When you experience negative thinking about your writing, you’re facing your own biased and ungrounded assumptions concerning your skills. I’ve been there done that, and it did me NO good. While there’s nothing wrong with holding yourself and your writing to high standards, having negative thoughts will mess with your confidence and result in bouts of pessimism and inactivity if they’re left unchecked. So get it in check, sis!
There are four forms of negative thinking that affect writers.
1. Mind reading
Mind reading is the act in which you talk yourself out of your greatness because you somehow can read other people’s minds without even knowing for sure what they are thinking about you. It looks something like this.
“I know that she don’t like my writing. I can tell by the way she’s holding my book.”
“Ohhh, I know they don’t think I am a good enough writer. They didn’t like my work last time when they pointed out areas I could improve in. Why do I even bother to write.”
When you have negative thoughts, you typically tend to latch on to one little factor that may have gone wrong—like a piece of unwelcome feedback. But instead of taking that feedback as what it is—pertaining to that one piece of work—you take that feedback and generalize it onto ALL your work, which is not the case. For example;
“They didn’t like paragraph three, so that must mean my entire manuscript sucks.”
“I kept getting distracted in my last writing session – I’ll never finish if this keeps happening. I guess I might as well quit now.”
Stop generalizing. That’s like your homegirl telling you that your leopard dress doesn’t look good on you, so you go and throw out your entire wardrobe. Extreme, right? But that’s pretty much how generalization looks.
This is when there’s very little or no middle ground and typically happens once writers compare their work to others. Either you’re thinking that you’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and conclude that if you can’t write like somebody else, then you’ll never win any success.
“If I don’t get as many good reviews as him, then that must mean my work isn’t good.”
“If my book doesn’t sell 200 copies the first week, then I should just give up.”
This is bad because you can be comparing apple to oranges— even though you shouldn’t be comparing period. You may have an excellent book but just need a better marketing strategy/plan.
Sometimes you infer that comments concerning somebody else and their writing are literally about you. You quickly jump to negative conclusions concerning your own progress or level of abilities.
I am guilty of doing this in all honesty, but I’ve learned that my marketing plan, writing, and brand is different from others. What someone else thinks one should or shouldn’t be doing doesn’t pertain to me unless we’re talking about industry standards. But God made me unique, so my brand and how I operate may differ from others. Thus, they can no longer kill my vibe.
Which one can you relate too? Share in the comments below.