The Radical Act of Play

Wonderbook-coverI'm reading two books about writing at the moment, and together they are making my head explode. In a good way.  It's exploding with ideas.

The first one is called Wonderbook, and it is by Jeff Vandermeer.  I'm only at the very beginning of this baby, having just gotten hold of it last week.  This book is like no other writing book you've ever seen, I guarantee it.  Wonderbook is a lavishly illustrated feast of information, essays, and tips for the writer in all stages of writing a novel.   Just go check out the site to see what I mean. It's an amazing book in conception and finished product.

In the opening section, on inspiration, Vandermeer writes about play and how we sometimes (more like often) sneer at it, as if it is beneath us, as if play, at its heart, is not the very essence of creativity.  To wit:

"Modern ideals of functionality and the trend toward seamless design in our technology have taken the very human striving for perfection and given us the illusion of having attained it (which, ironically, seems very dehumanizing).  In this environment, some writers second-guess their instincts and devalue the sense of play that infuses creative endeavors: "This antique Tiffany lamp must provide light right now, even before I screw in the lightbulb and plug it in, or it's worthless."

Vandermeer goes on to point out that the idea of play thus becomes "immature and frivolous" and we come to think that "all creative processes should be efficient, timely, linear, organized and easily summarized."

I think this also has to do with our emphasis on time, or more to the point, the lack thereof. Taking time to play and be creative seems like at time-waster when it doesn't immediately produce a finished piece.  This attitude can lead to a reluctance to use prompts or writing exercises, or to do anything that isn't directly related to our WIP.

Which leads me to the second book I'm reading, The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way From Inspiration to Publication, by Dan Millman and Sierra Prasada.  (Please note, the publisher, New World Library, graciously provided me with a copy of the book for review. I'll be sharing more about it in a future post.)  The authors delineate five stages that the writer goes through Dream, Draft, Develop, Refine, Share.  Right now I'm reading about the first stage, Dream, in which, "a sticky idea calls you on a quest, and you set out to slay your own dragons."
Creative-compass

The authors talk about starting a conversation with yourself, and then take it further to a technique they call Dreaming in Dialogue.  (Which I'm not sure is the best name, because whenever I see the word dialogue in a writing book I presume it's talking about the act of writing about conversation between characters.)  But, I love, love, love the technique itself and I think it is a fun writing exercise–worthy of taking time to play with.

The idea is to initiate a conversation with your alter ego, as they call it.  So, on the page, you actually have a back and forth about your plot (or whatever).  So (I made all the following up):

Writer: And then the angel landed right in front of her and she got scared so she ran away.

Alter Ego: Why did she get scared?

Writer: Because angels are scary, with their big wings and the whooshing noise they make as they fly.

Alter Ego: They make a whooshing noise as they fly?

Writer: Yes, and they also sing loudly.

I can see how this technique would be useful in furthering a writer's knowledge of the story he's trying to get on paper.  To use it a slightly different way, the authors mention that Harold Robbins, he of the glorious potboiler novels, started each day out with a conversation with his typewriter, who spoke to him as a female.  So you can use this technique with yourself, an imaginary person, or an inanimate object.

I know exactly who I'm going to try it out with: a character who resides within in named Passionate Creator.  She's the one responsible for all the writing I churn out.  She lolls about on a tufted chaise lounge, eating chocolate and sipping wine, and writes and writes and writes.  She can't be bothered with anything having to do beyond actually getting words on the page (that would be the job of Layla, Business Lady, who Passionate Creator ordered from a catalog).  But man, oh man, is she good at getting the writing done!  So we're going to have us a conversation about where the novel is going, she and I.

(I wrote about play a little bit a couple years ago, in this post. )

What books have inspired you lately?  What playful techniques have you used to engage your creativity?

 

One Technique for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Gray_brick_block_220245_lAh, our old friend writer's block.  It can take so many shapes and sizes, just like fear, which it is, of course, based on.  And just as writer's block can take a gazillion different forms, so, too, can its cure.  Which is why you should try a variety of strategies if you are hit with writer's block, whether you're procrastinating writing the next scene in your novel or haven't been able to work on your memoir in years.  Here's one possible approach.

