Michael Mackintosh is the bestselling author of several books. He is a spiritual entrepreneur, having created multiple successful businesses online. He’s a sought-after speaker, consultant, and trainer specializing in helping people unleash their inner artist and become incredibly creative and productive.
Michael had some powerful experiences as a young man that propelled him into the personal development field. He has been teaching meditation and personal development techniques for the last 22 years.
He started writing books in 2006 as a way to teach more people the information he had to share.
The First Book Problem
Michael has published 15 books in the last year. The first book he wrote will never be published. His first book has gone through 90 drafts and it isn’t clear enough to publish for a mass audience.
I think many times you should just look at your first attempt at a book or major project in a new field as the learning experience that it is.
The first 2 books I wrote aren’t going to be published either. They suffer from the same problem that Michael’s first book did. They aren’t organized or clear enough to make sense to a larger audience. It’s not worth my time to put in the work to fix them to a point where there publishable. I would never get my time/money investment back because those books are too much of a mess. Sometimes you have to know when to quit a project so you can focus your time, energy, and creativity on something more important or impactful.
It’s more important to finish your first book and publish it as a learning experience than it is that you try to make it perfect. No book you produce is ever going to meet your standards of perfection.
The Power of a Meditation Habit
For the last 2 years Michael has been taking his writing more seriously. He starts each day by meditating. It’s through his meditation habit that he activates his creativity.
Michael never has writers block. He feels like the words are coming through him. He doesn’t feel like he writes his books himself because he gets into a flow state when he writes.
He goes to the beach for inspiration. When he comes home he’s eager to write the ideas that came to him while walking on the beach.
Right now Michael has dozens of books he wants to write. He just has to write them one at a time and finish each of them off.
The Magic of Meditation
Michael spent his teenage years drinking heavily and doing a lot of psychedelic drugs. It was fun to a point. Then things took a turn for the worse and he was battling depression with no direction in his life.
That’s when Michael’s mother suggested that he give meditation a try. Initially he had some resistance to the idea. When he finally decided to give it a try in earnest, he had an out of body experience.
He saw himself living a life without drugs and alcohol. He saw himself being happy for no reason. He got a real clear sense of all the things he needed to do to make that life a reality.
After that first meditation experience Michael stopped using drugs and alcohol and began to turn his life around.
After his own experience with the healing power of meditation, Michael chose to devote the rest of his life teaching what he learned through his own experience, so that other people who are facing similar problems might get the help and information they need to succeed.
Now he lives in Hawaii and enjoys a paradise lifestyle. He feels compelled to give back because all of his needs are met, and all that’s left for him to do is serve the world.
The money and fame that Michael enjoys is all a side consequence of living life from the heart. He’s in a place now where he has all the money he needs. His biggest drives are to serve the world and create for the world.
How to Stay in the Creative Flow
“When you learn to let go and allow things to happen, when you are tuning into different energy which doesn’t have all this resistance and blocks, it’s just a lot easier. It’s more graceful and more fun to be in that creative process.” – Michael Mackintosh
When you meditate on a regular basis and are able to get into a flow state when you work, that allows you to produce content effortlessly from your highest self.
For Michael, meditation charges his creative battery. Then he watches himself write words during his writing sessions. Afterwards, he has to read what he wrote during the writing session to remember what he wrote down. It’s almost as though he writes in a trancelike state and he simply transcribing messages from his higher self. If you’ve ever got lost in a multi-hour writing session, you probably know exactly what that feels like.
If Michael ever feels like he’s actually “doing” something, it feels hard and like work. And he doesn’t end up finishing it. By getting out of his own way, he’s able to be much more creative and prolific as a writer.
Meditation and Creativity: Benefits and Drawbacks
The benefit of living this way is that creativity is effortless and the simple act of creating becomes fulfilling. You don’t have to create to get something; you can create for the experience of creating. When you focus on what really matters (creating something meaningful), you’ll get the results you want (money, fame, bestseller status, etc.).
The negative aspect of living this way is you may not value what you do creatively because of how effortless it feels to create something.
Getting Your Mindset Right
“That’s the essence of being alive. Being tapped into an energy force and letting things flow through you and wonderful things happen. That’s life.” – Michael Mackintosh
“I encourage people to write. I think it’s good for us because writing allows us to clarify our own thoughts. I think it’s good for us as people in general to be able to think clearly. Because obviously if we can’t write clearly, we aren’t thinking clearly.” – Michael Mackintosh
Michael always feels like his best book is another 12 books away. This motivates him to work on writing and publishing his current book so he can get to his best book, which is always several books in the future for him. When you have big goals, you can’t get too caught up on all the little deals and stress out over minor issues. It forces you to focus on what’s most important, and to keep a steady work rhythm so you can be productive this week, this month, this year, and beyond.
Picasso was arguably the greatest painter in history. In his life he created more paintings than any other painter who has lived. There is definitely a correlation between how much you practice your art and how great of an artist you become.
Practice makes you better at whatever creative art you are pursuing. Consider every book a practice session. Get it done as best as you can now, and then move on your next project.
The Perils of Perfectionism
It’s much better to focus on becoming the best you can at the process of creating your book. Focus on the process rather than the final product. It’s much better to have an exceptional creative process than to have an exceptional book, because you can repeat the creative process over and over again and get better and better, but you can’t repeat a book.
If you think you’re only going to write one book, and that book needs to be perfect because it’s the only one you’re going to write, that can stall your creative process.
If you think you’re going to do the best job you can on this book, get an editor, publish it, and move on to your next book, two things are going to happen:
- You’re going to get better at writing books because you will practice writing and publishing them.
