Reframing — what a helpful tool! Whether you are struggling with a tough writing patch or feeling helpless and defeated about submitting your novel or story to agents and editors, reframing can set you on the path to success. Reframing puts you in the driver’s seat and shifts the center of power away from a troubling situation or other person back to you — where it belongs.
Reframing lets you play from a position of strength instead of weakness. It frees you up by delivering a powerful message: No situation has any meaning except the one you give it. Reframing is a choice: it’s available to you at any time. Any negative emotion or situation you face while writing can be reframed in your favor simply by shifting your perspective and creating a new, more appealing picture.
A prime example: Reframing is the best strategy you have for combating negative self-talk — that pesky, niggly editor in your head who loves to runs those tapes about how you’re not good enough or are going to fail. With a little practice, you can learn to recognize when you’re not talking to yourself in positive, productive ways and instantly shift your self-talk into a more uplifting, energizing groove.
Suppose you wake up one morning feeling low about your last day’s work and what lies ahead. Your negative self-talker has had its shot of java; it’s wide awake and starts whispering, “You’re wasting your time, you don’t know what I’m doing.” Instead of plunging into a downward spiral and creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom and destruction, put another frame around it.
Turn your negative self-talk on its head by telling yourself, “Wow, I’m in great company! J.K Rowling, Hemingway, Juno Diaz — lots of great storytellers — all struggled to get their work out into the world, but they succeeded. If they can do it, so can I! “It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Simple enough, isn’t it? If you don’t like the picture the way it is, put a new frame on it. Snagged on a thorny plot point? Don’t let it drag you into the muck and mire of stress and self-doubt — reframe it! Getting tangled in a plot problem just means that you get to exercise your imagination. See it as a chance for you to be more creative and discover something new — an opportunity to dream up something fresh and inventive that had the power to transform and enliven your story.