Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Positive Writing Habits with Guest Blogger Dr. Barbara

Welcome Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein to the blog to discuss good writing habits.

Here's what she had to say...

Writing-What a Good Habit!

Those of you who have a desire to be part of the book industry (i.e. to write and publish at least one book) know how frustrating and yet potentially glorious a habit writing can be.

I've been a writer now for 20 years. Well, actually it is much longer than that. If I count from the fourth grade when I started keeping a diary, and junior high, when I started to write poetry, and college when I started to write short stories… Um, let's see, that makes… Let's just say too many years to put into print.

In the old days I remember sending my short stories to a number of magazines. I was typing on a real type writer and using carbon paper. I was putting in a stamped return envelope that praying for good news. Received bad news. My goodness, not even The New Yorker wanted to publish my stories!

Even my most adorable short story that to this day, gets laughs when I read it aloud. "Am I My Cousin's Cousin?" was not accepted for publication! Ask me about the story and I'll be glad to finally 'publish' it via one of my blogs. How times have changed. I'll just give you one clue: the story is about Marisa Berenson, who is a distant cousin of mine, at least by marriage. Oh, here is another clue: she never knew I existed!

Of course, there was no web or blogs in those days. So after a tear of two fell into my lap, my short stories would be put back into the drawer in the dining room where I kept them. In fact they are still there!

I began to feel I would have to live out my life not rich and famous!

But life goes on and as the years flew by I became a successful psychologist and one of the first psychologists to identify and do research in a new field of psychology, called Positive Psychology. Now after doing case study research in this new field, I was tempted to write once again. This time I was thinking about a book. I had interviewed women ages 35-80, though not in my practice, as well as worked for years with women and discovered some shocking information about them.

In summary, I had discovered that as women we put ourselves down and don't appreciate our talents and potential. Thus we often go through endless cycles of having achievements and yet feeling indifferent or even discouraged about ourselves. The results can be bad, leading to mood disruptions, such as feeling blue or even depression. Also, because we don't know how to value who we are we often don't replenish or celebrate ourselves. We run on empty and feel depleted.

I felt compelled to get this news out and to also teach women how we can recognize our talents and potential and begin to intentionally celebrate and reward ourselves so that we live happier, productive lives where we enjoy our Enchanted Selves!

My first book never got printed. I think the manuscript is still in my office somewhere. Almost 20 years later, I'm having trouble remembering what the working title was. However, after much mental agony, a paper summarizing my findings with women in this brand new field of Positive Psychology emerged. The paper was titled something like: A Full Circle, Coming Home to Our Enchanted Selves. In the paper I discussed four of the women I interviewed and how each of them had managed to bring delight, pleasure and their own talents into parts of their everyday living. I also included some of my clients and showed how I intentionally helped them learn to recognize the best of themselves.

The paper became the catalyst for my first book, The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy. The book was published by an academic press in 1997 and is still in print. Routledge Press took over the imprint and it is now available through them.

I had a lot of fun with that book. I was on the radio, and even had my own radio show out of Phoenix, Arizona. I gave a lot of talks and workshops and had my own public cable television show, of course, titled The Enchanted Self, out of Manhattan. The energy I generated by contagious, at least to myself. I found myself keeping notes on just about everything that happened in my life and particularly looking for good news to share with others. All of this led to the next book, Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! I had seven contributors, plus myself and the book is full of wonderful, uplifting stories. Some are even miracle stories. And every story is followed by an exercise that you can do as the reader to come closer to your Enchanted Self!

I'm not going to take you through the rest of my books; you can find them so easily today on the web. I just want to conclude by saying that writing has given me a habit that I believe is good for me and the rest of the world. When I am down, it picks me up. When I am up, it sends me higher. Life throws curves and we have to come up to bat, whether we wish to or not. Why not come up to bat with a pen and pad of paper in hand, a dictation machine or a laptop? You never know how many hits you will get and maybe even a home run!

I'm looking for a Home Run with The Truth Series for Girls! If you read The Truth (I'm I girl, I'm smart and I know everything) or Secrets: You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine...maybe), let me know if I have hit one. You can write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks Dr. Barbara for sharing your writing history with us. I totally agree with you that women are the world's worst for putting ourselves down and making ourselves LAST in ever possible way. I'm looking forward to checking out your Truth Series! Please tell us more about your book.


The Truth is a delightful, humorous secret diary, written by a girl who is 11-12 years of age. She is wise and yet innocent. Her words acknowledge those priceless truths that we all knew as kids. She makes us cry and laugh and see ourselves. Everybody loves reading her thoughts, secrets, adventures and solutions to difficult problems. Girls are naturally curious and this book gives them a real opportunity to see how a girl like themselves in so many ways handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Mom can read the book along with her daughter and not only be brought back to herself as a youngster, but find on every page relevant topics for discussion with her daughter. How do you handle a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What about teasing? How do you find time to listen to your daughter? Do we have enough fun together? What really matters?

There is space right within the book for the girl and or mom to make notes or her own diary entries. The book ends with discussion ideas that can also open up whole new areas of topics for mom and daughter or the young reader and other members of her family, friends, or teachers.

Want More Dr. Barbara?

Visit her website here: http://www.enchantedself.com/

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here!

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