It’s 2015 — Believe Anything Can Happen in Your Writing Life

(The column excerpted from WRITE AWAY: A YEAR OF
MUSINGS AND MOTIVATION FOR WRITERS)

6 IMPOSSIBLE THINGS (by Jenny)

It’s the New Year, and the blogosphere is teeming with resolutions. Last year, so much—well, let’s call it “debris”—hit the fan that we’re all ready for a clean, fresh start. And I think this national January pastime of resolution-making is particularly compelling for writers. Starting a new project, completing an old one, editing, querying, classes, conferences—we have no shortage of goal-worthy pursuits.

I usually make resolutions. This year, however, I’m trying something different, inspired by Tim Burton’s reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. Early in the movie, when Alice remarks to her stick-in-the-mud potential fiancé that she wonders what it would be like to fly, he asks her why she would spend time thinking of such an impossible thing. She can’t imagine why she wouldn’t and tells him that her late father sometimes believed in six impossible things even before breakfast.

Near the end of the movie, as Alice battles the ferocious Jabberwocky, she gathers her courage by reminding herself to believe in six impossible things. “One: there’s a potion that can make you shrink. Two: and a cake that can make you grow. Three: animals can talk. Four: cats can disappear. Five: there’s a place called Wonderland. Six: I can slay the Jabberwocky.”

She does slay the beast. Then she returns to tell the dull Seamus that she won’t marry him. Instead, she embarks on an exciting new business adventure with her father’s friend. Inspired by Alice’s moxie, I’ve decided that instead of making resolutions this year, I will believe in six impossible things every day before breakfast. For example:

1. Chocolate can make me thin
2. I can win a million dollars just by using my Discover Card
3. My kitchen can stay clean for longer than five minutes
4. I can master time management
5. With the right shampoo, my hair can look like Jennifer Aniston’s
6. I can vanquish the dreaded slush pile like my own personal Jabberwocky.

My rational mind knows that the odds of these things happening might not be in my favor—and probably a kajillion-to-one for #2—but there’s something very liberating about giving myself permission to be open to the idea that anything can happen. As Alice’s father says, “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible.” What impossible things will you believe in this year?

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Kerrie Flanagan is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers, an accomplished freelance writer, author and publisher. Her articles have appeared in the 2015 Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market, as well as the past four Writer’s Markets,Writer’s Digest and The Writer. She is the author of three books and the founder of Hot Chocolate Press. Jenny Sundstedt is a member of Northern Colorado Writers (NCW) and serves on the creative team for the annual NCW Writer’s Conference. She writes long and short fiction, essays, overly ambitious to-do lists, and since 2010, has been a regular contributor to the NCW blog, The Writing Bug. Their book, WRITE AWAY, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Nook and Kobo. The book combines monthly insightful and humorous stories with tips, tools and interactions that encourage writers to reflect on where they are and where they want to be. Here are two essays from the book for you to enjoy.

MOVING BEYOND WANT (by Kerrie)

Those who become successful writers are not always the most talented ones, but they are always the ones who did not give up. They pushed through the tough times, they passed those who dropped out, and they made the decision to cross the finish line.

Someone told me that what you want becomes irrelevant without a decision. This is so true when it comes to writing. I come across people all the time who say they want to be writers. They talk about all the things they want to write, or all the novels they want to finish. But they never do anything about it.

There are so many things I want. I want to spend a year in Alaska, I want to see the Northern Lights, I want to attend the Book Expo of America, I want to publish a short story… Are all of these things possible for me? Of course they are. I just need to make a decision to stop wanting and to start doing.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen created the Chicken Soup for the Soul empire. This would not have happened if they hadn’t decided to publish the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. They also decided that NOT publishing it was NOT an option. So, they persevered. They didn’t quit after 20, 50, 100 publishers said no. When someone said “no,” Jack and Mark would say, “next.” After 123 rejections, Heath Communications gave them the yes they had been waiting for. They have now sold over 100 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Is this the year you will move beyond wanting to write and make the decision to actually be a writer? Are you willing to do what it takes to finish that novel, write that article, start that blog, or find an agent? Are you ready to invest time in your writing, have confidence in your abilities, and push through to the finish line? If so, this is going to be a great year for you.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

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