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Why it’s always about more than one thing (part two)

Money mindset for writers

What else is wrong with this picture?

At the start of my last post I asked you to identify what was wrong with the image below. In this post I want to focus on another erroneous aspect of this way of thinking, which actually has nothing to do with writing itself and everything to do with mindset. This time take a look at the two bubbles at the end of the flowchart below representing the submissions process.

Send one thing to one place and wait to hear then have an emotional response

It took coaching from Sophie Hannah’s Dream Author programme for me to realise this, but the thing that’s wrong with those last two bubbles is that those happy or upset feelings are represented as if they are the culmination of the process of sending your work out into the world. We wait to hear whether our work has been accepted and then (according to the flowchart):

  • We feel happy if the editor says yes
  • We feel upset if it’s a no.

Let’s reframe this in a way that will make rejection much less painful and acceptance much more proactive: those two bubbles don’t belong at the end of the flowchart.

How does the MOTOT concept apply?

In the last post, I talked about the More Than One Thing or MOTOT concept. How does it apply in this situation? We all have lots of things going on in our lives, work, family, friendships, household, spiritual lives etc. You could list them all out. It’s a useful exercise if you’ve never done it before. In other words, we all have a context that’s bigger than our writing. Even if we lived in a tower and spent all day writing, we’d still have to eat and clean the tower and have a bath from time to time. This is good. It generates material and gives us stuff to write about.

By the way, coaches often use a powerful tool involving a Wheel of Life diagram to represent the different categories in our lives. I’ve applied it to the process of planning a book in these three free courses, but I’m going off on a tangent. Back to the MOTOT concept:

  • You have thoughts and feelings about all of those different aspects of your life. If you jotted some categories down just now, stop and notice how you’re thinking and feeling about them.
  • Mind-blowingly, feelings only last for about 90 seconds if we let them pass through us.

Both of these things suggest that there is no ‘end state’ to the submissions process where we feel happy or sad. The flowchart is an over-simplification. Life doesn’t work like this. Knowing your values and holding those you cherish close to you really helps with this and that’s not another tangent; it’s actually the heart of the issue.

This is one reason why a gratitude practice is so powerful, and why, when I have to have treatment for my dodgy hips, I think about sitting on the bed having a cup of tea with my family, looking out at the trees. I have feelings about more than one thing in my life and that’s useful for putting writing in perspective.

Emotions are fleeting. But if I tend to think thoughts like ‘I’ll never be successful’ repeatedly, I’m likely to generate feelings of despondency repeatedly. If I tend to think thoughts like ‘I’m determined to keep going’ repeatedly, I’m likely to generate feelings of determination repeatedly. Crucially, it’s not an editor saying yes or no that’s causing the feeling – which brings me to the self-coaching model.

The Self-Coaching Model

The self-coaching model we learn about in Dream Author, which originated with Brooke Castillo, tells us that feelings are generated by our thoughts not by someone else’s actions. If you follow Brooke’s model, then whether an editor takes your work or not cannot possibly be generating feelings of happiness or sadness. Something else must be going on. Your thoughts about the situation are creating those feelings.

Move the bubbles

That’s quite a big leap, let me tell you, as someone who has been doing Dream Author for a few years! Worth it, but it took me a while, and because I like to write about taking small steps, I’ll make a couple of suggestions for taking things more slowly.

  • Get that flowchart and move those happy and sad bubbles. Put them after the first step. Pause after you’ve written something. Notice what you’ve achieved. Congratulate yourself. Celebrate somehow.
  • In the last post I talked about writing more and sending out more than one thing. Just this on its own, without any other reframing, makes the results feel different. This is because it makes us think about writing as a career – the More Than One Thing concept again – and therefore takes the sting out of rejection. You don’t have everything riding on it.

Thinking about the flowchart above is a reminder that making money from your writing – or getting your work published – is about mindset.


So, a writing career is always about more than one thing. Let me do a quick run-down of all the different aspects of the writing life we could apply MOTOT to:

  • More than one thing in your life.
  • More than one opportunity.
  • More than one book / poem / story / article / screenplay etc.
  • More than one submission.
  • More than one rejection.
  • More than one editor.
  • More than one acceptance.
  • More than one draft.
  • More than one opinion. (This applies to reviews and critiques as well as arguments on social.)
  • More than one writing event.
  • More than one writing relationship.
  • More than one connection with your readers.
  • More than one marketing opportunity.

In fact, I can’t think of any examples from my writing life where MOTOT didn’t apply. And how does this apply to making money from your writing? It’s about that shift in mindset from focusing on one precious thing to focusing on your whole writing career.

An invitation

While you’re here, I’d like to invite you to do a free video course called How to Make Money from Your Writing in Three Steps. I made it because I want more writers to know how much mindset and systems affect our ability to make money from writing. It’s definitely not lack of opportunities or lack of resources that’s holding you back. Find out more inside the course.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Lou xx


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