Monthly Archives: February 2013

How Do You Internalize?

Novelists as Sponges

We novelists have a basic propensity toward being sponges – we soak up so many things Be A Novelist around us. And if we don’t actually start out that way we soon train our senses to do exactly that. We soak up sights, sounds, aroma/smells, tastes, and yes, even tactile/touch responses.

On that note, we also must be very careful how we soak up what we hear. Because of our author/writer sensitivity, we oftentimes internalize words that should be released and let go. How do you internalize what is said to you regarding your writing? Your writing plans and dreams? Your writing abilities? Or the writing/publishing industry in general?

Empty Remarks

I remember sitting in a workshop as a novice author listening to a big time New York City editor give a presentation. He looked out over the group and said these exact words: “We take people like you and we chew you up and spit you out.” (Envision a bit of a snarl.)

Lovely. That’s exactly why I spent my hard-earned money to attend this conference (conference fees, hotel and travel expenses) – to come and hear these enlightening, encouraging words.  Thank you so much. (Perhaps his pompous attitude is part of the reason that the publishing world is in such dire straits today. But I digress.)

I distinctly remember a close friend who looked me right in the eyes and said: “You can never make a living as a writer.”

Lovely. Thanks for your belief in me.

Be A NovelistI remember showing one of my very first checks – received for a published article – to a friend who took one look at the check and then at me and said in an oh-so-serious tone, “Oh, Norma Jean, I hope you’re not in this just for the money.” (That check may have amounted to all of fifty bucks or less. And I’d probably spent two or three months just to get the article published in the first place.)

Lovely. And I sure hope you don’t go to work each day just to get a paycheck at the end of the week.

Choose What to Internalize

I could go on and on because my list is endless, but I think you get the picture. My point is, I made a quality decision not to internalize these types of empty remarks. I made a quality decision early on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, and I knew I would never get there by internalizing remarks from naysayers.

I did a lot of self-talk in those early days. I wrote out affirmation statements. I read everything I could get my hands on about other writers and how they made it and how they endured. I internalized what they said, because they had been where I wanted to go. Those other voices meant nothing.

While I might be a sponge, I choose to be a very picky sponge.

What about you?

Perhaps you need to do your own self-check. What voices have you internalized that you should have dismissed? Ask yourself why you listened. Is it because it came from someone you respect? Do you value that person’s opinion more than you do your dreams of becoming a published novelist?

How and what do you internalize? And why? Remember, it’s your mind. It’s your subconscious. It’s your brain. It’s your heart. They’re your emotions. Take control. You decide what you will internalize. Blow away the negatives like so much chaff in the wind.

I guarantee you’ll be delighted with what’s left.

Be A Novelist

Photo Credit: © Cristina |


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