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Lies Writers Tell Themselves and How to Defeat Them
Self-limiting beliefs arise during our formative years in reaction to painful experiences. We tell these lies to ourselves to protect ourselves from hurt, which influences what we think, say, and do.
Common limiting beliefs of writers are
- Nobody will want to read my book.
- There are too many books in my genre or on a specific topic. There is nothing new I can add.
- I can't make money with writing.
- I must get my book published through a traditional publisher to be recognized as a writer.
- I am not good at selling, marketing, or building a presence on social media.
- I don't have enough time, money, or resources to sell my books.
- I can only write thrillers, romance, etc. Even though you don't want to write non-fiction or a different genre, don't believe you can't.
How to overcome self-limiting beliefs
To overcome your self-limiting beliefs, I follow these basic steps:
- I first identify the beliefs holding me back by tracking them and noting when they appear.
- Next, I question the validity of these beliefs. I ask the following helpful questions:
Is this belief true? Why or why not?
Is there any proof of this?
What advice will I give to a writer friend who believes this about himself?
Answering these questions helped me to discover the reason for the limiting belief.
- Figuring out where a limiting belief originates often helps me to find ways to overcome it.
Writers can develop limiting beliefs from painful childhood experiences that are now irrelevant—for example, a favorite teacher who shot your short story down. Or even as an adult if a friend or partner does not support you in your writing.
- Once I've discovered the reason for the lie I believe, I ask myself: "Why am I still believing this lie?" Answering this question helps me to heal from past hurts, forgive those involved, and forgive myself for hanging unto these beliefs.
- For additional motivation to let go of my limiting beliefs, it helps to write down how they have kept me from achieving my writing goals. When I relive the pain it caused, my subconscious will realize that hanging onto this belief is not helpful and enable me to let it go.
- Once I see there is no valid reason for a limiting belief, I start to replace it with a positive self-affirmation. As I continue repeating these affirmations, it takes root in my subconscious, forming new beliefs about myself.
- Sometimes, I still buy into these lies. But I've realized that changing limiting beliefs is a process, and it will take time for me to change them. Whenever I give in and believe one of these lies, I forgive myself and continue repeating my positive affirmations.
Writers need to realize that overcoming self-limiting beliefs is not a once-off process. During our life journey, we will often get hurt and continuously develop ways to protect ourselves. But overcoming limited beliefs makes us stronger, and challenging these beliefs will enable us to accomplish more of our writing goals.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt