Hello Dear Readers,
I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. After writing The Silent Killer and Finding My Voice, any other subject seems trite or insignificant. I’ve never wanted a break from writing more than I do right now.
But then I remembered that being a professional writer means writing even when you aren’t inspired. Even when you don’t want to. Especially when you just want to crawl into bed and not emerge until spring. So here I am, and maybe this post will help someone, as I believe it will help me.
About a month ago, I interviewed an incredible man. This man is a business coach, and during our twenty minute phone interview, which occurred as he boarded a plane and waited for his flight to take off, I learned more than a million self-help books could ever hope to teach me. I had to share his knowledge with you–I hope you find it as revolutionary as I did.
This advice is best applied by people who have a dream–a business, an idea, or a calling they want to chase or are currently chasing. Want to know how to succeed? You need just four things.
1) Belief. The number one and most important thing you need is to believe in yourself. You can’t just know where you want to go–you have to believe with all your heart that you will get there. Maintaining this kind of unshakable faith is really difficult for a lot of us, so next Wednesday I will cover how to reignite your belief and hold on to it.
This isn’t just hocus-pocus, touchy-feely stuff, either. Many scientific studies have been done to prove the power of belief. Athletes call it visualization and swear it works. Ever heard the phrase “mind over matter”? That’s belief.
2) Clarity. You have to know exactly where your business/calling/relationship is at right now (yes, this recipe for success will work for relationships, too) and where you want it to go.
As the business coach explained, everything in the universe is in motion at all times. We either direct that motion, or it randomly happens. Learn to direct the motion and you’ll be surprised where it can go.
3) Focus. It’s essential to focus on the actions that support your belief. Focus is frequency instead of intensity. This means it’s better for writers to write five pages every single day than it is to write thirty thousand words in a week and then take two months off. Frequency determines whether we succeed or fail. If you feel distracted, it’s typically because your belief is waning. Stay as focused as you possibly can, and you’ll accomplish whatever you want to accomplish.
This was a revelation for me. I’ve wanted to be a full-time author of fiction since I was five years old. Problem is, I’m also interested in a lot of other things. Over the years, these other activities have taken over my time and energy–drawing, running a freelance journalism business, relationships, cooking, gardening, blogging, scrapbooking, kickboxing–and every time I’ve taken my focus away from being a writer, guess what? I stopped writing. I definitely stopped marketing and submitting my work as well. Imagine where I’d be today if I’d stayed single-mindedly focused on my dream of being a full-time author. Imagine where you could be.
4) Flexibility. Flexibility is taking into consideration that there’s more than one way from Point A to Point B. There’s no magic formula, but there’s your way. You dramatically reduce problems when you follow the natural movement that’s been presented.
Back when I had an agent who was submitting Lost, two editors from two different publishing houses expressed interest in buying my book. With one condition. I had to rewrite it as a novel for young adults. I was horrified, considering the subject matter. I also had no interest in writing for that age group, so I turned the offers down. My agent agreed with me.
Years later, I’m publishing Lost on this blog. And writing a young adult novel. If I had accepted one of those offers and the result had been a published young adult book, it would not have been perfect. It would not have been my ideal way of getting published. But if the end goal is to be a full-time writer, does it really matter how or what gets published first? Once my foot is in the door, I can shove the rest of myself right through that opening. Instead, when opportunity came knocking, I slammed the door in its face.
What do you think of these secrets? Can you see a way to apply them to your life and goals? I’d love to hear your thoughts.