Perception is Reality
Two people can experience the same event and walk away with completely different opinions of what they just shared. If you don’t believe me, then take your spouse to a Hugh Grant movie. One of you will love it and the other won’t. And while you both may be moved to tears during the movie, I can assure you it will be for different reasons. Please note that I have nothing against Hugh Grant or his movies. It was just an example, so save the hate mail.
On second thought send the hate mail. It’s been a hectic week and I could use a laugh. The point I’m trying to make is that we all perceive things differently. This is important to remember if you are a new writer or happen to find yourself watching a Hugh Grant movie.
Your perception is your reality. To change that reality you must first change the perception. Wow, that almost sounded profound. But how does it relate to you, the aspiring writer? Good question, and I’m glad you asked.
As an author in training there will be dozens of pitfalls that will keep you from following your dream of writing. Many of these obstacles are a matter of perception. Let me share some examples.
One of the most debilitating things for a new writer is fear. Whether it’s the fear of rejection, failure, or just putting yourself out there in front of strangers, it can stop you before you even get started.
My biggest fear was centered around the mechanics and technical aspects of writing. Just because I know the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”, or “then” and “than”, does not mean I’m qualified to write a book. The perception that I was not skilled in the craft held me back for many years. This was my reality. In order to change that reality I first had to change my perception.
Who gives a crap if I’ve had no formal training or experience as a fiction writer? Everyone had to start somewhere. And while it’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a classroom and listened to a teacher talk about proper grammar, punctuation and syntax, that doesn’t preclude me from learning it all over again. Yes, I still have a long way to go, but I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me I can’t do something, including myself. My perception went from being an aspiring author to an author in training.
This is a roadblock that most people can relate to. How many of us have too many hours in the day? Writers need time to write. The lack of time is probably an excuse that a few of you have used at some point, and it’s kept you from starting on the novel you’ve dreamed of writing. Again, it a perception issue. At least it was in my case.
To say that I stay busy would be an understatement. Sure, there might be an hour or two in the day that I could squeeze in some writing time, but that was never really enough. Some days were just too busy. When I did manage to find some time, I made the mistake of editing what I wrote previously. There were weeks where I managed to write a thousand words only to scratch them out and write it over. Inevitably my dream would come to a screeching halt.
The perception was that I didn’t have the kind of time it would take to complete a novel. For awhile it seemed that I would need to quit or retire in order to chase this writing dream.
My job requires travel; the majority of which is by car. Each week I spend anywhere between three and twelve hours driving from one location to the next. Last year during one of these road trips I had an epiphany. Why couldn’t I work on the novel while I drove around? From that point on I started finding little breaks in the day to concentrate on writing. You can write anywhere, even when you’re not writing. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true.
Once my perception changed about the time I had available to write, the priorities in my life changed as well. Yes, it’s still a struggle. There are days that I don’t get to sit in front of the computer, but I’m writing nonetheless. If you think that you don’t have time then change your perception or change your priorities. You will make time for writing if this is what you really want to do.
If you find that your current reality is not letting you follow your dreams, then change it. Often this is just a matter of how you perceive things to be. An attitude adjustment can go a long way towards achieving your goals.
Although, if you happen to find yourself sitting in a movie theater with the prospect of watching Hugh Grant bumble around for two hours, there’s not much you can do to change your perception. Just suck it up and face the fact that your reality bites for the moment.
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