Self-Care for Writers – Watch your Thoughts

Inner Voice

Inner Voice

“Thoughts become things.”
– Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe

Now this may sound very, very woowoo. Very spiritual and quite useless for everyday life.

It isn’t.

Because how we think about ourselves, our writing, our lives – all of that influences our focus, our work habits and eventually what kind of lives we actually live.

And that’s why I’m writing about your (our) thoughts.

1. Thoughts about ourselves

Take a moment and listen to how you talk to yourself in your thoughts.

Most often, that voice we use to talk to ourselves is a harsh voice. A hard taskmaster. And sometimes, a rather nasty voice.

Oh, you’re such an idiot.

Not good enough. Write more.

Get moving, you lazy ass!

And so an and so forth. Does that sound familiar?

It’s how I used to talk to myself, as well. I thought that being hard on myself like that would make me work harder and get more done. I thought that was how everyone thinks to themselves.

I’ve been completely wrong.

And although it took a while, I have changed how I think to myself and how I talk to myself in my thoughts. I turned my thoughts from drill sergeant to loving friend.

Talk to yourself as if you’re your best, loving friend.

And guess what? It feels awesome. It’s much more fun to get things done with an encouraging voice in your mind.

Of course, it’ll feel strange at the beginning. You might see a slump in productivity, as you drop the whip you’ve been using on yourself. But the encouragement from a best friend works much better in the long run – and it’s much, much more fun.

Sweetling, you can do this. I know you have at least 100 more words in you.

Darling, just hang in there. Give yourself some thinking space, and you’ll solve that plot problem.

You can do this, my dear friend. Formatting isn’t hard to learn.

See the difference? Go for it.

2. Thoughts about our writing

Same thing about our writing, although there are two traps here:

My writing is bad.

Believing our writing is bad, and won’t ever change – that’s of course rather obviously a useless and depressing thought. But we can get there looking at dismal sales and lack of success. We can tell this to ourselves, even if friends praise our work.

This is the fastest way to give up on writing.

My writing is perfect.

The other trap is believing that our writing is exceptional and there is nothing left to learn. Anything we create is award-worthy, and we don’t need any feedback, editor or work to become a better genius.

These are the people who rage at non-perfect reviews or critical feedback. And of course, you’re not one of them. But I’ve seen this too often, and even mild forms are dangerous. That’s because you will become unwilling to learn and improve your abilities in writing, marketing and actually selling books.

The balanced way of thinking of our writing.

So love your writing, love your stories, but be open to feedback. Listen carefully, and then choose what to act on.

This requires robust thinking about your writing: It’s good, it can get better, and I won’t stop learning all life. And it can be fun all the way!

3. Thoughts about our success

This is where it gets even more woowoo. But the truth is, how we think about something does influence how it turns out.

How does this  happen?

Well, if we think our books won’t matter anyway, and will never find many readers, we won’t do our best. Or we won’t do our best in marketing. We won’t jump on opportunities – because that effort will be wasted anyway. At worst, we’ll check sales every day and be bitterly disappointed that they aren’t taking off yet.

And one day, you’ll just stop writing.

(I’ve seen it. It’s a sad thing to see all that creativity die.)

But if we can manage our thoughts to expect success – really believe in it, focus on it, we can pay much better attention to opportunities. We are much more willing to learn and get better at creating stories, writing blurbs, picking or building the right cover, and teaming up with other authors.

Because it’s worth the effort. Because all of this takes us one step closer to success. because all of this makes sales more likely.

And one day, you’ll break out of the friend’s circle

 One day, you’ll become a well-selling author.

It all depends on how you think about your writing. How much you can encourage yourself to keep going. How much you’re willing to learn.

And it starts and ends with your everyday thoughts.

So watch them. Be aware, and shift them to supporting ones.

Here’s some tapping to help.

Even though I yell at myself like a drill sergeant, and it always makes me feel terrible about myself, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m giving myself permission now to change that and become my own best friend.

Even though I shift between thinking my writing is horrible and my writing is awesome, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to find a balanced middle way of appreciating my writing and allowing growth.

Even though it’s so hard to think of my success and not cry because I can’t see it, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to practice thinking about my success in joyful ways.

Your Turn:
How supportive are your thoughts?
How do you think about your writing and your chances of success?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

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About fmoebius

I'm a writer and coach. I love helping writers be more creative, more productive and more profitable. With EFT, life gets easier. Blocks can fall away. Limiting beliefs just shift. You can build your dream life. Let me help you do this.
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