July 22nd, 2013

10 Writer Affirmations to Bolster Optimism

Or… Turning Whine into Gold
by Kathryn Craft

I’d like to thank the team here at Writers in the Storm for letting me blow in with a series on attitude adjustment.

If you think this has nothing to do with becoming an author, you couldn’t be more wrong! From our first words tentatively pressed to the journal page all the way to our most recently published book, writing is an artistic endeavor fraught with anxiety that, if we let it, can have its ugly way with us.

This series seeks nothing less than alchemy: if we accept that negative feelings are part of the artistic process, we can learn to manage them to our advantage.

First, let’s drum up some optimism, shall we? Because optimism can help you get published.

Doubt it? More than thirty years of research in high-rejection endeavors, from athletic competition to life insurance sales, suggests the statement is true. There is more to optimism, however, than The Little Engine’s “I think I can.”

Optimism is the practice of framing what has already happened in a positive light.

To raise your optimism quotient, try the following ten affirmations. Meditate on them, speak them, and copy them down in your own hand until you are convinced of their truth.

Once you own these concepts, your writing will be less about the absolutes of success and failure, and more about gleaning the benefits of every step on your path. And who knows—you may end up appreciating the long process of getting traditionally published as much as you enjoy the writing.

10 Affirmations To Bolster Your Optimism:

1. Agents, editors, and authors all love to read and all have the same goal: to increase our country’s wealth of good writing. Agents and editors need writers to keep them in business. We are comrades.

2. The book industry is super tough right now, but I am doing what I can to improve both my craft and my knowledge of the publishing industry.

3. I believe that being a published author is my destiny and I will start my journey down that road, but factors beyond my control will affect the timing of my arrival. I will get there when I get there.

4. While pride is the first of the seven deadly sins, optimism is a blessing for myself and for all of those around me. I love my work, so I will share my enthusiasm for it with others.

5. Rejection is the badge of honor I must sometimes wear to prove that I am boldly putting my work out into the world. But it is better to learn that I am not quite ready for publication through a private note from a publishing professional than to get slammed by critics and readers in the court of public opinion, where I might realize poor sales and never be published again.

6. No other writer has my exact combination of innate abilities, predispositions, life experience, interests, passions, and humor. These elements create a perspective all my own that will contribute to the wealth of existing literature. My readers unwittingly await my arrival.

7. Every experience is a good experience for a writer. Victory, failure, acceptance, rejection—they are all part of the human experience, and stoke the creative fire within me.

8. If I am an optimistic fool, so be it. The real fool is the person who stops doing what he loves just because it is difficult.

9. Worst case scenario: it never happens for me. My epitaph: “She died pursuing her dream.” What stronger, more beautiful statement could be made about my life, published or not?

10. I am committed to learning. Learning can be uncomfortable, but ignorance will not move me forward along my path. If writing is truly my passion, I must not give up. If we writers stop pursuing our dreams, who will write all the books?

Have you ever turned around a difficult situation by writing out affirmations? It’s a powerful tool. Yes, it’s a bit like brainwashing—but think about it. In an industry as tough as publishing, how can this type of brainwashing hurt you? From the inside out, you will become a writer optimistic that she will eventually get published—and sensing this, others will perceive that you are already a success.

Awesome stuff, right? Kathryn will be here with us at WITS every 4th Monday for the next while. Let’s give her a rousing welcome down in the comments!

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KathrynCraftKathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com. Her debut novel, The Art of Falling, will be released through Sourcebooks in January 2014. To read more about her book, check out her author site, KathrynCraft.com. Pre-order links are live at bn.com and Amazon.com!

Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania literary scene, she loves anything that brings writers together—conferences, workshops, retreats, and blogs like Writers in the Storm. She also blogs at The Blood-Red Pencil and at her personal blogs, The Fine Art of Visiting and Healing Through Writing.

Connect with Kathryn on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

57 comments to 10 Writer Affirmations to Bolster Optimism

  • Kathryn, welcome to WITS! And thanks for the awesome post! You made me think about this in a different way, and as old as I am, that’s not easy! So glad to have another optimist in the bunch. As someone who struggled 15 years before selling, I’m proof that optimism works!

  • Yes, yes, yes … I’ve gone the route of Neopolian Hill, Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield … I’ve read more inspirational books, articles and affirmations to make what Ziggy would call a slammin’ successful salesperson.

    I often forget what I learned before can be applied to my new quest. I put writing in a small box by herself, alone and frightened … believing that she’s “different.” Sure I can sell something, make great eye contact, engage and employ … but can I really get my books published?

