Archive for October 12th, 2011

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 by Bob Mayer
Change for Writers, Part III: Making A Decision & Sustained Action

Make a Decision   from Write It Forward

Because of the Moment of Enlightenment, a decision is made. Remember, it is not necessarily a good decision, but it’s a decision nonetheless.

You then are either:

  • Stuck with the decision (externally imposed change) or
  • Stick with the decision (internally motivated change)

By itself, a decision is not change, just a fleeting commitment.

Bargaining can dilute a decision.

Depression can cause you to give up on a decision.


There are two systems for decision-making: intuitive and reasoning. Intuitive deals with emotion. It is fast, automatic, but has a slow-learning curve. Reasoning is emotionally neutral. It is slow, controlled, and rule-governed, but this approach can be rigid.

Is the majority of your decision making based on intuitive or reasoning? Knowing this about yourself is key in understanding how and why you make decisions and why sometimes you make the wrong decision.

EXERSICE:  A bat and ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

If you used intuitive decision making then you would say the ball costs .10. But it really costs .05.

EXERCISE: Flip a coin six times. Which is more likely?




Neither of the above is more likely to happen. However, if you picked the second, you are using the misconception of chance.

Sports players, like chess players, have to trust intuition for speed of decision-making. Writers have to trust their gut, but then go back and use their rationality to edit the work.


Do A Sustained Course Of Action

Don’t expect immediate, burning-bush change as soon as you’ve made your decision. While this does happen, it is very, very rare. Change is a slow process that requires dedication and commitment and most of all Sustained Action.  Success in publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Because of the decision, behavior is changed. The changed behavior is sustained long enough to become a new habit. In the military, this is called training.

  • Sustained action leads to change
  • Sliding back on the five stages stops this
  • Acceptance is not easy—your reality has changed

I’ve had varied teaching experiences: Special Forces team, JFK Special Warfare Center, Masters Degree in Education, Martial Arts teaching, writing teacher, universities, conferences, organizational speaker, etc. I can’t count the number of times I heard someone say, “I always wanted to write a book, but . . .” or “I always wanted to get a black belt, but . . .” or “I was going to try out for Special Forces, but . . .”

The successful don’t do buts. The successful are not wanna-be’s. They learn. They decide. They act. They sustain the action.