The Hazards of Personal Mind Games

Aztec RuinsThere once was a person who wanted to create stories, and so she did. Her first novel was purchased by a publisher who liked it so much they asked for more. Overjoyed, she wrote more novels for them that they also loved. Other publishers in other countries published her books as well and soon she quit her “day job” and became a full time writer. Happy day!

The publishers wanted new books quickly, so she wrote two or three books a year. She developed tricks to manipulate herself into doing the writing required and never missed a deadline for years… for a decade… and then longer.

But what she didn’t realize as she tricked and cajoled and rewarded herself through writing those books (stories that she loved, BTW) was that she was reacting to these manipulations of self the same way she would if anyone else was manipulating her – and because she, the creator, was being used and dominated and treated as less important than what she created, she eventually lost the desire to write.

Yet she couldn’t stop writing. This was now her job. She had contracts. Obligations. Fans.

To ease the pain of sitting down to write every day, and because it was her habit, she continued for a time to try coercing herself out of not liking to write, plus she took on a writing partner to do half the work and to keep her on track. But of course, nothing worked because she wasn’t addressing the core issue.

She decided to work on getting back the joy she once had for writing. It was difficult at first. She started small, like appreciating a certain combination of words she’d written, or enjoying a character in her mind. Baby steps. Next she stopped using the timer and the schedules. If she made the deadline, good. If not, she’d be close enough.

And so it went, step by step, dropping rule after rule, until one day she truly felt the joy again, and with the joy came the realization that the root of her angst was that she didn’t like to be manipulated, even by herself. Maybe even especially by herself. She understood that the creator is more important than the created. She was more important than her novels. Her uniqueness, her individuality and spark were what made it all happen, and that was what she needed to value and cherish and encourage. Only then would she reach her full potential as a creator.

And that, my friends, is why there haven’t been many blog posts lately. However, there is a NEW MOVIE IDEA! I’m sure the joy will return to the blogging again, just as it did this morning, with this little story.

Blessings to you on your own creative journey!


I am living this year with the view that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. What this year may include: adventures in travel, career, personal growth, and more. If you are interested in following my haphazard posts, sign up here. Thank you!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Living As If All Things Are Possible, Novels, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Writing Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Aw, I love this!

    Such good advice to glean . . . and such a good reminder, “The creator is more important than the created.” I’m so glad you got your joy back. And HURRAH re: a new movie idea. Fun!

  2. Lovely to have a fairy tale with a happy ending after the happy ending!! 😉 The creative path is a littered with hazards and it’s lovely that you’ve made your way through. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  3. Really interesting! I never thought of self manipulation that way. And great advice. I feel better about my sometimes sluggish writing ways now, lol.

    • Thank you! People with a lot of self discipline have to be careful with abusing their power over themselves, I think. It’s a quick way to burn out if you’re not careful.

      These days when I feel the the pull to malinger, first I just sit down and think about what I find cool about my project until I’m excited about it again. If that doesn’t work, I write something different that day – a poem, a blog post, stream of consciousness, or whatever I feel like. 🙂 It keeps the writing fresh to do that, I think.

      Happy writing!

  4. I love those thoughts!! So true in all aspects of our lives. The understanding and joy that comes from being a creator has both fueled and founded many accomplishments through history that “others” knew were impossible! We each have the opportunity to open the gift of self we have been given and rejoice in our magnificence! I don’t mean that in a conceited way, but rather recognizing our potential to love (ourselves firstly and completely) and to give. Celebrate life and the rest will be history; a glorious history I might add 🙂 May each day increase in everything wonderful for you as you create and receive this fantastic adventure!!

  5. Good post.

    The manipulations we use on ourselves are of the worst kind: if we don’t try – we fail, if we try and fail – we fail, & if we try and succeed – we burn ourselves out – and fail!

    Maybe we should redefine failure – so that we always succeed – lol
    At least they say that failures build character – so I suppose that could be the silver lining.

    • My philosophy now is from Lao Tzu: “The Tao does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone…” So using your formula, that would be: don’t try, just be who you truly are in each moment, and you’ll do everything you need to do.

      And if it doesn’t work out, at least you built character! lol

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