In my experience, success starts with celebration. Which is why I suggested last week that if you want to make 2011 your best writing year yet, you should start with noticing and appreciating everything good in your writing life this year. If you haven’t taken this step yet, I hope you’ll do it now. Then, with the wind of self-appreciation in your sails, consider the following.
Dave Ellis, founder of Falling Awake and author of Becoming A Master Student, suggests that since we generally accomplish 25 percent of the goals we set, we should aim for Paradise x 4 in order to ultimately arrive at Paradise. I have found this to be one of the simplest and most effective strategies in my writing life. It gives me permission to dream bigger than what seems realistic. As a result, my experience of reality has expanded significantly as I’ve achieved the majority my Paradise x 4 goals. As such, I have come to believe that the inverse of “That which we resist, persists,” is “That which we name, we claim.” Try it, I think you’ll like it.
Aim High. Expect Low.
The questions below are designed to help you start painting your own Paradise x 4 picture. Remember to aim wildly, embarrassingly high. And keep in mind that you’re not expecting to get all the way to Paradise x 4—just to hold it in your sights as you appreciate where you are today and tomorrow. In other words, don’t let your ideas of what’s possible stop you from writing down your Big Dreams here.
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What do you intend for your experience to be each time you sit down to write? (Inspired? Energized? Meditative?)
How many hours do you intend to write every week? What would the ideal pattern/rhythm be?
What are you striving to accomplish?
- How much work do you want to produce each day/week/month?
- How will you know when a piece is finished?
- What are your intentions for finished work? (Do you want to publish it? Share it with friends? File it away?)
- What steps will you take to fulfill those intentions?
How do you define success, in any or all of the following:
- Publication—how many times/which pieces per year?
- Money—how much per month/year/decade do you intend to earn?
- Awards—What awards or contests would you like to win?
- Leadership opportunities—What/how many teaching or speaking gigs are you striving for this year?
- Freedom/flexibility/continued time to write?
What kind of writing community do you intend to create?
What is the ideal mix of time spent working (at a job)/sleeping/playing/with friends and family/writing?
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Take one last look at your answers to these questions. If there’s anything that sounds more like what you think you might be able to get, versus what you really WANT, please revise to include your true heart’s desire. Trust me on this one. The cosmic deck starts reshuffling somehow when we are precise as a pencil point about what we want to create and attract in our lives.
Keep in mind that your picture of Paradise x 4 will be continuously evolving. Throughout the year, you may have new ideas about what to expect from your writing life. Let your list be fluid as you clarify your vision and hone your aspirations along the way.
Discover anything fun, interesting or surprising as you created your Paradise x4 list? I’d love to hear about it.