Writing is all about discipline. I know that. Then, my question is, what does it mean when you like to write but in the end find writing to be a task? For those finding it difficult to settle down and write, is it part of our DNA to prefer activities that don’t chain ourselves to a chair? Or are we running away from ourselves? Will our writing reveal more about ourselves than we want to share? All interesting questions for the writer who finds they are not writing.
Recently, I found out that I am not alone in this struggle. A talented writer/ friend is exploring that very same question. What in the world is holding us back? Why are we self-sabotaging ourselves?
Probably the answer is different for all of us. However, I do see a similarity as I listen to other potential writers (there are oodles of us out there), read writing threads, and read blogs. It simply comes down to avoidance behavior.
If you look closely at your favorite writer, or for that matter, any successful person, you will see that people who show up every day and work at their craft, their business, their passion are the ones who eventually reap rewards for overcoming the challenges from every day demands.
So, I’m talking to all those out there, and I’m talking to myself — If you want to be successful at writing, you need to show up and write every day. Although the editor in you will say “This sucks!” Keep at it. You’ll get better and faster with just the commitment to working at your writing with consistency.
If you have experienced yo-yo dieting, you know it doesn’t work. All those successful weight loss stories come from a place of discipline and exercise. Sorry to say, I’m learning that writing is no different.
You are like your first novel. Just like every character and every scene must in some way advance the plotline of your novel, so must the writing and reading activities of your writing time.
I’d like to hear from you, if you had many starts and stops to your writing. How did you eventually move past your hurdles?
Recently, I bought a NOOK for my mother. I was thinking about the direction of book publishing—wondering if we are knocking on the door of the Jetson’s lifestyle. For those who have spent years commuting on public transportation know the weight of carrying a book around all day, of reading a newspaper without annoying people seated next to you every time you turned a page, and unable to read in dim light. Yes, the e-reader makes reading more convenient.
If we accept that assumption, can we also assume that if e-readers gain popularity, especially in the schools (texts are more affordable on the e-reader), then the next generation encouraged and nurtured to read, will start a real surge in demand for good writers? Are we writers going to be able to find our place in the publishing world with more ease, because the demand is higher?
Time will tell which direction and opportunities will be available to us through technological advances. A few years ago, commentaries on the future of book publishing nervously predicted the end of the hard copy book. I remember thinking afterward that a writer’s life will probably get harder with fewer publishers. Life is interesting in that the 90’s gloom of the unknown have evolved in the expansion of more opportunities, not less.
After the 90’s, we witnessed the emergence of new writing opportunities for the web. Even web development has spawned specialty writers, not only based on subject matter, but also in technological expertise. New occupations have sprung up . We now have blog writers, website copy writers, e-newsletter writers, e-magazine writers, and web ad copy. There are video writers for the streaming video spots. Writers can publish online and can advertise their articles, books, etc in ads, and on other people’s online blogs. Promoting one’s writing has never been easier.
Technology also has made publishing less expensive with computer editing and printing on demand. Publisherz can print a modest first run and produce more copies when needed.
Writers who know their craft are positioning themselves for the greatest jump in their careers. It is coming. Will you be ready?
Ooops! Where did August go? Was I having fun? Some. Was I working? Yes. Was I writing? More like outlining.
I hate putting my writing at the bottom of my to-do list. Every time I try moving it up, I succeed for one or two days and then I let external demands derail me. I don’t imagine that I am alone.
August has been a month for reading…mostly background research for my germ of an idea for a series based on the Chinese immigration in the late 1800’s. I should be taking notes, but I am so engrossed in the material that my eyes glide through the pages like a document feeder.
August has been a time to ponder the direction of this blog. I didn’t want this blog to be specifically about HOW to WRITE. There are oodles of websites that can do it well and obviously are better at time management than I seem to be. I thought maybe the journal angle would be fun, but who really wants to listen to me moan and groan about my inertia? I certainly wouldn’t, but then again, maybe it would attract attention because global journal sharing seems to be the trend.
I could blog about my research, but then, why would I write the novel, if it is already out there for people to see? Anyway, I am superstitious. I don’t talk too much about these things in order to avoid being jinxed or too many people asking me questions like why isn’t it written already. Maybe I should stick to reviewing a particular topic?
Hmmm. Well, it gives me pause for thought about which direction to take this blog. Stay tune.
I don’t have time to blog regularly. I don’t have time to tweet or check facebook. Some days I wonder why did I start this blog. I find the pressure to write a blog at the end of the day painful. So, you can only imagine. It should come as no surprise that my book ideas still sit in my head.
I have analyzed my resistance. I have told myself every excuse in the book. I sometimes think I am like an addict to my established behaviors. I make excuses so I do not have to change, even though it would make a positive difference in my life and take me that much closer to achieving my writing aspiration — to write that novel.