- You’ll have more products available for your audience, which means you’re more likely to be discovered by an audience because you have more “marketing touch points” to reach them.
Self-Publishing and Creativity
Self-publishing has made it very easy for creative people to make a living with their ideas.
The first couple of books you publish may be a challenge for you. Remember that every project and every failure is a learning experience. You’re learning the process of self-publishing with your first book. Don’t get so caught up in making every detail perfect that you lose sight of the big picture and of what’s really important to you.
After you get the process down, and you build a team of people to help you, publishing great books quickly becomes a whole lot easier.
Michael is able to write quickly because he leverages his years of experience working with thousands of clients. He writes about subjects that he has vast knowledge and experience in.
Publishing a book quickly isn’t about just throwing trash up there. It’s about connecting with your higher self and activating your creative energy to flow through you, so you become massively productive.
One of the biggest blocks to massive productivity is worrying about what other people think. The truth is some people are going to love your work and some people are going to hate it.
Harry Potter is one of the most popular series of all time. Right now, Harry Potter And the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the series, has over 33,000 reviews. Over 1,000 of them are one star reviews.
You can’t be afraid of one star reviews if you want to make a true impact on the world.
The key to being productive as a writer is to do the best job you can with each book you write. The more books you write the better you will become as a writer, and the larger audience you will attract.
“Whatever happens out there, it’s what you have inside your own mind that’s going to determine how far you get in life.” – Tom Corson Knowles
Create Your Best Work
“The process of being creative is more important than the creation, in a way, because creativity is an energy. If you can become a creative person you can create anything.” – Michael Mackintosh
Imagine you’re in a boat somewhere out in the ocean. Your friend can’t swim and they fall in the water. They’re going to drown and you’re the only one there. What are you going to do?
Are you going to look in the mirror and ask yourself…
- Do I have what I need?
- Does my hair look all right?
- Should I change my shorts?
- Let me just practice my dive a few times. Will anyone like my dive?
- Is anyone out there watching me?
Or are you going to simply dive in and help your friend get back on the boat?
Your expertise can help somebody else get to a better place in their life. The highest calling for people on this planet, after they have taken care of their own needs, is to pay it forward by showing other people what they know that can be useful and helpful.
Helping other people get to a better place in life is as important as saving your friend from drowning.
We’re only here to help the people we’re here to help. We can’t help everyone, but we can make a huge difference for some people while we’re here. Not everyone is going to want to listen to us.
Michael’s attitude is, “Help the people you’re here to help. Don’t worry about everyone else.”
So if he gets a one-star for review for one of his books, all that means is that book wasn’t for that reader. You don’t have to take it personally.
Some people are going to like what you have to say while others don’t like it. But if you keep it bottled up inside because you’re afraid to share your creativity with the world, you’re going to live a life of sickness and pain because you’re not releasing your creative energy.
“I think people actually get sick, mentally distressed and emotionally in pain if they don’t let their creative energy out.” – Michael Mackintosh
How to Handle Negative Feedback
“You don’t know what anyone’s going to say about anything you write until you publish it. Before that point it’s all speculation anyway.” – Michael Mackintosh
Until you start producing enough you’re not going to get feedback. And the only feedback that matters is feedback from serious fans, people who are interested in your topic, niche or genre who give constructive feedback.
Ignore the haters. In a lot of cases there just suppressed artist who are envious of your accomplishments.
On the other side of the coin you should be willing to listen to constructive feedback, and upgrade your book whenever you get an idea that you think will make the book better. It’s so easy in the Internet age to update your book. All you have to do is upload a new interior book file, and everyone who’s bought your book will get an email and the option to download the updated file.
It’s important as a creative artist that when somebody gives you constructive criticism you don’t just decide to scrap the whole project. You can improve your art by responding to the criticism in an appropriate way and keep learning as you go.
Spend Your Time on What Matters to You
“It’s amazing how much success in life is not based on what you say yes to but what you say no to.” – Tom Corson Knowles
It’s very important to remember that you’re here to serve your audience. Your audience is a small subset of humanity.
It’s important to focus on that and realize that every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. And every time you’re saying no to something, you are making time for something else.
It’s also very important to be conscious of who you’re spending your time with. You should spend your time with people who support you. If you want to be a writer and your spending time with people who don’t support that desire, you’re spending energy dealing with people who are holding you back from achieving your highest potential.
It’s funny how people who have never written a book are eager to give you their advice on writing when they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Take advice from people who have what you want. If they don’t have what you want then they don’t know what it takes to get what you want and their advice is likely to lead you astray.
Find Your Answers Within
Spend time in silence, in the morning by yourself, when you’re feeling awake, and just sit there.
Start a meditation practice. That’s going to help you clear your mind and fill yourself with good energy. And then you’re going to get all of these ideas coming through filled with all this power that will help you do other things.
So if you can just do that one thing. Have a meditation practice or spiritual practice of some kind in the morning. That will massively improve your life. And your creativity will go off the charts.
People Mentioned in This Interview
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Michael’s book You Are Not A Person: Awaken From The Grand Illusion
michaelmackintosh.com — Michael’s website where you can stay current with everything he’s doing and get a ton of free resources to help you in your creative journey.
insighttimer.com/michaelmackintosh – Get Michael’s meditations for free on your iPhone or Android device through the free insight timer app.
awakenedacademy.com – the Academy that Michael founded to help people tap into their creative power.
superherotraining.com – a platform that supports spiritually minded, creative people experience their true power and bring their dreams to life—even in challenging times!
ebookpublishingschool.com – if you’re just getting started as an author take my free course that will teach you how to format your manuscript as an e-book, upload your files to Amazon, and build an audience of customers who spread your message.