Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stop #22 of The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

What fun ... my blog was chosen to be part of "The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway"! So, enjoy this guest post, with great information from Christina Katz, author of "Writer Mama" and "Get Known Before the Book Deal" ... AND don't miss your chance to win her book, "Writer Mama", by answering the question at the end of this post! Enjoy!

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The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

Post #22: The Perils of Book Writing: Part Two

Continued from Part One (

Mental Kung-Fu


If fear is the biggest threat to your emotional health while writing a book, then negativity is the biggest danger to your mental health. Negativity comes in many forms: thoughts we think about ourselves, thoughts we think about others, thoughts we think about the world, and thoughts we don’t even know we have about ourselves, others, and the world. So needless to say, when you are under the pressure of writing a book, you definitely want juice up your positive attitude.

When you find yourself thinking, for example, “I feel like I’ll never finish this book,” rebuff it with constructive action like sitting down with a calendar and scheduling your writing time backwards from your deadline. Then you can say, “If I stick to my writing schedule, I can make my deadline,” and know from your observations that it’s true.

On the other hand, watch out for ungrounded optimism like, “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll make my deadline,” if you haven’t actually invested the time and energy to plan your course.


When it comes to other people, things get a bit trickier. For the sake of brevity, I’ll over-simplify. Let’s say there are three kinds of people you’ll encounter when you are up to your eyeballs in book writing: folks who think it’s great, folks who aren’t that interested, and folks who are negative.

Which group of people do you think can provide the most wind beneath your wings during your book writing process? Of course, it’s the positive people. But if you are like most writers, you also have some indifferent or negative people in your life. How could it be otherwise? So you’ll want to learn to monitor how much energy you have to expend when you are around certain people.

For example, if you are absolutely exhausted every time a family member asks you another slew of questions about your book, then maybe that person is really not as supportive as you may have thought. Once you determine that someone isn’t really that supportive, don’t try to change them. Just improve your boundaries. Next time this person starts up with a long list of questions, try changing the subject to a topic that doesn’t drain your energy. Try something that is interesting to you both. And don’t expect support from that person, and then you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get any.


Creative careers have a bizarre status in America. We seem to have a collective love-hate relationship with the arts. I believe that even in its most practical execution, writing is an art. It’s a business and an art. We are used to business people but we’re not as comfortable with artists. A lot of silly mythology also surrounds art and artists. Try not to fall prey to any of the ego traps that trip up artists.

Anyone can do art. Anyone can become an artist. And artist doesn’t mean “exempt.” So if you want to be a writer and therefore an artist, remember, it’s just another role you play in life, not the only role.

With more people becoming creators, I think we can look forward to facing our collective shadow around the arts in the upcoming years. In the not so distant future, everyone will be an artist and artists will turn just about everything you can imagine into an art form. In the meantime, a book like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way can help anyone confront and transform personal myths about creativity and art.

[To be continued tomorrow…]

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of "Writer Mama", answer the following question in this blog's comments:

Negativity. How do you deal with it in yourself, others, and in our culture?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address, can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!

Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer's Digest Books 2007)

Kids change your life, but they don't necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom's guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work - something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job. Christina Katz is also the author of the newly released "Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform" (Writer's Digest Books 2008).


PurpleClover said...

Wow this post is so helpful and so true! I definitely agree with the three types of people. I find that some forums where you share you work/query/idea you will always find those that tell you it's a lost cause and those people BAFFLE me to no end! Why would anyone want to tell someone that something isn't marketable when so many books hit the shelves from so many different ideas, perspectives, and levels of interest.

I definitely loved this post!

Unknown said...

Negativity. How do you deal with it in yourself, others, and in our culture?

In myself: I face my weaknesses head on, reassure myself of my strengths, and find a way become better.

In others: If someone does not like my writing, I try to find out what the root of the problem is--what about the writing isn't agreeing with them? Then I determine whether it truly is a problem--and how to fix it--or whether it is just that one reader's interpretation and it's not really a problem wiht my writing. If it's about something other than my writing, then I've got a pretty brusque Brooklyn attitude if ya know whadda I mean ;)

In the world: I pray. I try to set a good example. I celebrate small victories.

