Podcast Interview | Feel Good Life

Share:

Hey, boss!

More awesome news!

via GIPHY

I had a great chat with Jennifer Blanchard of The Feel-Good Life, a radio show dedicated to being an unconventional guide to creating the life of your dreams. In this interview, we talk about designing a creative life that feels good and how to walk away from anything that doesn’t.

Have a listen!

I also included a transcription of the podcast below, for those who prefer to skim + read.

Enjoy!

 


 

Introduction:

The topics and opinions expressed on the following show are solely those of the hosts and their guests and not those of W4WN radio, its employees or affiliates. We make no recommendations or endorsements for radio show programs, services or products mentioned on air or on our web. No liability, explicit or implied, shall be extended to W4WN radio, its employees or affiliates. Any questions or comments should be directed to those show hosts. Thank you for choosing W4WN radio.

Feeling good isn’t something we’re taught but it is something we can learn. The truth is it’s your birthright to feel good and feeling good is not only the point of everything you desire and dream of but it’s also the path to get you there. And I’m going to show you how. This is The Feel-Good Life, an unconventional guide to living the life of your dreams with your host Jennifer.

Hey, everybody and welcome to this week’s episode of the feel-good life. I am Jennifer and I’m super excited for you to be here today with us. I’m really excited for today’s episode. Today’s topic is something that is kind of a challenge for most people and I think especially myself. It’s something that we don’t necessarily really tell ourselves that we’re actually allowed to do which is walk away from things that aren’t serving us anymore.

And so, I’m just really excited about today’s conversation and with our guest today. So, let’s just dive right in and get started. So, my guest today is Boyce. She’s known for action-packed epic fantasy, powerful heroes and riveting magical stories filled with twists and intrigue and, of course, a bit of humor sprinkled through it all. Pick up your Kindle and get lost in the journey. So, welcome, Boyce.

 

Boyce:

Hi, thank you. I’m so excited to be here.

 

Jennifer:

I’m so excited to have you here. So, before we get into our conversation topic, I would love for you to just tell everybody a little bit more about yourself and just your journey and how you got to where you are right now.

 

Boyce:

Okay. Is that all?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, that’s all.

 

Boyce:

Let me try to get a two-sentence version of that. I am a fantasy novelist. I’m a multi-passionate creator. So, I have a lot of different hobbies, a lot of different passions, a lot of different things I spend my time on. I write fantasy novels. I’ve been doing that—I’m one of those aliens who has known her whole life what she wants to do. And so, even in those moments where I tried to like fight it and be like no, you don’t want to be a writer, that’s not a real job, you want to be a lawyer, I always came back to writing.

It’s just something that I’ve always loved to do, to read and specifically fantasy and magic. But I have random other hobbies like I make jewelry. I don’t do it maybe very well but I like it. It’s fun. And so, wire wrapping, beading, that kind of thing. I love dogs. And what was the other part of the question?

 

Jennifer:

Oh, just a little bit about your journey to. Yeah.

 

Boyce:

Oh, okay. I mean I have done a little bit of what feels like everything. I went to school for creative writing and marketing in a dual degree because even in in college, I was convinced that the creative writing would be the fun hobby and then the marketing would be how I actually made money. And now through the course of the years, I was a software tester. I sold jewelry at Zales. I was an a resident assistant and a leasing agent at a campus dorm, like an off-campus dorm, an apartment complex. I’ve just done a little bit of everything.

But I think that’s really common for writers because the more we do and the more we push our comfort zones, the more we discover about life and people and the more we discover about life and people, the more realistic and just intriguing and in-depth and raw we can make our stories. And the more you feel connected to a writer’s stories, I think the better job he or she does in her writing or his writing.

 

Jennifer:

I love that and I agree. Like I think especially if you’re a multi-passionate writer like we are, you’re going to find yourself doing a lot of different things and sometimes you’re just doing it for fun like jewelry making which I also used to do too.

 

Boyce:

Oh, yeah?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. But sometimes you do it for something you actually want to pursue as a career. So, I would love to kind of—

 

Boyce:

And actually—

 

Jennifer:

Oh, sorry.

 

Boyce:

Well, on that note, I think it’s so tempting to feel like if you have a hobby, you have to do something with it. Like with the jewelry, I actually tried to build a jewelry line at one point because yeah, it’s fun. But I have like 200 plus bracelets and I’m not going to wear all of those. I was like what do you do when you can make like 12 bracelets in an evening? What are you going to do with that? But I think it’s really important that we allow ourselves to just have hobbies and not have to make everything have like significance and purpose. Sometimes its main purpose is to make you happy and that is valid too.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, that’s a great point. And also, the fact that just because you do something and you really enjoy it doesn’t mean you have to make money from it.

