My Newest Inspiration
So there I was, on a random scroll through Facebook, when I came across a video that actually made me stop and take notice. Oddly enough, the video in question had no violence or controversy, nor was it making any kind of political statement. It wasn’t a clever ad in disguise, nor was it a thinly veiled publicity stunt disguised as news. The video was a stark contrast to all of these things, and simply featured an author I had never even heard of, N. K. Jemisin, accepting a Hugo award for best novel.
Two things immediately caught my attention. First of all, this author was black. Second of all, this author was a woman. These are two factors that I previously didn’t connect with science fiction, particularly award-winning science fiction, yet here she was accepting the award for best science fiction novel for the third year in a row.
I was immediately inspired. I can certainly relate with Ms. Jemisin on one of those two factors.
As I continued to listen to what was an awesome acceptance speech, two things stuck out to me. First, she admitted to writing “a million words of crap”. This was not the first time I have heard someone say that an author goes through writing a ton of garbage before they ever write something readable; I have heard a ton of writing coaches and mentors say the exact same thing. However, it was the first time I had heard an award-winning author say it, and yes, it does make a difference.
The second thing that stuck out to me was that she said she “worked her ass off”. This was what I think resonated with me most of all. Truth be told, I do a lot of work on anything I write before I even start typing, and I get up before dawn damn near every morning just to ensure that I have time to write. I take my craft very seriously, and to hear this award winning author say that she works her ass off and gives it her all just like I do made me feel incredibly validated.
Listening to Ms. Jemisin also refined my purpose and set me on a new path. It made me realize that I have only taken a tiny step into a much larger world. Prior to hearing her, prior to seeing that she was a person who had more in common with me than I would have ever imagined, I saw my writing as something I just did with no real goal in mind. For me, it was just a fun and neat accomplishment to be able to say that I wrote a book.
However, my eyebrows have now narrowed and my vision has trained on a target. I am already a published author. I now wish to become an award-winning author.
As with virtually anything worth doing, it means little to nothing to have a goal without a plan of action. To that end, I have come up with a plan to help me get where it is I want to go. After all, a man without a plan is destined to fail.
I will affirm daily what it is that I want to do. I am a firm believer in preparing my mind for success. Mindset is everything. If I believe in my heart of hearts that I can do this, then my mind will propel me to do more to make sure that it happens.
I will set up visual reminders that I will see daily of what I want to do. In this case, maybe I will put mock trophies up around my writing space. Or maybe I’ll print out pictures of awards and put them up on the walls surrounding my writing area. Or maybe I’ll do something as simple as writing in huge letters, AWARD WINNING WRITER D. R. BICKHAM.
I’m going to have to do some research. In this case, I’ll need to read the books Ms. Jemisin has written, particularly those that have won awards. I’ll also need to read other award winning authors. I’ll be doing this not only for enjoyment but also to learn, to see what I am doing right in my own writing and where I need to improve.
Last but not least, I’m going to need to write as much as possible. But at the same time, I’m going to need to remember that not everything I write will be great. In fact, some of it just might be “crap”. I’ll be honest, that’s the hardest part of this whole thing for me to accept.
Now that there are a few general rules in place, I can now work on making things a bit more specific. I can choose, for example, to write a certain amount of words per day, or for a certain amount of time every day. I can set aside a certain time of day to read when I know I’ll be uninterrupted. The most important thing is to make a plan and get to work.
By the way, the goal-setting and plan-making formula will work for virtually anything you want to do. Want to lose weight? Come up with a goal and make a plan. The same can be said for starting a business, improving your relationships, or even writing a book of your own.
Have a goal in mind already? Drop a comment and I’ll help keep you on track, as I continue to work toward getting that first award. Maybe I’ll start writing my acceptance speech, lol.
We’ll talk again.
My first novel (the one that hasn’t won an award and hopefully isn’t crap), Unnatural Selection: The Chambers Effect, is now available on Amazon!