May 11, 2013

Keep Going, Part Five

Posted in Momentum in writing, slumps in writing, Stages, Success tagged , , at 1:22 pm by Rebecca Hein

Due to my recent success in finding paid writing work, I now see the full value of action and the corresponding danger of feelings. Writing, writing, writing my way to proficiency has given me ability I can count on. Doubting the worth of that action could have stopped me.

All through the years, it felt like there were two of me. One was writing and the other was thinking that the whole effort was useless. The former turned out to be significant, producing something real and tangible. The latter proved to have no reality at all, creating noise in my soul, yet never actually ruining my work.

Therefore, if you don’t yet know how your writing life will turn out, why listen to feelings that could stop you? Instead write daily or as often as you can, and this will move you forward and could even put you where you most want to be.

May 5, 2013

Keep Going, Part Four

Posted in publication, slumps in writing, Success tagged , at 2:39 pm by Rebecca Hein

As we have seen, I have something to show for all my years of trying to write: skill and ease in my craft. A few months ago I wouldn’t have dared to hope for more.

Yet now I’m earning decent money writing, and there’s no better feeling in the world. My assignments are feasible because my skill is developed, and I no longer have to wonder if my writing will ever go anywhere.

Thus I no longer feel divided. The tension between what I was doing and my doubt and discouragement about it has dissolved.

October 31, 2012

Self-Exploitation, Part Seven

Posted in self-exploitation, Success tagged , at 3:36 am by Rebecca Hein

During all the years I was writing columns for the Casper Star-Tribune, and slaving to make each piece the best it could be, I wondered more and more why I was so willing to exploit myself.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I landed a $500 writing assignment from a local editor. He knew my excellent work from my years of newspaper columns; therefore no discussion was needed about whether or not I was qualified for the job.

Then, and not before, I saw that all my past insane—or at least totally impractical—self-exploitation was not what I’d thought at all. Rather, I’d been investing in myself the whole time.

October 6, 2010

Practicing for Success

Posted in Success tagged , , , , at 9:45 am by Rebecca Hein

In these hard times, we need to draw upon our full complement of assets, which includes both intellect and imagination. Cello practice requires these faculties and, as writers, the sooner we learn to nurture them, the better it will be for our future.

Attention isn’t enough. You have to apply the right kind of focus. A direct approach can work, such as “How can I make this character more alive?” But you need to couple questions like this with regular periods of release, during which you actively cultivate unconscious thought. This is where writing practice comes in. Because practice writing is so easy, it demands little attention, and then we can coast along on the flow we’ve created. Our minds begin to drift, and this is the perfect setup for the flash of insight we need.

September 29, 2010

Success in Writing

Posted in Success tagged , at 9:45 am by Rebecca Hein

If one person likes your writing, will two people want it? If two readers love your ideas and your style, will others? Yes. I’ve seen this happen in my own life, therefore you can achieve it too.

What’s required? I discovered this in the mid-1980s when I played a faculty cello recital at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. After the performance, members of the audience were lining up to shake my hand, and one person said to me, “There are two kinds of recitals: the kind where you’re always glancing at your watch. Then there’s the other kind: when you don’t want it to end. Yours was the second kind.”

My secret? Hard work. Years of practice, and not just any practicing: an intelligent approach which has made all the difference.