Use Your Constraints to Guide You Into Action

Hi, it’s Bob Lucchesi … and thanks for joining me for Day 2 of The Writer’s Life this week.

Yesterday, I told you how Spud Webb at only 5’-7’’ used his limitation to fuel a successful NBA career– and win an NBA dunking contest …

And, how Dr. Seuss used the constraints of only being allowed to use first-grade vocabulary and 50 different words to power him to write Green Eggs and Ham, one of the best-selling children’s classics of all time.

You started thinking about the limitations or constraints you might be feeling in your own writing career.

Today, I’m going to help you identify your specific limitations, learn how to accept them, and, more importantly, discover how to use them as a canvas to create the masterpiece you were born to create.

A widely accepted definition of the word “limitation” is: a limiting condition; restrictive weakness; lack of capacity; inability or handicap.

Notice, I said … “a” definition, not “the” definition.

Here’s my definition of limitation: a starting point; a guide; what you have to work with … your canvas!

Limitations don’t point to what you can’t do – they point to what you must do!

In Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, she states that people who don’t accept their present circumstance or resist what is … suffer. What you resist, persists … and, acceptance is the elixir that will set you free into action!

But, before you can use limitations to your advantage, the first thing you have to do is identify what your specific limitations are.

For example, they might be … I have a full-time job and family … I don’t have enough money to start my writing business … I don’t have any connections to get clients …

Make a list of what you consider your greatest limitations or constraints.

The second thing I’m going to ask you to do is accept your limitations. This determines the canvas that you have to work with …

It may be a large fabric canvas on an easel … or an entire wall … a small artist pad … or just a thimble. It doesn’t matter – this is what you have to work with to create your masterpiece … so, accept it!

Now, the third thing I want you to do is use your canvas to determine the brushes and paints you will use. In other words – let your canvas guide your actions!

Here was my canvas as a neophyte screenwriter …

I don’t live in Los Angeles … I have no contacts in the film industry … I have a full-time job … limited funds … newly married.

Here’s how my canvas guided my brush strokes …

My full-time job didn’t leave me much time to write. So, I got up at 4:00 a.m. to write an hour before work each day, jotted down story notes while at work, and on Saturdays and Sundays I got up early to write for several hours before my new bride awoke.

Here are a few more brush strokes that painted my canvas …

Out of the myriad of screenwriting seminars, workshops and conferences in LA to attend throughout the year, I could only afford to pick two. I zeroed in on the ones that had screenwriting classes, agents and producers open for new talent …

I cold called ahead of time to set-up pitch meetings and networking opportunities to meet agents, producers and other writers while in town for the three-day conference …

At the conference networking social, while the locals were “acting” like hot new screenwriters, partying it up … I was making good contacts with young associate producers, writers and agents.

While the local writers have hundreds of these “networking” opportunities in LA, they may not have been as focused as a newly married, determined screenwriter from out of town.

The net result?

I made legitimate contacts at the studios, found an agent willing to take me on, and got my first screenplay optioned.

The painting on my canvas may not have been a Van Gogh, but it looked pretty good to me!

What’s your canvas starting to look like? I’d like to know what brushes and paints you’re planning to use to paint a picture of writing success … let me know here in the comments.

Maybe the upcoming AWAI Bootcamp would be a perfect picture for you to paint … if that’s the size of your canvas. Maybe it’s the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, or attending a webinar. Or, maybe it’s just finding 15 minutes of quiet time each day to write. It’s your canvas – paint the picture that works for you!

I’ll be back tomorrow, where we’ll discuss how your limitations shouldn’t hinder you from starting your copywriting career. In fact, they’ll launch it!

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Published: September 8, 2015

14 Responses to “Use Your Constraints to Guide You Into Action”

  1. Thank u for words of encouragement. I would like to take advantage of the opportunity but I am currently unemployed. Some of your articles require a fee for the training lessons which I welcome the help however its hard to get started without any income. If u guys have any suggestions I'm listening..

    Guest (Wayne)September 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

  2. This concept fits in with my Life Coaching philosophy. Work where your dreams meet your reality.

    My current canvas includes financial and health limitations. My brush strokes include the "Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting" and starting a blog dealing with Medical Advocacy Issues.

    DebLSeptember 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

  3. Thanks Bob! I've never come across this concept before. It truly resonates. Maybe in part because I have also delved into screenwriting. But unlike you, I let my limitations prevent me from moving forward. My unfinished first feature first draft got shelved when I decided to pursue copywriting. (temporarily)

    My canvas is ready. I've already started to sketch images from small successes I've been breaking ground with recently. I will paint it with huge brush strokes of Bootcamp-inspired colours, enhanced with Job Fair-inspired sparkles.

    My main goal is to be writing full-time by the end of this year, which means replacing teaching-income with copywriting-income.

    Bob, I hope to meet you at Bootcamp!!

    Guest (Lee Nourse)September 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm

  4. I have physical limitations, suffering from chronic pain and fatigue. How can I turn that into a canvas upon which to write. I've authored three books already, before my limitations set in. Now I need motivation to work within the limitations I have.

