The Renegade Writer

7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking

By Karen Cioffi

Can you think your way to writing success?

Yes! Let’s take a look at a perfect example: Chicken Soup for the Soul. It took the authors 144 attempts to land a publisher.

One hundred and forty-four submissions. What if they gave up after 25, 50, or 100 rejections?

Co-authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen had a positive mindset and clear vision. They had focus and determination. They knew exactly what they wanted – for Chicken Soup for the Soul to be a New York Times best seller. In fact, according to Canfield, the number one reason for being stuck and not realizing your potential or goals is the lack of clarity.

Canfield and Hansen fulfilled their dream with positive thinking, clarity, and perseverance.

Whether you call it positive thinking, a positive attitude, or a winning mindset, it’s the strategy of having a dream, creating a plan, projecting the positive results of that plan, and taking the necessary actions to accomplish your writing goal.

Part of positive thinking is the importance of determining your true motivation. In other words, what is your purpose? Why do you want to succeed? And, what do you want to succeed at?

All this matters.

You need to know and be focused on what you want, what success means to you, and exactly what you want to succeed at. You also need to know your motivation, your purpose. Do you want to:

  • Write and market as a hobby or just pass the time?
  • Earn a supplemental income to be able to buy the extras you can’t afford now?
  • Make a full-time living at writing and marketing – be able to support yourself?
  • Become rich?
  • Become successful in the writing and marketing world?
  • Become a famous author?

Will becoming a New York Times bestselling author be your pinnacle? Or, is your heart set on becoming a multi-millionaire, or a billionaire? Maybe you simply want to be a career author, getting contracts for your work on a regular basis. What about a freelance writer who works regularly? Only you know what success means to you.

This strategy of a positive mindset and positive projection is nothing new. In 1953, Norman Vincent Peale made the psychological term ‘think positive’ popular via his book, The Power of Positive Thinking. And in 1958, Napoleon Hill, using Andrew Carnegie as inspiration, wrote Think and Grow Rich.

Now it’s referred to as the scientific realm of positive psychology, and more and more people are being made aware of the positive mindset strategy — especially through sources such as The Secret. Adding to this, super successful people like Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Louise L. Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Tony Robbins enthusiastically proclaim the benefits.

Harnessing this ‘mind power’ can lead to writing success, better health, wealth, and even happiness. This is the premise behind the strategy and many believe it really works.

So, what does it take to create and nurture positive thinking?

Hill wrote, “All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.”

Seven Steps to Writing and Online Marketing Success

  1. 1. Answer the questions raised earlier. What do you want to succeed at and why? Take time and think carefully about these questions. Determine exactly what success is to you. Imagine it and see it clearly.
  2. 2. Put your vision into words and other visuals. Write it out in detail and make it readily visible. Read it every day . . . envision it every day. Canfield and Hansen put projection notes all over the place, even in the bathroom. This is a visualization technique and you can also use images or objects to help with your projection.
  3. 3. Create a realistic writing and marketing plan. Again, you will need to make it detailed. List the steps needed to go from point A to point B? TIP: Include learning the ropes as part of your plan. Even if you’re already a pro, there’s always more to learn. Learn the craft of writing and learn and test marketing strategies to find those that will work for you.
  4. 4. Give yourself a timeline. Don’t leave your success plan open-ended. State when you will achieve the success you want. It may be six months, it may be a year — just be sure to be realistic. Make it doable. This will help keep you on track.
  5. 5. Don’t just talk the talk. You must walk the walk. This means do the work. Take the action steps necessary to attain your objective. Go into it realistically, knowing it will take time and effort.
  6. 6. Keep positive. No matter how positive you are, there will be times when negativity rears its head. Simply stop it in its tracks. One technique is to recognize negative thoughts when they come. Suppose you’re taking all the right steps, but you just can’t seem to make it all work. You begin to doubt your ability. Take note of those thoughts and actually replace them with the vision of attaining your goal. Talking to friend, peer, or coach is another strategy to help you get back the ‘right’ mindset. You can also repeat simple positive affirmations such as “I am a successful writer; I am a successful marketer; my efforts are successful.” Come up with ones you feel comfortable with and are appropriate for you.
  7. 7. Keep focused and persevere. To help keep focused, prepare weekly writing and marketing plans and read them every morning, then actually act on them. It’s hard to lose focus if you keep your objective front and center. A coach or mentor can help in this area also. And in regard to perseverance, Norman Vincent Peale said, “It’s always too soon to quit.”

