All About Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements that can help us to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and/or negative thoughts. When we repeat them often, we start to believe in them. This means we can start to make positive changes.
I first came across affirmations when I had cancer. My therapist at the time challenged me to use affirmations to challenge my belief I was doomed to die.
I had only just survived a breakdown and could not face yet another journey back to health. She told me to repeat to myself the following as a starting point …
‘I will not only survive this, I will thrive.’
I don’t mind admitting I thought that therapist was full of it. As far as I was concerned back then, the entire concept was toxic positive woo-woo peddled by charlatans. (Yes, I was THAT locked in negative thoughts).
However, I was also at rock bottom. I figured I might as well, if only to get the therapist off my case.
Follow The Evidence
NO ONE was more surprised than me when the affirmations worked!!!
Lots of people – like me – consider affirmations to be unrealistic ‘wishful thinking’ at best. If this is you too, check out what scientists have discovered below.
The evidence FOR affirmations is extremely compelling. Scientists have studied affirmations and other positive thinking tools and discovered the following…
- Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. In one study, a short affirmation exercise boosted the problem-solving abilities of “chronically stressed” subjects to the same level as those with low stress.
- Affirmations can help you perform better at work. Researchers discovered that thinking about your best qualities before high-pressure meetings (such as a job interview or performance review) can calm your nerves, increase your confidence and improve your chances of success.
- They can help people with mental health problems. As I discovered first hand, affirmations have been used to successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions. They have also been shown to stimulate the areas in our brains that make us more likely to effect positive changes in regard to our health.
So try looking at positive affirmations this way: many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our physical health.
Affirmations are the same, only for our mind and outlook! These positive mental repetitions can literally reprogramme our thinking patterns. Over time, we begin to think – and act – differently.
Why Writers Should Use Affirmations
People can use affirmations in any situation where they’d like to see a positive change in their lives. Since writers have to deal with lots of work (often for little or no money), not to mention LOTS of rejection, I believe it is a great tool for us.
Writers can use affirmations in the following situations …
- Controlling negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience (like when we get rejected).
- Improving our self-esteem.
- To finish projects.
- We can improve our productivity.
- To raise confidence before pitching, networking or meeting industry pros.
I believe affirmations are most effective when writers pair them with goal-setting and other positive thinking techniques.
For example, I like to VISUALISE my finished story. I see myself holding the book in my hands, or checking out the movie adaptation trailer on Netflix.
How To Use Affirmations
One of the key elements of affirmations is repetition. I like to focus on one affirmation at a time, usually for between 1-4 weeks, between 2-5 times daily (the less I believe something, the longer and more often I repeat it to myself).
A simple way to ensure you do your affirmation is to programme a reminder into your phone. When it pops up, sit and repeat it to yourself 3-5 times. Try and visualise it to yourself too.
Here is a list of affirmations you can use to help you with your writing journey. There’s also a graphic at the bottom of this article that you can download as a PDF for your wall. Just click on any of the pics to grab your copy.
1) I am a writer.
Psssssst – not ‘an aspiring writer‘. If you write, you’re a writer. End of.
2) Constructive criticism helps me.
NO writer writes the perfect draft first time, not even award-winning pros. Notes are not inherently good or bad, but neutral. Constructive criticism is important. It should empower us to get our drafts written to the best of our ability. (Learn more about constructive criticism in B2W’s flagship class, Breaking Into Script Reading).
3) I reject perfection.
Perfection is the enemy of creatives. Never try and achieve ‘perfection’ … it simply does not exist.
4) I am right on time.
Lots of writers worry they’re being ‘left behind’ or that they’re ‘too late’ or ‘too old’. This is not true. If you’re not dead, then you’re right on time.
5) I only fail if I quit.
Loads of writers tell me they feel like they’ve ‘failed’ if they don’t place in contests, don’t get particular writing jobs or even if they get notes on their work! If you’re trying, then you’re not failing. Fact.
6) Strategy will take me where I need to go.
Lots of writers don’t have a strategy then wonder why they feel like they’re going round in circles. Whilst throwing spaghetti at the wall MIGHT work, it will be by accident rather than design. Take your writing destiny into your own hands.
7) I am entitled to my writing dream.
Lots of writers feel guilty for pursuing their writing dream, especially if they have kids or other caring responsibilities. But you are ENTITLED to your own dreams! Here’s some info on balancing writing and your responsibilities.
8) Rejection happens to every writer, even professionals.
Bang2writers often get shame-faced about rejection, but facts are facts: it happens to ALL OF US. It will always happen. Find coping strategies to deal with it and it WILL get easier.
9) I trust the process.
Sometimes Bangers tell me they are worried they’re not doing writing ‘right’. But here’s the thing … you can write whatever you want, however you want. Yes, really! All you need to do is trust the process and the notion you will get to the end.
10) I am NOT wasting my time.
Finally, the biggie … SO MANY Bang2writers have told me over the years they fear they’re wasting their time. They conflate having a finished PRODUCT with ‘success’. This means that if they don’t get a script produced or a novel published, they believe they’ve ‘failed’. But this is not the case. We need to understand the act of creating is a joy all on its own.