Top Ten Tuesday…er…Thursday.
Okay, Fate, you piece of $#!%, I’m going to post this one way or another!
Top Ten Saturday.
The Top Ten Lies That Keep Us From Writing
(And yes, I see the exquisite hypocrisy in posting this specific post late.)
Every writer knows that there is an anti-writing demon that possesses a part of their soul. From the moment you discover that your calling is to be a writer, something sinister awakens and attaches to your spirit. It begins to send messages to specifically interfere with your pursuit of writing. Some writers fail to realize the message they hear is a lie. I myself just barely escaped. Today we will explore the Top Ten ways we allow this anti-writing fiend to keep us from accomplishing our goals.
10. The Lie: You can do it all! – There are only 24 hours in a day, and they must be used wisely. There are many activities that we want to do, many that we should do, and many that we need to do.
The Solution – Where does writing fit for you? Is it something that you NEED to do so that you can find release and peace in your life? If so, schedule it as a need and don’t let less important things interrupt you.
9. The Lie: You need to “be there” for every person in your life – Most writers and artists are sensitive, kind, loving and generous; and that is wonderful. There comes a point in all the giving when you have to realize what people really need vs. what they think they need. Some people will drain you dry in every way possible. They will take up your time, your money and your compassion.
The Solution – If you have someone draining you in your life, set some boundaries! Decide now, before they ask, what you are willing to do for them and stick to the plan.
8. The Lie: You don’t have time to write because of your work (or school) responsibilities. – Yes, I know we all have responsibilities. And yes, I believe that you should have a job, and you should do that job to the best of your abilities. However, I know that some of us will use work or school as an excuse to NOT write. “If I didn’t have this paper to write, I’d be able to work on my book.” I think I have said those EXACT words. Or “I’m swamped at work. I don’t have time to write.”
The real reason I didn’t want to write will be discussed in number 1.
The Solution – No excuses!
7. The Lie: I don’t have time to write because of my family. – I know that you’re surprised that “the fam” would be at number seven and not at number one. Listen, the family will continue to thrive if you take up the pen again. Moms, it’s okay if you step away to work on something for yourself for a few minutes a day. The same goes for you Dads.
The Solution – Defend your time to write. Unless someone is bleeding profusely, you are not to be disturbed.
6. The Lie: You must begin to write every story that pops into your head. – This one might seem counter intuitive. It happens like this: You start working on a story and, for whatever reason, you stop. It might be stopping to grab a sandwich. It might be that you stop for a few days to let the story solidify in your mind. Whatever it is, you let your mind take a break and new ideas start to tap on your shoulder and introduce themselves. “Hello. I know you’re busy but…” and they begin to explain themselves in excited tones. You, as a writer, LOVE new ideas, and so you, in turn, get excited and open a new document and begin to develop this new idea until you need a sandwich or for that story to solidify…and the process goes on and on and on.
The Solution – Jot down your new ideas, but keep plugging away at your current project.
5. The Lie: Your work is not as good as (insert name here.) – Comparing your work to that of your peers serves no one. Each of us are different with different skills mastered at different times in our writing career. Each of us has a different story to tell, in a different style, with different characters.
(This group is guilty of this. One day I said, “I feel like I’m the weakest link.” Then, Cindy, the wise one, said, “We all are…for different reasons. But we’re also the strongest links too.” Since then, we’ve moved beyond comparing, it doesn’t work and just makes us all feel bad.)
The Solution – Accept yourself and your work as it is now. If you want to improve, then do it! But don’t try to improve by comparing your writing to someone else.
4. The Lie: You must make your current project perfect before moving on. – This is one of my very, very WORST habits. I participated in NaNoWriMo one year and spent almost the whole month editing the first chapter of my book. I wanted it to be perfect. At one point (on November 29th) I realized that I had to move on or the rest of the story would never be told.
The Solution – Make sure to set aside time during your “writing time” to edit and leave the editing to ONLY that specific time.
3. The Lie: Something important is happening on Facebook/Twitter/Email. – This does not need any explanation. It’s so easy to fall into the web of…well…The Web.
The Solution – Take time to write before you open your browser. Set a timer and write for 30 minutes.
2. The Lie: Others know what you are capable of better than you do. – When I was young, someone told me that desiring to become a writer was a silly idea. He would rip into my work and criticize nearly every single word. (This is not an exaggeration.) It was a person who loved me and so I trusted that they had my best interest at heart. As an adult, I know that he was merely voicing fears about his own discarded dreams.
The Solution – Examine your beliefs about your dreams. If it is from anyone else, let it go. You do not need other people’s fears holding you back.
1. The Lie: You can’t do it! – This is the biggest lie of all. It is the most personal and the hardest lie to dispel. Thoughts begin to run through our mind, “You are wasting so much time.” “Why do you even do this?” “This is just crap. You’re writing crap.” “What makes you think anyone is going to want to read this?” “People are going to read this and laugh at it. It is so ridiculous.”
The Solution – The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to let go and do three extraordinarily frightening things:
1. Allow someone to read your work and ask for their feedback. Share it! It doesn’t matter if you think it’s ready; email it to someone you trust. Just attach it and hit the send button. You can explain it later. The important thing is to share it and ask for feedback.
2. Introduce yourself as a writer. For the first little while, you will flinch when you say it. You will berate yourself and internally call yourself a liar and a poser. That’s okay! The discomfort means growth. Pretty soon, it won’t feel like a lie. Something will change within your heart and you will realize that you already are that thing which you most want to be.
3. WRITE! Make time for yourself to hone your craft. Make it an important part of your life. We all have responsibilities and sitting behind a computer does not, from the outside, look like a productive use of time. But, if you don’t tell your stories, who will? You have ideas, dreams, visions, and thoughts to share through the written word. To do that effectively, you must make time to practice.
I believe that each human being, has a rich purpose in this life. We all have something to share with the rest of our fellow persons. There is nothing as sad as witnessing someone who has a purpose and desire ignore it because they doubt their ability to do it.
Don’t be one of those people.
You be the kind of person that ignores all the lies and fulfills your purpose.
After all, what else is there?