Saturday, September 28, 2013


Do you have the ability to do something that nobody else can do? 

Think about that. 

Do you do something unique? 

Sure you do.  Maybe you don't know what it is yet.  The new book The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield is a little gem to help you discover your swing/gift/voice. 

Like a golfer, everyone has an authentic swing.  Maybe it's the way you cook, garden, write screenplays, raise your kids, sing songs or play a sport? You're on this planet for a reason.    

To share.  To give back.  To discover.  To teach.

Steven is a successful novelist (The Gates of Fire, The Legend of Bagger Vance).  He also writes wonderful non-fiction (The War of Art and Turning Pro).  I have a shelf of his books at home.  He inspires me to write, to trust my Muse and to treat my creativity like a pro.  He's my inspiration. 

This weekend Steven will appear on the OWN network to sit down with Oprah Winfrey on her show Super Soul Sunday.  Set your DVR.  This hour interview you won't want to miss, especially if you are seeking to find your purpose or a way to stay on course with your passion in life.

Steven Pressfield visits Oprah on Super Soul Sunday
Steven wrote for 30 years and went unpublished.  He never quit.  He worked successfully in Hollywood for awhile, had an agent and wrote movie scripts.  But then he realized he wanted to write a book.  He bailed on Hollywood and his agent (or the agent bailed on him) and he sat down and wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance.  It changed his life.  That novel about golf became a hit and eventually was turned into the movie starring Matt Damon and Will Smith.

Steven's new book The Authentic Swing gives tips to writers (but you can apply it to whatever your  goal is) that will guide us to finish a book or novel.  His advice to "cover the canvas" means to begin.  Just start your project.  Throw it all up on the canvas.  Don't hold back.  Don't judge.  Just get it out of your head or soul or heart.  Be free.  Get it down on paper as fast as you can.

Then, like a golfer, you can focus on your game -- refine it -- develop it -- your God-given talent and acquired skills.  You can focus on your concentration, techniques, keeping your head in the game, overcoming the sense to choke and quit under pressure or to take your eye off the ball.    

Who are you without your labels or self-judgements?  Who are you, Pressfield asks, when you're not a wife, husband, mother, father, boyfriend, girlfriend, employer, son, daughter -- insert any label.  Who are you deep down inside when you strip away all of that?

Who are YOU?

That is where your authentic swing comes from.  Your voice, talent comes from places none of us can fully explain.  Is it in our DNA?  God-given gifts?  Luck?  The most important thing is to let it be free -- not to confine it, or judge it, or abandon it when times are tough.   Just believe and get busy.

Swing.  Swing big.  Find your authentic swing and let the world be awed.

Until next time,

Janet J. Lawler is a screenwriter, playwright and published author.  Her debut novel From the Ground Up is now available on Kindle and

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I published my first novel From the Ground Up this month on Amazon.

Most people ask me "How did you find time to write a whole book?"  They looked amazed.  They know I work full-time and have a busy life. Answer: It wasn't easy.  It was hard writing a 298 page novel and it took over three years to complete.

Are you a writer?  Do you want to write a book?  A blog?  A poem? 

Don't limit yourself to one medium -- try them all.  But first, you have to start with one -- and aim to finish your project.

I found some tricks that helped me.   Maybe they'll help you.

I kept a journal (a day planner actually).  When I first started writing my novel From the Ground Up, I was between full-time jobs.  Perfect.  I had time.  What does every writer say?  "If I only had more time, I'd finish that script... book... song." 

No more excuses.  You have to make the time.  It's like going to the gym.  The hardest part is going -- once in the zone, you're fine and excited.  Same with writing.  You have to start.  So keeping a journal was a good idea because I could mark off how much I wrote that day: 2 hours, 3 hours, 30 minutes.  At the end of the week, I could flip the pages and see what I'd accomplished in black and white.

