Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Secret Magic Power

A wonderful friend, a comrade-in-words, and my sworn soul sister sent me a lovely card, which begins:

“Follow Your Destiny, Wherever It Leads You.” --Vicki Silvers

The words inspire as much as they befuddle me. Why? Because the countless books on “manifesting your dreams” or “the secret to success” often seem to obsess over the need to control your destiny. When things reach beyond our control, we feel helpless or worse, as if we’re doing something wrong.

“We can’t control the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” –Unknown

Writers often get this instinctively. How many here have veered away from the outline or, for the many pantsers here, realized that the characters were taking you in a direction you absolutely did not expect? Just the other day I muttered to myself that I better be careful or I would write myself into a corner.

In the worlds we create, there’s always an element of unpredictability, a realization that we can’t control everything. There is no magic wand. No magic spell. Except perhaps one…

Never-ending Optimism.

This the secret power each and every one of us holds deep within our soul. When we choose to activate the secret power, we often find exactly what we need at exactly the right time.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.”Jagger/Richards

What if destiny seems to lead me to something I don’t want? And what if that something turns out to be just what I need? That’s the magic of our secret power at work. If the winds change, it’s pretty darn clear that unless you have faith that you can navigate and trust in your skill as a sailor, your shaking hands won’t be able to adjust those sails and… Hel-lo, Davy Jones’ Locker.

So we need to work with our destiny, realize that life is a relationship. Just as we’ve learned that cooperation is key to a successful relationship with loved ones, friends and coworkers, we also need to embrace the cooperative relationship between Author and Book, between Self and Destiny.

This same wonderful, delightful, most appreciated friend told me that she realized, had her book been picked up sooner, she might never have joined RWA. Yet the friendships she found, and the sense of camaraderie was such a joy to her, she believed Destiny knew what she needed. I was touched and more than a little astonished. I certainly wouldn’t choose a friendship with me over a book contract. *chuckle* Her words gave me pause because I wondered… how many wonderful, delightful, incredible, necessary ‘things’ might pass us by in our fervent quest for publication, our need to promote, our desire for the best-selling book. We push because we believe we have to, yet our secret power is always there.

Never-ending Optimism.

If we remember to tap into that secret power, we can afford to take a breath now and then. We can afford to relax and trust that our destiny is working with us. When we rely on our secret magic power, we give more power to our greater self. How many here have wrestled with a plot quandary, only to have the answer come when you finally turn off the effort and just relax? I swear, I have to install a waterproof recorder in my shower since so many of my plot points come to me there.

One summer, hubby and I fell in love with a new series called Burn Notice. The main character is a spy—half Derek Flint ( from the spy spoof In Like Flint) and half MacGyver. What I love is when faced with impossible odds, Michael Westen's face twists into a tight smile and he says, “Hand me that bobby pin, a bottle of avocado oil and some spackle.” *heh-heh* He doesn’t even entertain doubt. He knows he has to win. He is totally in touch with his secret magic power.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” --Winston Churchill

Sometimes, destiny leads us to unexpected places and the greatest challenge is to keep our eyes open to the new possibilities before us. To recognize that there is opportunity for life, for love, for success, for hope in every minute of every day.

As writers, we need this more than anyone does. We need to nurture our secret magic power. Unpublished writers believe that once we hold the golden contract or sign with the all-powerful agent, our heavy lifting comes to an end. Published writers know that it’s just the beginning. No matter what phase we’re in, we need to cherish and cultivate our secret magic power. We need to Believe In Our Destiny.

Oh, and one more thing… WE NEED TO WRITE!! *grin*

This week, let’s all take a breath now and then, let’s nurture our secret magic power and get in touch with our optimism, and most of all, let’s resolve to trust in our destiny…

Next week is a holiday week for some. Summer's rolling in and for those in America, the Fourth of July weekend. Ah, but that’s next week. This week we work our collective butts off, right? So, have a fabulous and productive week and remember… We Are WRITERS!!


Minimum goal:
15 pages.
Weekly essay.

Stretch goal:
25 pages!
Weekly essay.

How’s about you?

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sweet Surprise

In Oregon spring and summer can seem like a long-lost dream. The weather is unpredictable or it's raining. *grin* The rains aren't as heavy in Southern Oregon, where I make my home, but the farther north you go, the more rain you encounter.

My favorite "Portland" joke follows:

Last year in Portland, summer fell on a Sunday and more people got to enjoy it.

*heh-heh* Of course, as I write this, the sun shines brilliantly on my front yard as if to taunt me. Better not jinx the summer weather lest it turn chilly yet again!

People who don't live in the area often comment they couldn't take the wet weather. Can't say I blame 'em. However, they are missing out on the majestic result—the lush foliage, the breath-taking waterfalls, and the abundance of flowers everywhere. What flower is Portland most associated with?

The rose.

Not only do they have the annual Rose Festival, and the astonishing Rose Garden with over five hundred varieties of roses, almost everyone has a yard bursting with those sweet fragrant blossoms. Just strolling down the street sniffing the various bouquets is a sensory delight!

Someday I may take the leap, digging deep to settle those roots into the soil. How about you? Any experience with roses, either your own or in a garden you admire?

Now, a lovely quote to leave you with:

"Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses." — Alphonse Karr

Check out the chat for the Sweetest Authors here!

Their guest will be Janet Durbin, owner of Whimsical Publications. The chat starts this evening, Thursday, June 25th at 8 p.m. EST, so pop over and say hi from Chiron. *grin*

Sweet contestants,
your next clue is here: Hywela Lyn.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Power of Choice

“Never give up, never surrender!” ---Commander Peter Taggart (lead character in “Galaxy Quest”)

Whenever I’m feeling down, I love to put up my feet and sink my mind into an old favorite movie. The reason is obvious. A good story, whether silly or profound, lifts us out of our ordinary life and into a new perspective. And within each story is a kernel of truth that some reader (or viewer) takes to heart. Perhaps that is the essential ingredient we strive to discover in each of our own stories. That kernel of truth. This is what sets each story apart. For me, this new week, I’m quoting one of my favorite fictional heroes. And I want to urge each of us to Never Give Up, NEVER Surrender!

“Part of the issue of achievement is to be able to set realistic goals, but that's one of the hardest things to do because you don't always know exactly where you're going, and you shouldn't.” ~~ George Lucas

Ah yes, the challenge of balancing the need for realistic goals and the reality that because each story is an independent creation there are quirks and inevitable diversions. Not to mention the unavoidable distractions that daily living often presents. Like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

We writers also face another challenge in our careers:

“You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile.” --Brian Tracy

Time. Yikes. So many little revisions, hours spent on research or even just staring into space while searching for the exact right word. How many here have sweated over picking the Perfect Name for a character?

Obviously, these precious moments invested are worthwhile. We love being writers, which is why we write. Yet too often we spend just as much time chiding ourselves over the hours wasted or bemoaning the lack of substantial feedback. We all have end goals in sight. A beginning writer hopes to get a positive response from a query. A published writer yearns for a stellar review. A multi-published author strives to reach a particular sales level. And it’s almost certain that every writer will judge herself at each stage, certain that she SHOULD be doing better.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” --Zig Ziglar

Let us remember, and remind each other as often as we can, that while we should damn well strive to reach whatever far-reaching goal we set our hearts on, We Are Successful. Reaching for the highest, becoming all we can be… That is the best goal we can hope for. Would we sneer at our best friend for her efforts, or judge her for not reaching her goals quickly enough? Of course not! We’d point out that the strongest trees grow slowly, sinking roots deep into the ground. A spindly sapling that shoots up too quickly might snap in a heavy wind.

“Trust, have faith, and keep doing the work,” we’d murmur with an encouraging smile. Part of the process of staying motivated is keeping your spirits high! As the marathon runners stumble past, the onlookers cheer and shout their support. Imagine if they offered up the kind of words we’ve been known to toss at ourselves when no one is listening. We’ve all done it. My personal favorite is to shout, “I’m a hack! My writing sucks!” while pacing around the room. *rolls eyes* Not very best-friendish, eh?

