The Secret of The Writer’s Mantra

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This post is by our newest regular contributor Carlos Cooper. He is author of the My Name Is… series, the Corps Justice novels and The Chronicles of Benjamin Dragon. He also runs a indie publishing blog at CarlosCooper.com. Welcome to the team, Carlos!

What is a mantra? Why use one? What are you even talking about?

Let me start at the beginning. Once you do something for a while you tend to morph into some level of expert. You may not feel it in your gut, but others view you that way. Here's my example: I've been writing for a couple years. I'm getting better and better…I hope. Out of the blue friends started referring wannabe writers to me. Cool.

writer, mantraImage by Jiuck

So I talked to them in coffee shops and over the phone. What do you think the common thread was? None of them believed they could be a writer. Whether it was preconceived notions, naysayers in their past or just ignorance, each person harbored a feeling of unease at calling themselves a writer. I mean, aren't you supposed to go to some special school for that?

Fast forward a few months, and I got busier and busier. I finally got smart. Instead of retelling the same thing over and over, and tooting my own horn in the process, I wrote a short book. It's called My Name is (state your name), and I am a Writer. The novel tells the story of Sherri, an overworked young woman who wants to be a writer, but doesn't know where to start. At the end of each chapter I included a practical exercise (not unlike what you find on The Write Practice) to go along with the tale.

Where Did It Come From?

I found out a long time ago that repeating something over and over again instills power. It sounds silly, but it works. When all my inner doubts and fears keep me from taking action, I write down a new mantra and say it again and again… out loud. I've said them to help me lose weight, become a better public speaker, become a writer, and more.

In fact, here's one definition of mantra:

A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as a syllable containing mystical potentialities.

Another definition states that a mantra is capable of “creating transformation”. Awesome.

Utilize The Secret Power

I struggled with the thought of calling myself a writer. Deep insecurities threatened to crush my dream. It wasn't until the day that I stated out loud, “I am a Writer,” that everything changed. The transformation happened.

Doubt and fear are part of being human. If you're afraid of calling yourself a writer, don't be. As long as you have the ability to express yourself in written form…you can be a writer.

So tell me, what's holding you back?

PRACTICE

This one's really easy. In the Comments section below simply write the following statement: My Name is (state your name), and I am a Writer. And don't forget to insert your name in the middle!

Carlos is author of the Corps Justice novels. Get the box set of Books 1-3 for FREE HERE.

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103 Comments

  1. Carlos Cooper

    I’ll start.

    My Name is Carlos, and I am a Writer.

    Reply
  2. Christine

    My name is Christine Goodnough and I am a writer.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      Is that really you’re last name? How fitting! I read it as “good ’nuff”

      Reply
      • Christine

        Yes, it’s really my last name since I married into the family and you have the pronunciation right. There are also Goodenow, Goodnow, Goodno and Goodenough, etc., branches of the clan.
        Sorry so slow in answering; your comment got lost in my SPAM.

        Reply
  3. Emma Marie

    My name is Emma, and I am a writer.

    Reply
  4. Jeniene Matthews

    My name is Jeniene, and I am a writer!

    Reply
  5. William Teague

    My name is William and I’m an alcoholic, I mean a writer. Lol

    Reply
  6. Nick Kossovan

    Read your book Carlos… really good stuff! A quick read that creates a roadmap for wannabe writers. I know I’m a writer; I’ve known this for quite sometime. My issue is lack of consistent discipline, thus I write / publish sporadically. While your book addresses this common issue, you need to have done a deeper dive what is the real core of not being disciplined with one’s writing. From what I’ve heard time and time again is, the odds of anyone making a solid living as a writer is extremely unlikely, which means I can spend 2 years on a novel and still not be any further ahead financially in 2 years (as oppose to having spent 2 years in plumbing school). The ONLY reason to write is because you get enjoyment from the process. Making a living as a writer should very far down your list, thus you avoid the heartbreak.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks for your comment, Nick. It’s funny you should mention the discipline aspect of being a writer. It might just be coming up in my writing πŸ™‚

      For me it’s all about routine. When I get out of it, I stink and my work suffers. Maybe it’s my inner Marine that keeps me in line. Like I say in the book, develop a daily system and use hard deadlines to keep yourself in check. After that it’s a matter of kicking yourself in the tail…or finding others that can knock you back in line. Accountability.

