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Initiative and Action and Your Writing

We’ve seen already how Napoleon Hill offered some good advice that writers can apply to the attitude they take toward their work. That’s the starting point. But to be successful as writers, we must convert that positive attitude into published writing by taking the initiative, taking action! Here are a few things that Hill said about this topic. How can you turn his advice into actionable steps with your writing?


  1. “Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end.”


You could read all the books in print about how to write, but if you don’t sit down and write, and then submit what you’ve written, you’ll never get published. There’s a limit to how much you need to know before you begin to submit. Keep learning, but begin submitting!

2. “Willpower is the outgrowth of definiteness of purpose expressed through persistent action, based on personal initiative.”

If your goal is to become a published author, you’ll have to take action by submitting what you’ve written. Wishing won’t make it so. And don’t expect luck to help you. Darryl Royal said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You must act; make the opportunity. But to submit, you must have the self-discipline to produce the best writing of which you’re capable and the courage to submit it. That takes willpower. Do you have it?

3. “When you have talked yourself into what you want, stop talking and begin saying it with your actions.”

The first step is to plan how you will turn desires into actions. Then put the plan into play. Don’t delay. Do it now. Taking that first step will provide energy and initiative for the next step and the next. Write your piece. Identify potential markets. Submit!

4. “The person who complains that he or she never had a chance probably hasn’t the courage to take a chance.”

Every time you submit something you’ve written, you take a chance. It might be rejected. On the other hand, there’s a chance that it’ll be accepted for publication. You never know, but you have to take that chance. Don’t complain that you can’t get published if you aren’t doing something to make your work publishable. That means going out on a limb and taking a risk, submitting you work! Sure, it takes a lot of work and is risky. But it’s worth all that. Thomas Edison said that most people don’t recognize opportunity when it is in front of them because it’s often dressed in work clothes.

5. “Good intentions are useless until they are expressed in appropriate action.”

You say you intend to submit your work. Someday. But you never do so. Having the intention is fine, but if that’s as far as you get, you’re wasting your efforts in thinking about it. Nothing counts until you act on those intentions. Don’t be content to be a wannabe; make it happen by taking action. Submit your best writing to an appropriate market. It won’t happen if you don’t act to make it happen.

6. “Just what are you waiting for and why are you waiting?”

Writing success won’t just suddenly arrive on your doorstep looking for you. You have to send out the products of your writing to find where it is hiding. What manuscripts do you have hidden away in some drawer, closet, or file cabinet that you can polish up and submit today? Take the initiative and send it out!

Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson

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