give you the analytical definition of like I did this and that. There’s all this logical process. Right? But when you’re intuitive, you often know things and you have no idea how your brain came up with that thing. And what always bugged me about the way that we talked about intuition from a personality perspective is it gets set up across from things that it actually overlaps with a fair bit. And in terms of like, I’m an extremely concrete thinker, but in the Myers Briggs language, I’m a senser and a feeler. And so my intuition is very different from somebody who is, in the Myers Briggs, who is an NF, right, and that abstract feeling. But I do still have intuition and it is very, very like, sensing, if that makes sense? Like those of you who know M B T I, it is a very sensing intuition, and it’s hard to describe to people who are too caught up in the M B T I, where it feels like I need to break out of that mold. So I always say you can be intuitive with any personality combination that exists. But the way that you are intuitive is you’re making connections between data. Like you see the data points, you make connections between them. The connections are subconscious. And the meaning that you make out of those connections is almost always subconscious. So you have no idea how you got to this thing, but you’ll say like, Hey, I just know you can’t do. Like, I just know that won’t work or I just know this will work and you can’t explain how you got there. That’s intuition.

Jo: That’s cool. I like that because your book made me think about intuition in quite a different way, because quite often, when we talk about intuition, we talk about it on this real metaphysical, sixth sense, you know, real woo woo kind of way, but you really kind of brought it down and, and grounded it. And you also came up with five types of intuition. Which I thought was really fascinating because I hadn’t thought about intuition in that way before. Could you just really quickly kind of go over what those five types are? So we’ve got social, spacial, spiritual, intellectual, and systemic.

Becca: Right. So the systemic intuition, the sort of societal intuition or contextual intuition, the reason that I separate all of those apart is because when we see intuition acting, it has a different job in different people, but the actual process is the same. It still is looking at data patterns and subconsciously being able to put together a meaning out of that data pattern. So the, the example I think I used in the book was that I have a friend who is extremely socially intuitive and she can sense other people’s emotions. And that feels a little more like the woo woo, you know, like mm-hmm, a metaphysical, maybe intuition, that I think a lot of us talk about, like I have a gut feeling and, and I can anticipate how people are gonna respond about something. I told the story about how we went chair shopping. And then I would sit down in the chair and before I would really even get all the way into the chair, she was like, oh, you hate that chair. And I’m like, I don’t know how I feel yet, just hang on a hot second. And then I’d sit down in another chair and she’s like, oh, you love that chair. And I’m like, wait, I don’t even know. And every time she was right, because she had this ability to sense my emotions by putting together all these little data points. And in the moment when I was asking her, like, how do you know that, you can’t possibly know that, she could not tell me, but after we thought about it for about 30 minutes, she was like, okay, now that I’ve had a time to sort of slow the process down and really put all the data together, I can tell you how your shoulders were, how your facial features were, how your aura changed a little bit. Right? And I was like, okay. So that, like, you’re really seeing that data, and you’re not just guessing about it based on what you think I want. You’re literally reading me like I’m a tarot card. Right? And so, what’s interesting about social intuition is the data that you read. You couldn’t possibly be conscious of in that moment, because it’s just too much data. But you need to be able to read it and make assessments based on it, so then your intuition basically comes up with a subconscious process. And a lot of people who are like this don’t even know they do it. They’re like, oh no, I just know. I just know. And I’m like, no, it’s okay to think that. But from like a perspective, you need to be able to trust that this wasn’t just bad shrimp that you had. It is an actual like, process that if we had to sit down and go through data point by data point, we could do that. So you do actually know that thing when you know it. So like don’t walk down the right sidewalk instead of the left sidewalk, like you’re seeing things that are making you subconsciously afraid of that left sidewalk. So just don’t go down it, like, just trust your intuition. Cuz a lot of us will be like, no, I mean, it’s just a feeling I don’t actually know, or other people will say that to us, right? And then of course, as I know, we’re gonna talk about those massive implications in writing and in how we run our writing businesses when we’re intuitive. But we do need to know, I think, that it has a basis in fact, that it isn’t just us being emotional or like having had bad shrimp.

Jo: Yeah. That’s so it’s so fascinating because there were definite ones where I was like, oh yeah, no, I think I’m that one. I think I’m that one. And then when we got to spatial intuition, and I’m like, oh, no way. That’s totally not me, totally not me. Yeah. But I’m like, oh, I’d never thought of that before. Or even the systemic intuition. I’m like, oh, okay, interesting. Yeah.

