Opportunities pop up for us every day. The trick is to recognize them when they appear and to seize them before they escape.
Ever see the movie, Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey? Okay, so life’s not a movie. But there’s still a message to be learned. In order to truly experience life and all its gifts, we must learn to say, “Yes,” when the universe offers us something. Success in the writing world relies on that same magic.
Yesterday, for me, was a day filled with opportunities. I hope I seized them all, but it was almost like that gopher game at carnivals where they pop up so fast, you can’t keep up.
My day began with an invitation to become a regular contributor to a large social blog (sort of a Huffington Post for the publishing world). Of course, I said, “Yes!” I was thrilled and honored the editor-in-chief thought of me and my little writing diary here. I’ll be sharing details of this development as they become available.
In the afternoon, over lobster ravioli and peach sangria, I became involved in a discussion about last week’s Navy SEAL tragedy in Afghanistan. This sparked an idea in my head and, with some help from a few mega-stars in the romance writing industry who eagerly said, “Yes!” (as well as my partner in crime for all these brainstorms of mine), I’m well on my way to participating in something special for the well-deserving family of an American hero. Again, details will come later.
While leaving the restaurant, my cell phone rang. The caller wanted to book one of my workshops for her local library. My answer? Yes, of course.
At each of these junctures, I could have said, “No, I don’t have time.” I could have kept my big wazoo shut, rather than throwing out that idea that wasn’t even fully formed in my head yet. I could have backed down from contacting those mega-stars in the romance writing industry because, after all, who am I to ask them for a favor? I could have. But I didn’t.
I said, “Yes” to each and every one. And I got “Yes” in return from everyone I came in contact with.
Why am I writing this as a Rude Awakening? Because yesterday evening, I ran into someone who asked me about another writer. Apparently, Writer X had volunteered to read a few of this lady’s pages and send her some commentary. Two and a half weeks ago. To date, she’s heard nothing from Writer X. Oh, I’m sure, eventually Writer X will get back to this lady, particularly once the lady contacts her to ask for some kind of status. But that’s not the point.
The point is that Writer X didn’t embrace “Yes.” She uttered the word, sure. But she didn’t follow through. She left this nice hopeful writer hanging. And destroyed an opportunity to connect, to show generosity, and perhaps, to create a new fan for herself.
Forgive me for waxing philosophical here, but the universe notices these things. You squander enough opportunities, and they’ll soon dry up.
So what will you do when the next opportunity appears in your landscape? Will you say, “Yes” and ignore it? Let it pass you by altogether? Or will you say, “Yes,” and run with it?
The choice, the opportunity, is yours.

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