Monday, July 28, 2008

Want It, Feel It, Believe It!

"Act as if everything you desire is already here…treat yourself as if you already are what you’d like to become.” –Wayne Dyer.

What does it mean to be a success? How is such a phenomenon measured?

Here is my definition:

To push just a little bit harder, to strive just a little bit longer, and to reach just a little bit farther than you first thought possible.

That's it. Every accomplishment seems daunting at first. Tying your shoes seemed impossible when your itsy-bitsy brain first contemplated the tangle of strings in your chubby little fingers. *grin*

Yet for the most part, we forget the secret of success and become overwhelmed by what we THINK we can't do. We're forgetting two very simple facts. Humans learn through visualization. Humans are motivated by their desire.

"If you want a quality, act as if you had it." –William James

Returning now to our toddler self with the daunting task of tying a shoe. How did this get accomplished? Someone showed us the magic method and we Pictured Our Success. Yup. We visualized the process. We put a picture in our head and mimicked the action. Even more, we had a burning desire to succeed. Nothing would deter us. We never even considered the idea of failure. Right?

Now (theoretically) we're all grown-up. We're struggling with queries and deadlines and synopsis and rewrites and plot points and Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!

Sometimes the process is overwhelming and we're all tempted to give up. How DO people manage to tie their shoes without even thinking about it? The secret of success in our youth is the same secret today. Whether struggling to stand upright, wobble our way across the room, and tie our shoes, or write a chapter, send out queries, and meet our deadlines, we begin with desire.

"Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything." –Napoleon Hill

Not a wimpy-ass desire either. Your heart has to beat with the same kind of fervent passion that motivated you to get off your butt and toddle in the first place. Want it, feel it, breathe it!

I Am A Successful WRITER!

Desire and Visualization.

Visualization is more than mumbling a few affirmations. We're not tossing salt to ward off bad luck here. We're using the power of our minds to create reality.

"Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture... Do not build up obstacles in your imagination." –Norman Vincent Peale

This may seem like mumbo-jumbo but here's a fact. The most successful people in history have known and utilized this fact: What you Believe is What you Create.

And more… If you want to Be A Success, Act Like A Success.

Don't play the "if only" game. If only I had a contract (or an agent or a guaranteed path) THEN I would…

Nuh-uh. Don't go there. Act As If You Are A Success. That's the secret successful people have utilized for eons.

"Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action." –Napoleon Hill

Put your plan into action NOW. Why? Because You Are A Success. The sooner you act like a success, the sooner your reality will reflect this FACT.

So… this week, let's experiment. Let's spend the week approaching each of our goals with a new perspective. We write not because we hope to be or want to be but because We Are Successful.

We Are Successful Writers.

Say it with me: I Am A Successful Writer. My Life Reflects My Success. My Actions Reflect My Success. I Take Action BECAUSE I Am A Success.

"Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all." –Norman Vincent Peale

And one more:

"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." –Napoleon Hill

Let's set some goals!

Continue first round of SIDEKICKS edits. 65 pages last week!
Continue to flesh out WIP. Three chapters last week!
Weekly essay to post.

Now it's your turn. Any goals to share? How about personal experiences acting "as if"?

"Act as if. Moment to moment to moment. And, sooner than you think you won't be acting anymore." –Wayne Dyer

Have a fabulous and productive week! Go-go-GO!

Smiles to you,

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Single Word

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford

Being a writer requires many qualities to succeed. Talent, perseverance, passion, persistence, and of course, the ability to learn, grow, and evolve. Yet few focus on an essential ingredient in this engaging slop of characteristics: Courage.

Writers must have unwavering courage to face each day. Courage to dare to begin a new story. Courage to push through not only our fictional “black moment” but also our own inner obstacles to finish what began from nothing more than a promise and a dream. Courage to edit and revise what we THOUGHT was perfect. Courage to query and submit (repeatedly). Courage to face the reviews and the next project. Damn.

Courage to pick ourselves up, when staying down is so very tempting…

So how do we do it? Well, as we all know, part of it is involuntary. We Are Writers. We have no choice. We simply must put words to paper. We must write—it is survival. So, in response to our need for Fresh Air and a Fresh Start, let’s look at some survival tactics. *smile*

Embracing a New Beginning…

“The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette.” --Henry S. Hoskins

Every artist starts at the exact same place. The beginning. As you type that first word remember this... all the authors you admire most, every one of them begins with The First Word. The playing field is always level. No matter how accomplished or how novice, each writer must begin the novel and finish it. That never changes. Each chapter, each page, each sentence all starts at the same place. The first word at The Beginning.