A friend told me this tip in regards to getting over procrastination and getting things done (clearing out clutter, anyone?) in non-writing arenas of life.  But it will work just as well for you (yes, you) with your writing block.

Here's the crux of it: micro action.

All you have to do is commit to one small (tiny, even) action each day.  Do that and call it good.  Really.  Consider it done.  You've accomplished your goal.

Here's a non-writing example.  I've got an upstairs that has somehow accumulated quite a bit of clutter that I'd like to clean up.  But I'm busy.  I've got a book launch coming up and I'm doing publicity for that while maintaining this blog and continuing to do client work and teach.  And plus, I hate clearing clutter.  I get confused and overwhelmed really fast.  Like five minutes fast.  So here's my micro action: deal with one piece of paper or item per day.  That's it.  That's all I have to do.  The other day I picked up a piece of paper and put it in the recycling bag.  And I had met my goal.

 I'm not sure what the experts say about why this works, but here's why I think it does: because it gets you used to doing whatever it is you're avoiding.  And then you realize it's not the big scary monster you think it is.  When you don't do something, it tends to loom large and take on proportions way bigger than reality.  The other thing that happens is that you trick yourself into it.  That one piece of paper uncovers another that I deal with in the moment and then another and another and before you know it, the shelf is cleaned off.

So let's apply this to writing.

If you're seriously blocked (and really, any block is a serious block because we writers are born to write and when we're not writing life is not good) set yourself a micro action goal of writing one sentence.  If you're seriously seriously blocked, maybe your goal will be one word.  That's your accomplishment.  Write your word or sentence and you are done for the day.  Or maybe you'll set the goal to write for one minute.  Or five minutes.   I'd be willing to bet serious money that eventually–way sooner than you think at this moment–that one sentence will turn into a paragraph, which will then turn into a scene. And you'll be writing again.  Because here's the deal: you've established yourself a habit.  And once something is habitual, it's not scary anymore.  (Unless you're smoking.  Or drinking too much.  Then it gets frightening.)

Here's a tip–don't become an overachiever, at least when you first start this process.  For instance, I'm using this process to re-commit to a regular walking routine after injuring my knee. If I so much as walk out the door I've accomplished my goal.  But for me, getting outside (step away from the computer…) is the hardest thing to do, so usually, once I'm walking, I'm quite happy.  I noticed last week on a walk that my knee was starting to get a bit tired.  And my reaction was to start coercing myself to do more.  Telling myself I hadn't gone far enough.  Berating myself for being lazy.  But then I remembered–I'd already accomplished my goal.  And I headed for home.   Because of this attitude and my micro goal,  I now look forward to walking.

So if you're struggling to make forward motion on a big project, try this micro action technique.  And then report back after your novel is on the best-seller list.

Have you ever tried something like this to get yourself going again?  What were the results?

 **By the way, speaking of book launches, wouldn't you like to celebrate mine with me?  Click here for the details.

Photo by Rotorhead.

Essential Conditions for Writing Success

Pencil_notebook_writing_237689_lWhat, exactly are the essential conditions for writing success you ask?

Here's a hint:  only you can figure them out for yourself.

Let me explain a bit about the type of conditions I'm talking about here.

Last month (I guess it's actually last year now) I took an afternoon workshop from a fabulous woman named Janet Connor.  In it she told the story of how she went from making an appointment to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to making $12,000 in one month. 

Janet figured out the secret to manifestation.  And that secret is this, from Thich Nhat Hanh: "When the conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestation."  Turns out this is also, in slightly different words, of course, wisdom from Jesus and the Buddha and probably a whole host of other wise figures as well.

Once you get the underlying conditions of your life in order, all else will follow. 

Janet's conditions are of a spiritual nature, things like saying her prayers out loud every day.  I think it's a wonderful idea to figure out what your spiritual conditions for a fabulous life might be, but our topic here is writing.  And I believe the concept of uncovering the conditions that will call forth your best writing (and thus, I also believe, your best self) can be enormously beneficial as we start this new year.

