Saturday, February 12, 2011

Writers in Borneo Attracting Success

In late November, with nothing official on the horizon in terms of writing assignments coming in or anything being published, I made a subtle change to the title of my blog by adding two more words to the name Borneo Expat Writer: Attracting Success. Within a week I got an offer to write about some hotels for a guidebook and a nibble from a French publisher that turned into something big. Coincidence? Maybe? I don’t think so. More importantly, I quickly acted on both to make sure they came through by taking immediate action and following through.

Then last month, Han, a poet from KL, was coming to Kuching to visit friends and wanted to meet with some other writers, preferably poets. Someone suggested me, and although I’m not a poet, I agreed to meet him and invited a few other writers, most of who could not come because of the extremely short notice. But another American writer who I had recently met did agree to come. Not knowing how familiar Han or his friends were of Kuching, I suggested Khatulistiwa Restaurant, which has a strategic location at the Kuching waterfront.

Altogether it was an enjoyable evening meeting some new people, none of us hardly knew each other. Conversations were a bit disjointed. Dominic, who I had invited along because I was critiquing his book about Bidayuhs and he actually writes poetry (we met at one of my writing workshops), spoke mostly with Tom on one side of the table, while I spoke with Han, and Han’s two female friends, who sat at the end, spoke to each other in Chinese. Then Tom joined our conversation and Dominic pretty much kept to himself, no doubt digesting some of the comments and suggestions I had made about his book just prior to the others arrival.

After Han had to leave to catch his flight home and Dominic returned home, Tom and I started talking, American to American, writer to writer, and stayed another two hours brainstorming ideas about our writing. We agreed to meet again the following month at the same place. Although I had a feeling we were on to something big, a regular gathering of writers in Kuching, something I’ve been wanting for about four years now, I wanted to start this slowly, adding one or two other writers at a time and then see if we can forge something that would be useful to all of us and gradually grow. Tom thought of another writer who has written several books that we both were familiar with but had never met. As it turned out, she was out of the country. I invited Annie who had published some articles, writes a blog, and had written a memoir. I was hoping to encourage her to write more.

My intention was to keep the meeting focused on us, how we could help one another in our writing in a positive, productive way. What I didn’t want was the typical writers get together to gripe about how hard it is to be a writer because of ____. Fill in the blank. Instead what I wanted for us to ask the how questions. How can we achieve our writing goals? How can we improve as a writer? How can we get our blogs better known? How can we attract more success in our writing? How can we publish more books? No easy answers, but the right questions will put you on the correct path.

I also thought it’s a good idea to start each meeting with talking about our writing success since our last meeting. What have we written, sold, published? To attract success you must focus on your success—every day, every week, every month. The more conscious you are about your successes, the more you’ll attract even more successes into your life. Success breeds more success. Even with a little success, achieving a personal goal with your writing, can get you all fired up, even inspired. You start to see the possibilities. And that’s something I’m starting to see while meeting other writers in Kuching.

I’ve also just began tracking my blog stats. In order to get where you want to be, you need to know where you are. That was something that came out of our first two meetings, discussing where we are exactly. Prior to that, I never checked my stats. Didn’t have a clue. Now I know exactly where I’m at. I’m an American expat writer in Borneo @ Borneo Expat Writer: Attracting Success.

*Here's a another view of the meeting from Annie's blog Another Day in Borneo.
** Here's also the follow up blog Two American Writers in Borneo.

***Update: Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in,,, and Petit Futé mag.

****Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie, a link to meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and also to order a copy or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.

*****Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.


sintaicharles said...

What a meaningful get-together.

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Thanks. It starts with the positive energy we bring to it, but it's so easy to get distracted my your own personal writing drama and the writing world in general, which can be, for most writers, very depressing.

Each day it's like your own personal battle. Just got to get into that mood, today I'm writing and I'm willing to learn from others who may know something I don't. It's humbling, but effective.

We all have our blind spots, and someone else's passing comment can be very illuminating, so long as we don't get defensive and start rationalizing or making excuses as to why we can't do that...

Just say, that's interesting, maybe I should look into that. Make a note (we brought notebooks!) Then look into it! It's still all about action. What are you actually going to do next?

Just whatever you, don't complain. Focus on your successes and create more of them!