Wednesday, October 19, 2011

JAIL THE NEGATIVE VOICE



By Debby Giusti


Happy Birthday, Seekerville!!! Four years of blog fun calls for a month-long celebration and a move to our new Seekervillage. We’re bursting with excitement and so glad all of you are making the move with us.


There’s only one problem. A few folks—I won’t mention names--have been concerned the revelry may get out of hand and asked me to serve as temporary Sheriff of Seekerville. I’m honored to accept the position, at least until a permanent sheriff can be elected. (Some say the newcomer in town, Mary Neely, may be interested in the job. Although rumor has it she’s a Connealy wannabe and a bit weird.)


For the time being, I’ll keep the peace and promise to go after any troublemakers or hooligans or unsavory characters that disrupt our writing time, steal our creativity or hold us back from following our dreams.


The biggest offender on my Most Wanted List is a nasty character I call the Negative Voice. He’s a stealthy guy who hides out in the back of our minds. Silent for long periods of time when we’re going about our daily routines, he’ll make himself known the instant we find time to write.

Verbally abusive, the Negative Voice attempts to convince us we can’t write or can’t write a story that sells or a story readers will like or the next story or a different type of story or...

You get the idea.

The last thing a writer needs is criticism. Rejection and sorry-it’s-not-working-for-me are part and parcel of this business. We shouldn’t heap more disapproval upon our shoulders and certainly not from a self-generated source that knows where we’re most vulnerable.

“Who do you think YOU are?” the Negative Voice asks. “You got a ‘C’ in sophomore English.” “You’re only a housewife.” “You never went to college.” “You can’t spell.” “You’ve got a full-time job and two kids to raise, and you don’t have time for some foolish pie-in-the-sky dream about seeing your name in print.” “You’ve been rejected 35 times. Get a life!” “You’ll always be a midlist author.” “You can’t switch publishers or agents or genres.” “You’ll never sell another story.”

Before I was Sheriff of Seekerville…before I sold my first book… before I wrote my first book…before I even knew I could write a first book, I was very aware of my Negative Voice.

I started writing short, slice of life vignettes when my children were young. We lived in rural Missouri where long, snow-bound winters provided ample opportunity to take pen to paper. I published a few pieces, including “Sisterhood,” a short tribute to Army wives. (Just a side note: Sisterhood still circulates throughout the military community and will be republished in a book coming out next month by Hachette Book Group, entitled, 1001 Things To Love About Military Life.)


After making those first few sales back in Missouri, I thought my publishing life was ready to skyrocket. Then we moved. Kids went to school, schools needed volunteers and I raised my hand.

Granted, I wanted to help, but I also wanted to write. The Negative Voice kept selling me a line of goods about how I needed to do “normal” things, like be a room mom, coordinate the wives’ club luncheons, be program chair for my ladies’ group at church, all important jobs that I enjoyed doing. I was making a contribution, but I wasn’t making room in my life for my own dream.


The few times I attempted to scratch out a story, the Negative Voice quickly critiqued my rough drafts. “Ha, ha, ha,” he laughed. “Who are you kidding? Why start something you can’t finish, and you’ll never finish as a writer. Stick with all the other volunteer jobs you’re currently doing.”

The Negative Voice also told me I was too busy to write. “You’ll have time to write later in life,” he promised. So, with that carrot held over my head, I closed the door on what might have been.


Don’t get me wrong. I had a wonderful life. I traveled the globe with my military husband, ran women’s organizations, worked on quality of life issues within the military community, organized and led church ministries, helped in my kids’ schools and raised my family. But my desire to write—to write fiction—continued to tug at my heart.


To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have traded those years or what I accomplished for any amount of publishing success, but I wish I had fueled my spark of creativity in a productive way during all that time.


Things changed when we moved to Georgia. Might have been the grits that gave me the courage to finally start on my journey to publication. Yet even then, I struggled to still the Negative Voice. “You won one writing contest, but it was a fluke.” “You submitted to an agent, but she won’t like the story.” “Your first three chapters work, but the middle doesn’t.” “You’re getting close, but you’ll never sell.”

As luck (think God!) would have it, I stumbled upon THE ARTIST’S WAY, by Julia Cameron. Working through the book helped me identify the Negative Voice and override his destructive influence. Two effective strategies for me were Morning Pages and Affirmations.


Morning pages – write three pages of free flowing, steam of consciousness every morning, shortly after rising. Don’t critique or rewrite, just jot down the thoughts and baggage and struggles that stand in the way of your creativity. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But Morning Pages work. Give them a try for a few weeks and see if you don’t notice a difference.


Affirmations – Whenever you hear an internal negative, flip it into a positive, and write it ten times. “You can’t write,” the Negative Voice whispers. Counter that inner pessimism by scribbling the positive affirmation: I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a good writer! I am a productive writer! I am a successful writer!

Using Cameron’s ideas, I soon realized that the only one holding me back from my dream was me. I set aside time each day to write. I joined a committed critique group that met weekly. I stopped thinking of writing as something that took me away from my husband and children and regarded it as a necessary part of life that made me a more joyous and vibrant member of the family.


Bottom line, I pushed, I worked hard, I finally sold. You can too.


I didn’t entitle this blog, “Kill the Negative Voice,” because he can’t be silenced. At any time, he’s apt to raise his ugly head, but when we recognize his tomfoolery for what it is, we can capture the slimy varmint and send him to jail. Will he escape? Eventually, yet knowing he has lots of tricks up his sleeve is half the battle. The other half is believing we can succeed.

Can you recognize your own Negative Voice? If so, how do you overcome the way he tries to hold back your creativity? What strategies do you use to turn negatives into positives? What keeps you from realizing your dream? What is your dream, and how are you working to make sure it comes true?

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for one of two gift boxes, containing the first two books in my Military Investigations Series: THE OFFICER’S SECRET and THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION. Both books and the Officer’s Prayer T-Shirt, size XL, will be mailed along with a canvas tote to two lucky winners. In addition, I’ll send each winner a copy of THE ARTIST’S WAY, by Julia Cameron.

Breakfast is served: scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, assorted pastries, fresh fruit and, of course, grits. Enjoy!

Wishing you abundant blessing,
Debby Giusti
www.DebbyGiusti.com

254 comments :

  1. Here comes the coffee. There's plenty, so belly up.

    You said, "To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have traded those years or what I accomplished for any amount of publishing success, but I wish I had fueled my spark of creativity in a productive way during all that time."

    Boy, oh, boy. If there are regrets, you nailed i!


    Helen

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  2. Argh I had a comment all typed up and then I accidentally clicked back...Blogger comments need a save feature LOL!

    Anywho I think if God is calling you to be a writer the appropriate term for that negative voice is the devil and the best thing to do is just say NO! It's hard to push that voice back in anything that you might do in life, not just writing but if you have the right people around you for support it does get easier. I would love to go back to school and see about getting a degree in library science but again that little voice says you don't have the money, where would you get a job etc. etc. Guess I'll just have to take that leap someday!!!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  3. Great advice! Next time the negative voice comes I'll fight back with some positives :) I like the idea of just letting the creativity flow first thing. A lot of my ideas come to me when I'm half asleep. I've been known to get up in the middle of the night and write. I hate to let all that good stuff slip away.

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  4. Debbie, I have a feeling that jail cell is going to be full! Mr. Negative Voice is a pretty busy character.

    And I have to agree with you - I would never have traded the years before writing for a stupendous publishing career. Those were the years I was pouring my creative energy into my children and school.

    But now? Give me my computer and the early morning stillness of a sleeping house...

    I'll have to try Morning Pages and Affirmations - they both sound like what I need to get the little grey cells spinning in the right direction.

    I'd love to win one of the prizes - books? T-shirt? Tote? Two of us are going to be happy campers!

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  5. Hi Helen,
    Thanks for making the coffee! I can always count on you. You make a great Drum Major, too! :)

    Of course, I was creative in other ways during those years, but I wasn't writing. Other than a few news articles and some organization newsletters.

    And I didn't know anyone who was a writer, published or not.

    That support means so much. IMHO, that's why I love Seekerville. We offer support and encouragement and understanding and lots of laughter and love.

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  6. My first thought as I started reading this was "Pepper, we gotta make sure to blame Casey. They can't pin it on us!" and wonder if we're the ones in mind when the jail was built and if it looked anything like the one in Mayberry.

    My second thought was "Debby's been reading my mind. That's a scary thing in a sheriff."

    The negative voice has been rearing it's ugly head way too often in my life recently [Ruthy can attest to that as can my partner in crim... er dear friend Pepper]. The positive words thing needs to become habit. Because I so rarely believe them. The whole "You sent a proposal to an agent? What makes you think she'll be interested in YOU?" thing. Yeah. Totally relate to that [and all the other prepubbed ones and so very many others that aren't even listed].

    I'm working on it. Slowly. Surely [maybe]. I hope. I pray.

    And speaking of praying...

    Keep Andrea's fam in prayer. Some of you saw on my FB page or the prayer loop - her nephew was injured tonight and lifeflighted to the hospital. Fortunately, she just gave this update a few minutes ago:

    [nephew] has a broken cheek bone, stitches in mouth and head. They are keeping him overnight for observation. Thanks for all the prayers.

