If Only . . .

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Too many times writers use this phrase: If only . . .

This is a way that we doom ourselves. Excuses. We all use them. All the time. So when you catch yourself saying “If only. . .” take a step back and look at what impact this has on you and your writing dream.

What would happen if you would turn these around? Shift these “if only” statements?

OLD: If I only had the time to. . .

NEW: What could I accomplish if I wrote 2000 words a day? 1000 words a day? 500?

After 30 days you’d have 60,000 words written. (Or 30,000 or 15,000)

In two to three months you’d have a novel drafted.

You DO have time. We all do. You are the one who decides how to use it.

Maybe you could write five days a week or even two days that you don’t have to deal with a day job or other obligations.

Think about how many words your novel might be and create a plan, based on how many words you can write a day and how many days a week you are going to write. Think of this as your own personal NaNo (short for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month). Same concept—just a different focus of days and word counts that suit you.

OLD: If I only didn’t have all these interruptions. . .

NEW: What might I get done if I found a different place to write?

Can’t write at home because of interruptions? Maybe your significant other has questions that must be answered right now. Your children need help with something or want to tell you what a friend just told them. Your dog wants to go out for a walk. Your favorite TV show is coming on in ten minutes and it’s the season opener, so you can’t miss it.

When you can’t avoid distractions of the home, take your writing elsewhere. (Or put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign and stick to it unless someone is bleeding to death or the house is on fire.)

Try working at the local coffee shop, library, or your favorite restaurant. What about a park or other outdoor area if the weather is good.

I know a writer who goes outside, starts her car, and writes from the driveway while her husband is inside with her small children.

OLD: If only I could finish. . .

NEW: I can finish this novel or short story if I make a plan or have goals.

Do you have a story you’ve been working on for years? What if you JUST FINISHED IT?

Instead of your friends and fellow writers asking you when you’re going to finish, their questions can move to ones like: Have you heard back from that agent or publisher? When did you say your story was going to appear in that magazine?

Don’t just have an ongoing story. FINISH. Finish one story. Begin another. Submit. Submit. Submit.

Make a workable plan that you know is doable for you.

OLD: If only I didn’t have all this other stuff. . .

NEW: I can decide what’s important to me and focus on that.

Make a list of the “stuff” in your life. What are you willing to shift around or give up in order to finish your story and move your writing dream to the forefront of your life?

Prioritize your list of “stuff.” If you put your writing at or near the top, what falls below your dream?

You’ll always have “stuff” in your life that you feel you must do. The question is: Is it more important than your story?

OLD: If only I could quit my day job. . .

NEW: When my writing is making me money, I’ll consider giving up my day job.

Some writers are more of a risk taker than I am. They take the plunge and go for their dream. I am proud when anyone has that kind of focus.

For many of us, quitting a day job would create more stress, more frustration, more distractions than keeping the job AND moving forward with our writing dream.

You CAN do both, if you choose. Remember that what you fill your day with is YOUR choice. I only ask you to choose wisely, in a way that you come to realize your dream.

OLD: If only I had a good idea for a story. . .

NEW: I’m a creative person who has many great story ideas.

Writers have ideas. Revisit your list of story ideas. Brainstorm new ones if none of those on you list speak to you. Ask yourself questions: What am I passionate about? If I could volunteer with an organization, what would that be? Why do I care about this <fill in the blank>?

There are a thousand ways to generate story ideas. If you are drawing a blank, consider this two-day experience: During this time, jot down your childhood memories as you think of them. Start with the earliest thing you can think of from your past. Use one or more experiences to create a story idea as a starting point.

Challenge for today: What is your “If only” excuse? How might you shift that around? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Best Wishes,

June

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An Angel to Watch Over Me

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A couple of months ago, a package arrived, and I couldn’t remember what I could have possibly ordered. Then I saw the label and torn into it. It was the angel that Joan said she would make and send me. She had previously asked me what my favorite color was – green. Yes! It was the angel that Joan created for me, all carefully wrapped and wearing green.

