Saturday, January 19, 2008

Book: Write It Down, Make It Happen

Subtitle: Knowing What You Want, and Getting It

by: Henriette Anne Klauser

I finished this book a few days ago, but it's taken me this long to settle down enough that I could write about it without just exclaiming how amazing it is and telling everyone to go read it at once (although that sentiment still applies). To call this book self-help does not do it justice. It's more like magic spells to improve your life and inspiring stories to light a fire under you to do so. The book is a collection of techniques and ways to use writing to manifest what you want in your life, interwoven with stories about people who have done just that. I heard about the book from Barbara Winter, who mentioned it in a recent email newsletter, and immediately got it out of the library.

Several chapters had me weeping at the beauty of how life worked out so well for people using simple journal writing to chart the course of their lives, sometimes without even realizing it. A woman who needed a care facility for her aging mother with Alzheimer's, another woman's search for her future husband, the author's own dream of having a walk-on part in an opera, several stories of people looking for the perfect home and miraculously finding it. The reason this book moved me so much is in part that I have used some of the techniques in the past, before this book was even written, and they worked. I have bored many of you with the dream job wish list story that resulted in me getting just such a job within a few weeks of making the list, but in case anyone missed it, I'll recite it again.

It was 1997, and I was having a rough time emotionally, and my dear friend and godbrother, Jay, gave me the very good advice to get a job-job (I was freelance editing from home at the time) so that I would have a reason to get out and be in polite society, a reason to pull myself together on a regular basis. So I wrote down a list of qualities I wanted in a job. I wanted to work only two or three days/week so I could keep freelancing. I wanted to be able to dress casually sometimes and dress up sometimes. I wanted to work alone sometimes and work in a group sometimes. I wanted to use my writing skills and my talking on the phone skills. I wanted to be able to bike or walk to my office and to work for someone nice. I am sure there was more on there, but that's what I remember 10+ years later. So I looked at my list and I thought, Hmm, a part-time development job might fit the bill. And then I thought, Well, I'm not going to find a job like that in the back of the City Paper, so I better start making some calls. So I called my friend and former boss, Paul, who didn't know of any jobs but needed someone to re-do his resume, so I said, Sure, I can do that. It would get me out of the house and earn me a couple bucks. Fine.

While I was at Paul's office typing up his resume changes, he was in the next cubicle over on the phone, and he pops his head up over the divider, hand over the receiver, and asks what kind of job I want. I can see he is just on hold for a minute, so I don't go into detail but just say, Some kind of stupid office work, anything. Well, he finishes up his phone call, and then comes over and says, Well, I'm not sure it's what you're looking for, but I know someone hiring for a 2-day/week development job. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I said, yes, that would be perfect. With Paul's recommendation, I had the job within a couple weeks.

So, I know that the techniques in this book work, and I think, why haven't I been using them the whole time since then? Well, I'm back on track now. I can't recommend this book enough. If you are dissatisfied with anything in your life: job, home, relationships, anything, get a copy and try it out. There's nothing to be lost but a few hours of your time. It's a quick read, although I had to pace myself because my reaction to it was so intense, and if it works for you, too, think how much happier you might be.

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