    Please keep them in your prayers for his healing and all the other kinds of things that go along with having a hurt child.

    Please enter me, Ms. Sheriff.

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

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  7. Renee,
    You must have been typing your comment about support when I was mentioning Seekerville.

    The good thing is you have a dream...a goal to work towards. Are there any small steps you can take now so if things fall into place at a later time, you'll be ready to move forward with your dream?

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  8. Support is very important. I wrote a children's book way back in the early 90's. It was given a pass. I kept writing but I stopped trying to get published.

    Support that I've found here and from my crit partners keeps me believing in the dream. It helps to know you're not alone :)

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  9. Hi Jamie,
    Like you, many writers keep paper and pen by their bedside, just in case inspiration strikes.

    A few times, I've been caught without writing material (Can you imagine!) when an idea pops into my head. Of course, that great line is forgotten by the time I get back to my desk if I haven't written it down.

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  10. Hi Jan,
    You're in the drawing...everyone is. And remember this week's big prize includes two $25 gift cards--one for coffee, one for books! All those who comment are also entered in the Toshiba Netbook drawing at the end of the month.

    After rereading Julia Cameron's comments about Morning Pages, I plan to start doing them again. I need the affirmations, as well. A lot of negative floating around these days...bad economy, prices going up, sickness going around. Some days, especially when I'm tired, the Negative Voice stirs up trouble!

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  11. Carol,
    Start writing affirmations tonight. My writing is wonderful, brilliant, fun, sparkling...10 times! Okay?

    Praying for Andrea's nephew. So hard to see a little one hurt.

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  12. Wow, how the Lord leads me... Yesterday with a gentle nudge through Liz's words and today with Debby's bold reminder about that negative voice that's been supplanting my words with fear. Thanks for the great post, Debby!

    Lyndee H

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  13. I used to do affirmations ages ago and got out of the habit - back in to it starting right now after your excellent post. A keeper!!

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  14. Hi Debby:

    Evil has only the power that we give it. As Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil. (Matthew 5:39).

    An affirmation is not just something we say; it’s something we live. It’s a paradigm that shapes our reality.

    I have a friendly voice who loves me and who tries her best to protect me from life’s disappointments. Sometimes I listen like when she says ‘don’t gamble’ and ‘don’t take unnecessary risks’.

    Sometimes I don’t listen. Sometimes I only smile and say, ‘that may be true but I enjoy writing and the journey is its own reward. If I don’t succeed now, I will with more experience. Success must be earned. We’re going to make it, you and I, and I just know no one will be more proud of me than you will. I loves ya babe.

    Vince

    P.S. I have your books. (I’m writing a wonderful review right now). I’d like to win a print of your “Writer’s Prayer”. vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

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  15. This is a fun blog Debby with great advice.
    It's that positive voice that I'de like to hear, every time.
    And, thanks for being so generous!

    Jan K.

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  16. Ha! My first ever completed novel was called 'Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits'. :D

    Vince, I missed you!! Where you been??

    You know, when I read 'positive affirmations' I think of the old Saturday night live sketch with the lisping guy named Smalley who said the silliest things as self-affirmation...

    But when I read the 'I am a writer' affirmation it actually made a little happy frog jump in my tummy. (Um, well, that's what it felt like.) Isn't it weird how wired we are to believe WORDS? I need to fight Mr. Negativity with some good phrases.

    Praying for Andrea's nephew, for healing and peacefor his family.

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Debby! That Negative Voice sounds awfully familiar... I appreciate the tips on jailing him and accepting that following God's calling for our lives (writing or otherwise) shouldn't be seen as taking something away from other parts of our lives, but rather making us the best we are meant to be. :)

    By the way, this is sort of random, but I have a feature on my blog called "Mondays for the Military," where I spotlight those who are in the military or those who help our military (including writing about them!) in some way. I'd love to host you sometime if you're interested! :) Here's a link to the feature's page if you want to see some past interviews:

    http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/p/mondays-for-military.html

    Thanks again! :)

    ~Amber

    stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net

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  18. Debby,

    Thanks so much for writing this post. I have really been struggling with the negative voice after my agent let me go two and a half years into our contract. The negative voice has been screaming so loud I almost feel too paralyzed to write.

    I have The Artist's Way on my shelf and have never cracked it open! Can you see how I might think you wrote straight to me?

    I have some homework to do.

    Thank you!

    Ann_Lee_Miller[at]msn[dot]com

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  19. Vince,

    You tell that friendly voice! Love your encouraging self-talks. :)

    ~Amber

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  20. I LOVE Seekerville!!! I always find good, Christian, writerly encouragement here just when I need it.

    The Negative Voice has been wreaking havoc today for me. "How do you think you can write? You don't even like research. You can't write a decent Facebook post, much less a book," it says. I'm thinking what Renee said--it's the devil trying to discourage. He's a big loser and can't stand for God's children to be happy and effective.

    I love the idea of Morning Pages. I can't seem to write a stinking thing without editing it and it makes my writing pace feel like running underwater. I will DEFINITELY have to use the Pages technique. My journal has been neglected recently. I may practice there to catch up.

    Don't put me in for The Officer's Secret. I won it the other day! (grinning with glee) Can't wait to read it!

    I have your "Writer's Prayer" saved to my desktop. It's so encouraging--just like this post. Thank you, Debby. :)

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  21. Even if I wasn't a writer (wow I actually said that) I get so much encouragement from Seekerville just to live my life.

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  22. I'm not a writer, but I often hear "the negative voice" when I'm drawing or painting (I want to major in art). Thank you for the encouragement!

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  24. The posts here are always great, but I could especially relate to this one! In my writing journey, I find that the negative voice can surface within moments of a very positive development. Why is that? Those are the moments we're supposed to enjoy.

    It's good to know others have trouble locking him away, also, because then I know he's not just targeting me. Thanks for the encouragement today, Debby! Blessings!

    October 19, 2011 3:47 AM

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  25. Wonderful, NEEDED post. The Negative voice follows me around in many areas of my life. Thank you for the suggestions to quiet that voice. ONe thing I usually do is start praying.

    Have a blessed day in Seekerville. I must run to work...well, drive to work. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  26. Thanks Debby for this post! I am constantly surrounded by that negative voice at the moment. It's been saying most loudly to me lately: "Why would God want you to write a book? That's just ridiculous." But I've always wanted to write, and strangely it's NOW in the most upturned and chaotic time of my life ever that I've made a serious start. Even though I count myself lucky if I get the time and energy to have a writing session one evening a fortnight.

    Single mum, two children under the age of 3 ... that negative voice tells me I have no business having a writing dream!

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  27. loved your article, debby...and your pictures, too :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  28. Debby, Your post mentioned things I've said to myself many times. Like God spoke to me through your post. It was definitely the encouragement I crave, so thank you...

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  29. SUCH a needed post! We all have this voice, and sometimes it can be hard to argue against.

    I've finally found a way to corral mine--with another blog. I have one blog where I can be my happy, shiny self, and when the ugly voices rear their even uglier heads, I put their words on the other blog. Then I mock them thoroughly, or leave them for my readers to mock, and I get back to work.

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  30. Jamie, CPs are the greatest! Almost as good as Seekerville friends. If they are Seekerville friends, even better.

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  31. Lyndee...God uses everything. Even blog posts. :)

    I will not fear! I will not fear! I will not fear!

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  32. Vince...you've overcome your Negative Voice! Good for you! Maybe I'll get to that point. Surrendering to God is a theme I'm trying to live these days. When I put God in charge of everything, I don't have to worry.

    Except sometimes I take back that control and try to do it all by myself. Big mistake!

    Thanks for the review. :)

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  33. Virginia, great title. Have you submitted "Cheese Grits" anywhere? A goal to work toward, perhaps? :)

    You wrote: "...made a little happy frog jump in my tummy."

    Virginia, I'm hearing your voice and lovin' it!

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  34. Debby firstly I think you may have some fun as sheriff keeping everyone one in line in seekerville.

    Secondly your post can be applied to other parts of life. For people like me who are not a writer but have other things we need to do etc. For myself its now looking for work and not letting rejections get me down and not letting others negative voices get to me like the ones suggesting jobs that I may try for but basically ignoring the fact I have just finished studying business admin.
    I have the Officer's Secret already.

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  35. Amber...I'd love to visit on a Monday!

    This Monday, Oct 24, I'll be on Army Wife Talk Radio, at 8 PM EST. You can tune in at www.blogtalkradio.com/awtr

    Should be a fun night!

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  36. Debby,

    What a timely post. There are so many times when I'm negative about my writing, so I need Julia's book!Thanks for your encouragement and for breakfast! It's delish!!

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  37. Thanks for breaksfast! I was getting hungry.

    That negative voice is something, isn't it? I began writing novels on the day I turned 20 years old. I wrote for 5 years, had a big, BIG binder full of rejections, then I decided to "quit wasting my time." When I neared my 30's, I decided I missed writing and I picked up my pen and would write several chapters and then hear Mr. Negative say, "This is awful!" so I'd throw that away and start something else. And start something else, and never finish anything. One day, in the middle of one of these cycles, my thoughts were interceded by that still, small voice inside me. Finish what you start. Soooo, to silence that negativity, I focus on the finish line. I can fix bad writing during the revision process. I just write, never look back. God gave me this talent and I'm going to use it.

