Monday, May 2, 2011

What's Your Soundtrack?

When it comes to writing, what are the main thoughts that run through your head?

Are they positive?

Or negative?

Somewhere in between?

I believe that we all have a soundtrack, one that plays in our head on a regular basis. I also believe that this affects our writing. A positive soundtrack can move our writing ahead and a negative one can hinder our progress.

How do we determine what our soundtrack is? By paying attention to our thoughts. Tuning in is telling; I sometimes find myself jogging down an unproductive road. Joyce Meyer says, "Where the mind goes, the man follows." Nuff said.

What do we do if our soundtrack is primarily negative? How do we refocus and change the tune?  Here are a few things that help me keep an upbeat attitude:

1) Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Sure, I have my ups and downs, but my bottom line is this - I know that I am a writer. No matter how I feel, this is what God has called me to do. When I catch myself tapping my toe to a lousy soundtrack, I work to shift the thoughts and mentally regroup.

2) I surround myself with positive influences, like treasured writer friends (this would be you). You've offered a wealth of love and support. It warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes when I think of the encouragement you've given to me.

3) I tap into my faith to stay grounded. For me, this means keeping my ears attentive to God's word and meditating on His principles. My perspective is better when my focus is in the right place.

4) I avail myself to good resources - blogs, books on the craft, workshops, etc. I glean from the thoughts of seasoned writers like Jennifer Brown Banks in her post on Overcoming Setbacks. E-Newsletters like Hope Clark's Funds for Writers is another winner, featuring encouraging articles, markets, and links. Author Tony Eldridge's blog offers insight and reality wrapped in a package that says, "Yes, you can do this!
 
5) I heed the words of cowboy preacher Gospel Bill, who tells his young audiences, "Garbage in, garbage out," If we sow negative things into our heads, we will reap the same. If we sow the positive and valuable, that's what we will reap. GB's simple phrase helps keep my thoughts in check.


Have you ever considered your writing soundtrack? Or the soundtrack in other areas of your life? What do you do to combat a negative soundtrack?


Blessings,
Karen



Photo credit: d-s-n  http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1154488

46 comments :

  1. I think negative thoughts and words can definitely impact our life and I work hard to stay positive and speak positively! Though, some days are harder than others.

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  2. While I'm actually writing I tend to feel free and into my characters. It's at any other given moment I have to constantly work to erase those ugly thoughts.
    ~ Wendy

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  3. Oh, that's so interesting to think about. I do sometimes have to put on a different headset or sundtrack sometimes. Self-doubt can sneak up and play in my ear a lot.

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  4. I've certainly never thought of it as a soundtrack, but just plain destructive thinking. I use most of your methods to realign my thoughts, starting with some needed conversation with God.

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  5. I like the thought of these being a soundtrack. Mine have been replaced with all positive thoughts about my writing. It's really good writing. The right agent just has to read my pages. And Hope has a great one for children's writers too, amigo. Hugs and loves to you. (You're lookin' so cool these days. But that's what being an amigo is ALL about.) :-)

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  6. LOL! Want to do my Overcoming Obstacles with Spunk seminars with me?

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  7. I guess I'd call it my 'groove' rather than a sound track. It depends on what I'm writing- but at the moment I'm all fun, humor, and positivity!

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  8. I found these points very helpful as also the term soundtracks for our train of thoughts. We are what we think and so negative thoughts would come in the way of anything constructive or productive. Only recently I began making conscious efforts to divert my thoughts to focus on positive aspects, subjects and memories, It helps, though sometimes negative thoughts take me unawares, and it takes prayer to bring me back to the right soundtrack.

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  9. I think one of the things that becomes my strength is that I absolutely LOVE identifying a weakness, reading up on how to conquer it and then putting that technique to use. It gives me great satisfaction to overcome an obstacle, and so it gives me the juice I need to keep going.

    In the submission process, I have found that having a slightly pessimistic viewpoint keeps me from falling into that misery cycle. Let me explain.

    When I know my book is out on sub, I don't think about the sale, or the yes. I look forward only to the possibility of getting personalized feedback. For me, this allows me to never be disappointed, or to only have to deal with a small amount of disappointment. I focus on feedback that will allow me to make the book stronger, and stay away from the whole yes or no question.

    It might seem silly, but for me, this mind trick really does help me not get discouraged. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  10. Laura,
    Yes, it can be a challenge, can't it? We need to be realistic, yet avoid the Eeyore mentality too, I'm thinking.