 

Boyce:

Exactly, yeah.

 

Jennifer:

Because that’s a challenge too I think for people who are creative and like you were saying, you have 200 bracelets, I have a table full of reclaimed wood surfing boards that I made last year. Like I have no clue what I’m going to do with them.

 

Boyce:

Presents for everyone in your life forever.

 

Jennifer:

Right? That was Christmas gifts last year. Everybody got a nice little surfing board.

 

Boyce:

I’m going to start giving all the men in my life bracelets too. It’s just like no, this is your life now. This is what you get.

 

Jennifer:

Well, you know what? Maybe you can give the bracelets away with your books or something one day.

 

Boyce:

I was actually—this is kind of still a little bit of a secret but I’m about ready to announce it. I am launching a Patreon called The Boyce Family Patreon and there is a tier in there where I send you something every month in the mail because I love getting stuff in the mail. I think it’s so much fun and I wanted to really bring that excitement into the Patreon and I was thinking like well, I have a lot of bracelets. If you don’t like it, give it as a gift. You know? I won’t be offended if you regift it.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, exactly. I mean it may be the perfect gift for someone you know too.

 

Boyce:

Exactly. And these are like gemstones. I really only like to work with genuine gemstones because I like the way they feel. And so, these are actually very, very expensive pieces. They cost me quite a lot to even just create like the material or get the materials for them.

 

Jennifer:

Well, then there you go. That is something really valuable to be giving away when you have people subscribing to that tier.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, yeah.

 

Jennifer:

Awesome. So, all right, the first thing I wanted to ask you about was how did you transition from all of those other like side jobs, day jobs, things you were doing to writing full-time? Because I think that’s one of the things a lot of writers want to do and a lot of creative people want to do but it’s like how do you make that leap, how do you actually do it.

 

Boyce:

There’s no answer for everyone and I know that’s a really annoying response that a lot of people listening to this are like you cheaped out. But the reality is you have to think about the way you want to make your process work because when I did it, I took on immense risk and not everyone feels as comfortable with doing that and not everyone needs to do it that way.

When I graduated college, I’m a classically trained writer so we learned that traditional publishing is the only way to publish and back in 2010 when I got my degree, self-publishing was just taking off. But a lot of traditional authors were really like yeah, that’s a fad. It’s not… But it was really seen as like a death sentence. But the more I researched it, the more I realized I don’t have to be content with 15% and giving half of that to an agent. That doesn’t have to be my life.

Well, with the Amazon, I keep 70% and with a lot of other self-published channels, I keep between 40% and 65%. So, when I really started to look at the business side of it, I had a chance to step into the entrepreneurial mindset and the thing is as an entrepreneur, you have to take on risk. You have to be okay with wearing a lot of hats, doing a lot of jobs, spreading yourself kind of thin sometimes especially in the beginning and making mistakes as you go.

And I forget where I heard this but I love this quote. “Successful people enjoy making mistakes because every mistake they make gets them closer to success and it teaches them something that they can grow from.”

Oh, wow, sorry. Where’s my phone?

 

Jennifer:

Live radio.

 

Boyce:

The joys of live radio, y’all. Sorry. That was a little loud. In fairness, my phone is on silent so that was really just an alarm. So, when I started out and I really stepped into this entrepreneurial mindset, I had a day job. I was a software tester because one of my other skills is breaking software and I’m really good at it. So, while I was a software tester and actually moving up the ranks, I progressed to a lead QA, quality assurance. I just wasn’t happy and I really had to face the reality of that, that I could do this well but it did not make me happy.

So, I had a choice. Do I sit with the stable paycheck and not take this chance to do something crazy and beautiful and creative and fun and fulfilling? Or I’ve already forgotten the way to word that. But basically it’s like take the risk or don’t. And the thing with being an entrepreneur is stability comes from within you; you can’t rely on anyone else for that. So, you have to trust yourself at that point to adapt and overcome. Your ability to adapt, that is your stability, that is your strong suit, that is your security. So, it took me several years to learn that and I had my full-time job as a QA tester.

