Monday, December 8, 2008

Keep Your Dreams Alive… Writing Motivation

"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

For those who believe… But what to do when your inner flame wavers? How do we persist when a cold wave of doubt threatens to douse our burning need to write?

First, recognize one irrevocable fact. All writers experience doubt and fear.

"Sometimes my life seems so insular and safe. There seems nothing worthy in it from which I might draw deeper meanings for my books and my characters. What am I doing pretending to be a writer?"Write Away by Elizabeth George.

Put away your judgment and cast off that self-recrimination. If you experience doubts and fears, take heart: You Are A Writer. It's a well-known affliction that we conveniently forget in our haste to blame ourselves. The source of our creativity is rather like a dark cave. Tucked back against the far wall are countless treasures. Magical, wondrous, amazing words cleverly arranged in the proper order. *smile* Stories wrapped up neatly and entertaining characters we can all relate to. *grin* You hold in your hand a single candle as you enter the wind-swept cave. Creepy-crawlies dangle from rocks overhead. Something rustles and moans in the shadows. What wild creatures might lay in wait to snatch this plucky writer as she traverses each obstacle on her way to the golden tale? Uh-oh. The tiny flame is wavering! And then a whispering sigh. The candle flickers once and darkness reigns. How do you find the light once more?

I'm trying to work for an hour each day. That's all I can demand of myself. When I was creating For the Sake of Elena, I became so incapacitated by fear that I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I finally resorted to saying, "These are only words and I will not let words defeat me" in order to get up and work. Thus I struggled to the end of the novel. But now, nothing seems to work. I flounder…Write Away by Elizabeth George.

There is only one way to move forward… Faith.

Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark. ~Rabindranath Tagore

But where does faith come from? For that matter, where does this pesky fear come from? Obviously, she muses, if I knew where the light switch was, I'd flip it on in an instant!

Faith and fear, optimism and pessimism feel emotional but the truth is they are mental constructs. The emotional impact all stems from the beliefs we hold. Beliefs influence how we react to every situation whether we are aware of these core beliefs or not.

This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question. ~Orson Scott Card

Unfortunately, too many of us deep down believe we can't accomplish what we hope to. We may ultimately believe success is not within our grasp or that the obstacles we perceive are insurmountable. That's the bad news. The good news is those are beliefs, and All Beliefs Can Be Changed.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. --William James

This is truth. It's what every self-help book will share. You can reprogram your mind, change your beliefs and create faith where doubt existed.

How?

First off, let's replace that negative self-talk with some positive words and a more realistic view. Say it with me: I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER.

Oops. Did a nagging little fear just pop up? Let's repeat:
I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER!

Now… close your eyes for a moment and visualize yourself happily typing The End. Carry it further. See yourself sending out the query and getting The Call. Imagine yourself jumping up and down and screaming out the words:
I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER!

Keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive,
because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive,
because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive,
because your values become your destiny. --Gandhi

Now, those pesky negative beliefs took so many years to build up (like mental plaque!) they will surely need some persistent scrubbing to clean up. We have three and a half weeks left in the year. Just the right amount of time to modify our frame of mind and begin 2009 with this belief:

I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER. I can do anything I want to and I want to write! I Love To Write. My writing is engaging, entertaining, insightful and exactly what agents and publishers are looking for. I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER.

Whatever a person's mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes. ~ Shankaracharya

For many of us, December is a busy month. The minutes slip away and we may find our yearning to write is not so easily fulfilled. Which means This Is The Perfect Time To Instill Positive Beliefs.

So… right now, let's make a commitment to just five minutes a day. It's lovely if we can do more but let's commit to five minutes a day. That's right. For 300 seconds *grin* sit quietly and visualize yourself doing exactly what YOU think a successful published author would do: Type The End. Get the call. Sign the contract. Promote the book. Then… Say the magic words… I AM A SUCCESSFUL WRITER. Woo-hoo! Now, go to your mirror. Repeat those magic words until you Feel That Tingle.

That's right, baby. You Can Do It. You Can Do Anything. Why? Because…
YOU ARE A SUCCESSFUL, PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

Now… let's make it happen. Go-go-GO! Write-write-WRITE!!

--Chiron O'Keefe

13 comments:

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

Chiron,
This is a lovely piece, and very motivational! I've been going through the "calling myself a fraud phase" ("I'm an awful writer!") and it helps to be reminded that we all go through it.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Sandy said...

Have a great holiday, Chiron.

Another great post. You're so right about your mental thoughts can defeat you. If you don't think positive and keep writing you'll never get there.

I've been through the phase of calling myself a fraud, and still do occasionally because I have to revise so much. Smile.

Sandy

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Chiron, with your always upbeat attitude and all your wonderful motivation, how do you manage to be mean enough to torture your characters? :)

You write these so well, and always such a good message. Wish I could go write right now, but I have to get up too early for work.
Tomorrow night I will put my positiveness to work on something I love. :) Night!

Val said...

You are motivational,I feel like I want to exercise!

Chiron said...

Lisa,

Thanks so very much!

It's amazing how many writers go through this. I've found so many quotes from very successful writers who struggle with self-confidence. It's good to remember "This too shall pass."

And your writing is so awesome! *Grin* You GO for it!

Happy Holidays to you as well!

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Sandy,

The revisions can be very discouraging. I find it comes up for me more in the first draft. Each writer has their own rocky point on the path, eh?

I'm proud of you for sticking to it!!

Happy holidays!

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Stacey,

You always make me laugh!! *snort* I do find it hard to put my characters through the required trials and tribulations. *sigh* I try to remind myself that it's character development (no pun intended!!). *GRIN*

Thanks for your kind words. You keep writing now!

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Aw, Val!

You're so sweet! Thanks for stopping by...

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron O'Keefe

Jill James said...

Chiron, as always, thank you for your inspirational words.

ME: (standing in front of mirror) I Am A Successful Writer. My words have value. Others will read them too.

Elaine Cantrell said...

This was exactly what I needed to hear! Thanks, Chiron for your inspiring message.

Linda LaRoque said...

Oh, doubt can be evil, eat away at us sometimes, and get in the way of our success. It can be hard to fight the doubt demon.

Thank you for boosting our faith in ourselves.

Linda

Chiron said...

Elaine,

You're so very welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Happy writing!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Linda,

It's so true, isn't it? Doubt can slow us down. However, We Are Writers and so we say, "Out, Damn Doubt." *with tongue-in-cheek nods to William S.*

You're welcome. I'm so happy to help us all remember... We Are Writers!!

Smiles,
Chiron