If there’s one thing I hate, it’s seeing writers down on themselves. Any of this sound familiar?
“I can’t fix dinner because everyone hates my book.”
“I just got a one star review–my life is over.”
“This thing sucks (delete delete delete).”
Okay, maybe you don’t say that out loud, but have you thought it? Your mind is your closest friend and your worst enemy, especially when you write. It’s the birthplace of creativity, your finest moments, but it’s also so quick to condemn you.
This is a life-changing newsflash for you. You CAN tell your mind that it can’t talk down to you that way. Step back and listen to yourself. If you’re really battling with your mind, pick up a pen and scratch paper and let it out. Write down all the awful things you’re thinking about yourself. Write down every curveball your mind has to throw at you. I dare you not to leave anything out.
Now sit back a moment. Let me ask you, do you like you? Sounds like a funny question, but I’m serious. In my own life I’ve discovered that if I don’t like myself, I destroy myself through my mind. In writer speak, this is a man v. man conflict, and it makes for a great story.
In swoops you, the hero, ready to take out your villainous mind, beat it into submission, and make it your friend. But it’s easier than that. Grab a little torch, lighter, gasoline flame (if you’re a pyromaniac then this isn’t a good idea, stop now) and burn that piece of paper with all that crap you’ve written about yourself. (I am not responsible for any fires you may start. Burn at your own risk!)
There. You’re a fresh, clean slate now. Pick up a new pen (because the last one was soiled with all that filth) and a fresh piece of lovely paper, and write down things you like about yourself. Write down things you know you’re good at. Write down things you see yourself doing with a little practice. If you can’t think of anything, write down things you want to be true.
You are an amazing human being.
You love your books, and that’s enough.
You are a great writer.
You can and DO make a difference.
You’re beautiful/handsome, smart, loving, kind…
Don’t be afraid to brag on yourself to yourself. It’s your time to shine and reprogram your mind. If you’re really fried out with this, ask someone else what they like about you. Be brave. Then you can write on your list, “I am brave.” You need a little encouragement sometimes. It’s okay.
Go on. Write to yourself. I dare you. Then I double dog dare you to share in the comments what you like about yourself so we can all celebrate you. Because, guess what, you’re worth it!
P.S. What I like about myself is that, even though I lost a traditional contract after three and a half years, I still fought to get my first book published. I am not a quitter! Next month, it can be in your hands, and I am so excited to share it and my little horse Blue with you.