Life is full of distractions. There are always things vying for your attention, and this only gets more true the further you go. The more successful you are, the more opportunities you’ll have.
This seems backward. It seems like it would be better if, when you weren’t yet successful, you had more opportunities. But that’s not how life works. The better someone is at something, the more opportunities they will get to do that thing.
Why is this important, and what does it have to do with writing? Well, writing is no different. The more you write, and the further along in your author career you get, the more opportunities are going to pop up, and these opportunities are going to get better and better. The further along you are in your author career, the more interesting the projects get, and the more rewarding they become as well.
Opportunities exist at every level. Sometimes we mistakenly believe that when we’re a new writer, we won’t be able to get opportunities at all. That’s not true. It’s just that the opportunities are different. For instance, maybe you’re a new writer, and you decide you want to submit a short story to a magazine. You can go on their website, look up their submission process, and submit your short story. That’s an opportunity. And your short story might get picked and might be published in the magazine. But as you get further in your career, maybe that same magazine comes to you and asks you for a featured story. When you’re just starting out, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be able to get into that magazine. But when you’re further along in your career and you’re asked for a feature, well, that’s a guarantee that you’re going to be pasted front and center in that issue.
The question is, is it a good idea to write that short story? There’s a lot of wisdom and discernment needed in understanding what opportunities are good and what opportunities are not. This is where the power of saying no really comes into focus.
The best ideas and the biggest accomplishments take time and effort. More importantly, effort over time.
You might think of it this way. Every decision that you make in your life is a path. Any time you spend effort and time on that decision, you’re walking down that path. If we were to look at a map of the average person’s life, you would find that it looks a lot like the spokes of a wheel with millions of short paths pointing in all different directions. That’s because as they have spent their time and energy on different decisions, they’ve only gotten a few steps into the path before diverting their attention.
If, on the other hand, you look at a map of someone who is highly accomplished, you’ll find that they also have many short spokes, but they’ll have far fewer and they’ll have one or maybe even a few really long spokes. These long spokes are places and decisions where they have put a lot of time and energy.
We know that time is a finite resource. You have from the moment you’re born until the moment you die, and that’s it, plus, time continues marching on whether we like it or not. Every moment that passes is a moment we’re never going to get back, so every time you make a decision and you spend time and energy walking down that path, you’re not walking down a different path. All of this boils down to a really simple principle.
If you have already chosen a path, spend your time there.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to be a writer, spend your time there. Walk down that path and get as far down it as you possibly can. Doing so will require that habit that we talked about earlier this week, saying no to all of the small things that surround us so that we can say yes to the big ones.
The further you proceed down your chosen path, the shinier the distractions are going to be. The more tempting it will be to spend your time and energy on a different path, to do something interesting and cool. Don’t get distracted by all of the things around you. Say no and keep choosing to put your time and energy into what you’ve already chosen.
YouTube Video Link: https://youtu.be/SwpL-CfJUXc
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