You have an amazing story to tell, don’t you? You’ve had an idea for your book that’s been bumping around your brain for a while now. Maybe it’s a memoir or a how-to or something you know will build your authority and establish your business. But you haven’t started writing.
You’re not alone. I’ve seen first hand how things get in the way of sitting butt in char to write from two decades of experience working with women so they can write. If I’ve learned anything, I know how to spot the kind of thinking that blocks up your creative process and keeps you from writing.
Do you hear yourself in any of these?
1. You use the word “yet.”
Yet. It’s such an innocent, tiny word, isn’t it? Three letters, though, that do a world of damage, because you’re telling yourself you’re not enough. You’re not a writer…yet. You’re not a business owner…yet. You’re not successful…yet.
What do you have to do before you prove to yourself that you’re good enough and that you can write. Write daily? Publish a book? Have a million readers? Write your second book? Make a gajillion dollars from your writing?
There will always be a next step to anything you do, and unless you decide right now that you are are already all you need to be, you will never reach a point that proves to you without a doubt that you are enough.
It’s time to banish “yet” and believe that you are just as you need to be right now. If you are writing, you are a writer. That’s all you need to do.
2. You worry what-if.
Fear holds many a person back from moving forward in writing a book, running a business and life in general. What if you fail? What if you’re not good enough? What if the words on the page don’t match the image you have in your head of this book? What if no one wants to read your writing?
But really, how many of your what-ifs are absolute truth? Bottom line. You don’t know, and if you let your fear stop you, you’ll never know what could have been.
Maybe doing nothing feels safer than braving your what-ifs, but after enough time passes safety doesn’t feel so good either. Why? Because you won’t write your book.
It sucks to hear that, I know. But it’s true. All those other what-ifs? You can get past them. If your write a first draft of your book, and it’s not what you wanted, then you edit. If the people who read your book don’t like it, then those are not your people. You’ll find others who are just waiting to read what you have to say.
The only way you guarantee that your book will never be finished, that no one will read your writing, and that no one will hear what you have to say is if you let fear stop you from even trying.
3. You believe you really should.
I cringe every time I hear someone tell me what “I really should” do, because that little phrase tells to me that what’s about to come is what someone else thinks of me and my work. Your book really should be 300 pages. You really should write about [insert topic]. You shouldn’t work on a book because it doesn’t pay the bills. You should wait until your kids are grown before taking a week away to write. You really, really shouldn’t travel on your own to a foreign country.
The minute you begin to believe in what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do is the moment you’ve started to allow others to define you. Shoulds pull at your insecurities. Of being alone. Of being hurt. Of being a good enough parent/daughter/employee/partner/writer/business owner/brand. They create expectations for your life that aren’t truly what you want but instead impose values from the outside of what you should be but aren’t yet.
The second you hear the word should, it’s a signal to ignore whatever follows.
You do what you believe is best and what is right for you without fear and with the full knowledge that you know more about yourself, your writing and your life than anyone else. Yes, it is very important to find guidance from others, but good advice comes in the form of information that helps you make solid choices. When in doubt, trust your instinct. Instinct tells you what’s best for you and never what you “should” be doing.
I know it’s easy to fall into these beliefs when you’re working hard in the middle of a super busy life. Everyone needs something from you.You have responsibilities. Sometimes it feels like there’s barely enough time to sleep let alone sit for hours a day writing, but when you watch the words that come out of your mouth, change them to words and habits that support your goals. Instead of believing you’re not a writer yet, spend just ten minutes a day writing freehand about your topic. Easy as that, you’re a writer now. Instead of listening to what your book should be, think about what you want your book to be, then map it out during your ten minutes a day. And in those moments when your mind wanders into what-if territory, well, that’s normal. It happens. When you acknowledge those feelings, then remind yourself that of course what-ifs exist, then shift your focus to real life action of sitting down, writing and moving yourself bit-by-bit forward until you finish your book.
Leigh Shulman is just dying to know what your book is about. She’s a writer, book coach and founder of Creative Revolution Retreats, amazing writing retreats help more women feel confident with their writing, finish their masterpieces and build professional careers! Would you like support as you create your book?