Let’s be honest. It is entirely too easy to be caught up in what does not go right, than to appreciate what is working. Writer’s block, silence from a query, a rejection letter...these all go a long way toward diminishing our confidence and quieting our inner cheerleader.
We shift swiftly from “I got this” to “Can I do this?” or “Am I good enough?” Generalizing complete failure from occasional roadblocks diminishes our ability to clearly evaluate our progress. All-to-often we begin to believe in something other than our success. Instead of investing in our dream, we begin to see a distorted reality.
So, how can we view our trials as favorable? To look at the whole process as a beautiful journey instead of a downhill slide?
We can utilize a skill called reframing. Reframing is when you take a distorted thought and manipulate it into something positive and true. It is bridging hope with reality, confidence with revision.
Take for example your 15th rejection letter. Some common thoughts occurring automatically may include “My book is a failure,” “I’ll never get published,” or “I’m not good enough.” Instead of allowing those negatives to take root, reframe instead with positive thoughts.
“I just haven’t found the right agent yet.” “I have talent and will publish my book one day.” “My novel is worth the reader’s time.” “I will keep querying until I receive a yes.”
Reframing doesn’t mean you don’t experience unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, anger, fear or shame. Instead, you acknowledge the situation and ground yourself in the positive. You look at what you can do and not what hasn’t been done. Banish negative thoughts before they plant seeds of doubt where none should exist.
Reframing can take practice and may not happen overnight. Because we so easily look at what is wrong, it takes time to create the new habit of automatically looking for what is going right. With practice and patience, we can change the course of any thought.
Devote 10 minutes per day to standing in front of your bathroom mirror and speaking your reframes out loud. Buddy up with a friend or loved one who can keep you accountable when negative thoughts creep in. Reward yourself for each day which goes by where your positive mindset outweighs any doubt. Overtime, reframing will become as natural as breathing.
Reframing doubt into hope and fear into determination, you can bring your A-game to the author’s table.