Archive for March 31st, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 by Bob Mayer
Why Be A Warrior Writer? Do You Have Confidence?

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(excerpted from Warrior Writer: From Writer To Published Author)

It’s the difference between ordinary and elite. Elite is a word that has a bad rap. It simply means a group of people considered to be the best. To get published, you’ve got to be the best in that slush pile. Ordinary doesn’t cut it in publishing.

Success is a struggle. I recently read a book by Barbara Ehrenreich titled: Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Yes, I am not a fan of ‘The Secret’. You have to do more than just think your way into success. You must take action. However, the first step of change is thinking differently. But by itself, that is not change.

The ‘enemy’ is closer than we think. It is I. I have always been my own worst enemy. No one else writes my books. I do. I can complain as much as I want about agents, publishers, editors, the reading public, but I own my writing, my book and my career. The only one who can stop me, is me.

Do things the ‘right’ way or the brave way? To be successful you are going to have to break rules. We used to say in Special Forces: If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying. I’ll discuss the paradoxical three rules of rule breaking in a later post.

Going from being a craftsman to an artist. You have to master the craft in order to become the artist. You have to learn the rules before you start breaking them.

It causes you to focus, to ask why. When I critique, I always ask “Why did you do that?” Because there are no strict rules of writing. You can do anything. But you should consciously know WHY you are doing it and have a good reason.

It takes you out of crisis management into management. Successful people act, not react. One thing I learned in my writing career was that I was reacting too much: once you have a multiple book contract, you’re reacting to that contract. That’s okay, but don’t stay in that mode forever. To break out, you have to act.

I’ve used, taught, and lived this. From West Point, through the Infantry, Special Forces A-Team leader, teacher at the JFK Center at Ft. Bragg, my writing and teaching career, my consulting business, my publishing company —this is pulling it all together.

IT WORKS. Special Forces are the most elite soldiers in the world. A lot of what I’m presenting is what they learned from centuries of ‘blood’ lessons. Also, I’m presenting things I’ve learned from successful authors such as Susan Wiggs, Elizabeth George, Terry Brooks, Jenny Crusie, and many others.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do in order to learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso.

A successful writer is a confident writer. Look at the differences between a confident person and one with low confidence:

LOW CONFIDENCE                         HIGH CONFIDENCE   _______

Hiding/Ignoring mistakes                                Admitting mistakes & learning from them

Doing what others think you should                            Doing what you know is right

Letting fear dictate you actions                                     Using courage to overcome fear

Staying in status quo (misery)                              Taking risks & changing, despite difficulty

Letting others take charge                                                       Taking charge

Letting each day happen                                      Having goals, plan, and on a path every day