What Will You Do to Keep from Getting What You Want?

Since the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project ended this summer, and I became a Fellow, I have been writing furiously in every quarter of my writing life. As furiously as I write, something or someone (me) is preventing me from getting the change I want: a situation I liken to someone shooting herself in the foot to prevent physical progress.

At the KMWP event, there sat a lonely book on a table begging for a good home. I, being a lover of all things book, picked it up and knew that I would give it a good home and a good read. I confess that, that book sat unopened for a few weeks while I wrote furiously in all quarters.

Something caused me to pick it up and flip to the introduction. I know as a teacher, a writer, and an avid reader that an introduction is the million-dollar Super Bowl advertisement for a non-fiction. If the introduction does not grab me, it will be a struggle to read the rest of it.

I opened up to the introduction and froze, forced to examine myself and the reason I have not been published, and forced to accept that I have prevented myself from being published. The question the authors ask (which they borrowed from the late William Perry of Harvard, a gifted trainer of therapists, counselors, and consultants): “What does this person really want—and what will they do to keep from getting it?”

I devoured the introduction, a ten-page volcano that shook me to my roots. The book itself is titled How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey.

Put simply, I know what I really want, but I have done everything to keep from getting it until now. I’ve made every possible excuse in the world. There is no excuse anymore. I’ve done things that are not-for-profit. They made me incredibly happy, still make me incredibly happy, but they do not need to prevent me from accomplishing my for-profit goals. Getting published is for profit, little or big, and that is the ultimate goal of every writer who labors, moi meme included.

I’ve labored for far too long. I’ve been writing since I was ten years old. I’ve been published in magazines and online, but you would think that I should have had books out and been filthy rich and world-famous by now.

What will I do (have I done) to keep me from getting what I want? Everything, but no mas! I made resolutions this year, and I will not allow this year to end without accomplishing them or most of them. Change has come to stay.

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