I have run a couple different companies but I had that job until 2014 and on January 31st, 2014, that was my last day as an employee and how I got there was basically just I didn’t have a personal life. Getting to that point, I started publishing in 2011 and up until 2014, I had three books published and 2014, the end of that year was when I published my fourth book. And I was doing all right but I wasn’t actually at that level where it was maybe the smartest idea to leave. I was just so unhappy that I knew that if I quit and I focused full-time on my writing, it would push me to do more. Does that make sense?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing because I’m literally sitting here nodding, listening to this. That was me in March of 2012 when I quit my job. It was like I’m freaking miserable even though I’m doing something that should be fun because I was a social media manager for a company. Like I mean I don’t know how much more fun it gets when you get to spend your day on Facebook and Instagram. And yeah, I hated my life. Like I was so just miserable and it was annoying and just frustrating. So, yeah, I’m like completely with you on all of that. Take the risk. Sometimes it’s just something you have to do.

 

Boyce:

But that risk is terrifying. And for the first year, it paid off a little but I built up debt. I built up—I lived in my parents’ basement during that time to save money. I made a lot of sacrifices in my personal life and my husband too to help me build this dream and we made those choices together. It’s not like I came home and I was like hey, honey, guess what? That’s not how a relationship works and I think that if you are in a partnership, you do really have to get on the same page because if there’s stress at home, that can so get in the way of your creativity. But he saw how miserable I was and he saw just how every day I went into the office—and this sounds so dramatic but it’s how I felt—I felt like my soul was being sucked through my nose.

 

Jennifer:

Yes.

 

Boyce:

And it was nothing to the company. Let me rephrase. It was not the company’s fault. It was not any of my co-workers’ fault. It’s just that I was not in the place where I belonged. I was not where I was meant to be and I was not doing what I was meant to do. I was trying to force myself into a little hole that I didn’t fit in and that makes you miserable no matter how stable your paycheck is. And honestly, with the whole COVID thing, we’ve seen that your paycheck is not as stable as you think when you work for a company. So, that was back then. I felt like I was walking away from stability but now that I know more about being an entrepreneur, I realize I just took that power back into my own hands.

 

Jennifer:

Absolutely.

 

Boyce:

Now if I were to go back and do it knowing what I know now, oh my God, I would do things so much differently. But hindsight’s 20/20. Now if I were to give advice to somebody who’s thinking about stepping away from a day job and going into writing, you have like what you should do and then you have what is your intuition to do. What does your intuition tell you to do? Kind of the boundaries of like what I would recommend people do is have 6 to 12 months’ savings because with writing, it’s something you really need to remember even if you go self-publishing and even if you do everything perfectly and your first book launches to like five grand a month and you’re like oh my God, this is everything I wanted, you got a 90-day delay before you get paid.

 

Jennifer:

Oh, right.

 

Boyce:

And I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not like somebody buys my book on Amazon and Amazon’s like here’s your special publishing account, you now have $2.74 added. No. They take their sweet, sweet time to tally all of that and I get it because I can’t imagine operating at the level that Amazon does and like getting everybody their paycheck at the end of the month. Like no, I just don’t think that’s realistic. But when I was first starting out and a lot of the other authors who were starting out around the same time as me, we did not realize the delay and how extensive it was.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

So, that’s something you got to remember. And you’re going to screw up. You’re going to make mistakes. A lot of authors, I would say a majority of authors launch their books to a couple hundred dollars in their first month and if you need that to be $2,000 and you didn’t do the research and connections and networking to figure out how to make that happen, there are certain steps you need to do to make sure that you are set up for success on the business side of stuff. And so, typically, what I would recommend you do is you find ways to kind of do what I did in the beginning and have some kind of income coming in to supplement your writing. And like yeah, on one hand, that is so disappointing.

I hate even recommending it because it’s draining when you like go to Starbucks or go to a day job and then you come home and you’re like okay, now I have to write. But how bad do you want it? When I wrote my first book, I had the Superman sleep schedule and I don’t know if much about that but you’re awake for 4 hours, you sleep for 30 minutes and you just repeat that. So, I would stay up all night writing and then at work, I would have naps in my car instead of lunch and I would eat at my desk. It’s not healthy. I do not recommend that anyone do it.

But it allowed me to push through and the thing is my first book needed a lot of work. I was a newbie even with that degree. I had a lot to learn still and I’ve since rewritten that book. I’ve rewritten large sections of it twice to make it like of the caliber I believe it should be. And so, sometimes you just have to make those mistakes and you have to release imperfect books and just using this time to build your back list and start to build your audience before you step away from your day job, like that is I would say the most strategic way to dive into it.

