I am sure at some point in your life, someone has said to you “It’s all in your head!” It doesn’t matter what “it” may be, chances are that person is right. What am I talking about? Attitude. Perspective. The Power of Positive Thinking. Whatever it is that separates successful people from the rest of the pack. I am not a psychologist but I’ve watched enough Oprah to know there is some truth to this.
When I started this blog, it felt like it was a long time coming. I had loved reading and writing when I was in high school and always wished I could be a writer. I was never that good – as my mother loved to remind me, many of my stories ended with the main character waking up from a dream because I had no idea how to wrap it up (but if you have ever seen the Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino movie Devil’s Advocate or the TV series Dallas, you will realise there are Hollywood writers who suffer the same ailment so I no longer beat myself up about it). The final kick in the butt for me to start blogging came from my then 7-yr-old nephew who started his own blog (Kids’ Movie Guide). And even more recently, friends of mine encouraged me to try my hand at fanfiction, and oh boy, once I started typing, I could not stop. For a week, I spent every night writing for hours working on my story till I finally got it out…over 8500 words!
My initial few posts on this blog were just pouring out of me. It was as if I had had all these ideas in my head that I had wanted to write about and share with anyone who cared to read them. I posted something almost every night for the first week and started carrying a notebook in my handbag for any ideas that might pop into my head at any time (I have a BlackBerry but sometimes good old-fashioned pen and paper is the perfect trick for getting the ideas flowing). Then things slowed down and I became distracted by other things. And all of a sudden the ideas stopped flowing and I could not even be bothered writing about having nothing to write about (until now!).
I am currently experiencing major writer’s block with my fanfiction. After receiving very positive feedback on my first attempt, I felt the need to write a sequel. But 3500 words into it I started having doubts about where my story was going. However, unlike my high school homework pieces, I could not simply make my characters wake up from a dream. I am struggling because I could not decide which direction I wanted my story to go and how my characters should act and react to their circumstances. So I want to give up and click “delete document”. To make things even more complicated, because it is a fanfiction, apart from the characters that I made up, the primary characters needed to behave as if their creators had written the story, although I do have the option of creative license and making them behave however I like but it didn’t feel right.
So where am I going with my complaints…I mean, my point?
Well, I know that one of the reasons why I am experiencing writer’s block is that my head is just not in the right space. I have read other people’s writing and I wish I could be that prolific although I know my writing style is completely different so there is no proper comparison. Another reason is that I lack the concentration and discipline to sit down and focus on the task at hand. And of course, when I say that it is all in my head, that is also where my story ideas are except my mind is having difficulties organising those thoughts into something logical to fit into my plot. So my lack of positive thinking (I won’t go so far as to say I have a negative attitude) has been holding me back from moving my story along.
Story-writing is only one example. Several years ago I was retrenched from my job, like so many other people at the time. After countless rejections by potential employers, my attitude was that I was unemployable – quite a big difference from being unemployed, and the difference all had to do with what was in my head and nothing to do with my qualifications or experience or the economy at the time. Even when I did finally find a job again after 8 months, it still took a couple of years before I was confident enough to be able to say “I know what I am worth” and adjust my attitude and crank up the positive thinking metre. Of course, I still have moments of self-doubt, particularly when I am experiencing certain challenges in my job that make me question my own abilities but then I try to take a deep breath and say to myself “it’s not me, it’s THEM!”
In recent months, I have shared my occasional bits of wisdom with friends about how not to be hung up about things that are out of their control (e.g. retrenchment, undeserving colleagues, “dead wood” bosses, annoying neighbours, inconsiderate partners, etc), but rather, to focus on things that they can control – their own behaviours and attitudes. I know, I know…it is all easier said than done. But as long as we remind ourselves that there are always two sides of every coin and more than one way to look at things, we will be OK 🙂
Here’s to a positive attitude and happy days in 2011!