Only you know what your conditions will be, but to give you a little boost, I offer up my own as an example:

–Deep journaling every morning.  This is not the same as morning pages, at least to me.  Yes, I do them first thing every day and yes they are free-form and uncrafted.  But my morning pages tend to devolve into to-do lists and minor rants about what's wrong with my life.  My deep journaling is more exploratory, more questioning, more connected to spirit.

–Write at least one hour every day on my own projects.  As a writer and a writing teacher, I do a lot of work around writing.  I read and comment on manuscripts.  I write blog posts and newsletters and guest posts.  I create workshops and classes.  I love doing all these things, but sometimes my own writing gets pushed aside.  And so one of my conditions is to spend at least one hour every day writing, really writing, on my own projects.

–Breathe.  Sometimes I become conscious that my breathe has caught in my throat.  Yeah, not a good thing for a writer, seeing as how the communication chakra is located in the throat.  How can I hope to write freely if I'm not breathing freely?

–Ask for help.  When things aren't going well, I need to remember to ask for help.  I intended this to be about asking for help from God (or spirit, if the word God makes your nervous, or goddess, or universe, or Allah or your higher self) because that always seems to work.  But as I started writing about it, I realized that asking for help can take many forms.  Requesting that a trusted friend read a manuscript, or hiring a coach.  The idea is to be willing to be humble enough to ask.

Those are my conditions.  Now you might be wondering how to go about figuring out yours?  Mine have revealed themselves in two ways:

–Through writing.  No, duh.  For a writer, the best way to discover anything is to write about it. 

–Through meditation and prayer.  Sometimes I think that my most powerful meditation is actually through the act of writing.  But irregardless of that, I still do my best to find time to sit in silence every day.

So, how about you?  Does this idea of conditions appeal to you?  Do you know what your conditions might be?

***By the way, according to my calculations there are 42 days until my novel is released.  I'll post the cover image here as soon as I get it from my editor!

Photo by len-k-a.

We Are the Light

Lights_christmas_light_226589_lWe've made it to the eve of another Christmas.

Not only that, we've sailed through what some feared would be the end of the world and many others felt would be the dawning of a new world, with a different consciousness.

There's been quite a bit of darkness along the way.  Recent shootings here in the United States have left many of us with a heavy heart.  The first thing I thought when I woke this morning was: it's Christmas Eve!  And the next thing I thought about was all the families that won't have their children to celebrate with this year.

The other night, my friend Rachel came over for dinner and she and my husband and I did a ritual to mark the passing of the Mayan calendar.  We burned what we wanted to release and wrote down and strung up into a prayer flag what we wanted to manifest.  And while we were doing all this, we talked about dark and light:

  • How one doesn't exist without the other.
  • How it's the darkest time of the year, but as of Saturday, the light is returning.
  • How some believe that there's lots of light flooding into the planet right now but we aren't quite ready to receive it, so thus there's even more darkness than usual.
  • How it's all a matter of balance.

I'm left with one overwhelming feeling this season: that we are the light, and we must be the light for each other.  That the only way to truly change the world is to change what's within and we do that one person at a time.

And so this holiday season, let's all be the light for each other.  Let's practice being kind, and compassionate, and non-judgmental, and open and eager to serve.  Choose how you want to be in this world, how you want to show up for yourself and others, and then be that way.

One thing that I am in droves is grateful.  Grateful for so much in my life, my writing, my family, my friends.  But more to the point here, I'm grateful for you.  For those of you who have been reading me forever or you who just landed on the blog recently.  I'm deeply grateful for you.  My goal is to be a light in the world of writing and creativity and it's my readers who make this possible.

So thank you.

And Merry Christmas–or Happy Holidays, depending on what you celebrate.

 

Photo by rueben4eva.

12 Ways to Kick-Start Your Writing

We are writers.
Comedy-funny-failure-746-l

And writers write.  No matter what, we write.  No matter if the world seems like it is going crazy or if we're going nuts within, our job is to write. To pour it all out on the page.  To be chroniclers and bear witness.