But I didn’t do that. Like I didn’t have a year of expenses saved up when I left. I just got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore. So, it really just comes down to knowing what you’re getting into, knowing why you’re doing it and really being careful with the risks you’re taking on.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. And I think also doing it in a way that feels really good to you. So, I mean sometimes like people might hear your version of what happened or your story, like here’s how I did it and you’re like I don’t recommend this. The same day with me, like I didn’t have any money saved up. I literally just quit with no plan, no clients, nothing going on, like other than I had a book out and a couple other things I was doing but that was about it.

And it really just was like I have to do this. My soul is dying a little bit more every single day. When you say something about coming out your nose, I was like yeah, that’s how I felt too. Like I literally felt like my soul was dying a little bit more every day and if I’m going to save what’s left of it, I have to get out of here.

 

Boyce:

Yeah.

 

Jennifer:

And really when I made that leap, I ended up getting supported fully by the universe. Actually within a few days of that decision and putting in the two weeks’ notice, I ended up finding out I had, which I completely had forgotten about, I had a 401k account that I set up when I had my very first job back seven years before I quit my day job and had been putting money in it. Totally forgot about it, didn’t even realize I even had the account still and then I just happened to get this statement in the mail from the company that handles the money and they were just letting me know like here’s your annual statement or whatever.

And I went oh my God, I have $12,000 that I have access to. Like this is crazy. And like you had to take a huge penalty, like tax penalty to get the money out but I still ended up with over nine grand which allowed me to quit my job feeling like okay, it’s not a ton of money but it will help me survive until I figure out what to do.

 

Boyce:

Absolutely. And what I did when I quit is I actually used by marketing degree and I set up a, not really a VA service because at that point, I had such advanced knowledge of marketing that it had kind of transcended VA work and into more business management. So, I had four clients. That was my thing. I was like I need four clients and a certain number of hours every week. I think it was twenty hours a week at $30-$40 an hour and when I have that, I will turn in my notice.

And the thing is because there wasn’t a financial fund to kind of lean back on if those clients didn’t actually like live up to their hourly commitments, there was still a lot of risk in doing that but I felt like that at least gave me some consistent income to help me do this. And you have so many skills and just everyone listening has so many skills that we don’t really value and we don’t realize we can charge for.

And like yeah, it is a little distracting to go off and basically create another business outside of your writing but sometimes just doing that can help you supplement that income without having to work really for anyone else because having a client is very different from having a boss.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. Or it should be anyway.

 

Boyce:

Well, it should be. I learned how to fire clients with that job. There was one lady. Oh my God.

 

Jennifer:

Definitely in my early days had some experiences where clients seemed like they were my boss for some reason and I didn’t have the boundaries in place yet to not make that so.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. And I think when you do that it’s important to have boundaries with when you work on your stuff too because if you are working for clients and you don’t set limits on how often you work for them or when during the day you work for them, you can be interrupted from your writing time which for me requires immersion. I just want to be lost in that world. I don’t want to be worried about someone else’s email campaign that needs to go out tomorrow.

 

Jennifer:

Right.

 

Boyce:

So, it is important to really set aside time to work for other clients if that’s what you end up doing.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. All right. So, you quit your job. You’ve been doing this writing thing. So, how many books do you have now?

 

Boyce:

So, I have multiple pen names and I have done some ghost writing. If you look at my author page on Amazon, I have 10 books listed. If you look at everything I’ve ever written, I’ve written 35 and published 32 of those. Three of those will never see my light of day.

 

Jennifer:

That’s amazing. That’s absolutely amazing. That’s absolutely amazing. And so, I wanted to ask you about one of your pen names. You had a pen name it was actually really successful and was making you a lot of money but you walked away from it. And I think most writers would say that’s fricking insane, right?

 

Boyce:

That’s crazy. Why would you do that?

 

Jennifer:

And so, I would love to hear about that because I think it to me was so inspiring when I heard it and just really empowering to realize that you don’t have to do things that don’t feel good to you period.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. And I think that walking away from that pen name, I did that because I realized finally I don’t have to do something even if it makes sense to everyone else for me to keep doing it. If it does not bring me joy, there is no point. We get this life. We don’t know what comes next. We don’t know if something comes next. We are here and realizing that there’s no certainty is liberating for me because I want to enjoy every moment as much as I can.

