The Universe Responds

It is not an idle or airy-fairy proposition to declare that the universe responds to the hero or heroine who takes action and commits, i.e. you and me when we plunge in, wholeheartedly, to a new creative venture.

Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. Fortune DOES favor the bold.

The universe responds positively.

It comes to the hero’s aid.

Why does the universe respond?

The Sphere of Potentiality—i.e., the dimension above the Material Plane—recognizes the alteration in our hero. She has changed. She is not the same person she was, even ten seconds earlier.

She has, by an act of will and love and daring, stepped out of the role of the passive and the self-paralyzed and into the role of the active protagonist— the hero. She has in fact become a hero, quaking knees notwithstanding.

The universe comes to the hero’s aid.

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

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NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

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29 Comments

  1. Jackie on May 11, 2022 at 4:46 am

    The most relevant line is, “quaking knees notwithstanding.” Forge ahead, despite. Do the work. Someone has your back. Thanks, Steve. Wishing everyone a courageous week ahead.

  2. Chuck DeBettignies on May 11, 2022 at 6:00 am

    “The universe comes to the hero’s aid.”
    So true, and beyond our ability to understand.
    Like gravity. It’s there working, though we don’t see or understand it.

    I need to be reminded of these things. Like bathing. Needed everyday . . .

  3. Consuelo Castañuela Helbling on May 11, 2022 at 7:14 am

    …recognizes the alteration in our hero. She has changed. She is not the same person she was, even ten seconds earlier.

    Once we make A move,

  4. Thomas Wood on May 11, 2022 at 7:19 am

    Absolutely fabulous! One of my favourite authors (and mentors during my morning meditations) Toni Morrison is an inspiration to the mechanics of a bountiful universe. All I need to ponder is: do I have the audacity to ask for what I want?

  5. Kate Stanton on May 11, 2022 at 8:01 am

    My mantra this week:
    “She has, by an act of will and love and daring, stepped out of the role of the passive and the self-paralyzed and into the role of the active protagonist— the hero.”
    Thank you, Steve <3 I hope you all have a lovely week!

  6. Sam Luna on May 11, 2022 at 8:14 am

    I’m working on a project and one of the staff is a guy in his 20’s. A few days ago I saw him scribbling in a notebook at his desk and as I approached he shut it like he was hiding something. “Are you a writer?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said. We chatted a bit and I ended with “well, don’t stop.” He replied “the thought of not writing terrifies me, actually.” I thought that was a good fear to have.

    • Gerry Lantz on May 11, 2022 at 9:09 am

      Sam, great story and to the point. A wonderful terror!

    • Maureen Anderson on May 11, 2022 at 9:13 am

      It’s a great fear to have!

      On the more general point of Steve’s post, a lot of us can probably point to specific and eerie ways it’s played out in our lives. The first time it happened with me was just before I got divorced more than thirty years ago.

      We’d followed his career to a small town and were going to start a family. I’d been working “real” jobs, corporate jobs, and we’d saved enough money for me to pursue a lifelong dream of freelance writing while staying home with kids. Then in one moment all the labels fell off. I didn’t have a business card with a title on it, and I wasn’t about to apply for jobs in a town I had no plans to live in anymore. You couldn’t call me Mrs. Somebody, not for much longer. Even mail addressed to “Resident” wouldn’t apply, and there was no forwarding address to give the post office yet.

      I was paralyzed with fear. There was too much changing at once. I wished for a class on how to make a life transition.

      One day I saw a mention in the newspaper of a meeting for women in communications. I showed up, got my little name tag, and took a seat. Looking around the room I noticed most of the women were married, and about a third of them were pregnant. That was my plan, too. Get married, work at a “real” job to build up savings, then write while baby naps—courtesy of my husband’s real job. That was before I realized when baby’s napping you’d better be taking a shower because that might be your only chance for days, but whatever.

      I couldn’t focus on what the speaker was saying, I was that depressed. Toward the end of her talk the woman said, “If you do nothing else for yourself, pick up a copy of this book.” It was What Color Is Your Parachute? “Get the book,” she said, “and read it. If you don’t read it, at the very least, go through the appendices. I promise it will be the best thing you ever do for your career.”