Becca: Yeah. And it’s fascinating when you see the people who have one and not the other, like, I have spiritual intuition, but not social, which I think people confuse with each other a lot. They’re like, oh no, you’re just reading their emotions. I’m like, trust me, I am the most dead emotional, like I cannot tell you what people are feeling. Like if they’re smiling, I think they’re happy, I dunno. But it’s a very different thing. It’s like being able to see motivations and it makes it easier for me because I, I have the language of the personality coaching. So like, I can, I can kind of see how different strengths manifest themselves. But I do not, definitely don’t have social intuition. And so when you start pulling them apart and saying like, oh, I know I have this and I can trust that it’s coming from a combination of factors that you are very aware of in a way that you’re not aware of other things. And so knowing that you can trust that capacity, I think is really important, especially when you don’t have the quote, unquote, “concrete data” to back it up in the moment.

Jo: Yeah. Did you then find quite a strong relationship between the Gallup Strengths and the types of intuition that you’re clients have?

Becca: Not really. Yeah, which was part of why it was so weird. Cuz we actually thought about like, could we just say, you know, all high empathy, people have social intuition, and I was like, well you probably could say all like top five empathy have social intuition, but does that mean that social intuition is about empathy? And I was like, no, because we have, you know, three or four other strengths that in some combination of them, without empathy, you can still have social intuition. It’s about how does it happen? Cuz we really did look, and we’ve coached, you know, thousands and thousands of people, so the sample sizes fairly high. And we looked. I was like, let’s find a predictable pattern if there is one, and there just wasn’t a predictable pattern. I wish there was, cause it’d be so much easier to just be like, Hey, if you have high empathy or high adaptability or high connectedness, you probably have this. Empathy was the only one that I felt like this very clearly trends with social intuition, but it wasn’t the only one.

Jo: Yeah, that’s so interesting, because I was just looking at it from my strengths in that and because I’m very, very high, intellection.

Becca: Oh yeah, yeah.

Jo: Yeah. And then I was also like, oh, but I also really feel like with the intellectual intuition, that’s one of my higher ones too. So I wonder if… Yeah.

Becca: There’s definitely more overlap with intellection, there’s some overlap in the intellectual intuition with strategic, with ideation, and with context as well.

Jo: Yeah.

Becca: And so ,the intellectual intuition, because it’s usually very, almost logical, right? Mm-hmm . And so like people who have, for instance, the social intuition and the intellectual intuition are like, how do I do both of these things at the same time? And we’re like, Yeah, we’re really not linear personalities. Like we don’t make sense on an individual basis. You can have completely conflicting behaviors and still be like a whole person. But yeah, I wish it was more predictable, but it would’ve been a lot easier if it had.

Jo: I just find it so fascinating then from your experience, are all writers intuitive in some form?

Becca: No, but I would say probably somewhere around 70% of writers are intuitive. It may be higher than that, and I’ll be honest, there’s a possibility that we just don’t attract a huge number of non-intuitive writers, but given the sample size of who we’ve coached, how widely we coach, and like how much data we collect from people, I would, I would say somewhere around 70% of writers are intuitive in one of the five ways. But definitely not all. And it’s interesting since we have released the book, cuz I have a Patreon, so we’ll have these discussions, right? About the intuitive stuff, and we’ll have people who are like, yeah, this definitely is not me, and I don’t resonate with this at all. It’s interesting. Like it’s an interesting thing to know that it exists, but boy, this is not my thing that I’m like, yeah, yeah, that’s definitely 30 or so percent of people who just are not intuitive at all.

Jo: That’s really mind blowing to me because, I guess, my assumption has always been that pretty much everybody’s intuitive in some respect, right?

Becca: Right.

Jo: So yeah, so looking at it from this perspective is just so, so fascinating. So if we, well, I don’t know. I was gonna say if we are one of the lucky ones who are intuitive, but I don’t know, does it make us luckier if we’re an author who does have intuition or are we luckier if we don’t? What do you think?

