100 days of self-brainwashing: Day 1, Ted Talks

I’m in Cabo, y’all! Having a grand time – here’s the proof:


After the miserable Melbourne winter, the heat and the sun are doing wonders for my well-being, and I have even started writing again. It’s easy to do when you have all day to do what you want:

I wrote 1,600 words on the first day. I was elated. Then the next day I wrote 900, the day after it was 600, yesterday it was 260, and today I have written nada, if you don’t count this post. Why, do you ask?

I thought I was lazy at first. Too much sun, food, tequila, you name it. Everyone else around me moving at a snail’s pace. Wanting to savor every moment, as if the ocean would cease to exist the moment I stopped staring at it. All very good reasons, except in the back of my mind I knew it was more about the uphill battle of publishing this third book. It was more about knowing that I have not yet made back my investment into the first two, about how hard I will have to work to sell each copy, to get reviews, and above all to keep going against the grim odds. I could very easily just relax, keep working on my career, which is going gangbusters, and let this little dream die a quiet death, like the one in which I was going to be an actress (four years, forty roles, whole of career earnings: $2,000).

The only problem is, without a big, ridiculous dream, I feel like something is missing. I’ve been miserable for the past few months, partly due to that miserable weather I’ve mentioned earlier, and partly because I got myself locked into a routine of going to work, giving it my all, then coming home to collapse and recover just enough to put in another day. Sounds familiar? Where’s Ana from ten years ago, the one that went to Australia on a tourist visa, convinced against all odds that she was going to get a job and a work visa sponsor? The one that signed up for triathlons and kiteboarding and could run 10K every day? The one that was abused so badly by her manager, she decided to become a manager herself? The one that thought “I can write a book, start a blog, and publish against those very glum odds”?

That fit, excited, and energetic Ana had not only the big goals in mind, she truly believed that she could accomplish them. And after some pondering this morning, I’d realized that I started it all with self-brainwashing. I was living in the US at the time, and I was miserable. The weather was great in Florida, I can’t blame it, but my first marriage was hell, and I was caught in a corporate hamster wheel of produce-get promoted-produce some more. Then something miraculous happened. The terrible first husband insisted that we move out to the boonies, where he could safely smoke dope and shoot deer out the window. That’s not the miraculous part, by the way. The move resulted in two major changes: we couldn’t get cable TV and I had to commute almost an hour each way to my corporate hamster job. I was bored at home, and I was bored driving. So I started reading and listening to audiobooks in the car. For some miraculous reason, the local library had the entire Tony Robbins audio collection and after a few hours of Tony insisting that I could do whatever it was I wanted to do, I was hooked. At the time I thought all I wanted was more money, as if that could fix my terrible, terrible marriage, so I kept reading and listening, and reading some more. I got hooked on psychology, motivation, self-help, and anything that promised to grow my mind. After a few months of that self-brainwashing, I realised that I didn’t want more money. What I wanted was to leave – my terrible husband, my hamster job, and unfortunately the US. It was a huge gamble, but it has paid massive dividends since.

So that’s what I’m going to do again. Brainwash myself again. I have started today by listening to a few TED talks, because I could still stare at the blue ocean while various successful people told me that I could do it, whatever it was. This was my favourite one:

It’s also the one from which I stole the idea of challenging myself for 100 consecutive days. It’s too early to tell, but hey, this blog post is 775 words, which is a whole lot better than yesterday. I’ll come up with something else tomorrow and see what happens.



Filed under 100 days of self-brainwashing

23 responses to “100 days of self-brainwashing: Day 1, Ted Talks

  1. It is soooo easy to psych yourself out the way you describe. Glad you’re counter-programming yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Missed hearing from you! 🙂 Enjoy your time in Cabo. Rest, relax, you’ll be ready to start writing again when you it is time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Olivia Lynch

    If anyone can do it, you can, Ana. I’ve always been amazed by your accomplishments and enthusiasm for everything in your life. After you write the 3rd book start writing on the other book that isn’t part of the Isa series or just do that one .It might get the old juices flowing having to think in a different genre. I have no doubt that you will get the book written. Remember you don’t have to write everyday but maybe twice a week. The book will still get written. So Tony’s books are helpful. I need to check them out I heard him speak a long time ago. I need some motivation after my heart surgery. Hope your vacation totally refreshes you. Enjoy and remember how far you have come in your life. Write a book about that. I’d read it. It’s always good to stop and smell the roses, it’s what makes the world go round.Enjoy Cabo! Wish I were there on the beach. (heavy sigh). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Olivia! Thank you so much. Funny, it’s only day 1 and my brain has reactivated, I’m having all these crazy/brilliant ideas, like career changes and retiring early plans. Loving it 🙂 the ultimate goal is not even writing as much as loving life every day. Let’s see if I can get there. Xxx


    • Hope you are recovering well after your surgery?


      • Olivia Lynch

        So far I’m doing good but I need to hit the one year mark. Still having small episodes, hoping they’ll resolve without a second surgery. I’m glad your brain is reactivating especially on day 1.Retiring early and loving life sounds wonderful and something you can achieve. No job is worth your heart and soul. Only if you really love what your doing is deep dedication worth it. Writing is just one of your accomplishments, you have so many already. I think that loving life everyday is the most important one. Once it’s over we can’t get it back. Love where your at in life and love where you going. It’s the one thing we can control, our attitude. You’ve got it in spades! Have a drink with a tiny umbrella in it for me. Thanks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had two margaritas last night, does that count? 😉 glad to hear you’re doing better. I’m about to hit one year mark on my surgery and just lately noticed that my scar started to fade. The body keeps quietly working away on remaking you.


  4. Shana Gorian

    Love hearing your stories, Ana. Please do keep going. You are an inspiration to us all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Shana! This is the beautiful part of committing publicly to do something – that’s how I completed the first book, by starting this blog and promising everybody I will write and publish it. Hope something awesome comes out of this pledge 🙂


  5. I truly admire your commitment, especially to the marketing. The writing’s a compulsion I can’t do without but the marketing is a grind. I say to myself there are three joys: writing, having readers, actually making a buck. I’ve had the first (the greatest) all my life, the second to a lesser extent. Still working on the third. Stick at it and you’ll get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Curtis! I feel your pain, while I persist in marketing, I technically haven’t made a buck, considering how much I’ve spent on editing. I’ve learn d so much though, I consider that a writing course. Will persist, that’s definitely the key.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah you for making yourself get back into the game. I’ve been there! I’m pulling for you. Keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Ana! What an absolutely wonderful and joyful post! You make me use up a whole year’s supply of exclamation points!!!


  8. I hear what you’re saying, and have been in that place myself for most of this year. It’s not a good place, but your post was just the medicine I needed. And I loved the video…he’s very funny and wise. All the best with recapturing your writing mojo.


    • Thank you Sarah! I had a tragedy since that post (my father died) followed by a request from a major publisher for the full manuscript review. Life tests you all the time.


      • Dear Ana, I’m so sorry about your father. Life does seem to delight in taking we humans on wildly emotional roller coaster rides at times. I’m so pleased about your full manuscript request, but for it to come on the back of your father’s death, must have heavily dampened your desire to dance about in celebration that a major publisher is showing an interest in your work. My fingers are tightly crossed for you.


      • Thank you Sarah. I’m dump in general, can’t even post anything on the blog. Looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, though, I need some normal and busy right now.


      • You’ll come out of the dump, I’m sure. I know that when I’m in a dump, doing something normal and busy is the best solution. You can’t force creativity when it doesn’t want to happen, but it will return when you least expect it.


  9. I have also watched 100 days of rejections…I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

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