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  38. Aly, bet you'll love The Artist's Way. Cameron is so good, and she helped me get past barriers I had put in place that kept me from moving forward.

    Bet that agent wasn't good for you! There's someone out there who will love your work and be your best advocate.

    An agent rejected my submission early on, and I stopped writing for 6 months! Can you imagine? That was before I learned about affirmations!

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  39. Thank you, Natalie, for your sweet words. Glad you like the Writer's Prayer. God gave it to me shortly after I sold. He knew I needed help! :)

    No Negative Voice allowed in Seekerville. Remember that cute, new sheriff in town jailed him! Cross my heart! :)

    With social communities, now we even worry about what we write on FB and Twitter. So true.

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  40. LadyDK...you need The Artist's Way. Cameron writes about all types of art!

    Thanks for sharing your dream.

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  41. Renee...I think the Negative Voice is jealous of success!

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  42. Cindy W...prayer is the best tool we can use against the Negative Voice.

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  43. Good morning! My negative voice has been buzzing around me for as long as I can remember. When I can't silence it, I just ignore it. If I didn't I wouldn't write another thing. The reality is not everyone who writes will get published. But if you persist etc. you probably will. Look at the Seekers!

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  44. Go for it, Helen! I'm convinced God is drawing forth His writers. He needs more books in the hands of His children that teach truths in accord with His message of hope and love and forgiveness.

    Helen will write! Helen will write! Helen will write!

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  45. Thanks, KarenK!

    Christy, you may have needed to read it. I needed to write it! :)

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  46. Ausjenny...trying to keep the peace in Seekerville may be tough, especially when Mary and Ruthy get together! :)

    Ausjenny will find the perfect job! Ausjenny will find the perfect job!
    Ausjenny will find the perfect job!

    Thanks for getting my book...a long way to travel.

    I feel so connected to everyone in Seekerville! Hugs across the miles!

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  47. YAY, Annie! You've tamed the Negative Voice...and you didn't have to wait as long as I did to realize you HAVE to write! It's who you are, right! Or is that write?

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  48. Debby, that intro!! You should be writing comedy.

    And love the picture of my inner critic. Just as I envision the little terrorist.

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  49. Debby, when you put it like that ... thanks! I think you're right. My writing dream has really kicked off when I realised the Christian genre is where I needed to write. So maybe God is calling me, after all :)

    Ausjenny - I'm praying you find the courage to keep looking for that job, and praying that God will bestow it on you at exactly the right time :)

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  50. Boy, Debby, you must have seen inside my mind this week (sorry it’s a dark and dangerous place). The Negative Voice has been working double time. It’s been most vicious about comparing my stories and my writing to others, and insisting I’m coming up way short. Which in many cases is a bit absurd because I’m judging my first draft by someone else’s finished product. But it’s hard to convince myself of that sometimes.

    I’ve spent time in prayer asking for His help, but also His forgiveness that I’ve let an inner voice steal the joy He gave me through writing. And I’ve kept on plugging along on my current ms and plotting out my next story. Also it helps just to share my doubts with one of my friends and they boost up my confidence and remind me why I write and how miserable I’d be without it.

    Thanks for the encouragement this morning and for jailing that bad hombre, Negative Voice, for us today.

    --Kirsten

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  51. Wonderful post, Debby! I'm very thankful you came to GA and found your writing life. If you hadn't, I wouldn't have been blessed by your books and by your friendship!

    I know the Negative Voice well. He's part of me, destructive to my creativity. Your writer's prayer helps keep him in line and reminds me God has a plan for my life.

    I'm very excited "Sisterhood" will release with Hachette Book Group in 1001 Things To Love About Military Life! What a blessing this will be for our servicemen and women and their families.

    Thanks for breakfast! I'm not a fan of grits, but will have a huge helping this morning.

    Janet

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  52. Sheriff Giusti,

    I've used the Artist's Way too. Sometimes, I even go back and go through all the exercises again when that negative voice gets me down!

    BTW, I thought of Mayberry too, so now I'm wondering who your deputy, that has to carry their one assigned bulletin in their pocket is? : )

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  53. Helen W...doors opened for me when I added a faith element to the book I had written for a secular line.

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  54. Hi, Debby, I'm not an author but I appreciate your transparency! Everyone time I read a post like this it makes me appreciate the authors books more. It's truly a gift!

    I'm sure glad you like grits. When I first moved to GA I came across a cookbook called GONE WITH THE GRITS!! It has a mock picture of Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler on the front cover. FUNNY! But Oh, the receipes in side!! YUMMY!! Oh, and I used to think that Grits and Shrimp was gross until I tried it!! OHMYGOSH!!

    All this talk of food!! I think I need to eat breakfast now!! THANKS for the post and sharing your journey with us!

    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network
    www.bookfun.org

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  55. Great post, Debby! By the way, I read The Officer’s Secret about three months ago and loved it. So toss out all those negative thoughts and reviews (they’ve got to be few and far between, right?), and listen to the majority of your readers who love your work. But most importantly, listen to the Lord, who REALLY loves your work, and believes in you. Isn’t that amazing? That the Lord of the universe believes in us individually?

    I recognize the Negative Voice… “You don’t have enough time to write. You work full time and go to school full time! Just be happy you don’t have kids, too!” Then there are the ones that target more personally, “You’re nowhere near good enough to be published.” “Your prose are terrible!” “How many times you can use that word in a paragraph?” “How will you keep the storylines and characters straight for 80,000 words?”

    I push forward, or try to, because I love to write. I get so involved in the story that the negative voice goes away for a while… until I start editing. But I have to remember that we all have a gift, and as writers, writing is our gift. We shouldn’t take it lightly! So I try to remind myself that the Lord gave me this gift and I’m to use it for His glory. He didn’t ask me to worry about all those things; He simply said “write” by putting stories on my heart.

    What keeps me from realizing my dream? I’ll be honest. Time management is rough. Then on that one day a week (hopefully I get one day a week with SOME free time), I don’t want to do anything. There’s a certain amount of procrastination, too—hesitation, if you will—in case the story once written doesn’t match up with the picture in my head. And of course, just pushing forward through plot, character, facts, and word count is a stumbling block in itself!

    I would love to be a full-time, published writer who could work from home, or while traveling. I’ve also been very interested in film making, and directing, and seeing positive stories (like Seeker books) come to the TV (and maybe the big screen). So I just keep writing. : )

    Whitney

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  56. Kirsten, I got chills when I read your comment...chills are good...they're God's way of saying He's present.

    You and I are a lot alike. I can so relate. I read favorite authors and get discouraged, thinking I could never in a million years write the way they do. Well, duh! I'm not supposed to write like them. My voice--your voice, Kirsten--is unique.

    Someday a writer plagued by the Negative Voice will read a Kirsten Arnold book and bemoan the fact she can't write like you! :)

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  57. Rose...a Seekerville deputy! Interesting.

    Okay, I'm taking applications. But I'll need someone strong enough to confront the Negative Voice.

    And Ruthy!

    I'm just sayin'! :)

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  58. Debby -- Those negative voices can sometimes really shout you down and back you into a corner. I got started writing "morning pages" when I read Cameron's book, too. (I don't have time for them now, but I do the Sue Grafton method and keep a Word doc where I write for no more than 5 minutes before I launch into my alloted 90 minutes of daily writing time.)

    It's amazing how we so readily buy into the negative talk, but discount the positive voice. We have to be on guard and make ourselves conciously aware of that so we don't just stand there and receive the negativity with open arms.

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  59. NORA! Another GRITS...Girls Raised In The South!

    Shrimp and grits! I'll add them to the lunch buffet.

    Have you had Paula Deen's shrimp and grits? That woman can cook!

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  60. Oh, I love how you nailed this not-of-God demon that lingers within...

    And we all struggle with it, even when we know better.

    Deb, what a wonderful insightful post. You've touched me, heart and soul. And I'm glad you didn't label this a "kill" because you're right again...

    The stinker raises his ugly head when we least need it. Dagnabbit.

    Loving the cake! I love good cake, oh my stars.

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  61. Carol, praying for Andrea's nephew. So sorry that happened!

    And yes, blame Casey. First she's cute. Young. Funny. And nice. Why wouldn't you and Pepper blame her for like... EVERYTHING!!!!

    Around here we blame Julie.

    Hey, whatever works! ;)

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  62. Whitney wrote: "...the Lord gave me this gift and I’m to use it for His glory. He didn’t ask me to worry about all those things; He simply said “write” by putting stories on my heart."

    Beautiful and so true.

    Snagging those bits of time to write is the key, isn't it? Waking early, like Ruthy does (I do admire her!) Writing on your one free day, as you do! Grabbing 15 or 30 minutes before the kids come home from school, as many of the mom's have mentioned in previous posts. Slowly but surely, those bits and pieces weave into a story...if we accept our gift, as you stated, and work to make our dreams come true.