Becca: From a predictive outcome capacity? No. Like we don’t see that intuition is more predictive of success than not, in terms of: you couldn’t hold five authors up next to each other and be like, well, the one who’s the most intuitive will be the most successful one. Mm-hmm more of what we see is the, the percentages of people who are successful are relatively similar in terms of percentage of people, no matter what type of personality you have most, I mean, it’s, it’s just really, really hard to be successful as an author, but yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that would, that would also be nice if it was just predictable. I keep wanting there to be a calculator. You could just plug something into and be like, can I expect this? Yes. Okay, great.

Jo: It’s kind of nice that it’s not so predictable though, because that kind of opens up the possibilities. Because I remember when I first did my strengths and I was listening to one of your shows on the, the different strengths and that, and I think a comment was made by you or somebody else you were talking to, that if you’ve got like a high, was it achiever or something like that, then that was really great. And I was like, oh no, mine’s like number 10. Oh no. You know, like I was like, oh.

Becca: That’s still pretty high though.

Jo: Well, yeah, yeah. But I was, you know, like, oh, I wish it was one of my top five or, you know, so it’s kind of nice that you don’t have to have a certain alignment of strengths or certain intuitions to actually be able to achieve that kind of writing life that you desire, which is different for everybody anyway, right? So yeah, I, I like that there’s so much open possibility that you can be a success in your own way using your own strengths and your own talents, and all that good stuff.

Becca: I like that.

Jo: Yeah. I think that’s really cool. So how can, if we are one of those writers or authors who is intuitive, how can that benefit us? How can we utilize that to bring us closer to our writing goals?

Becca: So, so often the way intuition works in something like storytelling is it’s creating a need for us to not do a lot of the structural stuff, right? Like if you are an extremely intuitive writer, and depending on how much discovery drafting you do versus how much you like to know ahead of time, if you are an extremely intuitive writer, it often becomes easier for the story to come together in terms of like, I don’t have to do as much, like, let me stop and think about this again. Not that it’s predictive, but it often happens. So there is some benefit to having an intuition where you’ve already put data together and you kind of just don’t know it. Like we talk about the autopilot metaphor, right? Where you have the sensors that are gathering data, that are taking everything in from all the stories you’ve ever read before. And then you have the coordinates that are punching into the computer and deciding which turns you need to take and all that. And, and those things are already in your head. Like you don’t necessarily have to machinate those things in order for them to happen. And so sometimes, intuitive writing, I mean, not that it isn’t still difficult, it is, but like sometimes intuitive writing can mean that you get some of that free falling in the writing where it just feels very like something else is in charge, and I just get to kind of follow along the story. And so, again, going back to the question you’d asked before about like are we the lucky ones, right? It’s the, the people who are wired for intuition would definitely say that, like they would love their intuition. It would feel more comfortable to them. The people who are not wired that way would hate having it because it would feel very different. Right? And so the cool part is we’re all lucky, no matter what way we’re wired, cuz we also have a preference for the way that we’re wired. So it’s kinda nice in that way, I guess. Yeah.

Jo: Yeah. That’s cool. So if we’ve got intuition, how do we train ourselves to trust it?

Becca: So the first, the first most important part. Is being in intuitive friendly environments. So intuitive, friendly environments are places where people, aren’t gonna question your intuition. They’re not gonna try to force you to do something that goes against your intuition, and they’re not gonna assume that you’re being emotional or flighty, just because you are making intuitive decisions. So they’re gonna trust you a lot more and, and they’re gonna encourage you to trust yourself. And I feel like so much of how I was raised reflects in how I trust my own intuition because my parents are also very intuitive. And I feel like there is not this expectation in my household that like show your work all the time, you know? Like prove it, prove it, prove it. Like we do wanna have logical arguments and conversations, but there isn’t a sense that, well, you can’t possibly know that cuz you didn’t, you know, show me everything that you used to get there. So the intuitive friendly environment helps you to not question whether or not what you’re, what you know to be true for you is true. So that’s hugely important, the intuitive, friendly environments. The other thing is teaching your intuition how to be better by being intuitive, instead of by trying to teach it the way that you would teach logical concrete processes. So that sort of like, step one, step two, step three. Most intuitives learn by doing. And then by figuring out how they, either how they did it wrong or how they did it right. Or finding the little extra skill that’s really like a good addition to their tool belt. But most intuitives do not get better by learning a process that they follow because the process itself has to be subconscious.

