Saturday, September 15, 2007

Writer's Block or Writer's Excuse?

“What are some of the obstacles you've faced and overcome?” That’s the question I like to ask when I interview people who are leaders in their communities, companies or organizations. Although the individual replies vary, the majority of the responses reveal that each person has managed to transform some type of adversity into opportunity.

What I have observed in my own 30-year career is that the opposite is true as well. Unsuccessful people not only let obstacles stop or delay their progress, they actively put barriers in their paths, preventing them from reaching their goals. We all are guilty of this to some degree. After all, it is easier to say we don't have time to write because we work and have children, homes and mates to look after than it is to get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, or work through lunch hour at the office.

It seems to me that each time I make a concerted effort to rein in my concentration and focus on the completion of a goal, the Universe sends something to tempt me away. Just when I decide to spend the next two weeks finishing the final edit on my book, I get called for a lucrative assignment or interesting project that gives me reason to put my personal work on the back burner—again.

I've decided this is the Universe's way of testing my resolve. It's saying to me, "OK, Shelley. You say you want your book published. For everything you receive, you must give up something. What are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want--some time, some income?”

Without exception, I have regretted my decision each time I placed my goals on hold "just until this next project is finished." And, each time I placed myself ahead of the distraction, and said "no" to stepping off track, I have been rewarded with an inner sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with following my heart rather than my head (or pocketbook). The decision to pursue my true calling has also led to far greater riches in the long run than any assignment ever pays in the present.

Knowing what is the right thing to do and actually doing it are two different things. Most of us need some support to help us hold steadfast to our goals. Being part of two writers groups provided the motivation and support I needed to finish my novel. If I didn't have that commitment to produce a chapter a month, I'd probably never have finished my novel at all.

If you've ever felt the desire to pursue your writing dream, don't let obstacles stop you and, above all, don't construct stumbling blocks to your success. Set attainable goals and find a support system to keep you going when you're tempted to get off track. Finally, start visualizing your book signing or whatever symbolizes the accomplishment of your goal...and know that I'm there with you, cheering you on.

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