|Sunrise near Grand Cayman|
There are times when the least-affirming job in the world is to be a writer. Times when putting a single sentence together is beyond our grasp. I have those moments. Every writer I know has those moments and every time there is a tiny grain of fear inside that whispers, "this is happening because you're not really a creative type. You're a fraud."
I hate those times.
I had a version of this happen last winter. I was frozen. I had just finished Protecting the Quarterback, was writing my Billionaire Cowboy books, brainstorming a new series idea...and I found myself frozen. I knew what needed to be done with my Cowboy books, I was waiting on edits for Quarterback, and I had a general idea of what I wanted to go for with the new series. I had firm ideas on how to push my writing forward, how to tell bigger stories that still held the heart and small-town-ness that I like in all my books. I had ideas, but every time I opened the file for my WIP, or the file for the new series, the doubt crows started in on their chorus.
"This isn't good enough. Stop, already. What if they don't like ____. What if you're tweaking it wrong? What if you ruin everything good about the book?" I hated that crow and yet he had me dead in his grasp. I opened the files. He started talking. I ran as fast and as far from the pages as I could.
I whined all over my writer friends, asking for advice on the situation, and I got some tough love. "Open the &^%$ file and start writing." and "Kill the crow, beat it to a pulp and when it squawks again tell it to &^^$ off."
And so I tried to quiet the crows by opening the files, and yet the crows started in. I caved. Closed out the file and closed the door to my office and had a nice pity party in our bedroom. I consoled myself with the fact that I'd written a few books that have sold decently, it wasn't such a big deal that I didn't have anything left to write about.
A little voice kept pushing at me, though, asking if I really didn't have anything left, or if I was too afraid to see what there was that was left.
That's when I did a kind of crazy thing. My family was out, so I had the house to myself - no one to hear the nervous breakdown I was about to have! I went into the bathroom with a sheet of paper and read to myself from a list of affirmations I've had on my desk for years. I read slowly and quietly. Mumbled, actually. I looked at myself in the mirror and rolled my eyes. Then I read a little louder. And the next time I tossed the paper into the hallway and just talked to myself. I took those affirmations, made them my own and relevant to the situation. I was still a little shaky but after that 10 minute affirmation pep talk I felt better.
I opened the WIP and the crows were quieter. It was as if there was an angel on my shoulder, reminding me of the affirmation. Reminding me of the good things I've found to write. Each day that I wrote, the crow grew quieter and the angel more boisterous. I finished all three of my cowboy books, Quarterback came out in May, and I just learned that the proposal for the second book in my new series has been approved (and while I'm writing it, I'm waiting on edits for the first).
Tat last paragraph isn't a brag, but another affirmation. Because the negative self-talk is possibly more detrimental than anything else we creative type people do. It's something I've always struggled with because I was raised not to be egotistical and in my mind confidence and ego are inextricably linked. My affirmations are helping me break that connection. But that is another post.
* I am responsible for my own destiny.
* I am creative; I can paint vivid images with words.
* I believe in myself.
* My words flow easily and beautifully.
* I find inspiration everywhere.
* Rejection is part of the process; with it, I will find a way to success.
What's on your affirmations list?