Romance writers, and writers in general, tend to be quite hard on themselves. I think most people are like that. We focus on the negatives and what we’re not good at. We pay attention to our faults, our weaknesses, and our mistakes. In romance writing it sounds like this…
- I’m terrible at writing dialogue.
- I love writing sex scenes, but stink at plotting
- I like my characters, but I don’t have a story.
- My introductions are always so boring.
- I just can’t seem to find time to write.
- I should be writing more.
- There’s too much competition in my genre, it’s not worth submitting.
And on and on. These are actual quotes that I hear from people every day.
I do the same thing. I’m not immune to negative thinking. But I’m working on it because here’s the thing…
Negative thinking is unproductive. It doesn’t get you anywhere, right? They closely resemble complaints and excuses and in many cases that’s exactly what they are.
A Little Experiment that’s Reaping Huge Rewards
The other day I started doing something different. I wish I could say that I planned it out and take some sort of ownership of it but it really just happened by accident. I am in the process of a 30 day no sugar cleanse where I was also trying to meditate and incorporate a few more positive habits. Each day I’d put a big X on the calendar.
The problem was, I was simply crossing off days, I wasn’t succeeding at everything on my little list. I grabbed a notebook and wrote
Day 1: And I made a list of all of the things that I did that day. For example, it said “No sugar,” “meditation,” “gratitude.”
Day 2: “No sugar,” “no alcohol,” “meditation,” “Exercise,” “write 500 words,” and so on.
By the time I got to the 5th day, I was really feeling quite positive about this experiment. Each day shows a lovely little list of the things that I’m doing right and the list is growing. It’s turning out to be an extremely powerful habit that’s shifting my mindset.
The How’s and The What’s of The “Good Job” Practice
As the experiment progresses here are my thoughts:
- Write your “good jobs” at night before you go to bed. There’s nothing like ending the day on a high note and acknowledging what you did right that day.
- Write it, don’t type it. Find a lovely journal or notebook. I’ve been using these Composition Notebooks (they’re cheap and pretty). There’s something about writing that makes a stronger connection in your brain. And this is, in part, a mindset exercise.
- Accountability is part of the gain. When you write down what you do well, not only does it shift you from a negative mindset to a positive one, it holds you accountable to continue doing those positive steps and tasks.
Why Give it A Try?
I’ve found that I am feeling more positive both about my writing but about life in general. When you feel more positive you’re also able to focus more easily, work harder, and enjoy tasks quite a bit more. Instead of hurdles and blockages, you see opportunities. It makes both life, and writing, a whole lot more fun.
It also builds an awareness about just how many things you do right each and every day. You’d be surprised what an amazingly talented, motivated, and productive person that you are.
Finally, this “good job” habit helps you follow through on the goals you want to achieve and helps you become the person that you want to be.
Applying it to Your Writing Life
Applying this to your own writing practice is easy. Depending on what positive steps and ideas you want to embrace, you simply start there. The following are ideas to help you get started.
- Wrote 500 words
- Wrote without editing and let the thoughts and words flow
- Focused on my writing strengths today
- Spoke positively about my work in progress
- Connected with other writers
- Learned about writing: plotting, dialogue, characterization, etc…
- Embraced my writing weaknesses as opportunities to learn and improve
The list could go on and on. The point is that if you want to start feeling better about your goals and skills as a writer, give it a try. You may find that it’s a ridiculously simple way to empower yourself, to gain a positive mindset, and to achieve your writing (and life) goals.