Tag Archives: Writer Life

How to Thrive through Downer Times

Black Dog imageLet’s be honest. We all have them. Winston Churchill called them his Black Dog. If Winnie could admit to experiencing the black-and-blue blues so can we.

I’ve heard a lot of folks owning up to exactly that over the past few months. Maybe it’s the failure of spring to arrive. Maybe it’s the refusal of unpleasant realities to stay away.

Whatever the motivation for a trip to Bummerville an escape strategy is needed. May I suggest three steps along that exit route.

First – Don’t Confide in Anybody but Your Journal.

The world runs on gossip. The writer world runs on storytelling gossip. We should be careful not to fuel that ride. I’m saying you shouldn’t trust anyone. I am saying you shouldn’t overestimate anyone.

People can talk without thinking. People repeat things without thinking about the damage they can do. Sometimes they even succumb to the temptation to use knowledge as currency. Especially juicy knowledge.

The more intimate the story the juicier its potential can be. And nothing is more intimate than the insider details of somebody’s emotional meltdown. The tidbit may be told with compassion. “So sorry for her hardship.” Or with bogus compassion. “Soooo sorry for her hardship.”

The result is the same. The subject of the tidbit is portrayed as down and out or on her way to getting there. An image that does her no good no way no time. Therefore Mum is the word.

Second – Smile While your Heart is Breaking.

Some call it behaving as if. Behave as if you’re fine. I know it’s fake. Worse yet I know it’s hard to do. I also know light attracts and darkness repels.

We don’t want to break down the good work we’ve already accomplished. We want to build it further. Maybe we don’t feel capable of that construction effort at the moment but we can manage to maintain a holding pattern if we try.

My brother Michael once gave me some sage advice. He suggested I take acting classes to learn more about creating story characters. I’ve come to understand the added value of making yourself into a story character when it serves your career purpose. As I said. Only your journal page requires full – or even partial – disclosure.

Third – Tell a Bright Tale Until it Comes True.

I believe in the power of professional pretense. That power has more to do with convincing yourself than it has to do with convincing others. You are the one feeling lousy – or lost – or left out somehow. You are the one who must find a way off the down escalator. The real purpose of spinning a positive less-than-total truthhood is to hear it yourself about yourself.

“The future’s so bright I’m gonna need shades.” That’s the prophecy you want to self-fulfill. Keep repeating it to yourself and everybody and one morning you’ll wake up to find those shiny lenses reflecting your vision of yourself come back to full and lovely life.

Alice Orr http://www.aliceorrbooks.com                   http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter                   http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks

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A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of Alice Orr’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of Alice’s books are available at her Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/