    Thanks for your kind words about my story! Hugs! Love, too! And always prayers!

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  63. Debby, (or should I say Sheriff)I'm ready for that breakfast!

    You know, I think the "Negative Voice" can strike anyone. He plays no favorites. Even in our everyday lives he comes around. You gave some great advice. I'm glad you kept on writing. I enjoy reading your books.

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  64. Debbie, I don't know if I'm going to have time to read all the comments already here, but I had to tell you how thankful I am for your encouraging, truth speaking post. Thanks for sharing part of your story and how you are working beyond the Negative Voice.

    It has a way of sounding just like my own, which sometimes makes it hard for me to move beyond. One thought I have remembered that keeps me moving forward is one I read on a blog shortly after I began my writing journey last year. That thought is that God gave ME this story, not someone else. Since He gave me the story, He will enable me to write it. Knowing this truth keeps me moving forward.

    The way I move beyond it is to sit and write. :) I am going to try your tips--they make a lot of sense. I think I might need to get the book by Julie Cameron. It sounds very helpful!

    My dream is that one day, my story will be published. I set aside time almost daily to write. I'm also going to do my own NaNoWriMo. We'll see how I do. :)

    Thanks again, Debbie, for an amazing post.

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  65. Good morning Sheriff Giusti! Glad to see someone is around to wisely guide the wild folk of Seekerville. I heard there was a terrific block party the other day. Ahhh, the fun to be had in Seekerville!

    That nasty ol' Negative Voice is a slimy little sucker. Just when you think you have him bottled up, he squeezes out and attacks with even more vim and vigor. Especially when your at your most vulnerable.

    So not fair.

    When you're down at your lowest and that Negative Voice just won't relent, reach out to a trusted friend and ask them to pray for you. It's tough to overcome the NV when it's just you, you need reinforcments. Call out the National Guard of Your Heart.

    God hears; God listens; God helps.

    With one faithful prayer partner by your side -- everyone needs a good Deputy -- that Negative Voice will be captured and jailed again so the joy of writing which was once stolen, can return and fill you to overflowing.

    Oh my goodness. Am I waxing poetic this morning, or what?

    Pass the grits! And syrup! I need a good sugar and caffeine boost.

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  66. Thank you, Debby! You've helped me defeat the Negative Voice today. I pray if the day ever comes when a writer wishes to write like me; I can encourage her/him like you've done for me.

    You are such a blessing!

    --Kirsten

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  67. Sorry to hear about Andrea's nephew, Carol. Good to hear he fixed up and on the mend. Will add my prayers!

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  68. Vince, you always offer such wise advice. Don't gamble; Don't take a chance.

    We've got to if we want to be all that we're intended to be.

    We just need encouragement and protection along the way, right?

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  69. Whitney, I'm so much like you...

    Those internal doubts. I used to think taking time to write was so stinkin' selfish...

    and there were a gazillion other things I should be doing. So I prayed that God would just show me the time if it was supposed to happen. Just give me a glimpse of how to handle this desire vs. two jobs and 6 kids...

    And then I started waking at 4:00 AM feeling wonderful.

    No one to bother me...

    Me and the cat....

    The youngest boy was now 16 and doing well...

    And that's when I began writing in earnest. Why did I wake up then? Day after day?

    You know why.... God was showing me that window of time, an opening I could grab if only I had the guts to do it.

    Oh, that God!

    And we're never gonna please everyone, but if our writing blesses a few? Here and there? Well, that's something to build on right there!

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  70. Great post! Hopefully you can catch Mr. Negative Voice :) I'll be rereading this post next time Mr. Negative comes to call :)

    Blessings!
    Amanda Barratt
    amandabarratt33@gmail.com

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  71. Grits and Julia Cameron? You are definitely a woman after my own heart. The morning pages helped me change my life. And you have to love the name grits even if you’ve never tasted the food.

    I’ve been bold this morning and have already appointed myself deputy so the good sheriff won’t have to spend so much time rounding up my negative voice, who just happens to be an accomplished escape artist (as is everyone else’s). Mine is so sneaky, but I’m on to her. I’m working on a more secure lock-up.

    Something else you wrote stood out for me this morning. “We offer support and encouragement and understanding and lots of laughter and love.” Being bolder still, I’d like to add “in abundance” to your statement. I’m still in awe of such a positive website. And grateful. Thanks.

    gilliach(at) yahoo(dot)com

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  72. Debby, I am sooo sorry I misspelled your name! UGH! I'll work on that. :)

    Helen W. I'll pray for you. I'm in the throes of raising young children too, but it must me be ever so much more difficult as a single mum. And adding writing. If God's called you to it at this time, He WILL enable you to do it, step by step. Day by day. Cling to Him. :)

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  73. Debbie, I don't have a negative voice when it comes to writing. But the thought of submitting to an agent or editor sends the slimy varmint to my door. In the past year, I’ve sent out three queries. Two publishers requested the full manuscript. Of those two, one suggested changes and asked for a resubmit. The edits are done but that manuscript haunts me from my hard drive.

    Good news though with encouragement from the Seekers, I've entered my current work in the Rattler and the Gotcha.

    Does the fear of submitting get easier the more times you press send?

    Virginia: "Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits" - What a fun title!

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  74. @Helen W - I love what Debby said about NOT thinking that writing was taking you away from your kids, but rather as a "necessary part of life that made me (you) a more joyous and vibrant member of the family." Does that ring true, or what? You have every business being a writer :)

    This post rocked. And not just because Debby's the sheriff and all. Spot on insights and advice.

    My family might think I'm weird(er) as I chant "I'm a writer. I'm a writer. I'm a productive writer." But it'll sure chase that Negative Voice away. Thanks, Debby.

    @Bridgett H - did you resubmit??? That's wonderful feedback :) Many blessings on the contests.

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  75. Had a quick thought... When I was in sales, we were taught to pretend success... Will Smith used this in Pursuit of Happyness. It's a ploy that works. Fake it 'til you make it.

    If you act self-assured and as if you believe in yourself (even when it's NOT TRUE) your attitude helps inspire inner strength. Basically you're re-teaching old thoughts, bad habits.

    So pretend success. Ooze self-confidence. Grab hold of optimism in all ways.

    It helps me.

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  76. WOW, DEB, I agree with Helen -- in regard to that nasty culprit, "Negative Voice,"you "nailed it" with this post!!

    I still get the "you can't write worth jack squat" voice (he's a crude sucker, I'll give him that), but it's been his shady cousin who's been coming after me the most over the last few years -- "Guilty Voice."

    Now I'm not often prone to guilt as my family will tell you because I believe in walking out each day KNOWING God is walking with me, so that saves me from a whole lot of regret, thank God!

    BUT ... when that slimy, ol' GV comes around, he succeeds more than I like with thoughts like, "You're not heeding God's will in your writing," or "the level of passion in your books offends God." Grooooaaaannnnnnn!!! I'll tell you, he can slice through me almost every time ... at first! But now I've learned to "take all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5), so I literally do!

    I bind up the guilt and negativity in Jesus' name (Matt. 18:18, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven) and I loose God's peace, joy and wisdom instead (whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven). Then I thank God for the ministry He's given me and focus on praising Him instead of the negative voice because it does NOT glorify Him ... it glorifies the sins of doubt and fear! And we ALL know as writers for Christ that our job is to glorify Him, right??

    So I say arm yourself with "weapons that are not carnal" (II Corinthians 10:3-6) and gun down the negative mindset with God's Word. For me, it works every single time to "jail" those nasty thoughts.

    WONDERFUL post today, Deb!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  77. Diana D - I'm ashamed to say...No, I never did resubmit. :(

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  78. Debby, loved hearing about your journey! So glad you came to GA...you are an inspiration to all!
    Er..the grits did it?!! lol
    Seriously, I feel God being in control...did it. Thanks for sharing; would love to read your books!

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  79. Glynna, I didn't know about Sue Grafton's method. Five minutes would be perfect for those very busy days, as you mentioned.

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  80. Patsy...thank you, dear one! Sweet words my soul needed to hear today. Hugs!

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  81. Jeanne T wrote: "God gave ME this story, not someone else."

    Ah, Jeanne, a wonderful thought to hold onto when the Negative Voice is screaming in my head. Perfect.

    God gave me this story to write...thus, I need to write!

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  82. Debbie,

    First I have to say how much I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW.

    Second, what a wonderful post! I see so many talented writers derailed by fear and negativity, and it breaks my heart.

    I like how you emphasized that the fear doesn't go away, that's why we have to learn ways of coping.

    Bob Mayer once said that you should lean into fear. I like to think of it as a one of those really strong winds that sweeps across the prairie. You can fight against it, or you can 'lean into it' and let it support you.

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  83. Also, Jeanne, you're in the drawing.

    Did I mention there's leftover funnel cake? :)

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  84. Audra, you don't put syrup on grits, do you? OM Gosh!

    National Guard of Your Heart. Love it!

    So true!

    I've got your back! Prayer power rocks!

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  85. Love this, Debby, just love it. I soooo have that negative voice echoing in my head. Mine goes something like this, "Stupid, stupid, stupid."
    Usually after I've said something....uh....stupid.

