"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Monday, February 15, 2016

Why You Should Keep a "Feel-Good File"...


“I feel good, like I knew that I would.”---James Brown
Most of us don’t realize that our egos are under constant attack.
There are the subliminal messages we receive via the media and TV commercials.

You know: the daily ones that suggest that we need to lose weight, whiten our smiles, maintain our youth, be better parents, and strive for “bouncing and behavin’ hair.”

If you’re a creative artist, it can get even worse.
Adding insult to injury are the rejection letters from editors, negative comments from blog readers, (or lack of comments), and the sometimes biting book reviews regarding our work.

If you’re not strong, you’re bound to fold like a cheap tent.
And I should know. Over the last few months, I have had to contend with a barrage of frustrations and set-backs that have caused self-doubt and detours on the path to my dreams.
(Despite a career with many accomplishments.)

Like for instance, the one week, where I got 4 rejections in three days, on articles I submitted to various publications. Shortly thereafter, I agonized too, over falling short of my monthly income goals, and neglecting to cross off some of the resolutions that have resurfaced on my list, year after year.

So, here’s how I coped. I threw a “pity party”…no formal attire required. J
Then, a few weeks later, much to my surprise, while organizing my office, I came across some unexpected encouragement.

Tucked between papers and lists that needed tossing, were scores and scores of folders from successfully closed projects with clients, glowing testimonials, notes of thanks, and clips from publications that proudly displayed my work.
Things and situations that I had long forgotten.

It was “just what the doctor ordered.”
These visual reminders helped to provide a more balanced perspective.
I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally, but I was certainly better off than I formerly realized.
I hadn’t given myself credit for all the things I did right; I only looked at my perceived failures.

Chances are, you do too. Far too often, the rejections, criticism, negative comments from editors, readers, or even your mate, continue to play loudly in your mind like the sound track to your favorite movie.

Am I right here?
In order to mentally push forward, and go the distance, a paradigm shift is in order.
And here’s the good part: it doesn’t require a major “make-over” on your part.
The solution is as simple as a file folder.

That’s right. Compiling a “feel-good file” is inexpensive, easy and won’t cause the weight gain or guilt of chocolate or booze.

Here’s why a feel-good file is effective:
  • It serves as a visual reminder of all your strengths, your progress, and past achievements.
  • Unlike a journal, you can compile an array of things to affirm your awesomeness.
  • There’s no risk of having it lost or compromised, like computer files.
  • You can treat it like an art project: get creative. Choose your favorite color, decorate the exterior, add glitter, glue a picture of your book cover to the outside, or whatever suits your fancy.
Here’s what a “feel good file” might potentially contain:
  • Receipts, Paypal payment confirmation, or royalty statements from books sold, payments from publications or creative services rendered 
  • Testimonials or letters of thanks from former and current clients
  • Emails from fans and followers expressing how much they enjoy your newsletter, articles or blog
  • A copy of a traditional book contract you landed
  • Photos from a fun vacation you financed from your writing proceeds
  •  Clips from features you’ve had published in magazines
  • Positive book reviews
  • Positive affirmations

Get the idea here? Try it. You just might find that a "feel-good" file is just what you need to lift your spirits, keep you motivated, and elevate you to greater heights this year!

Thoughts? What would yours contain?


  1. On my 'Door to success' I have pasted a bunch of 'You won a prize' letters, and to 'Scratch my own itch' I once designed a Coffee Mug by writing an encouraging text message on it with a marker, only that soon washed off.

    So now I have improved the designing and frequently make new Coffee Mug Designs for our webshop. For example recently I designed a very special

    Happy Valentine,
    I Love Writing Coffee Mug

    We now have about 13 Coffee Mug designs, and recently I also designed a special 'Every Day' Coffee Mug for our Business Gifts Collection.

    1. As I wrote in my comment, I once designed a Coffee Mug by writing an encouraging text message on it with a marker,

      Well, I must say that I am somewhat excited, because I just checked our online store and with specially modified and stretched typewriter style letters,

      You now can actually see the exact original encouraging message I used for that first Coffee Mug I created, for a freshly newly designed Coffee Mug.

      It's not cheap, because it's a special design and no mass production. There (technically) goes more into the design than you might expect, for example I also created the design in such a way that it's customizable, so you can choose your own background color.

      O.K. enough about that, drum roll....,
      Here it is tatatataaaa;

      Specially Designed
      Writers Coffee Mug

      It would be great (and encouraging) when you use the share button to send it to friends, (and/or buy it:))

  2. Excellent point. You're right, we need to supply our own cheering section. It reminds me of the principle I employ with my teen students. They need to know what they've done right as much as what needs improvement. I need to start one of these files. :) Thanks for the advice!

    1. You're welcome, Karen! Let me know how things go. :-)

  3. I needed to hear this. I too am sending and receiving, like a see saw up and down. We must learn to value ourselves. Good advice.

    1. Keep going, Lin. I'm sure you'll see light at the end of the tunnel. :-)Thanks for chiming in. :-)

  4. Hi Jennifer -

    Recently, a reader told my Mom how she loved my books. All creative types need encouragement, and it warmed my heart for weeks.

    Everyone goes through periods where they need a boost. I'm glad you found a way to gain perspective.

    1. Susan,

      That was so lovely, wasn't it? We do need a motivational boost every now and then. :-) Great to connect today.

  5. Jennifer, I keep yearly files with all the aforementioned tucked inside. Believe it or not, my first folder (fifteen years ago) is fatter than my more recent ones especially on the financial side. Man, how the landscape has changed. But, but, having a feel good folder is essential. Looking back at the good stuff gives us courage to forge ahead. It's humbling and exalting at the same time. Excellent and much needed post, my friend!

    1. Sue,

      Thanks so much for adding to the mix. Keep your chin up. And your folder too. :-)

  6. Jennifer: Thank you for the pointer about looking for something positive about my writing. I have been in a funk since I have been home these two months. I am an encourager at heart and I need to renew my search for someone I can reach out to and establish a bond with to help me over the ' blahs.'

  7. Quietspirit
    "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others can not keep it from themselves." Wishing you God's love and comfort. :-)