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Posts tagged ‘Toltec wisdom Dr. Phil’

Four agreements for writers, continued

In my last post I talked about a wonderful little book on personal growth called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. These four agreements you make with life can also make a difference to how you approach your writing. The first agreement was, be impeccable with your word(s). The second was, don't take anything personally. Now I'd like to look at the third and fourth agreements as they apply to writing.


#3 Don't make assumptions
Miguel Ruiz says the best way to avoid misunderstandings and drama is to ask question and be clear in expressing what you really want. As writers we can do the same. When we submit work to an editor and receive a rejection letter saying the work "doesn't meet their needs", we can quickly assume the editor doesn't like our writing, our subject matter or some other aspect, but is too polite to say so.  Instead we can take the letter at face value and perhaps submit again later, try a different editor, or ask a writing friend for feedback so we have more to go on.
Making assumptions is so common it feels normal. When a sales person snaps at us in a store, we quickly assume they don't like us. They may have been up all night with a sick child, feel off colour themselves, or been reprimanded by a superior before we got there. We don't have to assume their behaviour has anything to do with us. As TV's Dr. Phil says, we wouldn't worry so much over what others think of us, if only we knew how seldom they do.


#4 Always do your best
Doing your best doesn't mean turning in a gold-medal performance every time. It literally means doing the best work you can at a given time. When you feel stressed or unwell, your best will be less than when you're feeling great. As long as you know you've done the best job you can given all the circumstances, you have no need to be down on yourself. And since practice makes perfect, the more you "do" the better the overall result is likely to be. A book takes me many weeks to write so it's inevitable that the words will flow sometimes, and at others feel like I'm pulling teeth.  Strangely enough after I edit and polish the writing, even I can't tell which was which.
Applying these four agreements to your writing as well as your life isn't easy, but I've found it worthwhile. What do you think and do you have a favourite among the four? I'd love to hear what you think.


Valerie




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