Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Is your dream to be published? Are you entering contests with that goal in mind/ Do you truly see yourself as a published author?

It has been proven scientifically and scripturally that visualizing and believing your dream brings it about. There have been a plethora of studies showing how the power of positive thinking can change one's life. In the Bible (Mark 11:22-26) Jesus states that if you tell the mountain go throw yourself in the sea and do not doubt in your heart but believe what you say, it will be done for you. There are two key truths to focus on. First you tell, speak, say what you want and then you must believe. This sounds so easy, but negative talk and subtle doubts can sabotage your dream.

Start listening to yourself. Are you going around saying I'm a writer but I'm not published. This business is impossible to get published. I keep getting rejections. I can't win contests. Well these things may be happening but you give power to them if you speak them. Instead speak positive words like I am an author. I will place in the contest. I will be published. There is an editor who will love my writing.

Some writers put up a big poster board in their writing space and put pictures showing what they envision as their success. One friend of mine took best seller books and drew a cover for each one of her manuscripts. She wrapped her covers around the best sellers and put them on her bookshelf by her computer. As she wrote, she kept looking up at those books and believing they were her best sellers. It took some time, but she now actually does have best sellers she has written on her shelf.

So start saying to this mountain, I am a published author. Start believing that you are. Get rid of any negative talk. And watch what happens.


Melanie Dickerson said...

You're so right, Sandra, about not being negative and believing it will happen.

Maybe it's because I've always been a daydreamer, but I so can visualize it. I've been practicing my speech for the Christy Awards for years.


Janet Dean said...

Excellent advice, Sandra, and fun, but practical suggestions on how to turn our focus from negative to positive.

I have a paperweight on my desk that says something like: Whether I think I can or whether think I can't, I'll be right.

When we believe in ourselves and think positively, we'll not only see results, but we'll be happier and more fun to be around.


Mary Connealy said...

You know, this is one way to go, Sandra.........however.....
Toward the end (the last oh, say, four years) of my unpubbed life, I developed an attitude of hopelessness.
Yes, that's me Mary 'Eeyore' Connealy. I found that to be much easier to cope with.
I'd send out a manuscript to an editor or agent, assuming it'd be rejected and what the hey, huh? If it wasn't then great. If it was, well OF COURSE.

So, sure, a positive attitude is fine. Norman Vincent Peale got a big time best seller out of The Power of Positive Thinking, but for me, hopelessness was more mentally healthy.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I'm sitting here dying laughing. "...hopelessness was more mentally healthy." Hmm. What's wrong with this statement??

Oh! I forgot the most important part of that statement: "FOR ME..." (for Mary). Okay, that explains it.

[great big wink]

Sorry, Mary. Couldn't resist giving you a hard time. :)

Sandra, since I teach adults, I've read up some on the topic. They respond well to suggestions. (You've heard of self-fufilling prophesies in relation to kids, but it works for adults, too.) The book I read talked about telling the students they're going to be successful. So I do that! Especially when I've reviewed them and they seem to know the material well. As I hand out the test papers, I talk to them about how well I know they'll do. It seems to be working! I haven't had a student fail yet.

Like Sandra said, we should do it with our writing. I'm a big believer in positive self talk.


Mary Connealy said...

I've been doing that, 'imagine yourself thin' exercise for decades.
Still shaped like an egg.

I suppose I should substitute the mental exercise for REAL exercise but honestly, that wasn't mentioned in the pep talk I got.

Or at least I ignored that part.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Melanie, I can hardly wait to hear your speech. I know it will be great.

Janet, I love your paperweight. I have a mouse pad I purchased at an RWA conference put out by Southern Magic which states: I am a writer. I will finish this book because I have the skill, talent, energy, and courage to do so. And when the demons of self-doubt rear their ugly heads, I will shout them down with words. Because I am a writer. I can't tell you how much that has helped me over the years.

Missy, I'm glad you're using the principal with students. I found that if I believed they would learn they would. Amazing and yes, it does work.