She was beautiful – both the angel and Joan, a special person, friend, and one of the wonderful people at ePress-Online.

Joan Pulver died in her sleep Monday night. I will miss her.

I am lucky and honored to have met her in person at the EPICon the year it was held in Virginia Beach. Even though she was on oxygen and often times not feeling well, she had more passion and energy than many of us. She was always thinking of others and dedicated to writing and writers.

My heart goes out to her family and friends. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Now, I have two angels watching over me.

Best Wishes,

June

Empowering Your Dream

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The funny thing about goals is that you have to keep on top of them constantly. This requires energy. Many times goals make you look at your behavior. The other side of this is to also change your mental attitude in alignment with your new behavior.

Without both a behavioral and mental change, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

Your dream is powered by your entire being and realized through the goals you set for yourself. When you use your gifts, talents, and hard work you are on the journey to realizing your dream.

This power – your personal source of empowerment – is something everyone can access. Many people give it away or deny this in some way. Some might be afraid to make use of their own power.

When we see ourselves as powerless, we cannot journey toward our dream, In the absence of personal power, fear lives and grows. When you embrace your person power you:

Can achieve goals

Are enthusiastic

Are optimistic

Experience heightened energy levels (which is needed to achieve goals!)

Are confident

Experience positive self-esteem

Are able to achieve your dream

Brings happiness

Create the energy behind success.

Do you see a pattern here? Yes! All of these things involve POSITIVITY. (Some call this kind of power “synergic power.” The other kind of power – “Coercive power” – is out of negativity – fears, frustration, and leads to hate, violence, and more fear. This is the kind of power that robs others of their personal power. “Synergic power” is used WITH others. It is cumulative – it grows as it is used, embraced, and shared.)

When we walk in negativity, we create a reality of feeling powerless, helpless, and inertia.

“Weakness corrupts and absolute weakness corrupts absolutely.”

–Stewart Emery

People who take control and misuse power are not powerful, they are frustrated and impotent. They are using force, not power, and this is a form of aggression, not authority. People like this are enslaved by their own insecurity and are hurt by their own actions, in addition to the destruction they do around them.

Being human is all about making choices. We choose jobs, friends, where we live, what we eat, relationships… Of course, there are other things that we don’t have any say in, things that are controls by the decisions of others.

But we do have many choices, and those can and do alter our lives. When we make choices we are using our person power to, hopefully, enrich our lives and those around us. Helplessness is the opposite of power. (Hitler made choices. As did Gandhi.)

Your power is with you always, even if you deny or give it up. You might think and feel that it is gone, but that is far from the truth.

Power is like your soul, your mind, your heart. It is ATTACHED. You might not know or feel it, but it’s ever with you.

Power is giving in nature. It is woven into what makes you ALIVE, into the energy that makes you YOU.

Goals are temporary things that you use on your way-to-your-dream journey. Your personal power is part of your life force—that which energizes you on your journey to realize your dream.

The combination of working toward your goals and embracing your power creates the fuel that moves you toward your dream.

Are you ready to embrace your power?

Write a statement that summarizes your dream. Put this somewhere you see it several times a day. Take it or keep it with you. Read it often.

Share your dream with those who can and will support you.

When you are in touch with your power tell your mind to “record” what it feels like so you can come back and bring your power forth at any time. (Yes, it is ever with you, but we sometimes forget this, so this “recorded memory” is a trigger.)

Visualize yourself living your dream.

Take actions to move you along the path that leads to your dream.

Be grateful for your dream and your journey. Makes lists—often—of things you are grateful for.

Embrace your power. Learn to recognize it. Write and journal about it.

Share your gifts and talents with others. Do this out of your honest desires. This is fuel for your power and is a form of power recognition.

Remember always that your power and taking ownership of it and for it is part of LIFE, part of who you are. It’s the fuel to realizing your dream. Embrace it! Often! 

Challenge for today: What are ways that you can take ownership of your personal power?

Best Wishes,

June