The Renegade Writer

Faith and Focus

Today’s blog post is by Monica Bhide, who teaches Introduction to Food Writing, which starts on March 2.

A year ago, I started a vision board. You have heard of these things, right? A board where you post your goals, your dreams, your hopes. You put the board up where you can see it each day and then, the idea is, that the Universe helps you achieve your dreams by helping you focus on your efforts on your highly visible and visual goals.

Initially, nothing happened with my vision board. I would post a lot of stuff on it and then try to work towards the goals, but it never resulted in anything. An example – I posted the picture of one of my dream magazines and wrote under it — “By Monica Bhide” — implying, of course, that I wanted a byline in the magazine. I faithfully sent out queries to several editors at the magazine and gained a respectable email pile of rejections. I began losing faith. I noticed this was happening in most all the areas on the vision board.

Why?

What was I not doing right? I began to read up about vision boards and goals and tried desperately to find out what it is that I was doing wrong. I had the goals, I was working towards them so why was I not achieving anything other than aggravation and frustration?

Sometimes the answer is so simple. Oprah has “Aha” moments in her magazine, I had a “Duh” moment and realized what had happened.

I had NO faith, none at all that any of the goals that I had set for myself were achievable. I re-read some of the queries I had sent — they sounded more like apologies than like actual notes from a seasoned writer. I have to tell you, it was eye-opening.

To achieve a goal that you set for yourself, you must believe that you can do it. If you don’t believe in yourself, not only will you not achieve the goal, no one else will believe in you either. Wasn’t it Ford who said something to the effect of – “If you think you can or you think you cant, you are right.”

It was a simple mindshift and it has truly rewarded me well. 2009 is now the year of not only focus, but faith and focus, for I have discovered that one cannot work without the other. I have managed to crack my dream publication and will post the article here when it appears. I have faith that it will show up soon!

Feb 16, 2009 Advice, Observations, Self improvement

10 Responses

  1. Joely Black says:

    This is just what I needed to read this morning. It is definitely all about faith and the belief that you can do it, whatever it is.

  2. great article and yes vision boards are a great tool for self discovery….here is another suggestion and that is vision map videos….they are for your eyes only and can be watched on youtube, your computer and any of your other electronic devises….keep up the good work….it only works if you work it… :)

    darlene
    http://visionmapvideo.blogspot.com/

  3. Kristen Kirk says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, Monica.

  4. You are right. Just saying isn’t enough until you believe it too.

  5. Elaine Grant says:

    This is a great post, Monica. I’m in my fourth session of teaching Magazine Writing Basics, and virtually all of my students have shared one unfortunate thing in common: fear. For some reason, fear shows up for most writers, whether beginning or advanced, as you’ve hinted at. The antidote IS faith — easier to achieve at some times than others. We have to believe that success (in our case, at writing) is not something “other people” get to have; it’s available to all of us. I’ve learned that along with teaching the mechanics of how magazines work and the practices of good journalism, that I have to help students deal with fear. It may be the hardest part of the course — and the most important one! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Elaine

  6. “Faith and Focus” shares a powerful message, Monica.

  7. Monica Bhide says:

    Thanks for all the great comments you all. I think it is something to print and stick on your laptop where you see it all the time. It helps me to realize when I am straying and come back and focus on what I am doing – to do it well.

  8. Sara Aase says:

    I have been wanting something like this to stick in front of my face, even though I didn’t know it was called a visioning board! I’m glad you were able to have the mind shift. Definitely the toughest part. It is always eye opening to realize that writers you view as extremely accomplished have the same mental hangups. It would probably be helpful as a querying exercise to visualize ourselves as other see us.I’d love to see an actual picture of your board! Not so close up that we can see all your goals and dreams if you’d rather keep those details to yourself, but seeing the form/structure and materials you used. Thanks for a great post, Monica.

  9. MonicaBhide says:

    Sara – There are several parts to my board – personal, professional, spiritual, financial, and community. For each area, I have posted pictures and written notes that are my goals in each place. And under it all it says “under grace and in perfect ways” — asking God to grant these if they are indeed my destiny.

    Hope that helps.

  10. mimi says:

    When you are a freelance writer sometimes the thing that is holding you back is yourself — your lack of confidence. I teach an undergraduate journalism class and I am always pushing my kids to try to publish their work in any number of local outlets. Most of them are nervous and scared to try. I tell them about my query rejections in the hopes that they can see it happens to everyone. I also tell them that the media business is not polite. It wont wait around for them and it wont give them chances. Knowing how to sell yourself and your ideas is SO important.

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