Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Positivity


Thought it was about time I posted on here. January passed in a bit of a blur for me - work was exhausting and frustrating, zapping a lot of my energy, but at the same time that situation fuelled my motivation to focus on more positive, creative projects. It helped that on my journeys to and from work (I travel by train) I read ‘Carnegie’s Call: Developing the Success Habit’ by Michael Malone. I couldn’t have picked a better time to read a book like this.

The opening quote; ‘If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and transpires your hopes.’ (Andrew Carnegie) sets the tone for the book. Michael interviewed successful Scots for the book, exploring the motivation behind their success and obstacles they had to overcome; providing inspirational insights into their lives. I particularly liked the little exercises at the end of each section, suggesting ways in which you can make positive changes and ultimately ‘develop the success habit.’

This book helped me maintain a positive frame of mind when I felt a bit overwhelmed at times by the craziness of work and kept me focused on the important things I want to achieve in life (mainly relating to writing) but it also reminded me to focus on the important aspects of my day job and why I chose to be a careers adviser in the first place (to help clients, hopefully in some way encouraging and motivating them).
You can purchase Michael's book here

I don’t always make New Year resolutions but this year I’ve set myself a goal to send more of my writing out. (Far too guilty of writing a story, maybe submitting it once, then deciding it’s not good enough or just having a mental block about not sending it out!) To help keep focused on my goal I bought myself a special diary where I’ve written inspirational quotes (from last year’s calendar) at the start of each month, marked in deadlines for competitions and submissions, and also make a note against the date I send something off. I’ve also left spaces for noting any successes I have for the month. It helps that the diary is full of lovely art work by Victoria Frances.

My success for February was winning Runner Up in the Words with JAM Bigger Short Story competition which means my story will be published in their anthology, coming out in June. I’m really excited as this will be my first print publication (every other success has been online).

A big part of my goal is the determination to let go of self doubt (which feels like the ‘after story’ version of writers block), where that question: ‘But is it good enough?’ keeps popping into my mind, disrupting what I really want to achieve. If I’ve enjoyed writing a story, and it evokes some kind of emotion in me, then it’s at least half way there I reckon!

14 comments:

  1. Vikki, I'm delighted to read that my book has been of help to you.

    Dream big and don't listen to the chimp.

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    1. It was great, Michael. And I will try to keep dreaming big:)

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  2. Sounds like a really interesting book. Congrats on your success with Words With Jam.

    I think most writers live with self-doubt most of the time. And in fact I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing, because it helps to push you towards being better at what you do. It's only when the self-doubt becomes crippling, and prevents you from doing the things you want, that you really have to make a determined effort to stomp on it.

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    1. Thanks Joanne. You're right- it can definitely be a good thing to ensure we develop as writers!

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  3. Congratulations on your success with Words With Jam, Vikki.

    I agree with Joanne that self-doubt is not always a bad thing. It makes you think harder and focus more on the writing, but only if you don't allow it to hold you back.

    I have had stories achieve success on their fourth outing, which shows you should never give up. Keep believing in the stories and keep believing in yourself. I always welcome back rejected stories (after five minutes of permissible disappointment and mild swearing) and have a fresh look at them before tweaking and resubmitting. The fresh look and the tweaks are a vital part of the writing experience for me. They enable me to see where I can improve on something that I must have once considered to be the best it could get. It's surprising the flaws we all find when we look again. And very satisfying too. x

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  4. Thanks Joanna. I agree it's always good to look over stories again (especially after leaving them to one side for a while) as it's amazing what you don't notice when something is too close to you! I've enjoyed looking over old stories and completely changing parts with a fresh perspective.

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  5. You have my sympathy,Vikki!Managing a full time job and writing consistently is not easy.

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    1. It's a challenge - though sometimes it's good to stay busy as it seems to keep my motivation levels up!

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  6. Great post, Vikki - I also found Michael's book highly motivating. Joanna's comment is bang on and she is excellent proof that success often comes after two or three outings of a story. It's happened to soem of mine too. Well done on your success!

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    1. You're a good motivater too,Mum!

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  7. Congratulations on your success with Words with Jam, Vikki. I'm sure most writers will identify with those moments of self doubt, but the trick is to overcome them. As you've proved!

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  8. Just read your story on The Bohemyth. Excellent.

    Congrats re Words with Jam too.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Patsy!

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