Don’t Be Sneaky is about being honest with yourself about your real motives and not doing things just to get something out of it for yourself.
The original lojong slogan is: Don’t act with a twist. When you act with a twist you have an ulterior motive. The ego does this because it feels insecure so is always looking for ways to appear better, stronger, happier, and so on. Your ego wants everyone to see you a certain way and will do whatever it can to achieve that.
So this slogan tells you not to lie to yourself, or others, about what you’re really doing and feeling. If you’re being selfish, be honest about it. Don’t deceive yourself about your motives. Don’t sneak around and use others so you can feel better about yourself.
This kind of manipulative behaviour can be quite subtle and you might not realise you’re doing it. Even spiritual practices like meditation can be twisted into serving the ego’s agenda. Being nice so that others will like you is manipulative and dishonest, and it doesn’t fool anyone.
Your ulterior motives will backfire eventually, so you may as well be honest.
Apply this slogan to your writing practice when you’re tempted to become a marketeer. Nobody wants to spend all their time interacting with people who are relentlessly trying to sell them things. As a writer, it can be hard to work out how to spread the word about your writing without falling into this trap.
You will need to be honest with yourself about your motives and think about why you’re writing in the first place. Are you a writer or a bookseller?
When you share your work, see it as an outpouring of your creativity and ideas, not as an opportunity to make a quick buck. You can’t control how others respond to your work and trying to manipulate them into responding the way you want will backfire. You can share your writing whether people respond or not, whether they buy your books or not.
Exercise: In your slogan journal, write about how you feel about selling your writing. How does it make you feel? How do you feel when others try to sell things to you?
More in the book – available now: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers