I want to be a writer.
Specifically, I want to write and publish books. Books about vampires and fairies and an organization I created called the Wish Granter's Union.
I want people to read what I write, to be inspired by my characters as I have been by other characters. I want to share what I know about life, about history, about people and love and all the other questions I may have an answer to, or at least a new way of asking the question.
And I suspect that you want something similar if you are here. We all want to touch the world in some way, in our own way be it selling things we want to share with the world, making art or music, or of course, writing.
And we need to remember that.
Which is why I have decided not to apply for Clarion West.
This last Saturday I spent eight hours in a martial arts seminar with one if the most incredible teachers alive.
We were practicing evading our opponent in slow motion, and looking for openings between their movements for our attack. We were to move aside or counter their motion, then find which tartet we wanted to hit for the desired effect, in this case putting the opponent on the ground.
I could evade well enough, but every time I started to hone in on my next move, I would get caught up in the method of it (exactly how do I need to grab his knee to make him fall backward again?) and I'd get hit. Start over, I get hit again.
My teacher had to remind me of somehting we've learned before.
“Focus on the desired outcome, not the method.”
We started again. My opponent hit the ground. I don't know what I did exactly, but it doesn't matter. I got what I wanted.
We must focus on the outcome.
It is so easy as writers to get distracted with the waving arms or our opponents. We spend time reading about craft, researching markets, trying to get into classes or magazines, fighting writers block, spending time arguing over the best method for characterization, whether or not to outline before writing (please stop it).
But we can do something different. We can focus on the outcome and trust ourselves to take the necessary actions to get there.
Because when fighting an opponent, we can hit their arm as hard as we want and it won't knock them out. If we want to knock them out, we must brush aside the arm and find a more viable target.
We must find our desired outcome.
Focusing on the outcome is how I wrote fifty thousand words every month for a year, regardless of the time constraints and the moping and internal struggle I went through, I always knew that all I needed to do was move toward 50,000 words. And I had to knock aside a lot of punches aimed my way, believe me.
But I knew what had to be done, and I did it.
And all of this is why I'm not applying for Clarion.
It is an outcome; a goal I could shoot for and a wonderful opportunity for someone who has the desire and need for close instruction, needing the encouragement and environment to learn to write every day.
But it isn't my desired outcome. It is a sideways step, a side mission tacked onto the path I walk. And unnecessary.
I want to write books. I want to publish. That was what last year was about too, about getting the habit of writing and the practice in of writing, continuing, finishing, repeat.
I'm ready, I think, to fly on my own. I'm ready to aim for the ultimate goal, the big one I've been dreaming of since I was very young. I have put in my time learning to write, now it's time to learn to make that writing readable and publishable.
It all comes done to trust. Trust in myself to know what needs to be done to get where I want to go, no matter what obstacles need to be knocked out of the way.
Which brings me to another maxim from Saturday's seminar.
“There is no success in giving up.”
3 thoughts on “Focusing on the Outcome”
It sounds like you’re making the right decision for you – it’s so easy to get distracted by what we feel is “expected” for our goal.