Virginia said...

How do I deal with negativity? Sometimes, chocolate. Sometimes, I work on something else unrelated to the particular work that is getting me down (in this case, my book project).

Considering the current state of the economy, as well as the state of publishing, I'm also considering alternatives to the traditional "find an agent" model - perhaps pitching small presses myself - but haven't started researching such options yet.

Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said...

Dear Diary ...

Corey Schwartz said...

What a great series! I read yesterday's on Zook's Book nook.

Um, I am lucky to have a very supportive family and friends. All the negativity in my life comes from ME. So when I am feeling like I will never get another contract, I turn to the wonderful people in my life- my husband, my critique group, my blogging buddies, etc to help snap me out of it!

Anonymous said...

I'm open to what others have to say and take away what I can. If they're negative "down" people, I limit my time with them. I focus on the positive.

Anonymous said...

I'm open to constructive critcism, advice, and wisdom. I don't appreciate negativity, because I usually feel it's more about the person giving it and their issues than me. I have always tried to look for the postive in any situation - what can I take away from it? Life's too short; enjoy it. (Thanks, Mom!)
Great post.

Kelly H-Y said...

I LOVE reading everyone's comments and answers to the questions! Thanks so much for stopping by!

katie said...

Battling negativity of my own is probably the hardest for me to combat. I'm much better at finding the good in external situations and in others.

But, it can be exhausting to constantly try to *match* someone else's negativity with positivity, and in those cases it's usually not worth it (for my sake, at least).

Negativity in the world can be depressing and even crippling. To brace against it, I use prayer, focus on gratitude, and rely on my support system of family and friends.

K said...

Christina, thanks for such a positive optimistic post about a difficult topic. Negativity isn't an easy one to tackle, because it seems easier to avoid thinking about it. When I catch myself with a negative thought I try to first break down the parts of the situation: what is the true source of my negativity? Often I realize that it has nothing to do with the actual situation, but maybe with how I am feeling about something else from earlier in the day. I try to then think about how it can turn into a more positive thought and I think about what I am grateful for that relates to the situation.

Negativity in others is harder for me to deal with, because I tend to just try and avoid these people. If I know someone is always saying negative comments or thinking negatively, then it's easier to try and distance myself then confront them. But if I am talking with them then I usually listen but say something positive and brief to them.

Negatively in our culture is easy to come across, like reading many stories in the news that are sad or disturbing. With the recession right now a lot of people are experiencing hard situations. For this type of negativity, I try to connect more with people, with the community. Reaching out and just talking to people instead of skipping a conversation with a stranger seems to help me think that despite all of the negativity and hardship right now, we are still here for each other.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great post!
I keep a shelf near my desk crowded with uppers--things that motivate me and reassure me that yes, I can do this! Notes from readers and friends, pictures of my kids, books that inspire me. I've also learned that there are some people (I call them Eeyores) that I just won't talk to about my writing.

Also, whenever I start to feel low I force myself to take a walk. It really does help get my creative juices flowing and improve the attitude.

Kelly Polark said...

Thankfully I'm a pretty positive person. It is more likely that a negative comment will fuel me more to succeed. (I'll show them!) :)
A hug from my kids always help lift my mood, too!

Anonymous said...

I agree that it seems to take extra energy right now to overcome all of the negativity. Go us! Thanks for participating.

I'm tackling a tough topic today: religion/spirituality and I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic!

Kelly H-Y said...

Thanks so much to everyone for participating ... and for your awesome, thought-provoking answers!

david mcmahon said...

Thank you for the visit and the kind comment. As a published novelist I could not agree more with the views you express here.

Everything is possible. The greatest motivating force is your own mind.

You might be interested in a 19-part series I wrote on my blog about these matters. It's called `Telling Write From Wrong'. If you can't Google it, let me know and I'll send you the link.

Anonymous said...

Today's the last day of the blog tour and the hostess gifts are in! Come on over to Robin Mizell's blog and chime in if you have time!

And thanks again for hosting!