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." - Oscar Wilde

The truth is, everyone must strive to reach heights that are unfamiliar. We need to keep in mind that even those blessed writers who do get published immediately have issues or personal struggles of their own. We all share the need to better ourselves, to reach our personal heights, to become the Best We Can Be.

Part of what makes the difference with writing is perspective. The more we put the pressure on, the more it seems like WORK (the dreaded four letter word) and less like PLAY. Yet this is what we want more than anything, right? We’re not digging ditches or scrubbing toilets. This is our life’s dream, our greatest joy. Sometimes I find that my whole attitude shifts when I make a few changes in perspective. Rather than saying “I HAVE to finish this book” or “I have to meet this deadline,” how about “I get to finish my book!” “I get to meet a deadline!”

Wow! How lucky am I? *grin*

“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work." --Richard Bach.

And when you get right down to it, there’s nothing you HAVE to do. Really. Everything is a choice. Even breathing. Sure, the alternative is I’d suffocate *cough* but again, it’s what I choose to do. Sometimes we Choose to take on obligations. It’s easy then to believe we HAVE TO do this or that. But the simple truth is, we Choose. Each and every time. To be responsible. To be kind. To be mature (sometimes *wink*). To write our books.

So let’s make that choice and recognize the beauty and absolute pleasure it is to Have that choice. YAY! We Are WRITERS!

My choice this week is to…

Continue on with first draft of suspense. I'm so close to the end I can taste it!

Weekly essay.

How about you?

Have a fabulous week, everyone!! Go-go-GO!!

Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between the Lines.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dig Deep to Find Your Own Vein of Gold

"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." ~Julien Green

As I sifted through the comments and suggestions offered up my editor the last few months, one truth stood out. Learning to write is a lifelong process. The reason is two-fold. First is simple common sense. Just as muscles are trained to respond in sports (this is called 'muscle memory') and musicians train fingers and ears to automatically pick out the right notes, so does each writer develop a sense of how to write with clarity and skill.

This part is arduous mostly because in the beginning our eyes pass over mistakes which after a book or two become glaringly obvious. Writers need thick-skins right from the start as we discover our 'perfect prose' is not a marble sculpture but clay that needs to be shaped and molded repeatedly until our masterpiece is complete.

The second reason writing is a lifelong process of learning is much more intriguing.

Writing is a Path of Self-Discovery. Both a craft and an art. We learn to rework the words and clarify our intent with our minds. We learn to create a story with our hearts and our souls.

"The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life." ~Muhammad Ali

The first time a critique partner wrote: this isn't clear to me, I had to dig deeper. Again, back to the first step—how to clarify our intent. One tip for beginning writers I can offer is from my own experience. An author may know what the story is but the reader doesn't. We must ground the reader in our setting.

Staring at the computer monitor, the writer perched in her padded desk chair. On the wood bookcase beside her desk, the antique Victorian clock ticked off the seconds. The last remnants of cold tea in her cup, she pecked away at the keyboard, occasionally glancing out the window as sunshine warmed her front yard.

Next we must remember that while the action seems obvious to us, we truly do need to spell it out for our readers. The author knows the character's motivation and where the story is going. Because of this, we may unintentionally leave bits out because our brain has filled in the blanks. Our reader doesn't have the same crib notes, so while at first it will feel as if we're spelling out the obvious the scenes will flow much more smoothly.

Yet 'digging deeper' is not just about setting, description and action. We must take risks. We must bare our soul. We must surprise ourselves if we hope to surprise others.

"No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself." -Thomas Mann

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." ~Anaïs Nin

There are writers who compose stories without ever feeling they've 'discovered' anything new, in themselves or in their writing. There are songwriters who can whip out catchy little tunes without much reflection as well. Then there's John Lennon, a composer who dug deep into his soul and searched his heart for truth. His journey is reflected in his music, and these songs still strike chords within our hearts today. Since this week's theme is about 'digging deep', it's time to reflect on which story you wish to write. In my view, the choice is based on the stories you most enjoy reading.