    Wendy,
    I get tangled up in a bad soundtrack sometimes with my characters. Usually I just ignore it and things smooth out. :)

    Jennifer,
    I know I find it hits me and I don't even realize it. Then some days are better than others, but I think moving forward positively helps us in the long run. :)

    Eileen,
    Well, whatever we call it, it's always good to work through it. I'm for looking ahead to good things!

    Robyn,
    You're looking pretty cool yourself, amigo! I am sure you'll snag an agent's attention one of these days! :) Hugs to you too!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  11. The negative soundtrack is quite annoying. I get a good, uplifting song in my head and get back to work. That's what helps me!

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  12. Diane,
    Sure, why not? I like your style and would love to take one of your workshops! That would be fun and informative, I'm sure. :)

    Katie,
    I like that! Hey, why can't it be interchangeable, you know? Glad you have your groove on now! Good to meet you!

    Joy,
    Joyce Meyer also says that the battlefield is in the mind, and I have to agree on that one too. Thanks for stopping!

    Angela,
    I see your point, and I don't think it's silly. I think we can go off the deep end being an Eeyore type, so that's what I'm looking to avoid and stay the course. :) I think we can be realistic and remain upbeat, as you said.

    Lydia,
    It does! Glad you have a method that works! I can picture you tapping your toe and writing happily...:)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  13. What a blessing. You really hit the spot here, Karen. I find if I concentrate on my life force, it calms me immediately. They say God is closer than you think. He's the life force running through my veins. Focussing on the feeling makes life so peaceful. Have a super day.

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  14. Hi Karen -

    I've been aggravated with the latest chapter of my book. When I get in that place, I have to pull away and replace the negative talk with scripture. Then, I can go back and tackle the problem with a more positive attitude.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  15. I think I'm positive, at least I hope I am. But my soundtrack? Apparently my head is like a frat house with several boom boxes going full out ;) But I so agree with #2, good people like you help keep me grounded and on point.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  16. I admit that I go through both positive and negative on a weekly basis but I'm working hard on it.

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  17. What a great post! And right on target. What we think does find it's way to what we write, so it's best to keep the right message flowing. Like the cowboy said, "Garbage in, garbage out."

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  18. Joylene,
    Thanks so much for your kind words. I really like the way you expressed your feelings!

    Susan R.,
    Can't have you getting out of line with that chapter! I'm cheering you on!

    Jules,
    Good to see you around again, girl! Missed you. I'd say you are pretty positive. And I've yet to hear those boom boxes...:)

    Clarissa,
    We're probably all works in progress, you know? We're getting there!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  19. Kathi,
    Thanks so much! Congrats on your soon to be released book! :)
    Karen

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  20. Awesome! Thanks for the reminder. I find that I am pretty kind to myself when writing. I actually forgive myself for mistakes much easier than I did when I lived through life in real time. Perhaps, I am to glean from you, on this day, to adjust the soundtrack that is playing when I walk away from the keyboard. Thanks again! Happy writing :) Or sad, if it fits.

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  21. I'm a regularly upbeat person and I enjoy my blogging friends, who keep me encouraged. Blessings to you this week!

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  22. This is a topic so dear to my heart and I've been writing in a similar vein every so often. I tend to keep a pretty positive soundtrack going. Negative weakens me and is downright unhealthy. Little that is truly useful comes from negativity. Even when I'm discouraged I try to keep a hopefulness driving me. When I'm writing I think it makes me sometimes overrate what I'm doing, but that can always be caught in the rewrites and editing if I keep the right mindset for those processes.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  23. My wife's listened to Joyce Meyers for years. We saw her in Long Beach a while back. She's great. Where the mind goes the man follows. That's a good one!

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  24. Jackie,
    Thanks for your kind words. :) You all have encouraged me so much, and if I can pass a little of that on I'm happy. :)

    Sally,
    Yes, where would we be without these friends! Wishing you a great week as well. :)

    Lee,
    You are an upbeat person; it's evident on your blog. Good point - as far as overrating what you are writing. To me, that's part of what the rewrites and editing are for.

    Stephen,
    Joyce does have a lot of great insight. That is a thought provoking statement!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  25. A soundtrack is an interesting way to think of our mental tapes and how they ebb and flow through positive and negative thoughts. Just yesterday When I think about this subject, I think about Solomon from the Bible. He asked his advisors to bring him something that would prevent him from thinking too low of himself and too high of himself. So they thought about this and brought him a ring. On it was inscribed "This too shall pass." That's one way I try to keep balanced.

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  26. I am reading Joyce Meyer's Power Thoughts currently, to help discipline my mind to stay in the attitude that God meant me to have. Thanks for the links Karen! And great points.

