I came across this article a while ago, about how one of my favorite authors, Octavia Butler, wrote out her success before she had it. She wrote exactly what she wanted to accomplish: the awards, the bestseller lists, and why she wrote. If you haven’t read anything by Octavia Butler, she wrote science fiction as a black woman in a world of mostly white, mostly male writers. She succeeded in topping numerous bestseller lists, and won major awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant – the first science fiction writer to do so. (Read the article for a fuller list of her accomplishments).
The point here is, she had no idea when she wrote her intentions in her notebook that they would come to pass in such spectacular fashion. But she clarified her goals and intentions in writing, and believed in them.
One book I recommend is Write It Down, Make It Happen, by Henriette Anne Klauser. In it she gives examples from many people who have written down their dreams, and found great success. It’s not about “magical thinking.” It’s about getting clear on what we really want, and getting specific in writing, which helps us put our attention and intention on it. And without both of those things, nothing happens. It’s not that you write it down and forget about it; the writing puts your conscious and unconscious mind to work, which leads to insight and then action. If there’s an area of your life where you’re struggling to make progress or see your way to fulfilling a creative dream, get this book, and try the exercises. Or just write down your dream, in specific language, with emphasis. Keep writing about it. Use your notebook to spin the dream into reality.
The point is, it can be hard to articulate our big dreams, even to ourselves. Writing it down is the first step to making a real commitment – to believing it can happen.
And also check out Octavia Butler’s work if you like thought-provoking, character-driven science fiction. My favorite book of hers is Kindred, about a modern African-American woman who goes back in time and experiences life as a slave in 19th-century America.
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