Write What You Love…

“It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." --Lucille Ball

It really is… *grin* Lucille starred in a CBS radio program, “My Favorite Wife” with hubby Desi Arnaz. CBS asked Lucy to develop the show for television. The initial pilot failed and the couple took the show on the road as a vaudeville act, which resulted in a smash success. *snap!* CBS picked up the soon-to-be-classic comedy sensation. Yet here’s a bit of trivia… When they first began filming, the show fell flat. Desi realized exactly what his wife needed in order to shine. He brought in a studio audience and A Star Was Born. Knowing what makes us happy, both in our personal life AND in our creative pursuits… that’s one helluva good start. *wink*

Every Day a New Opportunity…

"Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance." –Oprah Winfrey

YES! I love this quote, not only becomes I am inclined to do just that at any given moment *cough* but also because This is the way to approach our writing. Breathe deep, kick off the restrictions and let our imagination, our love of writing, our joy Dance Across Each Page. This is not just a labor of love. This is a dance. Let’s try to remember…

Each Struggle Teaches Us, Strengthens Us, Gives Us More to Work With…

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”— Friedrich Nietzsche

Ah…. There it is. The conflicts and the struggles. The sting of defeat, the exuberant laughter. Each tender, fragile moment that touches and sometimes even shatters our vulnerable self is a gift. The gift of an unpredictable life bursting with potential. The potential that each writer here can tap into. Let the chaos reign, let the birthing begin!

Stealing A Few Precious Moments To Write…

“It is better to begin in the evening than not at all.”— English proverb

Some of the best writers, and the most successful authors, started with little time to spare. Carving out moments when the first rays of dawn barely pierce through the morning’s fog or fending off the need for sleep to tap out a page or two before tumbling into bed. Some here sketch out ideas between children’s naptime and the scramble for a family meal. I’m in constant awe and touched with admiration for everyone here that masters those time constraints and manages to produce books, query agents and editors, edit and revise, and all that a career in writing requires. Take just a moment (I know you have few to spare!) and acknowledge your strength, your courage and your astonishing persistence. You Are Amazing—You Write…

When I began this essay, I hoped to provide some hope and inspiration for all those who desperately need that bit of fresh air and now, I realize my goal has evolved yet again. I want to express my appreciation, my own humble admiration for all the writers whose talent and spirit is matched by their amazing perseverance. You Are Incredible. Thanks for the constant inspiration, and for the never-ending examples of what A Writer Can Do.

In this spirit I want to offer a quote, one of my very favorites, from an author whose work has touched millions of hearts. From a story that resonates through the ages.

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they went skipping about and that was the beginning of fairies.”— J.M. Barrie ( 1860-1937) Peter Pan, Act1

Remember, always, We Are The Magic-Makers. We Are Writers!

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

And the creation of a thousand books begins with a single word…

What are we waiting for, let’s Write!

Goals for this week:
Weekly Essay.
Complete reread of WIP.
Rewrite Synop.

How about you?

Write-Write-Write! Go-go-GO!


Monday, July 14, 2008

You've Got To Have Heart!

How best to describe a career in writing?

"Going after Moby Dick with nothing but a loaf of bread and a jar of tartar sauce." --contributed by James Fletcher


"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." –Louisa May Alcott

We are a daring bunch. Venturing out into the chilly depths to seek our prey: The Elusive Contract. We dodge the painful spears of rejection and bait our hook again and again. Even after we manage to snare the wily agent and fearsome editor, our rickety boat must still cut a path through the stormy seas, hoping to discover the ultimate port—Lasting Success As A Published Author.

"If you're going through hell, keep going." ~Winston Churchill

Like many kids, I loved to devour stories. Whether nestled between the covers of a favorite book or played out on the tiny tube of my television set, feed me a story and I'm mesmerized. One classic musical that fascinated me featured a song I still love today. The lyrics capture what every writer needs to remember:

You've gotta have heart…
All you really need is heart…
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win,
That's when the grin should start!

From Damn Yankees, lyrics and music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

Now I'm just mixing metaphors all over the place but with good purpose. Whether you equate your dream with a great white whale or the coveted victory of a championship series, the focus is always the same.

You've got to have Heart...