Nothing in life is guaranteed to go smoothly, so expect the unexpected. Know where you’re heading, envision where you want to be, and ride through any obstacles that may come your way.

What are your thoughts on the power of positive thinking to boost your freelance writing career?

Karen Cioffi is a multi-award-winning author, freelance/ghostwriter, editor, and online marketer. For more writing and marketing tips, go to her site and sign up for her free newsletter, The Writing World.

Jan 28, 2013 Advice, Motivation

59 Responses

  1. Mary Meyer says:

    As I have been healing from a brain injury for the last two years, I’ve studied the effect of positive thinking on mind and body. For most of my life, I thought that the practice was in conflict with my Christian faith. Then I read the book, “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Caroline Leaf, M.D., who demonstrates that God designed the brain to react differently to positive and negative thoughts. There are very real changes that happen in the brain (and subsequently the mind and body)with both kinds of thinking. Even thinking something like, “I’m not going to be defeated today” is considered by your brain to be negative because it grabs hold of the word “defeated”. I’ve since focused on very empowering thoughts and it has made a tangible difference in cognition, mood and motivation. Kudos for addressing this topic Linda, and thanks for everything you do for other freelancers!

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Mary, I agree that positive thinking and projection is not in conflict with the bible. “Faith without works is dead.” And, I’ve read the same information about the importance of wording your affirmations to be positive. Words such as not, try, will not, and so on, are considered negative and your brain perceives them as negative.

      It’s inspirational that your positive strategies are helping you in many ways.

  2. Gwynneth says:

    This has got to be one of the most inspiring posts I’ve read on this blog. I try to do several of these steps but your detailing made me realize I’m missing a few things. Guess I need to overhaul those 2013 goals. :)

    PS – I just gotta link to this on my blog.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Gwynneth,

      I’m so glad the post has been informative and helpful. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of positive thinking. It can be tough at times, but worth the effort. :)

      Thanks for linking to this post!

  3. [...] rest of the steps on this fabulous post is here. Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestTumblrGoogle +1StumbleUponMoreRedditDiggEmailLike this:LikeBe [...]

  4. Karen, good post. Wow — 144 tries. That’s really impressive.

  5. I’m so glad I found this here. Karen is the trusted leader of an online marketing group I belong to and I think it’s important that online visitors understand who the really knowledgeable people are on line. I hope Renegage Writer has her back. I know for certain she has a whole lot more good stuff to share! (-:

    Best,

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner.

  6. Anne Duguid says:

    Karen, I always try to read everything you write and this is a must-save article to keep me on track on the grey days.
    The emphasis on realistic is so important and I realized through this to focus on what I really really want (lol). Time to tighten up those goals to make them achievable this year…
    Annie

  7. This is really lovely advice. Having a positive outlook can make such a huge difference. Thanks!

  8. What a well laid-out and inspirational post, Karen. You’ve shown us that we need to get serious and be accountable to ourselves in order to see the success or progress we are seeking. I think too often we long for success (or something else) and are reluctant to do the hard work to get there. It’s easy to be discouraged, but as you pointed out to us, it may take many rejections or setbacks before we’re merrily on our way.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Doreen, you’re absolutely right. Often we want ‘it,’ but don’t have the motivation or drive to do what it takes to get it. Another obstacle is not knowing what’s involved in achieving a goal – that’s where guidance, mentoring, and coaching comes in handy.

