Intentionality is the key to freelance writing success. In fact, it’s the key to many good things in life.
That sounds like a bold and perhaps woo-woo statement, doesn’t it? But I believe it to be true for me and for anyone who wants to have a successful freelance writing business. Or, come to think about it, wants to get anything done well.
What is intentionality?
I like this definition which comes up when I plugged intentionality into ‘the google’:
the fact of being deliberate or purposive (or purposeful)
It then goes on to note that in philosophy intentionality means:
the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.
In other words, intentionality actually speaks about how strong, or clear, or not, our mental state is when we set a goal or decide to do something. It has a great deal to do with how effectively we work at whatever we want to get done.
Cats are models of intentionality
Cats are great models of intentionality. When they hunt, their whole being hunts. If they lose that prey, they focus their intention on another target. While they may walk away without catching anything this time, they walk away knowing they are hunters. It’s clear to them that they will catch something soon. They totally know that they are predators.
This is true for my indoor cats, as much as it is for an outdoor cat.
That clarity doesn’t mean they don’t play, or love, or sleep or do all the other things cats do. But in the moment when pray, real or toy, appears their role as a predator becomes crystal clear.
That’s intentionality, at least from the outside. I think there’s more to it than that, at least for us humans.
See through the intention to the real goal
According to a family story I began talking about becoming a writer in the sixth grade when it dawned on me that someone had actually written the books I was so learning to love reading. I remember holding a mystery novel in absolute awe that some real life person was actually responsible for the words on the page I was reading. I didn’t know it then, but I was beginning to set my intention to becoming a writer. Of course, back then I had no idea about the details of being a writer. But the seed was well and truly planted in my mind.
The idea of me as a writer stayed with me and developed over time. I wrote a story about our 6th grade election for the school paper. I joined the journalism after school club in 7th grade and wrote some stories for Seventh Grade News or whatever it was. Once I had a driver’s license, which was then 14 years old in California under certain circumstances, I’d drive to bookstores to buy writing magazines, always hiding them so no one would guess what had become a much stronger desire to write. I was informing myself about the writing industry, how it all worked. All this was pretty unconscious, but my desire to earn a living writing was getting stronger.
Seeing through to the real goal
I’m told that when martial artists are trained to break thick boards with their bare hands or elbows, or feet, an important part of the training includes the instruction to look through the board they are trying to break. Not off vaguely into the distance, but to see where their hand or elbow or foot will end up when they power through the boards they break. Somehow, focusing on that future of where their body ends up makes breaking boards more likely and even easier.
It reminds me of hitting the metal bowl or bell with a fabric-covered wooden striker at the start and end of a meditation period. It seems an easy task. However, to get the clear, echoing sound one of these marvelous tuned bells can give I have to be focused on just that, just striking the bowl. As soon as I wonder how it will sound, or if I’ll make a mistake or think what anyone else is doing, or allow any distraction at all, the sound becomes more or less muddy. In this case the intention must be present only with the striker and the bell.
We can control our thoughts
We truly have more control over our thoughts then we generally realize. Napoleon Hill in the classic Think and Grow Rich (you can download it for free right here), was right when he said “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Conceive and believe are the power behind intentionality. Both are necessary because they only work together when you want a result.
Another classic along the same lines is As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. That link leads to a free version of this small and valuable book. Another well known author, Brian Tracy has written a book and created classes around the sentence: “Change your thinking, change your life.”
We can learn to control our thoughts and our self-talk away from the negative and toward the positive… away from what we don’t want to what we do want. It takes some practice but it can be done. And it isn’t very difficult actually.
A Life Vision
Getting clear on what you want, a Life Vision if you will, can be a key part of making intentionality work for you over the long haul. It helps you ‘conceive’ of exactly what you want so you can add the’ belief’ that will move you in that direction. There are all sorts of ways to discover or uncover your Life Vision. It can be a fairly simple process. If you’d like help with your Life Vision, fill out the form here and I’ll contact you and see if I can help.
I’m currently reading:
I’m currently reading a book titled You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Although I don’t like the title, the book is a marvel. He carefully lays out the science behind intentionality and the idea that we can change our lives by changing our thinking. I’ll do a full review when I finish it, but halfway through I’m really encouraged and excited.
Write well and often,