Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Potential to Become

I am convinced if we want to become not just writers but influential writers, we must follow certain steps in our process to greatness. As in any worthy endeavor unfulfilled expectations usually means we ignored basic principles or were too lazy to carry them out. Unfortunately, no easy way exists to reach our desired goals. We have to toil, sometimes unceasingly, until we finally step into the realms we’ve stretched ourselves to attain.

I’ll admit some seem to achieve the final reward a lot faster and with less effort than in our own little world. I suppose they were born with intuitive understanding of the process or maybe even a little bit of luck. That’s okay. Those who labor diligently often appreciate the achieving far more than those who barely have to lift a pinkie.
And then there are those who, no matter how hard they try, fail to achieve the heights they want to attain. That reminds me of the story about a man who couldn’t pitch a baseball despite his urgency to achieve that feat. So every day he found himself out back where he threw baseballs against the barn, over and over again, until he learned how to pitch with some degree of talent. The same can happen for us, and it doesn’t matter at what level we begin.
The steps to receive this potential to become are the same in whatever goal we want to achieve. We might excel in one category more than in another. But the good news is we only have to remember three things and then work like mad to accomplish them, especially the first two.
Are you ready? Ingrain the list to memory:
Learn all we can – That seems logical, right? If we want to become an accomplished writer, we have to understand everything about that craft. Learn about sentence structure, grammar, tone, style— the list goes on. We may be proficient in some, not so talented in others, but that is where the next step comes into play, the step I mentioned above.
Act on what we learn – We can learn all we want, but until we practice the information we glean, those facts lay dormant inside us or perhaps fade away altogether with disuse. The one thing I have learned in my pursuit to get published is this: If I fail to send my manuscripts to readers or to agents, I never improve, and I never get published.
Yet some of us expect results, dream about the final reward, without putting in the time. I’m sorry to break the news to you, but if we ignore this step, most likely we’ll continue to dream and never receive our ultimate reward.
Those who do make the effort can’t help but fall into the last step toward distinction. After gaining knowledge and after all the hard work and practice, we suddenly discover the potential to become. We might say the seeds, talent, or whatever we call this ability, awakens inside us. Whether that capacity was present all along and just needed a little coaxing, or the powers are given us from a source far greater than our own, we finally comprehend the goal is within our grasp. It is attainable. And that potential pushes us to even greater levels than we first set for ourselves.
That’s it. Three easy steps, right?
We just have to set our minds to it. Learn all we can and then practice. Now that I’ve taught you the process, go and become the best you can be. And when you achieve far more than you expect, just remember where you learned the sage advice. There’s more where that came from. I’m in the process of practicing the steps myself.