Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Not An Option

Harlequin Historical Author Michelle Styles Explains How to Own Your Dreams

Before I became serious about my writing, I often wondered how people found the time. However, once I became serious, writing became a requirement, rather than an optional exercise. I knew I had to get things completed. It is a habit. Twitchiness sets in if I don't write. I stopped listening to that little voice that told me to stop or that there were other more interesting things to do. I did it for me, because it was a dream to be a published author. I carved out the time. My dream became more than adream. It became a priority. I get the words done. I consider the story, rather than day dreaming about what it would be like to be a writer.  I also take the risk and send it to my editor for her thoughts and when I get those back, I make the story better.
The same is now true about me and exercise. Before this year, finding any time to exercise was like pulling teeth. I kept listening to that little voice that said told me I couldn't. In January I stopping listening and started exercising and increased that in August when I started the Tracy Anderson Method. Along the way I have discovered that I can exercise and it does feel good. Exercising has become a Required Activity, rather than an optional one. it means I move the rug and get up a half early to fit it in. I wash my kit every day and lay out so it is ready and waiting when I get up in the morning.
Earlier this week, I read The Secrets of A Former Fat Girl by Lisa Collins where she explained about the Not An Option mantra and how she used it to get her bottom around the track over 20 years ago and has stayed fit since then. Reading her words made me realised how many times I have used this. It is not an option to miss my deadline. It is not an option not to write. It is not an option to whimp out of exercising. You get the idea.
Not An Option means that you do things and you set yourself rules. You start by choosing you rather than anyone else. I suffer from people pleasing and volunteering mania. It is very hard for me to say no as I hate disappointing people. But sometimes saying no is the ONLY option as you do have to choose yourself. No one will look after you better than you can. No one will pursue that dream for you. You have to own your dreams and that means working hard towards those dreams.
Success tastes far sweeter when you have drunk heavily from failure. You can't avoid failure and humliation if you take risks but if you fail forward, you are little further on the path towards your dream. So take a look at the list of resolutions that you gave yourself at New Year's. What were optional dreams and which were required ones? What have you done lately to make sure that the excuses are no longer valid and following that dream becomes a requirement? Once something becomes a requirement, it is amazing how your time expands and how you find a way around obstacles.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. her most recent novel, To Marry A Matchmaker  appeared in the UK in July 2011 and Australia in September 2011. Her next novel will be out in August 2012. You can read more about Michelle's books on

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for an excellent post. I have printed it out and stuck it above my computer as a reminder that yes, I need to write, and yes, it is OK to just say no when asked to do something because yes, I am the only one who can realise my dreams. Thank you!