I suck at this. Why did I even go into this? What was I thinking? Why can’t I just be content doing my day job? Why do I keep pretending like this is going somewhere?
The above negative thoughts…and then some…pop into my mind at different times during my week. Usually when I am second guessing why I went down the self-publishing route or wondering about low sales, or why I chose to put my writing out there instead of just keeping it as a hobby. I am sure I am not alone with dealing with the constant internal critques and trying to counter these attacks with positive thoughts, since these negative thoughts can detain me from doing what I love to do- writing.
So how do we handle this? I realize that I am my own worst critic and that these thoughts are just “Noise” but it’s so difficult to ignore the noise, especially at times when you feel you are ready to throw in the towel. For me there are three key things to help me get through these negative times:
1) Build a Support Group- This could be anyone positive in your life who is supportive of your dream and your journey. It can be a family member, a close friend, a fellow author, a co-worker- basically anyone who will snap you out of your rut. This person will remind you of your dream and all that you have accomplished thus far, and remind your subconscious that throwing in the towel is not an option. This person is like a coach in a boxing match (Yes I just watched Rocky the other night). After you have been knocked down a couple of times, this person will coach you in the corner, give you a squirt of water and prepare you for Round 2.
2) A Healthy Lifestyle– When I am working long hours at work, not exercising and not eating right I find that my creative juices aren’t flowing like they should be and I am not at my creative peak. This leads to a lot of internal strife, stress and aggravation. Once I turn my life around and start finding time for me again and putting myself first, I find that I am thinking more positive thoughts and not abusing myself. I am not only feeling better but I am thinking better and liking myself more. I watched this great documentary on Netflix called “Hungry For Change.” Dr. Northrup gave some great advice. She said to write the following on a post-it and stick it on your bathroom wall. Every morning for thirty days you need to read it out loud. “I accept myself unconditionally right now”. Even if you feel like you need to lose ten pounds, hate your hair, your thighs, etc. you need to say it and believe it. It is about self-love and that will translate both internally and externally and stop the bad thoughts from flowing.
3) Keep Writing- My sister, who is a songwriter, went to Nashville and was so excited that a music producer was going to listen to a compilation of songs that she had written. The guy listened to it, and then said two of the songs were ok but would never sell. She went home feeling distraught and felt like a failure. As writers we can relate. Getting a negative review on Amazon, or getting the twentieth rejection letter from an agent or publishing house. But my sister, who thought she would never write another song again, just wrote a song for her elementary music class that she teaches at and they sang it at their spring concert. That one music producer may not have liked her music, but the class of third, fourth and fifth graders sure did and sang their hearts out. So the best way to counter the negativity is to keep writing and showcase new and better material. And you challenge yourself to try something new and different and may even surprise you. And when writing I feel like I can conquer anything… even myself and my negativity.
So the next time you get confronted by your own negative thoughts, stop and remember…. it all is just noise. If you do the above three steps and then some, the noise will pass and you will find that the negativity is trumped by positive thoughts and new stories that you have written. Get ready for Round 2. It’s just getting started. Bring it On!