      Happy Writing!

      Reply
    • Rhonda Kronyk

      Hi Nick,
      You make a good point that it might be easier to make money at a traditional job than at writing. But, I wonder if you might be limiting your definition of writing to novels.

      I’ve started making money at freelance writing and am in the process of starting to write for businesses where I will be able to make a good wage and still have time for the more creative work that I love to do.

      If you have good writing skills and the drive to find the jobs (I’m not talking content mills), then I believe that anybody actually can make money at this.

      As for discipline? Yeah, this is definitely my Achilles heel!

      Reply
  7. AlexBrantham

    My name is Alex, and I am a writer.

    You’re right, it’s a hard thing to say, especially in casual conversation with someone you don’t know: they ask “What do you do?” or, perhaps in a more formal setting, “What is your occupation?” If you haven’t actually started making money from having that first novel published, it’s a bold step to say “I am a writer,” but I am practicing.

    “Becoming a Writer” by Dorothea Brande is now very old, but still highly relevant on this subject.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Nice, Alex. You’re right. Telling it to other people can be the hardest thing to do. I still think twice sometimes πŸ™‚ The trick? Just keep saying it.

      Reply
    • John Fisher

      Great point, Alex, I too have found it, well, so far impossible to state, “I am a writer,” in any kind of social setting.

      “Becoming A Writer” by Dorthea Brande, eh? I’ll check it out.

      Reply
    • oddznns

      Of course you are Alex;)

      Reply
    • Alexandre Leclerc

      My name is Alex, and I am a writer.

      Aw, man. You beat me to it.

      Reply
      • AlexBrantham

        I think there might be room for more than one of us! Nice to meet you…

        Reply
  8. themagicviolinist

    My name is Kate, and I am a writer.

    It’s funny, even though I’ve always considered myself a writer I’ve never said that I’m a writer. I’ve always said, “I want to be a writer,” or “I love to write,” but I’ve never said “I am a writer.” Thanks for the cool practice. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      You are welcome, Kate. Funny how sometimes we don’t do the most basic thing. Been there done that many a time.

      Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      I didn’t know that we could use italics in the comments!

      Reply
      • themagicviolinist

        Yup! πŸ˜€ You type (but without the hyphens) and then write whatever you want to be italicized, then close it off by typing (but again without the hyphens). It’s super easy. πŸ˜‰

        Reply
        • Karl Tobar

          That is awesome!

          Reply
          • sherpeace

            Cool!

  9. George Wu

    My name is George Wu, and I am an awesome writer.

    Reply
  10. John Fisher

    My name is John Fisher, and I am a writer.

    And I find that, with disciplined daily practice of the craft — publishing aside, audience aside, anxiety and self-doubt aside — I am living the life of a writer.

    Great post, Carlos. And I commit to repeating the mantra you suggest, out loud, every day, looking in the mirror.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, John! I’ll be right there with you.

      Reply
  11. Katie Hamer

    My name is Katie, and I am a writer, artist, photographer, philosopher, interior designer, listener, and explorer. I am also a procrastinator, but I’m aiming to have removed this from my list, before it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions!

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, Katie! Just say NO to procrastination πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. Claire

    My name is Claire, and I’m a writer, at least, I consider myself one since 1983 when I started to dabble in writing. Now, by a twist of fate or maybe just by mere serendipity, I have been able to devote more time to doing what I really love to doβ€”express myself in the written word and letting my creativity flow.

    Reply
  13. Lou Pare-Lobinske

    My name is Louise, and I’m a writer.

    Reply
  14. Rhonda Kronyk

    My name is Rhonda, and I started calling myself a writer this spring. It’s changed my life (for the better!)

    Reply
  15. Rebecca

    My name is Rebecca, and I am a writer. I’m also a band geek and a basketball player– weird, right?

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Not weird…interesting πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  16. Brianna Carlson

    My name is Brianna, and I am a writer, and because of that, my desk chair is starting to form an imprint of my tush.

    Reply
    • oddznns

      Sitting … that usually goes with writing Brianna πŸ˜‰ I love that image.

      Reply
  17. Christy

    My name is Christy, and I am a writer. Just recently I was able to focus on my writing. I have been a stay at home mom for the past 5 years. My son just recently went to school so I have the days to devote to taking care of my family and writing. What more could you ask out of life!!