Mary dear, there are always exceptions to the rule. After all God does love variety. I'm glad the hopelessness worked for you. You are an amazing author.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


You're so right. A positive attitude, especially in the face of adversity, is a huge asset.

In sales training we were taught that the word 'no' simply means we haven't asked the right people.

That puts the agent/editor thing in perspective if we've polished our craft.

And Melanie! I love that you practice your speech and I can totally see you accepting the award.

I'll be smiling from wherever when it happens.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, you're not thin?????

Since when?

See, girlfriend, you PROJECT a thin image, therefore what we see is the svelte, shapely, 120 lb. Mary-in-a-wedding-gown gal we all know and love.

Either that or we use the trick mirrors from the fun house at the amusement arcade.


See, here's the trick, Eeyore, which you conveniently forgot:

While you were pretty sure a writing career was hopeless, YOU KEPT WRITING.....

And submitting, and tossing stuff in contests (how we met... I'll never forget coming face to face with you at ACFW that year, same year Julie pounced on me because she thought I'd given Passion like a 96 out of 215 or something...So not me!!!)You stuck with the writing until the gold ring was within your grasp and now you have a gargantuan backload of delightful Connealy stories that have been contracted...

Because you believed in the possibility all along, even if you put on an Eeyore face. Real Eeyores don't keep working.

You did.

The thin part...


'Nother story altogether.

I, um, actually.......

I think you're a better writer than you are a dieter.

But I'm tickled pink that you're a writer.


Mary Connealy said...

I'm actually a better astronaut than I am a dieter.
Better sword fighter.
Better acrobat.
Better presidential candidate.
You name it.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Just between us, I don't want to ride a rocket ship with you at the helm.

I'd sooner chance the diet, even if we're doomed to fail.

'Cause we're tough. We'll get up and try again.

Okay, maybe not.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes, Ruthy, you are a fighter. You will get up and doggedly continue. You have amazing tenacity and strength. I admire that about you. I'm picturing you signing a contract soon.

Mary, as far as being thin---that is relative to the times. Historically the elite were not thin. Thinness was a sign of poverty and having to work too hard. You are a princess Miss Mary, enjoying the fruits of your labor. Well, truthfully, we're all enjoying the fruits of your labor.

The seekers have some great novels out there for us to read. The rest of us are aspiring to join them. And we will. See, I've said it, I believe it, so it will happen.

Anonymous said...

I just got my cover for Alaska Brides. That is the anthology with Golden Days in it, coming out in September. It's beautiful. A mountain at sunset.
Anonymouse egg shaped commenter

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Miss Anonymous!!

Ruthy, I loved what you said about Mary (even if it was tyranical at times). There always was that nugget of hope (faith, trust, whatever you want to call it) because she kept at it--and now has a boat-load of manuscripts sold and to be sold.

Melanie, I would ask you to share your speech, but I think I'll wait until we can hear it for real! :)


Audra Harders said...

Such true words, Sandra! We need to hear this often. If God believes in us enough to give us the desire to write, why do we think we'll fail?

God only has good stuff planned for us. Thanks so much for the reminder, Sandra!!

Pam Hillman said...

I think (strike out; insert know) I can, I know I can, I know I can.

Thanks for the reminder, Sandra!

pat jeanne said...

This week with God's help I will think in a more positive way about my novel and continue to do all I can to realize my dream of being published. Afterall, my password is novelist. I will think like one. Thanks so much for this positive reinforcement, Sandra. You ladies here are an inspiration.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Pam, You're so funny. I'm glad you were reminded. And you too Audra. Why do we keep needing these reminders? You'd think because we know it we would practice it all the time. But I for one, forget continually (sigh) and must remind myself often to think positive, believe in my dreams and trust God. Did I say I forget. my my I mean I never forget. I always remember. I am positive. I am. I am. LOL

Pat, I love your password. What a positive reinforcement that is.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I'm off to our local Desert Rose RWA meeting. We're planning for our conference this April. I love conferences. They're great for meeting editors and agents face to face. Its also fun to meet with writer friends. I'll be back later this evening.

