Stay on Course in Your Success Journey With These Two Crucial Strategies


Will Newman

Earlier this week, we talked about how metaphors can shape our reality – locking us into a way of seeing how to succeed … or encouraging failure.

At that time, I told you how my Rotary Club was in the early stages of developing a backpack food program for young people in our community. We hit a snag. And the member who’d earlier celebrated being on the “road to success” felt we were stuck.

Metaphors often control how we act. The way the Rotary member responded is similar to how I’ve seen AWAI members seeking the writer’s life respond to snags. They feel “stuck” — often hopelessly — on the road to success.

I recommended getting off the road to success. Instead, imagine your success journey as an airplane trip. Airplanes constantly make mid-course corrections. They never make a true straight-line flight.

Our success journeys are the same … never a straight dash from neophyte to the writer’s life.

Putting meaning into the metaphor . . .

This airplane metaphor carries great power … but only if you use two strategies for making mid-course corrections.

Mid-Course Strategy #1: Find yourself a “navigator”

You need someone who’ll guide you in your mid-course corrections. AWAI’s forums are the best place to find that navigator. Many of your peers have hit the same snags you might be having now … or that crop up later along the way.

Or you could choose a particularly close friend who wants you to succeed as much as you do.

Regardless of whom you choose for your navigator, find someone who can give you support and guidance all along the way to encourage your mid-course corrections.

Mid-Course Strategy #2: Keep moving forward . . . no matter how small the movement

Over the years, I’ve heard from AWAI members who faced serious illnesses (their own and family), job loss, increased work at their jobs, hurricanes, and many other scary events.

One member stands out. She told me that while her problems slowed her down, she wasn’t giving up. She put aside 15 minutes a day to study The Accelerated Program and do other work toward the writer’s life.

She wanted to do more. She’d planned to do more. But she was doing as much as she could.

She kept moving forward, slower than she’d hoped at first. But she didn’t stop. She kept her momentum going.

Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. If “life gets in the way” (boy, how many times have I heard that?), make a mid-course correction around it. Do something — anything — that keeps you moving forward.

Read a book that makes you a better writer. Study an AWAI program, even for 15 minutes a day … or 15 minutes a week if that’s all you can spare. Write as much as you can: letters, emails, notes to your coworkers, using the skills you’re developing here.

Don’t forget; airplanes fly because they keep moving forward.

I’m interested in finding out how you respond to this different metaphor about success. Let me — and our other readers — know in the comments below.

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Published: March 2, 2016

16 Responses to “Stay on Course in Your Success Journey With These Two Crucial Strategies”

  1. The airplane trip, with midflight course corrections, analogy concerns me because sometimes I have slowed to the point of stalling and crashing.

    Now that I think about it, an airplane journey seems more appropriate. When we have flown out of Orlando to Maine for summer vacations, we rarely had a direct flight and many times, we didn't follow the original itinerary.

    The trick, however, is to keep moving toward your goal while dealing with the unexpected, such as an eight-hour layover in Detroit.

    Guest (Scott)March 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm

  2. Hello Will, as writers who claim to be masters of the written word, many writers don't listen to their own words. It's been my experience that many people (writers included) are trapped in their own word mazes. If one stops and learns to listen to themselves speaking or writing they can gain great insight into what is holding them back from attaining their goals. Many are trapped in a cage where their own words are the bars that confine them. How's that for two metaphors. (mazes & cages ;))

    Will CraigMarch 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm

  3. Sometimes writing is hard, and at other times it flows. There are times when I feel stuck like any other writer. During those times I focus on reading or some other activity. It also helps that I have a friend that I share the experience of writing with. Together we set goals for our week. Some wee meet others we don't. We still come away with a sense of accomplishment. And we write, we always write something. We also discuss what is going on in our lives that may be preventing us from moving forward as we would like. It works for me, it works for us.

    Guest (Karen)March 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

  4. As a new member with limited funds, I am very appreciative for all the encouragement and suggestions. This week's Two Critical Strategies provided great tips and incentives for my laziness. Thanks and please keep them coming.