So knowing that, like we always talk about ads when we’re teaching an ads for intuitive authors class, where like you cannot learn the system by being told about the system, you have to experience the system in order to be able to learn it. And so just knowing that there’s so much about intuition that is taught and honed by failure and success. So having a really friendly relationship with failure and success, I think is super important for intuitives.

Jo: Mm. I think that’s super important for authors in general, I think, being accepting of failure and understanding that. So when it comes to ads, so I was thinking about this a little bit about the marketing and ads and that, in your book, and so if you were more, maybe systemic intuitive, would that benefit you more with mm-hmm ads, or with certain aspects of marketing than maybe one of the other intuitives.

Becca: Yeah. Like I would say the easiest intuition for advertising is definitely that systemic intuition. Because you have a sense naturally for how systems are supposed to function and you have that intuition of how to anticipate what a system is gonna do and what the outcome is gonna produce. So it doesn’t take very much iteration for systemic intuitives to be like, oh, okay, if I do that and that, then this is gonna happen, and then that variable changes up here. It’s almost like they have the sense if you could physically see the system in their head, where they’re entering the Facebook ads system for instance, mm-hmm and they’re like, okay, these people do this. And those people do that. And this target works this way and that, and that means all of that data together and the system means I should make this decision when I turn ads on and off, or when my cost per click reaches this place or whatever. There isn’t always something that they need to be taught. It’s often something that they learned from existing inside the system. And so that level of intuition though, and Crystal, who teaches our intuitive aspect, she is this way and she could not teach you until she saw what you did. And then she could be like, oh, you think this is happening? No, it’s this. So she’d be able to like correct their behavior, but she couldn’t give them the process because it was so deeply embedded in her intuition that she couldn’t call it out. But as soon as she could see their behavior, she was like, oh, do this instead. Or, ask them the right question. Cuz that ability to see systems internally and intuit their behavior has allowed her to understand the ecosystem of Facebook ads or AMS ads or Bookbub ads in a way that like I cannot.

Jo: So fascinating. So fascinating. Yeah. But does that mean, so even though maybe those with systemic intuition have a little bit of that extra natural kind of ability there with, with ads and that, it can still be learnt to a decent degree, with the other intuitives or even with the non intuitives?

Becca: Sometimes it can’t, right? And that, that’s why we have that class is that the goal at the end of the class is to say, okay, do you feel comfortable enough in this system to continue doing it, like to continue running ads? Or, so we have like three choices at the end of the class and you have to talk with Crystal about what your decision is gonna be if you’re gonna participate. It’s do I wanna keep running ads full board and just keep spending and learning? Do I want to get support where I either find a coach or find an author friend who’s gonna help me to understand the pieces that I don’t know? Cuz of course like if you think about the process of running ads as a whole, it’s like 40 different skills that you have to be good at and nobody teaches you that part, but all these different skills you have to be good at. It’s just like, okay, jump in and learn the system. Well, Let’s think about like, can I actually read signals from pictures? Like, am I capable of doing that? So we try to break it down into skills and then say, if you’re not good at this, you need to find support with it if you’re gonna keep going on your own. And then the third option is I don’t run at. Right now. Oh yeah. So I either decide not to run them forever, which I don’t know if we’ve ever had anybody say, like I will never, ever for the rest of time run ads. But we have had people say like, I’m not in a place where ads are gonna do me any good right now. I don’t have the time to learn the system. This is not like, there is no ads class that’s going to help me cuz they’ve always taken them all. Everybody who comes into this class. And so I’m gonna decide not to run ads for right now. And then they talk about what the criteria will be for them to start trying again. Because the goal is to say your intuition is leading you in a direction. Let’s test it and figure out if it’s right, and then if it is, you’ve gotta listen to it. And if your intuition is saying, ads are not for me, I’m gonna find another way. To get discovery or I’m gonna wait until my platform is mature enough to return a larger investment. Then those are reasonable marketing decisions to make as a business owner. And I feel like nobody says that, they’re always like, oh, you have to do a hundred things. And I’m like, oh, but do you? Cause no, I don’t think you do.

Jo: So one of the other things that I really loved about your book is it almost gave you permission to listen to your intuition. Like, I love Instagram. Love Instagram. When I started this podcast, I was encouraged by one of my mentors like I absolutely had to have a Facebook group and, and I, and I’m on Facebook. It’s, it’s fine. But something about the idea of having to have a Facebook group. Everything in me is just like, oh no, that doesn’t sit right. And I’ve really been struggling with it despite loving social media. And so when I was reading your book and I’m like, maybe that’s just my intuition screaming at me, that’s not, for me. That’s just energy spent in a direction that I’m not supposed to be spending it. And so I thought that was really cool. Just your emphasis that you had about following your intuition and not everybody’s path is exactly the same.

