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Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.

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Dear readers,

What’s your reaction to the word “can’t”? If someone tells you that you can’t do something, do you believe him? Or does a stubborn streak kick in from out of nowhere, making you more determined than ever to prove that person wrong?

One sad fact of life is that there will always be naysayers in the world. When everyone else is encouraging you to dream big, the naysayer will point out all the reasons that your goals are impossible. And sadly, we usually remember the naysayer’s words much longer than we will recall any positive feedback or encouragement. It’s human nature.

But what if we can use the naysayers in our lives to motivate us? To give us that extra push to achieve exactly what they said we couldn’t do? Wouldn’t that be the best possible scenario?

Trouble is, sometimes plain old negativity is painted as helpful advice. When we’re nervous or lack experience, it’s natural to listen to The Voice of Wisdom. Here’s a rule of thumb I’ve learned: if that wise sage is telling you why it’s unrealistic/not in your best interest/too difficult/challenging/expensive/unnecessary to do something you really want to do, he’s a naysayer. Even if it seems like he really knows what he’s talking about.

I wish I’d known this when I listened to my high school English teacher, who told me I couldn’t possibly be a psychologist, steering me towards journalism. Making writing my day job has been a move I’ve regretted ever since, but I was young and naive, so I thought my teacher knew better. Knew my own capabilities better than I did! I wouldn’t make that same mistake today.

When I first started Making the Cut, I was excited. I shared the news with a fitness-minded co-worker, who promptly replied that it is very difficult for women to develop defined arms. This is something I’ve never had a problem with, so I was thinking that I could safely file that remark in the “Nothing to Do With Me” file, when my co-worker went on to comment, “look at you, for instance. Your arms aren’t defined.”

Ouch. Well, they certainly used to be. And they will be again! Rather than deflating me, her words inspired me. After most of Jillian’s exercises, I’ve done extra work on my arms to prove my co-worker wrong. Is it silly to change one’s behavior on the strength of an off-hand comment? Maybe, but I say there’s nothing wrong with that if it inspires you to be better.

I was told by many a well-meaning local writer that I’d never get a New York agent. Well, I did. Yes, I had to terminate her services, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get another one when and if I need her/him. I’ve been told it would be easier to give up on my dream of being a full-time author. “Why don’t you just publish your book with (insert name of small local non-profit publisher here)? After all, your first novel is not going to be a bestseller.”

Oh really? Good thing Andrew Davidson never paid heed to that kind of crap, or he’d be collecting royalty checks for twenty bucks instead of signing million dollar deals. I’m not Davidson, but I don’t intend to listen to it, either.

Let’s face it: the most powerful, consistent naysayer of all is in our own heads. It’s the nagging voice that tells us we’re doomed to fail. Even the most confident among us struggle with self-doubt now and then…they just don’t give into it.

The most obvious solution to the problem with naysayers is to surround ourselves with positive people, and distance ourselves from anyone who isn’t. But that isn’t always realistic. And sometimes, like in the case of my co-worker, an otherwise good friend can slip up and say something unintentionally hurtful. Instead, let’s use the naysayers’ words against them: as motivation to push us even closer toward our dreams! You know what they say: living well is the best revenge. And I for one intend to live extremely well. I hope that you do, too.

Making the Cut, Day Nine: Stuck to eating plan. Did two hour workout yesterday and plan for the same tonight. So far, so good.
To bed at: 12:30 a.m. (file this under ‘what was I thinking?’)
Awake at: 6:20 a.m., very begrudgingly
Novel pages written: 1.5 (also begrudgingly)

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6 Comments

  1. evbishop

    Hear, hear! I LOVE this post. Very inspiring and motivating. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Laura Best

    I agree with Ev. Great post and something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

    Reply
  3. Story Teller

    Welcome back, Ev! Thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the post to be inspirational. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s easier said than done to keep the naysayers from getting you down.

    And Laura, a very warm welcome to my blog! I hope to see you around here again. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kim

    Naysayers sometimes naysay because they are jealous. Sometimes they naysay because if they were in your shoes they would do it differently or because they don’t have the same get up and go that you do or the same tenacity. ignore ’em, I say. Do what you want.

    The most annoying naysayers are people who naysay about themselves and refuse to try things or take their lives to the next level because of fear of.. failure?… success? both??

    Reply
  5. signed me

    Excellent post. I will be inspired by your words today!

    Reply
  6. Story Teller

    Thank you, “signed me”. I’m so happy to hear that this post inspired you.

    Kim, I totally agree. I’ve come across that so many times, where a person is complaining about his/her life but rejects all suggestions about how the issues can be resolved. Then again, most of us do have dark moods like that. I know that when I’m in a funk, I can be very resistent to people who try to get me to look on the bright side. 🙂

    Reply

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