Sunday, September 27, 2009

Choosing to Believe

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." --- Richard Bach, Illusions.

There are times when we honestly can't write. A few weeks ago I noticed a unpleasant tenderness in my thumb. Gripping jars was difficult and typing became increasingly more painful. Instead of ignoring the ache as is my tendency, I visited my doctor who pronounced the tendon in my thumb inflamed and advised me to not type or play music for at least two weeks. *gasp*

My first instinct was to ignore her advice, which unfortunately she intuitively grasped and responded to. "That is if you want this to heal."


Okay, there's that.

During my unplanned break, I caught a very strange movie (The Science of Sleep, if you must know) and suddenly tapped into an intriguing idea for fantasy fiction. Undaunted by my sore thumb, I grabbed pad and paper and scratched out notes with my working hand until it ached. Granted I'll have to decipher those scribbles (embarrassing confession time: my handwriting could double as war-time code). Still, I showed myself that I could move forward despite the current restriction on my typing.

Yes, we do encounter obstacles, and when faced with such, we strive to get around them or to work beyond them.

Yet obstacles are not limitations. Limitations are the restrictions we choose to embrace. Many writers combine a writing career with a day job or family. Some juggle jobs and family duties and still manage to carve out a few precious writing minutes every day. There can be physical obstacles too (like my inflamed tendon), or even an unmet need for privacy or quiet. There are endless obstacles that we may encounter but none of these are limitations. Why? Simply put, because it is a choice to be limited.

Another choice (and dare I say a better one?) is to believe in our dreams and in our success. Why choose otherwise? Let's decide also to let go of any tendency to explain why we can't succeed or why we can't embrace our dreams. Let's instead perceive each obstacle as a river to be crossed and get to work building a bridge.

"No pessimist every discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." --Helen Keller

To be pessimistic means that we focus on what we cannot do or worse, we put all our energy into noticing the problems while turning our attention away from the solutions. It's not realistic to believe in failure or to set yourself up to "avoid disappointment." It is realistic to recognize that rejections may be inevitable in life but a rejection simply means there's more work to be done. Another dozen queries perhaps, or another book under your belt.

My good friend, author Misty Evans, faced many rejections. She could have given up but she chose to keep moving forward. Not only did she focus on sending out more queries she also kept writing. When she finally made a sale, how fortunate was she to have not just one book to sell, but a trilogy to be polished and submitted. When she found her editor, the books she chose to write were now waiting.

Richard Bach's book Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 140 times before getting picked up. Gone With The Wind was reportedly rejected 38 times. A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before being published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The list goes on and on. Even Ray Bradbury said in an interview on Barnes and Noble that he was rejected over a thousand times!

To be successful requires an unwavering belief in yourself and in your dreams. A healthy dose of optimism is just the right medicine.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. –Helen Keller

To be optimistic, we must throw open our hearts and believe. Despite the obstacles, despite any rejections, despite the times we want to heave that damn computer out the window and give up. Instead, we wish upon a star…

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."Walt Disney

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged. –Helen Keller

The greatest gift anyone can have is a dream to pursue. Millions of people yearn for something they cannot define. A lucky few know exactly what they would like to do or who they would like to become. The obstacles may be many but with courage, patience, perseverance and a healthy dose of optimism, just about anything you dream of can be achieved.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. –Helen Keller

One secret to victory is that reality will reflect back what we believe. That's why so many successful people recount stories of optimism and faith. If you believe in yourself, in your triumph over the odds, others will believe it too. If you mark each day with a sign of your success, you establish a habit of productivity and positive thinking that leads you past the obstacles and to your own Happy Ending.

Let's stay focused, mark each day with a sign of our individual success, and start off the morning with a reminder to ourselves: "You, my friend, are a Successful Author!" Write on!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines.

Thanks to my friend, David Carr for this gem of a motivational video. Enjoy!


Ann Victor said...

Another great inspirational post and very true.

I read somewhere (can't remember the source) that to keep moving forward towards one's life goals one needs to learn to recognise the difference between obstacles, blockages and barriers.

An obstacle is something that must be overcome.

A blockage is something that must be worked around.

And a barrier is something that tells us we need to seek a new way.

When difficulties arise in life, the vital key is to identify which we are facing as each requires a different resolution and it's this ability - knowing when to walk over, walk around or walk away - which helps one achieve seemingly impossible goals.

As always, love your selection of quotes.

Linda LaRoque said...

Great post, Chiron. Sorry about your thumb but sounds like it didn't slow down your thinking. Sometimes the ideas flow better for me when I'm writing with pen and paper.

Anonymous said...

Always what I need to hear when I need to hear it. Thank you!

Chiron said...

Hello Ann!

Thanks so much! I love that piece on the difference between obstacles, blockages and barriers. Very cool.

I'll be mulling that over all week. Thanks!


Chiron said...

Hey Linda,

You know there's something to that. My handwriting is hard to read though so I do prefer to type. You should see me squinting over the ongoing shopping list posted on the fridge. I'll call hubby over to help me decipher what the heck it was I wrote. *laughs*

But I do love making lists. *grin*

Thanks always for stopping by!


Chiron said...

Oh Kathy!!

Consider yourself hugged!


Anonymous said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Positive thinking

Chiron said...

Thanks so much, Karim!