If you’ve watched the online writer communities, you might have noticed a trend in the last year. I don’t mean author branding or indie publishing, even though they had quite a part. I’m talking about the negativity that spread out like a plague all over healthy writer platforms, forums and blogs.
Publishing isn’t what it used to be.
Printed books will die.
Self-publishing is only a desperate cry for attention.
Prices for e-books will keep dropping until self-pubbers will starve to death.
E-books will ruin our culture.
I’ll never get an agent if I’m unpublished, and I can’t publish without an agent.
The bestseller lists have lost their credibility, so there’s no point in trying to make them.
Unskilled writers have repeatedly gone superstars, so there’s no point in trying to improve myself.
Beta-readers only try to put me down.
Online feedback is trolling, I’ll never find a helpful community.
I can’t be a writer, proof-reader, editor, publisher, marketer, blogger and social media expert at the same time, it’s impossible!
Writing is too much hard work, I’ll never finish anything worthwile.
The world is so negative, it’s preventing me from succeeding.
And of course, the cause of it all,
I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.
Does that sound familiar? Has it gotten to you too?
Since writing isn’t exactly a walk in the park and takes personal commitment, writers easily slip into pessimism as they try to avoid disillusionment. But pessimism isn’t “being prepared” for what’s out there, it’s being discouraged and devitalized on principle. And the worst part is, everybody got infected.
Pessimists are all-or-nothing thinkers. They’re always offended when the world isn’t perfect. They don’t accept the setbacks that will naturally occur in any endeavor, because they believe there shouldn’t be any in the first place, that everything should run smoothly for them. When pessimists don’t achieve or receive perfection, they readily claim “it’s hopeless” and that “nothing can be done”. They think that having to adjust to circumstances is detrimental to them, instead of seizing the opportunity to increase their chances for survival.
While optimists may have the same initial negative feelings about a setback, they keep thinking and trying until they figure a way out. Who do you believe gets more out of life, the guy who complains or the guy who works through it?
No myth is more damaging than that of a fixed personality. There are no optimistic or pessimistic personalities. There are only single, individual choices for optimistic or pessimistic thoughts. Don’t get the causality wrong — it’s not our personality that dictates our choices, it’s our choices that create our personality!
Whenever you’re faced with difficulties, don’t throw your hands up in the air and howl in despair. Keep thinking! The more you think about the situation, the more you’ll see the small opportunities—for your creativity to prove its worth, for your accumulated knowledge to find a practical application, for your freakin resume to increase in diversity—and the more small actions you take to untangle yourself, the more motivated you’ll become. An optimist keeps thinking and finds a solution. A pessimits quits thinking, and then just quits.
We think optimists are naive, and we constantly feed this prejudice with sarcasm, while foolishly believing pessimists are realistic. A pessimist will always tell you he sees reality as it is, and sneer at the optimist and his immaturity. Pessimits continually use their imagination to visualize worst case scenarios and talk themselves into inaction. Pessimism always leads to passivity.
Optimism is naturally expansive, it opens door after door to what’s possible, it motivates and energizes you. Optimism gets you going and keeps you on track. And the best part is, optimism is learnable! There are hundreds of books out there who teach you how to overcome self-defeatism and negativity, and most importantly, how to take charge of your own wellbeing. Especially as a writer, if you’re not confident in your own ability to overcome difficulty and create your own path, you’ll most certainly drive yourself into despair. Forget the “cruel reality” out there. Screw cynism and self-pity. Fuck negativity!
Learn to talk back to the negative voice in your head. Talk back to the voice telling you you’re unable to succeed, or that the world is impossible to conquer. Optimism is always more effective than pessimism. Choose to think your way out of problems. Use your imagination constructively, purposefully, and carry on!
This blog post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, April 2012