I surround myself with people who bring me joy, who make me happy because of that uncertainty, because I just want to live in this moment and feel as much joy as possible. So, with the pen name, it was a six-figure pen name. I feel comfortable saying that because I want people to understand that this wasn’t like a pittance, that I thought was big. Six figures was like my dream.

 

Jennifer:

That’s huge.

 

Boyce:

That’s huge.

 

Jennifer:

That’s what most authors aspire to. I want to make six figures from my books.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, from my books. And it’s funny, like most people think that I’ve just been like sitting on my thumbs because if you look at my main pen name, it’s like her books are in the multiple hundred thousands in the ranking. Like she’s not selling anything. Like well, if you only knew. I’ve been completely focused on this pen name and I wrote it in a genre that was really fun in the beginning. But the more I learned about the tropes of the genre, the more I learned about what I needed to do and how I needed to write and how often I needed to write, I was writing one to two books a month and that frequency, I don’t care who you are, it’s not sustainable.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

It’s not sustainable.

 

Jennifer:

And it can’t be that fun either.

 

Boyce:

And it was not fun.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. That’s like a lot of pressure.

 

Boyce:

It’s immense pressure.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

It doesn’t matter how much buffer you try to give yourself in terms of like well, I’m going to sit on these three books and then I’ll publish them at a month apart. No, it just doesn’t work. And I tried, I really tried to build a team to help me do that. I had amazing editors, cold writers. It got to the point where I would sit down at my desk and instead of feeling that excitement that I feel when I dive into a world that I build and I’m like what crazy shit is happening today, it’s—oh, can I cuss?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

I actually cuss like a sailor.

 

Jennifer:

Me too. I try to be more, a little more. But yeah, it’s fine.

 

Boyce:

But that’s how it feels. You sit down and you’re like let’s do this. But what was happening is I was sitting down and I was like how much do I need to write today? Okay. And then I would just do it. And sometimes I wouldn’t even really remember what I’d written because at this point in my career, a lot of it flows and I’ve honed my skill. I always have things to learn. I think that if we ever believe we don’t have anything more to learn, we’re failing ourselves and the people who read our work.

But with that, I was getting to the point where I was like I know this isn’t my best and I just don’t have the energy anymore to make it my best and that was what crushed my soul most of all. It wasn’t even that the genre was kind of losing its sparkle for me. It wasn’t even—I was connecting with these amazing readers who were reading these books, who were loving them, who were like this is inspiring. You make main characters that like little girls want to be and I want to be friends with and that was one of the great compliments I’ve ever gotten.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, that’s amazing.

 

Boyce:

And it was [inaudible]. And when I just didn’t feel like I was channeling that love anymore, I felt like I was lying not just to myself but to the readers and that’s not how I want to show up in life. That’s not how I want to show up to them. I feel a responsibility to always give them everything I have short of burning myself out.

 

Jennifer:

Right.

 

Boyce:

And at that point, I was just so burned out and unhappy. And so, I had a real sit down with myself. It was agonizing. I think I sat on that for like a good three or four weeks. It was like a solid months of self-reflection, debate because I had all these editors who were on salary and the only work I had for them was at that super-fast pace for the pen name. Transitioning to my stuff, it’s just slower because epic fantasy is so intricate and so involved and complex and I’m just not going to write two books a month for them to read.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

That’s just not going to happen. And so, there was this real weight and this real heaviness because it wasn’t even just me stepping away from something that didn’t bring me joy anymore. It was okay, well, now these people who were relying on a paycheck from me are going to be out of a job and I felt like shit. I think that part might have been even more heartbreaking for me then realizing that I wasn’t doing what I loved anymore.

But I really looked at this and I looked at like if I’m not really showing up to this, sales are going to go down, readership’s going to go down. If I don’t acknowledge the elephant in the room here, I’m going to hurt my publishing company and then they’ll still be out of a job. And so will I. So, I really had to get to this point where I was like it hurts to do this but I know that everyone is going to be better for it on the other side. That was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. I can’t even imagine.

 

Boyce:

Thankfully everyone forgave me. Everyone still loves me on my team and I’m so grateful because I just have the greatest team. I’m so devoted to them. I’m so enamored by them and I can’t give them work at the same rate as before but I just so appreciate and love that they’re still part of my life. They just pivoted with me.