I just finished a lovely book by Linda LaRoque, titled, My Heart Will Find Yours. At the end, I sighed with satisfaction and said, "Now that's a love story." Why? Because the characters I grew to love touched my heart, and their journey towards love, healing and self-awareness became my journey as well.

My own upcoming release, Sidekicks, features a wanna-be 'leading lady' who believes the only way to rise above her current stature (feeling like an extra in her own movie) is to snag the ultimate leading man. While I wrote the story, I had to walk in her footsteps and dig deep to understand her world. Her quest had to resonate within my own heart in order to pen a tale that would click with my readers.

"When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before." ~Clifton Fadiman

Many a writer struggles with squeezing in precious minutes to write or struggles with fear disguised as procrastination. Ironically, though the process of digging deep may seem to require the perfect setting, the endless hours or a complete lack of fear, the opposite is true. Often times we pull away because, truth be told, writing is a heck of a lot of work. It's much easier to watch television shows that a friend of mine fondly described as "chewing gum for the mind" or play card games on the computer. Shut-up! I have to win at least ONE game before I write!! *grin*

Those writers we envy, the ones who whip out an impossible number of pages regularly (Allison Brennan, I'm talking to YOU!), do so because they're pumped about their story. They're excited because digging deep is sparking something within them. The enthusiasm carries over in their work.

So what to do when you only have an hour a day? Write. Allison did just that, carving out time between raising a family and working full-time (she's since given up her day job). She's now a NY Times best-selling author. She dug deep not only to find the stories but to find the perseverance and determination to make her dream come true.

"To the question of your life you are the answer, and to the problems of your life you are the solution." ~Joe Cordare

As I wrap up this essay, my intention to explore this topic led to some unexpected realizations. Digging deep is about reaching down into our souls to create stories and much more. Pushing ourselves to write when we only have a few moments and persevering through the endless rewrites (those veins of gold are rarely visible with one strike of the pick-axe) or tossing out hopeful queries is perhaps the most vital quest of all. Self-discovery is much more than a sparkling epiphany. Self-discovery is finding out who you are and exactly what you can accomplish. Today, an essay. Perhaps tomorrow, the world!

"Many people miss opportunity because it came disguised in overalls." - Henry Ford

Speaking of self-discovery… one book that I felt 'changed my life' is Demian by Herman Hesse. Yet over the years I've found that even the silliest of movies (Groundhog Day comes to mind) can trigger new understanding. What do you consider to be an avenue of self-discovery? Then there are the qualities developed as a result of becoming a writer. The big one for me is perseverance. How about you?

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." --Marie Curie

Here's to a productive and inspired week. We shall persevere because We Are Writers. *grin* What do writers do? We write! Let's get to it. Go-go-GO!

Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Breaking Through the Wall…

"I have a love-hate relationship with the writing life. I wouldn't wish to have any other kind of life…and on the other hand, I wish it were easier. And it never is. The reward comes sentence by sentence. The reward comes in the unexpected inspiration. The reward comes from creating a character who lives and breathes and is perfectly real. But such effort it takes to attain the reward! I would never have believed it would take such effort."-Journal of a Novel, December 15, 1997, Elizabeth George, Write Away

"I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done." --Steven Wright

The idea of being a writer would appear to be a glorious, magical journey, akin to traipsing through a field of daisies on a spring day. Blowing bubbles, twirling under the clouds and then… inspiration strikes and with a wave of our hands, the novel appears before us like a rainbow in the sky.

Or… we spend hours, days, months, years, pounding away at the keyboard, pounding away at the wall lodged in our thick skull as we struggle in vain to reach that novel tucked deep within our souls.

The writer's life ain't easy. Moving past the proverbial Writer's Block is as much fun as a root canal. And at least that has a time limit!

"We conquer, not in any brilliant fashion, we conquer by continuing." --George Matheson

When writers hit a wall, the greatest idea in the world won't help. We need more. We need to break through and we're not sure how to do it. This is our personal Dark Night of the Soul—when we need to push onward down that rocky path despite the lack of light.