    Guest (Leah G Amler)March 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

  5. Thank you for this motivating advice. It came at the right time for me. I've been extremely stressed at work lately and hating my day job, where day in and day out I am wishing and daydreaming about my desired life as a writer. Sometimes all that stress can be draining and make me feel hopeless. But all it will take to make it through AWAI's program and achieve my goal is keep moving forward, one step at a time. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" Thank you!

    Guest (Janine)March 2, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  6. Yes, the airplane metaphor is very applicable to this.
    I have been hopeful of changing the way I make a living for some time now. I've been with my job for 26 years and am feeling very burned out. But I am also struggling with a lot of overwhelm through the process of becoming a copywriter; not that I ever assumed it would be a cakewalk, but the process of trying to evolve into one who thinks and sees the world through the trained eyes of a copywriter is more formidable than I had ever thought. I have already had to change my plans for a "niche" and continue to crash straight into other complications. This is a lengthy process indeed.

    Guest (Neil)March 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

  7. Thanks for the encouraging tips! It's good to know there are others that have life get in the way. I am dealing with some health concerns and require a lot of sleep. I get discouraged that I can't keep up with everyone in the accelerated course. But, I know I'll get there in due time. I just say to myself, "Do what you can and you will eventually get there." So, don't give up, to those who are not getting to the writer's life as soon as they'd like. We'll get there, one step at a time!

    Guest (Eva Rissler)March 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

  8. I have recently stood back up from an emotional toll of life and death. Death sometimes can cause life to become stagnant, null, and void. The pain sometimes is more than one can bare, and time moves so slowly, ever so slowly when all you want is the emptiness to vanish as quickly as it came on. 15 long pain filled years of tragedy but I pulled myself and my daughters out of the pain and now we are standing again. writing has always been my best friend, someone I could trust with my real self and it not be used against me.

    Guest (barb)March 2, 2016 at 10:30 pm

  9. I appreciate this post very much. Life has gotten in the way of my writing career many times, including discouragement and frustration. Yet I have continued to take steps forward despite the delays, disruption and feeling like I'm stuck.
    I'm going to bookmark this blog post to review when I need a reminder to move on despite "life happens." I'll also share it with a colleague who can use this advice too. Thanks for sharing insight and wisdom.

    Linda HMarch 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm

  10. The best part about the airplane scenario is -- when lost -- all it takes to streamline the requisite of successfully finding "common ground," is a parachute.

    Guest (Chris Morris)March 4, 2016 at 9:09 am

  11. Hi Will. Twice I've finished up with work related injuries and they said I wouldn't walk again. Each time my late wife, bless her, crashed with Bi-polar dis. My family shield carries three axes. My old man once said this to me: Illegitimi non carborundum. Its a faux Latin expression- Never let the B------- grind you down. Straight out of WW11 Britain.

    [FROM WILL: I kneww the faux Latin was from WWII, but I didn't realize it was British. However, that makes sense since the first time I heard it was from a Scot who was a post doc in the lab I worked in. Thank you.]

    Mike ShepherdMarch 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

  12. I found this super inspiring! I enjoy writing more than anything about everything but rarely make the time to do so. self doubt is my one worst enemy when it comes to writing. The thought of someone else reading my material makes me cringe.

    {FROM WILL: I hope this helps dispel self-doubt.}

    Guest (Sarah)March 8, 2016 at 12:16 am

  13. Like most who commented, I also run into difficulties reaching my goals as soon as I hope. Sometimes it feels as if I'm making my own path through the forest, but it's helpful when the footsteps of others who have passed through that forest leave an imprint, an indicator, of which way will be the easiest.

    Guest (Rebecca I)March 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

  14. Will, you will agree that formulating well thought out plans to achieve goals is of the utmost importance. Plans help regain the track to the goal through mid-course corrections.

    Guest (Teejay)March 21, 2016 at 6:53 am

  15. Thank you Will. This helps calm down that wild mind that is overwhelmed. I'm breathing, having some lunch and keeping moving, just as you say.

    MylaMarch 22, 2016 at 3:07 pm


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