If there is one thing that saps my creative energy more than any other, it's negative thoughts. To much time spent worrying about my own or other people's problems is draining. It leaves me in a dry and barren place; a wilderness with no words.
Let me be clear. I'm not talking about writing problems. I'm talking about money worries, relationship issues, other people's problems – anything that upsets the careful balance of my usually happy life can cause severe writer's block.
Are all writers like this? I hope not. Some writers use writing itself as a form of therapy – a way to escape the pressures of reality. I know this is something I should do more often.
So how do you stop negativity from blocking creativity? How do you kick negativity to the curb?
The most obvious solution is to eliminate the causes of the negativity in the first place. Of course, that isn't always possible. Sometimes we have no choice in what affects our lives on a day to day basis. But we do have a choice in how we respond and deal with it.
Here are some useful methods to help you cope:
- Write your worries down. Something about recording thoughts and concerns allows you to deal with them and then move on. Often, writing them down will allow you to see things aren't quite as bad as you thought they were.
- For every negative, think of a positive. Look at what is good in your life. Positives do exist!
- Acknowledge negative thoughts and choose to deal with them later. Simply say, I will think about that but not until I've done A, B, or C.
- Learn to spot the patterns and behaviours of those around you, and where possible take yourself out of the equation. Dorothea Brande talks about choosing the right people to spend time with in her seminal book, Becoming A Writer. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.
How do you cope with negative thoughts and pressures from every day life? Do they affect your writing? If so, how do you eliminate them?