    Thanks … this powerful post is EXACTLY what I needed this morning, and tomorrow morrning. Welcolme to WITS, Kathryn … I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  • Kathryn, great post! One to print and hang by your computer screen. Love this phrase: raise your optimism quotient. That is a writer’s mantra. The one that sticks the most with me is #6, that no one else has my exact combo of talent, vision, drive, etc. And when it seems I’m not moving forward as others do, I boost myself by affirming that each person has their own path and every writer finds his own success in his own way – no one else’s. For me, this #6 relates to one of my own mantras (borrowed from Robert Frost) “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Optimism reigns! Thanks for the boost 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing part of your journey here, Donna. Other writers reading this: if you do not yet believe that your voice and perspective are unique, then you haven’t taken enough workshops! For those of us who have shared in creating and sharing work alongside Donna, we have seen that over time she has created a consistent and recognizable voice. Workshops are a great way to come to this realization since they force you to stretch your writing wings an fly off in different directions—yet, interestingly enough, always with a recognizable result.

  • Welcome, Kathryn! I think I’ll print this out and hang it above my desk for when I need a reminder that my cup is half full.

    • Thanks, Kerry Ann, I’m happy to have a place to put this series out there. I hope you can see the learning curve I’ve already climbed here—found the little “reply” button. Woot!

  • Thanks, Laura! I appreciate the welcome and the compliment, but there’s hidden wisdom in your comment for those willing to see it. In all of our writing, we should always strive to help our readers see something in a new way. If we can’t, we are not yet wielding the mighty tool of point of view in a way that makes an impact, right?

  • Hey, “rambling” Florence, nice to see you here! That second comment of your comment is so well-written it drew me right in—I feel certain you can achieve your goals, because of course our swagger must be supported by rock solid craft that conveys something worth saying. All in evidence, even in a blog comment. And writers think agents can’t possibly assess their readiness in a query…

  • Ruth Hansen

    Thanks, Kathryn! This is both comforting and encouraging. Best wishes.

  • So happy to have you with us, Kathryn!! This is the perfect post for a Monday morning … well, any morning, but especially a Monday.
    And now I don’t feel as crazy about my embracing rejections post. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Orly. I loved your embracing rejections post! And I agree that this type of jolt is well positioned on a Monday—thanks for giving me the fourth Monday slot to offer up some attitudinal chiropractic! (Warning: I practice without a license…)

  • This is a great great post. I’m saving it for future (and most likely frequent) reference. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Tasha, you and Kerry Ann are deep in the game, I can tell—you both know that this isn’t something learned and set aside. Optimism isn’t a constant, it’s a consumable. To prevail, we must again and again stoke this all-important inner fire.

  • Good stuff! We all need more of this.

  • Fantastic post, Kathryn!! That #3 made me stop and stare:

    “I believe that being a published author is my destiny and I will start my journey down that road, but factors beyond my control will affect the timing of my arrival. I will get there when I get there.”

    I have the “are we there yet?” gene and it’s good for me to find an affirmation that addresses that. THANK YOU!

    • Are we there yet?—Jenny, let’s face it, that one’s a bitch that will grab ahold of your heel and just not let go. But there are many aspects of our writing journey over which we can have some semblance of control, and our attitude is one of them. And by giving it our all, we can certainly influence the timing of our arrival at the threshold of traditional publishing—but the house isn’t ours, so the invitation to cross over must be placed in our hands. Think of it from their perspective: it’s so much easier to invite someone into your home who has a confident smile on her face! So we might as well spend energy somewhere more useful than fretting over the fact that we have not yet received the invitation we seek.

  • Barbara DeLong

    Awesome post! I am definitely an optimist! But applying it to my writing has been difficult. I’ll definitely save this for future reference whenever my confidence falters. Thanks, WITS, for inviting Kathryn as a guest host. I look forward to future posts.

  • Thanks so much, Barbara. You aren’t the first who has shared in these comments that she has found it difficult to fully integrate beliefs from other aspects of life into her writing life. Full integration will help! It takes energy to believe one way in one part of your life and another when it comes to your writing. Surrender: I AM—A WRITER!

  • Bernadette

    Ah, something near & dear to my overly sensitive writer’s heart. TY WITS! This should be a workshop…(hint, hint). Then will there be a post about overcoming pouting?

  • Bernadette, I promise there will be a post on pouting, lol! Thanks for reading!

  • Jae

    Is it brainwashing or simply just positive thinking? You have to think before you act/make reality. If we’re constantly thinking negative, should we ever be surprised if negative is what we reap? This is a wonderful post, thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Jae: great distinction. And I’ve always felt one of the best uses of our creativity is to use it to surmount whatever challenges life throws at you. I wish you well living your fully imagined life!

  • Rambling Florence sent me over to read your post. A timely and salutary reminder since my latest just came out this month and I’m at the nail biting stage. Cultivate and nurture optimism early and continuously, we need it for the long haul.

  • Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    Everyone can use a positive boost now and then. These 10 affirmations apply to any field of endeavor.

  • This is beautiful. I needed it. Thank you!

  • Kathryn, thanks for a great post. I especially like #7. Two of my rejections provided good stories for my last book signing. Thanks again!

    • James I’m so glad you mentioned #7. Sometimes, in all the craziness (OMG I must blog! I must tweet! I must FB! I must write on my WIP daily! I need to learn what the heck Kathryn just said in all those short exclamations!) we writers forget to live. To everything there is a season in a writer’s life, including a time to record and a time to fully immerse oneself in the thing we are writing about—life.

