Part 1 in the series, “The Power of Negative Thinking”
Those of you who have followed my career for the past twenty-five years may be surprised that I’m writing about the value of negative thinking. Yes, yes, I know, I’m the guy who wrote the 1982 best-seller Positive Workaholism, and my book The Power of Positive Productivity has been translated globally into five foreign languages—including Romanian—since 2005.
What I want to talk about, however, is not a glum, hopeless, defeatist negativity. Instead, it is a cautionary, pragmatic, logical form of negativity. In short, it is a system of analysis that can help a writer be prepared for any negative situation that could possibly arise, and, thus, take proactive steps to avoid potential disaster.
Let’s use a real-life situation. Imagine you are going to a writers conference and you are scheduled to meet for fifteen minutes with an acquisitions editor. You intend to introduce yourself, talk about your book, and, with luck, leave your book proposal with that editor. Okay, prior to the conference start asking yourself, “What might possibly go awry in this meeting to ruin my chances of making a good first impression?”
Be harsh. Be real. Be honest. Make a list.
1. My appearance might be negative in some way. Remember to press your clothes, get a haircut, clean your nails, use a breath mint, and tone down the cologne.
2. My book proposal may not be complete. Double-check to make sure you have a cover letter, cover page, synopsis, table of contents, author biography, outline, and three sample chapters. Bring a spare proposal in case the first editor you talk to asks to keep your only copy. Bring a flash drive containing the entire book proposal in case you need to print even more copies.
3. The editor may ask me questions I don’t know how to answer. Find someone in your writers’ club or critique group who has done this before, and have that person provide possible questions you’ll need answers for. Ask that person to sit and do a mock run-through with you so you can rehearse your pitch.
See? The power of negative thinking has enabled you to make positive changes.
Next week, “4 Ways Negative Scenarios Can Lead to Success”
Dennis E. Hensley, PhD, is director of the professional writing department at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and a Christian Writers Guild board member. His 54 books include:
- Jesus in the 9 to 5: Facing the Challenges of Today’s Business World
- How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It
- Man to Man: Becoming the Believer God Called You to Be
- More Than Meets the Eye: Finding an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Life
- Alpha Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 Hours
- Surprises and Miracles of the Season: Devotions for Christmas and New Year’s
- The Power of Positive Productivity