Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Joe Vitale and the Secret

So there I was at a presentation being given by Joe Vitale on the missing part of the Secret. Now, most of the people there knew him because of his connection with the Secret. After all, this was a World Wellness event. But I had heard of him long before that in connection with marketing. I found myself trying to reconcile the two images—altruistic believer in infinite possibilities and wanting to help others manifest abundance in their own lives versus ultimate marketer.

The thing is maybe there isn’t a contradiction. The basis of his marketing advice, after all, is to offer a product people WANT. And then he talks about ways to get the message out that you have it. With the Secret, he talks about what we focus on coming into our lives. So...if all we care about is being greedy for money, we’ll bring selfish, greedy people into our lives who want to take from us. But if we focus on how we can provide something that will make others happier or wealthier or in some other way offer a true benefit, then we will draw into our lives wealth, happiness, etc.

How does this apply to us as writers? Well, if when we write we don’t think about what readers want from our books, we aren’t likely to be able to sell our manuscripts. If we only think about how we can make money from our writing, that’s likely to backfire, too. On the other hand, if we think about what would bring real pleasure, real value to our readers, then it’s a win/win situation.

Here's another point. If we focus on what we don’t like about the publishing world, well, that’s what we’ll see. If we focus instead on how we can bring value to the process and how we can use it to bring value to readers, well, again, it’s far more likely to bring us success. Where do we want to put our energy? On railing against what we don’t like or in getting to where we want to be?

The other thing about Joe Vitale’s talk is that he spoke about how our unconscious assumptions can get in the way of having what we want. What comes to mind when you think of great writers? Are there parts of that image that you don't like? Change/rewrite it! (Julia Cameron did a great workshop on this at RWA national one year.) If we clean out the crap we can get out of our own way and be far more likely to succeed.

It was a thought provoking talk. What if we do have the power to achieve the success we want and it’s in our hands? What if we can best achieve that success by focusing on bring value to our readers and letting go of expectations and assumptions that don’t serve us very well?

It wouldn’t hurt, either, I think to adopt one of the keys to Joe Vitale’s marketing strategies—working with others to achieve mutual success rather than seeing everyone as a competitor or an obstacle. What if instead of complaining when someone doesn’t do what we want, we were to ask ourselves what we could do that would make helping us something the other person WANTS to do? Brow beating people never works and neither does lecturing them. So...can we alter our attitude or our product or offer something the other person would genuinely value?

In other words, it always comes back to us—whether with the Law of Attraction in the Secret or in marketing. How can we change rather than (pointlessly!) trying to change other people?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thoughts on Dialogue--in Writing and Life

I’ve started a blog for Deverell, the werecat of my latest project. You can read his blog here: Werecat Conversations.

Meanwhile...I’ve been thinking about dialogue and how important it is—both in the stories we tell if we are writers and in our own lives.

In real life, as in stories, often relationships fall apart because people don’t talk to each other. They may either avoid controversy or they may talk (or shout!) AT each other. And neither approach works very well.

The key, of course, is HOW people talk with each other. Do they listen? Do they HEAR? Do they listen with a focus of wanting to understand or with a focus of needing to prove they are right?

Which kind of characters would you rather read about? Which kind of character would you rather be? Because we are all the characters of our own life stories.

Some relationships can’t be salvaged. Sometimes there are irreconcilable issues. And others can be.

I found myself thinking this week WHAT IF:

What if we began ALL dialogue with an appreciation for whatever good the other person brings into our lives?

What if we all listened to each other with respect?

What if we had compassion for each other’s fears?

What if we looked for ways to heal each other’s fears instead of using them against each other?

What if all we had compassion for everyone?

Can you imagine a world in which we all could honestly talk about our hopes and fears and know that we would be treated with kindness and respect? Can you imagine helping to create that kind of world by the way in which you live your life and interact with others?

Note: I am NOT saying take on anyone else's problems! Nor am I saying we need to share the other person's fears or see the world the same way. There is a difference between really listening and in believing we must fix whatever we see or hear. What I am saying is that I believe that if we change the quality of our dialogue with others, we change not only the experience of our own lives but we have the chance to help change the world as well.

Maybe that’s why I write. Because I do want to help create that kind of world. And so I create characters who try.

As you go through the week ahead, maybe think about dialogue and the power it has both in our lives and in our stories. Oh, and check out Deverell’s blog at Werecat Conversations.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Seeing the Sights

Isn’t it funny how we often don’t get around to visiting places near us unless or until someone visits us and we’re showing them around? It was that way when I was growing up, too--we only saw the local sights when visitors came from out of town. These days, every time my daughter comes to visit me, as she did for a week, I end up discovering places in and around Austin that I didn’t know about.

There’s Mt. Bonnell with a gorgeous view of the city. There’s Zilker Botanical Gardens that somehow I hadn’t gotten around to seeing before. There’s Mozart CafĂ© right on the water. And of course there’s South Congress where I found a print for my wall and we wandered in and out of all sorts of wonderful shops.

It was fun having my daughter here and satisfying to know she was here to work on Challenge X which is a program for college students to work on alternative energy cars. She sees making the world a better place as part of her mission and I’m glad for that. I truly think she will.

I can’t wait to see what she and I discover together the next time she makes it to Texas. I also find myself thinking that maybe I won’t wait for her next visit to see what new discoveries I can make on my own. After all, I went across country on my own. There's no reason I should lose my sense of adventure just because I'm now staying in one place.