"Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible,
and of changing himself for the better if necessary."
Saturday morning before I left the house I noticed my hair was laying just right, and my new outfit managed to cover a multitude of sins. With a confident smile on my face I set off into the world. Everywhere I encountered smiling faces, lovely people. When I got home there was a contract for a short story I had written. Truly a wonderful day.
Last Thursday I woke and checked my email. Aren't computers great? I don't have to wait for the mailman to be rejected. No. Here it is in my AOL inbox. The start of a truly sucky day was confirmed by the guy who cut ahead in to my line at the post office as I tried to mail those contest entries. And to make matters worse, later that morning, some idiot stole my parking spot on the way in to the library to do research.
Clever writers that you are, you have probably already discerned the difference between my days. While plenty of not so wonderful things occured on Saturday, I was able to assimilate them without much thought. Thursday my mindset was that life sucked, I sucked and actually the world in general sucked.
Our response to ourselves, and in turn the world around us creates a constant, as Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer, puts it, 'motivation-reaction unit.'
What are your 'motivation-reaction units'? What do you input on a daily basis that creates your mental and/or spiritual output?
Do you input 'I am never going to sell' and 'my writing is pond scum' or remind yourself daily that you will be a published novelist? Are you taking steps towards that goal by visualizing, and affirming on a daily basis? Or does your daily input resemble the day before as you create a mental list of why you will not sell--your 'mental-reaction units'.
What exactly is visualization?
It's a dress rehearsal for your writing life.
Begin now, training your mind to accept the positive reinforcement of visualization and affirmations.
Viktor Frankl who lived through the horrors of German concentration camps shared this in his book, Man's Search for Meaning. "...everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
The bible stories of Abraham, David, Gideon and Peter illustrate the lives of men who initially didn't see the calling on their lives. They also demonstrate the power of 'calling things as not as though they are', and of truly stepping out in the vision of who you are meant to be.
If writing is your calling then start living the vision. If you aren't sure, then I suggest you get sure.
Stephen Covey's first habit in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is proactivity. "Change starts from within and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives by changing the things they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces."
I challenge you to create your own mental 'scenes' and 'sequels' --to plot the story of your writing life, and please remember to add all five senses to your scenes and sequels.
Can you see in your mind's eye, 'the call', the moment the editor tells you she wants to buy your book? Do you feel the excitement bubbling from deep inside you, until it pours out of your mouth as you babble a completely ridiculous response? Do you see your glance moving to the clock which has now stopped as you record the time for posterity?
Do your mental scenes show you on the New York Times list? Can you see your agent calling you with that almost hysterical excitement as she shares the news? Now you are dancing around the room in sheer joy, stopping only to pop a bottle of champagne?
Do you see yourself sitting in the audience at RWA Nationals, nervously smoothing your dress with your moist palms, as your name is called. How are you going to walk all the way up those stairs to accept your RITA?
What about that second book? Can you reach out and touch the ink drying on the contract or are you playing the same sequel of rejection, over and over in your head?
If today you at very least examine your 'motivation-reaction units' to the world around you and your writing career, you have made a proactive step towards a positive change.