The categories are back — and here comes Ms. Jordan

Hooray! Fabulous, wonderful Brian the Webmaster has tamed the wild beast that was our inexplicable sidebar problem! He officially, to put it colloquially, rocks.

Speaking of rockin’ volunteers working for all of our benefits on this very website, it’s time for another installment from our Northern Californian correspondent, the lovely and talented Jordan E. Rosenfeld . Take it away, Jordan!

Hello, friends. We are friends by now, aren’t we? Welcome to day three of shifting how you think about your writing life, or as you might be calling it, “Weird positive attitude stuff with that California chick.”

Let me make one thing clear. I want you to have the writing life you want and deserve. Anne does too, or else she wouldn’t put so much elbow grease into this blog. She’s giving away tips here that I personally, think she should charge for. But like her, I too want to see other writers succeed, so we give away what we know. The more of us who do succeed, by the way, the more likely the industry gets to stay alive and can continue to compete with the seductive intensity of TV and movies.

By now, if you’ve followed my posts, you’ve taken your “writer’s pulse” (or are free to do so now). You have an idea of whether you are more inclined to bemoan your sad fate as unpublished, or are really freakin’ jazzed to find a way and do the work to get what you want. I’m guessing most of you are of the hardworking variety.

But how many of you get a little bit of information and rush out willy-nilly and write a query letter and send it off; or write a novel in four months and then give up hope when someone tells you it needs work; or look at a glossy literary journal that you’ve had your eyes on for years with the sad little mantra, “it will never happen”?

Okay, so how many of you is not important. What IS, is that there’s an intermediary step you can take between the transmission of information via smart people like Anne and at writing conferences, and the action you take based on that information. That intermediary step isn’t even work; it might even be fun — and it involves writing.

Before I tell you what it is, consider something. If I hand you a picture of a jungle and I say, “pick out all the cats,” that would be a lot different, wouldn’t it, from handing you that same picture and saying, “tell me what animal there are the most of in this scene”?

What’s the difference? The specific focus.

So, when you pick a specific focus — an outcome, for instance — and you write it down, when you go off into action you’re far more inclined to look for, attract and see what will help you obtain your goal (that explanation is for the less “cosmically” inclined. For those of you who really want to open wide open to the possibilities, I tell you: when you know what you want, and believe you can get it, the universe provides.)

So that intermediary step I talked about above between getting good intel and turning it into action is to write down, exactly as you would like it to go, a little “vision” to yourself, like so:

“Just two days after sending out ten queries to literary agents, I get four requests for partials and two for full manuscripts. Within another week, one of my top ten agents offers me representation. I feel (fill in the blank).”

You can write whatever you darn well please, about whatever outcome you want. But I will guarantee that if you get into the habit of clarifying HOW you want these outcomes to go, in specific, not just THAT you want them, but HOW, your results will change.

That’s today’s task #1. On to task #2.

Last week, I asked you to take your “number one desire” and extrapolate out the reasons why you want it, numbered one through twenty. And you, of course, ran to your desks and did this. In the process of wanting why, you energize yourself, you get excited, you start to MEAN IT. And that is crucial. Hey, even Dr. Joyce Brothers said that success is a state of mind. If you want to be successful, you have to believe you are. So start now.

Now, take five of your “reasons why” and see if you can’t come up with ten more “whys” for them. Example: if one of the reasons why I want to be a published novelist is that I believe it is my destiny — then I must now answer,
“Why is it my destiny?”

To which I might say:

–Novel writing is the only thing I do that feels effortless and joyful

–In third grade, I wrote an essay titled, “When I grow up I want to be an authoress.”

–Because I believe I can communicate interesting ideas and entertain people

You see where I’m going with this. Try it for yourself. The deeper you peer into your reasons and get yourself excited about what you’re doing, the more likely you are to succeed.

I’d also like to ask, for your third task of the day, that you continue to work on last time’s other “game” of following the career of a writer you would like to emulate. Keep a notebook. I’m serious. Learn EVERYthing you can about she or he whose career you want. What goals did they set for themselves? What happened just before their big successes? How do they stay successful? I am so willing to bet that a great deal of it is positive feelings.

See you soon.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld

P.S.: If you will allow me to shamelessly hawk my own online class, please visit my teaching site to sign up for the first of many online Creating Space classes, beginning September 9th (4 weeks, $125).

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