Don’t waste time watering your weeds

MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2013
The Writing “Macine” Part 6: Model Success

The “naturals” in any field can learn their craft, sport, or discipline simply by observing other people’s finished product, and working their butts off. But the truth is that anyone can learn anything more efficiently and effectively if you make a specific study of learning techniques. I will leave most of this homework for the student, but here is your basic assignment:

1) Identify three writers you admire who have achieved the kind of quality and success you desire, and have also written or spoken (in some accessible manner) of their career.

2) One at a time, study them. Seek most specifically how they use body, mind and emotions. NLP refers to this as “Belief Systems, Mental Syntax and use of Physiology”. In writing, here are some possibilities
A) BELIEF: What do they believe about the role of art and the artist in life? What do they believe are the most important aspects of writing and art?

B) MENTAL SYNTAX: What is the specific pattern they work in? How and when do they research, outline, write first-draft, rewrite, submit, revise, promote? Each of these arenas ALSO has sub-belief and syntaxes. Study them.

C) PHYSIOLOGY: How do they actually position themselves in their work? What physical environment creates their work? What time of day? What healthy stimulants or relaxants do they use?

3) Look at what all three writers say in common. Concentrate on these basics.

4) Filter out unhealthy activities. Writers are just human beings. They make the mistake of using drugs or alcohol to relax, they engage in self-destructive behavior, they have ugly relationships and do stupid things. But what you seek is the “critical path”—the actions which are most generative. The actions that professional, successful writers practice that unsuccessful writers neglect.

I had a friend, a very successful writer, who believed that the root of all art was dysfunction, especially anger and fear. Given positive counter-examples (for instance, Ray Bradbury) he simply waved it away, pointing out the human flaws that Ray (and all of us) have as examples of supposed extreme mental issues. This…was pitiable.

Find the HEALTHY attitudes and implant them in your own life. You don’t have to water your weeds–they’ll grow all by themselves.

And watch your results soar! Remember: success leaves clues. Footprints. Recipes. Practice them today, and share them tomorrow!

Write with passion!


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