And yet.

Sometimes this writing, this flinging words at the page, is beyond us.  And no matter how hard we want to do it, we just don't seem to be able to.  The words won't come.  We can't drag ourselves to the page.  We sit at the computer and stare off into space. 

But here's the conundrum: when you're a writer, the only thing that makes you feel better–the only thing that makes you feel like yourself again–is to write.  So when you're not writing, you feel even worse.  Oh, it's a vicious, mean cycle, I tell you.  And the only way out is to get started writing again.

So, herewith, I present you with 12 ideas to kick-start your writing.  The only thing you have to do is experiment with them and see which one works for you.  Promise me you'll do that next time you're stalled and not just sit pretending to write when you're really playing Spider Solitaire.  Because one of these ideas will lead you back home again.

1.  Switch it up.  Write by hand if you're used to doing drafts on the computer, or vice versa.  Every time I get stalled on my novel, I switch to writing in a spiral notebook, et voila, the words flow once again.  It's magical.

2.  Choose a random word from the dictionary.  Combine it with another word or use it as a one-word prompt.  It works great if it's a word you don't know because then your mind can go in any direction it wants.

3.   Use a sentence box.  This takes a bit of advance preparation.  Cut apart old manuscripts into sentences and put them in a bag or a box, then draw one when you get stuck and use it as a prompt.  You can also do this with words and draw several, then string them together.

4.  Pick a prompt.  The key with prompts is to pick one, any one, without thought or emotional investment.  And then just write like crazy.  Don't try to stick to the topic of the prompt, just write and see where you end up.  I've got tons of prompts on this page.

5.  Use the first line of a favorite poem as a prompt.

6.  Use the last line of your WIP as a prompt.

7.  Re-read your recent work.  If this doesn't get you back in the flow, go over notes you've taken.  Look through notebooks you've compiled about the work.  Maybe something will strike you in a new way.

8.  Read a book on writing.  Often I don't finish reading writing books because I get so many ideas from them I go to the page and never get back to the book.

9.  Draw a card for guidance.  You can use a Tarot deck or one of the gazillion types of guidance decks from various authors.  I once went to a psychic who used a regular old deck of cards.  Have no idea what she saw in them, but the reading was fantastic!

10. Create a ritual.  Light a candle, put on some soothing music, drink a glass of water–whatever works for you.

11.  Cut out images to inspire you.  I describe this in more details in my free Ebook, Jumpstart Your Book With a Vision Board, which you can download to the right.

12.  Doodle to get your mind going.  I'm a doodler.  I doodle when I listen to lectures or in meetings.  It doesn't mean I'm not paying attention–to the contrary, it keeps me anchored in the moment.  Lately I've been reading about the positive effects of doodling, and I think it's beneficial for writing, too.

Those are some of the ideas that work for me.  How about you?  Do you have any sure-fire kick-starters that you rely on to get you going again?  Leave a comment and share.

Photo by robchivers.

Radical Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.  It's a day when we pause from our normal routines to eat a lot of turkey and be grateful.  Accordingly, the Internet is inundated this week with posts about gratitude.
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It is not in the least coincidental that my spiritual community has just begun a 21 day gratitude process, which involves writing what we're thankful for in a gratitude journal.  It is especially meaningful for us because we've come through a lot in the last year–a conflict that split the congregation this summer, and just a couple of weeks ago, a flood that destroyed the lower level of the church.

Maybe not exactly things you think of to be grateful about.

But the kind of gratitude I'm discovering is what I call radical gratitude, and it involves saying yes to everything in your life, good and bad.  It involves realizing that everything that happens to you is designed for your own good, and saying yes to it is a lot easier than resisting it, which is usually my knee-jerk reaction.

This can get tricky, however.  You can repeat to yourself "I'm grateful for my bum knee" over and over again and not really believe it.  So over the time I've been attempting to apply gratitude to my life, I've developed a bit of a system.  Here it is.

