Liam's attitude though, was one of 'can do'. Instead of saying 'I can't do that'. He told us to say 'I CAN do it' and 'I believe I CAN do it.'
Much of this is down to being focused on what it is that you want to achieve, and this is a core skill with writing. Being focused and determined to get a piece published will result in publication eventually.
Liam played a video of several students all running around one another, passing basketballs between them. He asked us to focus on the basketballs and count the number of passes made that didn't involve bouncing the ball on the floor. This played for about two minutes and required immense concentration - well it did for me anyway! At the end of it, some of the group said they'd seen 15 passes, other guesses ranged up to 23. I'd counted 19. The correct answer was 22. Then Liam asked, "Hands up those of you who saw the Gorilla?"
What? What flipping Gorilla?
About half the group stuck their hands up. (not me, I completely missed it!)
Liam then played the whole sequence again and this time he told us to look for the Gorilla. And there it was, bold as brass, someone dressed up in a Gorilla costume walking onto the set turning to face the camera, waving both arms about frantically before walking off the stage again!
I found that exercise really enlightening, because for me, it was a clear demonstration as to how focused I could be. When I looked around the room at the members of the group who like me had not seen the Gorilla, it was interesting to note that many of them were the members that I would classify as the more 'successful' members of the group too, with their writing.
He then discussed about having a positive attitude. He explained how we all have control over our actions. Yes, we can't control what life throws at us, but we can control how we deal with. Liam told us of a time when he'd filled up his car with diesel instead of petrol. When he realised what he'd done he flew into a rage, cursing and swearing at the hassle this was now going to cause him. His wife, then reminded him that he'd woken up and decided to have a positive day that day. And that's when he realised that all this anger wasn't solving his problem. Thinking positively, he realised that once he'd called his roadside recovery company, he would then be provided with a courtesy car. Within the hour, he and his wife were on their way again, and enjoyed the rest of the day. He made that decision not to let this event ruin the whole day.
Likewise, we can't stop an editor from rejecting our work, but we have a choice what we do when we discover the news. We can either:
- Moan and wail, and throw our arms about in pure misery that our talent and creative genius has not been recognised, or
- review our work, rewrite if necessary and submit our talented creative muse to another editor, creating a new opportunity in which to get published.
So remember, when you wake up tomorrow, make a decision as to what sort of day you're going to have and stick to it. You don't know what might happen!
Liam O'Connell is an excellent guest speaker and I can thoroughly recommend him. For more information, visit his website at www.liamoconnell.co.uk, and you can buy his book direct from Amazon.