by Diane Rogers
Recently, I attended the Southern California Writers Conference. The “weekend of words” featured enriching presentations on both the business and craft of writing. It zeroed in on common strategies embraced by successful authors.
When presenters shared their pathways to achievement, they didn’t talk about glitter dropping from the ceiling, and no one mentioned meeting a fairy godmother whose day job was a publisher. There were no la-la-pixiedust-instantaneous-superstar tales. Anecdotes of success revealed qualities and practices of dedication, hard work, and resilience.
Over the course of three days, it occurred to me that the journey of writers—aspiring and accomplished alike—extends beyond the search for money and literary fame.
At the heart of this courageous narrative is the story of individuals willing to look fear straight in the eyes, take its cold hand and walk with it—which is more or less like wandering into a dark forest with your worst enemy wearing a blindfold.
I looked around at my fellow attendees pondering the numerous uphill challenges we writers deal with on a daily basis. I wondered why so many people, knowing they will face rejection again and again, pursue this grueling game. Where does this brand of relentless motivation come from?
The ABCs of Creative Courage
Although a certain amount of literary talent is crucial, highly effective writers hold a common belief system that follows a logical sequence.
- They accept the human ability to imagine,
- They believe in the importance of bringing original ideas to life, and
- They find the courage to act on those beliefs.
When author Elizabeth Gilbert says, “The work wants to be made as much as I want to make it,” she is telling the world three things.
First, she accepts the fact that she has something called imagination and it’s her birth right to use it. Second, she believes she bears a sacred responsibility to manifest her uniquely individual creative ideas. As long as she holds those two values, she says her projects “will come into being.” Third, the genesis of her courage stems from a kind of possessed belief that what she is doing is of such fundamental importance that she is willing go the distance.
Psychologically speaking, Gilbert believes her creative life is bigger than she is. In this sense, she feels she owes it to her creativity to show up for work and get the job done
If writing is your crusade for personal truth, you accept creativity as your right, you believe your work is imperative, so you reach for the courage to accomplish your goal.
Cases of strong convictions inspiring unexpected calls to action are everywhere in the media. National Football League players taking a knee at is a good example of how the acceptance of a primary value together with the belief in its virtue arouses the fortitude to act.
Positive beliefs are not magic beans. You can’t plant them one night expecting to wake up the next and find a seven-figure contract under your pillow. Understanding how beliefs operate will, however, help you remove any hidden obstacles in your path.
Despite best intentions, sometimes many of us unwittingly act out counter narratives that impede our progress. In the coming months, I’ll explain where blind spots come in and what you can do about them.
In the meantime, I’d love to answer any questions you have on this topic in future posts. Please leave your comments and questions below.
After retiring from a corporate career in business transformation and change management, Dr. Diane Rogers brings her expertise in social psychology to classrooms and families.
Her first picture book, Stand Tall, made its debut at the 2008 Seeds of Compassion Conference in Seattle, Washington featuring His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. A week after the book’s release, the State of Washington selected Stand Tall as an official teaching resource for compassionate education. Diane’s other published works include Emerge, A Story of Confidence, and When We All Stand Tall. To find out more, visit www.drdianerogers.com.
A self-professed global nomad, when they aren’t traveling on or jumping out of planes, Diane and her husband Kevin triangulate between Sydney, Australia, Newport Beach, and their sailboat in the Mediterranean.
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