Becca: Yeah. Yeah. Like the unfortunate thing about this industry is that there’s no such thing as best practice. Mmm. Like everyone wants to think that there is cuz it feels like, oh, it’s a business. There should be best practice. Nope, it is so individualized. And again, we’re all very different, and those differences matter in every decision we make. What that means is, let’s just take the Facebook group as an example, there are so many people who are running Facebook groups who get no traction. Don’t get posting, who it drains them to be on Facebook. Right? So when you’re making a decision, that’s based on all of that data, it’s like that talks back to the logic that says, this is absolutely what you have to do a hundred percent. Does that mean that the logic is faulty? No, it might be great logic for a hundred other people, but even if it is great logic for a hundred other people, and it doesn’t work for you, I would rather see you not spend your time in a direction that your intuition is saying red flag do not do because there’s other places where your energy’s gonna return better, and we want your intuition to be pushing you in that direction instead. And not making things harder than they have to be. I guess if that makes sense?

Jo: Yeah, it absolutely does. It sounds to me that’s pretty much in a sense what your whole, Better Faster Academy is really about is about making things easier because it’s focusing on a person as an individual and their right author career path as an individual, utilizing their strengths, not the strengths of somebody else. And so I know in your book too, you talked a bit about how some people do work best by having their entire plot scripted out, and others do not. And some work best by editing as they go, and others do not. And all this information that we’re getting all the time that, oh, no, you have to write every day, and you have to not edit until the very end. And particularly as new authors, I think we are really susceptible to all that information coming at us that it’s, I, I think it’s really lovely, that through all the work that you do in your books and that you’re pretty much giving us permission to create our own paths and, and mm-hmm . Yeah. Which is really cool.

Becca: What no one will talk about because nobody likes to admit this, but what no one will talk about is that there generally is not success on the path taken. Like on the path where you’re following what everyone else is doing, it’s very, very rare. Like incredibly, extremely rare to have success on someone else’s path. So rare that, I mean, and we see it, I won’t get into all the places where we see it, but we see it a lot in the author, in the author community where, and I just don’t know if people know this, but like I coach enough people by volume, thousands, thousands of people where I can say with a hundred percent certainty, a hundred percent certainty, that writing 12 books a year does not make you money.

There are just as many people who are writing 12 books a year who are not making money percentage wise, mm-hmm , as there are people who are writing two books a year who are not making money, the percentages are about, who’s not making money and not about what the path is, that’s the right direction. And what bugs me a little bit about when we talk about like, oh, how did you get so successful? Is people focus so much on what they did. Like they focus on their tactics or their strategy. Strategy is not better. Tactics are not better. There’s no such thing as best practice. It’s a hundred percent about what is aligned for me. What’s gonna make me be the best version of myself. Cause if you have someone who should be writing two books a year, writing 12 books a year, or someone who should be writing 12, trying to write two, neither one of those are gonna be success paths for that person. Your best success is a hundred percent of the time gonna come from you doing what only you can do. Mm. Because you trying to do what everyone else is doing is always gonna be unfruitful. And it feels like the, the thing we don’t talk about when it comes to the study of success, is just how hard it is to find the success that you’re looking for. And so if I am unhappy on the journey, and unhappy with the results, and unhappy in every single area of my life, finding money at the end of that road is not gonna make me happy. There is no money at the end of the road, by the way. But also it’s not gonna make me happy that I did all of this stuff.

There is a very, very small minority of people, about 16% of people, personality wise, who really love pain and they love suffering for what they do. And they love working so hard that their fingers bleed and that kind of thing. That is the exception to the rule that I’m talking about. In terms of like, you don’t have to work against yourself in order to be able to be successful in that way. Like, there are ways that, if we can find the ways to let everything that’s gonna happen happen, like go with the intuition, let yourself make intuitive decision, correct word necessary, like engage in the essential pain where you have to. But don’t make your whole life miserable in everything about you and your experience and your journey. Miserable thinking: if I just do this success path that everybody says is the way to go, then I’m gonna magically be happy. And I’m like, no, I could tell you you won’t, because I’ve seen that path, and I’ve seen where it leads and no one is happy with. Like no one, except again, the 16% of people who are killing themselves, which is fine. They love it. Go ahead and do that if that’s you, but it’s not everyone.

