Monday, April 12, 2010

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy...sort of

“Dear Author/Illustrator:
Thank you for submitting your work to (insert publishing company of your choice). Your submission was given careful consideration by one of our editors, and we are sorry to say that we do not feel it is right for our list…”

Ok self, let’s use those therapy tools you like to preach to clients…

A twisted sort of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

AUTOMATIC THOUGHT: I can’t write. My children’s book is horrible. I’ll never be a real writer, I should just give up.

REFRAMING (PREFERABLY MORE POSITIVE THOUGHT): Rejection from publishers is part of being a writer. Did you really expect everyone to love it and chomp at the bit to publish it, throwing money at your feet? Grow up!

REFRAMING THOUGHT – TAKE TWO: You can look at this as a rite of passage in the life of a writer, and know that you’re a writer whether you’re published or not. 

AUTOMATIC THOUGHT: Sure, that’s lovely…a load of crap, but lovely.  I believe we’re rapidly approaching plan B: selling a kidney on the black market.

REFRAMING THOUGHT: Perhaps we’ll hold off on the harvesting of kidneys for the moment and instead continue writing while giving yourself positive affirmations. Repeat after me: I can write. I am valuable no matter what. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me (thank you stuart smalley)

Useful tool, that cognitive behavioral stuff…for other people maybe. As for me, my stubborn brain refuses to budge; zooming in on the rejection and tossing aside any positive feedback I may have gotten. It’s like that one person in the room that doesn’t like me and all of a sudden, she’s the only one that matters. This is not a trait I’d recommend as it promises continual discontentment and unhappiness.

And so, I sit down to write anyway, ignoring the pesky voice that mocks and devalues inside my brain, pushing aside the doubts and insecurities...

I write because it’s what is in front of me to do, because it’s the next right thing, the equivalent of putting one foot in front of the other despite having fallen flat on my face. I write because are things I want to say (enter pesky voice…”what could you have to say that hasn’t been said before by wiser, better writers??) and for the moment, I tell that voice to SHUT UP!

I write because it anchors me to reality, grounding me in this life that I create, this life that creates me. I write because it makes things real; it roots my experiences to the page and allows me to stand more solidly. I write because it’s easier to have a voice on paper than in person, and with a pen I am more able to speak my truth while I practice learning to do the same out loud. I write because otherwise I tend to get lost in my head – not really the best neighborhood to wander in alone – and I fall prey to the whispers that I’m not good enough to do this.

I write for escape, I write for joy, I write for clarity. I write the craziness in order to capture the sane. I write in order to feel free, to be free. I write for me: to speak my heart, but I also write for you in the hopes that a phrase from my hand resonates with you, thereby forming that most essential gift – a connection.

But mostly, I write because I choose to believe I am a writer. Not someday; not “if I get published”, but now, in this moment.

I write to remind myself that a writer is someone who writes. Period. End of sentence. 


  1. Lauren, my dear long-lost friend,

    You write so so so many phrases that resonate with me. Your truths have that amazing and rare combination of being insightful and yet universal. You were always a writer and you will always be.

    I have many friends and friends-of-friends in publishing in New York, and I would be honored to reach out to them on your behalf or give you their information. You can find me on Facebook, which is where I found you and your amazing blog.

    Julie, Fellow Believer in Monsters Under the Bed

  2. Wow..loving this blog.....thx lauren