When was the last time you sat down to write your book? If you’re experiencing difficulty finding your way to the page, this short episode is for you. We’ll peel back the layers to find out what’s beneath it, and learn how to manage our self-doubt in order to write anyway.
Today we’re going to talk about the one thing that keeps you from sitting down to write. And before we do, let me say this. If you are listening to this right now and you’ve are in a productive phase of your writing life, that’s great! But it doesn’t mean this won’t apply some time in the future. So stay with me, okay?
What is the one thing that keeps you from sitting down to write? When I ask you that question, maybe your first thought is my job, or my kids, or my responsibilities, or my hectic schedule. Certainly these things are all real, but you make time for them, right? So why can you not make time for writing? Let’s dig a little deeper.
The next layer of answers might revolve around the story itself. I’m stuck. I’m not sure where to go next. What I’ve written so far is garbage. I don’t have any ideas. It’s hard.
These thoughts are all about the story, or issues related to it. You are still putting the blame, essentially, on the work.
We don’t need to blame the work.
But does that mean we should blame ourselves?
Of course not. We don’t need to blame anyone or anything. And we need to be careful with this question of “why aren’t I writing,” because that’s shaming yourself for not doing something, and that’s not useful either.
Let’s dig a layer deeper. If we’re saying “I’m stuck” or “I’m not sure where to go next” or “It’s hard”, we’re doubting our abilities to utilize the craft of writing. If we’re criticizing what we’ve already written or assuming we have nothing to say, then we’re doubting our abilities to communicate what is in our hearts.
We are doubting ourselves.
But what if I told you that you can manage your self-doubt and write anyway?
Imagine a small child. Perhaps they’re a younger version of you; perhaps they’re your own child; perhaps it’s a stranger. It doesn’t matter. Now, that child wants to try something, but they’re saying the things you are saying to yourself. “I can’t. I don’t know how. I’m afraid I’m not good enough. I’m afraid I will fail.”
Would you berate that child? Roll your eyes at them? Shame them in front their friends and family? Refuse to help them?
Even if you are someone who doesn’t like children, you are not a person without compassion. You would teach them how. You would encourage them. You would help them take baby steps toward the thing that they are trying to accomplish. You would teach them to practice.
You would not walk away and say, “yep, you’re right, I don’t think you should bother.” You would not fill up their time with everything but the thing they so desperately want to do.
Resistance causes us to blame everything in our lives for the fact that we’re not writing.
The root of resistance is self-doubt.
Writers, self-doubt is normal, natural, and everyone experiences it. EVERYONE.
You can manage your self-doubt and write anyway.
This is something I know for sure. This week, relax. Don’t beat yourself up for being scared to put your heart on the page. Find compassion for yourself. And then, find a few minutes to write. And then again. And again.
That’s all we can do. That’s how our stories get written. I’ll talk to you next week.