March 29, 2017

Self-Image and the Writer

By MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA

Years ago, when I first began writing professionally, I stumbled on a simple secret that literally changed the course of my writing career. The secret was this: A writer will never achieve success beyond the level of his or her self-image.

Self-image—or the way you see yourself--is, perhaps, the single most important factor in a writer’s quest for success.  Self-image has everything to do with how we think. And how we think has everything to do with writing success.

I’d like to suggest seven keys to help you program your writer self-image for success, not failure:

Key #1—When negative thoughts about your writing ability assail you, refuse to entertain them.

When I was a fledgling writer, my internal conversation went something like this:

“Who do you think you are calling yourself a writer? Everything you’ve written so far has been rejected. Why don’t you give up before you make a fool of yourself? After all, it takes special talent to be a writer, and, unfortunately, you don’t have any.”

“Yes, I guess you’re right. If I really had talent, editors would be clamoring for my work. After all, rejection slips don’t lie. I’m just not cut out to be a writer. I may as well quit and do something else.”

That negative voice sounded very convincing, especially after I had just received yet another rejection slip. But when I realized I didn’t have to listen to that negative voice, I began taking the offensive against it by applying key number two.

Key #2—Replace all negative thoughts with positive ones.  Nature abhors a vacuum. As you sweep negative thoughts out of your mind, you must replace them with positive ones or the negative thoughts will return with even greater force.

So, when the negative voice challenged me, I began talking back to it. I would say, “I am a writer! Not only am I writer, but I am also a successful writer.”

An amazing thing happened: the negative voice backed off.

Key #3—You will eventually believe what you repeatedly hear.  The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing (Romans 10: 17). Whatever we hear often enough, we will eventually believe.  So, make sure you are hearing the right things about your writing.

Key # 4—Your mind is the original computer. What you program into your mind is what will show up in your life.  Program your mind for success.

Key #5—You create your writing future with your tongue. Your tongue is the programmer of your mind. The words you speak set the course of your writing life. So, watch your mouth!

Key #6—Visualize yourself as a successful writer. Define what writing success looks like to you. Then picture yourself achieving that success.

Key #7—Affirmation without action is dead. You can speak all the positive things you want about your writing, but if you don’t back up your words with action, nothing will happen. 

So, there you have it!  Seven keys to achieving a self-image that will result in writing success.

Now, use your keys!
Dr.MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books.  Her latest novel, A Sicilian Farewell, is Book 2 in The Italian Chronicles trilogy. MaryAnn is also a Certified Life & Writing Coach who works with writers to help them achieve their writing dreams. You may reach her at or at This article is based on Dr. MaryAnn’s popular booklet, Self-Image and the Writer available on Amazon.


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