A Method to Combat Those Negative Thoughts that Undermine Creativity

One of the challenges of writing is overcoming the negative self talk that can paralyze creativity.  Below are 25 different thoughts that often surface and a method that I’ve discovered that combats these negative messages.

Why I shouldn’t write today:

1) I am boring and so is my life.
2) Why would anybody care about what I’m writing?
3) I am wasting my time. I will never make money doing this.
4) I have nothing to write about. I am blank.
5) I am not a good writer, why am I bothering?
6) My family is complaining that they need me, and I should be more attentive to them.
7) I am kidding myself that this makes any sense.
8) Other people give me that look that reads, “Oh my, who do you think you’re kidding? You will only fail at this.”
9) I would write, but I have so many other more important things that need my attention.
10) I am too lazy for this; this must be for other people not me.
11) If I were really a writer, this would all come so much easier. Real writers don’t struggle as much as I do.
12) The world doesn’t need another bad writer; I should do something else that will actually make the world a better place.
13) If God had meant for me to be a writer, then I’d have known so much earlier and gone to school for writing, not business, or social work, etc.
14) Nobody is reading anymore, anyway, so why am I bothering?
15) I will never be published. Have you seen the mess the publishing world is in these days?
16) I am revealing to others just how stupid I really am every time they read my work.
17) If it’s not perfect, I shouldn’t send it out…and it’s never perfect.
18) If I were smart, I’d be reading. That’s how you learn even about writing.
19) I am not smart enough, talented enough, disciplined enough, good enough to write anything worth reading.
20) Why can’t I just relax and let this writing thing die?
21) People will judge me from my writing and maybe even use what I’ve written against me.
22) I will be just one more person out there who has failed at this writing game or worse yet, keeps on trying and making a fool of myself.
23) Life is too short for this angst. I need to let these writing goals go.
24) I’m sitting too much doing this writing, I need to stop this and do physical activities.
25) I am not ever going to make a real name for myself doing this. Maybe I need to focus on something else.

Ways to combat this negative self-talk? Set a timer, pick up your computer or notebook and make a list of your own negative messages you tell yourself. Then, as Dr. Daniel Amen suggests, combat those automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) by asking yourself if each is 100% true. Learn to fight negative self-talk by challenging those blanket claims. Defend yourself against all that negativity by coming up with the reasons why they are not 100% true. For example, to the claim, “My life is boring and nobody wants to read about it,” I could say: “is it true my life is 100% boring? I might write: “Well, no, I have a few interesting moments. ” Then, the question might follow, ” Is it possible that people like to read about everyday occurrences sometimes?” And my answer would be, “Well, yes, I like reading about ordinary life, I guess others do, too.” Suddenly, that statement about my life being too boring to write about isn’t as powerful anymore. Instead I might say, “It’s true some people might find my life boring, but others may not.” That makes me more inclined to write.

You can try this approach, too. It actually works.

In the meantime, you will be writing, as well as building your writing muscles. You will also be learning some positive approaches to healthier and happier living.

Please add any other ways you’ve found to combat negative thoughts related to writing or just life. I would really appreciate your help with this.

Happy writing or just plain living!


One Comment Add yours

  1. All of the above for sure, Len. It’s too early in the morning to beat myself up.You’ve pretty much covered the high points. 😀 o_O

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