Self-Sabotage—Three Ways to Make Sure You’ll Never be Published

Self-Sabotage anyone? For your convenience, I’ve put together a list of three things you’ll need to get started on your journey to non-publication.

Right about now I can hear a collective, “What the heck is she talking about—-self-sabotage?” Pffff!

I know, I know, you’d all give up your first born to be published, right? Well maybe not THAT extreme, but I’m willing to bet that at least once or twice you turned your head toward the stars, shook a clenched fist and vowed to do whatever it takes to see your words in print.  I’m also willing to bet you meant it, too.  So why aren’t you published then? I mean if you were willing to do whatever, it should be in the bag by now shouldn’t it?

You’re positive you’ve got talent. Our almost sure. Your fifth grade teacher even wrote it on your report card. You’ve read every best seller ever written and determined that you could do a better job. Heck, your grocery list is more interesting than last year’s Giller Prize winner. You’ve got creativity oozing out of your ears. Your mind is brimming with thoughts so unique and spectacular that your head can scarcely contain it all. Not only that, you bought every writing book known to humankind.  In fact, if you laid those books out end to end you could go around the earth two time with some to spare. You stalk every agent blog in the blogosphere. You’re doing everything just right.

So what’s really holding you back?  Why hasn’t your dream come true?

Poor, poor dreams. We use you, abuse you and toss you to the wayside. And then to add insult to injury we tell everyone within earshot that dreams make us who we are. We even look up inspirational quotes about dreams to prove we mean business and post them in our facebook status or on our blogs.

Now I know that for every dream that we leave in our wake there could be any number of reasons why we abandon them. No doubt if I wanted to, I could make this post go on and on. But I’ll spare you the torture and I’ll name three ways to ensure you’ll never be published. Now listen up. This could come in handy.

1. Practise the art of procrastination. Make it your business to learn all the ins and outs of procrastinating. Milk it for all it’s worth. Procrastination doesn’t tax the body or brain, and much like meditation you’ll find it relaxing, a breath of fresh air. There’s plenty out there to keep you from starting that best seller that’s been bugging the heck out of you since you were in high school. You know that story, the one that just doesn’t want to go away. It’ll get you a million dollar publishing contract as soon as you write, “the end.” Remember while you’re lolling away knee deep in procrastination not to forget that special promise you made to yourself one night after you had one too many beers because in your heart of hearts you just know that everything happens in divine order. A sign will arrive and you’ll know it when you see it. The morning you wake up and your horoscope tells you it’s time to start writing your novel you’ll be the first one out of the gate. But not until the time is right, right? We all have to stick to what we believe in even the staunchest procrastinator among us. The Universe will speak to us in its good old time. No need to worry or hurry. Relax and enjoy the ride. The Universe will provide.

2. Spend a wicked sweet amount of time blogging, surfing the net, tweeting, commenting on other blogs, facebooking and checking email not to mention blogging, surfing the net, tweeting, commenting on other blogs, facebooking and checking email. I did write that twice because you all know the truth when you read it. There’s nothing like good old social media to keep a good writer from becoming published. Write? Who’s got time to write? The next best thing to being published is reading about it on someone else’s blog. You never know, their success might just rub off on you if you hang around enough. There’s plenty more uses for a computer other than writing so you should be safe. And if all this isn’t enough to keep you from plotting your novel just let me say…Pinterest. Find out what’s cool and popular on Pinterest. After all, it could be something you pinned. If that photo you posted of a blade of Kentucky Bluegrass gets repined 52,643 times you need to know immediately. What better way to ensure you never get published then never starting that book you’re writing?

3. Embrace your inner critic. Take her to lunch, throw her a special party. Bring balloons. Not only that become best buddies. The moment you’re sure that the crap you’re writing is never going to be publishable, your inner critic will be right there to agree. Nothing like a good inner critic to knock some sense into you, I say. After all, in every friendship someone needs to be the strong voice of reason.  Not sure if your writing stinks? Your new best buddy will confirm this beyond a shadow of a doubt cause that’s just the way she rolls. You’ve all heard about “kicking yourself when you’re down.” Well, who better to give you an extra little boot than your inner critic? Why waste the effort on yourself? Just stand back and let your inner critic take aim. She’s your BFF. She’s known you most of your life. Admit it, she’s sure better at kicking then you are at writing.

So there you have it three, count them three, ways to ensure you never get published. Follow them to the letter and I’m almost positive that you can kiss that long held dream of publication goodbye.  I mean who need dreams? Don’t thank me now you can do that twenty years down the road when you’re waiting for the planets to align, while listening to your BFF tell you one more time that your writing truly sucks big time. Not to worry though, you can always turn to the internet to whine and complain about those dreams that slipped through your fingers during your youth. It’s never too late to finally give up on your dream.

