Talk to Your Younger Writer Self and Change the Dialogue In Your Head

Saturday, June 01, 2019
by dee & tula monstah on
The other day, I heard a very interesting interview with a mental health professional, Dr. Celeste Holbrook, who said that she often talks out loud to her younger selves when she is feeling scared, stressed out, nervous, or any range of emotions that hinder her from doing her best, enjoying her life, or taking chances. She says something like: “Younger self, I want you to know that I acknowledge these feelings you are having right now and that you are trying to protect me. But I got this. I can do this. Let’s do it together. Let’s overcome this fear of public speaking and give this speech. These people want to hear what we have to say.”

Then I read  an article about the Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, and how he had to check into a mental health retreat center to learn how to be more mindful and change the dialogue that was in his head. He was mentally exhausted, and he had work to do on himself.

And both of these stories got me thinking that as writers we need to be mindful and talk to our younger selves all the time! Because if anyone suffers from self-doubt or fear of rejection or a lack of creativity due to criticism or any of the thousands of other things that can cause writer’s block, it’s us!

So join with me and help our younger selves (whether it’s something that happened to you last year or when you were five years old) get in check and stop making us feel like we can’t write, we will never get published, or no one likes our published stuff. For some of you out there marketing your work, you may need to change the dialogue in your head when you're on a podcast or giving a keynote speech or going on a blog tour.

Here’s an example from my own life: “Margo, young newbie writer,  I hear you and I acknowledge that the books you already put out into the world did not sell millions of copies like Harry Potter. But the people who did read them and left reviews seem to have really enjoyed them. Some people have even asked for you to write more. I know it’s hard to put the time and energy into writing more books for kids when you are constantly competing with Scholastic book fair. But this does not mean that you don’t have something worthy to say. So maybe we can join together and stop finding everything else to do in the house, such as cleaning out closets and re-organizing KT's room, and finish that picture book sequel and the other picture book that you could self-publish with the illustrations you have. You can do it. We can do it. Let’s get started.”

Just by typing this and reading it out loud--I already feel calmer. I'm ready to get to work!

Now at first, you might feel silly talking to yourself like this. But I recommend really talking to yourself aloud. And if you're worried what your family members or neighbors might think, don’t worry--you're probably already thought of as that really cool, "different" writer gal that lives next door. And besides, there's a younger version of yourself that you can tell to stop worrying about what other people think because your self-worth is based on you, not someone else's opinion!

Happy writing!

If you want to take the WOW! Writing a Novel With a Writing Coach class this summer that Margo teaches, go here to sign up (Classes start either June 7, July 5, or August 2). She is offering Muffin readers a special deal with the class--for the price of $130, you can choose to a) do the traditional class of 4 sections of 4500 words or less of a novel or book-length work in one month b) deal #1 which is turning in a section every two weeks--for writers who can't make the weekly deadline c) deal #2--five sections in one month for the price of four--for writers who have a chunk of a novel already done and need some help and feedback. Sign up, and Margo will email with you to decide what works best for you! To find out more about Margo, go to her Editor 911 site here


Renee Roberson said...

This is so interesting, Margo. I've been having to battle a lot of those negative inner thoughts myself lately, and have sought out therapy as a way to help me deal with some persistent anxiety and paranoia. I do think a lot of the negative thoughts stem from things I'm still carrying around from childhood. (Are people talking about me? I grew up with nothing. Who am I to deserve what I have now? I have don't have a graduate degree in creative writing. Can I really expect to be published one day?) And I have to turn around and tell myself that those are fears lingering from a long time ago, and they are not who I am today! P.S. Anyone reading this won't be disappointed if they take Margo's class on novel writing. It's a steal and you will accomplish more than you think!)

Nicole Pyles said...

Oh I needed to read this today! One thought that haunts me is when I get a story idea and I realize that it's likely been told before (and of course that negative thinking tells me this other writer did it better) or I'm not the right type of writer for the genre (i.e anything science fiction makes me doubt myself).

aisling said...

Thank you, Margo, for sharing this motivational piece. I needed to read this, today. And perhaps again tomorrow. And any times in the future. How I often undermine my creative self by doubting the value of my own words.

Margo Dill said...

Renee: Aw thanks, you are so sweet. I have been learning more and more lately that we have to overcome whatever happened to us in all our previous decades and it all affects our creativity (in my opinion). But it is doable and I thought this was a really good, concrete way to start the process--and free! :) The whole interview is fantastic if you want to listen to it--at the link I put in the blog post.

Nicole: When I have thoughts I like that, I think of all the writers before me whom I've read about had self-esteem and rejection issues, and I think: If they could fight through these to success, so can I!

She's in the Garden: Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment. I am glad this could help you today!

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