Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fake It Till You Make It

Richard Castle Writer Vest
Just in case you didn't know.
Have you actually ever told someone you are a writer? 
It seems presumptuous, and they always then ask 'yeah, what have you got published?'
I said writer, not author. Authors are published, writers can but don't really have to be, in my opinion.
And you asked me what I did. Well, what I spend most of my time doing is writing. 

It was earliest this year that I first dared to tell someone that 'well, I work in a field related to immigration to pay my bills, but I'm trying to make it as a writer.'
It was an amazing feeling. Now I tell it to everyone, everyone! (Even if they didn't ask!)

And I'm not the only one.
One of the guys from Writing Excuses (I think, might have been somewhere else I heard it) while writing their first book got a friend to mock up a cover for the book which also had 'by the best selling author...', and he printed off a large poster size copy and stuck it over his desk. He's now a multi-published author. 

Jimmy Carey (this might be more urban myth, but I heard it somewhere), supposedly wrote himself a cheque for a million dollars when he was starting out as a comedian and told himself in a year he would be able to cash it. Surprisingly, in a year, he could.

All the motivational speakers go on about positive reinforcement and visualisation, and actually appears to be something in it. Pretending you are a writer, developing the lifestyle and habits of a writer (no, not the drinking and drugs), telling yourself that you are already a published author with nothing to fear, seem to help motivate you to make your dreams come true.

I started off using techniques from 'the Winner's Bible', which is actually really quite a good book for practical exercises in motivation. I went through all the magazines I had and found images that spoke to me about what I wanted my life to be like. It didn't have to be realistic or explainable, it just had to have an emotional effect on me. Some are obvious, like the woman working with clay, but some are less concrete, like the images of water tumbling over rocks (that was my image for wanting to be refreshed and calm). I put these all into a plastic folder (and being me, I turned them into prayers, so each page starts: Lord, I pray for a life of creativity...  then the images) and started looking at them every morning.

But then I wanted something more specific to my book and me as a writer. I wanted my brother to mock up a cover of my first book for me (as I sadly do not yet have the mad skillz), but he wouldn't do it. So instead, I started a blog about being a writer, and I got free business cards made which state: Elizabeth (Buffy) Greentree - Writer. (I now have 250, and am handing them out to anyone I come across, and using them as book marks. I'm thinking of leaving them in all the library books I borrow so the next person who reads a book I like (so obviously has good tastes) will be direct to my blog.) 
On that note, Vista Print do free business cards, you just have to pay for the postage (which for me came to around $6). You could have them made up to say anything: Elizabeth (Buffy) Greentree - Contract Killer.

Anyway, I have some of my writing ones sitting on my desk in front of me right now (I'm at work, but on my lunch break, nothing dodgy!). And every time my job gets me down, I just look at them and smile. I'm working so that I can continue to write, and the more I write, the more true my little business cards become. 

So, that is my post today: if you have a dream, put it out there and don't be afraid.

Also, while looking for the Castle image, I came across this and loved it! Getting in early, I like it!
(Her mum actually runs a craft blog, Amelie and Atticus but I think she's fostering a healthy creative environment.)

So, I highly recommend that you do something outrageously self-promoting to show yourself that you too can be a writer, maybe even an author.

If you are brave enough, take a photo and email it to me and I'll post it.

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