Donna Alice said...

This is true. I made a book cover for my book and look at it every day. Makes me feel like someday I will have a best seller.

Lorna said...

You all are too funny. This was an excellent reminder. It's so important to hold onto your nugget of hope. Janet, I love your paper weight, and Sandra, I love your mousepad.

Mary, I never thought about it, but I'd be a better astronaut than dieter, too, and I'm afraid of heights.

Now, I'm off to make a book cover for my best seller.

Mary Connealy said...

You know, I made a book cover for Petticoat Ranch years ago. Boots and a bonnet. The end cover was reminiscent of that wasn't it???

Sandra Leesmith said...

See Donna and Lorna. It worked for Mary. We need to stay in touch and find out if your cover resembles your published book. Wow. I think I'll go make one right now. Well--maybe tomorrow morning. But I probably rank right there with Mary and Lorna as an astronaut when it comes to artwork. yikes.

Kara said...

I will place in Genesis... I will place in Genesis... I will place in Genesis... Any Chicklit Genesis Judges here? The one with the first two chapters that will blow you away is called... ;)

Thanks for a great post!

Kaye Dacus said...

My thought, whether positive or negative I'm not sure, was always: I might as well enter--after all, what do I have to lose? I had the same attitude as Mary, I guess--what the hey? Submit to the contest even when I'm not sure I'll win? Sure. Submit it to the two biggest agents in the biz? What have I got to lose? Talk to an editor about a book that's already been rejected by every house in the industry except hers? Sure, why not? What's the worst they can say? No? Like I've never heard that before!

So, yeah, I guess I am right there with Mary. I submit with full expectation of being rejected, full expectation of not winning the contest (back in the day), full expectation of just moving on to the next project to see if I can get anywhere with it.

Maybe it's negative (positively negative?), but it's what got me through the years.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Kara! :)


Debby Giusti said...

Great advice and so true! When I let the "negatives" take over, the day never goes well. In this business, it's easy to focus on what we're not doing well instead of rejoicing on everything that's going right.

Let's pat ourselves on the back for jobs well done, whether a new contest entrant, a finalist, or a first-place winner.

Missy Tippens said...

Kaye (and Mary even though I teased Mary,) there is definitely some truth in what you say. like you said, what's the worst thing that can happen? The editor or judge says "no." It's not like they're going to do bodily harm or take our firstborn child. And it's not personal. They're just making business decisions (or judging decisions) based on their opinions.

Our spouses and kids won't love us any less if we don't final or don't win or don't sell.

And if we do final, win or sell, then we'll be pleasantly surprised.

So, hey, I won't make fun of Mary anymore. LOL


Sandra Leesmith said...

Missy I'm chuckling right along with you. Kara that is great. Debby and Kaye have a point. There are so many negatives in this business that we must remember that we have accomplished more than most simply by submitting to a contest, submitting to an editor or agent, putting our thoughts and insides out there for someone else to read. That dogged persistence speaks for itself. We have to believe or we wouldn't even bother. We have to have some measure of courage to face that blank page and fill it with such incredible imagination. And we have faith that our words mean enough to share with others. That's what keeps us going.

Thanks all of you for your great responses. We will believe for our dreams.

Gwen Stewart said...

Sandra, thank you for your wise words. When I tell family that I've written one MS and have almost completed another, they're just astonished. I need to remember that just finishing a "book" is an accomplishment that most people do not achieve.

Hanging on to small victories these days!

Melinda Walker said...

Faith seems to be the key to so many things. I read this quote this week: “God wants us to believe in order to see…. Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be?” from Streams in the Desert

Annette M. Irby said...

Sandra, I loved your post! I'm all about dreams and how God inspires them in His kids and then makes them come true. I'm careening toward my dreams' fulfillments right now!

:) Annette M. Irby