Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Writing Stuff Down to Get What You Need

by Sariah S. Wilson

Internet has been restored!! It's one of those things that you don't realize just how dependent you are until it is taken from you.

Take cell phones. I could live without cell phones. I barely use the one I have now and mostly like the idea of it - having a way to get help if something were to happen to me in the car. But if it ceased to function, I would get by without it the way I've lived without it for years before I got it.

But Internet access - I felt like I had lost my electricity or something. It's sort of like when you stand there flicking the light switch off and on hoping something will happen. No power. So then you think, "Well, I guess I'll just go watch TV" only remembering that said TV is also powered by electricity once you reach for the power switch. Feeling stupid, you decide to make yourself some soup to remember too late that both the stove and the microwave are also tied up into your electrical power.

Our ISP simply told us that they didn't know what was wrong with the system (only that it wasn't hardware related) and had no idea when our service would be restored. I kept thinking things like, "Oh, I need to check my banking statements" or "Time to read the blogs to find out where to go and get the best deals this week" or "What did the forks look like that were used at a ball in 1816?" only to remember at the last moment that I couldn't access any of this information. I was trying to finish up our 2008 taxes (which are actually now done, if you can believe it!) and I needed to double-check some medical and business mileage, but couldn't because I couldn't access any maps online. It was driving all of us crazy - my husband and I actually looked to see if we could switch providers, but this is the only DSL available in our area.

But they finally fixed the problem nearly a week later - and I felt like I was feasting after being starved for seven days. I could read the news online again! Print out coupons! Check on our banking account! Read Dear Abby! You know, the important stuff.

So now that things have settled back down, I ran across an interesting article by Dr. Wally Goddard over at Meridian today (and for the full account of President Packer's referenced story, you can check out this entry over at Dr. Wally's blog).

All of my life, my mother had taught me that if I wanted something to happen in my life that I needed to write it down. She had example after example of amazing things that had happened to her, unbelievable things, that she had written down. I've often heard examples of people writing down their goals, putting them away and then rediscovering the list only to find that they had somehow, even without conscious effort, managed to meet a majority of those goals. (As a sidenote, I will tell you that it won't work for certain things. You're not going to win the lottery that way.)

Debbie MacComber is a NYT bestselling author who started out with only a dream that she could make it. When she first got published, she wrote a highly impossible list of things she wanted to accomplish with her writing - like making the New York Times and having her books turned into movies. Things that were so outlandish and crazy she thought they could never, ever come true. But come true they did - every single outrageous wish/goal on her list.

Whenever I mentioned my mom's philosphy on writing things down, people in the church have often given me strange looks, like it's some kind of New Age-y philosophy that needs to be ignored.

It was so neat to read the words of Heber C. Kimball and Boyd K. Packer, two GAs who seemingly also endorse this line of thinking and made a case for writing things down. I don't want to suggest that the Lord is some sort of vending machine that will dispense our wanted blessings based on our behavior. I think the Lord will do what we need to have done, not necessarily what we want to have done (and as Dr. Wally points out, there are times when pain is necessary to strengthen us and make us into better people).

But I think asking, asking in prayer, asking by writing things down, that it is too often overlooked. I know that I have often thought, "Well, the Lord already knows." But the scriptures in Luke aren't saying it's enough just to think it, it's saying you have to actively do something, you have to physically ask.

Since we're near the beginning of the year, I'm going to post a challenge here. Write down one thing in the comments that you hope to have happen in 2009. Maybe, as President Packer did, it can be a blessing for someone near and dear to you. Or a need you have in your life or see in someone else's life. Then let's check in next year to see whether or not that one goal was accomplished.


At 2/07/2009 5:08 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

My goal this year: to finish my work in progress and for it to double the sales of my last book.

At 2/07/2009 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie MacComber set a goal of having a NYT bestselling book and a movie deal? I think her ambition was admirable. I'll copy that goal.

Deb from Yuma

(I already live in Arizona, so I don't have to move to the writing Nirvana.)

At 2/07/2009 10:08 PM, Blogger lachish said...

I want to be a published author, and I want my book to have a 4.0 + rating on goodreads. I also want my picture on the LDStorymakers website!

Time to get to work!

At 2/08/2009 4:41 AM, Blogger Paiges' Pages said...

I want a new nanny job!:)

At 2/08/2009 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a hard thing for me - I guess I'm just superstitious enough to think that if I put my wish out there, heaven and earth will combine to make sure it doesn't happen. (...or maybe I'm just pessimistic.)

But I'll help test your theory - if I fail, let it be on your head!

I just really want to cross the finish line on my story. If for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can do it!


At 2/08/2009 4:50 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I really think there's something to the writing it down. I've had this idea for a business in my head for years and nothing has happened with it. Several months ago I started outlining the idea, where I wanted the business to go, how much time I wanted to spend on it, how much money I wanted to make, etc. It's happening, slowly, but surely. I've made more progress on it in the past few months than I did in the last 10 years.

At 2/09/2009 2:26 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

My goal is to be published by the time I'm 40. Since that's next year (yikes! and wow, I'm revealing a lot in this post), I've got to have a (better) viable novel completed by the end of this year at the very latest, if not sooner. Gotta stop putting off rewriting the intro.

At 2/13/2009 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sariah -

Just thought it would be fun for you to know that our King County Library System (in the greater Seattle area) just got 5 copies of your new book. Currently, 4 are checked out.


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