      It’s something, I decided. It wasn’t like I had a better idea.

      I had read Parachute in high school. “I know all that,” I’d thought. Then I chose civil engineering as my major in college. Nothing could’ve been less suited to my personality. Now I wondered if I should read the book again, more thoroughly.

      I stopped at a bookstore before I got home and picked up a copy. I curled up on the couch and—you guessed it—skipped right to the appendices. I saw the picture of a resort and the words, “Fifteen days of life/work planning . . .” I knew before I read any further, I had to get there. The Inn of the Seventh Mountain, it said, in Bend, Oregon. Dick Bolles, author of the book and leader of the workshop, said it was open to people who aren’t career counselors, and every year many noncounselors attended: “Job hunters of all ages . . . career changers . . . people facing a move . . . the recently divorced . . .” It seemed as if every category applied to me.

      I signed up for the workshop, Dick became a lifelong friend, and I’m living — if not “the dream,” whatever that is — the vision I brought into focus at that workshop.

      The reason I’m sharing such a long story is that I started with a wish. Then, despite HATING networking meetings and especially those only for women (why network with only part of the population, on purpose?), I made such a tiny, pathetic little move by showing up. It was all I could think of to do.

      But it was enough!

      What Steve described works.

      • Jackie on May 11, 2022 at 9:57 am

        Great story, Maureen. Thank you for sharing real life proof.

      • Kate Stanton on May 11, 2022 at 1:23 pm

        You inspire me, Maureen <3 Thank you for sharing!!

      • Joe on May 13, 2022 at 3:02 am

        Good tale, Maureen.

      • Jurgen Strack on May 13, 2022 at 7:31 am

        Nice one, Maureen.

  7. Gerry Lantz on May 11, 2022 at 9:15 am

    I’m working hard on a project right now (marketing copy, hardly fictional but creative)–but diving into the work this a.m. has put in the flow till I took a break just now to read Steven’s missive. Always inspiring. Always instigating. Back to work.

  8. Anonymous on May 11, 2022 at 9:47 am

    A motivating reminder. Thanks.

  9. Yvonne on May 11, 2022 at 10:09 am

    “…quaking knees notwithstanding.” I absolutely this, because it reminds me that we’re no less heroes if we’re terrified. Thanks Steve!

  10. Anonymous on May 11, 2022 at 10:40 am

    Every day, I remind myself that the protagonist must let go the fatal flaw, transform, and reach the goal on her own. That at the most dicey of moments, the protagonist must make the decisions and act, or fail to act. Success is not guaranteed with the former, failure almost always is with the latter.

    • Mindy Tarquini on May 11, 2022 at 10:57 am

      Oops, sorry, forgot to leave my name on this comment. Waiting for those ADD meds to kick in. Loved Stephen’s post today.

  11. Tolis Alexopoulos on May 11, 2022 at 10:57 am

    Thank you all, thank you dear Steve.

    I can’t feel that force, i can’t feel the universe helping me enough. It’s as if it only gives me more time. Every second seems to be coming only from my own struggle, which has “many legs” and is unstable. Like Galandriel said, “stray but a little, and all will be in vain”.

    Who cares? The chair is soft. And I know what I must do. And when I doubt I call you heroes to be with me.

  12. bogocanada on May 12, 2022 at 6:47 am

    After reading this post, I applaud the author’s efforts and am happy for the opportunity to learn about this interesting topic.

  13. Joe on May 13, 2022 at 4:43 am

    Here’s a story of the universe showing up.

    My first paid magazine gig came courtesy of Hank Nuwer, who was then the editor at “Arts Indiana” magazine. Hank gave me an assignment to do a piece on four Indiana artists and whomever each considered to be their most important mentor. The headliner was Maestro Raymond Leppard, conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

    I was a noob at this point. The internet was not yet in common use and it hadn’t occurred to me to do even the most basic library research. I suppose I thought I’d go in cold, maybe charm him with something like: “Hi, Maestro. Did you have a mentor? So who was it?” We can safely assume that Bill Moyers was not fearing for his job.

    Two days before the interview, I was invited to a dinner party and I was feeling out of my league. The other guests were accomplished professionals: a partner at an accounting firm, a real-estate developer, a lawyer. And me. The conversation made its way around the dinner table. They talked about the deals they were closing. The criminal cases they just tried. The strip-malls they were building. Their vacations.

