It’s been an exciting week, but very stressful for many people.
One of my friends said, “Wow, this whole week felt like one long Monday.” So on Wednesday, I decided that the Word of the Day webinar should be fun.
We began by answering the question, “What color is success for you?”
Next, I asked the class to imagine an object that would represent success. Students chose a Ferrari, a vase of flowers, a movie premiere, or a TV series contract.
Then I explained that this object represented an award they would give themselves for an accomplishment. “What will we be getting this award for?” And that’s where the fun began.
One of my students chose red as her favorite color and a bouquet of red roses and a red vase as her object of success. And she was torn about whether or not she would win her award for her volunteer work or writing. I laughed and said, “Well, now you know exactly where you are. You’re at the crossroads of self or others. How can you devote yourself full-time to either? You value your volunteer work as highly as you do your writing. And there’s no judgment about that. But if you are going to be a professional writer, you’ll have to commit more time to your writing than your volunteer work.”
Most of us are torn between serving our own talent or serving others. The key is to recognize the conflict, which can be aided by utilizing the time management techniques in the Word of the Day Practice.
The next part of the exercise asked the students to imagine a verb that described each student’s physical feeling of being in a state of successfulness. Students chose verbs like striving, surfing, and driving. Then we brainstormed around those words to see where they would take us.
The goal of the exercise was to use the word cluster to generate a phrase that could be used like a mantra to block all thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism. A new kind of weapon to slay the dragons of the recurrent negative self-talk that most of us experience as writers. For example, one student’s mantra was “Do it already!”
The last part of the exercise was to write the phrase down and post it on a computer or make it the screensaver on a cellphone. Whenever students caught themselves thinking a negative thought, they repeated their personal phrases.
Here’s to your writing success,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz