Columns > Published on March 13th, 2020

Stay Positive, and Write

Images via Andrea Piacquadio & Ivan Bertolazzi

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that allow people and their communities to thrive. The field of positive psychology is based on the understanding that we all want to live lives that are meaningful, and that we all want to be able to do what is best for ourselves to enhance and optimize our life experiences. 

As writers, we assume that writing is an enjoyable task, or at least a task we want to be engaged with. I assume that writing makes you happy. It should make you happy. Creatives should enjoy the work that they do, and having a positive mindset is important for our mood, our emotions and our work. Being creative and being happy while creating generally helps us feel better. However, there are many areas of writing that can make us feel not so positive. There are areas of writing and the business of writing that can generate anxiety, fear, anger, and so many emotions that are ultimately not positive.

Following are three simple methods that can help you stay positive about writing and your writing career.

1. Start your day right, without distraction

Creatives should enjoy the work that they do, and having a positive mindset is important for our mood, our emotions and our work.

What is the very first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning? If the very first thing that you do is reach for your mobile device then stop. Take a few minutes just for yourself. Reaching for our phones as soon as we wake up, checking our email, scrolling through social media can contribute to our anxiety, and this energy can continue on with you for your entire day. So, stop. Wake up, take a moment in bed to recognize yourself, and in that moment place a positive thought or goal in your mind. 

Positive thoughts or goals can include things like:

  • Today is a great day
  • I will write X amount of words today
  • I will do X type of research on my writing project today
  • I will edit X pages today
  • I will submit that short story, novel, etc. to X publisher(s) today

Some of the positive thoughts that I have said to myself in the morning that have come to fruition include:

  • I will get a literary agent
  • I will become a published author
  • I will become an award-winning author

This moment in bed, or in front of your bathroom mirror right before you brush your teeth, this moment of groggy sleepiness, this ‘I have awakened to a fresh new day’ is your moment to program your mind and your thinking into a positive setting. If the kids are screaming, let your partner handle them for a moment. If your partner or dog or cat are at the door demanding your attention, firmly tell them you need a few minutes. Take just a few seconds here in the morning to tell yourself you are amazing, you are a wonderful writer, you are happy, you love writing, writing makes you happy, and that you are a successful and accomplished writer. Do it. Look at yourself in the mirror now and tell yourself ‘I am a successful writer.’ 

2. Believe you are a talented, successful writer

Here’s the trick - do you know why positive affirmations don’t work? Because people just go through the motions and do not believe it. You have to believe it. You have to believe that you are amazing. You are successful. You know why? Because you are a writer. You wrote ideas from your brain onto a page and you do it over and over again. That’s incredible. Even though you are not where you may want to be as a writer in terms of career successes, you have to completely believe that you will get to where you want to be. Believe in yourself. Allow yourself to feel good in that belief that you are talented and successful, because guess what? You are!

3. Stop your negative thoughts

If you have a negative thought catch it immediately. You do not want to get stuck in a negative thought loop. Repetitive negative thinking is a cycle of negative thoughts or feelings or ideas that can imprison you in a bad mood. Have you ever woken up in the morning and reached for your phone and saw some news that made you upset? Maybe you got a rejection on a story that you thought was perfect for a specific publisher? Maybe you received a rejection from an agent who said they could not connect with your work? Or, maybe you were on submission to multiple publishers for your novel and an editor came back and just did not love your concept? Well, how did you feel afterward? You probably did not feel so good. You should not allow that moment in time to consume you. Recognize that event. Recognize that feeling that came with that event and trap that negative thought loop before it happens. Tell yourself that you are a good writer. Tell yourself that you will find another agent or publisher for your work and that person will be the champion that you need for your career.  

So again, if you have a negative thought recognize it. Thank it because the negative thought is telling you what you do not want, and how you do not want to feel. Then, simply replace that negative thought with a positive thought.

It sounds wild. It sounds crazy, but psychology has told us over and over again how powerful our minds are. Thoughts are there. You can’t see them, but they impact your mood, your emotions and your physiology. Thoughts are real and thoughts have a very real impact in our everyday lives. Improvements will come in small steps. This is something that you will have to work at, but I believe in you. I believe in your talent and your success, and I believe that you should have the power to think great thoughts about yourself. Believe and know that you are talented. I believe it.

About the author

Cina Pelayo is the author of Loteria, Santa Muerte, The Missing, Poems of My Night, short stories, poems, and more. 

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