    The conversation came around to me. “So, Joe… what do you do?” Eyes pivoted in my direction.

    What was I supposed to say? That my bachelor’s degree was growing moss while I worked a low-paying clerical job at a local hospital? That I lived in a one-bedroom apartment and drove a 12-year-old Nissan that had front-end damage from when I crashed it driving home drunk after an evening in a strip club? That I had a year of sobriety and I was trying hard not to drink? What was I supposed to say?

    By the grace of this assignment from a little arts magazine, I felt I had a card to play. I felt the right to claim: “I’m a writer.”

    “Why, how interesting!” the hostess said. “What are you working on now?”

    I told them about my magazine assignment and my upcoming interview with the maestro. I tried to act cool and casual, hoping they’d ask enough questions to help me make myself look good, but not so many questions as to reveal that I had no idea what I was doing.

    “Maestro Leppard?” the hostess brightened. “Why, he’s good friend of mine. Have you read his book?”

    Book? He wrote a book? That would be good information to have, I thought. Note to self: for any future interviews, look up some info on the person you’ll be interviewing.

    “Ah, his book!” I bluffed. “Yes, of course. His book. You have a copy? Would you mind if I see it? I mean, I… um… have it reserved at the library,” I’m flat-out lying at this point, “but if you have a copy.”

    The hostess went to her office and returned with a 668-page hard-bound volume entitled “Raymond Leppard on Music: An Anthology of Critical and Autobiographical Writings.”

    She handed me the book and I felt its heft. “Would you mind if I borrowed this for the weekend” I said. “It would save me time… going to the library. I’m talking with him on Monday and I’m supposed to ask him about ‘his most significant mentor.'”

    “Mentor? Oh, it’s in there,” the hostess said.

    I looked down at this heavy book in my hands and cracked it open randomly. I didn’t leaf through the pages. I didn’t scan the index for “mentor.” I opened the book to where it fell open. Randomly, I thought.

    I looked down to the page and my eyes fell to a sentence. The sentence was even underlined in pencil:

    “My mentor was a man named Hubert Middleton; he never produced anything of significance… except people.”

    I felt a tingle and disorientation and awe. It was exactly what I needed. The universe dropping it into my lap? I imagined I heard a voice: “You want to do this? To write? If you do your part, we will help you.”

    • Maureen Anderson on May 13, 2022 at 11:40 am

      “…except people.” Love that!

      And I love what this post seems to have inspired, to notice all the ways the Universe conspires on our behalf.

      As Katie grew up I had this refrain above all others: “How’d I get so lucky to be your mom?” Can you imagine the sweetness, to this day, over just that one thing?

      Eventually you might learn to be as kind to yourself by asking, “How’d I get so lucky to be me?” The first answer might be, “This feels like a trick question.” Answer it anyway. You might not believe how good you’ll feel, more up to the challenges you’ve chosen.

    • Sandra on May 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

      Omgosh!!! I so loved reading your story. Everything just so happened to line up. Amazing!

  14. Jurgen Strack on May 13, 2022 at 7:35 am

    The post goes nicely with Steve’s ‘tune in to the cosmic radio station’.

    Good news is I’ve started to apply putting my arse where my heart wants to be. It works!

    x

  15. Brad Graft on May 13, 2022 at 7:50 am

    Great story, Joe!

    Only shame is that it wasn’t posted it at zero dark thirty last Wednesday, as you usually do… For all to see..

    Completely agree, Jurgen– The Cosmic Radio knobs, tuned in just right for Joe, when he needed the reception greatly… And keep up the good work, Jurgen.. Keep riding your new “vibration” (per Steve email today)…

    • Joe on May 15, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Gracias, Brad. And right… I don’t know how much people are checking “Comment count” through the week. I get the sense that people are looking here on Wednesdays and that’s it.

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  17. Cobra Kai Jacket on May 20, 2022 at 2:16 am

    I like your blog. If we are putting out feelings of sadness, we will continue to be sad because the universe responds like for like. Likewise if we are feeling happy, we feel more happiness as it is returned to us with abundance. Thanks for sharing this blog.

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