I Can’t Versus I Can

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.15.18 PMI hate to admit it, but I think I’ve been saying “I can’t” a lot more than “I can” in the last two months. Perception is everything when you are a writer. Especially, in the editing stages when a writer has to critically evaluate your work. I’ve gotten good news and good feedback on Dream Voyages, but I’ve still been focusing on hurdles I still need to conquer. I think this is a normal part of the process: both the writing process and the growing up process. But I also think, if possible the doubting needs to stop or at least be pushed away from it’s central location in my mind. 

It’s funny that although most of the doubt has been about my book and my future (How will I write the perfect query letter? Should I switch back to the first chapter from my last draft? Have I done enough research about agents and the publishing industry?) it was car problems that made me think my own self doubt has gotten out of hand.

Last week, I left work and when I got to my car it wouldn’t turn on.  Instead of rationally thinking through the steps that I was well equipped to deal with: call triple A, look up problem on the Internet, think about what you’ve done when this happened in the past. I froze. I felt so mad at myself for not knowing more about cars in general and my car specifically. I didn’t know what was wrong (it wasn’t that the battery needed a jump). I wouldn’t know if the mechanic was ripping me off (I don’t think they did). In that moment, I couldn’t even remember how to pop the hood of my car.

But as I reflected on the whole experience, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t significant at all, I realized that in the moment I’d focused on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could do. And what I couldn’t do in the car situation mirrored what I can’t do in my writing or in my life.

I can’t control everything. I can’t make only good things happened. I can’t be 100% prepared for every opportunity and obstacle that comes my way.

But I can make a conscious effort to focus on what I can do. And I can do a whole lot of amazing things when I focus on the positive. And I can keep writing stories I love, and working on my query letter, and working hard for the future I want. And maybe, if I really put my mind to it, I can stop writing sentences that begin with conjunctions. It sounds good in my head, but my 7th grade English teacher would be horrified.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.15.36 PM


In the pursuit of focusing on the positive, tell me something amazing you can do in the comments!

5 thoughts on “I Can’t Versus I Can

  1. Sounds as though you’re a bit overwhelmed right now. I usually utter “I can’t” when I really mean, I’m tired. Try taking a day off and thinking about something completely different. There’s very few things one can’t do, but a lot one simply won’t do or doesn’t care to do. And that’s ok. As is starting a sentence with a conjuction according to CMS.

    1. The thought behind the butt in chair, hands on key board technique. I’m with you in hoping that if I keep sitting down and turning my computer on it will all work out. Good luck with your edits! I’m sending you lots of productive vibes through the internet.

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