Commitments, Goals, Dreams

People selling seminars love to make claims about small goals equaling small gains, and that we have to think big, dream big, have grand goals, even big hairy audacious goals, to ever accomplish anything.

As I am wont to say, balderdash. Poppycock. Piffle. The power of small wins is irrefutable. Check out anything written by Teresa Amabile.

Rosanne Bane explains in her book the solid brain science that we should have firm commitments, and that they should be so small that reaching them is a doddle, and that we should also have goals that stretch us, but which we’re not committed to. In that way we can stretch when it’s good without teaching ourselves to fail by constantly falling short.

It’s popular to tell people to shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land in the stars. It makes good poetry and sells seminars. But brain science says that a goal you can reach is infinitely more motivating than one you can’t, plain and simple.

Those “goals” Rosanne talks about—I call them dreams. I have huge dreams. I take baby steps all the time toward those dreams. If I didn’t have a bright light on my horizon, what would I aim for? But delaying happiness, contentment, the feeling of accomplishment, until “someday” when I get there? Nonsense.

Dreams Are Not Enough

dreamingSeth writes about Harper Lee’s double miracle at The Domino Project. You should read it. I’ll wait.

# # #

I hope you read it or what I write here will make less sense.

Dreaming is wonderful. It’s vital to an artist. No dreams, no art.

Dreaming is not a business plan.

… more … “Dreams Are Not Enough”

Can’t Hurry Love. Or Marketing.

like a caravan climbing a mountainSince I started the focused marketing of A Long, Hard Look, giving away copies in exchange for reviews and to get attention on Goodreads, the total results (over a the past 5 weeks) have been underwhelming. A handful (that means 5, at most) of sales, a few of which were to people I know. A few reviews, mostly from people who read my blog or newsletter.

Like I said, underwhelming. (Not that I don’t appreciate that folks who know me buy, read, and review, but that isn’t a result of all this marketing, it’s a result of our personal relationship.)

There are a million sales tactics, and hundreds of people out there pitching their “sell a million copies” process. If only I could find the magic potion, the secret formula.

Thing is, I already have it, and it’s no secret, nor is it magic.

… more … “Can’t Hurry Love. Or Marketing.”

What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?

what are you aiming for?A subtle theme, more a motif, runs through my conversations with authors. When they talk about their writing, there’s one thing they don’t mention:

When it will be done.

There’s a reason this site is named Someday Box. A reason I chose Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box as the title for that book.

“Someday” is not a goal. Someday is a dream, a vague notion. Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of chatting with a brilliant pianist whose name I can’t remember. Robinson said “I wish I could play like that.”

The pianist said something like, “No, you like the idea of playing like that. If you really wished you could, you’d be doing something about it.”

Do you want to be a writer or do you just like the idea?

… more … “What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?”

Squiring the Dreamer, Revisited

This was originally posted at Finding Why

a knight and his squiresBeing an idealistic dreamer, this quest to change the world is enormously fulfilling for me.

Sharing this joy with others who choose to follow my lead is gratifying in the extreme.

A Knight’s Tale is a movie about a quest, but it’s not the type of quest won with swords. The entire film turns on a single early scene. (I’ll leave you to review the plot and characters if you haven’t seen it.)

… more … “Squiring the Dreamer, Revisited”

You’ll Feel Like Giving Up (Only Moreso)

This was originally at Finding Why and written for entrepreneurs in general. That was before I realized my mission was to help authors.

I will not get out of bed you can't make meOnce in a while someone will warn an aspiring writer that “you’ll feel like giving up.”

That’s a bit like describing drowning as “you’ll have trouble breathing.”

Here’s the truth:

There will be days when the only reason you don’t turn in your Writer’s Badge in a miasma of frustration, anger, and disgust is because you can’t find the flipping phone number of whoever takes the “I Surrender!” calls, and that’s because you can’t bear to crawl out from under the covers to go look for it.

Y’know, like yesterday.

Then sleep, with its magical power to strip us of reason and pour beautiful dreams back into our souls, will gently wipe away the smudges and push you out the door to do it all again.

Y’know, like today.

That Frustration and Despair You Feel Right Now Will Pass. Honest.

This post originally appeared at Finding Why.

poorly trained sea lionIt feels like no matter how many ways and times you try, you measure your progress in millimeters, not miles.

Every time you stick your finger in one hole in the dike, another leak appears.

What you knew was a work of genius yesterday, today looks like the work of a poorly trained sea lion.

You feel drained, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, creatively. If you read one more story about some emerging genius who’s running a $20 million company at age 25 you’ll explode. You’d just like to make the car payment on time. Or at all.

Know this: it gets better. Really it does. … more … “That Frustration and Despair You Feel Right Now Will Pass. Honest.”

3 Words for 2014

Last year I tested Chris Brogan’s 3 Words thinking and it was a stupendous success. Last year’s words were dissident, High Priest and performer. The goal is to choose 3 words which remind me who I want to be this year. Words which will inform and affect every action, every day.

These words aren’t in play because of what they mean literally, nor does it matter in my routine what they mean to you. The goal is to give myself a quick and easy touchstone for “Is what I’m doing right now moving me toward my goals?”

My 3 Words

My 3 words for 2014: artist, adventurer, actor.

artist adventurer actor

… more … “3 Words for 2014”

Yet Another Frustrating Author Belief: “I Will Get Picked or Die Trying”

I find this attitude so very frustrating.

Do not wait to be picked.

Do not wear rejection slips like badges of honor.

Most of all, sweet merciful heavens, do not go to your grave wishing you’d been allowed to write your book.

You do not need permission. There is no gate, only an open field awaiting all those with the good sense and courage to venture into it.

Don’t let fear dictate to your dreams.

photo by Alfred Borchard

Traditional Publishing’s Attitude Toward Authors

Another quote from a supporter of traditional publishing: they refer to “the paid affiliates of C[reate]S[pace], iUniverse etc…who prey upon the uninformed, delusional, first-time author”
… more … “Traditional Publishing’s Attitude Toward Authors”