    But I batter myself with it. It's one of the reasons I dread public speaking because afterward I am just bombarded with WHY DID I SAY THAT!!!???? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    I almost have to heal up from a speech and it takes a while, plus it will come back at a later date and bite me suddenly. CHOMP! Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

    I like your idea of the morning writing. I've found that when I'm really upset about something, if I write about it, it sort of gets it out of my head and onto the paper. I can rant and rave inside my head for ever. But if I write it down it lets the obsessing go somehow.

    I highly recommend it. Also, don't let anyone see it. :)

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  86. CaraG, I'm happy to have you as my Deputy, but watch out for that Nealy gal. She's sneaking around Seekerville...there's something very strange about a Connealy wannabe.

    Glad to hear you're tight with Julia...Cameron, not Childs! :)

    Although I'm open to being tight with Julia Childs, as well. Hmmmm...smell those wonderful French dishes she created, darling! :)

    Wonder if she liked grits?

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  87. Oh, and Mary Nealy, well, she'd crack the whip around here, shape everyone up.

    LAW AND ORDER.

    Only hire her if you want results!!!!

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  88. Super-super inspiring post, Sheriff Deb!

    Oh, that Negative Voice--what a public nuisance! Yes, I definitely want to press charges for harassment. Is there an attorney in the house???

    Another Morning Pages devotee, are you? I did The Artist's Way several years ago and for a long time kept up the habit of doing morning pages.

    Then I got tired of hearing myself whine so cut back from 3 pages to 1 or 2.

    Since moving, though, I've neglected that part of my morning routine, and sometimes I really miss it. Combined with prayer and devotional reading, it's a great way to center myself for the day ahead.

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  89. I'll Definitely have to try Paula Deans Shrimp and Grits!! I was born and raised in New Jersey but my mom was raised in the south and LOVED Grits!!

    I had them at Gladys Knights' Chicken and Waffle restaurant in Atlanta! YUMMY!! My husband and I shared. I wasn't brave enough to try them before!! I'll check out Paula's recipe!

    THANKS for sharing! Sorry to throw you off topic!! But we are Talking GRITS HERE!! You need to eat so you can WRITE!! Right??? Grin!

    Nora St. Laurent
    The Book Club Network

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  90. Bridgett, it's time to send off the revised manuscript. You can not sell if you do not submit.

    Write ten times:

    I will send the manuscript! I will send the manuscript! I will send the manuscript!

    Okay...take one step forward today. Print the pages. Then write a cover letter tomorrow. Address the envelope on Friday. Mail it Saturday.

    Done!

    And big time congrats! Getting a request is huge! Getting two requests even better! Getting a request for revisions...be still my heart!!! Do it! What can you lose? Nothing! If you don't submit, you'll always wonder "What if!"

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  91. Debby, thanks for this post.

    I've been hearing "Negative Voice" a lot lately in my daily life, and it's been creeping over into my writing life. It's funny, the NV hasn't much bothered my writing yet (maybe because I'm not too close to looking at publication) but I've had some rejections in my daily life lately, which is making me not feel like writing. Which is too bad, because writing always makes me me feel happier!

    ~Stephanie

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  92. First -
    Julie said yesterday:
    INNETTE SAID: "did get some writing in today, though. Writing, homeschooling, some dishes, some laundry, research in the form on reading a like genre, and momma stuff. :D"
    OKAY ... IS ANYBODY ELSE TIRED AFTER THAT??? OR IS IT JUST WE OVER 60s????

    LOL, Julie! and that didn't even put a dent in what I need to do!

    Oh! And I think I hooked a couple new readers for Liz yesterday. :D

    Now off to read this intriguing sounding post!

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  93. Debbi,

    I've always denied that I listen to a negative voice or that it hinders my writing.

    But I think I'm fooling myself. I'm confident in my story ideas and plot, but not the actual putting the story into words.

    My sister is forever telling me I'm stubborn, and she's probably right.

    I'll try your suggestions and see if it helps.

    Thanks!!!!!!

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  94. Diana, beautiful picture of you with the mountains as a backdrop. I can see you singing, "Sound of Music" style to the snow-covered peaks...I'm a writer...I'm a writer...I'm a writer!

    You go, girl!

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  95. Jackie...God and grits are a great combination! :)

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  96. Sherri! Thanks for sharing "lean into fear." MMMM...I can see that!

    Bob Mayer used to live in Hilton Head, about 5 hours from my area, so I got to hear him speak a number of times. Good stuff always!

    Now he's a West Coast guy.

    Loved seeing you at ACFW! Great conference!

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  97. Mary, what you said resonated with me. If I step out too far--really stretch--especially with marketing, I sometimes need to hole up in my shell for a period of time afterwards. It's as if I've had too much of the world and need to regain the peace I find in the routine of my daily life.

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  98. Nora...yes! I couldn't write if I didn't eat!

    I gain weight with every book! :)

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  99. Good morning, Debbie! This is news I needed to hear today.

    And I need to get my hands on a copy of The Artist's Way. :)

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  100. Debby, Debby, Debby! Awesome post and yummy breakfast!!! My writer mind and mouth are both watering. And my reader brain, too! Please enter me in the drawing! :D

    My negative voice is that I should be doing mommy things rather than spending so much time on the computer. I should enjoy my kids/family more fully. I should delight in a clean kitchen instead of dealing with the depressive dump when I have no more room to work. I need to at the least find a good balance. But then I get on a roll writing and everything slips away. I think more than Negative Voice for me is Guilt Voice. Negative gets me when he can, but he usually sends Guilt after me because he's more effective.

    Thanks for sharing food for body and writer's soul! :D

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  101. Stephanie, you need to recapture your joy so lock up your Negative Voice and get back to writing!

    That's an order from the Sheriff of Seekerville!

    And if you don't obey, I'll send my deputy CaraG to handcuff you and bring you back to Seekerville. A slice or two of birthday cake will make everything seem brighter! :)

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  102. Connie, try it and then let us know.

    Sometimes we don't realize we're blocked. We do a little work, but we don't let our true creativity shine.

    God wants all of us to shine!

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  103. Debbie, Thanks for the orders...um I mean advice. :)

    You've given me a new perspective.

    Going to print those pages now.

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  104. Another wonderful blog post, Debby! You Seekers are hot!!!

    I think the biggest thing holding me back is the same thing that has plagued me my whole life. Guilt. Before I was published I was extremely driven to succeed. I thought if I got published it would silence the Guilt. I would be helping to support my family. I would have a good reason to spend time writing. I would no longer feel like my "hobby" was taking time away from my family. Well, guess what? Getting published didn't do those things. I still felt guilty. I wasn't really helping to support my family (the money is tiny) and especially after my husband was downsized. The guilt is still there. If anything, it's worse. Guilt is paralyzing, if you let it be. I'm still working on it. Because there will always be legalistic Christian who tell me that my stories are more harmful than helpful. People who say my writing is weak, my plots are predictable, and I should be doing something better with my time. Some would say I should be volunteering more--being the room mom, going on all the field trips, working a part-time or full-time job to help my family. But every time I start to believe what other people say or think, I ask God to tell me what he wants me to do. So far, he's never told me to get a job, he's never told me to quit writing or go on more field trips (although I do go on occasional field trips, make my kids' birthday cakes, do lunch duty at school, etc.). So, it doesn't much matter what the voice of negativity and guilt says. I am overcoming that stupid voice, and through Christ I am more than a conqueror. :-)

    God bless you, Debby!

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  105. Linnette, as you mentioned balance is so important. Often hard to achieve.

    Bottom line, we need to love ourselves. Women put children and family first, almost always. That's good, but we also need time to explore who we are and what we have been called to do in this life.

    IMHO, God has given everyone of us a mission that only we can do. Finding our special job or task requires introspection and prayer and having time to explore various avenues until we uncover what He wants for our life.

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  106. Erika, you're in the drawing!

    Cheering for Bridgett!!!

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  107. Melanie, your comment proves what I've always known but rarely admitted. It takes courage to be a writer.

    You are doing what God wants. He wouldn't have allowed your writing to be published, if it wasn't according to His will...because you prayed to do His will.

    I keep asking Him if I'm supposed to do more hands-on ministry in my church. That's what I love because it brings me immediate joy and allows me to interact with people. (I love people...always have...always will.)

    God tells me what I do in church is good, but He wants me to do something more for Him...and that's write. Even when I'm tired and lonely and wondering how I'll balance all the other things that need to get done. He says the books are ministry, which I know, but working on a saggy middle or trying to find the perfect opening line doesn't always feel as good as a hug or a smile from someone in the pew next to me.

    Of course, on days when everything comes together, I rejoice to be able to write. I know it's only because He wills me to do so. Just as God wills that for you!

    You are a courageous woman!

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  108. Yay! Thanks, Debby! :)

    I'll e-mail you sometime with some interview questions and such. :)

    ~Amber

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  109. Debby (and yes, I spelled your name right this time!), I thought about your post all night.

    I needed to! I've received two rejections in the last week, and then yesterday afternoon received word back from Rachel Burkot about my submission to LIH. I was tempted to look at it negatively (after all, wasn't she supposed to send me a contract to sign? /grin/), but this morning I whipped myself into shape and put in a couple hours on my next WIP.

