I am positive about this!

I have been having a struggling with words phase again.

No that is not quite it. I have no problem coming up with words. Maybe even putting them together in a coherent and even somewhat skilled manner. The issue is more with the emotional content of the words. So I guess I am actually struggling with emotions again. Not words.

I read so many emotionally resonant and brilliant blog posts from others, and they call to me to answer. Yet I can’t seem to find the correct flavor for the words. It is like everything I want to write sounds sad to me. And sending out negativity is the antithesis of who I want to be. So I write nothing. Or worse avoid reading these other blogs that inspire me so because I am afraid of the answers they will bring to the surface.

And then I got a look in a fun house mirror. And saw how silly I am being.

I have recently been doing the 100 Word Challenge For Grownups. Effectively we are given prompts of various types (words, phrases, pictures, etc.) and we need to write something in 100 words involving the prompt. For the posts I have done so far take a look here. Some of the prompts were quite challenging indeed. For several reasons. The one reason that was the most challenging for me was the fact that the prompts often immediately conjured up very sad thoughts. If you read the many other posts by others who have taken up the challenges, you will see what I mean. There is some brilliant work there, but frequently the pieces written were on the negative side.

Because of this, for most of them I made it a point to write something with a positive feel, especially because my inclination was to do just the opposite. I got some very nice comments on all of them for this reason alone.

Enter the fun house mirror.

These comments, and the posts by others, reminded me of two things. First of all negative sells. Tragedy usually reads better than joy. This is evident simply by watching what our culture finds popular. It may not be right but it is the way it is. I have often been told that my About Me is well written, and people say what a rough life I have lead. They tell me I should write a book about it. The irony is that what I wrote was just the things that had the most profound impact on who I am today. The reality is that my life has been filled with  many great moments of joy and happiness.

But that does not read as well.

The more important reminder though is this.

Being negative is a choice. Just like everything else.

Just like with the 100 Word Challenges, when I specifically wrote something positive. By choice.  What prevents me from choosing positive in all my dealings?

Only me.

I wonder how many times I will have to relearn this particular lesson before it truly sinks in.

0 thoughts on “I am positive about this!

  1. TheIdiotSpeaketh

    Plain and simple logic like that will never sink in for many of us….. I feel your pain! 🙂

  2. Well said, Steve! I struggle often with the fact that in many ways my story is sad–yes, it’s ended well. But I had years of really tragic things to live through.

    My expereince, however, is that readers prefer positive. I could be wrong, but when I started writing about my past, I lost a lot of readers.

    I think it’s great you are challenging yourself to put a positive spin on the 100 word challenges. But I think people connect by sharing pain sometimes, so maybe both have benefits.

    Great post, that is really making me think!


    • I think it depends on what the posts are about. In your case, I think much of what you say hits too close to home for some and they don’t like the reflection of themselves they see in your words. That said, there is definite value in sharing pain. But in the case of the 100 word challenge, going with the positive on some of them was as much to force myself into doing something different as well as to switch it up from the others 🙂 The point is we can choose what we do. It does not have to be one way or the other!

  3. People like to read good writing – period. Of course if you are always morose and writing about the same thing they will tire but some of the best writers have concentrated on the negative.
    However, it is a choice as far as mood is concerned. I often forget & have to kick start myself so thank you for the reminder!

    • It is true that if the writing is good it will be appreciated no matter the subject matter. But it is also true that there is more excitement in mixing negative in, especially if the writing is not top quality 🙂 But as you caught , my primary point is WE choose how we react to things. Emotions are ours to control. They do not control us!

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