1.  I say I'm grateful when I truly am grateful.  Like for you, my readers.  For the fact that my novel will be published on February 12. For my wonderful family.  For my amazingly talented friends, online and off.  For the fact that I am a creative person.  For the gorgeous autumn leaves on the tree in front of my daughter's house.  And so on.

2.  I bless something when I'm not overtly grateful but want to acknowledge it.  For instance, the rejection letter you got from that agent you really wanted to work with.  It's hard to honestly be grateful for such a thing.  But what you can do is bless it, which acknowledges it and leaves the door open for perhaps being grateful in the future.  And it takes away that knee-jerk resistance, as in, "No! Why is this happening to me!"  Remember: what you resist, persists. 

And that's it.  That's really all there is to it.  Radical Gratitude.  It's the easiest–and the hardest–thing to do in the world.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?  I'd love to read about it in the comments.

The Writer’s Guide to Happiness

Fetr-fitr-ramadhan-53473-hWhat does it take for you, the writer, to be happy?

This is a question much on my mind lately.  What does it take for me to be happy?

Does having my novel about to be published make me happy? Yes, very.

Does not having time to work on my next novel as I finish a big editing job make me happy?  No, not at all.

Would I sacrifice the editing job in order to have time to write?

Now that's a thorny question, because its the editing job that is paying the bills this month.  Ah, thorny questions.  Don't we love them? Yet in the process of pondering and answering these questions, I've come to some conclusions about what makes me happy as a writer, which I offer below.

But before we go there, let me remind you of one thing: the Dalai Lama himself says that the purpose of life is to be happy.  Ergo, the goal of being a happy writer is an important spiritual motivation.  So quit feeling guilty about it and see if you agree with what it takes to make a writer happy:

Process.  Or, to put it another way, writing.  Being involved in the actual process of writing is the single most important thing to make a writer happy.  Obvious, right? I know, I know.  But sometimes we get so engrossed in the peripheal stuff that we forget this.  If you need some help writing regularly, I've got seven practices that will help.

Balance.  Sitting at the computer and writing all day makes Charlotte a dull girl.  And a broke one.   I tell myself I'd love nothing better than to write all day, but when the opportunity presents itself, I procrastinate.  I need variety–a little of this, a little of that.  Working on a huge editing project makes me long for my novel writing.  And vice versa.  It's all about the balance.  There's also the idea that writers need something to write about–as in a life well lived.  You've got to do a bit of both, with the trick being not too much of any one thing.

Support. The writer's life can be a lonely one.  Something that can help it not be quite so lonely is finding a community of like-minded writers.  I wrote about this topic last week, in a post you can read about here.  Never underestimate the happiness that connecting with other writers can bring.

Joy.  What brings you joy?  And why do I ask?  Because joy feeds writing.  For too long we've believed the opposite, that only angst-ridden writers produced deep work.  It's time to put that outdated paradigm to rest.  Joy is what gets my creative juices flowing. And having my creative juices flow makes me happy.  So what brings you joy?  Watching the sunrise through the trees? Taking your dog for a walk? Spending time with your family? Swimming in the ocean?  Only you know.  And only you can make sure you spend time in doing what's joyful for you.

Rest. A rested writer is a happy writer.  An unrested writer is a cranky, anxiety-filled disaster waiting to happen.  Don't buy into the old, stupid paradigm of the over-the-top writer staying up all night only to crash for days after.  Rest–eight hours of sleep at the least–fuels a consistent writing practice.  And that will make you happy.

So, did I get it right?  What would you add or subtract?  What makes you a happy writer?

**The one thing that makes me happier than anything is writing novels.  My Get Your Novel Written Now class starts next week, join me?  Read more about it here.

Photo by Hamed Saber

On Not Knowing What to Write

Seed_weeds_weed_242627_lI wanted to write a blog post this morning, but my mind was empty of ideas.

This is an unusual situation for me.  Usually my brain is brimming with thoughts to share on writing.  Not today.

Was it because I just returned home from Nashville last week?  Because I'd finished the greater part of a big editing job? Maybe my brain was dead because I'd turned in the Emma Jean edits before my trip?