    Next up - the revisions that Rachel requested so I can send that puppy winging its way back to New York.

    I AM a writer, I AM a writer, I AM a writer...

    Thanks for sending that Negative Voice to jail so I could forge on without him!

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  110. Sometimes I feel as if the Negative Voice has become my real voice, so thank you for this. For years, it seemed, my parents (more so my mother) resented the time I spent in my bedroom writing. When I was a teen, I preferred writing over anything and everything. When my daughter was little, I managed to eke out time. Over the years I've written at least 4 full-length novels, a couple of those at least twice, and I came somewhat-close to selling to Harlequin Intrigue over 20 years ago. When my revised ms came back rejected, I felt personally rejected ("Criticize my work, criticize ME"--I had that mentality down pat). For years now I have started new books or starting revising the old ones (to fit in more with the Christian life I adopted 8 years ago), have come up with new ideas and characters...only to freeze when I even just think about sitting down to WRITE.

    And now, my husband and I are so fully involved with our church (he's an elder and head of Men's Ministry; I am the volunteer secretary, do the bulletin each week, handle lots of e-mails and the church's FB page, and am in charge of the annual rummage sale which starts this Saturday--tons of work to do this week!), and we have our son and d-i-law and their almost-3-month-old son living with us...where is the time and the peace and quiet I require to give myself over to writing?

    Do I sound like I'm whining? Well, I probably am. I admit it. I'm not good at prioritizing (we're doing Chip Ingram's "Balancing Life's Demands" in Sunday School, which my husband also leads--a lot of teaching about priorities) and I tend to crawl into a hole...

    Anyhoo, sorry (again) to write so long, but needed to get that off my chest, I guess.

    Loved your writing this, Debby! One of these days I will spend much more time in Seekerville, soaking up the atmosphere and getting the full-fledged desire back :)

    And I would love to be entered. My e-mail is mpike@rochester.rr.com.

    Thank you, and have a blessed day!
    Melanie

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  111. What a delicious breakfast, Debby. Thanks for the grits.

    Yes, my negative voice likes to run rampant sometimes. I often have to force myself not to listen--you know, cover the ears and sing la, la, la.... Then I finally stop and ask myself, what does God say about me? Did He call me to write? Then I reflect on all He's done for me and what He's allowed me to accomplish. I thank God that I am forever (at least in this world) His WIP.

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  112. EXCELLENT post, sweet Debby---and exactly what I needed to read today. (God uses these Seeker posts in amazing ways). ~ Loved reading about your journey--you are definitely a success story, dear lady! ~ I think my biggest struggle is taking my writing seriously (since I'm presently unpublished). But I realize I won't ever improve and move forward if I don't take it seriously and work very hard, so that's what I'm striving for right now (with the Lord's help, of course!). ~ Thank you for sharing today, and a special thanks for those grits---YUM!! Love grits (yep, a true Southerner, LOL). Hugs, Patti Jo :) p.s. I already have both those awesome books, so no need to enter me in the drawing!

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  113. Sherri, I like that image you shared from Bob Mayer... to lean into fear.

    Whenever we try to hide, we give fear the upper hand.

    I like the thought of pushing back. Keeps the power within us.

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  114. Deb, yes, yes, and yes. Most women are sacrificial by nature and put everything else first.

    What a beautiful call to realizing we're God's children in every way.

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  115. Debby, I've learned a few things about myself since the Ragged Edge.

    I've learned that I AM a writer.

    I've learned that having that understanding of myself and living it shows a different side of me to my boys. I'm not just "mom" - nonhuman. I'm a person just like they are. Well, sometimes they do. They get little glimpses. Sometimes they see it so plainly they don't like it. They want mom! :-) (Back to figuring out the balance thing again...)

    I've come to a better understanding of the type of writer I am and have found freedom in that. It's okay to be me. I don't have to imitate anybody else! :-)

    And I'm certain I will get published. It's just a matter of God's timing. Right?

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  116. BTW, Debby, I put the video back up after getting permission from Ted's manager: Linnette Mullin dot blogspot dot com.

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  117. Hi Debby,

    Great post!! It seems we writerly types suffer a lot from Mr. Negative, so thanks for the way to JAIL him!

    Actually a lot of women in general suffer from negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities. Oh, and almost as bad, if not worse, is Julie's Guilty Voice. For me it's in my mother's voice, saying that I'm not doing this right, or my house is always a mess, or why are you wasting time doing that? I try to block her out as much as possible. LOL.

    I love affirmations and turning negative thoughts into positive ones! Great suggestions. Repeat after me: "We are all great writers!"

    So nice to meet you and the other Seekers in St. Louis. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to go!

    Have a super day!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  118. This is a great post! Thanks! I won't be listening to that voice anymore! :-)

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  119. Oooooo! I discovered the Artist's Way in my mother's attic shortly after I started writing. I love the morning pages. Even though I haven't been doing them for a while I know they work.

    I think it's time to read the book again.

    Christina

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  120. Thanks, Debby! You don't need to send CaraG; I'll come get some birthday cake anyway!

    Here's a happy thought to corral those negative voices: my mother asked me the other day if there's anything I particularly want for Christmas (we plan early in my family). I said I was saving up for an ACFW membership, and since my parents don't like giving out "cash" for presents, I told her they could help me out with it (since it's not just money to be spent wherever). She thought it was a great idea, and a great way to show their support for my writing! Yay!

    I know my parents have always supported my writing but it's hard to show it, aside from asking me how each manuscript is coming and praying. This is a tangible way they feel they can help out.

    Now, they expect to see something from their investment, so Negative Voices, be gone!

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  121. I have a little cell tucked in the back of my mind.
    Where I try to store Mr. Negative when he's not playing kind.

    He might stay imprisoned for a day, maybe two, but rarely for a week.
    Then he's out to pester me and I start to freak.

    Should I stop writing? Am I going nowhere fast.
    Are my stories stupid? Should this next one be my last?

    How can he torment me so? What makes him think he has the right?
    Ohh
    The truth is I give him center stage and supply him with the tripe.

    Maybe it's time to give encouragement a chance and let truth guard my heart.

    And this when I lock Mr. Negative away, I won't set the cell bars so far apart.

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  122. Oh, yeah! I'll take that breakfast. Mmm....it sounds wonderful!:)

    I'm not a writer, but do like to take pictures and I think that negative voice shows up in my photography life all the time.

    Those books sound very interesting and I love the covers. The cover art on The Officer's Secret reminds me of that Cary Grant film North by Northwest. You remember that house where he gets taken against his will?

    nina4sm/at/gmail/dot/com

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  123. RUTHY SAID: "Around here we blame Julie."
    LOL ... not all of us, kiddo ... ;)


    LINNETTE SAID: "LOL, Julie! and that didn't even put a dent in what I need to do!"
    STOP IT, girl!!! I'm tired enough without thinking there was more ...


    SUE SAID: "Oh, and almost as bad, if not worse, is Julie's Guilty Voice. For me it's in my mother's voice, saying that I'm not doing this right, or my house is always a mess, or why are you wasting time doing that?"
    GUILTY VOICE is a real piece of work, isn't she??? I had the same thing with my mom, Sue, but since my mom died early (when I was 16), I didn't have to contend with MGV (Mom's Guilty Voice) all my life like you, so I feel for you. Thank GOD, we have God in our lives now, silencing GV with His Word!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  124. Sheriff Debby!

    A nicer Sheriff, there could not be!

    "He'll make himself known, the instant we make time to write." Wawzah. That is SO true!

    Thanks for sharing more of your journed. Especially... Thank you and your wonderful family for your service to our country!!

    Dashing today (thanks for b'fast!) - will read thru the comments later - 127 already! Way to celebrate Seekerville!

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  125. Thank you so much for sharing this:
    “You got a ‘C’ in sophomore English.” “You’re only a housewife.” “You never went to college.” “You can’t spell.”

    I am the world's worst speller! Almost every day I hear..You write a book? You can't even spell!
    I thought it was just me...

    And prayers for Andrea's sweet nephew!

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  126. Debby~

    What a great post! Negative Voice in a Christian whose writing is ministry, might be closely related to the Devil. One of his minions, no doubt. Casting Crowns's song "The Voice of Truth" comes to mind. "I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth."

    Carol~ Have I mentioned, you rock?

    Folks, Carol (who rocks) posted my nephew's accident on the ACFW prayer loop, her own facebook page, and now I see, right here at Seekerville. What an amazing friend.

    News on Bubby. Broken cheek bone, extensive stitches inside his mouth and a few in a cut on his head. No concussion or further broken bones. He's awake with good vitals this morning, eating and drinking without event. I just had a text from my mom that he has to stay one more night in the hospital.

    Thank you all so much for your prayers. God is amazing to give me such wonderful praying friends. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (+ about 1000 thank yous).

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  127. I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!
    I am a writer!

    Thumbing my nose at Mr. Negativity!

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  128. Great advise. I know we all have a negative voice from time to time even if we are not writers and we have to figuir out how to get rid of it. Different things work for different people. Sometime we do it and don't realize what we are doing.

