Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Accentuate The Positive
Do you remember that old song that has lyrics that say: you've got to accentuate the positive, elminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Mister In-Between.
Harold Arlen wrote the music and Johnny Mercer came up with the lyrics in 1944. There's a YouTube video of Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters singing the song. View it here.
The song was very popular during my growing-up years. I wonder if it had anthing to do with me being positive in my outlook on many things. I wouldn't say it was solely responsible but most likely did have some influence on me at the time.
In regard to our writing life, the poster is right on. A bad attitude is not going to take you very far. The writer who sends a sub to an editor but thinks to him/herself that it is really dumb to send this in because it's going to be rejected does him/herself a real injustice. Of course, a great deal depends on the quality of the submission but if a writer drags him/herself down with every submission, it won't be long before there are no more submissions.
Similarly, if you think everything you write is a piece of junk, you'll soon stop submitting. In everthing we write, whether story, poem or essay, there will be good things and crummy parts. Don't dwell on the bad parts, work on them and make them more like the good sections.
A negative attitude can easily destroy self-confidence and can drag you down to a place where it's hard to get up again. So what can you do to overcome having a bad outlook on your writing life?
Make a list, whether mentally or actually written, of the pros and cons of whatever is happening in your writing life. Which side has the most items? I'm guessing it's the con side. Ignore that side! Instead, concentrate on the pro side. And don't say There's nothing on that side because there is good and bad to everything. You might have to ponder it for awhile but I know you can come up with some positives in your list.
Don't read the list once and toss it. Uh-uh! Keep it where you can see it on a daily basis. Keep reading that pro side and add to it as time goes on. Is life suddenly going to become all roses? No, it most likely will not be an overnight miracle. It took a long time to develop the negative attitude so it will be awhile before you can change it to the positive side. And like most things that are worth pursuing, it's hard work. No magic wand here.
Key to changing a negative attitude is to truly want to do so. It's like wanting to be a successful writer--you must have a deep desire and the passion to make it happen. It's no different with an atttitude change. I'm not a psychologist nor a person with a PHD in writing, but my aim here is to encourage those with poor attitudes in their wriitng world to move to the other side.