Here are some classic symptoms. You may recognize them in yourself. I guess I’m doing that analytical thing again. (And is blogging another avoidance behavior mechanism?) All of these actions murder the writing spirit. Are derailing yourself from ever writing that novel? How does one stop these self-sabotaging behaviors?
- You are always too busy to write. The holidays. The family. The house.
- You start a story, but suddenly stop because you don’t know what comes next. You tell yourself, you are going to let yourself think about it ….the story eventually lands in a desk drawer bottom because you never find a good resolution.
- You wait for inspiration, cause you don’t know how you want the story to progress and figure that when you see or hear it, you’ll know it.
- You feel much better if you had someone to share your writing pain. You can’t write anything without a partner.
- You have anxiety about completing a project, because you may not feel you did this or that.
- You think your first draft stinks…and most likely, it will.
- Your family doesn’t support the alone time that it takes to write and research.
- You find it much more fun to do the research and not so much the writing. You like the idea of being a novel writer, but resist doing the work.
- You over analyze everything.
- You want each paragraph to be perfect, so you find it difficult to ever get to the end of a chapter.
- You do more blabbing about your story line than writing about it. That has to mean something.
In the weeks to come, I will explore each of these Resistance to Success behaviors. If you are reading this and want to share your story…maybe owning up to it will get you that much closer to achieving your writing goals.
Or if you have strategies to overcome the resistence to write, please feel free to share.
I am in transition. As I reflect back at my life (yesterday was my birthday), I see that I unwittingly followed in my mother’s footsteps. Was this nuture or nature?
I can make an argument for both. My mom is the creative type, a bit wayward. She has structure in her approach toward her goals, but the structure is limited to the scope of the immediate project. She is detailed in a microcosmic way, never able to step outside herself and see the bigger picture…see that her artwork is wonderful and how her talent was never discovered (except by close friends and family).
As I look back into a couple of generations before her, I see her shortcomings are the shortcomings of all the women in her family. This could be generational, societal, and ethnic —all equally responsible for her lack of consistency. It could be a lack of a role model in self promotion. But what if she were lucky to find the right mentor? Would her inherent choices in life change?
While genetics doesn’t help you make decisions, it does govern your responses to situations. If you tend to be shy, self promotion may be extremely difficult.
I am so much like my mom, it is frightening. I fear that I will follow in her footsteps. The path isn’t quite the same, but the results parallel each other. My mother strove for self-actualization in her artwork. She is 80 plus years old, still painting, producing her best work, but the staccato rhythm of her projects makes it tough to get any momentum.
My lifestyle differs from my mom, but yet, I too suffer the same staccato pattern. Is it learned behavior or the inability to stay focused for any length of time?
I am moving past my genetics, my learned behavior. I, unlike my mom, understand what strategies I have to employ to reach my goal. I know I am not alone. My internal struggle is shared by many others. I just wonder sometimes, if the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has merit.
I’m not MIA. I found another distraction from my writing. And the one thing that irks me is that I let it pull me away from the things that matter. I started messing around with the social media networks and like most people, it sucked me in. I spent hours discovering how I could maximize its features to either promote Moore Wealth, where I work or eventually promote my work.
This distraction, albeit pleasurable, nevertheless took valuable time from other perhaps more important projects on my eternal list of things to do. Even though I’m great at making lists, I never prioritized. Big MISTAKE. I would just pick out the project that was most expedient and felt great that I could cross it off.
The need to prioritize suddenly has new clarity. My to-do list is unrealistic and disorganized. I realize how I shamefully squander my time and I don’t even get enough sleep. And yet the projects that are most important to me never bubble up to the top of the list. Okay, that said. I’m not going to do the social media networking today. I’m going to hold down the phone calls and email and take that time to figure out what I can do to make my life work better for me.
What help propel me into this hard work of reshaping how I do things…and believe me, this is hard work to consciously refuse to do what comes so naturally is the Harmonic Wealth by James Arthur Ray. It painfully pointed out my weaknesses. Like going to your shrink, this review, re-evaluate, and rework of my behavior and the why of how things turn out requires much mental gymnastics because examining and critiquing your inner self is always difficult. (And if you are finding this process easy, you aren’t digging deep enough.) One strategy is to write 3 things down that you can reasonably can accomplish today that fits in your overall goals.
If you are mother, no doubt the list is as long as your arm, but circle three things that you would like to see done today. Focusing in a world full of distractions is hard. My three things today are exercise, finish reading Harmonic Wealth and writing the first draft of a short story.
To kick start this new plan, I need to go now. You won’t want to miss my review of Harmonic Wealth, because unlike all the other self help books, this one has moved me enough to buy copies for my co-workers even before I even finished the book!