Part of the How They Do It Series
Writing can be a challenging profession, and a lot of work goes into it with no guarantee that we'll be successful. Even when we do get a win, it can be short lived. To keep us sane and motivated, it's important to believe in ourselves and our writing. Please help me welcome Season Robbins to the podium today to share some encouraging thoughts about having faith in what we do.
Season writes middle grade and young adult novels, and is at the stage where she's just about ready to query. To combat the her submission nerves, she started writing notes of inspiration, then thought, "Hey, these might help someone else as well!" She blogs her encouragement at The Loving Writer.
Take it away Season...
Part 1: The Why
I enjoy reading other people's blogs and oftentimes, debut writers will say something like:
"I knew this was going to be the book. I had a feeling as soon as I got the idea for it."I always think, wow, that's awesome! They knew. But how did they know? And how come I don't know?
Because really, I would like to know. That would a great piece of information to have when I'm feeling down. And when I'm happy. That would be great to know all the time!
But then I think, wait, maybe it wasn't that they had a special ability to "know" the novel will get published. Just the opposite. Maybe it was actually the fact that they believed in it so strongly, and "knew" without a doubt that this was the one, that made it get published.
Maybe it was that confidence and energy they put into the work and then used to woo agents and editors that got that specific book published.
So remember that. Your main job is to believe in yourself. Yes, you have to do the actual work as well, but it's the confidence that will make your work stand out and reach others.
Even if other people are like, "Well, I don't know if this is going to be your breakout novel or if this is the right time for this kind of novel, etc."
Doesn't matter. Believe in your work. Show people it is the right time. Love your work, and others will follow.
Part 2: The How: Or, Three Tips That Will Change Your Life (Especially the Last One)
1. Commit to commitment.
Few things can make you feel as safe and secure as knowing that you've picked this thing (writing in our case), and you're sticking with it. For so long, I had the attitude of: “If I’m not good at this, I'll move on to something else.” (And I wasn't even aware of it!) But it made me constantly compare myself to other writers, and it made me miserable. So don't worry about being “good enough.” Stick with it and know that you will become good enough simply through the magical process of work over time.
2. Remember that the outside world fluctuates.
That is normal. If you anchor your dreams and hopes, your self-esteem, and your whole heart to the outside world, you'll be in for a wild and not always pleasant roller coaster ride. If you want things to feel smoother, anchor within.
But then you might say:
There’s nothing in there for me to hold onto/the voices in there aren't very nice. This leads to the next tip:
3. Reprogram your mind.
I know that for me, despair used to visit my home every afternoon for tea. Do not feed it. It is entirely up to you how you manage your thoughts. What you chose to let in versus what you ignore. Do not feed the despair. Like the saying goes, “If you feed them, they won't leave.” Despair is destructive, it isn't serving you, and it needs to go.
So how do we literally “change” our mind? Reprogramming takes about 21-30 days, and it totally works. If you like to know all the technical details, a good book to get is Rewired by Richard O’Connor. I got through about the first two chapters, and then I just got it. I didn't need it proven any further and moved on to practicing techniques.
They key is to be consistent. You can read things that inspire you every morning, and then write the new beliefs you're feeding yourself in a journal or a blog (that’s how my blog got started).
Feed yourself good thoughts and beliefs such as:
I am good enough. I don't need to change. I am thankful for every moment. I learn from everything and grow stronger. I know my dreams will come true as long as I'm committed to them. I’m glad to be alive. I matter. I can make a difference. I am safe. I am creative. I am powerful. I am loving. I am loved. I am true to myself. I am perceptive. I am part of a whole.
If you're not used to thoughts like these, it might feel too good to be true at first. So it’s important to be consistent and patient with this process.
My days went like this:
Week 1: Yeah, this all sounds really great, but, c'mon? Is that really me?
Week 2: You know, I've heard all this stuff before, and it makes sense. I really wish it were true. That would be nice.
Week 3: I’m getting used to these ideas. And really, I'm not that bad. I’ve done x and y, and they're pretty cool. And even without x and y, I know that deep down I am pretty cool and have always really known it.
Week 4: I am awesome! I feel so much better! I still have “potholes” in my thinking where I revert to how I used to think, but mostly I'm thinking positively, and it gets easier every day.
As well as thinking positive thoughts and writing down positive beliefs, another great tool is a book called The Healing Codes by Dr. Alex Loyd. In just three days of using the techniques inside this book, I went from avoiding my writing and having images of “failure” to “So… what do we need to work on today?” and “Sure, I can do that.” This is a really powerful book. It works by helping heal any negative emotions you might have associated with situations. I highly recommend it.
So that’s all the tips I have for today. Try number three. Seriously, it will change your life.
Thank you for “listening” to me!