I am a creature of habit. I got the habit of reading self-help many years ago, when I taught emotionally and mentally troubled high school kids. Every day was a major challenge. Every day I didn’t think I could do it. Every day I wanted to quit. What got me through was a book called A Course in Miracles. The Course taught me how to meditate and how to elevate myself far above what I thought I could be and do. It saved my life.
For an entire year I got up early to read the daily lesson and religiously followed whatever obscure thought or process the Course provided. I loved that the Course didn’t require belief in its message. For a miracle to happen, I just had to meditate on the day’s idea, and that was enough. After that year, I came to depend on that morning habit of reading inspiring material, meditating, and writing about how I could apply the particular lessons.
I’m still doing it 20 years later;-) If I don’t have a self-help book to read in the morning, I feel like my day is not starting right. Often, I’ll go back to favorites and read the highlighted passages. I also have my favorite authors, and I’ll read whatever new book they release. Wayne Dyer is one of my old faves. I finally bought Excuses Begone! and have been reading it the last several mornings.
Reading Chapter 3 today, I had bells and whistles going off right and left. So much of what Dr. Dyer writes applies to the writing life that I had to share. Here are some of the excuses I realized I use around my writing: I’m too old. The rules won’t let me. I’m not smart enough. It has never happened before. No one will help me. I can’t afford it. It will be difficult. It will take a long time. And this was the shocker: “I don’t deserve it.”
Under the “I don’t deserve it” section, Dr. Dyer lists the excuse “I try, but nothing ever comes my way.” He says that this excuse is related to poor self-esteem, which surprised me because I tend to think my self-esteem is pretty solid. But this morning I realized, not so much when it comes to writing. Because, as the good doctor points out “I try, but nothing ever comes of it.” It’s easy for self-esteem to get battered in the writing world where rejection is the norm. Selling a novel has eluded me for decades. Decades! “I try but nothing ever comes my way.” It’s like the man saw inside my head, deep into the subconscious part of my mind where these poisonous thoughts brew.
Dyer’s antidote to this unconscious belief is to recognize it, root it out, and replace it with a positive message regarding the divine spirit that dwells within. Because I am a divine spirit, I deserve every good thing in the universe. Including a book contract;-) This is something I can remind myself of every day during prayer and meditation or even just as I sit down to write.
The other one that rang the loudest bell of truth for today was “No one will help me.” I think this resonated because my February horoscope is full of team work, finding people to help me, and progressing in my career through the support of others. This month, there is a strong theme that I should not do it alone. That I should rely on whoever and however. Since I’m an Aries, I usually like to do things on my own. To know that I may need help sort of freaks me out.
Still, after reading my horoscope yesterday, I cast around in my mind for people I could call on to help me with my writing. I came up blank. And there it was again this morning in the book. “No one will help me.” But as I write this, I remember my critique group. How could I have forgotten them? They help and support me whenever I need them. Also, in the last few months I have gotten a ton of help from editors and agents. Did I forget that? Yes, but the act of writing this helps me remember. I do have support. Every time I post a writerly update on FB lots of my friends and family show their support with comments and thumbs up.
I feel particularly supported by this blog. In writing this post I remembered all the help available to me. So to all of you who email, comment, or simply stop by to read, Thank you!