Jo: Oh, I absolutely love that. You had a quote in your book that just totally resonated with everything you’re just saying now. And just resonates with me.

“The less, I want to do something for any particular reason. The less likely I am to be wildly successful with it.”

Yep. And I, I totally agree. And of all the different careers or passions or anything we could go after, if you’re going to choose writing, you might as well enjoy it. You know, it just, it just doesn’t make sense to do something that’s not bringing you joy.

Becca: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Especially if you’re an intuitive, because the intuitive journey by nature is one that leads me to what I should be doing. And when I’m in that, on those steps and going in the direction I’m supposed to be going, it’s always better to be on that path than it is to try to be on the path that somebody else thinks that I should take because the fulfillment of me doing what I’m here to do. Like what is my joy or my work or my gift or whatever it is that lights you up to use, whatever word you like to use. Whatever you’re here to do, if you don’t do that thing, nobody will. And so that piece in my, like from an exterior perspective, looking down on the bigger body, I guess, of the industry. We need everyone to just be themselves and to do what they’re here to do, because the way to success is not, not on the path that everyone thinks it is on. And again, it’s not about don’t follow any one particular tactic it’s is that your way? Does that light you up? Do you get excited about that? Is that something that you just can’t wait to do? Cause you’re and, and the quote you read, you’re much more likely to be successful at it, if it also lights you up and makes you fulfilled. And that’s kind of the research that Gallup has been doing for forever is just about how much more likely are you to be engaged in your job, to be good at what you do, to be successful in the long term in your career, if you are aligned in what you’re supposed to be doing? It’s like 6.5 times more likely to 6.5 to seven times more likely. So 650 to 700% more likely if you’re doing what you are lit up to do. Like it’s just, it’s insane how much of a difference it makes.

Jo: That is so cool. Then with everything you’ve said, and you’ve already just given so much advice, but for somebody that’s maybe, cuz they have quite a few listeners who are just beginning on the author journey or just looking at putting out their first book or writing their first book or onto their second or whatnot, what would be your key advice that you would give them or direction that you would send them in to set themselves up?

