“Real is just a matter of perception.” Peter Bishop, Fringe
It’s not a big secret that I work in retail as a Store Manager. Part of my role/responsibility is to ensure that my team upholds The Brand’s image. Consistency is important for customer loyalty and overall satisfaction, not only for The Brand (as a company of over 1700 stores across the country), but also for My Specific Store. You see, not only do I want my customers to receive the level of service that they expect from The Brand, I want them to have the “Fun Personalized Service” that I’m cultivating in my store team to deliver. Fun Personalized Service is what I want my customers to expect whenever they come to My Store.
Just as I want my customers to expect a Fun Personalized Service experience when they enter my store, I want future readers of my books to expect a certain kind of story from me as an author.
The Author I Want to Be
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. “
C. S. Lewis
I said last week that the Story I Want to Write was tied to the Author that I Want to Be; the brand image of the Writer, so to speak. And, I decided that the Author I want to be needed to be Fun. Not the “life is always happy and fluffy, cue the smiling flowers and woodland creatures” Fun, but more lighthearted, hopeful, and dare I say, entertaining fun. The type of fun that I deliver in my store. The type of fun that allows my customers to relax and enjoy themselves and forget their busyness for a moment.
I want to write the story that readers will seek out to remember that life is beautiful, and yes, you are invited to rest here for a time, and after doing so, you will feel refreshed and ready to face more of life. In Dean Koontz’s novels, he would refer to this kind of respite as “moments of grace” (and if you’ve read what he puts his characters through, you would understand the beauty of those moments). I would like to be able to say that my books can be your Moments of Grace in the midst of storms. High expectations for me to deliver, but things worth pursuing are rarely easy to accomplish. Finding Fun in the Challenge is my outlook on this journey.
Stop Thinking About Problems
“You can’t solve a problem at the same level of thinking that created it.” Einstein
“You can either make excuses or get results, but you can’t do both.” Tom Venuto
So, what prompted all this self-analysis? Well, it all started with Tom Venuto’s The Body Fat Solution, which introduced neuro linguistic programming in basic terms as a way to overcome mental roadblocks to achieving successful body recomposition.
I’m not an expert at all the nitty-gritty, but I will just say that I have been able to face down more challenges this year alone based on the principle that the words I use reflect a subconscious perception of my problem, creating limiting beliefs. Months ago, I brainstormed many of my limiting beliefs that were blocking me from truly embracing the title of “Writer” and “Author.” One of those beliefs was that I needed to be Serious and Deep to have any sort of chance to be a Published Author. (I won’t analyze why I thought this, I just know that it was there, and I had to create solutions around that obstacle.)
You can imagine how (un)productive I was in my writing, believing that being an Author came with the admission price of being Serious, and knowing that deep down, I’m not Serious at all (of course, I can be serious; don’t worry I act with appropriate decorum at weddings and funerals). Of course, I’ve since set myself up to enable me to work through those limiting beliefs (though the feelings of inadequacy will likely stay with me for, oh, ever). I was able to realize and accept that having fun can (and should!) be part of the writing process…and the floodgates of creativity spilled forth as an answering reward. I didn’t necessarily change any resulting behavior, I just changed my perception of my obstacle; the behaviors just ended up being more enjoyable.
I’ve learned to brainstorm better, to choose writing environments to support my writing, and turn off my self-editor so that I can “get over myself” and finish the story. I’m under no illusions: my current WIP may never see the light of publication, but the knowledge that I will finish this story will enable more productivity. One success, one win, fuels more success, and ever increasing challenges. And you know what? Because my mindset is prepared, I’m ready to meet and accept these challenges.
Focus on Solutions
“You have to know who you are before you decide how to be.” Twitter user, @IZTAES
So, I reflected on the person I am in order to realize the Author I Want to Be, the Story I Want to Write, and basically, commit myself to be labeled under the genre of Young Adult Literature (yes, a teaser of next week’s blog post). I needed to be able to LOVE what I’m writing, and be proud that my name is associated with That Story. And, I know it may seem insignificant, but for me, mindset is SO important to enable change. It’s the strategic step that I needed to make before I was able to make any significant progress anywhere, because I needed to know Who I Was, and Who I Wanted To Be, before I could even make goals, let alone action steps toward that goal.
I know this process is a little foundational, but I hope I’ve been able to help someone who is struggling with their limiting beliefs over their own writing (or fillintheblank) journey/goal. I’m obviously methodical and analytical, and have to follow certain processes; that’s just how I roll. Thankfully, I also embrace change pretty well, and can course-correct easily. 😉
8 thoughts on “Simplify. Focus. The Author I Want To Be”
I love this:
“I have been able to face down more challenges this year alone based on the principle that the words I use reflect a subconscious perception of my problem, creating limiting beliefs”
It’s so true; so many of us are guilty of doing exactly this without even realizing.
Words are important, my friend! They helped me out on my non-writing (read: physical fitness) goals this year! You can do it!
A lot to think about, Liza. Great post. I like your comparison to Brand Image. I would like to have one and to stick to it as an author, also. Blessings to you…
There’s been a lot of talk about brand image recently, which I thought was funny because i didn’t realize how many perspectives there were to “branding”. I take it for granted, especially since I work for a brand: it’s easy for me to “uphold the brand image” because quite frankly it’s part of my job description to live up to it. So for me, I understand “Branding/Brand Image” as upholding the values to which the Brand has committed itself. Some people say that “branding” yourself limits you, and does not allow you to grow (as a writer). But, if your brand (you as the Author) is based on universal principles/values, I don’t see how you can become “trapped”. My paythebills brand evolves all the time based on trends (new fragrances, new looks, etc), but the values (and therefore the way we operate business) does not: the customer perception about the Brand that is important (outstanding customer service, a place to be pampered, etc) never changes. I think when people denounce branding, all they think about is the packaging (the thing that is allowed to evolve and change) rather than the value/principles (which do not change).
Wow, this could’ve been another blog post 😉 My fingers ran away from me!
Nice! I like your logical thought process, and the self-analysis that lead to this point. Go Liza!
Thank you so much! I’m one of those people who becomes more creative when I have methods/guideposts (not too strict, mind you, but I like knowing that they’re there). Thanks for visiting!
It’s important to be aware of the kind of author you want to be. Nothing wrong with being fun if that is who you are. What matters more than anything is that you are writing the kind of novels YOU are happy with. If you are happy with them, there’s bound to be others out there who will love your style of writing.
So true! I’m learning each day that while I’m waiting around I ought to be having fun anyway, which partly informed what I’ve been blogging about recently. I’m looking at this stage as a practice stage for querying. I’m having fun while waiting for the next thing in my life; I can also have fun while waiting for responses to future queries. So, what do I like to read for fun? Quirky/funny/random action packed novels. What do my imaginary friends fill my mind with? quirky/random/funny observations/conversations. I don’t know if any future readers would agree with me, but I’m currently having fun writing about it.