Thursday, April 24, 2014

Writing: It's All In The Mind

Dear Fellow Writer,

Apologies if you haven't received a newsletter in the last couple of weeks. Lots of people have contacted me to ask whether they're still running. Well, they are. I've just been a bit slack recently, what with all the book-writing going on around here!

My next book is The Nuts of Bolts of Writing - available soon.

Talking of books, Easy Cash Writing is riding high in the education chart on Amazon Kindle. If you still want to own it for less than a dollar - click on the link below!

Easy Cash Writing

In case you missed it, I've put my entire HD movie up on YouTube: First Cut

There's also my newest rock song: Never Say Goodbye 11670 hits and counting!

Talking of music, I'm putting out a couple of new tracks soon. One is a dance anthem called Love Revolution (It's What We Need), followed by a meditation CD I'm making with a spiritual healer called Martin Johnson. Look out for those!

Anyway, today's article is hopefully motivational:

Writing: It's All In The Mind 

Think on this.

Our brains are sophisticated organic computers that work all day long, 24-7, to provide us with a model of the universe in which we may thrive and prosper. We survive on the basis there is a reality ‘out there’, outside of our bodies, despite this being an illusion created by the mind inside our heads.

We live in a mental construct, the outside world being only a reflection of the world we want to see.

Therefore, if we want to change our world, we need to change ourselves first. If we crave success, or need to accomplish great things like write a book, or a series of bestselling books, then first we have to fine tune our brains into accepting a new reality: one where we have a better attitude toward our writing, an improved relationship between our beliefs about what is not possible and what is, and an alteration to our self-image that best accommodates a writer’s lifestyle.

Essentially, I believe, we are what we want to be. We become what we focus on.

And, if you want to be a successful writer, you simply have to decide that’s what you want. The rest then becomes inevitable.

It’s Not a Competition

It’s hard not to be intimidated by other writers, especially those apparently more successful than ourselves. Every day we see authors that have written fifty or a hundred books. We see fiction authors with a five or ten-book series, or three or four series of novels that are each at least one-hundred-thousand words long.

When we’re starting out we wonder how we can compete, how on Earth are we ever going to write that much! It gets worse. These authors’ numerous books are sometimes only the tip of the iceberg. Many prolific authors are also past masters at blogging, article writing, social networking and self-promotion. When we make the mistake of comparing ourselves to others, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the task ahead, especially when we may not have gotten much past the first couple of chapters of our potential magnum opus.

The thing is we all have to start somewhere. Every author in the world once had no writing to speak of - and many had great swathes of words that were too awful to be seen, let alone publish. Only 1% of people ever achieve significant writing success. All writers need to learn their craft. If they didn’t, the 99% of the rest of the population would be successful writers too. We know that’s not how it works.

Writing requires effort, patience, dedication, resolve and most of all, time to improve and prosper.

The old adage is that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year. But that we almost always underestimate what we can do in a decade. So it is, most especially, with writing.

At the turn of the century, I’d been a struggling writer all my life. I had written perhaps over a million words, all of which, I realized, represented only practice. When I decided to pursue a career as a full time writer, in 2002, I ditched everything I’d written up to that point and resolved to start from scratch, with nothing. At the time, as much as I feared the great task ahead, I also felt liberated from my past and energized by what the future might hold. A decade later and I’d written over fifty books myself, many of which I’ve recently self-published on Amazon.

To me, the most wonderful aspect of becoming a paid writer these days is that we no longer have to rely on the endorsement of the traditional publishing industry to survive and thrive. We now have the ability to go it alone and prove that all those rejections count for naught.

It could surely be argued that, for the first time in history, writers are now in total control of their own destinies. The recent huge success of many self-published authors represents a significant move forward in not only the publishing landscape but also marks a new dawn in the improved self-worth of all would-be authors.

It used to be that, even after all the work that writers have to do on themselves as creative artists, the major stumbling block was the publishing industry, whose sole aim was seemingly to discourage authors from writing more books. However, now that we can self-publish and find our own fans via the Internet, we are no longer shackled to that outdated model. A new paradigm has arisen whereby we can improve at our own pace, publish when we’re ready and then build a paying career for ourselves that is realistic and more than doable.

Of course there will always be writers that are perceived to be ‘better’ than others - though quite how this subjective categorization is identified and collated is unclear. Let’s just say there will always be some authors that will achieve greater success than others, whether through being more talented or by simply having the luck to be saying the right thing at the right time. The point is, we’re not in competition with each other. Each and every writer has his or her fans out there somewhere. All any writer has to do is find them. But no amount of seeking - or social networking - is going to help in this regard unless the books get written first.

Overcoming Blocks

Pretty much all blocks to writing are imaginary, in that they are the product of our minds.

In my time as a writing guru, I’ve probably heard every excuse under the sun.

I can’t find the time.

I can’t write very fast.

Writing is hard for me.

I can’t think what to do next.

I get distracted easily.

I have more research to do.

My spouse doesn’t approve of my writing.

I hate myself / my book / my writing.

I’m too sick / tired / disabled to write.

My family is in crisis.

Life keeps getting in the way.

My computer’s broken.

My cat died.

And so on.

As I say, all writing blocks are in a sense imaginary. You’re always in control of your creativity. You decide what’s the most important way of spending your time - always. If you choose to be distracted from writing, you will be. If you prioritize writing, you will write.

Understanding that you alone are responsible for your own life and what you do with it is the first step on the road to productivity. Having the correct mindset about writing is more important than possessing talent and ideas, every time. Once you decide that you are a writer, nothing can stop you, short of untimely death.

You need to consciously let go of your imagined disadvantages and obstacles, identify your goals and start moving forward.


Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell

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