  9. [...] Renegade Writer’s Karen Cioffi writes about positive thinking and freelance writing. Writers need to figure out their true motivation and purpose, whether it means that writing is a [...]

  10. I noticed a few years ago that I had a lot of self-defeating thoughts and habits. So over the years, I’ve diligently worked to reprogram my thinking.

    I like the advice in #2 to keep your goals front and center. I read my overall vision and my specific goals every morning. But now I think I might print out a few posters to put in strategic places around my apartment and even in my car!

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Sarah, what a huge accomplishment to recognize that negative thoughts needed to be changed and actually took action to work towards that end.

      When I read that Canfield and Hansen put visual reminders everywhere I was motivated. Printing out posters to put around your home and car is a great idea!

  11. Excellent post, Karen. You are so right about the power of positive thinking coupled with purposeful action. It has helped me in many endeavors.

  12. Thanks for sharing these excellent reminders, Karen. They’re definitely a big factor in determining a person’s success. Best wishes, Ev

  13. Karen, this is a perfect article for any new freelance writer to read. Many of us have dreams but don’t know how to implement those dreams through asking the necessary questions in order to create a plan.

    Once I was helped with this, I found myself moving forward!

    The next step was a positive attitude and perseverance.

    Inspiring article!

    Kathy

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Kathleen, this is so true. A writer needs to know what action steps are needed to move forward with her goals. Without this knowledge having a positive attitude won’t have the same benefits.

      Belonging to writing groups, or finding a qualified mentor or coach are good ways to learn those steps. Once that’s in place, watch out!

      Glad you found the help you needed to move forward!

  14. Bonnie Hinman says:

    Karen, You’ve written just the post I needed to read today. I’m in the midst of reworking several of the areas mentioned. You helped me remember that I was planning to make some kind of a goals collage, commonly called a vision board. I have made them a couple of times before when I took a class. At the time I thought it was kind of silly but both boards now hang in my bathroom and I look at them daily. I think I’ll incorporate goals and timeline and maybe schedule. Thanks for the great post.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Bonnie, I’m so glad this post was timely for you. Yes, vision boards are an excellent visual to project your goals. I haven’t put positive projection visuals in my bathroom yet, but it’s on my list of to dos. :)

  15. Fantastic post, Karen. I agree with you that positive thinking is critical for a writer – maybe even the one key difference between a successful and unsuccessful writer. Rejection is inherent in a writing profession and continuing to stay positive (and focus on those goals) in the face of that, is more important than anything.

  16. Karen Cioffi says:

    Maggie, rejection is certainly inherent in a writing profession. It’s important to know that going in. And, positive thinking is critical for just about every aspect of our lives, if not all. Our perception and attitude are the primary factors in our actions and reactions.

    I love Thomas Edison’s attitude:

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

  17. James R Tate says:

    I think the most prominent question for anyone is; What are you prepared to do to achieve your dream? A lot of people talk about what they want, but are unable to do what is necessary to actually get there. This is a battle I fight daily to become a successful writer. Don’t take NO for an answer and you will follow in the path of the great writers before you.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      James, well put. It’s important for people to know what’s involved when they decide on what they want to do. If they don’t have the know-how, then it’s necessary to get it. That would be part of the action steps to obtaining the goals.

      There are a million reasons/excuses not to achieve, you need to find that one reason to achieve.

      And, not taking NO for an answer will definitely help!

  18. Robyn Feltman says:

    This post was amazing, Karen! I have been struggling with writing a book and I now look forward to applying your positive thinking to my writing. Inspiing article and great quotes!!!

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Robyn, Thank you. I’m so glad you found it inspiring. Just do it – don’t stop to think about it, just jump in.

