Last year you said you would write a book and you didn’t. Maybe you started. And re-started. And thought A LOT about writing. But you just didn’t do it.
Gustave Flaubert the French writer said “You don’t make art out of good intentions.” He fully understood that great art requires action. A book is written when the author sits in the chair and writes.
All writers deal with obstacles that could keep them from creating great works of art and curiously some succeed while others remain only dreamers. So why is it so hard to actually sit your butt down and DO the work?
I’ve spent a lot of time in conversation with my clients and I’ve surveyed other aspiring authors to find out just what it is that keeps them from doing the one thing they say they want more than anything else. There are three reasons that seem to plague each of them.
Perspective is everything. When you’re in the mess that’s all you can see. An otherwise intelligent and creative person can make the worst decisions from this messy place all while justifying that it is the best, logical, and only possible conclusion.
“The language you use to describe your circumstances determines how you see, experience, and participate in them and dramatically affects how you deal with your life and confront problems, both big and small.”
~ Gary John Bishop
So here are the three biggest obstacles all writers deal with and some tips for moving past them so you can sit your butt down in that chair and write!
1. Self doubt – The number one reason people don’t take action on their dreams is self doubt, that icky feeling you get when you don’t think you’re good enough. The not good enough syndrome leads people to go off in search of a different dream to pursue, one that’s easy and not challenging, or it makes people procrastinate by getting more education so that next year maybe they will be good enough.
This obstacle all comes down to that eternal question “Who am I to do something great?” The answer of course is that you are who you have decided to be through your perspective and language. That icky feeling you get? Not a sign that you’re not good enough. It’s simply telling you that you have reached the end of your comfort zone regarding the who am I question.
You can dissolve that feeling with a simple and bold statement.
I AM A WRITER.
Say it. Often. I like to have my kids ask me “Who are you?” To which I reply “I am a writer.”
2. Lack of time – Yes it does take a lot of time to write a book (at least a good book). It’s amazing though, how aspiring authors will spend time doing laundry, cleaning the grout with a toothbrush, re-watching a Netflix series for the ninth time, or just staring out the window rather than sitting down and writing.
This obstacle isn’t so much about time as you may think it is. After all everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day and some people make the magic happen while others only dream.
The perspective shift needed here is one of priorities.
WRITING COMES FIRST.
I know it’s hard to write when there are so many other things that need to get done. Which one will you feel better about in the long run? I’m going to give you a big permission slip here with this little tip: It doesn’t matter what you write or how good your writing is today. Write anything you want, just write before you do those other things. Say to yourself “There is always enough time to do all the things that need to be done.”
3. Lack of focus – Creatives are idea people, have you noticed? Myself, I can get ideas anywhere and anytime. I think they are all brilliant ideas and I want to follow them all, but the truth is I just can’t expect to write something coherent while all those ideas are swirling around in my head.
Creative energy is feminine energy. It permeates everything. Having a structure (masculine energy) for your writing will help to direct the flow so you can actually complete your writing project.
The following perspective will help you form a simple structure for your writing.
FOLLOW THE RULE OF ONES.
This means you write about one topic, for one audience, with one outcome. So write down all those ideas. Keep them handy. Pick one of your ideas and apply the rule of ones before you write. By the way, this will help with the lack of time obstacle as well because when you have focus you’ll be excited to write and you won’t waste all that time distracting yourself with other things.
That’s a wrap on this post. My hope is that you understand that these obstacles are common and we all experience them. It does not make you less of a writer unless you’re not writing! So write down the three simple statements I’ve given you today and use them any time you feel the resistance start to come up. Know that you are a writer and that it is okay for you to put your writing first. And give yourself the gift of clarity by following the rule of ones.