    Guest (Kay)September 8, 2015 at 3:42 pm

  5. Thanks Bob for the pinpoint accuracy & upliftding words of encouragement you are setting before us this week. It's hitting home with me. As sleepy as I get at the end of the day, I'm starting to comprehend it the 2nd or 3rd time through. It makes sense when I'm fully awake! So thank you Bob for the efforts you've put in to help the newbies like me try to get this.
    Looking forward to the rest and to get something out soon.
    Thanks again, mike

    HangwrenchSeptember 8, 2015 at 5:37 pm

  6. Hi Bob...Jim Spriggs here and your advice is spot on!

    Using your perceived limitations as a jumping point brings us in to the realm of possibilities and allows us to take action.

    First we have to accept where we are and then allow ourselves to move forward from that position.

    Gratitude gives us permission to move forward.

    Be thankful for where you find yourself and then allow room for more opportunity to enter thru action.

    Opportunity: Boot Camp Spec Assignments Focus Point: What can I do now that will open a door?
    Action: Pick one and do it!

    James EdwinSeptember 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm

  7. My limitation is basically finances. most of your programs require a certain fee. In a place like Africa, you might find it unbelievable the dollar conversion rate. You guys are doing great by the way. Great team!

    Guest (cathy)September 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  8. Thank You for your enthusiasm and vivid imagry, Bob!
    Currently my canvas is loaded with a family and household commitments, a full time job as well as a disabled parent whom I take care of.
    My brush strokes will include getting my kids to help out around the house, cutting work off at quitting time, and spending those hours I spend up at night worrying to write and market my freelance writing career instead!

    Guest (Tara)September 8, 2015 at 6:29 pm

  9. Hi! Great technique. Thanks for sharing. I use a book to document times spent researching, writing and topics covered. This helps me to pick up from where I left off. I am writing for me but also for others that may be interested and could find personal growth and understanding in what I have experienced and have to say. I am utilizing fact and fiction. I don't know a lot about writing and so am borrowing books from university on writing and looking for good novels to read.

    Guest (Kez)September 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm

  10. I currently have a full-time job working all kinds of odd hours, so I not getting enough sleep. So I try to just 'rest' up when I get home.
    I'm currently going through the Accelerated Program for Six-figure Copywriting and the only sample I have to my credit is the Restaurant Letter.
    However, I WILL make sure to work more diligently on my course, and set some things into place - website, blog, purchase a decent printer, fax, and simply get my butt to work when I'm home!!
    Thanks for the motivation!

    RockyBalladSeptember 9, 2015 at 3:02 am

  11. Bob: I find your words so inspiring. I love the examples you chose.

    My daughter at age 3 met a dog in front of our home, walking by on a leash. She introduced herself, saying "I'm Olivia. What is his name?" and the man walking him said, "This is Zues." Olivia put her hands on her narrow hips and said, "Hmm... we have some books in the house by a guy named Zues. But he's a Doctor."

    I love to tell stories. I love to WRITE stories. I have a limited income. I'm disabled with progressive MS. I used to teach high school English and college public speaking and educational research classes. For years I did that; until I just couldn't.

    I want so much to come to FL. I can't afford it. But can I afford NOT to? Will it really work for me?


    Guest (Judith Ann Hillard)September 9, 2015 at 10:56 am

  12. Ask not what you can't do for writing; ask what writing's cants can do for you. E.g., accepting MY limitations literally BECAME the canvas for which expressing myself could best manifest itself 'til words themselves could more easily "come home to BOOST" my communicative skills. If the requisite stipples -- i.e., words -- w/o which dreams lack tonal clarity, can't yet come, Fauvist throes are Pointillism's best bent on didactic retributions. After all, what's the 'point' of a Seurat w/o a few scary "Starry Nights"?

    Guest (Chris Morris)September 10, 2015 at 9:23 am

  13. Hi Bob, Thanks for the piece, twas really inspiring... My canvas; I'm a writer alright, currently a columnist who writes the health column of The politicaleconomist magazine; Executive Health, in Nigeria where I reside. I've tried severally far back as an undergraduate to register with some agency in the US and kickstart my copywriting career but being Nigerian they wouldn't let me... I can do more than I'm doing at present but I need a platform... Don't even mind getting outsourced engagements just to convince you of my interest.

    Guest (Paddy McAbrahams)September 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm

  14. My brush strokes, on canvass? I started to write a money making website about dogs, it's taking me time but I'm getting there. The reason for dogs because in my final, on 6 figure income program. I choose the natural dog treats scenario and have gotten interested in the health and well being canines. The website is called I'm setting up a edited profile of my writing. About travel, which I'm excited about, was able to send away for program. (I write reviews for trip advisor.) Which there very pleased with my reviews. I have no money so it is hard for me to get into all the programs that AWAI offers, but soon will be able to explore more options.

    Guest (Theresa Schevis)September 11, 2015 at 3:03 am

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