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  27. I love this post! So much to think- I mean sound track about!
    Walking always helps me to get in a better frame of mind, enabling me to get into an attitude of prayer or just hashing things out with God.

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  28. Karen,
    Nice to meet you! "This too shall pass" - I like that. It's a good way to keep perspective. :)

    Lynn,
    I've heard good things about that book. May have to pick up a copy!Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    Cheryl,
    Glad you like it! :) You know, I like to walk too. Something about it is not only refreshing but changes my outlook. Great minds think alike!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  29. Great post! I think my thoughts are usually positive for the underlying message I'm trying to get across, but a little negative because of what I'm putting my character through. I often feel guilty because of it!

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  30. The negative soundtrack makes me suffer a huge setback until I change it to a positive one. Thanks for this encouraging post.

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  31. Aha! Great wisdom here. I definitely need to meditate (chew) on this principle for awhile. Now you've got me thinking. Again. And I thank you for that, my friend.

    Waving and smiling,

    Rhonda

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  32. Hhmmm, good though Karen, I never really considered my writing sound track... I preach myself happy (in front of the mirror if I need to) when in doubt :)

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  33. I try to counter all negative thoughts with two positive thoughts. =) I really battle with that especially with my writing.

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  34. D.U.,
    Good to meet you! Thanks for following, and also for sharing your thoughts!

    Rachna,
    We're works in progress, don't you think? I'm sure we'll get better as we go!

    Rhonda,
    Thanks, friend! You give me plenty of food for thought over at your place too. :)

    Marja,
    Preaching yourself happy is a great way to have a good soundtrack! I'm thinking I need to do that more often too!

    Tana,
    I'm thinking there will always be some battle with it for us, but we can get better with our defense. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  35. Great advice! I have some motivational songs on my iPod. "It's Not Over Til It's Over" always gets me pumped up! Also "Hearts On Fire" from the Rocky IV soundtrack. And then there's "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus, which has become a bit more cheesy since everyone on American Idol made it their anthem...

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  36. Author Kelly Stone calls that negative voice our "anti-writer." I combat it using the methods you've mentioned, though when I'm in a funk it isn't always easy. Usually, I just write. I love it so much that even when I'm grumbling it helps, because I lose myself in it. By the time I exhaust my effort and come back to reality, things look better.

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  37. For out of the overflow of the heart the hand writes. Thanks for the reminder to stay positive and let the pure enter our heads and hearts.

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  38. Stephanie,
    Thank you! It's great to meet you. :) I love using music as a motivator or pick-me-up kind of thing.

    Lisa,
    I've never heard that term before; it's a good one! Yeah, I get in those funks too, and have to agree, writing is usually therapeutic.

    Shanda,
    I like that! Reminds me of a scripture...:) You are most welcome; thanks for your input!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  39. Negative thoughts too easily creep in. Sometimes they come in like a bulldozer! I try to counter them with reading good books and talking to encouraging peple. Good suggestions here in your post, thanks. wb

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  40. Stuck are what my current thoughts are. I'm up against a lot of pressure I've created for myself, and I do need to transfer to more positive lines.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Karen!

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  41. I tend to argue with myself. But not out loud because then I would look crazy.

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  42. Karen,

    Great post! I love the parallels. Seems we always have something in common too: I'm a big fan of Joyce Meyer as well.

    Thanks so much for the mention. And you should know, I've learned from you as well.:-) Thanks for being an excellent example in more ways than I can mention.

    (((((((HUGS)))))

    Jennifer

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  43. Karen,
    My soundtrack fluctuates.When I have had a poor critique then it is soooo negative. I like your number one-- I know I am a writer, it's what I do and will try to hang onto that during those down times:)

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  44. Warren,
    They do sneak in, don't they? We need to be on our toes all the time, I'm thinking.

    Janna,
    You are welcome. Will pray for you to get "unstuck". I've done that too, especially lately. Not fun.

    Angela,
    LOL! Yes, me too, and I try to do it when others aren't around!

    Jennifer,
    Thank you! You are so welcome; I respect your work tremendously. I appreciate your kind words, Jen. :)

    Terri,
    Yes, hang on, for you ARE a writer! Staying on top of things is an ongoing process. Thankfully we have access to great support.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  45. Wow, Karen! Needed this one today! It's so easy to give in to the negativity, yet like you, the Lord has given me the opportunity to write. Thoughts ARE powerful! I'm tuning into the positive today! Thanks for this post! Hugs and God bless!

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  46. Sometimes when I feel negative, I just roll with it. I can tell by the music I listen to on my iPod. Usually writing a post about how I feel helps me get on the other side.

    How great you have so many places to turn for support.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!