(My blog revisited from October 2011)
A lifetime ago, it seems, I sold products for a kitchen ware company at home parties. During one of the training sessions a woman said something that stuck with me forever. I took that advice and applied it to my life from that day forward. If you say it's so...then it shall be. Now I've taken liberty with that saying a bit, but what she said was this. "If you want to be a director, then call yourself a director." Hmmm. That made sense. If you put your thoughts into place you'd eventually be so comfortable you'd be there.
So I set forth to be a director in this company. I thought like one. I acted like one. I worked like one. And...I became a future director. Okay, so I missed the mark before I moved on to something else, but it worked. I thought like a director and I felt like I was on the right track.
Take that same mentality to my martial arts training. From the moment you step on that floor with a white belt tied around your waist you're instructed to act like a black belt. If a black belt kicks above the belt, then you need to work at your kicks until you can kick like a black belt. A black belt has discipline, courtesy, integrity, self worth, and the list goes on. They list for you all the good qualities that had you signing up to begin with. With every belt you think more and more like a black belt. And one day, you receive your black belt and you realize all along you've been a black belt, because you thought like one.
Now, I'm a writer. (Yes... a writer with a 2nd degree black belt!)
So to be a writer I must act like one. I must take seriously the time that it takes to put together a book. I must name it. Carefully construct it. I must love it. But above all I must realize that a writer would not argue that they are wasting their time. An author would say they are working.
I had gotten that part down very well. I'd been writing since I was 12. I got my first request at 16. But until I boarded that plane for San Francisco to attend my first RWA conference, I'd only been dreaming about being a writer. Until I actually walked the walk among authors, some big, some not. I hadn't truly convinced myself that I was in fact a writer. But something happens to you when you sit in a room with Nora Roberts. When Debbie Macomber walks across the room and introduces yourself to you and shakes your hand, you're IN! When you're walking down the hall and taking pictures of the line at the signing (which the you eventually get to take part in) and a woman laughs and joins you. You walk down the hall and she introduces herself and says, " I'm Christina Dodd" you think, this is for real! I am an author! And in my head I no longer waste my time writing. This is my career. I am a writer.
You would have thought it ended there...nope! There's always more.
Now I'm a publisher! I'm out of my element and people have decided to join me. I have 26 authors, besides myself, who depend on me. I have 6 editors who are anxiously awaiting the next great book to edit and the next author to help prepare for stardom. I have a deadline calendar. I have a daily ToDo list. I have a bank account. And I have a company name. All of this is because I thought I was a publisher and I made it so. Some things come easier. This decision to be a publisher was easy. The process of learning continues, but I'm excited. When I wake up and get dressed I think, "if I were at conference how would I dress as a publisher?" And I act on that. Because I want to be successful with it, I take it very seriously.
So, what's next? What shall I say so that it will become? My karate master gave me the answer the oneday. He said, "When can I start telling people I promoted a New York Times Bestselling Author to black belt?" and I smiled and said, "Say it now. Because if you say so... then it shall be."
What do you want in your life? Start putting yourself there and it will come.
Bernadette Marie is an Internationally Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance as well as a mother of 5, and owner of 5 Prince Publishing and Illumination Author Events. Read her full bio here.