Peggy Bechko: Are You a Writer Plagued by Black or White Thinking?

by Peggy Bechko

Lots of writers are. Lots of people are.

For example, if you’re a writer and you get a rejection from agent, publisher or script reader you immediately drop into the depths of dispair and sigh those famous words, “I’ll never be a writer.”

It’s an all or nothing kind of thinking. Either you’re a raving success or you’re no more than a hack aspiring to the big time. There’s no middle ground. Right?


Now I’m not suggesting sprinkling fairy dust and happy ho-ho’s to counter this kind of thinking, but simply put, a writer in that dark place needs to pick him or herself up and confront reality with a few reality statements…

All writers get rejections – lots of them. Repeatedly. It’s how you learn a whole lot of things and I don’t mean just improving your writing. Think about it.

You write and you write well. You do it every day (almost).

You’ve gotten compliments and encouragement, perhaps won contests, perhaps sold a piece somewhere in the past. (If not on the last one, that’s coming.)

You’ve thought of quitting but you haven’t, despite all the frustration, the stamp of a real writer.

You enjoy writing. Even when you want to pitch the keyboard across the room. Really, you do.

Story creating is something you do all the time; on the way to work, in your sleep, on a walk. You just do.

Three are plenty more examples of the positive and as writers we need to stop the focus on the negative and train ourselves to appreciate the positive if we hope to avoid that depressed, dark place.

And why should we do our best to avoid that place? Aside from just plain ol’ mental health reasons there this. If you think dark, sad, depressed and hopeless thoughts you’re going to feel like a loser and by extension you’ll then act like a looser and there goes your downward spiral.

But –

Feelings, emotional reactions, don’t necessarily make something true. You’ll notice I said ‘don’t necessarily’. They can become very true if you stay in that zone. Consider the way you view things and make corrections.

That’s why I had the beginnings of that list above.

Also exactly what are you going to write in that dark, depressed zone? It might work well if you’re planning on writing a dark, depressed story (how about an ax murderer?), but if you’re looking at a romantic comedy or action adventure, it could well pull you down big time and take that lilting edge off completely.

No, this isn’t some pop psychology piece on ‘positive thinking’. What it is, however, is an admonishment to examine your beliefs and what the influence of others can have on your beliefs and understand that how you react is in your hands.

The negative feelings might not go away entirely if you examine them and work on a list as above, but you will gain perspective, and that will make the day brighter.

One thought on “Peggy Bechko: Are You a Writer Plagued by Black or White Thinking?”

  1. You wanna be a writer? It’s simple. You just sit down and write. Just don’t forget ‘FADE IN’ comes before ‘FADE OUT’. And in between you tell your story. Oh, yeah, don’t forget the best part.


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