Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Dangers of Blinding Ourselves

I was able to participate in a great object lesson this past weekend, something which I think also applies to the writing and publishing process.

Step 1:
Get two pieces of paper.

Step 2:
On the first paper write down all the positive, good things going on with your writing life.

Step 3:
Write down one recent instance when someone or something made you mad, hurt, frustrated, or depressed.

Now, here's the trick. Put the paper of positivity on your lap. Hold up the negative paper to your nose. Can you see the positive paper anymore?

It's human nature. One bad thing pushes away all of the positives going on in our lives. We nurse it, focus on it, and make it grow. And if not checked it can consume us.

Whether it's a negative review, lack of interest from agents or publishers, a mean critique from a beta reader, apathy from your writing group, or even that little internal voice that whispers horrible things about ourselves and our abilities - these are all like that second piece of paper. We hold it above everything else and become blinded.

So how do we get rid of it? It's not easy most of the time. The first part is recognizing there is a negative slip of paper duct taped to our faces. We need to replace it with the positive list. And in some cases, where it involves someone else, we need to let the offense slide past and forgive. Even if they never apologize or go on to hand out more offenses. If we don't, we're letting that negative person or experience control how happy we are.

How have you handled the metaphorical negative slip of paper and gotten rid of it? Are you still struggling with one? Or share some of the positive things from your first sheet of paper. Some of mine are:

People who love my writing and are clamoring for more.
I have great writing friends who beta read for me.
Looking at my writing five years ago compared to today, I see major growth.


  1. This is a great post.

    Looking at my writing five years ago and seeing how far I've come with it now gives me hope through all of the revisions and query editing.

    1. Yes! It's so revealing to look at our work from years back. Things I once couldn't wait to share with people I wouldn't dream of sharing these days. lol

  2. This really is great, to reiterate Debra. I keep thinking that the good never seems to outweigh the bad, but I do need to concentrate more on the good. It'll help, especially when I get to the editing/CP stage.

    1. What I found surprising, after trying this object lesson for myself, is that often there is more good than bad. How do we end up giving so much power and influence to the fewer bad things?

  3. It is important to remember the steps forward, whether they are large or small. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. I think we have to gather each of those steps like flowers. A bunch of small flowers adds up to quite a bouquet pretty fast.

  4. This is a great post. It's so easy to lose perspective, especially when you're querying-- too often the only news we seem to get is bad news, and there's so much of it out there.

    By the way, I love the new background. It's gorgeous.

    1. Querying is the pits, mostly because of the waiting game. =) And it's consuming, especially if you don't know why someone is passing on your work. Self-doubt is a negative piece of paper taped to your nose.

      And thanks! I love the new background, too.