 

Jennifer:

You got to do what makes you happy and I think that it’s, like I said, it’s inspiring and it’s something that most people are not willing to do and I think especially at the level that you did it at. Right? It’s easier to walk away from something when you’re making five grand from it or you’re making just a little bit of money. But like you’re making six figures, to walk away from something like that and it’s like wow because we’re not taught to make ourselves the priority or to put our happiness above everything else. We’re taught that that really doesn’t even matter that much.

 

Boyce:

Preach.

 

Jennifer:

But it’s BS and we know that. So, I’m so happy that you shared that story because I think, like I said, people need to know that you don’t have to do things that don’t feel good to you period.

 

Boyce:

You don’t, you don’t period. And I think that a really great metric for me is when I hear myself say I should do something, I know I don’t really want to do it and that’s usually an indicator to me that there’s some kind of unconscious cultural conditioning or family conditioning or something that is running in the subconscious and not really what I want. And so, I really like the thing that don’t should on yourself.

 

Jennifer:

It’s a good one.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. I didn’t come up with it but I say it all the time.

 

Jennifer:

That’s a really good one though because yeah, I think we get really caught up in the should’s about things and I should keep doing this because it’s made me all this money, I should because of this, I should. But like what if you just stop doing the should’s and realize wait, I get to choose. And one of the harder things for me was expanding my mind around the belief that like there are other options because when you get very caught up in especially like the genre that your pen name was it tends to be like a very active genre but people expect you to put books out really often and all these things and it kind of scares me a little because I want to write in a similar genre to that but I refuse to do that.

And so, I had to expand my mind to believe you know what? I can create it the way I want it and I can just believe that I will because I’m putting my full energy into it and my full belief behind it, I will attract and magnetize the readers because of that and I don’t have to kill myself every month writing books to do that.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. There’s so many ways around that and you can do rapid release schedule. There are a ton of authors who will write throughout the year and save up three, four books and then publish them a month apart or two weeks apart at a specific time every year. So, like I know one author, she publishes I think like three or four books every May and it’s just like okay, May’s coming around. Where’s her books? And that’s what she’s taught her readers to expect from her and she doesn’t make any excuses for that and she’s attracted the people who support and love her work and who are on her list and she stays engaged with them.

I think that’s the important thing. If you don’t publish consistently, you need to find other ways to engage with your readers because if you just kind of disappear and peace out and then come back they’re like oh, yeah, I liked your stuff. What are you doing? Oh, you’ve published how many? Oh, I’ll get to it eventually. But if you stay a part of their lives and you remind them how important they are and your readers are your lifeblood. They are the most important part of your journey and I love connecting with them. I love nerding out with them.

One of my favorite things is to like ask a question in my fan group and be like okay, go, tell me what you think and I just like watch them debate and it’s so much fun. It’s so much fun because it’s like you guys are having so much fun and I get to witness that. It’s amazing.

I derailed completely. Okay. So, stay engaged with them. You can save up your books and publish at a specific time. And another thing to remember is that tropes are the lifeblood of fiction. Tropes are how we know in a romance novel there’s going to be conflict in a relationship but we know there will be a happily ever after and that’s what we expect because that’s what makes us happy and that’s when we read romance what we’re looking for. You can have tweaks and changes to that but there’s kind of a certain—formula’s the wrong word but every genre has kind of a collection of things that we expect and what makes you as a writer so unique is how you twist on those while still giving readers what they want, right? That’s the essence of fiction.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

And that’s true for everybody. That’s true for Indies, it’s true for traditional. It’s all about telling a really great story. But in a fantasy novel, you’re not going to decide a third of the way through that this is an alien suspense story now. There are certain tropes you hit and you just—I mean it’s funny. I actually did read one story a long time ago when I was an editor and the first third was like a tragic romance and then the middle third turned into like suspenseful mystery and then the last third was like alien invasion.

And I was like bro, what is this? What is happening? I was just like so confused and he was an amazing writer but just the fact that the tropes weren’t there to make it a specific genre meant readers weren’t going to read it because they would just be confused.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. That’s really confusing.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. And here’s the thing, when a reader is confused, they put the book down. When you see this wasn’t for me, it’s usually because they got to a point where it triggered them in some way emotionally, it triggered one of their like limiting beliefs or unconscious stories or they were confused by something and they put it down. That’s usually what it boils down to.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. Well, I mean I think it just goes back to regardless of what you’re doing whether it’s writing or something else, do your due diligence. Learn craft, learn the foundations of whatever it is you’re trying to do because if you don’t do that, you really have no right doing it in the first place in my opinion.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. And I think that kind of comes back to the whole idea that you’re never done learning. And this is so unfortunate but I see a lot of times writers, they think that they’ve learned enough, they’re good. Yeah, it’s not perfect but it’s good enough and I’ll just keep going. Like yeah, no, I don’t want any feedback. [inaudible] because not only are you doing your writing a disservice at that point, you’re doing your readers a disservice.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, huge.

