Are You Positive? by Carol Malone
Please welcome author and book coach in training Carol Malone. Today she’s sharing her article about building and maintaining positivity in your life and in your writer’s life. Enjoy!
How does one stay positive in an increasingly negative world?
I don’t know if you’re like me, but watching all the disasters taking place recently has left me feeling forlorn for the loss of life and property, and less than positive about the future. Devastating hurricanes and killer floods, tremendous forest fires, destructive earthquakes, and the unprovoked, monstrous terrorist attacks on innocent people – it’s enough to cause you to lay in a store of supplies, buy some guns, bolt and barricade your doors and windows, and stay shielded in your home. All the bad that’s happening around us is enough to have us thinking negatively, especially a sensitive, introverted writer-type.
So how does one stay emotional and mentally positive during all these disasters from Mother Nature or from our fellowman?
As for me and my house, besides watching daily reports on the natural disasters this year, 2017 has seen sever struggling in my family. I suffered from a month-long bout of pneumonia, and my husband lost his job of twelve years. Even after working for three months on a new job, my husband was let go recently.
How, you might ask, do I stay positive, or do I?
I personally believe in the power of prayer. Others may have other rituals they use to calm themselves. But it’s not always easy and the answers don’t come right away.
And for us writers, how do we stay positive in our creative endeavors seeing that we are, for the most part, sensitive to the world and society around us? Is there a secret formula to remaining upbeat and positive when the world seems to be crashing down around our ears?
A woman, whose world came to a hurtling collapse after a bitter divorce asked Deepak Chopra how to stay positive, he answered: “It’s the core self that gets people through crises. Externals come second. Yes, the recession and the blows it has delivered to the lives of good, well-deserving people are real. But inner resilience and the ability to bounce back are personal qualities, and they prove decisive in cases like yours. Align yourself with someone who has this kind of resilience so that your own can be strengthened. Find another oak to weather the storm with you. Anyone who is in touch with his or her core self will always respond.
“Before you worry about staying positive, take steps, however small, to get out of crisis mode. Once you orient yourself realistically in that direction, the doors that need to open will begin to.” “Ask Deepak: How to Keep Positive Energy During Tough Times,” by Deepak Chopra, .
A person you can trust, someone who is positive can be a blessing during times of difficulty. As writers, we turn to other writers or coaches who have been-there, done-that and know how to mentor us. Like seeking shelter from a hurricane, or finding protective cover during an earthquake, a writer can find a safe harbor with a qualified counselor and guide. Don’t try to go it alone. My rock is Beth Barany, with her program to support authors.
But what if what I fear is more internal? What if I’m filled with self-doubt, worry, and fear that I won’t be successful as a writer?
These are very real conditions that every writer no matter how good faces from time-to-time. I love what Elle Sommer said in her article about the power of change. “It’s not easy to stay positive when life is tough and if you’re struggling with life today, remember this; you weren’t created to live too long in negativity and despondency. You are built to win no matter how tough it might seem.
“You’ve been blessed with the immeasurable power of change. You have the capability to change your perceptions, your thoughts, the way you feel, the things you do.
“Be patient with yourself and the way life is right now. Beautiful, amazing people don’t just happen, they’ve found their way out of the depths of loss and struggle and defeat and honed their compassion and kindness for themselves and others. And yes, you ARE beautiful and amazing.” “How to Stay Positive When Life Gets Tough,” by ElleSommer,
How can I believe that I’m good enough?
In his article, “The Doubts and Fears that Hold Us Back (and What to do About Them),” Bryan Hutchinson, from PositiveWriter.com said “The moral of this story is that when something you know full well what will help you overcome your doubts and fears, but “reasons” rise up in your mind that vehemently talk you out of doing it, be it cost, time, or telling yourself you’re not good enough, or – pick something – you might want to do it anyway. […] So, allow me to pass this on, when something feels absolutely right to you and internally you know, really know, it will help, don’t let doubt or fear talk you out of it. Do it. Do it with all of your heart.”
It’s hard to “just do it.”
