Lots of people begin the new year with a resolution to have a more positive attitude. I'm all in favor of that, and I'm in favor of positive writing too, and perhaps paying attention to how you write will shed light on your attitude and the way you think.
The positive writing I have in mind today is phrasing choices. I promised a friend I'd to print a copy of my mother's Christmas candy recipes, and this morning I opened that ancient document. Before printing, I realized a few awkward spots in the comments I added after each recipe. This document was several years old, and I've begun noticing things now that I wasn't aware of back then.
One particular phrase stood out: “Mother didn't do everything the hard way ...” As I thought about that statement from a stranger' point of view, I realized that on a subliminal level, this statement implied that she was some sort of martyr, that she valued doing things the hard way, or that she stubbornly clung to tradition. This was definitely not the case. She was always searching for new and improved ways of doing things. I changed the sentence to read “Mother didn’t think her recipes or methods were sacred ...”
That triggered my radar. Half an hour later I was writing an e-mail and noticed that I'd just written: “... we don't have the pines and firs of the NM mountains ...” This time, since I caught it as I wrote it, I rephrased that to read “We have majestic oaks, maples and other hardwood trees in place of the pines and firs ...”
Do you detect a subtle difference? This isn't about grammar or correctness. The original sentences were fine. The first revision is more accurate, but only I would know that. Perhaps you find both revisions slightly more uplifting to read. Positive statements are always more powerful and energizing to read or hear than negative ones.
Along with the focus on writing I sense a subtle shift in my own internal focus from difficulty and deprivation to power and privilege. It goes with the Attitude of Gratitude mindset.
I'm grateful for these tiny insights I derive from my own writing, and hope you will find similar benefits from yours.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal