When walking through a library or bookstore, have all the titles by other authors ever intimidated you? Visiting an online bookstore like Amazon only magnifies this reaction, since these sites have the virtual space to stock even more books. Or maybe you know someone who has attained everything you want as a writer without raising a sweat. By contrast, finding your own place in the crowded publishing marketplace seems difficult, if not downright impossible. Going beyond that and envisioning your writing success can stretch your imagination to the breaking point.
Welcome to Writer’s Angst 101. Please, take a seat. There will be a test later.In my own writing world, I’m putting together a new writing career business plan for next year, a time of introspection where I ask myself some tough questions about the lifestyle I want as a writer and what I hope to accomplish in my writing business. My ambitions challenge me, once again, to navigate the terrifying terrain outside my comfort zone. I’m getting better at that, thankfully.
In the beginning of my writing career, I had to summon the faith to go on in the face of discouragement, and every step along the way has called for the same gumption. It’s a bit like tightrope walking. You have to keep your eyes on the goal and avoid looking down or you’ll lose your footing. Helping me find my balance is the simple but powerful realization that what I believe about myself as an author becomes self-fulfilling. That’s a scary thought but also a liberating one.
You’ve no doubt heard this before, but your writing success exists as an attitude before ever showing itself in a your life. This is why, along with asking myself questions about the goals I want to set, I’m also taking a hard look at what I believe about myself as an author.
When you think about it, we interpret our lives through our thoughts. This makes them powerful vehicles to help us attain our dreams, but they can hold us back as easily.
What are you telling yourself about your writing success? Have you settled on being a small writer who will never rise above the ranks? Maybe you are a new writer and can’t see yourself as ever becoming published. You think agents are for other people. Or could it be that you want to self-publish but haven’t because so many others already have? Whatever belief holds you back, inspect it carefully. If it has any validity, make note of what needs to improve, act on that knowledge, and banish the idea from your mind. Beliefs you nurtured about yourself as a writer may have no basis in reality. Often, they are rooted in fear. Simply naming your fear can help you overcome it.
Go a step further and reverse a negative thought in your mind. If you believe you can never find enough time to write, turn that around by telling yourself that you have all the time you need to write but need to organize your life to allow you the time to write. The shift from a negative attitude that sets you up to fail and a positive mindset that gives you permission to troubleshoot and solve problems is subtle but important.
Posting affirmations in places you will see them can remind you in a moment of weakness about the new mindset you’ve chosen to adopt when contemplating your writing success.
What you believe about yourself as a writer matters. It can make the difference between suffering the nightmare of failure or living your writing dream.