  • I am a miserable pessimist who has become masochistically addicted to failure as a writer. The good news is, How will get get my next fix if I don’t write something?

    • LOL, Eric. How will you get your fix, indeed?

    • Hey Eric, I’d tell you that there are numerous, completely free ways for a pessimist to get a fix in this industry but if you’ve been a bottom feeder here for a while then you already know, lol. Thanks for reading!

      • If I ever get published, I’ll probably lose my sense of identity.

        They were right. Writing is HARD!

        😉

        • Eric that is so true. After I got my agent, when preparing for the next annual conference of my writer’s group, it suddenly hit me: I didn’t have to pitch! Of course that doesn’t mean you have to stop selling yourself—but new level, new challenges. Your sense of identity does shift, and the longer you prepared for it, the more seismic it seems!

  • Reblogged this on Merry Farmer and commented:
    Kathryn just so happens to be one of my favorite Philadelphia writers! She’s been a big help and inspiration to me, both personally and professionally. And we wore the same dress (but in different colors) to the awards banquet at the Philadelphia Writers Conference this year! So you know she has good taste. 😉

    • Merry thank you for your kind words. Nice to see you here! Was just thinking about you re: that dress. Did you know it comes in patterns, too? I think we’d look good in the dark pink with white polka dots. Just saying.

      • I think we need to coordinate outfits for next year’s PWC. 😉 I’ve only seen our dress in a rather unattractive pink and orange pattern though. The polka dots sounds great though! =D

  • Reblogged this on Rakes Rogues and Romance and commented:
    I was going to start this post with “There comes a time in every writer’s mind” when I realize I can’t generalize so I will say, There comes a time in many an author’s journey when they feel this way. Mine occurred last week, when I just looked at the pages I had and thought. “What crap. Who’d read this. Who wants to read anything I’ve written? Who told me I could do this thing called writing a book?”
    I had myself a nice little pity party, yes I did. Thank you very much. There was nothing that set it off, mind you. No rejections letter, no awful comment from a reader who read one of my excerpts. Nothing. Just me, myself and I and my computer screen.
    I needed a change of scenery. I was tired, cranky from work, husband, kids and maybe the heat. But it did a number on my head for the entire day and I really didn’t like it.
    Normally I am a very optimistic person. I try to always see the good before the bad and no one will be your greatest cheerleader than I. But maybe I let the thread of self-doubt wind it’s way around me just a little too tightly that day. So I whined a little (well maybe a lot, depending on who you talk to). I emailed my lovely beta reader and whined to her. I Facebook chatted an author who has become like a sister to me and whined. Both allowed me the luxury of venting/whining and I have to say, it helped, so much. So thank you Danelle and thank you Lindsey. 🙂
    Normally I’m a pretty private person. I am a great listener, but I don’t usually talk about myself. so to put it all out there and have people judge my work is a pretty new thing for me, as I suppose it is for everyone just starting out. But it wasn’t about that, it was me being my own harshest critic, me having self doubt and me thinking that I was fooling myself into thinking I could do this. It took a day of stepping away to realize that I missed it. I needed to get back to it and I had my little mini-melt down, my little pity party and that was all I was allowing.
    That it will get worse before it gets better, because I haven’t even started is something i know. It hasn’t been a year since I started this writer’s journey and I haven’t edited, revised, queried, been rejected.
    I needed my own attitude adjustment. and when I saw this article the other day, I thought, wow, this is it.
    So there you have it. What we all need to see-our own affirmations our own thoughts as to why we can succeed at what we want.
    And for those of us who aren’t writing, but are looking at career changes, these points can be molded to your unique situations.
    Have you ever just wanted to give it all up and then have to have an attitude adjustment? What did you do?

    • Nancy, what a lovely re-blog! And I’m so glad Kathryn’s post gave you a needed shot in your writer’s psyche. 🙂

    • Nancy I’m so glad you’re finding the affirmations to be of use. You touch on a lot of issues here that I’ll explore in future posts—but for now, it sounds like you’re on exactly the right track. Thanks for this note, and keep on keepin’ on!

  • […] 10 Writer Affirmations to Bolster Optimism […]

  • I think posts often make their way before our eyes for a reason. I NEEDED your affirmations something fierce today – which I will make my own. In fact, this is such a fabulous post, I plan to include a link to it on my next blog post; it ties in perfectly with what I have been wanting to convey. Thank you for the positive spin.

    • Oh Melissa, thanks so much for sharing this story. I believe the same way, and I’m glad I could play a role in lifting you up. We need our writing buddies, right? 🙂

  • Thanks Annie! I hope they’ll help sustain you for the long game. 🙂

  • Reblogged this on Ella Quinn ~ Author and commented:
    Because we all need a boost sometimes.

  • Great post. I reblogged. I’ll tweet once I’m out of time out.

  • […] 10 Writer Affirmations to Bolster Optimism […]

  • Reblogged this on Layna Pimentel and commented:
    Sage advice, and affirmations that our perfect considering the times.