Tuesday 23 January 2024

Stephanie Carty, "The Writing Mirror: Analyse Your Writing for Self-Discovery"


Dr Stephanie Carty is a writer and clinical psychologist in the U.K. Her short fiction has been published widely and been shortlisted or won prizes in Bath Short Story Award, Bridport Prize, Bristol Short Story Prize, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and Bath Flash Fiction Award. Her novella Three Sisters of Stone won a Saboteur Award and her short fiction collection The Peculiarities of Yearning won best published collection in the Eyelands Book Prize. She has published a psychological thriller Shattered and a workbook for writers on the psychology of characters Inside Fictional Minds.

About The Writing Mirror, by Dr Stephanie Carty
The Writing Mirror is a workbook designed to investigate what, how and why you write in order to better understand yourself. It uses psychological theory and methods, through structured tasks, to aid self-discovery both related to and wider than your writing life.

Below, you can read two excerpts from the book. 

From The Writing Mirror

Distraction and procrastination

It may be that working in bite-size chunks works well for you, to slowly but surely build a whole. However, there may be some examples of this pattern that are not about slow, steady progression of the tortoise versus the chaotic hare, but that in fact boil down to avoidance.

Watch out if your history tries to get you to label avoidance as laziness! Avoidance and procrastination are often an attempt at self-protection. That can be hard to understand when part of you is desperate to finish your writing. But think about all the potential risks that your mind may invent – will your writing disappoint you, will it disappoint others, is it too personal to share, have you felt pushed into writing something that isn’t what your heart sings in order to increase the chance of publication? And quietly, oh, so quietly, you may have a mind that whispers, you don’t deserve success.

Making do

If perfectionism doesn’t chime for you, perhaps your pattern of thinking tells you what you’ve just completed ‘will do’ and you quickly move on from it before it is polished. You may tell yourself that it’s better to keep trying different things rather than get bogged down on one idea, or that the chances of publication are low, so you don’t want to overinvest in one project, or that the writing is only for your own satisfaction. ‘I threw my hat in the ring at the last minute,’ ‘this isn’t my best,’ ‘I’m just practising what it feels like to submit’ and so on. The act of avoiding ‘aiming high’ brings its own protection: if the work isn’t accepted, shortlisted, read or published or doesn’t sell well, you can tell yourself that it didn’t matter anyway, it wasn’t your full effort. This way, your brain is cocooned to some extent from the sense of rejection it dreads. But is it worth the price of missing out on the satisfaction and possibilities that your best work could bring?

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