“Motivational speakers are used car salesmen without the wheels.”~D.W. Hirsch, soon-to-be-World-Famous author
I get pumped after a good motivational speech, which is the point of them. My writers group hosted a speaker this weekend who left me wanting more, which is not the point. The speaker was scheduled to talk about the “publishing journey with tips for writers and published authors about marketing and promotion methods, PLUS address concerns about what’s holding YOU back from your literary success.” From that description, and based on previous presentations with this group, I expected to leave with solid practical advice. You know, something like “I did it this way: Steps 1, 2 and 3” or “These are four companies I worked with that you should check out” or “Here’s a list of websites that are good resources.”
Instead, I heard a hyped-up talk from this Fearless Coach–whatever that is–who can “help you overcome all your fears.” For a price. The speaker’s book was for sale and upcoming classes and workshops were discussed.
Professor Encouragement dressed in a formal black attire, lecturing to this captive classroom. We listened to the strong, deep, energetic voice complete with a feel-good vocabulary, a combination that makes you feel good about yourself realizing you can do amazing things. So you buy the book to become even more amazing, but then you get caught up in life. The book gets buried under piles of paper or shoved deep into a crowded bookshelf. You forget the book that will make you amazing and move on, but the Fearless Coach has made the money and moves on to other lucrative speaking engagements.
Speaking engagements, by the way, are where writers make the real money, the speaker pronounced.
I don’t fall into the abyss of needing candles or lipstick or plastic dishes just because I’m invited to a party, so I passed on this fearless book but took away some thought-provoking quotes.
“God woke you up this morning.”
Religion, salvation and deity beliefs are subjective and personal. I will not stand in your way of that or lack of that. However, this applied to me today. I was meant to attend this meeting. I doubted that because my body shut down Weds night, sleeping 12-14+ hours on both Thursday and Friday. I wasn’t sick, but my body needed to implode from something. I was going to sleep all day Saturday, figuring my body still needed it, but told myself, If I wake up in time to shower, get breakfast at Starbucks and arrive on time, I’ll go. I woke naturally and mostly alert at 8:17am, so I kept my self-promise. Kismet, luck or divine intervention…whatever you call it, I was there for all this.
“Our imagination leaves a legacy.”
I never thought of it quite this way. Books are our mark on the world. Telling our stories is important. Think of all the books you read as a child and the lasting impression those words made on you. How much less of a person would you be without that inspiration?
“When we talk ourselves out of writing our book, we talk ourselves out of our dreams.”
It’s easier to be a scientist or engineer: follow the rules of nature and science, and you succeed. Writing is not a mathematical equation; it’s personal. It can be a goal to be that successful scientist or engineer, but it’s personal when you’re exposing your imagination for the world to see and interact with. You’re writing is a reflection of you; don’t deny that. Even a nonfiction how-to book is framed by your experiences. There is no formula for success. We can follow all those prescribed rules, tips, guidelines and suggestions, but in the end, that book exposes us. Writing a book is scary. To not write it is selfish.
“We’re so conditioned to hear the word fail and think: end, give up, stop. A better word is defeat.”
What is success? That’s different for every one of us. I can look at the 2000 words I wrote and think, “That’s all?” and someone else will see those same words and think, “Wow! So productive.” There are lots of better words out there.
The definition of defeat includes:
• “prevail over; vanquish”
• “to frustrate; thwart”
• “to eliminate or deprive of something expected”
• “the act of overcoming”
I like that last one, setback. Substitute that word for “fail,” and hear what changes.
My apologies to any decent used car dealers out there.