My first one is produce, produce, produce. Nothing fancy, not deep, not cause for admiration. Just produce, produce, produce. It has helped me through the times I seriously doubted I could actually complete my first YA novel, the times I just didn’t feel like facing the screen, the times I was sick of my characters, and the times I was tempted to surf the net instead of write. I sat down one day and thought about how the only way I’ll ever make it is…if I have something to make. The only way I’m going to have something to make…is if I produce. So I just focus on that one word. Produce. Lots of times when I sit down to work, I find myself whispering it without really thinking. Produce. It’s like tunnel vision, really, and most times it helps. Try it.
My second mantra is, I am, I am, which I use when produce just isn’t cutting it. This happens usually when I’m down in the dumps and need a little funny. Like when I can grace my nail on the wall with yet another rejection letter (this refers to Stephen King’s On Writing. I’m serious about this book, guys. Go get it). Anyway, the concept behind this one is easier to understand if you’ve seen the movie Nacho Libre. Bottom line (and spoiler alert), the movie is about a chubby Mexican monk who beats a world-renowned lucha libre fighter for the sake of a dream and orphans. I know, how did this not win an Academy award? Besides the fact that this movie didn’t get the accolades it deserved (and that would be because it is only a mere funny on the first viewing, but absolutely HILARIOUS the twentieth or thirtieth time you watch it), it is nonetheless inspiring—at least to slapstick loving geeks like me. The main song in the movie repeats the phrase, I am, I am, so when I feel every bit the chubby Mexican monk unpublished YA writer, trying to make it as a world-renowned lucha libre fighter get representation in this tough and competitive era when YA is all the buzz, this is what I say. I am, I am.
Like I said. Try it. Try two. Mantras help get you focused, help get your mind off the rejection and word count and back where it belongs…on your writing. And now, I’m off…to produce, produce, produce, even though I am, I am, I am feeling a little deflated from the last rejection.
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