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  129. Debbie, that's my kinda breakfast!
    I'm on vacation from the day job this week so I just woke up, LOL
    And now I'm gonna write!

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  130. This is great advice for me today of all days, Debby! I really needed to hear it. I am going into the hospital this morning for a brain MRI and that ol' NEGATIVE VOICE is loud and clear! I needed to put things in perspective because that voice insinuates itself in every part of our life! It's so easy to listen to it when we are at a lowpoint! After reading your post I WILL BE POSITIVE TODAY! Thanks so much, Debby! I love your books, too! I think I've read all of them so far, except the latest one. I need to get it but with all these "brain issues", I just haven't had time! Thanks for your post! positive, positive, positive.........

    Valri westernaz@msn.com

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  131. Good idea about hiring a sheriff! Recognizing that voice is key to shutting it down! And not just for writers for everyone! Remember daily affirmations on SNL! Funny but needed :)

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  132. Great post, Debby!! I also jumped a big hurdle when I took The Artist's Way as on online course. Those morning pages were amazing!

    I love what you said about jailing the negative voice because he's sure to be back. So true. It's a constant battle!

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  133. Do I recognize my negative voice? Sad to say, we've been good friends for too many years. It's a balance of power, I think, and I've been gaining on her. She doesn't like that so she lies in wait and rises up with vehemence when I least need or want her. But I'm learning to wrestle her into submission. As I do, I find myself less stressed, more inspired and more productive.

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  134. "Might have been the grits".

    I love this!

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  135. YAY, JAN!!

    Revisions are great! That's what most of us get after we send in our manuscripts. Then we rewrite and resubmit.

    Revisions are so, so good. I mean really good. Rachel believes in your writing and wants to ensure your story fits what LI is looking for, so you go, girl! Make those changes and resubmit!

    It's all good!

    Plus, I think editors want to ensure new writers will be open to rewrites. Some folks just don't want to change their work. Editors want writers who can bend and adapt.

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  136. Hi Melanie Pike,

    You are one busy lady. The good news is Seekervillagers are always ready to listen and encourage and support you with your writing or any challenge life throws in your path.

    Maybe some of the other folks who are handling huge loads will chime in on how they find time to write.

    Write one page a day for a year and you've got a completed manuscript. We don't need huge amounts of time to write, we just need to make the decision that we want to write...need to write.

    With all your completed manuscripts, I'd say you are a writer, for sure. So claim it. Take some small steps forward and see what happens.

    Let us know, okay?

    Remember once you've left a comment, you're family! Don't be a stranger, as they say in the South!

    You're in the drawing!

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  137. Mindy, you're a beautiful WIP and God's smiling! So am I!

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  138. Patti Jo...are you baking anything peachy today?

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  139. I love how you say the only one standing in my way is myself. That's so very true. I also liked reading about everything you've done. What a busy lady you were! But I know God used those times to help others and now look at the amazing success of your books. :-) Looks like you've jailed that Nasty Voice varmint quite well!

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  140. You're so right, Linnette!

    And I loved what you said: "It's okay to be me."

    Yes, yes, yes! Huge affirmation on that one!!!

    I always felt my teens learned how to handle their own disappointments by watching the way I handled rejection. Okay, I'd have a pity party. But then I'd be back at my computer the next day, revising or fine tuning or starting on a new story. Rejection hurts, but it can also make us stronger.

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  141. Ah, guilt! Yes, the Negative Voice's twin brother.

    Hate him, as well!

    For the record, the Negative Voice and the Guilty Voice can sound like real-life saboteurs who try to squelch our creativity.

    Great seeing you at ACFW!!! Next year Dallas, here we come!

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  142. Yay, Gwendolyn!

    Yay, Christina!

    We are writers!
    We are writers!
    We are writers!

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  143. Hi Debbie! Grits, eggs...mmm. I'm so glad I grew up on grits. They're awesome when they're cooked right : ). Tonight is a breakfast supper at church and I'm excited. Ok...enough about food! : ) I'm probably reiterating what those before me have said, but when negative thoughts begin creeping in, my natural tendency wants to give in, even dwell on them sometimes. My flesh can't be trusted, so I have to look to the neverending source of truth....the Lord and His Word! I have scripture on index cards all over the house. After reminding myself of the truth my next step is just to pull up my britches and get busy! When I wanted to lose that baby weight and thought it was impossible, I prayed and started with small steps. You have to realize going into things that they may take a while to reach the goal, but it's worth the long term effort. It's also good to have cheerleaders along the way to remind you of the truth, hold you accountable, and push you when you want to give up. Once when I was kind of stagnant in my weight loss, a great friend emailed me and said...ok, girl, you've got to get refocused and get busy! lol I loved it! I think the same principles can be applied to writing. Press on, friends! Stacey
    travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  144. Stephanie, what a great Christmas gift idea!

    Lucky you to have such wonderful parents!!!

    Lucky them to have wonderful you!

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  145. Tina P...

    You are a writer and a poet! Love it!

    I'm cutting and pasting! Thanks! Hugs! Love! Prayers!

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  146. Hi Sylvia! Love photography. A picture does paint a thousand words.

    Yes, I remember the movie! Loved the old flicks on Sunday afternoon TV!!! Even as a kid, the suspense writer in me was enthralled. Ah, I still am! :)

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  147. Waving to KC and May...

    Woman and dog on the go...

    Have a fun day!

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  148. HI Donna. I can't spell either. Thank goodness for spellcheck. And I love the WordWeb Pro that's on my computer.

    Also, sometimes I'll google a word just to check the spelling. So easy. So fast.

    I can spell!
    I can spell!
    I can spell!

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  149. Andrea, so good to hear that Bubby is doing well. Continued prayers for total recovery!

    Love "The Voice of Truth!"

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  150. Virginia, your picture icon is so cute. Bet she never hears the Negative Voice!

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  151. Good morning, Nancy. Care for some grits?

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  152. Valri, sending lots of prayers your way during the MRI and for your return to good health and wholeness. The Good News is that God wants the best for His children. He wants you strong and able to follow your heart and your dreams.

    We're all covering you with prayer!

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  153. You're right, Eva. Recognizing the Negative Voice is the first step to conquering him.

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  154. Patricia W said: "I'm learning to wrestle her into submission. As I do, I find myself less stressed, more inspired and more productive."

    That Negative Voice can really drag us down. Glad you know how to control yours!

    Patricia, are you a GRITS? (Girls Raised In The South)

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  155. Waving to Jessica, who drove to Orlando for the RWA booksigning just to say hello! I'll never forget the joy of meeting you there!

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  156. Stacy wrote: "It's also good to have cheerleaders along the way to remind you of the truth, hold you accountable, and push you when you want to give up."

    That's what we do for one another here in Seekerville! We're all cheering each other on to win the gold!

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  157. Thanks for the encouragement, Debby!

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  158. Thanks for the great post on the negative voice. It can be a hard obstacle to overcome when trying to accomplish writing. One of the things I struggle with is that I don't think that my writing is good enough and never will be. I also struggle with the time and how I need to be doing other things to be the good mom, wife, or employee. These are the things I need to overcome in order to get back into my writing more.

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  159. Stopping by again, Debby....with Peach Cobbler (warm from the oven) - - help yourself---it goes great with Helen's coffee (since it's mid-afternoon here in Georgia I needed a snack to pick me up *wink*). ~ And I'm probably behind, but did Patricia W. get a new profile pic? Love it!! :) Hugs, Patti Jo

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  160. I got so caught up in the wonderful prayers and well wishes earlier that I forgot to mention my recent victory over 'TNV.'

    I've been struggling with the idea of a prologue for my wip (I've already scratched one version). Yesterday I sat down with my laptop and cranked out 600+ words of Prologue in just over an hour. That's more words than I've written in two months. It felt really, really good.

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  161. Thank you, Sheriff Debby, for the encouraging post!

    Pass the grits, please. I have cheddar cheese and bacon to add to mine.

    Lyndee - I have only seen that spelling on my sister's name. Cool. Another Lyndee out there.

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  162. "Verbally abusive, the Negative Voice attempts to convince us we can’t" is the phrase I get caught up in for every part of my life. My husband and I have discussed this "Mr Negative" many times and now say it is one of the biggest giants stumbling blocks)to overcome before we can proceed down the road God wants us to be walking.
    I loved the suggestion to turn that negative into a positive. The girls in our bible study group have been working on that too.
    One can't get away from it, you are right, but we can put him in his place and jail is a great place for him to relocate.
    Reflect on what the verse (Phil 4:8) says: to look on the lovely things. Negative ISN'T in that list and it ISN'T lovely!
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  163. I'd really like to jail the negative voice that comes masquerading as "an angel of light" by telling me what I should be doing that is more important. Thank you for the permission to make a citizen's arrest and lock up the attacker. I think I'll try the morning pages since a month of this type of writing during NaNoWriMo helps me so much.

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  164. Debby, thanks for the tip about WordWeb Pro. I'm trying the trial version. I love how easy to use it is. So if...

    I can spell!
    I can spell!
    I can spell!

