This month I’ve been doing a fantastic online course called Defeating Self Defeating Behaviours by Margie Lawson, writer and psychotherapist (www.margielawson.com). It’s all about identifying the behaviours that sabotage your writing. For me the two biggest are procrastination and time mismanagement which of course are intertwined. The way to banish both is to set achievable goals, stick to a schedule and find yourself a writing buddy or two to help keep you on track.
Most of the things that stop us writing are related to fear: fear of what others think of us, fear of rejection and fear of failure a. What if I never finish the novel we started – what will people think of me? I’ll feel like a failure. What if people want to read my writing? It’s not good enough. What if I do finish the manuscript and I have to start sending it out? What if it’s not good enough? I’ll have to face rejections … and so on and so on. You get the picture – you’re a writer.
The fear demon is one we’re all faced with in our lives daily. It’s always there snarling away at you as you write – or don’t write. But there are ways to banish it – or at least keep it pretty well under lock and key.
- Make a list of your writing achievements and place it somewhere you’ll see it daily
- Do a 20 minute freewrite title What I love about writing… Do this at least once a week. It’ll help you focus on the positives.
- Make a list of your ultimate writing goals then break it down and work out what actions you need to take to make those goals a reality. They won’t happen without hard work.
- Be careful who you share your writing with. Well meaning comments from friends or family can stop you in your tracks and freeze the pen. Best to share with fellow writers and ask for constructive feedback.
- Know that rejection is part of the writing process. It pushes you to make your writing even better.
- Be prepared to revise your work until it’s the absolute best it can be. This takes time, patience and discipline.
- When you send out your work and it’s rejected take some time to wallow (one or two days is sufficient!) then regroup, revise and resend somewhere else. Action!
- Not everyone will love your writing but some will. Accept that.
- Find a writing buddy. Together you can keep track of your goals and keep each other focused on success and not failure. It makes the writing journey a whole lot better when you’re travelling with like-minded people.
What action will you take this week to conquer your writing fears?