 

Boyce:

Because you need to constantly push yourself. Even Martin consistently changes and pushes himself. Do you know how much he throws out because he just doesn’t feel like it’s good enough? And that’s his process. We all do. We all push ourselves. We all continue to learn more and I will never stop learning.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. I mean I always say if you’re going to write fiction, you have to be a lifelong student of story because no matter how much you know or how much you feel you’ve mastered something, there’s always another level, another layer or another like piece of understanding you could have that would just make it even deeper.

 

Boyce:

Amen.

 

Jennifer:

Because that’s what I’ve noticed on my own journal personally.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, and it’s funny. When I write, I have this process. I write and I’m like this is shit. What am I doing? I don’t deserve to publish. What am I doing? And I write and I’m like it’s fine. It’s not really great. It’s fine. And then I’m always like it could be so much more immersive but this is the best I can do right now. I’m so dramatic. And then like I send it off to my editors or my beta readers and they’re like I forgot to edit because I was so lost in this story. So, like even our own perspectives of our ability can be skewed. But I’m really glad that people are enjoying it. That’s the most important part.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, that absolutely is. Okay. So, if someone listening to this is like man, there’s something I’m doing right now that I’m not enjoying, I don’t want to do this anymore, like regardless of what it is for them, maybe not something writing related but something else, like what would you say are the first steps for when you’re considering making a leap like that, making a leap to something that is different than what you’ve been doing and especially if what you’ve been doing has been working for you?

 

Boyce:

Yeah. That’s a really good question because it’s differs depending on each situation. I think that sometimes when we are facing a huge opportunity to leap and grow emotionally as people, sometimes the impulse rather than the intuitive hit, but the impulse, the emotionally driven impulse is to rage quit because it’s scary and there’s an element of fear and newness and the unknown to it.

And so, I think the first step really is to evaluate are you really unhappy or is something about this pushing you to grow? Maybe ask yourself what about this makes me so miserable? Is it really that I’m miserable or is there something I can do to get better boundaries? Is there something I do to learn something new about myself? Is there something about this I can learn from? Oh, you know what? That’s it. What is the lesson for me here?

For me when I was a software tester, it was that no amount of changing employers was going to make the job exciting for me. I worked for three different software testing companies and I was a QA lead in two of them. So, I loved leading, I loved managing people, I loved giving people the support they need to do their jobs really well and even that wasn’t rewarding enough. So, my habit was to achieve instead of reflect and the lesson for me in that was okay, so I’m trying to run from my problem here by going to a new company, getting the promotion, having a bigger team, hiring new people.

I was running rather than genuinely achieving something great and I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do which was have a stable paycheck until my writing took off and I could easily seamlessly transition. And so, the fear there was if I don’t have that day job, I’m screwed. But in reality, all I had to do was get really clever with like okay, well, what are some other ways I can bring in some income while my writing takes off?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. Awesome. So, basically, then they should first obviously figure out if they actually are miserable or if there’s just something about it they could shift that would actually make them happier.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. Not everything needs to be a total life-altering change.

 

Jennifer:

Right.

 

Boyce:

Sometimes a subtle shift is everything you need. It may be that you don’t have good boundaries with your boss. It may be that your company expects you to live for them instead of honoring the fact that you’re human.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. And you get to have a life of your own.

 

Boyce:

You get to have a life of your own. So, yeah, really reflecting on what is the essence of the misery there and acting from that and using that as a why for your future decisions rather than acting from not wanting to feel pain. If you try to avoid pain, you tend to make emotionally-driven impulsive decisions whereas if you really reflect first and then make the change, you’re able to come from a very focused, a very clear-cut and calmer I think approach. Actually, highly, highly recommend the book Who Moved My Cheese?. Have you heard of that?

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, actually.

 

Boyce:

It’s amazing. And so, in it, you have kind of four characters. You have Hem and Haw who are two like miniature humans the size of mice and they have such advanced complex brains and they’re super, super smart and then you have Sniff and Scurry who are two little mice and they have sneakers which is an important part of the story. I just think it’s cute. So, you have these four characters and they find this cheese and they’re eating the cheese and they build up their lives around the cheese and then one day it’s gone. And so, here it is, this parable for change and each of the four react differently to it.