    ...somehow fails work I'll have that to fall back on.:)

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  165. Negative voices are everywhere! Recently I have been struggling with a part in my plot and I find that times like those are when that negative voice really shows up. Thanks so much for the post :)
    And Happy Birthday Seekerville!

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  166. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  167. Jeanne - thanks so much. It IS crazy difficult with young kids, isn't it?

    I do have my mum's help right now, so I'm only kind of a single mum I guess. Which is why I want to take advantage of this time where I'm not working because I know very soon I'll have to go back into the workforce. And then writing will be near impossible! Though it feels that way now, with the kids still getting me up all hours of the night.

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  168. Andrea,
    Congrats on the writing success. Isn't that a wonderful feeling when it finally gels?

    Virginia,
    I had the same SNL reaction to affirmations. Stuart Smalley - "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me."

    Debby, I thought your original post was terrific, but this I especially love -
    "I'm convinced God is drawing forth His writers. He needs more books in the hands of His children that teach truths in accord with His message of hope and love and forgiveness."

    That's a more powerful affirmation to me than all the "I am a writer" typings combined. In fact, I think I'm going to put that on a sticky note by my computer.

    Helen W. - take Debby's advice and jail that voice. I wrote when my girls were little and I still look back on that time with a touch of envy. That writing time was my Calgon time - better than any bubble bath to take me away.

    T

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  169. Wonderful post, Debby! Now the next time Mr. Negative voice comes around, I have some things to tell him, then off to jail he goes :D

    ~Debra

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  170. Debby,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree with you (and Julia Cameron) about the benefits of Morning Pages. For years when I had to drop my daughter at school an hour before my work day started, I would sit in a coffee shop and write longhand in a notebook. Those were my most productive years and the time in my life when writing flowed most naturally.

    Negativity is always a problem. That's why this is my favorite part of your Writer's Prayer -

    "Keep me focused and on schedule, and take away any fear or sense of inadequacy that blocks my progress."

    Mary Curry


    I trashed the earlier post because it's only good manners to type the name of your hostess correctly. Sorry, Debby.

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  171. Debby,

    Wow, an agent rejection kept you from writing for 6 months! I'm feeling better already. I may not be writing great guns, but I'm writing, and--ahem--messing around on the internet.

    I'm going to march right over to The Artist's Way and find out what all these affirmations are about. I'd like dump truck full!

    Blessings,

    Ann_Lee_Miller[at]msn[dot]com

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  172. Cynthia,

    Writing can be learned. At least, the various techniques can be learned and improved upon. I doubt any writer ever feels "good enough." We're always working to find better ways to write stronger stories and to create more compelling characters.

    Don't be hard on yourself. Everything worthwhile takes time. But it doesn't have to be done overnight. Find your own pace. Enjoy your family. Write when you can.

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  173. Hi Virginia:

    I’ve been overworked with rewriters of my real estate courses because of so many changes in the real estate laws and code.

    I’ve also been working very hard on my new WIP which is going so well that even my ‘Negative Voice’ has been cheering me on.

    I co-opted my “Negative Voice” by putting him in my new novel. Now that he is invested in the new project, he’s singing a different tune. (In fact, my “Negative Voice” is now after me to keep writing and not spend time on the blogs!!!)

    The ‘Negative Voice’ is like the Wizard of Oz: if you think he is big and powerful, he is. But if you’re willing to look behind the curtain, he’s just a little nobody. The ‘Negative Voice’ only has the power we give it. Thanks for asking about me. : )

    Vince

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  174. Patti Jo, you sweetheart! Thanks for the Peach Cobbler! I'm saving mine until after dinner.

    Smells yummy!

    You're such a Georgia Peach! :)

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  175. YAY, Andrea! You're on a roll!

    Fantastic! A new prologue!!!

    Be gone, Negative Voice. Andrea isn't listening.

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  176. CDees Books!

    Grits coming your way.

    Shrimp and grits, anyone?

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  177. Hi Pam,
    Tell your Bible Study gals to visit Seekerville! We'd love to get to know them too!

    God builds and loves and strengthens and affirms and heals and ...

    The Negative Voice does nothing productive.

    Just say "NO!" to the Negative Voice!

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  178. Hi Audra:

    I wrote:

    "Don't gamble; Don't take a chance.

    You wrote:

    'We've got to if we want to be all that we're intended to be.

    We just need encouragement and protection along the way, right"?


    Right.

    The 'Negative Voice' is like a nagging mother who does not want to see us hurt.

    When we are little children, we better listen to her but when we become adults, we are responsible for our own decisions.

    However, since mothers are always going to be mothers, we have to treat them kindly and always love them.

    Vince

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  179. Crystal, love your picture. Looks like a romance story to me. :)

    How long have you and hubby been married?

    Let us know how you like doing Morning Pages.

    NaNoWriMo! Good for you!

    I can write a book in a month!
    I can write a book in a month!
    I can write a book in a month!

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  180. I'm not a writer but I'm very familiar with that slimy character, Negative Voice. I find the most effective way to silence him is with God's voice (His word).
    Thanks for a very interesting post.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  181. Faye, good luck pulling those plot points together. You don't need any help from the Negative Voice, right? Go with your gut! And keep writing until you type THE END! Then celebrate, and be sure to let us know so we can celebrate too!

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  182. Wow, Debbie, exactly what I've been working through. I've been reading through Kelly Stone's book Thinking Write, which includes the negative thought turned power thought. (She calls it something different, but that's how I remember it.)

    I've felt that tug to write fiction since I was a teenager, but like you I tabled it thinking I had more important things to do. It wasn't until I began getting prophesies to follow my dream (in response to prayer for depression) that I realized by shutting out my dream, I was actually short changing my family because I wasn't happy ignoring part of myself.

    Thanks for baring your inner struggle. It helps getting advice from someone who's been there.

    Absolutely would love to be included in the drawing.

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  183. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 19, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Great advice! No matter what you want to do there is always that little negative voice saying you can't. I agree with Renee that it is the voice of the devil. Like my pastor has said if the devil can't get you to sin he will get you discouraged. I brought some chili and cornbread to share for dinner!

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  184. Hi Debby:

    You wrote:

    “...you've overcome your Negative Voice.

    ”When I put God in charge of everything, I don't have to worry.

    Except sometimes I take back that control and try to do it all by myself. Big mistake!”


    It is a mistake to ignore God’s help and guidance. Yet:

    God may be in charge, but you’re still the one driving the bus. We weren’t given free will just to be passengers. God may put out road signs but he makes us drive the bus.

    Also, I did not exactly overcome my Negative Voice. I marginalized him with love and understanding until he became a wee voice crying in the wilderness. A good place for prophets of doom. : )

    Vince

    P.S. I think it is Betty Neels and Mary Nealy.

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  185. Oh, my I've been working and working and look at all the fun I missed...

    I have my salad ready and must read comments...

    Sylvia, you're right! It does look like the North by Northwest pic!

    And I cannot wait to get my hands on The Captain's Mission... I devoured The Officer's Secret and "the captain" is in my TBR pile and I just need to invent a few more hours in the day. Deb Giusti upped the playing field with these military investigations books.

    I love them.

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  186. Andrea!!!

    I'm so proud of you!!!

    Do not... I repeat do not let things get in your way. Especially mental things. Like Mary.

    She's mental.

    I'm just sayin'....

    But you jump in there my talented friend and just create. Create. Create.

    Remember Erma Bombeck: Use it up, sweetie.

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  187. OH, how I've missed me some Vince!!!!

    Welcome back, my friend!

    :)

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  188. MaryC...lovely glimpse into your life with Calgon time and your hour in the coffee shop.

    Thanks for the sweet affirmations. We all respond to praise and atta-girls and way-to-go far more than any negative comments. Which you realize!

    Eating Patti Jo's Peach Cobbler and raising my glass of Diet Sprite to toast you! Cheers!

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  189. Affirmation #1: Aly, you are a beautiful person.

    Affirmation #2: Aly, you have so much talent.

    Affirmation #3: Aly, you can do anything you decide you want to do...okay, within reason! :)

    Affirmation #4: God loves you more than you can ever imagine!

    Affirmation #5: He loves the woman you are at this moment in time!

    Affirmation #6: You add so much to our Seekerville family!

    Affirmation #7: You are so important to me!

    Not a truck load, but a good start. Get the message? You are special!

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  190. Vince, you're right! The Negative Voice can be protective, like a mother. Other times he/she can be a bear! A grumpy bear! :)

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  191. Waving to Debra and Pam K!!! Thanks for stopping by today.

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  192. When I was on my road to publication, I used to say part of me died if I couldn't find time to write. Actually, it was my joy.

    Writing does bring joy, even though I don't like deadlines, which is why I haven't been here as much as I would have liked today. :)

    God revealed your need to write. That's a big Thank You, Jesus!

    Go God! :)

    You're in the drawing!

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  193. Laura, thanks for the chili and cornbread!

    Discouragement--YUCK!!!

    Throw the "dis" and the "ment" away and you get courage.

    Courage--YAY!!!

    What every writer needs.

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  194. Vince wrote: "I marginalized him with love and understanding until he became a wee voice crying in the wilderness."

    As I keep saying Vince, you need to teach workshops for writers!

    Are you listening?

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