      There are two great quotes that fit this perfect:

      “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

      “It’s not what you’ve done that matters – it’s what you haven’t done.” ~ Mark Twain

      It seems like I’m on a quotes kick in these comments. :)

  19. I completely agree, Karen. As a reformed pessimist, I know from countless first-hand experiences, that positive thinking isn’t about happy thoughts magically conjuring up good results; rather, our positive (and focused) mindset will allow us to take actions that are in line with our ideal outcomes.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Francesca, that’s the best kind of pessimist to be: reformed! And, very well put, “our positive (and focused) mindset will allow us to take actions that are in line with our ideal outcomes.

  20. Marge Gower says:

    Another great post, Karen. I’m using a positive attitude this year. I’ve submitted more than I ever have and it’s only January. I’m submitting and not looking back. Thanks for the reminders and tips.

  21. Karen Cioffi says:

    Marge, I’m so glad you like the post. And, it’s great that you’re submitting so much.

  22. Karen,
    I’m delighted to have read your post in a week when I am renewing my commitment o Daily Affiliate tasks and watching Napolean Hill on Youtube regularly. I also very much appreciated the comment and your reply to Mary Meyer. I also believed that these ideas were not to be a top priority because of my faith. But truthfully, I didn’t take the time when I was rearing children to think and study it with the Bible in mind. I just believed what others said. In fact, just yesterday someone heard me listening to Youtube and said, “I’m not a real fan of Napolean Hill.”
    I really wanted to say, “Yeah, and look in the mirror, Sweetheart.” What have you got but the hope that if you need long term care in your old age your kids will pick up the tab.” But I was much nicer than that and won’t even let myself think that way anymore.
    I can’ only do my best to keep on keeping on. I know the verses God has given me. Proverbs 10:4, 5. Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” AMEN :) and just recently “Faith without works is dead” also hit me again. I am the only one who can have power over my brain. I choose control. Thanks a bunch for sharing.

    • Karen Cioffi says:

      Marge, That’s all any of us can do, do our “best to keep on keeping on.” For those who aren’t prone to a positive attitude, it can be a daily challenge. But, like with most things, practice makes perfect, or at least much, much better! :)

  23. Hey, Karen,

    Great article. As you know, I always encourage my coaching clients to get clear on what they really, really want. And once they figure that out, it’s so important to write it down and look at it everyday in order to stay focused. Thanks for the reminder!

    All the best!

  24. Karen Cioffi says:

    Suzanne, glad you liked the article! It seems like it’d be an easy thing to do, ‘get clear on what you really want,’ but this can be one of the biggest challenges. Often we don’t know what it really, really is that we want. And, we may want something at one point and then later on change our wish list. It’s important to stay in tune to what you’re doing.

  25. Wonderful words of inspiration, Karen. We need to read this every time we get one of those pesky rejections. Your steps are right on. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Nancy Allen says:

    Rejection is part of the journey to publication. It happens to everyone. I view rejection as a bump in the road, not a roadblock. I wrote for seven years before I received my first picture book contract.

    This is a great article. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Wow 144 times! I don’t feel so bad now. If you don’t mind, Karen, I’m going to copy and paste your 7 steps to the desktop on my computer so I can read it frequently – especially when I’m not feeling overly positive.

  28. Karen Cioffi says:

    Melanie, I’d be honored for you to copy and paste this to your computer for repeat reading! I’m so glad you found it helpful.

  29. Vivian Zabel says:

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try again.

    Interesting article, Karen.

  30. Dear Karen,
    Awesome and very inspiring. You are a very uplifting person. Thanks for sharing your beliefs and resources for reaching our goals.
    Celebrate you!
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  31. That’s a great idea-posting these steps to your desktop as a reminder every day.
    Marlene A. Hibbard

  32. Julie says:

    #6 is pretty hard to do after 100 rejection letters. But I guess you really have to be laser focused and know that you will never quit until you reach your goal.

  33. Karen Cioffi says:

    Julie, keeping positive can be difficult at times, but when you read about all those who persevered to receive their reward it does make it a bit easier and doable.

    Once you have it embedded in your brain that you’ll ‘keep on’ through thick and thin, it becomes more matter-of-fact and focus does have a lot to do with it.

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