Hmm — What else to say with the final chapter of my Tough Love series?
I recently held a workshop on finding the time to write. I shared my experience, duly providing tips and solutions to conquer apathy and other bad habits. One tip in particular concerns the destructive force called negative energy.
This ball of energy does not discriminate with its victims. It can come in the form of family, friends, and even within yourself. Regardless of the source, negative energy easily conforms like a well-fitted glove molding to your thoughts and goals. Cloaked in ignorance, you model the extra baggage until it replaces the natural vigor you once exhibited.
There is nothing high-browed about this analysis. I have earned my expertise through my own actions and thoughts. I know what a drain it can be on the creative spirit. I have learned to stay constantly vigilant and protective of my personal space. Keeping my space clean and sacred makes me productive.
I will address each contributing factor: family, friends, and you.
Family members can be your worst critic. They have known you from birth. They have seen you win/lose, gain/lost, hope/fail. As a result they have had time to form an opinion about your abilities. They may even remind you about that spectacular failure you made in your college days while you now are an adult with family and kids.
When you approach them with a spring in your step and twinkle in your eyes that you want to be a writer, the heavenly choir does not sing. As a matter of fact, they yawn and go back to their regular duties. Presuming that you are not a procrastinator, you diligently write, attend conferences, network, and submit your proposals. It is bad enough that you are biting your nails nervously waiting for a positive response from New York . But your family takes sadistic pleasure in asking everyday if you have heard from New York . On occasion, they may also provide a tip that most people get rejected and Author Blah Blah was rejected twenty-three times before getting published. Then if you do happen to get rejected, you want to suffer in silence because the gleam of anticipation practically snapping, crackling and popping off the family member makes you cringe.
A wimp would close up shop and post a sign that says ? May Return Soon.?
But you are no wimp. You know your family, so you know whether you need to share every leg of your journey. Some people get a charge out of other’s misery. You decide whether you want to be their stimulant. Your mantra should be: I will write despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will be successful despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will own my destiny despite [FILL IN THE BLANK].
Friends are important. I do not think that there is a magic number that is necessary for a happy life. But friends help with our socialization process and can stretch us in healthy ways. Of course, your friend could be experiencing a bad moment in their lives and master projecting their misery outward, mainly in your direction. Or your friend has always been a miserable soul, but you did not notice until you made the solitary pursuit of writing a priority in your life.
I had a friend who wore her negative energy like a lighthouse beacon, shining on all who came into her path. It had a long and wide reach. Many times I would make a detour tracks to avoid the poor soul. If I had good news that I finished my writing goal, she whined about her situation. If I had bad news that I did not place in a writing contest, she whined about her situation.
You decide on the value of your friendships. I did and decided that although I did not want to end the friendship, I did not have to participate in this funk. There is a time and a place for being attentive to your friends. But when you are writing, and I mean seriously writing ? like a job, like a passion, like this is your life? you have to guard your personal space. I told my friend that I was working on a project and would not be able to spend as much time with her. Then I deliberately kept the distance until my writing was underway because I will write despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will be successful despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will own my destiny despite [FILL IN THE BLANK].
You have heard of the saying ?you are your own worst enemy.? How true.
We may not be able to remember all the computer passwords that we use for different software packages. We may not even remember whether we turned on the dishwasher earlier that day. But, boy do we remember to be a royal pain in our own butts.
Do you or have you ever said or thought:
I’ll get serious about my writing right after the next holiday/the next conference/the next week.
I need a vacation or quick break to re-generate my muse (not referring to crisis-driven breaks).
I can’t write on Tuesdays, that’s Freaky Housewives television series night.
That bloomin’ editor has rejected me ten times. I’m not sending anything else to her.
As soon as the weather gets nicer, I’ll write on the deck. I’m really prolific on the deck with a glass of lemonade.
As soon as the planets have aligned and I’m happy again, I’ll write.
Stop the BS. Practice a bit of tough love.
I will write despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will be successful despite [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I will own my destiny despite [FILL IN THE BLANK].
Good luck on your (continued) journey.