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Self-Talk: It's More Than Just Pep-Talk!
by Lizzie R. Santos
Got no one to brainstorm with? Got no one to boost your writer's morale? Is there a nagging feeling inside you that says there could be a better word than the one you just used? If you find yourself in any of these situations, you can always count on your one true loyal, tried-and-tested writer's friend -- yourself. A little self-talk could be just what you need.
People say that many writers are loners. They lock themselves in a room or hie off to an unknown destination and stay by themselves until another novel is born. But writers are never really alone. They can be with as many characters as their minds imagine and as their mood dictates. And what better way to make use of a writer's moods than by engaging in self-talk? It's just like talking to different people at the same time!
- When developing a concept, a writer can engage in self-talk to expound different perspectives. "What if...?" followed by "And then what?" are two universal questions that every writer should always ask herself.
- When you need to remember something, keep repeating it to yourself until you get the chance to write it down. There you are in a bus or in a crowded marketplace and you suddenly spot this interesting signboard with a nice phrase, a writing prompt you can use. Tell yourself about it over and over until you get the chance to write it down.
- Talk to yourself to get going. If you feel sluggish but you have to beat a deadline, get your adrenalin going by constantly reminding yourself that submitting on time means income! Challenge yourself.
- To come up with a spontaneous dialogue, talk to yourself as if you were two - or more - people talking to one another. Put yourself in the scene you're writing. You can even vary your voice to fit your different characters.
- When you're overcome by apprehension, you can talk to yourself to gain self-confidence. Let us say you want to negotiate a fee with a terror publisher. Before you negotiate, talk to yourself. Ask yourself why you feel you deserve the fee you are aiming for. How will you justify the rate you have in mind? How will you react if she haggles? How can you demand for an equivalent remuneration in case she can't give the amount you ask for?
- Learn from your mistake. Scold yourself; get into an argument with yourself when your article gets rejected. That way, you will challenge yourself to discover the reason you were turned down. Being able to do that will transform the rejection into a valuable lesson learned. Reread your work aloud and then analyze it by yourself. I'll bet you'll find out why the article was rejected after all.
- Talk to yourself to get into the right mindset. You want to join a writing contest. You are determined to win. By all means, condition your mind that you will! Each morning, even before you start pounding on your keyboard, talk to your reflection in the mirror as if you are coach briefing his star player. You'll be in form to write a darn good chapter!
- When you need to analyze an issue, talk to yourself. You can come up with a more profound analysis with a little self-talk because that way, you challenge your mind to dig deeper into the issue you have to write about.
- Editing your own work aloud as if you were self-talking makes it easier to maintain a beat and detect wrong grammer and awkward sentence structures. Even if you're just editing from your monitor instead of from a hardcopy, you will have an easier time if you read your work aloud.
- To decide on the best title for your work, try some self-talk. Read your title aloud. Feel the twang, savor the choice of words. Note the rhythm. Try changing one word at a time. Which title sounds better?
Copyright © 2004 Lizzie R. Santos
Lizzie Santos writes features, literary pieces, scripts and other writing projects both in English and Pilipino. She also lectures at creative writing workshops. Her first book, The Laughter of the Leaves and Other Musings, was published by Giraffe Books. She is working on her second book. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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