Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Success Inside Out

Here's my good friend Kathy of Well Placed Words at lunch after the High Tension Workshop.

Donald Maass is an excellent teacher. This post is about perhaps the most important aha moment for me that occurred in the entire workshop: Success comes from the inside out. Now before you groan and say "Well, duh," think about these questions:

For you, in your creative endeavor (other artists, take note) how do you see yourself successful? Go beyond the obvious of fame and fortune. What would truly be success? A fan letting you know how the work impacted his/her life? The knowledge that you are "following your bliss" when you create? Embracing your passion? Or is it even more intangible? Why do you torture yourself with whatever your creative work is? What would happen if you stopped?

What do you NEED to be successful? Again, go beyond the obvious answers, money enough to quit my day job, my kids to be older, etc. Those are wants--but a need is something else. A need is perhaps a need to overcome what makes you use excuses for not following your bliss in the first place. Is it a fear of change? What would happen if you succeeded? What would your life be like then? Do you embrace what the change would mean?

So, dear readers, what do you think? What other questions might you need to ask yourselves? What can you do to have success from the inside out? What has worked for you in the past--and maybe isn't working now? Or is working? Let me know.


Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed meeting Kathy last week - next time! And how was the workshop? I can't wait to hear about it!! It's on my list - probably next year, though. WRW in 2 weeks - egads! Wish you were going.

Jim Murdoch said...

Success is an ongoing thing. I succeeded in writing a poem. I succeeded in getting it published. I succeeded in getting a book in print. I succeeded in even selling some. I'm not famous and I don't expect to me. I don't think I'd like to be. Success for me is when I fellow poet pins my poem on the cork board beside his computer because I've put into words why he writes. Success is when a girl wants a copy of my poem because it expresses exactly how she feels about some guy called Barry. Success is when a man I've never met gets read one of my stories while on holiday and wants to know how this man knows how he feels. Success is when someone wants to leave a copy of one of your stories in her loo so all her friends can read it. I vetoed the last one but it was a nice thought nevertheless.

The Muse said...

Hello Conda! Sounds like it was a great time!

I think I'm on the right track. I've been working on myself. For me, visualizing is a great tool. Everyday I "see" myself doing what I want to do, how I want things to be.

Before I got back to writing I was stuck in a rut. One thing or another held me back. Now I look at that time and realize those were excuses and negative (internal and external) influences.

I know I have it in me, I always have. I just never acted on it, until now. Taking that first step is the hardest.

I've taken the first steps, now I'm following through. We'll see where I get when I get there.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Swubird said...

Now obviously as you grow older success takes on a different meaning. I know guys who say they just want to wake up the next day. My uncle Bob used to be a long-haul truck driver, and he used to say he wanted to make just one more trip across the country. For me, I want to live, of course, but I also want to be able to see, and hear, and use my hands, and I want to casually walk in the wilderness. I want to see the ocean, smell the flowers and admire all the animals that occupy this wonderful earth with me. If I can do all these things - then I am successful.

Happy trails.

katiebird said...

Hi Conda,
I'm glad to hear that your workshop was a success. I've got a new laptop so with mobility, I'm planning more blogging.

People have been asking me what I plan to do with my time after I retire. And I find that I don't like to tell them about my blogging plans. Because, weirdly, even though blogging is so public, my goal of wanting to be a better writer seems to personal to share with many people.

(whew. there. I told someone)

I'll be back soon. I've missed you since a certain author shut down her social club.

Conda Douglas said...

Hey Beth, I wish I was going to WRW also (put on by the same wonderful people who have the Donald Maass workshops) especially this year as Nancy Pickard will be one of the instructors.

Please tell us all about it!

Conda Douglas said...

Hi Jim,

A good point in that success is different for everyone, and completely subjective. I also believe it changes over time with experience. When I was a kid I was locked into what success was--and didn't know my perception was rigid and oh-so-traditional.

Conda Douglas said...


Although visualization is categorized by some as "woo-woo" study after study has shown that it does help and is often effective.

You are to be commended for taking an honest look at your particular patterns and changing those, congrats!

Conda Douglas said...

That was a lyrical and apt comment, Swu--really is there anything more successful than actually living life?

Conda Douglas said...

Hi Katiebird,

I've missed you too--and hope that that certain person's blog is live again soon.

AND: Wow, what a success, to mention what your plans are!

Kathy McIntosh said...

I hope everyone focussed on the beautiful door and not my closed eyes. Yes, the workshop was wonderful and exhausting!
And you are so wise, Conda, to realize that Don's most important moments with us were those when he advised us to consider success and how we view ourselves.
Scary stuff.
I have discovered that when I tell myself I need to stop writing, to make money more conventionally, that I feel a bit like I'm planning an I guess I'd rather not quit.
And the visualization works, but it is so hard.