What do you believe about writing?

One of the first ever stories I read about law of attraction involved a writer.  I can’t remember where I first read it – possibly one of Barbara Sher’s books – but it struck me as very bizarre.   Apparently the lady in question had wanted to be a writer for some time, and had the firm belief that writers looked very hip, dressed in lots of black, and lived in cool New York apartments.  So she started dressing in black, and eating bagels, and eventually (I forget in which order) moved to New York and got a book deal.  Huh?  Wear black, eat bagels, move to a cool city and you too could be a bestselling author?  Somehow I found it hard to believe it would work for me.  After all, the story seemed to have left out the core element: write a brilliant – or at least popular – book.

But, several years later, after reading the much-talked about LOA primer, ‘The Secret’, I began to make sense of the story, and of why her solution wouldn’t have worked for me.  It worked for her, because it fitted in with her beliefs about what made a successful author.  Me, on the other hand… I don’t see writing as a city thing.  Many of the writers I admire did their best writing in isolated rural locations.  On the other hand, some lived in cities.  Some wore black, some didn’t.  What they had in common was a burning desire to write, natural talent, and the determination to write lots, and keep writing until they succeeded.  Well, I was pretty much born with the burning desire to write, and I’d like to think I have some talent, so it’s not surprising that when I’ve nurtured my determination to write, and kept at it, I’ve had some success.  Because fundamentally, what I believe is that writers write, and that’s that.

For a long time, I’d have told you that wasn’t a belief.  It was the truth.  If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer.  It’s a basic fact of semantics.  But it turns out, as so often, the truth is a bit more complicated than that.  Some very successful writers I’ve met became writers by accident, either in spite of, or because of, a burning desire to do something else entirely.  Barbara Cartland dictated her books rather than writing them, and affordable dictation software (or the services of an elancer) means you don’t already have to be a bestseller to do the same.  So, turns out, ‘writers write’ is just as much of a personal choice as ‘writers wear black and live in New York.’

So much for ‘truth.’  In future, I’ll pay a lot more attention to my beliefs and where they’re leading me.  For example, do I really need to believe that writing takes lots of gritty determination?  Or if I believed that succeeding as a writer was easy and fun, would that turn out to be my truth?

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About Stephanie Cage

I am a writer and coach based in Yorkshire, England. I believe there are a many 'right ways' to write as there are writers. The best gift writers can give themselves is the space and support to explore their own 'right way.' That's why, for most writers, coaching is as valuable as, or even more valuable than, traditional 'how-to-write' training. I work with writers to help them become the best writers they can be - whatever that means for them. My own books are 'Desperate Bid', from The Wild Rose Press, and 'Perfect Partners', coming in 2013 from Crimson Publishing.
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