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Get Your Head Straight About Writing For a Living

Like all of our colleagues, you and I started out as a struggling writer. I lived in a one room apartment, drove a rusty, old pickup truck and picked up gigs working construction, washing dishes, bartending, toiling as a Mississippi River barge deckhand and serving time as a bill collector. My dream was to someday become a published writer. In other words, in my mind’s eye I saw myself as a struggling writer. Big mistake.

That all changed one autumn afternoon when I was studying the reference publication Forthcoming Books in Print, a ritual that had been going on for two or three years. Like I had done a hundred times before, I ran my finger down the page to the spot where I dreamed my name would one day appear as one of the authors. My placement would be right next to Roger Bannister, the runner famous for setting a world's record in the one mile event.

With a hopeful sigh, I closed the book and went home to listen to a Doctor Denis Waitley’s inspirational audio program entitled: The Psychology of Winning. ( On it heard the motivational psychologist say:

“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”

The moment I heard those words I experienced a life-changing epiphany. (Novelists call it a comes-to-realize moment) I realized that as long as I saw myself as struggling writer, a struggling writer I would be and nothing more. So I radically changed my thinking. From that day forward whenever anyone asked me in polite conversation what I did for a living, I unabashedly told them that I was a writer.

The most common reply was a raised eyebrow immediately followed by the probing question, “Oh. Anything published?” I could hear thinly disguised skepticism in their voices.

But I smiled anyway, knowing my answer was meant to impress my subconscious mind and the smug guy standing in front of me asking the question was irrelevant. “Nope, “ I said, grinning. “But I will. And soon.”

Frankly, I didn’t care then, and I don’t care now whether or not I seemed delusional. I had a plan. “Hi, my name is Tim Banse, and I’m a writer.” Self talk worked for me and it will work for you too.

I freely admit the first time I told someone I was a writer it was undeniably hard. I nearly choked on the words. But I knew how important it was for my subconscious mind to hear me say it aloud. So I said it over and over again. Pretty soon the affirmation had an effect on my actions and my writing. It was as if the self-talk had flipped a switch deep in my soul. I began to work harder and because I was a writer. I began to act and think like one. Soon I sold my first magazine article, and then another, and another.

It is an undeniable fact that affirmations are a golden tool that you can use for your success, no matter who you are or what you do in life. Suffice it to say I believe it will pay big dividends for anyone savvy enough to buy a Denis Waitley course. And no, I don’t get a commission. But I am a true believer. - next - table of contents -