What I Learned from Octavia Butler
June 21, 2022
Note From Rochelle
Today’s tip is the second post in the series: What My Literary Heroes Taught Me About Writing. Earlier this month I wrote about Ida Wells. Today, I’m sharing how Octavia Butler mastered her mindset.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
What My Literary Heroes Taught Me
Master Your Mindset from Octavia Butler
Most of the writers I coach worry they’re not good enough. They struggle with “putting themselves out there.” And they imagine that successful writers don’t have the same doubts.
But they do. Octavia Butler’s family did not support her writing career. She took on many jobs to pay the bills while she tried to sell her stories. She said, “Writing is difficult. You do it alone without the encouragement and without any certainty that you’ll ever be published or paid or even that you’ll be able to finish the particular work you’ve begun. It isn’t easy to persist amid all that.”
Octavia Butler wrote short, positive statements and posted them around her house:
- I shall be a bestselling writer
- This is my life. I write bestselling novels.
- I will find a way to do this. So be it! See to it!
*Note: you can see more of these sayings in a photo of Butler’s notebooks on this page: https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/things-to-do/octavia-e-butler-telling-my-stories-at-the-huntington-library
Mastering your mindset takes time and practice. To start, take a persistent negative thought and create a one-line mantra to replace this thought. When the negative thought shows up, repeat the new mantra. For example:
- Instead of I’ll never finish this project, try One step at a time.
- Instead of I’ll never be as good as ___, try I have a gift to offer. or I have a story to tell.
What tools do you use to master your mindset?