Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: Challenging the Norm


Today is the first Wednesday of the month and the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. CavanaughCD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace!

I started out writing about how bi-polar I had felt over the last couple of weeks toward my book. Then I decided. "Meh. I don't feel like complaining."

Has anyone attempted that 21-day experiment where you don't complain about anything? Here's the website: http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org

Part of their mission is "We see a day when people focus on and speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are."

I know some people will automatically respond, "Well, that sounds nice, but try actually living in this world and then tell me you have no complaints."

But that's already approaching the idea negatively, and think if you approach something as positive as not complaining for 21 days how you're approaching everything else in your life.

Sometimes, the writing world only has only negativity. We've all heard it--how hard it is to write, how all our first drafts are crap, how hard it is to land an agent, how difficult it is to find a publisher, people actually write blog posts that tell you, "It could happen...but probably not to you."

Come on. 

It's okay for people to have dreams, and you know what? A little naivety was never a bad thing. In fact, I don't understand everyone wanting to throw harsh reality in everyone's face.

Is it so you won't get hurt? Have too high expectations?

What's wrong with high expectations? Or dreams?

You might think I'm being silly--but why can't we look at that first draft as something that's not crap? Have you even thought about where you got that idea from? Did you read a lot of things about writers who talk about how all first drafts are crap, and then you started talking about yourself that way? I guarantee you that when I wrote my first book a lonnngggg time ago, I thought it was awesome...and there was a beauty to that thinking because now my self-esteem has taken blow after blow because of the "harsh realities of the publishing industry."

Let's start doing something different. 
Let's look at our drafts as awesome ideas.
EVEN if it is far from perfect.
Because what you've written--well, that's certainly a feat! Why shouldn't it be praised instead of stomped on and insulted? I think, if manuscripts had feelings, they would cry and not have very high self-esteems because of what WE say about our own creations.

Look, all I'm saying is without that glorious first draft, you wouldn't have that published book. BE PROUD OF IT. Give it the praise it needs. Look at it constructively and keep on making that first draft more awesome as draft after draft follows it.

Let's change the mind-set--that's the challenge to all of you!



Note...I hope this was uplifting, and makes some of you feel better today. :)

44 comments:

  1. That's an interesting challenge, Ashley!
    I think people talk about sucky first drafts to remind ourselves it's okay if they're sucky. :) But yes, you can't make it perfect if you don't ever finish the first draft! :)

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    1. Yes, that is true--sometimes, it's hard to think that some books were ever in their draft forms! Writers like to know that they aren't the only ones struggling...which is a good thing! We all go through similar ups and downs while writing. That's why I think it's all so much more important to be uplifting and encouraging!

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  2. I love this idea! And you're right - when we complain about our first drafts, we're actually complaining about ourselves because WE created that first draft. We writers are SO hard on ourselves...and it's ridiculous. We wouldn't treat other people this way, right? (At least we shouldn't! LOL).

    Great, uplifting post. Loved it!

    Came here via IWSG...and will now follow you on Twitter! :)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! So nice to have you stop by!

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  3. The best people I know are the most positive ones. =)

    We are constantly becoming something--whether a creature of more hope, or one of sadness. I think too many people give up and forget that they HAVE THE POWER to shape who they'll become. They also forget they are constantly growing one way or the other. I love the no complaints project. There's a challenge for me this month. =)

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    1. Agreed, Crystal! One of my favorite things to remind myself is that no one can make me think or feel anything in anyway but myself. It is my choice to let others affect how I think!

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  4. Lol! My husband would LOVE it if I took this challenge. This would be great for me, but I honestly don't think I'd make it 21 days. I will try it for 7 days and see how things improve. Yes, I do expect positive results :).

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    1. 7 days is still an awesome feat, Isis!

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  5. I love this, Ashley and it does cheer me up. Negative thoughts had been creeping in recently for me but I know that staying positive is the answer.

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    1. I'm so glad, Suzanne! You are awesome and sweet, and a wonderful writer! :)

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  6. This is such a good idea! I've been struggling to get back into my draft after a break from it and it's easy to forget that it isn't meant to be perfect!

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    1. Some days are harder than others! But remembering that each time you write, you do the best you can do is such a simplistic idea--and a relief, too!

