Turn that Frown Upside Down!

I’m always on the lookout for new tricks to pick me up when I’m feeling down, with life in general and writing in particular. There’s nothing like insecurity to make me unproductive as a writer, so when doubt creeps in, I do my best to quash it. Fast.

Recently, I’ve discovered two techniques I’d like to share with you.

1. Watch any episode of The Biggest Loser.
Practically every other line uttered on this show can be applied to you and your writing.
• Lines of motivation (“You can do anything you set your mind to do,” “Finish what you start, and finish strong”)
• self-belief (“I am not nothing,” “I am a champion”)
• tough love (“No one else is going to do it for you,” “Are you just going to give up?”)
Pretend the trainers and contestants are speaking directly to you. It’s like receiving a two-hour pep talk (eighty minutes if you fast-forward through commercials), not to mention a shot of inspiration from the contestants’ accomplishments and emotional journeys. I guarantee you will feel stronger, more motivated, and more focused after this exercise.

2. Celebrate your daily efforts.
Don’t wait until your next milestone to celebrate. Yes, I am suggesting that you break open that champagne, treat yourself to a nice dinner, splurge on a new pair of shoes… for no reason at all. Or rather, for the very important reason that you are doing your very best and trying your very hardest. Trust me, you need this celebration more now than you will when you achieve that goal. Then, you’ll be so happy about your accomplishment that anything else will just be icing on the cake. While this exercise should not be overindulged, I think it is important to recognize that your efforts are worthy of celebration even without the external measure of success.

What do you do when insecurity sets in? How do you stay motivated and/or get back on track? Please share any techniques you have for defeating doubt. Against such a formidable foe, I like stocking my arsenal with as many weapons as possible! Happy writing!

20 thoughts on “Turn that Frown Upside Down!

  1. I’m going to be the first. I am so excited! After three weeks of “Healthy Writing” I have lost five pounds (Weight Watchers says slow loss is the best way–so that’s approx. a pound and a half a week) and gained some word count. I have to admit last week was very difficult on word count as I was working with critiques and revisions more and life issues.

    I am trying to concentrate on word count this week between #amwriting, 1K1H, and my friends who attended a workshop at Nationals brought back the idea of a Fast Draft (we are focused on 10 pages a day–not the recommended 20). But still, 10 pages is good. Unfortunately I think I wrote 10 pages a week last week, not a day.

    So I have a lot of great things to be motivated about. And for a Monday morning–I feel really excited about getting motivated!

    Have a great day! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Loni! Hooray on your weight loss! That is fantastic!
      I will try to join you for some 1K1H’s this week. Your enthusiasm is contagious. I think I should have added a third technique for a pick-me-up: talk to friends who are motivated!

  2. I am currently in a hopeless mire of “can’t” and “won’t” and “why?” I definitely need a Biggest Loser moment to get me back in the writing mood! Last night was a new low: seven words. (hangs head)

    1. Susan,
      I am so sorry to hear that, but seven words is better than no words! It means that you are still trying instead of staying away from writing for weeks on end, which has definitely happened to me. Hang in there, and you’ll be back up to 100 words, then 700 words, then 7000 words in no time. You can do it, Susan!!! You can push through this wall because you are a champion!
      (channeling my inner Biggest Loser trainer)

  3. Ugh. You talkin’ about that evil witch that lives in the back of my head? 🙂

    Great ideas everyone for things to do. Thanks for sharing the motivation.

    1. My head as well, Avery. When is she going to realize that she is not wanted and not welcome? If only we can evict her the way a landlord does a squatter… Come to think of it, we are the landlords of our own heads, so it’s up to us to start acting like it!

  4. Have you ever flipped through the pages of a Lush catalogue? The folks who do the write-ups for the Lush products are amazing romantics! I often forget we are talking about soap and bath products! Whenever I read through those it puts me in a great mood and then actually indulging in their products is inspiring as well. (I promise I do not work for neither am I affiliated with Lush in anyway, just addicted to their awesomeness!) In fact, I think I’ll go dab a little “Lust” solid perfume on my wrist now and maybe sit down to write a few more words!

  5. I love these tips P.H.! I definitely go through bouts of insecurity in my academic life. When I need a pick me up, I love listening to the “Legally Blonde the Musical” sound track! It’s really cheerful and surprisingly inspiring. I would especially focus on the songs “Chip on your shoulder”, “What you want”, and “Whipped into Shape”. I credit that soundtrack for getting me through Biology 2960.. In addition, I always feel better about myself when I bake a dessert! There is something so satisfying about tossing ingredients in a bowl and ending up with a golden fragrant cake or perfectly chewy cookies. Love you!

    1. Thank you, Lana! The soundtrack sounds like a must-have (and the musical sounds like a must-see!) I find music very inspiring, as well!

  6. Great analogy with Biggest Loser! I totally use BL at the gym – I should do it with writing too.

    When I’m down I take a bubble bath with a good romance novel, glass of wine and candles. And then I call my BFF. But I think I will take your advice and next time make my BFF drink that bottle of champagne I’m saving. 😉

    Great post!

    1. Better yet, combine exercise with the motivation. I get on the elliptical, watch BL, and pretend they’re talking to me. After an hour of this, I challenge anyone not to feel better about themselves.
      I also love your idea of a bubble bath with a glass of wine. What could be better? And yes, drink that champagne! You deserve it!

  7. That’s awesome, Robin. That might work for me… except I would totally scare off my family first! I do love to sing, though (when no one’s listening!) and imagine that it’s a great stress relief.

    1. Thank you, Denny! It’s either be smart or be sad… and time is too precious to waste any of it being sad (easier said than done, of course — ha!)

  8. Thanks for the great ideas Pintip! When I’m not getting anywhere in my writing I put on some music, pour a glass of wine and get out a good book. I always find inspiration by reading a few scenes out of a favorite book.
    Now if I could find some inspiration in my weight loss program. Saw myself in pictures from latest vacation…scary! I’ll have to try that Biggest Loser chant the next time I’m on the tread mill. 🙂

  9. I love this idea, Dana! Reading also shifts my focus to something else, and sometimes, I just need a little distance to see that maybe the situation isn’t as dire as I thought…

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