“Don’t be bound by daily difficulties.”
“Power Thoughts” by Ed Agresta (609.660.8156) is one of the motivational hotlines I listen to all the time. Just recently, Ed came up with a list of five things we should all quit right now. It’s a simple yet powerful reminder we can all take to heart in our writing and our lives:
1) Trying to please everyone: We all attempt this one way or another one time or another and we all know that it doesn’t work. Trying to please every reader all the time would lead to writing so bland and boring that it wouldn’t be any fun to write. Trying to please the industry, the professionals we encounter, our own inner critic — we could spend all our time chasing our tails and never write at all. Trying to please everyone — let’s quit this!
2) Fearing change: We all know that change is coming our way — without it, there’s no growth, no movement, no progress. So instead of fearing it, let’s fire ourselves up and find the gifts it offers us. When we get comfortable with being uncomfortable — when we learn to meet change with courage and serenity, then it becomes transformative instead of a trial. Fearing change — let’s quit this!
3) Living in the past: “The past is history, the future is mystery, the present is a gift.” There’s a plaque with this saying in a little café I drop into now and then. It’s a great reminder about being mindful and staying in the present. The present moment offers every possibility, the past, none. If we’ve made mistakes, if we’ve failed with our writing in the past, so what? The past defines us only if we let it. Living in the past — let’s quit this!
4) Putting yourself down: Negative self-talk — it’s so easy to fall prey to and so hard to get out of our heads, isn’t it? “We’re not good enough. We don’t know enough. We need more experience. Who says we can write anyway? Why should we bother submitting — the odds are stacked against us.” That tape in our head can go on and on, inventing ways to make us feel dejected, defeated, and unworthy. But we can learn to quiet the noise and even turn the tape off and replace it with positive affirmations that boost our adrenalin and keep us going and growing. Negative self-talk — let’s quit this!
5) Over thinking everything: Most of us are probably well acquainted with this tendency. I know I often indulge in it. When I’m feeling anxious, I start to obsess about every possibility that might flow from an action I’ve taken or I’m thinking of taking. I can trap myself in a web of “could happens” and waste precious time trying to psyche out how other people I don’t even know might respond. Oy veh! I can drive myself nuts with this. I try to remember what a friend once told me, “There are really no good or bad decisions, there are just decisions.” Most of the time making a decision — any decision — is better than sitting around and thinking about making one. Over thinking — let’s quit this!
Let’s dump all these limiting tendencies and write on — boldly and dangerously!