Friday, June 10, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday-Expectations

The other night my husband, daughter and I went walking with our dog Moose. He’s a puppy, about 8 months old, who is big (probably about 70 pounds), smart, and very stubborn. My daughter walked out of the house with the leash but as we got to the road, she handed the reigns over to my husband.

“Here Dad. You walk him. He listens to you better than he listens to me.”
            “That’s because dad expects him to listen,” I answered without thinking about it.

But as we walked some more, I thought about my answer. I think the same goes for parenting overall. If we discipline our kids or give them rules to follow but don’t expect them to follow through, why do we ask them to do it? We know that they won’t, and our expectation will have been met. Often the kids know when we are backing up our request and when we are giving lip service. (Darn kids!)
Then I got to thinking about my writing. If I write with the expectation that no one will like it, then the probability of that being the truth is pretty high. Why is that? I think we are often products of our expectations.

            Think about this for a moment. I think it’s a cousin to the self-fulfilling prophecy idea. According to Wikipedia “a self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” It goes on to give this example, which I think will clear up that hazy definition. “When Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.”

Wow. The power of the mind and spirit is astounding. Our thoughts influence our actions such that just thinking something negative can make it happen. So, the lesson here? Be conscious of what you are telling yourself as a writer and be kind. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, try something new, and take a chance. When those negative thoughts creep in, throw them out the window. Why? Because it matters.


  1. You are so right, Michelle. My Dad always said that he would tell us once, maybe twice but there would never be a third time. We grew up knowing our boundries and turned out okay. We raised our daughters that way, too, and for some reason they did well. It's too bad when a parent tells a child more than several times to not to do something and they don't back it up. I think this kind of behavior pattern holds them back when they do go to school and into the work force.

    I also agree that what you put into your writing comes back to the reader. Sometimes I find myself whimping down my heroine, and that is when my muse goes quiet on me. Once I let her be true to herself we rock together. It's all in the attitude and how you face the responsibiites.

  2. I agree Paisley. It's so important to mean what we say. And as far as writing goes, I totally "get" that too. Sometimes when I'm writing I want the character arch to go a certain way, but when I focus on just that, my character seems forced. So much to keep in mind when we write. It's definitely not easy!! Thanks so much for stopping by!