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Congrats! More time to write, Writer πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Sherma

    My name is Sherma, and I am a writer.

    It still feels weird to say (type) that, but your attitude determines your altitude, right?

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Exactly! Thanks for jumping in, Sherma

      Reply
  19. David

    Okay, here it goes but it already feels foreign just thinking it …

    My name is David, and I am a writer!

    Just in the last year, I’ve started commenting fairly regularly at a few blogs. I have mentioned a couple of times in those comments that just the act of “publicly” commenting has been an attempt to break away from that old guy and put myself out there. As a matter of fact, I found thewritepractice through a link at one of those blogs. I have been kicking around the idea of starting my own blog but never had the audacity to think of myself as a writer until just now. We’ll see where it goes from here.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      One foot in front of the other…or for us I guess it’s, one keyboard click after another. Good luck, David!

      Reply
  20. R.w. Foster

    I’m gonna be a little different, and maybe even difficult: My name is Rob, and I am an author. By January (depending on my beta readers), I want to change that to “published author”. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  21. oddznns

    I’m Audrey and I’m a writer. πŸ˜‰ I’m a writer, writer, writer. I’m a writer. I’m a writer. My name is Audrey Chin, I am a writer. Ahhh, that feels good. Thanks Carlos!

    Reply
  22. lego3mom

    My name is Cathy, and I am a writer. I am a sometimes silly, often introspective, always prolific, and occasionally poetic, but never published writer. I may not see myself as a writer, but the stacks of spiral notebooks and the dedicated file space on my computer beg to disagree.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      If you’re worried about taking the next step, try publishing something small. Baby steps, right? Thanks for all that you do, Cathy!

      Reply
  23. Chase G

    My name is Chase, and I am a writer that will awaken a generation!

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Looks like there’s a lot of awakening going on. Love it. Thanks, Chase!

      Reply
  24. sundaze

    My name is Karen and I am a writer. That sounds. … awesome. As someone else said… I’ve never said that out loud or written it. Before now. Bought and now am reading the book. What will I find at the end?

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      I won’t give it away πŸ™‚ Thanks for being part of our wonderful community!

      Reply
  25. writerrobynlarue

    I don’t think it’s possible to repeat this often enough. Once, I couldn’t even call myself creative. Now? I’m Robyn. I’m a writer and an artist and so much more. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  26. T.H. Atcheson

    My name is Tara, and I am a writer.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, Tara. Let’s have fun on the journey…

      Reply
  27. Sarah Packford

    My name is Sarah and I am a Writer. I write to make sense of the world.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, Sarah Writer! That’s a very good reason to write.

      Reply
  28. Laurie Byrne

    My name is Laurie and (oh, this is hard) I am a writer. Whew! I said it!
    Fear, which leads to procrastination, is my biggest obstacle in writing.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, Laurie! I’ve got a quote posted just above my computer that says “Fear is a sign – usually a sign that I’m doing something right. – Erica Jong”

      Reply
  29. Laura

    My name is Laura, and I am a writer and photographer. Finally figured out a couple years ago this is what I am meant to do for the rest of my life and it feels amazing!!

    Reply
  30. Guest

    Read your book Carlos… really good stuff!

    My name is Chase, and I am a writer that will awaken a generation!

    Reply
  31. Para Friv

    Read your book Carlos… really good stuff!

    My name is Lien, and I am a writer that will awaken a generation!

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Thanks, Lien! I love the “awaken a generation” part πŸ™‚

      Reply
  32. Lucy Raja

    My name is Lucy and I am a writer, ghost writer and a copyeditor. I have been interested in writing for a very long time and I feel truly exhilarated when I write something. I have not done any serious writing so far. I did a short stint of ghost writing with SAE, New Delhi. Yes, I would love to continue writing.

    Reply
  33. Erika

    My name is Erika, and I am a writer.

    This is my first “practice” although I’ve been reading along for a while now!

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Welcome, Erika! Don’t be a stranger πŸ™‚

      Reply
  34. Karl Tobar

    My name is Karl Dean Tobar, and I am a writer!

