“The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?” ~ Vivian in the movie, Pretty Woman
Not only do you have to stop ~ I mean right now ~ the self-defeating language (you know: I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, I don’t have what it takes), but you absolutely MUST speak strength to yourself if you want to succeed, and not just at writing but at anything.
What I mean by that
You have to tell yourself that you’re capable, you can do it, you have what it takes, you have it in you, you will succeed. It’s easy to lose focus & lose faith when the days and weeks are piling up and you’re not even close to being done. Or when you’re lost or stuck and you don’t see a way to fix it. Or , in the case of writing, when the characters do some crazy thing you didn’t see coming and now you have to rewrite pages or chapters or, sometimes, half the book. Or when you feel hopeless that your dreams will ever materialize. Look, following a dream is often a lonely endeavor, especially writing a novel, which can take years to complete. You have to be your own cheering section. You’ve probably heard this advice before, but how many of you actually do it?
I have a yellow Post-It Note stuck to my computer that says: You are capable! Later, I wrote a louder one that hollered: YES, YOU CAN!! Why? To combat the voice in my head that likes to say things like: you’re out of your league, you’re in over your head, you don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t make this believable or even good. That voice used to get louder every time I sat down to write.
Why it matters
The Post-It Note shut up that voice enough so I could work. It’s important that you do this, too. It matters. Why? Because if you don’t do something to combat the negative voice in your head, it’ll run rampant. It’ll feed on itself until that’s just about all you’ll hear. And if you hear a steady barrage of negativity long enough, you’re eventually bound to start believing it. Which means that you’ll slow down & procrastinate & make excuses. Even worse, you might stop altogether.
The bad stuff, sadly, is easier to believe, whether it’s coming from someone else or from your own self. It’s a battle (don’t think it isn’t) and you need to improve your odds so you can win. Write yourself a lovely Post-It Note and stick it to your desk, make a list of your positive attributes & put it somewhere you can easily read it, record your own voice saying good things about you and replay it, have a shirt made with encouraging words and wear it. Do whatever you need to do to speak strength to yourself. And then watch yourself accomplish things that you might’ve thought impossible before.
What do you say to speak strength to yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.