Becca: I would say don’t be afraid of failure. Like don’t be afraid of taking a chance and taking a risk and failing. Cause sometimes the only way to learn, whatever you have to learn, is to fail at it. So I always say in the race, like if we’re talking about like our author life is a race, mm-hmm , whatever race you have to run there are a certain number of hurdles that are on your path, period. It can take you 15 years to get to the first hurdle and get over it because you’re so afraid of failure that you won’t take the jump and do the thing, but you can’t keep yourself from having to learn that lesson by just not jumping. So there’s no way to remove the hurdles without jumping over them. They, they are there to be jumped over. And I always think if we can think of them as hurdles, instead of as like failure, like in terms of, you know, the big red marker that F. Grade or whatever, you know, depending on how you think about it. If we can instead think of them as the opportunity to learn the thing I need to learn in order to get farther down. Like I did this panel once where it was me, and I had done 65 books at the time, and then somebody who’d done 85, and someone who was almost ready to do a hundred, and we’re all like USA today, bestseller, whatever. And somebody asked, what is the one thing that you wish you had done earlier in your career? And all of us were like, Just get after it faster. Like get after my getting over my fear faster, because it didn’t actually help to wait. It only made it worse to wait cuz the lesson was there to be learned regardless of whether I wanted to learn it or not. The only way to not fail is to not play. Like, and that’s kind of the core of the author journey, right? And that’s why I use the metaphor of the hurdles, cuz I think if we can think of them as it’s just something you gotta get past, you’ll feel better when you get past it, and when you learn whatever lessons yours to learn. Like I released a book that was so awful in terms of, it just was such a big failure for me and I thought it was gonna be so great. Like, I really thought it was gonna be the next big thing. Right? And then when I released it and it did nothing, and I had that feeling of like, okay, now I know what that feels like. Now I know I have the skills to handle that thing. Whereas like, on the other side, the reason it took me so long to release it was because I was afraid that I didn’t have what it took to do it. And I always feel like if this is your path to run, you have what it takes to do it. Like you have to know, and this is an intuitive thing, right? You have to know that you either will acquire the skills by jumping the hurdles and learning from the failures, quote, unquote, or you already have the skills to do it. You already know that you can be supported or there’s something that will lead you to the place you need to be. Like, do you need to learn, for instance, the, this like super core, first thing, uh, first author, all books that sell well, get one star reviews. That is a truism. Just period. Look at my books. Lots of them. Like one stars. My first one star review is a champagne moment. I’m always like, there we go on the way to selling so excited. Whereas like my friend Terry tells this story a lot now: my very first two star review, this is almost embarrassing, cause I , I argued with a reviewer on Amazon, back when you could argue with reviewers in the comments on Amazon, under their review for 24 pages of comments, trying to convince them that their two star review was wrong because I couldn’t let myself fail quote, unquote, getting a two star review. Yeah, but when I heard Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, gave a presentation at a conference once, and she was like, if I ever see a book with no one star reviews I always know that it hasn’t sold very widely. Because it is only selling to people who are fans of it. Right? So every time I look at one of my like later nonfiction books, it doesn’t have any critical reviews. I’m like, oh, come on, like, let’s get, let’s get to the wider place where you’re starting to get the negative reviews. But that attitude has come because I publish 65, you know, 68 novels and then six nonfiction books. Right? So like that is a hard thought. But if I could change one thing at the very beginning, it would be, I wanna get along that path quicker because those hurdles are gonna be in front of me no matter what. And I just wanna jump over them because I know that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Like getting that two star review. And I got like lambasted by people for that book. And it was not as bad as I thought it was gonna be. And I care what people think about. Mm. So just knowing that, whatever it is that you’re afraid of, I promise is not gonna be as bad as you think it’s gonna be. And if it is, then we need therapy, and not action, right? Because if I’m feeling terror, like fight or flight terror at the thought of getting a negative review, then that’s, I’m not gonna be okay if I get a negative review, but then I wanna go and handle the fear so that I can acquire the skills to be the person who can get that review, because what’s never gonna happen is I’m gonna release a book and no one’s gonna dislike. Not possible. Yeah. Right? And again, I use that hurdles metaphor, cuz I feel like, just think of it as it’s just something I gotta jump over. It’s just something I gotta jump over. And then it doesn’t become this big, scary, crazy thing, it’s just another like blip in the road. It’ll be smooth sailing after that. It’ll be okay.

Jo: That is awesome. That’s just the best pep talk, I think. All all authors, oh, good, need to hear. That’s fantastic. I love that. I love that. Totally love it. And it’s always so good too, to hear from somebody who’s been in the industry for so long: mistakes, you know. I think we all know now we don’t argue with reviewers.

Becca: I’d like to go back and tell 2012 Becca that right? And be like, girl, just, she’s fine, let her hate it.

Jo: But what is awesome about that is that you are still here, you survived that, you made that mistake, but you’re still here. You’re still doing incredibly well. And you know, we can all learn from that. So yeah. We’ve gotta get comfortable with that discomfort, and making those mistakes and moving through it. That is so cool. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Now I know there are gonna be so many listeners who are going to want to connect to you, if they’re not already connected to you in some way, after this, how can people reach out to you or find you?

Becca: The best place is the YouTube channel, cuz that is where like, you know, we just produce so much content there, and we have a lot of very topically friendly things like we have a series on burnout and one on writer’s block. We have one on why and why books not selling. Right? Like we, we try to answer all the questions that authors are asking. There’s a couple of different intuitive series that have been coalesced into like one really long, intuitive. So if that content was helpful, I would definitely go look at the YouTube channel and then everything from, like everything from there, you can find the right direction to go in. And again, this is my, like my spiritual sort of the spiritual intuition in terms of the intuitive types. Right? I have seen that when people are on the path and it’s their time to find our stuff, they find it. So like, I’m, I’m convinced that if you check out the YouTube and it’s nothing, that’s for you and it does not resonate, then we bless you on your way and you’re fine. You can go whatever way you want. But if it is for you, you will resonate and you’ll find the stuff that you need to find. And then there will be information about how to go deeper from there. But I always encourage people to go to the YouTube channel because you get to spend a lot of time deciding whether or not you resonate with what we’re talking about. And then if you do, you’re welcome to hang out with us and do whatever you want. But yeah, the YouTube channel, the Q U I T Quitcast is the name of the channel.

