What Did You Say?: 4 Steps to Building Up Your Craft with Words

We’ve all done it, said ugly things about our art, found the faults in our craft so much so that we alone have brought ourselves down into the very depths of discouragement’s dumps. (Take a look at Artful Aggression for more on that.)

It’s an easy thing to do, really, to see what is wrong with what we’ve created. And let’s face it, nothing is ever really perfect not even your final draft. But even with that being the case there has to be something worth praising in the work that you have accomplished in its pre-polished form.

So as an exercise, I am challenging you to create a list to combat all the negatives that you’ve said about your work in the past while giving you some keys to keep you positive in your creative future.

STEP ONE:

  • Identify your familiar negatives, the ones you say the most about your work.

STEP TWO:

  • For each familiar negative, create a positive response.

Here, I’ll share my own top 3 negatives and do some positive combating as an example catching myself within a downward spiral of creative discouragement is what prompted this posting in the first place.

Negative #1: My stories are far too long.

Positive #1: Length in most cases is relative and the fact I can muster so many words is a strength for storytelling.

Negative #2: My words are weak, the flow of them is stagnant.

Positive #2: What I have is a very good start. Now that I see where I can improve I can take what is weak and carry it to the next level. I have something good to build from.

Negative #3: Nobody cares about this story. Critics are going to tear this apart.

Positive # 3: Every story has its audience and those for which this story is written will love it and share it with others. Even if only one person finds joy having read your my they were worth writing for.

STEP 3:

  • Combine your positives into one encouraging statement.

Here is what all three positives read like together:

Length in most cases is relative and the fact I can muster so many words is a strength for storytelling. What I have is a very good start. Now that I see where I can improve I can take what is weak and carry it to the next level. I have something good to build from. Every story has its audience and those for which this story is written will love it and share it with others. Even if only one person finds joy having read my work they were worth writing for.

Doesn’t that just put an encouraging smile on your face? It does mine and hey it even makes me want to get back to work on my stories.

STEP 4: Now you give it a shot!

  1. Write down your top self-discouraging statements about your craft (3 to 5 is good.)
  2. For each negative immediately write a positive.
  3. Create a statement of heroic encouragement by combining all of your Positives.
  4. Print it out and post it in your creative space to look at each time you are feeling discouraged.
  5. BONUS: Remember that you are always growing and always learning and there is never any negative to combat that!

Writer's Table

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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