Proactive versus Reactive Language

I started reading the Stephen Covey classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a few days ago.  Today I was reading about the differences between what Covey calls proactive language and reactive language.  It was eye-opening, not just for how I view my life but also for how I might illustrate the nature of my characters.  Are they proactive people, taking charge of their lives, or are they reactive people, blaming everything outside themselves for the situations they find themselves in?

I want to take this idea and look at my NaNo manuscript with it in mind.  I think my narrator should start out reactive, and at some point when she realizes she can cope with the challenges she faces, she’ll turn more proactive in her language.  I’m kind of excited about playing with this idea, and seeing how it will translate to fiction writing.

It’s interesting to me that there’s at least one common goal between my writing and my reading of “self-help.”  I am fascinated by figuring out what makes people tick.  Sometimes I explore that through writing, and other times through reading.  The two processes definitely inform each other, making both experiences richer and more interesting.

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