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Attitude and Your Writing

In my last post, I mentioned that Napoleon Hill offered words of wisdom that could be applied to one’s writing. Among the quotations from Hill that I have accumulated to date I’ve noticed four recurring themes: attitude, initiative and action, dealing with defeat, and purpose and goals. Today, I’d like to share several of his thoughts on attitude.

  1. “You come finally to believe anything you tell yourself often enough, even if it is not true.”

When your subconscious mind accepts something as truth, it will work overtime to transform the idea into physical reality. Don’t say, “I can’t.” Say, “I will.” And then get busy making it so. You can become the writer you want to be, but you’ll have to take action to make that happen. It won’t come to you as you sit passively. Get busy writing, studying potential markets for your work, and submitting.

2. “Your progress in life begins in your own mind and ends in the same place.”

You won’t make any progress in your writing career by sitting passively and dreaming of being a writer. Make your mind fertile ground for writing ideas through constant study and learning. Then discipline yourself to follow through on those ideas by producing written products from them.

3. “Remember, your mental limitations are of your own making.”

Most of us never really reach our optimum level of achievement because we don’t challenge ourselves to do so. Too often, we get a rejection slip from an editor and conclude that we are failures as writers. In doing so, we have set up that editor as the limit of our potential. Don’t let a rejection stop you. Submit again. And again. And yet again. If an editor offers suggestions for improving the piece, work on it. But keep submitting. Remember that Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) submitted his first book, And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, to forty-two publishers before the forty-third one published it. (If he were a baseball player, his batting average would have been .023!) Don’t limit yourself; keep submitting your best stuff.

4. “When you close the door of your mind to negative thoughts, the door of opportunity opens to you.”

Approach every writing project with a positive mental attitude. In doing so, you will discover ideas and ways of stating things that others have overlooked. Recall those discoveries when you get discouraged. And remember, you can do it if you think you can!

5. “No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish.”

Many people wish to be writers or hope one day to become writers, but few people are willing to act on their dreams or to take steps toward making them reality. Too many people don’t want to do the hard work of writing; they want to be known as writers without putting forth the effort that qualifies them to be called writers. Believe that your writing is good enough to be published, and then work to make it so! Stop wishing and start acting.

6. “Individuals with positive mental attitudes are never found in a rut.”

Always be on the lookout for new ideas or topics for your writing efforts. Keep an idea file. Writers who have a positive attitude somehow always manage to find something new and interesting to write about even in the most mundane tasks.

7. “No one can keep you down but yourself.”

Only you can determine your failure or success.  Not an editor. Not a self-appointed critic.  Take a good hard look at yourself, your abilities, and your opportunities, and then accept yourself for the person you are. Then take the actions necessary to become the person you wish to be. If you want to be a writer, assess where you are now, and then take whatever steps are necessary to become the writer you want to be. (See quotation No. 3 above.)

These quotations from Napoleon Hill ( ) helped me. I hope they are of encouragement to you in your writing, too.

Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson

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