Thursday 7 March 2013

Staying Positive: How Writers Can Use Positive Self-Talk

A Guest Post from Writer's Relief

Let’s face it: Becoming a professional writer isn’t easy. In a career path where rejections are a guaranteed part of success, a positive outlook can be difficult to maintain. As writers, we know that our work won’t be accepted by everyone, but long periods without an acceptance can make us wonder, “Is my writing strong enough?”

Thoughts like these discourage writers from time to time, and it’s those thoughts that hamper our progress and chain us down with self-doubt. But what if we could use our thoughts in a different way? What if, by regularly reminding ourselves of our strengths and goals, we could empower ourselves to not only feel better, but write better? 

Positive Self-Talk: Mental Reinforcement For Writers

Positive self-talk is a method by which writers can repeat key phrases (in the first person and always in present tense) to cause the mind to subconsciously accept them as truth. For example, if you want to consciously live in the present, rather than dwell on the past, you could focus on repeating the phrase: “I will live for today.”

This form of creative visualization is widely accepted and used by athletes, actors, and business moguls alike, and it can work equally well for writers. Don’t worry—there’s no incense or tie-dyed shirts required!

By simply clearing your mind and repeating certain phrases to yourself aloud, you can, theoretically, create a belief in your conscious mind. As a writer, you could use an affirmation like “I am a talented writer” or “My writing is good enough to be published.” Some writers also find it inspiring to use quotes from authors they admire.

Once you truly believe in your affirmations, you’ll begin to see a positive change in your writing habits.

How To Properly Employ Positive Self-Talk

Focus on the present. Don’t imagine what you will do or what you have done. Think about your writing now and focus on your best trait. Say “My writing is…” not “My writing will be…”

Keep it short and simple. Don’t bog yourself down with too many phrases, and don’t try to memorize a speech. Use short, strong sentences that exemplify your skills as a writer.

Find downtime to concentrate on your affirmations. You can self-talk right before you go to bed, or as you are getting up in the morning. If you practice yoga or meditate, you can use that time to come up with positive phrases or repeat a few you’ve already chosen.

Practice your positive self-talk routinely. Choose a moment of your day when nothing else is going on around you, then make it a habit to practice your positive self-talk every day at the same time. Not only will you find it easier once you have a schedule, but your brain will memorize them more easily if it knows they’re coming in advance.

Write your affirmations down. Jot down your positive phrases on Post-It notes and stick them places you walk past every day. Your mind will subconsciously absorb these phrases if they’re regularly in view.

Don’t exaggerate. Telling yourself that you’re a best-selling author isn’t going to make it true now, and you want to focus on the present. Use your affirmations to build up to a goal, but don’t stretch the truth, or your mind will resist accepting it.

Stay positive. Don’t including negative phrases like, “I won’t get rejections anymore.” Not only will your mind immediately remember times when you did get rejections, but choosing lofty goals won’t help if an inevitable rejection comes your way. Learn more about choosing the right words here.

Examples Of Positive Self-Talk (For Writers):

1. My writing benefits others. My readers are inspired by my writing.

2. Writing is my life. I am a serious writer.

3. I write every day. Writing frequently comes easy to me.

4. My family and friends believe in my writing ability.

5. Rejections put me one step closer to acceptance.

6. The past is the past. I write for the present.

7. I can balance my writing and my career.

8. I receive many compliments for my work. My thoughts are worth writing.

9. My characters are unique. I am talented at creating characters in my writing.

10. I can write wherever and whenever I want.

Believing you can become a successful writer is the key to becoming one. You don’t have to live in an ashram to use positive affirmations.

At Writer’s Relief, many of our clients have told us that dealing with rejection letters has become easier since they signed on with us. Our submission strategists manage the submission process, doing as much or as little of the work of making submissions as our clients like. Not only do our strategists motivate our clients to stay on track with submissions, but we also make the process less personal by taking the emotional element out of submissions and the regular rejections that all writers face.

One client, Robert G., told us: “I was afraid of rejection at first, but with the volume of publications that WR was targeting for me (about 25 per cycle), I got used to it, and soon I learned to let ‘Thanks for your work, but…’ roll off like water off a duck’s back. Quack!”

If you would like to learn more about how Writer’s Relief can help you submit to literary agents or get your work published in literary journals, contact us today. (

And remember: A little positive self-talk can be a valuable tool to stave off self-doubt and fear of failure in all aspects of life. Create your own affirmations, and you’ll find a positive outlook can drastically change how you perceive your writing, yourself, and the world around you. 

Question: What techniques help you think positively about yourself and your writing?

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