Are you believing hard enough?

Sage CohenUncategorized3 Comments

Hello, and happy 2019!

It’s good to be with you on the fresh, unwritten page of a new year.

At this time when many of us are choosing or recommitting to habits, practices, or projects for our writing lives, I want to help you address a sneaky dynamic could have you spinning your wheels.

Here’s what happens.

Sometimes, our desires are in conflict with our stories about who we are. But the stories run so old and deep, we don’t even know they’re running the show. So they’re creating interference we can’t perceive—and therefore, can’t address.

For example, throughout all of 2018, I wanted to lose 25 pounds. I worked really hard at making it happen and didn’t accomplish much. It took me most of the year to figure out why: I believed I was safer being overweight (and therefore, in my mind, invisible).

In my writing life, as well, I have projects that matter deeply to me that never get traction for similar reasons: I feel safer being less exposed.

So here’s what I did, what I’m doing, and what I will do until my story about visibility has been rewired.

I listened many times to this podcast from Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School about what it means to believe hard.

Then, I set out to believe really hard what I know to be true: that I am safest at my optimal weight. Because a healthy, fit, well-fed body is truly at the least risk, right?

And I’ve been believing equally hard that I am safest when I write and publish the stories and poems that dig deeper than I’ve ever been willing to go. Because that is what I believe am here to do: tell and share the truth of my life in writing—and invite others to do the same.

I am believing myself all the way to the other side of my fear, to the person I will be when I am entirely willing to be visible. I am standing in the shoes of this visible-future-me. And I am exhilarating in her deepest, most authentic and vital life. So that when I get to that target weight and that terrifying publication, I am ready. I am already there. And these successes are simply catching up with where I knew I’d be all along.

I think of our desires, actions, and stories as strings on the sitar. One plucked string invites the others to sing. Believing hard is that string we commit to that calls the rest of us forth in fierce agreement about the way forward.

If there’s an area of your writing life where you’re stuck or struggling, see if there’s a story underneath in need of revision. It takes courage, practice, and some new skills to believe stories we’re not in the habit of believing.

You’re just the person for the job!

I’ll be sharing more about believing hard – and my other top strategies for writing and publishing fierce – at the Willamette Writers of Portland monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 8. (Note: NEW LOCATION!) I hope you’ll join me there – or at another event in Oregon or Washington this year.

What will you believe hard in 2019? I’d love to hear!

3 Comments on “Are you believing hard enough?”

  1. Thoughtful and inspiring as always, Sage! I’m believing hard this year in my writing, and that keeping writing at the top of my action plan will lead to greater things for me and my family.

    Please tel me more about the Willamette Writers of Vancouver; I’ve considered attending/joining WW but since I live and work in Vancouver, it’s a challenge. I checked the WW website after reading your newsletter, but I wasn’t able to find anything concrete.

    Thanks for sharing – I always feel that sharing my most important goals helps to keep me accountable and solidifies them as part of who I am. A skill I’m building, even as I write this!
    All the best for 2019,
    Susan

    1. So great to hear about your belief in your writing this year, Susan! The WW Vancouver chapter is brand new, and the January meeting is its first! You could come check it out to talk to the chapter leader and learn more about it? I, too, get so much out of being accountable to others as a way of following through for myself. Cheering you on, Sage

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