Be Your Own Best (Writing) Friend

Wish you could afford a writing coach to hold your hand and encourage you to write each day?

Me too!

But if that’s not in your budget right now, don’t despair. You can learn to be your own best writing friend.

With Friends Like This…

If a friend from your critique group told you “I just can’t get started on my story today,” what would you say? “Get moving, you lazy do-nothing wannabe!” I hope not!

If your writing friend bemoans receiving another rejection, do you say, “Well, what did you expect? Your novel stinks!”? I would hope not.

Most of us are better friends than that…except to ourselves.

Your Own Best Friend

Listen to how you talk to yourself. When you procrastinate, do you beat yourself up? Do you call yourself names? And to paraphrase Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” Does it spur you on to do your best writing–or to give up and eat a pint of ice cream?

When you receive a rejection, do you downgrade your writing? Do you tell yourself that publishing is just a pipe dream, that it’s for others but not for you? If you’re going through a dry spell, do you secretly call yourself a has-been?

Do you say things to yourself that you would NEVER say to a writer friend?

Time to STOP!

Learn to tell yourself the truth–but with kindness. Be a mirror that reflects back understanding. If you got off course, gently encourage yourself back on the writing path you want to travel.

Not:

  • You’re so lazy that you’ll never get anything written and published.
  • No editor or agent will ever read your novel, much less publish it!
  • You only have friends on Facebook because they don’t really know you.

Say this instead:

  • You may have trouble getting started because you’re afraid of something. Try journaling to get to the bottom of it.
  • You may (or may not) find an editor who loves your novel–but you’ll never know if you don’t keep sending it out. Let’s try one more time.
  • Many people in your real life know you and love you. Make a list. Be thankful for each person on the list.

Be That Good Friend

The next time you stall or hit a rough spot in your work, talk to yourself like a true friend would. Be kind, be understanding, give some praise, and encourage yourself to try again.

You can be your own best friend.

What is one thing you need to start saying to yourself today? Please leave a comment!

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10 Responses to Be Your Own Best (Writing) Friend

  1. Vijaya says:

    Lovely post, Kristi.

    Tomorrow is another day, is what I tell myself most often.

  2. Heather says:

    Great points, Kristi. I think sometimes I’m my own worst critic!

  3. I think you are right about the negative self-talk that writers are prone to. We spend a lot of time alone with our work and problems soon get out of proportion–we have very active imaginations, after all! I consider myself blessed to have some close writing friends who ‘get’ it. We supply the positives for each other when one of us loses her way.

    • kwpadmin says:

      “…when one of us loses her way…” Loved that comment! Yes, that’s exactly what we do to ourselves when we become our own critics instead of editors. Yes, you are blessed! I have a writer friend like that too!

  4. Ryan King says:

    Sage advice. I know for a fact that I’m my own worst critic. Why is it we are so kind to others but monsters to ourselves? A mystery. But thanks for the needed “coaching”.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Boy, isn’t that the truth, Ryan? If we could just press “pause” and think, “What would I say to a good friend in this situation?” and then say it to ourselves, we’d all be better off–both now and in the long run.

  5. Ann says:

    Journaling IS a good practice to let ideas just flow without the need to edit and outline. I go back weeks later and find gems of phrases that I will use and alternative slants on how to approach the story.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Ann, that is so true! (And I’m sorry to post this late. For some reason, it didn’t show up on my WordPress site for four days!)

      My journals, for personal and professional reasons both, are invaluable!

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