Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Writer's Affirmations

writers affirmations, romance writing tips
Looking out to sea from our cruise ship
There are times when the absolute hardest thing to be is a writer. Times when the rejections seem to shout down the positives and 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 mini-version of this happen over the last few weeks. I was frozen. I'd sent a manuscript off to an editor - a new-to-me-editor. I had some revising to do, a little tweaking, but she'd asked to see whatever I had and so I'd sent it (the editor knew/knows, by the way, that the MS isn't perfectly polished...I'm not just running around willy-nilly, playing fast-and-loose with my sanity. Or hers.). I found myself frozen. I knew what needed to be done to the first half of the book. I had ideas on how to improve the middle, how to make the big reveal at the end tidier. More dramatic. I had ideas.

But every time I opened the file for my WIP, the doubt crows started in on their chorus. "This isn't good enough. Stop, already. What if she doesn'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 file. He started talking. I ran as fast and as far from the pages as I could.

I whined all over my CP asked my CP for advice on the situation and she gave me some tough love. "Open the &^%$ file and start writing. Kill the crow, beat it to a pulp and when it squawks again tell it to &^^$ off."

The next day I opened the file, the crows started in. I caved. And then 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! - so 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. Instead, 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. The crow is quieter day by day and the angel is more boisterous. I haven't heard from the editor but I'm about 10 pages from The End and I like my book again. Yep, there is still a little beginning issue, a character arc that needs a polish. But the bones of the story is there and it's good.

I didn't write that last paragraph to brag, but to affirm. 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.

Kristi's Affirmations:

* 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?