And how exactly do we do that? First thing we need to examine exactly what writer's block is. To my mind it's a two-parter. The outer symptom is that we're stuck, we're stumped because we've reached an impasse and don't *see* what comes next. The inner cause though is often simply fear. Fear that the next sentence will be mediocre. Fear that as we type, the words will turn to gibberish. Fear that unless we are struck with a brilliant inspiration that is clear and obvious, we can't write.

Inspiration is lovely but it's perspiration that counts. Many writers will admit that their most inspired moments turn out after reflection to be just so-so. While the writing that seemed humdrum while slogging through a slow day actually turned out pretty darn good.

A friend came to visit James Joyce one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.

“James, what’s wrong?” the friend asked. “Is it the work?”

Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at his friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?

“How many words did you get today?” the friend pursued.

Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk): “Seven.”

“Seven? But James… that’s good, at least for you.”

“Yes,” Joyce said, finally looking up. “I suppose it is… but I don’t know what order they go in!”

From On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

There are two things one can do with writer's block. One is step away. Take a breather. Live life for a while and take the pressure off.

Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. --Meg Chittenden

Sitting cooped up with nothing but our imagination and our writing tools can be crazy-making after all. We may just need something to jar us out of our slump, to give us fresh perspective, to help us reawaken the delight within our souls.

I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have by reading novels. — Ernest Gaines

For me, it's music. When I pull away and listen to a favorite tune, I feel transported and rejuvenated. For my friend Cathy, a stroll through the fragrant redwoods gives her a lift and brings her a sense of joy and comfort. Maybe for you it's repotting a plant or hitting a garage sale, repainting the living room or getting a massage. Hmmm… sign me up for that last one!

That's step one. But it doesn't get us writing again. What can we do to actually GET back to the process of writing once more?

The answer is simple, frustrating, annoying and obvious.


The Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Spender said, "The best thing is to write anything, anything at all that comes into your mind, until gradually there is a calm and creative day."

We're training our mind to respond to our hand movements. Whether it's typing or scribbling long-hand on legal pad, our brain is geared up to associate the mental process of writing with the physical process. Now, sometimes the block is resolved by the foray away from writing. We come back and just *know*. And sometimes money does magically appear on the front lawn (I joke but once I looked out my kitchen window and saw a twenty dollar bill fluttering down to the ground!).

The real test though is in the writing. Which is rather a pisser. *heh-heh* To think the problem and the solution might just be the same!

"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it." ---Harlan Ellison

So you sit down and write. If you're stuck with a scene, you tell yourself that you will come up with six possible ways the scene could go. The choices can be totally wacky, unbelievable and implausible.

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." --Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland.

This is where we need to realize that writing is both a linear and creative process. When we're stuck and we keep trying to approach the scene with a linear perspective, we find our self pushing against the wall.

You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." --Albert Einstein

The above quote applies to writer's block as well. Which is why a change of scenery often unblocks the mind. By letting go of the linear, logical, rational perspective and just writing those six implausible scenes, you are freeing your mind from the constraints. You're giving your creative self permission to color outside the lines. You know what this can do?

How about… Free You As A Writer. Or… Awaken the spontaneous brilliance that leaves your jaw gaping and your skin tingling. *wink*

While Writer's Block is often simply fear dressed up as procrastination, it's also an amazing opportunity. It's almost as if our soul is whispering, "This particular path is okay but there's another close by that's so incredible you'll feel transported." You may be "stuck" but in truth there could be a touch of intuition that *knows* there's an alternate idea that's so freaking cool it'll blow your mind.



So… Go for it. Take those breaks and then get back to work. Listen to the music within your soul, take a deep breath and Play. Dream up impossible scenarios and tell yourself that anything goes. Give yourself permission to color outside the lines and you might just find yourself dancing in Wonderland.

"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow." --- Louis L’Amour

Let's make this a spectacular week, everyone! We're approaching spring and all its glory. Let's give the stories that dance in our heart freedom to spill out on the pages. We can do it. Why? Because we're writers, that's why!

So tell me, how have you 'broken through the wall'? What methods do you use to move past writer's block?

Chiron O'Keefe
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

R.I.P. Shows That Left Us Too Soon

The cancellation of my favorites shows always steams me up! Check out my sad farewell to some of this season's untimely endings at Pop Culture Divas.

