Self-Doubt and Optimism
As you may know, many writers suffer from a neurotic lack of self-confidence. I am one such writer. Now that my book can actually be read by others, it can also be critiqued (the whole reason behind beta readers). But, it may also be judged, lampooned, ridiculed, and/or discredited. And worse, I as its author have the opportunity to dive into a pit of self-derision and worry that my work won’t stand for itself, that it is awful at best and wouldn’t be worth using as so much electronic toilet paper (although one of my readers printed out the manuscript, claiming he is a Luddite). So I guess he could use it for TP, if it were that bad.
I know I beat myself up worse than is really neccessary to maintain an air of humility, but between my bouts with depression and anxiety, it can be easy to fall back into that pit. And the fact that I have written very little in the 20 or so days since I sent the MS out does not add to my confidence. I have proven to myself time and again that I am happiest when writing regularly. But I have allowed myself to become distracted by a number of other projects, one of which is a new long-distance relationship. And of course, no matter how lovely and fun my new friend is, I am still neglecting my daily writing, hence beating myself up, hence less inspired to write. The fact that I doubt my work will ever produce an income is also foremost on my list of stressors. I need to break this starving artist lifestyle I have, and being an unemployed writer isn’t the most attractive part of my life, and doesn’t exactly paint me as a fantastic catch. But I digress.
The point is this: I can certainly fret over all of my limitations, flaws and worries. If I look, I can clearly see proof positive all my failures and foibles. Close scrutiny will show that I am seriously lacking in a wide number of areas. But I can also choose to focus on the positive areas of my life. Not that I am ignoring all those insufficiencies, but rather spending my limited energies on realizing what is GOOD about me, and what is GOOD about my life.
We all have flaws. We all have made mistakes in our past, some huge and terrible. But giving those things center stage only serves to reinforce them, to shine the spotlight on the imperfections and weak spots. Better to give my mind over to recognizing my strenghts and my accomplishments. If there is something in my life that needs changing, better to focus on implementing the change and looking forward to reaping the rewards of my efforts rather than flogging my psyche, endlessly berating myself for having the bad luck, poor decision-making skills or whatnot. I’ve recognized how fruitless it is to beat myself up, and that my own defense mechanisms have, since childhood, been to beat myself up first—in front of those I fear will judge me poorly or harshly. That bad logic told me that if I beat myself up, and made an honest show of it, that others wouldn’t have the heart to do it themselves. Yeah… that works.
I’ve done a fair job of positive thinking with many aspects of my life, yet it is a constant struggle. I know I am not alone. And no matter how bad I think my life might be, I meet plenty of folks who have it much worse. Much by miles. I am grateful for so much in my life, and the fact that I have had the persistence to finish this novel, and start right up planning the next one, gives me a warm confidence that I rarely feel. I don’t think it is mere coincidence that the week I finished my novel and sent it out, that I met a lovely woman in Second Life who was attracted to me. My confidence and positive feelings made me more attractive, and more successful. Proof positive that optimism works wonders, and that I have the choice under which light to examine myself.
I recently read an article on Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking, which I have linked here. This helped me put things into better perspective. The following are positive characteristics that optomists share (and I hope to adopt these principles into my daily life):
- They think about, reflect on, and emphasize the good things in life.
- They are grateful and thankful for all their blessings.
- They don’t complain when something bad happens.
- They feel that nothing can hold them back from achieving success and reaching their goals.
- They believe in abundance.
- They are confident that the world offers plenty of opportunities for everyone to succeed.
Thank you all for your interest in my writing, and also in me as a writer and a person. I love that I have a following, and I know many of you truly care about my well being. So many of you have told me that you’d get in line to buy my book, and that makes me very happy. I know that my style of writing isn’t for everyone, but I hope you will enjoy it when you finally get a chance to read it.
“Life is like a prism. What you see depends on how you turn the glass.”
― Jonathan Kellerman