Yet now as I type these words the realization strikes me that we need to dig deeper. Sure we're "hunting" for the right agent and editor. Yes, we want to "win" a shot at the big league. But each writer who yearns for success has a greater goal. One we may forget in our eager quest for the trophy win.

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. --Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)

While we may struggle and sweat, going after our goals with fervor and heart-pounding determination, we lose sight of the greatest quest of all.

To Be A Damn Good Storyteller.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer. - Ernest Hemingway

To write a story that makes even one reader's heart sing is an amazing accomplishment. Sure the savvy agent hoping for a best-selling author right off the bat may not give your query a second glance. The editor pressured to only select books guaranteed to net a larger profit share may pass on the sale. Does that make you a… *gasp* failure?

Let me tell you right now… HELL No. If you pound those keys and nurture your story until it bursts into illumination, You Are A Success. If your beta readers and critique partners tell you how much they LOVE your story, YOU Are A Success. Truth is, this is a tough economy. There's a plethora of books flooding the marketplace. Breaking in is not necessarily easy. We all need to be determined to be in this for the long haul. Others may get contracts quicker or land an agent while we're still sweating over revisions. Be envious but joyful. Every success that others achieve is great news, my friend. This proves your dreams are achievable. You Can And Will Be A Successful Published Author.

You've Got To Have Heart… Miles and Miles and Miles of Heart. *wink*

"Keep your dreams alive. Understand that to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hardwork, determination, and dedication. Remember, all things are possible for those who believe." -- Gail Devers

Let's set some goals!

I'm reworking my synopsis this week but I also want to shoot for:
Fifteen pages.
Weekly Essay.

How's about you?

Here's to a Week Filled With Heart…

Remember… We Are Writers! Go-go-GO!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Give it a Go!

"The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized--never knowing." --Jim Rohn

A wonderful writer sent me this quote. A great opening, don’t you think? To me, these words speak to the heart. How often do we know exactly what we want, yet avoid the steps needed to move towards our dream?

I remember when I first explored the Tarot. Each card is laid out in a specific pattern, according to the pattern that is chosen. Within the Celtic Cross spread, there is a position I find most intriguing.

“Hopes AND Fears.”

Interesting, eh? What we yearn for most is often what we most fear. For many of us here, the art of putting words to paper, crafting a story, seeing our story in print, and achieving lasting success is our greatest dream… and our biggest fear.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." --Theodore Roosevelt. Chicago, IL, April 10, 1899.

We are a special breed. There is no instant gratification for writers. Each page takes time. Each edit requires painstaking focus and the hours just slip away. The queries need to be written and we’re reminded to not expect a reply from the agent or editor for weeks, maybe even months. We develop patience and the ability to laugh at our worries. We have to. We Are WRITERS. Writers must write. Lest we ‘spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized--never knowing.’

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

We also develop a core of optimism and confidence that surpasses all others. We have to. Each tomorrow is a brand new day, and dang it, we’re going to make the most of it!! Woo-hoo!

Awhile back, hubby and I watched this incredible DVD about the 2006 TED conference. This is a conference of the best and brightest, the most innovative thinkers of our time. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration.

Sir Ken Robinson gave an amazing talk about education. He is an incredible speaker, witty and articulate. He spoke of how children are more open to taking risks, to “give it a go.” Here’s a snippet from Sir Ken:

I heard a great story recently about a six-year-old girl in a drawing lesson. The teacher said this little girl hardly ever paid attention in class, but during this lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated.

She asked the girl, "What are you drawing?"

And the girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God."

The teacher said, "But nobody knows what God looks like."

The girl said, "They will in a minute."

What all children have in common is that they will take a chance. They're not frightened of being wrong. I don't mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. But if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original. By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. –Sir Ken Robinson

To me, this is the essence of what need to realize. We need to “give it a go.” Take that chance. Live that dream.

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." --Helen Adams Keller

Here we are, at the beginning of a lovely week. A week full of promise and hope. A week brimming with ideas and inspiration. A week to take chances, to “give it a go.”

But wait! Nobody REALLY knows what a successful, multi-published author Looks Like. *grin*

Well… they will in a minute. *wink*

Let’s set our goals!

After a looong weekend, I want to pump up the energy.

15-25 pages
Weekly essay
Another go at the query
Write, write, and write some more!

What goals are you setting?

Hope everyone has a wonderful, productive, and inspired week.

Let’s Give It A Go!