I recently read the book Positivity by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and it changed how I think about my writing process. She defines Positivity as affirming, constructive, helpful, and/or optimistic thoughts, actions, or feelings in our lives. Dr. Fredrickson, who has researched this subject for the past 20 years, categorizes it as those moments in which we experience joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.
As a writer, those are the moments when my writing comes alive. The best lines get written. I learn something that makes a character more real.
Why is it so hard to stay positive?
Dr. Fredrickson compares negativity to a spiral slide- very easy to gain momentum as you are going down. In the same analogy, positivity can be a bit like climbing up a slide; it requires action on our part instead of passivity. The great thing about positivity is that we can help one another gain upward momentum. It is why laughter is contagious and having a network or supportive community is so important.
10 Minute Novelists has been that place for me and thousands of others. We work very hard to keep the community a positive and encouraging environment. From Author Happiness Day to Buddy Day to the 365 Writing Challenge, it is all about building positive momentum so we can all succeed.
Positivity helps us build social connections.
Whether it’s with our fellow writers or our readers, we want to be around people who are enthusiastic about their passions. If you are excited about your work, then others will get excited too. Which is why I’m looking forward to our first 10 Minute Novelist Conference this August. I finally get to meet all the amazing writers who have encouraged and supported me these past four years.
How do you we increase positivity?
Dr. Fredrickson also coined the term ‘the broadening effect’. When we have a positive mindset we see potential and possibility. As a writer, it is essential to keep our minds open and explore the depths of our plot, characters, themes, etc. By simply switching our thinking from problem to opportunity, our brains become unstuck by thinking of multiple solutions.
Positivity allows us to also see the good in others, the good in our work, the good in ourselves. We often say our inner editor/critic silences our creative voice. But in reality, our inner editor/critic is doing an essential job. It deserves to be valued and appreciated just as much as our imagination and voice. So the next time it starts to dictate the day, listen to what it has to say and thank it for its honest opinion. If it is not a good time for your critic to visit, set a mental appointment for later.
10 Practical ways to build positivity.
- Create High Quality Connections
- Cultivate Kindness
- Develop Positive Distractions
- Dispute Negative Thinking
- Get Out in Nature
- Meditate Mindfully for 15 Minutes a Day
- Know Your Strengths
- Ritualize Gratitude
- Savor Good Moments
- Visualize the Future
Jessica is a prayer warrior who loves to encourage and teach others how to create safe spaces for the hurting and lost. In 2014, she graduated from Western Governor’s University with a B.A. in Educational Studies and published her first book, Surviving the Stillness. She has written for several blogs and online magazines and is an admin and contributor for 10 Minute Novelists. She also created and manages their annual 365 Writing Challenge, which encourages writers to develop the habit of writing daily.