Does Your Habitual Thinking About Writing Serve You?

Sitting-outside-park-33150-lThe other night, in the middle of the night, I came to a realization (I guess being wakeful has its uses). The realization was this: every time I think of something I want, my next thought is, but I can't afford it.  It doesn't matter if I'm thinking about buying a luxury automobile or a five cent piece of candy, every thought about something I may buy is inexorably linked to I can't afford it.

Talk about habitual thinking.

Talk about negative habitual thinking.

This thought was so ingrained that it took a drowsy, unguarded moment to shake it loose, and I was actually amazed that I remembered it in the morning.  As I thought about it, I pondered buried habitual thoughts and wondered how many I might harbor about writing.  Quite a few, I'd wager.  Thoughts like:

I'm a writer. But I'm unpublished.

Not too harmful, right?  Except that what we focus on grows.  So how about changing that thought to:

I'm a soon-to-be published writer.

Great, you say, except…'s not so easy.

Yeah, I hear you.  And I've also been working diligently on changing my habitual thoughts for years.  The morning I woke up with the realization I think I can't afford anything, I wrote down the process I use for changing thoughts and herewith share it with you. 

1.  Be Aware.  This is probably the hardest part–figuring out what those habitual thoughts are. Once you start to pay attention, it gets easier.  The old stalwart brain training rituals like meditation or exercise will help here also.

2.  Feel.  It's not enough to become aware, you've also got to feel it in your body.  You've brought it up from the murky depths, don't let it sink back in.  What part of your body does it lodge in?  How does it make you feel? Concentrate on it and allow it to intensify.

3.  Cut Cords. Imagine fine silky cords running between your original thought (I'm a writer) and your negative thought (But I'm still unpublished). Now lop those cords off.  That's right, go ahead and snip 'em.  If you believe in guides and spirits you can ask one of them to do the cutting. Doesn't matter.  Just get rid of the cords.

4. Think a New Thought.  One unencumbered by negativity.  Like, oh, say, I'm a writer.  Plain and simple.  Because you are!

5.  Rinse and Repeat.  Whenever you're feeling down, look at your thoughts.  And repeat this process as needed.  It really does help. 

In general, changing your thoughts makes a huge difference.  At the very least, it is way more pleasant to think positive thoughts than negative thoughts.  At the very most, it could make an enormous difference in your writing career. (Because, what we focus on is what grows.)

So, tell me–how do you deal with habitual negative writing thoughts?

***And don't forget my Get Your Novel Written Now class, gearing up for a new session in October.  Sign up here.

Image of woman sitting on the bench by Zizzy0104.

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8 Responses to Does Your Habitual Thinking About Writing Serve You?

  1. Sandy 09/13/2012 at 08:54 #

    I have been trying for the longest time to rid myself of the ‘I’m unpublished’ negative thought. I believe I’m a writer, I represent myself as a writer on social media and various blogs I comment on, but every so often I’ll hear that little voice in the back of my head. ‘You’re unpublished. What gives you the right to say anything about writing?’. I try to shut him up, but it’s an ongoing process.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 09/13/2012 at 11:34 #

    It is an ongoing process, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Really helps to replace it with a new thought.  I think people give up on positive thinking because its a lifelong journey, not an easy fix.  And yet, it truly makes a difference.  As the saying goes, it works if you work it–so keep working it!  It'll get easier!

  3. Cat York 09/14/2012 at 07:06 #

    I go through this with my art as well. Great post. Good advice!

  4. Charlotte Dixon 09/14/2012 at 07:39 #

    Isn't it amazing how we creatives all face the same issues?  Thanks for dropping by, Cat.

  5. Fear of Writing 09/14/2012 at 19:09 #

    Excellent stuff. I love how you were able to remember that important realization the next morning. It ain’t easy!

    I totally agree that self-awareness is the first step. I also find it very helpful to perceive the sabotage-thoughts as not being the real me. I sometimes refer to it as a micro-chip. Or a greebly. I’m not sure where it comes from, or what it’s higher purpose is (to test us?), but I firmly believe it’s not who we really are. For me, being clear about that helps both with self-forgiveness and for doing battle with it.

    I’m getting to the point where I’m so P.O.ed with my greebly that I’m not lying down to take the guff anymore. I don’t want to swear out loud on your blog but the other day I found it so utterly liberating just to tell it to #$@% OFF!! I’d heard it sneaking around trying to whisper that I should be afraid of X, and I caught it red-handed. Not only did I tell it where to get off, I told it that I’m busy living the gifts I was given (and I listed them for good measure) so “too bad, so sad, you’re outta work buddy.”

    After years of being way too intimidated by the propoganda from my microchip to even dream up such a reaction, I felt like I’d just given birth to WOMAN POWER!!

    (I love the way you seem to always write about what I’m going through.)

  6. Charlotte Dixon 09/14/2012 at 20:39 #

    Ooh, I love the name greebly!  That is great!  I may have to borrow that…and yeah, I totally agree with you, its important to tell the greebly to #$%^ off.  It's amazing how they shrink back to nothing when we finally do!  I love your comments, Milli.

  7. Debbie Maxwell Allen 09/17/2012 at 11:18 #

    Great thoughts, Charlotte! You always make things so practical.


  8. Charlotte Dixon 09/17/2012 at 11:19 #

    Thanks, Debbie!  Appreciate you stopping by.

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