"Thought Virus" Protection for Writers

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Jane kindly invited me to guest blog here on There Are No Rules while she's enjoying some R&R this week, and I happily agreed. You may recall that the last time I posted as a guest here, my stay was unexpectedly extended when Jane became stranded in Thailand -- so let's hope for her sake that she returns as scheduled on Monday!

What better way to kick off a week of guest blogging than to give a shout out to another guest blogger? After all, we fill-in writers have to stick together. I always enjoy a good dose of Zen Habits, and today's post from Steven Aitchison really struck a chord with me--especially because I'm in the planning stages of the February issue of WD, which will focus on creativity.

If you haven't already seen it, check out "Virus Protection for the Mind" here. Go ahead. I'll wait.

This post immediately got me thinking about how these "thought viruses" can infect the writing life. How often do you get excited about a new idea, only to have doubt creep in the minute you face the blank page? Writers always talk about the struggle of trying to silence our inner critics, our inner editors. Back when I was working as an editor of books both by and for visual artists, they'd often discuss similar challenges. One of my artist/authors called this her inner gremlin, and would draw him in an attempt to put him out of her head.

But Aitchison points out that these "thought viruses" aren't separate entities from our creative minds--and recognizing this can be empowering, because it means this: They're something we have the power to control. Why not arm ourselves with strategies for harnessing those viruses before they take hold of our thought processes?

What are some of your ways of putting those thoughts on the shelf, as Aitchison suggests, so you can move forward? I welcome your comments here!

Happy Monday,
Jessica Strawser
Editor, WD