Ask for What You Need

This past weekend I was with a friend of mine who’s also a writer. I told her I wanted to start working with a writing partner. We’ve been in the same critique groups before and we’ve always worked well together, so I asked her if she wanted to start working together again. 

She told me she couldn’t commit to that right now. 

The very next day this same friend texted me to say that a past writing partner had contacted her and was looking for a writing partner and wanted to know if she was available. She wasn’t but wanted to know if I was. 

I was!

She told him about me and vice versa. I don’t know yet what will come of this, but the moral of the story is: ask for what you need. 

Tell people what you want. 

Put it out there. 

You never know what will happen. 

Barbara Sher’s famous book, Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want, offers this same advice. 

Just the act of telling another person what you want—or 7 people, as Ms. Sher recommends—has magic in it. 

My friend wasn’t ready to become my writing partner, but the act of expressing my wish—out loud, in the world, to another person—changed the energy of my wish. It stopped being an internal circle, going around and around in my mind (where I’d been thinking about it for months) and created a forward momentum.

My friend said “no,” (for now) but the Universe didn’t. It started looking around on my behalf. 

You don’t have to believe me. (This is how I explain such things to myself.)

But try it. 

If you are looking for a beta-reader, ask the people you know who read and talk about
books if they will read your work. Tell the others, too—the people in your life who like movies over books, for example—because they may know someone who’s always looking for a good read. 

If you’d like to work with a critique group, tell people you’d like to work with a critique group. Create a flyer starting a critique group and post it at your local library.

If you want more dedicated writing time, say that—out loud—to the people in your life. Your partner may respond with, “Why don’t I take the kids to karate on Saturday mornings so you can write?” (We can dream, right?)

Or something much more indirect may happen: Your co-worker will ask you to carpool and at the same time asks for silence so when it’s not your turn to drive, you get 45 minutes of uninterrupted writing time twice that day. 

It takes courage to ask for what you need, what you want. Someone may say “no.” 

But if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.” 

Ask. Put it out there. 

Take advantage of the magic.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, is a Master Certified Life Coach who used to work as a Family Physician. She’s passionate about writing and journaling and is (still!) working on her first book, a self-help book for medical peeps. You can find her at her website, www.dianemackinnon.com.

4 thoughts on “Ask for What You Need

  1. I was just thinking about this the other day! I’ve been doing a lot of personal work around why I don’t acknowledge my needs/desires and why I have such difficulty voicing my needs…and almost never voice my wants. I just started reading “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer and she shares some similar thoughts. Thank you for sharing! This was some much needed encouragement 😊

  2. Thank you for this post. Yes in magic and in all sorts of help books it is very clear. My life I have always found in a spiritual sense, is complete because I follow the Shepherd, and He said “Ask and keep on asking’. I have asked for all I need in all areas to Live for Him. Amazing, wonderful and fulfilling have been the replies. My wants I also express but many times the wants diminish as I find they are unnecessary. Thank you for expressing the encouragements. .

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