Here’s my wonderful friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert’s* simple success strategy:
#1 Show up.
#2 Pay attention.
#3 Ask questions.
#4 Don’t quit.
If there’s ever an all-purpose recipe for achieving a goal, this is probably it. Consider how we might apply this to our creative endeavors:
#1 Show up: Take the time, make the time to do the work you want to do. Even if it’s only 15 minutes or 30 minutes a day, commit to being at your desk or wherever you need to be to get quiet and work – or even wherever you have to be – ready and willing to think, create, and play on the page. Remember, the muse shows up when you do (see Muse Management) Woody Allen said, “80% of life is showing up.” So do it!
#2 Pay attention: When you ‘re writing, write. Be present, bring full awareness and focus to what you’re doing. Resist the urge to think about an errand you have to run or checking your email. “Be here now” is an old Buddhist saying. I have a 3×5 pink index card on my desk that says, “Now I’m gong to concentrate as hard as I can. Im not going to think of anything else.” Just scanning it helps me sty in the moment. Why not make a card for yourself and see if it helps you stay on track?
#3 Ask questions: Be curious. Be open to fresh approaches. Catch those wispy fleeting ideas that float through your head before they drift away. Ask “What if?” and see where it takes you (see What If… ). If you hit a thorny plot point, challenge yourself to come u with three or four different scenarios that might unravel it. If a character isn’t cooperating or falling flat, try starting a dialogue with him or her. You may be surprised at what pops out! Have fun! Be a kid again. Ask questions. Fool around! Get messy! See where it takes you!
#4 Don’t quit: Here’s one of Dr. Gilbert’s oft-quoted mantras: “Don’t quit, can’t fail.” How true this is! Another helpful version: “Act as if it’s impossible to fail.” And another: “Success is inevitable.” Keep going and you’ll get there.
Bravo, Dr.Gilbert! Inspire on! Now, energized and focused, let’s all write on.
* Check out Dr. Gilbert at: successhotlinepodcast.com or call 973.743.4690 for more tips!
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