Two Magic Words That Can Change Your Creative Outlook

Once upon a time there was a novelist who hit the number two spot on the New York Times bestselling list five times, but never the number one spot. Each time it galled her a little more, but finally, with her last novel, she hit the number one spot and all was well in the kingdom.  (Release the doves!)

Now I have no idea what thoughts were going on the author’s head during this time, but, if I was her, every time I’d see myself at the number two spot, I wouldn’t say, “Damn it. Life’s unfair! Break out the whiskey.” Instead I’d say, “Not yet.”

Two words that back a powerful punch. It’s natural for us to be disappointed when we don’t meet our artistic goals (or any goal for that matter). But the words “not yet” transform our disappointment into expectation, which is a far more empowering feeling.

The artist’s journey is long, twisty and pothole riddled.  The words “not yet” keeps us looking forward and remind us of where we’re going.

Psychologist Carolyn Dwek, author of Mindset: The Psychology of Success discusses in her TedTalk the power of “not yet.” She says that “not yet” reminds you that “you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.”

People who say “not yet” have open mindsets. They stare failure in its heartless, beady eyes and say, “You again.” And yes, they  might drink whiskey (not too much).  But then they move on, because  “not yet” is the gasoline that keeps them going.

On a related topic: If you haven’t heard Ira Glass talk about the gap between wanting to be a good artist, and being a good artist, click, click, click. It’s only 2 minutes or so.

This week’s book and a story: A friend and I started a inspirational book club. We’re reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, which I loved.  I was going to tell you a couple of things about it but then I couldn’t find my Kindle. Looked everywhere, tossing sofa cushions, peering under tables. Found several pens, a footie sock and a quarter but not much else. I’d convinced I’d thrown it out with a bunch of magazines, and was about to order another when my instincts said: Wait 24 hours.

I really didn’t want to wait because my Kindle is my lifeline but, okay, 24 hours it was. I let my Kindle worries go, went out on an errand and as soon as I came home I was drawn to a wing chair; it was almost a magnetic pull and I just knew.

There it was, wedged between the cushion. I’d sworn I’d looked there but I must have missed it. Honestly it was almost magical the way I was drawn to that chair. So here’s a great quote from  The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success that speaks to that: “If you want to transform your karma to a more desirable experience, look for the seed of opportunity within every adversity, and tie that seed of opportunity to your dharma, or purpose in life. This will enable you to convert the adversity into a benefit, and transform the karma into a new expression.”

My week: I got a great haircut. (See below in red) Won two movie tickets, and my husband has been writing me daily haikus. Also I like trying out a little something new each week. This week it was Blue Apron meals (love!) and the app on the phone that make you look better in photographs. (Fun toy!)        


Write authentically and love authentically.

 That’s the theme of Karin’s latest romantic comedy, Love Literary Style, about an emotionally stunted literary writer who falls in love with a vivacious self-published romance writer and becomes distressed when her success surpasses his. Library Journal calls it, “Thoughtful and addictive.” Learn more here

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