Who can say?  And does it really matter when the end result is the same? (To ask why, I've learned, is often useless speculation.  What matters is what.  As in, what can I do about this situation?)

I assigned myself thought exercises.  Told my brain to cook up a topic.  That didn't work.  So I pulled out the little paisley notebook I use for blog ideas.  Actually found one I hadn't used and started working on it. 

Until I realized I really didn't care much about the topic at the moment and my heart wasn't in it.

And then my friend Sandra tweeted a link to this post.  (Because, of course, when the muse is absent you go look for it on Twitter.  Right? You do, don't you?) And I thought, why not dive right in and see what happens?

And here I am, I've made it this far.  And at this very moment, my thoughts are turning to control.  And how much of it I unwittingly exert over my creativity.  How rarely I allow myself to plunge onto the page, unfettered, as I have with this post. 

For instance, I always start a post knowing what I'm going to write about (except for today).

I always have at least a starting point when I start work on my novel.

Hmmm.  It occurs to me that this is why morning pages are so good for me–I just open up my Moleskine and begin to write.  And whatever comes out, comes out.  Of course, nobody sees that except for me.  So the control gets exerted when my writing is for public consumption.

Which makes sense–and yet.  And yet, I think I could benefit from more unfettered writing in my life.  More journal entries.  More crazy fun flash fiction.  More sitting down and having at the novel without worrying about exactly where its going.

And so I vow to try to loosen up a bit.  I'll keep you posted.

What about you?  Do you tightly control your writing or let it rip?

Photo by hberends.

On a Writer, Being Alone

I assumed I'd have plans.

I'm in Nashville, and I always have plans.  Like, for every minute.

But it turns out that I didn't.  I texted a couple friends to go grab a glass of wine, but it was Saturday night and I was way too last minute.  Everyone was busy.

And so I faced a loooooong evening alone in my room, which, it needs to be said, is smaller than most prison cells.  And has no television.  And spotty wi-fi.

Normally I love being alone, but normally I have TV for company (for some reason I always leave it on in hotel rooms).  Normally I have the internet.  The night stretched ahead, empty.

I know: why didn't I write?  I am a writer, after all, one known to whine quite often about not having enough time to work on my novel.  But bear in mind that two days of taking in information about writing tends to clog up one's head.  And it was already well and truly congested from a bad cold.

We not only need time for writing, but energy.  Mental energy, and I had none.

I thought perhaps some wine might change that.  It had been a couple days since I'd had a glass and I'd been thinking hard through workshops and presenting one myself.  But I was staying on an alcohol-free campus.  Yes, there are a gazillion restaurants and bars nearby, seeing as how Vanderbilt University is right across the street, but they are usually quite crowded with college students.  Not the kind of places you'd be comfortable sitting in a bar alone.

And besides, I was out of the habit of going out to eat alone.  I'd done it before (and wrote about it here) but it had been awhile.  The thought made me nervous.  Hanging with the college kids made me nervous.  In that moment, everything made me nervous.

But then I had two brilliant ideas:

1.  If I went early, the bar might be quiet

2.  If I faced my fears, I'd feel better on the other side

And so off I trundled.

And found the bar at Bound'ry with all the sliding windows open, the breeze swaying the flower baskets hanging from lamp posts right outside.  And, it was gloriously empty.  Except for me.

You know what facing your fear feels like? It feels like jumping into a pool of clear, blue water.  It feels like sailing from a trapeze.  It feels like driving too fast down the freeway.

And on the other side is deep, soothing relief.

Wine and trout for dinner and back to my room.  Where I did work a little on a piece of flash fiction I'd written at the workshop, and re-read my novel (which I can finally get back to, now that the Emma Jean edits are done).  I also texted with family and friends back home about the score of the Duck game.  (Just try to find a TV playing a Pac-12 game in Nashville.  Try it.  I dare you.)  And I talked to my friend.

It was a glorious night.

Have you faced any fears lately?  Do you face them in your writing?

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…..it'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.