Another trick -- I told friends I was writing a book.  Why?  Accountability.  If you put it out there, you better back it up.  There will be that one friend who asks months later, "So how's that book you were writing?"  You'll feel wonderful if you can say "I'm half way done.  Or, it's finished."

Every artist faces resistance.  One of my favorite writers is Steven Pressfield (The War of Art).  He's written tons of novels, but also short non fiction books about writing.  He says resistance shadows every artist.  The muse is strong, but the shadow of resistance is stronger some days -- she'll tempt you by saying, "Who do you think you are to write a book?  Who's gonna read that?  You're wasting your time?"

Sound familiar?  Ignore the resistance.  Hear it and keep working anyway.  Don't let any judgments discourage you from the work ahead.

Be professional in tackling your project.  Block out time for it.  Put it on your calendar.  Prepare your place to create.  Just do it.  Sit down and work.  You'll see the pages piling up in time.  Paragraphs turn into chapters.  Chapters turn into a book.

Nobody said writing would be a breeze.  That's why most people quit.  They have unfinished novels, scripts and poems on their desktops or tucked away in drawers.
Be brave.  Take small steps and you'll be publishing your first book in no time.

From the Ground Up is available for sale on  Order your copy here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


My novel From the Ground Up is officially in the world.  Hooray!  My friend says it's in the genre of Bridget Jones or Confessions of a Shopaholic.  I should be so lucky!  Anyway, it's a tale about a Lea Lawson, a troubled young actress, who can't seem to stay out of the press or a courtroom.  When she crashes a stolen town car through the front window of Saks Fifth Avenue, her life spins out of control.  A judge sentences her to rehab on a working farm in upstate, NY.  Can the pampered movie star change her life around out of the spotlight?  She's about to find out the hard way from the ground up.

Why write a book?  

Why do people climb mountains?  Or enter triathlons?  It's a challenge.  I like writing plays and scripts.  I'm familiar with the structure and format.  Writing a novel is another animal.  It's a wonderful, freeing experience too.  Most screenplays are 90-120 pages.  They're lean.  Clean on the page.  Screenplays should contain only what the reader/characters can see and hear.  No filler.  No flowery prose.  No extra anything.  

With a novel, it's the opposite.  A novel can run over 300 pages.  What's the hurry?  It's not like there are any act breaks.   You can slow down, write what you like and get inside your characters' heads.  You can tell the reader what the characters are thinking unlike in plays and scripts.  It's liberating!  It's amazing!  It's not screenwriting!

Until it's time to rewrite and revise.   Then you pay the price for all that freedom. Revising my novel was a huge undertaking.  It took about five drafts of the entire book and some polishes here and there.  It took nearly three years to write the book.  Where screenwriting feels like dating, writing a book feels like marriage.  It's a commitment.  You have to be in it for the long haul.  It's not as much a collaborative medium as film.

As an author, you're on your own.  You may have an editor or proofreader, but basically, it's you deciding what stays on that page.  With screenwriting, you know while writing it that a million eyes will pull the script apart -- agents, directors, producers, studio executives and actors!  People will give you notes.  They'll want changes.

What else was exciting about writing a book?

It's a big digital, connected world out there now.  A writer can't afford to be a recluse anymore -- typing out manuscripts and not communicating with the outside world.  Those days are over.

Today, an author has to be a social media whiz kid -- with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, online marketing, author profiles, and digital outlets.  Kudos to my dear friend -- and writing comrade -- Barbara Forte Abate for steering me through the digital waters of publishing.  She's had two novels published The Secret of Lies and Asleep Without Dreaming (both on Amazon).  Thanks, Babs, for all your help and support!

If you enjoy reading about love, celebrities and farming (foodies unite!), you'll enjoy this novel as your autumn read.  It's in e-book now and will be in paperback before the holidays.  Purchase and download to your Kindle, Mac, PC, iPhone... whatever device you prefer.
Happy reading!

Buy My Book now

Link to Download Kindle to your PC

Link to Download Kindle to your iPhone

Until next time.