Hem just really torments over the way it was, how great it was and he’s just miserable. Haw starts to think about—I mean the parable does, I’m really summarizing here. You need to go read the book. But so, Haw is the one who really looks at it like yeah, things were great, yeah, I’m processing my emotion, yeah, I’m so disappointed but here’s the reality of it. Something needs to change. What do I do differently? What do I learn from this? And then Sniff and Scurry, the two little mice, just kind of dart off and they don’t really process anything and they’re just off to the next cheese.

And what I realized is that I was Sniff and Scurry and that’s why I was moving from company to company instead of actually pausing to reflect on what needs to change here. Why am I so unhappy? And so, I think when it comes to these really intense emotional decisions that come from like you just being unhappy where you are, read that book because it will equip you with so much information and so many insights on how to make powerful lasting change that actually brings you happiness and teaches you the lessons you need to know to move forward with your life in a really profound way.

 

Jennifer:

I love it. I’m going to have to go read that book now.

 

Boyce:

And it’s so short. I read it in the bathtub like in one go.

 

Jennifer:

I remember seeing it. Isn’t the book like the front cover, it looks like the front cover but like the book actually starts on the back or something or is that a different book I’m thinking of?

 

Boyce:

I think that’s a different book but the way this one works, the new version which is the one I read is still very, very short but the author added an introduction worth reading and then kind of a narrative to help you integrate the parable. So, it starts with the introduction, then it goes into a bit of a narrative, then you get the parable and then the people and the narrative from the first half process everything with you.

So, I think in the first version that was just a parable and that kind of left it open-ended. And from the introduction, it kind of seemed like people didn’t quite get the takeaways the author wanted them to get from it. And so, I think that’s why the author added the whole narrative aspect to kind of help you process the metaphors.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah. Which I think is important because not everyone knows how to take something they’ve learned and implement it themselves. So, like you need that gap filler to like help you do it.

 

Boyce:

Sometimes. Yeah. And it’s important to find what resonates for you. If you read this book and you’re like this was horseshit, that’s fine. You’re okay. You can do it yourself. It’s just I think that a lot of times it helps to have someone be like “and morale is”. But other times if you feel like you just have to take somebody else’s wisdom because that’s what smart people do, you’re not really doing yourself a service. Really, really listen for what resonates in your soul.

 

Jennifer:

Yep, absolutely. All right. So, this crazily enough is very much the end of this episode. So, I would love for you to tell everybody more about where they can find you, where they can get your books, all of that stuff.

 

Boyce:

Sure. Right now I’m mostly Amazon exclusive. So, if you head over to Amazon and type in Boyce, Sarah Michele Boyce, I’ll pop up. I think my books are first. So, pretty good SEO.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, that’s good.

 

Boyce:

And you can find me at SMBoyce.com. Right now, my Grimoire Saga is my primary story available. It’s a four book series with two bonus novels. That’s a little more fantasy romance though it is very intricate. It’s not conventional fantasy romance in that the only plot is the lovers. There’s a lot going on with that world and that story. I will be having more conventional epic fantasy without the romantic elements launching in the next couple of months. So, I’m actually launching two new series this year that I’m very, very excited about. So, you can sign up for my email list. That would be the best way to get notified for that and you can find that at SMBoyce.com.

 

Jennifer:

Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here, Boyce. I’m just absolutely thrilled to have had this conversation with you and to have you share that story with everybody because I just think it’s going to give them a lot to take away.

 

Boyce:

I hope so and if any of your listeners have questions, then I’m always down to chat. Thank you so much for having me.

 

Jennifer:

Yeah, absolutely. All right, guys. Well, that is the end of this week’s episode. So, thank you so much for joining us and I hope that you will join us again next week at 3:00 P.M. Eastern on W4WN Radio. And until then, remember feeling good is the point and the path.

 

Conclusion:

Thank you so much for listening to The Feel-Good Life, airing every Monday at 3:00 P.M. Eastern on W4WN Radio. To listen live, download the W4WN Radio app or go to W4WN.com and click on listen live. This show is also available as a podcast on iHeart Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher and Apple podcasts. For sponsorship opportunities and to find out more about Jennifer, her books, workshops and coaching services, be sure to go to JenniferBlanchard.net.