"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Friday, March 29, 2013

Deserving Our Writing Dreams* Guest Post by: Noelle Sterne

Many of us dream of and fantasize success in our most passionate pursuits—writing for me, runway fashion designer for my cousin, chess master for her son, Yankees’ shortstop for her other son. Every musician dreams of rock (or Philharmonic) stardom. Every actor dreams of lead roles and Oscars. Every writer dreams of bestsellers, big money, movie adaptations, major TV appearances, and induction into the Kindle Million Club.

How do we help ensure we make it? Yes, we must work enough, persist enough, and pursue enough. But we must also feel we deserve our Dream.

Do You Feel You Deserve Your Dream?

If you feel you don’t deserve your writing Dream, no matter how much time and sweat you put in, how many agents and publishers you know, or how many “lucky” breaks you have, you’ll torpedo yourself. Spiritual and life counselor Louise Hay in The Power Is Within You says, “When we have strong beliefs that we don’t deserve, we have problems doing what we want.”

I felt undeserving of writing success for a long time, despite churning out pieces, queries, and pitches. Finally I recognized some of the negatives that kept me gridlocked.

Apply to you?

· Do you feel a vague sense of guilt when you’re writing what you really want to?
· When you’ve just settled down to write, do you suddenly remember you absolutely must go get the car washed?
· When you’ve marked out the whole afternoon for writing, are you gripped by waves of nausea, headaches, dizziness?
Your shifty unconscious has just dispatched the guilt gestapo to subvert your creativity and stifle your Dream.

Unfortunately, our culture keeps this squad on active duty, especially for women. Single or married career women feel we must make our marks. Mothers take the raggedy heel of the bread, serve everyone else the perfect wedges of pie, and scrape the dregs for themselves. Wives put off their Dreams until their husbands establish their careers, children are grown, elderly parents are cared for, and church members are served their last supper.

Beginning to Reverse

To reverse your Dream-draining thoughts and actions, you don’t need twenty years of therapy. Only realize you have the power to change. Refuse to let the self-denial and guilt gang in, no matter how much they’re pounding on the door and pummeling the windows.

Despite a successful career in journalism, Elizabeth Gilbert admits in Eat Pray Love finally that she dared ask herself what she really wanted. Her answers ranged from a new linen shirt to living in Italy. But you don’t have to go on a shopping binge, relocate to exotic climes, or even leave your house. Instead, practice deserving with relatively small things.

Choose the better piece of toast or neater piece of cake, get tickets to the playoffs, order a mile-high pastrami sandwich and don’t share it, give yourself a daily bottle of imported beer, get a massage, buy that slinky pair of jeans (not your grandmother’s overalls). You’ll soon graduate to giving yourself the time, energy, and focus to pursue your Dream.

Dare to Deserve

If you’re questioning your deservingness, no need. Your desire to follow your passion signals that you unequivocally deserve your Dream. Otherwise you wouldn’t desire it at all.

To focus on deserving, though, may mean giving up certain things you may have hung onto for years. Give up thinking about your face (wrinkled), your feet (bony), your stomach (too big), your house (unclean), your garage (a disaster area), your desk (piled high), your finances (lacking), your work (chronically behind), your mate (chronically annoying), your status quo (too soothing), your future (too scarily unknown).

Instead, know your Dream isn’t flighty, stupid, ridiculous, impossible, but meant to be. Creativity counselor Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way reminds us, “Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source.”

Get to Deservingness

How do we rise above those oozing negative thoughts? The principles, ancient and lately rediscovered by many spiritual teachers, are explained in Success Cybernetics by metaphysical teacher U. S. Andersen:
1. We are what we concentrate on.
2. What we concentrate on grows.
3. What we concentrate on becomes real.
4. We always find what we concentrate on.  
“The greatest danger in your life lies in dwelling on failure,” says Andersen. The greatest reward lies in thinking success.”

