So I’ve already done a few character studies, which is a type of post that I thoroughly enjoy, but I want to shake things up a little. This post is not a book review insomuch as it’s more of a reflection of the things I found to be most useful about the book as I was reading it. I definitely took pages of notes as I was reading it, and you’ll want to do the same, too. The text also does a good job of not overwhelming the reader.
Key Observations from this book:
- As writers, we are often our own worst enemies. We like to place the blame on external things when we don’t get writing done (other people, our day jobs, chores around the house, family members and familial obligations, social events, etc). The author doesn’t say the following line with meanness or condescension or to “guilt” the reader into thinking they’ve done something wrong, but he reminds us that if we have the tendency to externalize all of our blame onto any source but ourselves, we need to stop that.
- One of the cornerstones of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is that our negative thoughts and negative thinking patterns which we have normalized in our minds as the status quo have to be confronted. There’s a three-step process. The third step involves “calling out” a negative thought when it occurs and replacing it with an affirmative (not ‘positive’) thought*.
- The author provides a series of several ‘wrong’ thoughts–those which writers are most often guilty of thinking to themselves, i.e. I’m not good enough, I’m not talented, Jane Smith is better than me, nothing I do is ever right, etc, etc, etc (and then some)–and provides the ‘right’ or affirmative thought with which to replace it.
- Granted, some of the ‘right’/affirmative thoughts may seem trite or cliched upon first glance but for the most part, they are founded in imposing self-confidence upon oneself and boosting one’s self-esteem. A writer has to believe in him or herself first and foremost before anyone else can, and Maisel’s book of affirmations to supplant negative thinking patterns is put together very well.
To any writer who has ever struggled with (or continues to struggle with) overcoming negative thoughts, including the thing writers do where we convince ourselves that the negative thought is true (even though we usually can’t substantiate it), this book is a boon and should definitely be consulted. Grab a copy on Amazon or other eBook retailers if you’re so inclined.
* Note: The author makes it clear that there’s a lot of fluff and pscyhobabble around the term ‘positive thinking,’ which gets thrown around quite a bit, and he says the key is not to try to transform ourselves into a Pollyanna, because there is such a thing as too much optimism becoming dangerous when a person starts becoming just plain unrealistic.
Social Media Break Update:
* Cue the Hallelujah chorus, because I hit the “detachment” and the “I don’t care anymore” sweet spots a few weeks ago and those have continued to the point that I could easily not log in to my social media profiles for another extended period.
* Although my social media break is in its last week and is coming to an end, I’m going to do my best to ease the transition back when I resume my status as “active.”