With a great deal of time, money, and effort, I earned a Bachelor’s, Masters, and Doctoral degree in education. Consequently, I was certain I would teach until the day I retired.
It wasn’t long after earning the doctorate that I learned life has all kinds of surprises up its sleeve. My training and experience as a high school English teacher led me to adjuncting at UCLA, conducting corporate training for Fortune 100 firms, and even giving a TED talk. And, my love of words led to the publication of 60 books. Consider the many possibilities inherent in your own love of writing.
Be inspired by other writers.
Take at least ten minutes a week to learn how other writers managed to move beyond their present circumstances to a writing life unlike anything they could have envisioned. Not only will you gain inspiration, you might even gain a few marketing ideas.
J. K. Rowling, worth $650 million today, was a single mother living on public assistance before she conceived Harry Potter—figuratively speaking. And master of the macabre, Stephen King, worked as a grave digger to earn money for his family. (Nota bene: Even the most gruesome of experiences can be incorporated into your writing.) At one point, he was so impoverished that he couldn’t even pay a $250 fine for driving over a traffic cone. A check for his short story “The Raft” arrived soon after, allowing him to avoid jail time.
Writers can become identified with the subjects of their novels and King was once accused of being drawn to evil. “Nonsense,” he told the reporter. And, in his defense, he refuted the charge by explaining, “I have the heart of a little boy…..it sits in a jar on formaldehyde, right on my desk!”
Beware the brilliance of transient events.
These two examples give credence to the words of Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz. Sometime transient events can blind us with their brilliance; they can cause us to quit a pursuit that is heart-driven, a pursuit nearly ripe for success. In King’s case, it’s true, he had to take a full-time job as a teacher in order to survive. But, he never stopped writing.
Question yourself on occasion.
British philosopher Bertrand Russell reminds us that “in all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” You may have always assumed you would be a successful writer, author of the Great American Novel, or the kind of novelist whose books become movies. But, if you have spent 20 years receiving 1000 rejections, you may have to rethink your assumption.
On the other hand, if you have had some early success, encouragement from those whose opinions you respect, and if you would rather write than do anything else in the world, you may have to fight the voices telling you to quit.
Whatever questions you are answering, know that your present circumstances do not necessarily describe the future that awaits you.
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Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer whose clients include Lockheed Martin, Allied Signal, Department of the Interior, and Navy SEALS. She writes extensively about education, business, self-improvement, and careers and has adjuncted at UCLA and National University. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director’s Choice by the Doubleday Book Club. Applying Mr. Albert: 365+ Einstein-Inspired Brain Boosts, her 62nd book, will be released by HRD Press in in early 2019.
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