Don’t you love the word “thrive?” It’s not about just getting through the day, making lists, or driving yourself to do more more more. It’s about a healthy, beaming, happy you, satisfied with your life and filled with gratitude.
Doesn’t that sound incredible? Who doesn’t want to be that kind of person?
As writers, we need constant reminders to stay positive. Otherwise we get distracted by what we’re not doing (not enough pitching, social media, awards, contracts, published work, classes, blog readers), versus what we thrive on (writing!).
Here are five ways to keep writing and moving forward:
1. Believe that you have something to say and people want to read it. Otherwise, when you doubt yourself, you create roadblocks that crush productivity. Manage your internal critic. Learn to recognize negative and anxious thoughts and train yourself to get back to the page.
2. Enjoy the middle. The middle is the best place to be as a writer. You’re not grasping all the time to get to the top or stay there, and you’re not at the bottom thinking you’ve achieved nothing.
The middle is wide. There is lots of room to both improve and master at the same time. It’s not about being “middling.”
3. Be aware of comparing. Yes, there will always be writers and bloggers more successful than you. It’s much kinder to celebrate your own accomplishments. Doing so can eliminate roadblocks that keep you from writing.
Do you appreciate your own accomplishments? I bet you could do so more often. I notice this when I coach people on writing the bio section of their book proposals. They get through a few drafts and they’re astonished by how good they look on paper. Suddenly, they feel so qualified and impressed with themselves! It’s a surprise.
4. Stay in the present. I took a free 10-week course last year called The Science of Happiness (you can take it now as a self-guided class). One of the many things I learned was that people are happiest in the present. Otherwise you’re in the past, often recalling something unpleasant (“I really should have done a better job on that post blah blah”) or the future (“Will I get the assignment?”)
Writing, however, can’t be accomplished in the past or future. It’s right now, bum in chair. Ergo, if you write all the time, you’ll be happy all the time, right? At least we could be happier more often.
5. Be grateful. A focus of the class I mentioned above was expressing and feeling gratitude. Studies show we can be happier if, once a week, we wrote down just three things we’re grateful for. One of these things had to be about a person rather than an event or thing.
It only took a few minutes, and it made me happier. Even better, some studies show this practice is less effective if you do it every day. Hey, less work for more results! How often does that happen? So give yourself this weekly writing assignment and see what happens.
What other tips do you have for thriving as a writer? I’d love to know.
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Speaking of writing, my class on writing food blogs and cookbooks starts soon at Book Passage. I hope you’ll join me.
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)