    I hate the question “So what do you do?” I think it’s just a meaningless question to make small talk. But the conversation usually goes something like, “So, what do you do?”
    Me: I cook at a seafood restaurant.
    At which point they will say how they either love seafood or hate seafood, and I nod, and they don’t know me any better than they did three seconds ago. Sometimes when I tell them all I get is a nod and a thoughtful “oh.” I hate thoughtful “ohs!”

    From now on, when someone asks me, “What do you do?” I’ll say I write. If they ask me where I work or what I do for a living, then we can have the seafood conversation. Hopefully one day I can answer both questions with the same answer. Thanks for a great post, Carlos.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      Amen, Karl. It’s not always the easiest thing to say, and your friends and family can be the harshest critics. Why? Because they “know” you. Keep it up. The proof speaks.

      Reply
  35. Marilyn Ostermiller

    My name is Marilyn and I am a writer.
    After a long career as a news reporter and editor, I have left journalism and embarked on a writing career. With discipline I will get published.

    Reply
    • Carlos Cooper

      And you’ll do it. Thanks for joining in!

      Reply
      • Marilyn Ostermiller

        Thanks for the encouragement, Carlos.

        Reply
  36. Danushka

    My name is Danushka and I am a writer! I have always believed that it is my true calling. I love it tremendously!

    Reply
  37. Lorac

    My name is Lora, and I am a writer.
    Easy enough…but, would I say it out loud?

    Reply
  38. Brianna Worlds

    My name is Brianna, and I am a writer.
    Well, I sure hope that’s true XD

    Reply
  39. Saunved Mutalik

    My name is Saunved and I am a writer! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  40. two juegos

    I’m not a writer, but I wanted to be a writer, to be written, to sharing things in the works

    Reply
  41. sherpeace

    My name is Sherrie and I am a writer. You will notice if you go to my public Facebook page that I call myself Author Sherrie Miranda so i am a bit ahead of the curve here. I have written articles for newspapers (small ones-do I need to say that?) and had a couple nonfiction pieces published.
    What I am writing, actually editing and revising is the story of an American girl who goes to El Salvador during the civil war there. I call myself an author because I know I will soon be ready to publish and this tag reminds me daily to keep at it.
    I have been going to a hypnotherapist recently and she repeats wonderful things about me to help me become my ideal self. I find that what works best for me is to keep repeating some key phrases. And, like you, Carlos, some of those phrases are related to weight reduction (she says not to say wt. loss as your brains then sets out to find that wt.! – I believe her!)
    Anyway, it was nice to find you here.
    Peace . . .

    Reply
  42. Richard Carifo

    My name is Richard and I am a writer…and a cocaine addict. KIDDING!! Though not kidding about the writer thing

    Reply
  43. Alex Young

    My name is Alex, and I am a writer!

    I’ve only just started working my way through you’re material Carlos, but it’s giving me inspiration to write more and pursue my dreams πŸ™‚

    Reply
  44. Yitzchak Young

    My name is Yitzchak, and I am a writer, adventurer, and lover of life.

    Reply
  45. Ashley

    My name is Ashley, and I am a writer!! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  46. Martin F.

    My name is Martin Fischer, and I am a writer. Amen.

    Reply
  47. Malcolm McLeod

    My name is Malcolm
    & I am a writer, speaker & nice bloke
    Mate, what was yr mantra?

    Reply
  48. Serea

    My name is Andrena, and I am a writer. gamer, and huge Star Wars fan. I am a writer of fiction and non-fiction.

    Reply
  49. Sanjeet

    My Name is Sanjeet, and I am a Writer.

    My first piece was a novella that I had written for my then-boyfriend, describing the journey of our relationship. Alas, we broke up soon after, but I started a blog soon after that, where I kept posting irregularly. After two “failed” blogs, I now have a regular one. This November, post my 27th birthday, I realized that I can no longer work as a software engineer, because I don’t have any passion for it. I started being more regular at my blog – from no post for 3 months to 13 in 3 weeks. And as luck would have it, today I got to know of a major restructuring of the organization where I work, which may or may not lead into getting me fired in next few weeks. And while my family wants me to look for another job, I don’t want to. I want to be a writer full time, and I think this uncertainty at my job is happening for a reason. I really need to that self-assurance right now, that I am a Writer.

    Reply
  50. Sara Richardson

    My name is Sara, and I am a writer!!

    Reply

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