Think Positive! by Diane GastonIt is vitally important to develop a healthy body, but we also need a healthy mind, one with a positive outlook on life. A positive outlook has been scientifically shown to improve school performance, improve immune function, hasten recovery from surgery, even increase the chances of recovery from cancer. There are many self-help books that advocate a positive outlook, including the hugely popular book and video, The Secret, and, of course, Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking.
How, you ask, can we think positive in the writing field when 99% of the experience is rejection? We’re rejected on query letters, partials, full manuscripts. If published we get rejected on proposals or criticized in negative reviews. We enter contests and get trashed by judges or scored just low enough to miss the finals.
How can a person stay positive amidst all this? Much is out of our control, too. You might write a terrific book only to discover that publisher’s biggest author just delivered one with a similar premise. Or you get this close to selling and the line closes. Or the publisher folds.
You can’t change the writing world, but you can change the way you think about it. You can train yourself to think positive. Here are some tips:
1. Be aware of your automatic thoughts
Automatic thoughts are those things we say to ourselves in response to the things that happen to us. Notice how often those thoughts are negative. We all have them.
For example, you receive a rejection letter from a publisher. You throw it down and think, “I’ll never sell!” That’s a negative automatic thought.
2. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Don’t let those rejection experiences get you down. You are allowed to say, “That stinks!” but it is a different thing to say “that stinks” than say “I’ll never sell.”
A positive thought could be: “I’m just like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King and JK Rowling!” Or “Won’t this editor be sorry when I hit the NYT bestseller list.” Or “What can I learn from this?” “What do I do next?”
3. Reframe the experience
Instead of defining the experience in a negative way, find a way to think about it positively.
Before I sold I thought of myself as on a journey to publication. Everything that happened, good or bad, brought me closer to publication. When those rejections or abysmal contest scores came in, I made myself think, “I’m one step closer!”
4. Repeat positive affirmations
I have a friend, Noeline, who taught me about positive affirmations, things to repeat to yourself to keep you in that “positive thinking” mode. Things like:
Never never never give up--Winston Churchill (my favorite)
“Follow your bliss!”
“God wants me to be happy.” (Noeline first gave me this notion. What a revelation! I’ve repeated it often to myself)
“I deserve happiness.” (same thing without a religious context)
5. Visualize positive results
This weekend Noodler Trish Milburn spoke to Washington Romance Writers. She told us about an empty picture frame she kept above her monitor for a photo of herself next to a bookstore shelf containing her first book. She actively imagined that photo.
Here is that photo. Trish with her debut book, A Firefighter in the Family, on bookshelves now.
So, think positive, believe you will succeed, believe you deserve it and picture it happening. You will feel better, be healthier, and will exude confidence in your inevitable success.
What negative automatic thoughts plague you?
What do you do to keep yourself positive?
Do you have any positive affirmations you would like to share?
See Diane’s new book video here! Diane’s Scandalizing the Ton is available now on eHarlequin and coming to bookstores in October.
Diane is also participating in the Unleash Your Story challenge as part of the Wet Noodle Posse Team, raising money for Cystic Fibrosis. Help her earn her donation goal here.
Read Noodler Colleen Gleason's story about her son with CF here.