“But have the courage to write whatever your dream is for yourself.”
Pens, pencils, paperclips — I love the humbler tools of our trade. Along with my computer, I have several manual typewriters that I dust off and use from time to time. All this by way of saying, that I am always excited when the universe sends me a little gift in the form of a writing implement.
Today, I was ambling along my usual route for the jog I take two times a week to cajole myself into believing I’m sporty and athletic. Along the way, I hit a mini jackpot: I came across a perfect pencil (sharp point and fat eraser) lying on the grass and a block or two later, a purple mechanical pencil just longing for a writer’s hand appeared out of the blue.
Now if I were a Rockefeller, I’d probably draw hundred dollar bills to me (well, maybe thousand dollar bills). But since I’m a writer, I attract all manner of pens and pencils. I’ve even found one with a flashlight built into it. My record for one walk is four pens (five, actually, but one was empty).
You might think this is about my ever-growing supply of pens and pencils. By now, I surely have more than I’ll ever be able to use — I’ll have to bequeath them all to someone. But what I’m really writing about here is the fact that we attract what we focus on
On my walks, I often think about whatever it is I’m writing. So, it seems perfectly natural and even logical to me that I should attract not only ideas and fragments of phrases or poems, but also the means to set them down on paper. Which points to a larger issue: Just as material stuff seems to expand to fill the space allotted to it, so it is with our writing life. The more mental space we devote to the pursuit of writing — the more we signal our commitment to writing to the universe through word and deed — the more ideas and relevant books and articles, and inspiring encounters we’ll begin to have (for more on this theme, see Idea Magnets, Twain’s Barrel, and Each Day).
So here’s an amazingly simple technique that my friend and mentor Rob Gilbert once suggested on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690): If you have the seed of an idea for a short story or play or novel that intrigues you, you can nurture it along simply by getting an everyday manila folder and carrying it around with you. Almost magically, you’ll find yourself attracting nuggets of information, glimmers of inspiration, snippets of conversation, and all manner of useful tidbits to stoke and sustain you.
I’ve used this technique more than once and it’s always worked for me. Like many writers, I’m always awed and heartened by the way I seem to draw just what I need when I need it, or how some seemingly unrelated artistic endeavor supplies me with the missing link to a project I’m working on. These moments of synchronicity are not only to be cherished, but to be courted. So give your work the chance to thrive by focusing on it intently and seeing what’s drawn to you. You’ll be surprised. Write on!