Flipping your internal writing script

Shawn Thomas Anderson_Flipping Your Internal Script.JPG

I know I can do this. It’s only a matter of perseverance.

Through the writing and revising process, I’ve celebrated victories, bounced back from failures, thought my manuscript was ready (but it wasn’t) a hundred times over—and I continue to surprise myself with the momentum that I can achieve.

As I get closer to hitting my goals, this awful little voice creeps into my head, one that I need to shake off from time to time:

This is yours to lose. *gremlin voice*

It’s like a virus, a scene from a horror movie.

This is yours to lose. *demonic grumble*

It plagues the pit of my stomach.

This is yours to lose. *witch’s cackle*

It seeps into my brain when I’m driving, lying in bed, or thinking about writing.

This is yours to lose. *ghostly whisper*

It’s a nasty, stressful, self-deprecating, non-productive thought. It makes me frantic, like I’m in a race with myself, and time is running out. By putting my horrible, mixed-up, no-good thought out there and talking about it, I’m hoping that I can eradicate it right here, right now—or at least come up with a game plan for resisting it when it persists.

Here are some tactics for fighting my Evil Thought of Doom, and similar ones that you might be having:

1. Chill out. Take a deep breath. Cut yourself some slack. Take a moment away from writing, and be present while you are doing it. Let your life beyond the written page feed, not compete with your story and creative process.

2. Write the defeatist thought on a slip of paper. By doing so, you’re pulling it out of your head and giving it tangibility, like they do to Freddie Krueger in those Nightmare on Elm Street movies. You can fight it now.

3. Strike through the written thought and re-write it in a positive new way. For me, This is yours to lose just became, You’ve got this—keep going!

4. Place your new thought somewhere visible for quick reference. I tack mine to the bulletin board over my writer’s desk for when the old bad one comes lurking back around. One of my writing friends keeps her written affirmations trapped in a mason jar like fireflies. Others write down the bad ones and burn them in a ritual-cleansing ceremony.

Hey, do whatever works for you, but just keep going.