This article originally appeared earlier this year in The Literary Lynnch Pen Newsletter.
Believing in Ourselves
Writers face a lonely road. There are moments during our quest when goals lose clarity. Obstacles loom on every side, critics condemn our attempts, and those following our lead doubt our decisions. We begin to question ourselves and wonder if we’ll ever reach our destination. How do we maintain belief when the odds are against us?
When we first set a goal, our eyes are focused on the target. All attention and energy converges on reaching that point. As we move toward our destination, obstacles and distractions emerge. As our attention shifts from our dreams to these potential roadblocks, we lose sight of our target. Subsequently we begin to doubt our capabilities and convictions. If we are to succeed, we must restore faith in ourselves.
When our belief wanes, we must keep these things in mind:
• We can control only one thing – our attitude! Our attitude determines our actions and reactions, whether positive or negative. Regardless of our circumstances, defeat cannot triumph when confronted with a positive outlook. Master a positive attitude and the battle is half won!
• We possess the ability to handle obstacles, but we must learn to focus. Challenges are easier to tackle if we stay focused on our target. The goal provides motivation and a reason to overcome the obstacle. In other words, we are more determined if we focus just on our dreams!
• Ignore critics. While constructive criticism and feedback make us better writers, negative critics chip away at our self-esteem. Do not take those words to heart. When critics attack, simply smile and continue toward the objective. When we reach our goal, we’ll discover that most of these people have mysteriously vanished.
• We cannot compare ourselves to others. Our worth cannot be measured by someone else’s standards. When we focus on another’s accomplishment, we lose sight of our own achievements and value. Every writer is significant in his or her own manner.
• We need to take risks. Feeding our belief system requires that we step out of our comfort zone. We must be willing to move beyond our little corner of the world, both physically and mentally. Our confidence grows every time we stretch, further boosting our self-image.
• Failure is only temporary if we keep moving forward. We cannot lose if we refuse to give up and accept defeat! A writer’s life is full of temporary setbacks, but if we stay the course, those minor road bumps will fade from memory.
• Our goal must be a burning desire! If we lack passion and excitement, our commitment level will grow weak. We’ll give up at the first sign of trouble. An intense desire will ultimately see us through to victory.
• Sometimes we simply need to recharge our batteries. Writing is a joy! We can’t let it become a burden or drag. Rather than beating our heads against the wall and growing frustrated, we need to take a break or attempt something we know will result in success.