As a writer, I know that words matter. Anyone can see that when simply looking at the phrases “big bear” and “humongous bear.” The first is one you run from. And the second? Let’s just hope you are running with someone a lot slower than yourself! However, I had never really considered how words affect our personal performance.
I am a cycling enthusiast – on an amateur level. My husband and I spent the summer of 2020 crossing the United States from the coast of Oregon to Washington DC on a tandem bicycle – a whopping 3102 miles. He’s the cycling guru. I went along for the adventure. Of course, having had that experience, people now send me great articles about cycling. A recent one was a study about cycling performance and the words we use (To me, to you: How we say things matters for endurance performance).
The gist of the study is simple. How we talk to ourselves as we try to achieve something matters. And the best way to achieve something is to talk to ourselves in the second person. In the study, cyclists were asked to repeat mantras while training. Those that said something like “You are a great cyclist” actually went faster than those who said the same thing but in first person – “I am a great cyclist.” The theory is that by saying “you” instead of “I,” we become our own cheerleader from the sidelines of our mind.
Now, let’s bring this back around to writing. I know that, as an author with a debut novel, I sometimes feel like a fake. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s that feeling that I am a fraud – that if someone could really get inside my head, they’d learn that I’m not really an author after all. Or they’d find out that this novel was just a fluke and nothing like it will ever happen again. It’s a crazy thought, but I’ve learned that I’m not the only author who feels this way.
So, I’ve decided to use the power of words to change up how I feel. Each morning, I look in the mirror and repeat: “You are an author. You write great stories that people want to read. You know how to connect with your audience.” I figure if it works for elite cyclists, it should work for me – and for you.
Give it a try. How does it feel being your own best fan? Feel free to drop me a note and tell me what you think.
About the Author:
Born in Athens, Greece as an Air Force brat, Teri M Brown came into this world with an imagination full of stories to tell. She now calls the North Carolina coast home, and the peaceful nature of the sea has been a great source of inspiration for her creativity.
Not letting 2020 get the best of her, Teri chose to go on an adventure that changed her outlook on life. She and her husband, Bruce, rode a tandem bicycle across the United States from Astoria, Oregon to Washington DC, successfully raising money for Toys for Tots. She learned she is stronger than she realized and capable of anything she sets her mind to.
Teri is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author who loves word games, reading, bumming on the beach, taking photos, singing in the shower, hunting for bargains, ballroom dancing, playing bridge, and mentoring others.
Teri recently published her debut novel, Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, a historical fiction set in Ukraine that follows three generations of women. You can read the first chapter for free by joining her email list at https://deft-pioneer-4478.ck.page/c6edd375dd
Follow Teri on her website www.terimbrown.com
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Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/author/terimbrown