I hate to say that I told you so, but…
That Kboards post went live last night, just a short time after I sent you an email about how little “being right” actually matters.
Take notice of how “wrong” she has been about so much of the advice you’ve bought into.
Then notice how much of your dream she is living that you aren’t yet.
If you’re looking for a sign from the Universe to kick your butt into gear, consider this your wake up call.
If the fear of “being wrong” is holding you back from finishing something you can sell, take a good long look at the damage you are doing to yourself.
You are keeping yourself from a potential $1.43 million prize.
But if “being right” isn’t the key to fiction success, then what is?
I have a theory. It’s one that has recently been put to the test with the birth of my daughter, more client work than I can handle, trying to write in public, and finally, trying to launch a new mystery pen name at the same time…
… so maybe this isn’t a theory at all, but a battle tested principle. Yeah, that’s probably what it is.
Here’s how it works:
The Perfect State
This is you when you are producing fiction on a regular basis, staying consistent and making good money:
Perhaps, you imagine yourself meeting Hugh Howey in the Bahamas on your own custom built catamaran. Or maybe you see yourself giving pseudo-intellectual speeches on a blank stage with your legs crossed in a big comfy chair, college sophomores fawning over your every word.
Whatever it is, you see the end of what you are doing clearly.
When you sit down to write, you aren’t thinking about the pain of writing, but the pleasure of this yet-to-be-experienced future life. It’s that clear and that strong to you.
You are like the hotelier looking for a plot of land to build a new hotel. You see the finished hotel, the guests, the luxuries etc. in your mind’s eye BEFORE you even buy the property on which the hotel will be built.
It is “finished” before you even start.
To be frank, you wouldn’t dream of purchasing land UNTIL it was “finished” in your mind. You would never be so clumsy with your investments.
When you can do this with fiction, “finishing” before you start, you have clarity. Clarity leads to action. Action leads to results. Results leads to positive confirmation. Positive confirmation leads to repeated action.
This is the Perfect State.
You write consistently.
It doesn’t hurt to create.
You become skilled quickly and produce better work.
Prolific writers live in that state of mind 80%+ of the time.
With fiction, I’m there maybe 40% of the time.
Recently, I wasn’t there at all which is why the 90 Day Fiction Challenge failed, but more on that later.
Perhaps you are living in a Perfect State right now. Good for you. If you are, and you still aren’t writing as consistently as you’d like, then it’s probably just because you are lazy.
And lazy is easy to fix. It’s simply a matter of doing it, or don’t. Piss or get off the pot. Do it or stop talking about it and do something else.
If you aren’t lazy (most people aren’t, they’re just not in a Perfect State) then your consistency issue is probably because of this:
In Perfect State, you live life distraction free.
No Facebook, no forums, no blogs, no info products. Just production.
But that isn’t realistic.
Instead, this is the state you and I live in:
All of those red arrows are distractions attacking Your Vision of Your Future.
Most of them are positive distractions too.
They may be a new How To Write Book. Might be a new success story of a fellow author. Might be an interview with Stephen King. Might be your loved one making an off handed comment about how good you’d be at something else. Might be a new opportunity outside of fiction to create wealth.
Whatever it is, these distractions muddle your clarity.
We all wish that life was like the autopilot gadgetry of an airplane. You simply type in the coordinates of where you want to go and the technology will take you there no matter the weather.
But it’s not like that, is it?
Life is really more like being on a small sailboat in the vast ocean. When the wind blows a certain direction, or a certain speed, it changes the course of your travels. It takes you off course. If you want to get to your final destination however, you have to adjust back to original course.
The problem is, that most people forget to adjust (I certainly did/do).
When you see someone being more successful than you in a different genre, it takes you off course. You think, “What would it be like to write in that genre?”
Now, in less than one second, you’ve muddled the clarity you’ve gained from The Perfect State. You’ve introduced doubt. “Am I in the right genre?”
If clarity drives action, muddy waters slow you down. Too much mud in the water and you aren’t going anywhere.
The Confused State
If you are struggling to be consistent, here’s probably what’s happening in your brain:
You can no longer see where you are headed. You are now trying to press through the heavy fog, unsure of what you are even looking for.
If you are like most people, you’ll spin in circles trying to look for the next piece of information that will give you clarity without realizing that information is what got you into this mess in the first place.
It was reading all those forum posts, all those How To Write Books, all those blog posts and interviews that robbed you of your clarity. You relied too much on others to paint the picture of your future.
And what do you call a horse painted by committee?
Consider this from the book The 12 Week Year:
“Our experience has shown that most people have the capacity to double or triple their income just by consistently applying what they already know. Despite this, people continue to chase new ideas thinking that the next idea is the one that will magically make it all better.”
But it won’t, will it?
How many new ideas have you tried this year? This month? This week?
Did any of them work? Are you consistently producing? Are you getting where you want to be? Do you even know where you want to be?
My guess is probably not.
But it’s ok.
I was just there a few weeks ago. Completely and totally muddled.
If you’ll humor me, let me walk you through my version of these events and what I’ve done to get back out from the Confused State.
Last year, I got rid of my copywriting business. I was done with clients. Fiction was earning me high 6 figures per year, and I was looking forward to making it my full-time career.
For about 6 months after I left my copywriting business I had stalled out. I hadn’t produced ANYTHING. No fiction, no non-fiction, nothing.
Because I had too much free time. I read too many How To Write books. Took too many info courses. Listened to too many different people.
Even with my successful publishing business, I had gone from clarity to muddy waters in less than 6 months.
Then something even worse happened…
At the end of those 6 months, SUCCESS Magazine came knocking.
Had I been in a state of clarity, knowing exactly what I wanted from my fiction efforts, I would have said “no”. A good opportunity? Yes, it has been amazing. In line with the clarity I once experienced surrounding fiction? Not even close.
But what made matters worse was that being at SUCCESS muddied the waters even more. I began to resort back to the default clarity that had built my copywriting agency. All of a sudden I wasn’t just working with SUCCESS Magazine anymore, I found myself saying “yes” to more and more client work. Doing the exact thing I had sworn off not even a year prior.
Because I was living life in a State of Confusion. I had let the distractions pile up. I no longer knew which direction I was headed, so I followed all paths.
When my daughter was born, it just magnified the confusion.
The end result of all of this confusion? Blackout.
I knew that I needed to step back from all of the things that were pushing my little sailboat to and fro on the vast ocean. I needed a time-out to gain clarity again.
I re-read the following books:
The One Thing & Essentialism.
I fired all of my coaches and mentors. Got rid of my clients (except SUCCESS Magazine). Spent hours and hours in my journal, meditating, writing, thinking, recreating the clear vision that I once had.
It took work to rebuild the clarity. To see it “finished” before I started again.
It’s not done yet, I still have muck and mud that needs cleaning.
But you know what? Just the act of starting is netting me results.
This post. The re-ignition of helping other indie authors. 12k new words on my current WIP.
All it took was remembering this simple principle:
Clarity leads to action. Action leads to results. Results leads to positive confirmation. Positive confirmation leads to repeated action.
This is the Perfect State.
If you aren’t there now, do everything you can to get there.
Writing will become fun and easy again.
You will become consistent enough to see the results you’ve been looking for.
You’ll spend so much less time working because, let’s be honest, most of your “working” time is just distracted time isn’t it?
But then again, this is probably just a theory. What do I know?