So, concentrate on what your Dream looks and feels like. When you do, you’ll make it more powerful by visualizing it in actuality now. How delicious does it feel to see yourself ensconced in your favorite spot writing what’s in your heart?

If you need a little help to reach this mind- and feeling-state, picture yourself in a field during a spring shower. Stand face skyward, arms open, the gentle drops alighting on your skin. Each drop is a positive, effortless thought. Are you straining? Trying? Not likely. All you have to do is stand there, enjoy, take in, accept.

Despite unmade beds, unwashed cars, unweeded gardens, unanswered emails, you do deserve your writing Dream. Just keep envisioning it, feeling how it feels to write, and letting yourself take the steps. One day, in the midst of a fantastic creative session, you’ll realize you don’t have to work at deserving your Dream. You’ll know it’s here.
Thoughts? Ever feel undeserving?

Noelle’s column “Bloom Where You’re Writing” appears in Coffeehouse for Writers. In her book Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), Noelle guides readers to let go of regrets, relabel their past, and reach their Dreams and lifelong yearnings. Please visit www.trustyourlifenow.com


  1. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 29, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    A special thanks to Noelle for this great post in honor of Women's History Month. It speaks to issues that many writers experience.
    I hope you'll join me, Pen & Prosper readers, in providing feedback on this timely topic...

  2. This is a great WHM topic! It's interesting, I was just thinking this morning about what I really WANT to write. Projects and regular commitments press in and clutter my desk, and I know I must be proactive to pursue the kind of writing I really want to do.

    Thanks for the tips and encouragement, Noelle! Thanks, as always, Jen, for being a gracious hostess.

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

    1. Noelle and I appreciate your thoughts and your visit today, Karen.

  3. Jen--An honor and pleasure. And thank you.

    Karen--I am moved by your honesty. It is always wonderful to hear that the words help others. In different costumes (or hairstyles), we all have the same issues.

  4. Wonderful post, and so true. It's wonderful to see so many people working towards fulfilling their dreams and letting ourselves let go of the "but is it practical" mantra that we learned when we were children.

  5. Celeste,

    How lovely to hear from you today on this. A paradigm shift is often what is needed. Thanks for chiming in. :-)

  6. Thank you, Celeste. The more we raise our voices against the previously unquestioned conventions, the less guilt we'll all have and the freer we'll be to be us.

  7. This was so refreshing! Wonderful things have started to come into my life (awesome new job, successful Kickstarter, amazing new friends), and I STILL have to struggle to keep the guilt-monster at bay. Articles like this help to refocus my thoughts. Thank you :)

  8. Emma,

    Great for you! I hope 2013 finds you super-focused and successful in your creative goals moving forward. Best wishes.
    I appreciate the input here.

  9. Emma--

    I am truly grateful for your comments and especially your fruition on so many levels. The guilt-monster has only as much power as we choose to give it. The more we follow our heartfelt dreams, the more the Universe responds (some say It's waiting impatiently for us). And thank you for posting this post on your site!

    1. I'm grateful for your article! I wish that heartfelt dreams were always easy to identify and follow :)

    2. Negative Thoughts can be very helpful for when you want to identify heartfelt dreams.

  10. Emma--

    Just keep at it! Your inner self will continue to make it easier. Very Best, Noelle

  11. Noelle:

    Nice to see you again and read another one of your pieces. This was inspirational. As for me, I know what my dream is generally and I do feel I deserve to pursue it. However, I feel conflicted as to the timing of what I want and what I can realistically do, given other important obligations. Luckily, I carve out time when I can to push forward, while balancing my other obligations. I have my eye on the ball, but can't swing at it with all my might quite yet!

    Thanks for your piece!

    Jen, thanks for hosting Noelle. I'm a fan of you both.

    Best to you both...

  12. Janette--Another thank you! Balancing our greatest desires and necessaries is always a challenge. I have found that when I "listen" inside, the sequence evolves. And it usually reveals a writing-related stint first. Then I do the necessities with more grace(!) Best to you, Noelle