The “Machine”, once built in any arena, supplies a beautifully direct and simple route to success. One of the invariable truths is that you will break down at some point. If you set a goal of two stories a month, you will reach your publishing goals within four years–guaranteed. If you have any self-image or emotional block issues, you will either grow and expand…or you will break the “chain” of action. In the first case, GREAT! You’re on your way!
But more likely, you’ll find yourself “forgeting” to write, failing to finish, or not able to put your stories in the mail and keep them there. You might fail to read, which is a “soft” way of decreasing likelihood of success (“I’m too busy to read”) or simply forget the whole thing after five or six stories.
The trick is that if you will step out of guilt, blame, and shame and simply look at where the break-down occurred, you will find that you have a superb diagnostic. Once you know WHERE the problem is, you have a good guess about WHAT the problem is.
One of the most frequent is the third step in the “Hero’s Journey” (and I hope you are starting to see how these different models interact and overlap): “Accepting the challenge”.
Have you accepted the challenge to write, and write, and write, and learn, and submit, and handle rejection, and keep to the process until you have reached your own maximum expression? Just saying “Yes I do!” makes a big difference—you can then see what stops you. Is it fear? Lack of clarity? Lack of belief? Motivation? Time management?
Here’s what I promise you: whatever stops you has stopped you in other arenas of life. GUARANTEED. Habits generalize, spread like yeast in bread dough from one area to another. And this is why working on core characteristics, working on a “machine” in all three-four basic arenas of your life at the same time, is so damned hard, and so damned useful. You see patterns, and once seen, if you commit to heal it, any success in one arena automatically propagates to the others. Body, Career, Relationships, and Finances are a dynamite set. Handle these, and everything else flows from them as emergent qualities. The “Program Minimum” (a term stolen from Pavel Tsatsouline of Kettlebell fame) might be:
- Body: Three reps each of Five Tibetans in Morning Ritual.
Goal is 21 reps of each.
- Career: One sentence per day, speak goals aloud during Morning Ritual. Goal is 1-4 stories a month.
- Relationship: Five Minute Miracle of sixty-second “breathing breaks” once every three hours. Alternate with five minutes of Heartbeat Meditation in the mornings three days a week. Goal is a “Diamond Hour” of self-care every day.
- Finances: 1% of income placed in retirement account weekly. Goal is 10%
These will work. Look for the ways you lie to yourself and say you don’t have the time. If you had the time to read this, you had the time. Look at the excuses for not writing a sentence, or performing three Tibetans, or stopping to breathe, or saving 1% of your income.
Each of these practices is hugely generative. All of them are such low bars that if you can lay down and stand up, and have the resources to read these words, you CAN do all of them. But you WON’T unless you have full internal permission to grow and change.
Using these as measures allows you to see where you need to “patch” your energy. If you have the courage to write your findings down, you are on the right path. If you can share them with just one other person, better still. BUT IF YOU CAN MAKE A PUBLIC DECLARATION, and request support from a “Mastermind” which you commit to support in return, you have struck gold.
The choice is yours. The new year begins in four weeks. And a year after that, you will either be a year older…or a year older AND closer to your goals.
Which do you choose?
(p.s.–the opportunity to join our Lifewriting group ends tonight, and will remain closed until February. We focus on applying these principles to life, and specifically to writing. The first module, the “Revolutionary Writing” section for writers committed to making a social contribution, concludes today at 3pm pst, with an interview with Daniel Jose Older. All past modules will then be available on the site for watching at your convenience. You will also have the opportunity to be part of the short story “hot seat”. Within the next couple of days we’ll choose a story, contact the winner (or victim!) and give everyone a chance to read it. Then we’ll have a teleseminar where we analyze the story and your writing process, showing you how to look at story from the Lifewriting perspective. I charged private clients five hundred dollars a month for this, and I can’t wait to share it with the Lifewriting group!)