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5 Ways to Become a Less Positive Person

You're at a party and you meet up with someone you haven't seen in a while, and you are surprised to find them more confident, more positive, and an all-around happier person than the last encounter. And you want to punch that person right in the face.

As a writer, I believe a positive outlook on life will simply cripple you as an artist. I'm not saying be tortured (so let's not badger me about mental illness), but how do you expect to tell tales of conflict when you have eliminated conflict from your own life? It's not easy to be negative when you're a happy person, so I've got 5 techniques to improve your negativity so that you can finally start writing like a pro...

  1. Find Activities that Bring You Less Joy: For example, watch a few episodes of "Cooking with Paris" and feel the life slowly drain from your body. Take a class in Ballroom Dancing, or something even more physical, like Muay Thai and get the shit kicked out of you. Stop being selfish by only doing things you like to do. Your creativity is suffering! Attend a baby shower or eat Corn Nuts. It's so simple, yet people sometimes believe they can't achieve a healthy level of negativity. Accept your neighbor's invitation to game night and feel the anxiety creep in, the restlessness, the sheer heebie-jeebies of it all. Don't you want to run screaming from their house? Now harness that overwhelming feeling of dread and turn it into character inner conflicts in your own writing.

  2. Be Less Grateful: Yes, there are many things to be grateful for in this life, and nobody is saying stop being grateful--but rather keep a healthy balance of both gratitude and despair. Occasionally, think about things that are NOT hopeful, like Climate Change. And remind yourself: you caused it. Think about that plastic straw you used and so carelessly threw away in a proper recycling bin; now think about the turtle that somehow found that plastic straw in the recycling bin and choked to death on it. Now you're a murderer. Of reptiles. While bad, not horrible. But see? You're already becoming a slightly less positive person.

  3. Redirect Positivity: When positive thoughts enter your head, select a couple and replace them with negative assumptions. For example, you may think, "My husband did the dishes and that makes me feel like he cares about both me and keeping the house clean." Now replace that positive thought with, "My husband doesn't think I'm able to keep the house clean on my own." Also, think about how sexist this example is and ask yourself why you think it's your job alone to keep the house tidy when both of you work! You're full of negativity and don't even know it!

  4. Spread More Gossip: Anytime you talk about another person behind their back, it's hurtful to that person, both directly and indirectly, and it never fosters positivity. So make sure you gossip often. While it's a negative activity, you can still find solace in the fact that you're promoting other people's negativity which can only help their own artistic endeavors. And if we're all being honest here, gossip can be a very enjoyable activity. So you can have fun while at the same time promote negativity with toxic behavior. Feel that creativity begin to surge?

  5. Allow Negative People into Your Life: I'm not saying open the flood gates, but a leak or two wouldn't hurt. You can really learn a lot from negative people. What they complain about, what makes them sad, toxic, you know, whatever. The more people complain around you, the more you tend to complain. The more you have to complain about, the more your characters have to complain about and the more your readers will adore you as an author. In this sense, negativity breeds positivity. Make sure you select a variety of dysfunctional people to let into your circle, otherwise your characters and stories will suffer from lack of diversity. There are four main types of negative people:

    1. The Venter - Complains without offering solutions. Fun to talk to for the first 15 minutes, then a real downer.

    2. The Victim - Everyone is out to get them. Fun for the first 5 minutes, then a real downer.

    3. The Jerk - Envious, manipulative, destructive. The first minute: what is happening?

    4. The Abuser - Physically and emotionally. Immediately: get me the hell out of here! (Keep only one of these in your back pocket in case you experience writer's block).

It's really not that complex, but sometimes people hold onto positive habits and find it difficult to see things in a darker light. But I cut through it all; kind of like a strobe light on a disco dance floor. I see the positive in everything negative and you should too.


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