Beginners Mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, staying full of curiosity and wonder.
I have tried and been fairly successful with staying in a beginners mind when it came to writing, publishing, and marketing my books. Especially with Untangled. Not only because it’s my memoir, but because I understood the gratitude I would feel each time someone purchased the book and read it. It’s been sixteen months since Untangled has been published. Not only do I feel gratitude at the way the book has grown legs, but I feel extremely humbled by the feedback I receive from readers. My hope is that the book continues to reach more people every day.
When I decided to self-publish Untangled, it was because I wanted control of the voice in my book, I wanted all the rights and I wasn’t willing to bend on any of that. I worked closely with my editor to make sure that happened, contentious moments sometimes spent over a word. My editor was doing her job, and I was stubborn, but also learned that part of this process is to be flexible and listen. I read, went to workshops, consulted with experts on what is the best way to market my book and what platform I should use to publish it. I listened to many ideas, and let go of the one’s didn’t resonate with me. With each statement of how hard it is to get a book into readers hands, I simply said, “why wouldn’t people want to read this book?” I kept an attitude of openness, I was eager to market the book in a way that I could handle and to this day I am in wonder at how well it sells.
For the past five months, my collaborating partner and I have worked on a (treatment? pitch? screenplay outline?) for a movie loosely based on Untangled. It keeps the heart of the book, we see her dealing with, living, surviving and trying to thrive with her PTSD, but the movie form is an intense thriller taking place across both the United States and many parts of the world. It’s different, exciting and of course, has a great ending.
We have been extremely fortunate that people have taken an interest in our movie. We have had two meetings and will have another one today. We have been lucky that people have been willing to say, I know the assistant to the person (who produces all the ____ movies). Maybe, that assistant will talk to his boss, maybe not. What matters to us, is that people have taken an active interest and continued to cheer us on, as we worked diligently to create something interesting, exciting and inspirational.
Yesterday, driving home from a meeting, after hearing the business side of movie making, next steps to take, and the prohibitive costs of having something to pitch, it could have been a sobering, throw in the towel experience. My partner looked at me, and said,” We are so lucky that we have a beginners mind. We can do this, there are a lot of ways to go about this, we aren’t in the business and haven’t been jaded, and we aren’t afraid to hear, no.” We have a great concept, a great detailed movie outline; literally, someone can read our 50 pages, plus the character outline and see the movie come to life. Someone will say yes, and someone will option to make this film.
My partner and I have an attitude of openness, eagerness, staying full of curiosity and wonder as we continue to try and make contacts. Will it be a lot of work? I hope so! This passionate project has already been a lot of work, and we are committed to sharing the message that no matter what happens to a person (a real-life person), even if they live with sometimes debilitating PTSD, they can get help, and have a life. There is no sugar coating in our movie, but just like Alexis in real life, there is a resiliency and stubborn hopefulness that leaves the audience feeling resolved after a wild and thrilling ride.
We will continue to try to stay in our Beginners Mind as we pitch this movie. Look for it on a screen near you…it’s going to happen…why not?