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  7. I need to hang out here more. Ashley, love your attitude. Happy IWSG.

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  8. I love this. Writers are often way too hard on themselves!

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    1. Thanks, M.J.! We are very hard on ourselves, so let's change the norm! :)

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  9. Lovely perspective Ashley. You are so right. It's something to think about. Why don't we approach it differently, for a change... great idea!
    Thanks for the boost of inspiration!
    Writer In Transit
    November IWSG co-host.

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  10. Great post, Ashley. Novel idea. Yes, we are our own worst critic and self-sabotager. I'll try to be kinder to my WIP.

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  11. What a great post, Ashley. I come from an era when it was normal to have goals and dreams and to work toward achievement with confident determination. I am sooo burned out on the non-stop negativity everywhere. It's a self-defeating, contagious mentality I avoid like the plague!

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    1. That era sounds so wonderful! I think the best thing to do, is bring awareness to those who don't realize what negativity is. It's become so normal, people don't even realize when they're mean to themselves!

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  12. It is a cool idea. I try to look for silver linings in my life as it is. Positivity goes a long way.

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    1. Awesome, Brandon! :) Positivity does go a long way!

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  13. A complaint free world? No. Nonono. That fills me with more horror than I can imagine. I'll never be happy if I can't complain.

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    1. LOL, JE! I don't think there can be a complaint free world--and complaints aren't necessarily invalid in many instances!

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  14. This has made me feel hopeful, Ashley. You're so right about the negativity. It seems like the norm, doesn't it? I'm usually the first to put down my writing. I guess I want to get there first so whoever comes second is solidifying what I've already said (I like being right:)). But just because it isn't perfect doesn't mean it's not praiseworthy. Thanks for this. I needed it today!

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    1. Aww, Emily! I'm so glad! You know, those people who put down your writing, they aren't the important ones. It's okay when our writing doesn't jive with everyone--you'd have to write a million different books just to do that!

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    2. I hope you don't mind that I'm going to use some of this in my blog post tomorrow! :)

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  15. What an awesome concept. I love your attitude toward a 1st draft. Of course it's wonderful!!! :) It just needs a little more loving. Best wishes.

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  16. What a great way of looking at things!

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  17. I think I would be a better person after doing the challenge. They do say after 30 days it can become habit...wouldn't we all be better. Apply that to our writing. Stay positive. Be positive. Love the inspirations laces all over this post!

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    1. Yes! It's all about changing the way you think, and that is HARD, but start telling yourself it's easy, and it will be, lol. I realized my biggest challenge yet would be facing naysayers in the publishing industry--ESPECIALLY since I decided to self-publish. So now I make sure to distance myself from the negativity I read about such "realities."

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  18. AH-h-h...I like the way you think, Ashley. Turn that frown upside down! Great post!

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  19. I'm so glad Emily R. King put the link to this post on her blog! Every discouraged writer needs to read this. It's so good to sit back and remember the reason I felt so passionate about writing in the first place. The way I felt so elated when I banged out that first draft . . . until I dissected and criticized it and decided the whole thing was crap and why the heck was I writing anyway? I'll never be that good of a writer. I'll just be the one that the only people who read your stuff is your mother who says 'that's nice dear'. It's been years since that 'first', first draft and looking back I'm so grateful I didn't give up. Writing gives me something that nothing else in the world seems to. No more complaining:) Thanks!

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  20. I absolutely agree with this 100%. I'm a firm believer in "staying positive". Sometimes, that's all you have. Think positive stuff>>Speak positive stuff>>Get positive stuff. And you're right, it's hard to flip that positive switch in your mind, but not impossible. I think writers need to understand that their first draft is/was awesome. Yes, it wasn't perfect, but imperfection is not a crappy thing. You accomplished something huge, marvel in that and keep going.

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  21. what a great post! very inspiring! I'll definitely try to look at my first drafts in a different, awesome way.

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  22. Fantastic post, Ashley! More often than not, those dishing out the negativity may be having a tough time staying positive themselves. That's my theory. It's not easy, but being positive, no matter the squalls, will work to your favor in the end. :)

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  23. I clicked here from Emily Rittel-King's blog, and now you have a new follower! Beautiful post, and I'm going to look at that 21-day experiment!

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