On a good day, when we’re really present and focused on our work, most of us register 10,000 thoughts on the mind meter. And on a rough day, when our neurons are snapping and our restless brains waves are skittering like squirrels in search of acorns, the number of thoughts racing through our heads hits 30,000. Staggering, isn’t it?
I learned all this at a potluck supper for writers hosted by Julia Roberts, an author, speaker, and creativity coach (www.BeingJuliaRoberts.com). In between tasty entrees and delicious desserts, Julia, who’s been trained by Martha Beck and also conducts Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way workshops, offered some great coaching advice. One of her specialties is working with authors, so she talked about managing pesky negative patter that can derail our writing day.
One approach Julia suggested is based on techniques created by Byron Katie. Let’s say you’re wrestling with the dispiriting thought, “I can’t finish this” (a phrase one writer said she often hears in her head). You can negate this idea and get back on track by asking yourself four simple questions:
1) Is it true? Answer: No.
2) Is it absolutely true? Answer: No.
3) How do I behave when this thought hits me? Answer: I feel it in my stomach, etc.
4) How can I create a turnaround statement to counter it? Answer: Come up
with 3 proofs to refute it.
When it came to #4, the writer who suffers from “I can’t finish it-itis” came up with three great proofs: 1) “I work on it 5 days a week.” 2) “I finished something else and I know what that feels like.” 3) “I’m determined!”
Next time a discouraging thought about your writing ability or commitment rears its head, try writing down these four questions and then come up with answers to them. Would love to know if this works for you. Thanks, Julia. Write on!