Jo: Awesome. And you have some phenomenal courses and that, too, in you’re Better, Faster Academy too, don’t you? Cause I’ve, I’ve been looking at those for quite a while now going, Ooh, okay. When can I join? Get on board there. Yeah.

Becca: Yeah. We have some really fun and, and it’s always funny the Better-Faster name, right? People are like, oh, but what if I don’t need to write faster? And I’m like, it’s hyphenated. Better-faster’s hyphenated. And I have to like recognize that it’s not intuitive, that people would know that. But the hyphenated Better-Faster is about where is the place for you, where you are gonna get the best, the quickest? And then how do we keep you in that space so that we can minimize as much friction as possible in your career and help you to have more success, like both to feel more successful mm-hmm, cause that’s important and also to have more success and so better, faster hyphen is like, if you’ve ever heard of superbetter. I always say like, how superbetter is one word. I should have made Better-Faster one word, but it was like, you know, whatever. 2012, I was not the world’s smartest person back then. So Better-Faster Academy. Yeah.

Jo: Ah, wonderful. Well, it has been such a pleasure talking with you and learning from you today. It has been such a joy. Thank you so much.

Becca: Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you for having me. This was so much fun, such great questions, and it was so lovely to be here.

Jo: Aww, thank you.

So here are some takeaways from today’s episode.

1. Intuition is when you know things without necessarily knowing how you know them. And that’s not as woo woo as you think. It’s all about making connections between different data points subconsciously. You come into your strength as a writer when you grow to trust your intuition.

2. Becca has narrowed down five different types of intuition all with different strengths for different aspects of an author career. There is social, spatial, spiritual, intellectual, and systemic intuition. We may have some or we may have none, but either way, there is no evidence to really suggest that the more intuitive you are the more successful you’ll be. However, your intuition, when followed, can help align your author career with your strengths better. Making aspects potentially easier and you happier.

3. Grow your trust in your intuition by putting yourself in intuitive, friendly environments where you’re encouraged to trust your intuition, even if it goes against the status quo. For example, it might be that your intuition is saying ad’s aren’t for you, for right now. Maybe it’s an aspect of your career that you need to delegate to someone else. Or maybe for the moment, your energy is better spent elsewhere, or the timing or the platform isn’t right. But remember, you don’t have to do all the things just because someone else says you should. Trust your intuition.

4. There’s no such thing as best practice, not in the Indie world. Your author career should be built on your strengths as an individual. What works for one person may not work for you. So when you push against your intuition, you make things harder than they need to be. Success is not found on someone else’s path. Your success is going to come from doing what only you can do.

5. If a particular path or tactic along your author journey, lights you up and gets you excited, do it! You’re much more likely to be successful at it when you use your strengths and follow your intuition, and you’re in alignment with what you’re doing. You’re 6.5 to seven times more likely going to be successful at it.

6. Don’t be afraid of taking a chance, taking a risk and failing. You can’t avoid failure as an author. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow and progress further on your author path. So fail faster. Don’t hold back. Get out there and do what you’ve got to do. The only way to not fail is not to play and that’s not your path, right?

7. Celebrate those one star reviews. I’ve said this before and Becca reiterated it. All books that sell well have bad reviews. That’s inevitable. From the perspective of having a bigger audience and your books selling well, you want those odd shitty reviews. They’re never as bad as they seem.

 So chatting with Becca was just the pep talk I needed. And I’m hoping it was for you too. I honestly recommend you go check out her latest book, Dear Writer, Are You Intuitive? It’ll get you rethinking everything you’ve been told about the right way to plan, write, edit and do ads. It’s honestly liberating. I also highly recommend, if you haven’t yet, invest in finding out your Gallup Strengths. They can really help you get in alignment with who you are as an author. You can even check out Becca’s Better-Faster Academy for coaching and courses in this area. And of course remember to check out her YouTube channel. You’ll find all the links in the show notes.

Another reminder to check out the link in the show notes to find out more about INDIEpendence Month. I’d love to hear what you thought about this episode, so make sure you reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram @jobuerauthor. And I’d be interested to know what’s your thoughts on me having an Alchemy for Authors Facebook Group?

I hope you have an amazing week, my friends, and happy writing!