1) Separate Facts From Story
Feelings of discouragement are never caused by events or life circumstances/situations, but rather by what we make these circumstances mean. A rejection letter from an agent is a fact, but ‘Oh, no, this means I will never succeed’ is an optional belief – one we need never subscribe to. If believe that pessimistic thought, we feel terrible, and that terrible feeling cannot possibly fuel the kind of actions and behaviours we need to practise in order to create success in our futures. So, instead, we can think, ‘I’m on track. This – including the failure part – is the precise and only route to long-term success.’ And we can continue to believe in that future success as strongly as we ever did.
2) Thought Auditions
The thoughts that pass through our minds are not ‘ours’ unless and until we choose to think them on purpose, believe them and identify with them. Only then do they become ‘my thoughts’. Judge each passing thought as if it has shown up for an audition (and you’re the Casting Director of a great Thought Show!). Let it have its say, and ask yourself: how will I feel if I believe this thought? What actions will that feeling produce, and how likely are those actions to create the result I want for myself in relation to my writing? If the thought you’re ‘auditioning’ is something like ‘I might as well give up because my book’s probably rubbish’, then you can choose to think, as your Thought Show’s Casting Director, ‘No, thanks, I don’t want to cast that partticular thought in the lead role.’ That thought has then failed its audition – you send it on its way. It’s not *your* thought, it’s just *a* thought that passed through your mind. Send it on its way…and then you’re free to choose whatever tthought you like to play that lead role. How about something like ‘I am going to pursue my writing dreams and believe in my success no matter what obstacles I encounter’?
3) Emotional Adulthood
Victims need villains in their stories, in order to maintain the victim identity. As writers, our villains of choice might be agents who rejected us, or editors who were rude about our manuscripts, or reviewers who trashed our work. Initially, a victim identity – our cherished story about how the literary world has wronged and underestimated us – can be comforting to its owner, but ultimately it is always disempowering. When we take full responsibility for our results, we deprive others of the power to have a detrimental impact on our progress. Other people’s behaviour towards us is a circumstance – a fact – that we can’t change. All our power lies in choosing how to think about that behaviour and about all the other facts in the world that we can’t control, and in choosing how to respond to it in a way that makes our results *our* creations, not anyone else’s. We can and should always dispense with villain-and-victim thinking, and choose to be the hero of our story, not the victim of it – no matter what other people choose to do. This is true emotional adulthood, and it’s an essential tool if we want to create happiness and success in our writing lives.
4) The Past Does Not Determine The Future
Our future begins today – no earlier – and is shaped by the thoughts we choose to think and believe today and from now on. Nothing about what happened in the past has any influence upon what happens next unless we keep thinking, feeling and behaving in the same old ways. When we want a different result to the one we’ve been getting for the last ten years, it’s time to choose different thoughts that will generate new feelings and new actions. Consider: if you’ve failed 500 times trying to open an envelope with your toes, that doesn’t mean you will never succeed in opening that envelope. It simply means you must think differently about the problem, and change your approach and strategy. Try to open the envelope with your fingers, for example, and your 501st attempt will almost definitely yield a different result!
5) Be, Do, Have, not Do, Have, Be:
We might have a very clear picture of the successful writer we want to be one day but we’re often confused about the process of how to get there. Imagining our future self – the person we will be when we’ve achieved our goals – is a vital step in working out the route, but most of us assume we need first to work very hard and then get/have great results in order to become that next version of us. In fact, that’s completely the wrong way round. Instead, we need to look at how our Future Self will *think and feel* about her/his/their success, and then we need to get our present-day thoughts and feelings from that Future Self we’ve created in our mind, and practise being that next-level us right now, starting from today. We need first to *be* the massively successful version of ourselves in our minds; only then can we create massively successful results in our actual present-day lives.
6) The ‘Literary Diagnostics’ Approach
Dream Author’s revolutionary approach to editing is a real game-changer. This tool, partly inspired by the brilliant Dr Greg House from American TV series House MD, has a powerful effect upon a writer’s ability to analyse and improve their work. It’s an approach that has saved the lives of many manuscripts!
7) The ‘Gnocchi’ Drafting Process
Named after the part-pasta-part-potato dish, this infallible approach to planning and drafting your book is unique to Dream Author, and has a transformative and energising effect on the entire creative process!
8) Set Yourself an Impossible Goal
Whenever we’re striving to achieve a goal that we see as being possible for us, we’re imposing an unhelpful and premature limitation on ourselves: if we know we can do it, then we might well do it, but we won’t stretch ourselves and grow our achievement-capacity in the attainment of the result. Instead, we should set ourselves a wishful-thinking goal that, at the time of setting, feels truly impossible to us.
And then? We work towards it as if it were possible by setting a series of smaller do-goals and working our way steadily towards the allegedly-impossible. When we do this, two brilliant things happen. First, we find that we achieve more than we ever would have if we’d aimed lower, and second: by seriously attempting and aiming for the impossible, we are very likely to become a person for whom our goal is not at impossible! We become the person who is capable of achieving that very thing.
9) Avoid Success Resistance and Success Expectation:
If you’re a writer who doesn’t celebrate the small successes, or who gets a great result and then immediately dampens your excitement with a ‘Yes, but this doesn’t count as proper success, because…’ thought, it’s highly likely that when you achieve even big success goals, you won’t benefit from all those wonderful ‘success feelings’ – because by then your brian will be so practised and adept at finding problems and thinking ‘Yes, but…’ Our brains are creatures of habit, so we need to start training them immediately to celebrate and feel great about *all* our achievements and successes, however small.
Then we’re able to want and aim for bigger success not from scarcity-thinking but from abundance- thinking, which is so much more effective and enjoyable! Success Expectation, too, can decrease our belief in our chances of creating success for ourselves, and when this belief drops off, we’re likely to give up – and once that’s happened, our chance of success is zero, right? Make sure you are not so rigid in your thinking that you give up on your goals and dreams if success doesn’t happen within a particular time-frame or arrive in a particular way.
10) Action with Unlimited Belief (AWUB)
Complete belief in future success enables us to take ‘massive action’. What does that mean? Simply this: we keep taking action towards our goal until that goal is achieved. When we believe that our eventual success is a given, any disappointments and failures along the way turn into learning opportunities and vital stepping-stones along the path to our dreams coming true, rather than evidence we should feel discouraged and/or give up. It is in this precise way that an unlimited belief in ourselves and our ability to realise our dreams is the most potent aid to success. There’s often a temptation to be doubtful of our abilities in order to protect ourselves from disappointment, but pessimism doesn’t protect us at all. Pessimism is just choosing to feel bad in anticipation of an unhappy ending that might or might not happen – but it’s 500% more likely to happen if we believe it will, because then we take no action at all to create the opposite result.
If you’d like to join Dream Author and learn how to create more fulfilment and success that you’ve ever thought possible, you can find out more, and sample some Dream Author coaching podcasts and webinars, here: https://dreamauthorcoaching.com. And I have a special offer for you! Join before end of 2020 and you get a bonus 1-hour one-to-one coaching session with me (via Zoom) to start you off on your Dream Author journey in the best way possible! I will also send you the most amazing PDF which goes into detail about how precisely to start creating those wishful-thinking best-case-scenario results in your writing life! All you need to do is email me – email@example.com – with ‘Just Joined Dream Author’ in the subject line!
(c) Sophie Hannah
About Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah:
All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.
Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.
But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…
There’s something terribly wrong.
Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.
Why haven’t they grown?
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