Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Fun Trick to Focus on the Positive

by Jeffe Kennedy

First off, this week a group of us writer-types from SFWA (Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America) are staging a sale of sf/fantasy books. We'll be nattering about this and cross-posting all over the Internet. This is an opportunity to pick up some good reading material at great prices. For details, look here.


I've read many times that - meaning as human beings - have a tendency to sabotage ourselves by focusing on the negative. We all know this, right? I've seen various statistics and studies, but most suggest something along the lines of that, if we see ten compliments about ourselves and one insult, we remember the insult. Worse we inflate the negative one so much, that we actually forget the positive ones.

Really awful.

My editors, like most, like to gripe on Twitter while they're editing. Things like 

In both of these recent cases, I knew neither of them were talking about MY books. Though Deb did have one of my books in her editorial paws, it's the first in a series, not a sequel. And Peter's tweet happened to be in a thread where he was reviewing queries. So, I breathed a sigh of relief and went on with my life.

But see, at other times, the gripe *could* be about my books. Worse, if it's at all possible, I tend to assume it is me they're complaining about.

So destructive to my peace of mind.

Thus, I made a resolution this year to make a conscious choice to assume that it's not me they're talking about. If they want to tell me to fix something, they will. Therefore they're talking about someone else. Every time. This has been so good for me.

Then, last night I saw a tweet where someone squeed about the book they're reading. They called it magical, witty and wonderful. I thought, oh! I wish that could be about MY book. And I decided, maybe it is! So I pretended it was, and I absorbed all that lovely, giddy delight.

It felt amazing.

I think we should all try this. Hear or read a random complaint? Assume it's about someone else. Encounter glowing non-specific praise? Figure that it's clearly about you! Hooray!

Now - everyone go out and try this and let me know how it goes.

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