No one said life and the journey would be easy. Adversities, challenges, doubts, fears, and all the rest are a test. I see you roll your eyes, but it’s true. How can you know what good health is unless you’ve been sick? How can you experience hot if you never touch the stove? How can you know you’re loved if you never have someone say and show you, they do love you? All things – the bad and the good – give you experience and … something to write about.
So how do I put some positivity into my fearful life?
We are extremely blessed with the internet. There are tons of places that will send you daily positive thoughts. I personally just subscribed to Everyday Affirmations, for my morning shot of positive juice.
You can’t go wrong with Writer Positivity memes from Max Kirin on Pinterest. I use quite a few of them when I want to feel my personal positivity ramped up for my writing. Give them a try. . I find most of my cute positivity posts on Pinterest.
Beth Barany mentioned her interest in the book The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by Gretchen Rubin.
So how does positivity translated into my writer’s life?
Oliver Burkeman, author of Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, has drilled it down. “So next time you’re staring at a blank page, worrying that you lack what it takes, remember: all it takes is an even greater quantity of relentlessly upbeat thoughts. Set your sights on perfection – then gallop confidently on. And when you run into your writer friends, don’t forget to tell them how well it’s going for you. They’re sure to enjoy such anecdotes, and to think fondly of you as a result. Positivity is contagious!”
What are the steps, if any, to overcome the negative in life and build and maintain a positive outlook on life and writing?
In an article titled “How a Positive Attitude Can Improve Your Writing,” a writer asks, “So what can having a positive attitude do for you?”
- Serves as motivation. Avoiding our writing can be overcome by visualizing our next writing project, seeing it as a success. Then sit down to create. This can act like rubbing two sticks together to spark are roaring fire. Set the fire of motivation in your creative writing a blaze.
- Gets you through any “down times.” Doesn’t matter if you’re a beginning writer or a New York Times Best-selling author, we’re all face with rejection. We react to the circumstances around us. We’re pulled in all directions by family drama. Our bosses demand our time and energy. We can’t find the time to write. We’re ill or a family member is ill. No matter what the circumstance, or the natural disaster, we need to learn to accept constructive criticism, situations we can’t control, people who disappoint us, and use those examples to make our writing better. The worst possible disaster can be a great topic for a book. It can help people heal. Ponder that.
- Keeps you going. Successful people, successful writers, have learned to believe in themselves. Holding on to our original inspiration, the enormous passion that initially drove us to the keyboard with stories burning to be told, will help ignite that drive again. And … writing about intensely positive experiences can encourage overall positivity and can enhance positive mood.
- Real meditation is another way to increase those positive emotions. Studies show that folks who meditate on a regular basis show more positive traits than those who do not.
- Setting time aside for fun. The Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, she tells the creative person that setting the artist date, this “… block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist,” can heal the creative soul with positive fun Taking a small amount of time each day to do something you love and enjoy can have a positive effect on how you handle the chaos around you.
- In the article, “Positive Thinking for Writers,” October 28, 2015, Barbara O’Neal shared her experiences with positive affirmations. “Visualizations eased my worry and let me work more efficiently. Affirmations helped me understand my fears and what caused them, and how to address them. […]Also, I want to point out that writers are really, really, really good at visualization. What do you think a scene is? A book? All of it is very complicated visualization, creating something out of nothing. We know how to do this.” I personally use the peaceful, meditative form of T’ai Chi Chih to lose the demons in my mind.
Though I’m far from being completely free of the negativity that plagues my life and has since I was a child, I do bounce back and enjoy moments of positivity and happiness. Yes, I do mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who have loved one, lost homes, and property, but I realize life is not perfect, adversity cannot be avoided. It’s all in how we look at it. Like Deepak said, “Before you worry about staying positive, take steps, however small, to get out of crisis mode.” By relaxing, calming ourselves down, we can face anything life can throw at us. I wish you joyous positivity on your journey through this treacherous shoal we call life.
In the comments, please share your experiences, pro and con, with positive thinking, affirmations, exercises you do, and visualizations you might practice, so the rest of us can benefit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author, Carol Malone writes new pulp-fiction suspense kissed with romance to rocket readers into the past. When not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, or watching the Dodgers, HGTV, and the Food Network with her writer husband on the coast of California. She loves to connect with you and invites you to chat about romance and sports on her website.
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