So here are three things that have worked for me in the past. You might not want to try them all out at once. Maybe you should just ease your way into it and before you know it, you can be playing an active role on your journey to non-publication.

Have you discovered any special ways to ensure you’ll never be published? If you’d like to tell, I’d like to know.

Is Every Child An Artist?

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.~~~ Pablo Picasso

So I thought I’d give you all a chuckle. This was my school photo from way back in the sixties. My mum gave my sisters and I a home perm that year right before school started.

My first year in school I went to a one roomed schoolhouse, but even back then I can remember my love for drawing.

So when I thought about this quote by Picasso it really seemed to hit home. What young child doesn’t like to draw? It seems a nature thing the moment they can hold a pencil in their hands for them to produce something on that paper. They don’t worry about what it looks like, they simply produce what is in them to create. Kind of cool when you stop to think of it. No inner critic telling them their work sucks. All they want to do is to have fun.  🙂

Once kids discover the written word they start creating sentences  that turn into stories. They just write. It doesn’t even matter if the story makes a whole lot of sense. That hardly seems the important part.

We all remember the first stories our kids brought home in Primary. We marvelled in these little stories, took delight in each misspelled word, every grammar mistake, as we read the words they had strung together to form a beginning, middle and end. (Hey even without those three elements we loved their stories. Didn’t we?)

But then along the way some kids decide they don’t like to write or draw or paint, for whatever reason, while others go on to express themselves in more complex ways. They are the ones who went on to become artists and writers. And thankfully so. I’m almost certain that these kids were the ones who believed their work was wonderful, and who possessed that need to keep expressing themselves, to improve that natural talent they started out with the first time they were able to hold that pencil in their tiny fingers.

Do you agree with Picasso when he said that every child is an artist? Or do you think that artistry comes later in life?

The Bully

Have you met your inner critic? Are you well acquainted? Do you believe whatever it tells you?

Our inner critic or Censor is that little voice inside our heads, the one that never seems to have a kind word to say. It is a bully that pushes our creative self around, throws it to the ground, and uses it as a punching bag. I bet if most of us saw a bully in action we’d jump in to help that poor victim. Wouldn’t we? So just why do we allow our Censor to behave like a bully, and simply stand back and take it?

Have you told yourself that your work just isn’t good enough? Do you find fault with everything you attempt to do?

Hey, I’ve been there. I’m sure many of you have as well.

I recently came through a period where I hated everything I wrote. Oh, I did love it for a day or two when the idea was fresh and I was still smitten with the story. But that feeling soon fizzled out. The same paragraphs that I initially thought were terrific sounded old and tired, so stale that I couldn’t sit down and write for an extended period of time. I wasn’t even sure I liked my main character all that well.

I began jumping around, working on several projects, a few days here, a few days there. I was restless and cranky. My “Censor” was having a field day!

“So you had one book published. What makes you think you can write another one?” my Censor sneered while I sat cringing in the corner.

Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, says we should make this a rule:

Always remember that your Censor’s negative opinions are not the truth.”

Sounds like good advise to me.

So I backed off a bit.

I wrote my little bit each day and tried not to worry about what I wasn’t accomplishing. Writers write– that’s what we do. But it doesn’t mean that’s all we do. I had plenty of other things in my life to keep me busy. I decided to let the writing take care of itself.

When I was ready, I went back to a story that I started during the winter, and immediately it felt right. I’ve had to take a bit of a break from it while working on those other revisions earlier this month, but there were days when I had to go back, just to take a peak, maybe write a few sentences. Now I am anxious to see what will happen next and it feels pretty darn good.

I have no doubts that I will make it through to the end of my current work in progress. I don’t know when, nor do I need to. All I need to know it that I will eventually get there.

Although I like to keep a positive attitude, I cannot always keep myself from thinking negative thoughts from time to time. We all slip back into those negative thought patterns. It sumply means we are human.  The question is how long will we allow ourselves to remain there? Hopefully, not long at all.

I am going to keep in mind that my Censor’s opinions are not the truth. I will rewrite a new truth for myself, one that is filled with encouragement. If I forget this new truth for a little while, as I’m sure I am bound to do from time to time, I’ll start again from scratch. I’ll go back to that truth as often as need be. I will practise, practise, practise until I finally get to the point where I understand that my Censor’s opinions are not the truth.

So here are a few things to keep you thinking. Do you allow your Censor to bully your creative self? What things do you to keep your Censor in its place? And if you wrote yourself a new truth what would that truth be?

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