This month's post is titled: R.I.P Shows That Left Us Too Soon.

Chiron O'Keefe

Monday, June 1, 2009

Belief and Action—The Tools of Success!

"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her." ~David Brinkley

There's an old saying, 'you can't please all the people all the time.' Which begs the question, why would we want to? When did we decide our Job was to please others? Although it may be a strange question to consider, I think as writers it's bound to come up.

Here's why. We Want Readers. We want readers to enjoy our books and to read them. Agents and editors have a vested interest in making sales, so they have their own personal stake in this (which often may be driven right through the heart of the book we adore).

So… what to do?

First thing is to remember is this. Writing is an art. Can an artist switch to please the market and be successful? Or happy? Hmmmm…

"At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important"M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher is known for his brilliant, precise work. Drawings and etchings of such magnificent complexity it truly boggles the mind. His work features alternate realities and optical illusions with a strong mathematical component. Now, imagine for a moment if he fretted about chasing the market and instead focused on painting in an impressionistic style. Or if the daring masters of Impressionism balked under public pressure (the "newfangled approach" baffled and offended many at the time).

"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." ~Vincent Van Gogh

While we do need to balance an awareness of the market in our work, moving forward is essential. Part of moving forward is to Embrace What You Love To Write.

"The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable." ~Paul Tillich

Here's a thought. There's someone out there who will love your voice, even if you first encounter a dozen who don't. The more books you write, the more books you submit, the more books you publish, the greater the chance You Will Find Your Audience.

Yet there will be fans who feel dismayed or betrayed. Who imagine the story being something different. Or who wish you would write in a particular way. When some romance authors made the change to suspense (Lisa Jackson, for example), fans were disappointed. And boy did they let her know it.

Pete Forever, Ringo Never… Heck, when the Beatles switched out Pete Best for Ringo Starr their fans were outraged too. And we all know how THAT worked out. *smile*

"Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." ~Les Brown

As a writer, you will face naysayers before you finish that first manuscript. When you're submitting, the rejections will feel like a slap in the face. *sigh* The reviews will sometimes hit you where it hurts. *groan* So, what are you going to do about that? Well, I have an idea. WRITE! Write, write, and write some more. You Are A Writer. You Can Do It! Dare to dream, dare to write.

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." ~Jean Sibelius

Critics can explain in great detail why something won't work (Thank Goodness the Wright Brothers didn't listen) but what do they know? You can spend your life reinforcing all the negative crap that is flung your way OR you can realize this. You Are A Success. You Can Achieve Anything. Anything at all.

"Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." ~Mary Kay Ash

Here's an inspiring tidbit. At age 45, Mary Kay Ash quit her sales job when yet another fellow SHE Had Trained got promoted above her. (Let's all chime in with a collective, Grrrrrrr…) Determined to prove she had the Right Stuff, she started her own business with five grand. Within two years, Mary Kay Cosmetics sales hit the $2 million mark. Talk about determination! So flap those wings, fellow authors, and take to the skies!

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown

Take a moment and breathe deep. Close your eyes and wiggle your fingers and toes. Consider all your dreams, your ambitions, your hopes for the future. Now… Visualize The Reality You Want To Create. If you're working on your first (or fifth) manuscript, visualize typing the words The End. If you're sending out a query (or ten), picture an agent or editor devouring your story, then picking up the phone and giving you a call. Visualize your gorgeous shiny book clutched in your trembling hands. If you're waiting for reviews, paint a picture in your mind of the Best Review Ever.

I'm serious now. Take a few moments and etch that image until you feel the excitement tingling inside. Once you get that tingle, say these words: This Is The Truth. This Is My True Reality. I Am A Success. Anything else is simply an illusion I no longer need. This Is My True Reality.

Belief and Action are the tools you need to make it happen. Write Your Books. Believe In Your Success. You Can Do It!

One more piece to inspire you…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
--Marianne Williamson A Return to Love

Here's to another productive week tingling with potential! Go-go-GO!!

Chiron O'Keefe
Also Featured at Pop Culture Divas!