You want to write, and yet you find yourself reading other people’s writing, putting off writing, talking about writing, reading about writing… even writing about writing, but not actually writing.
Why Aren’t You Writing?
Writers have vivid imaginations, but we’re not always good at pointing them in the right direction. Instead of imagining what our characters eat for breakfast (or who they eat it with), we fritter away our creative energy on ourselves, our imaginary future careers and our disproportionate fears:
- Fear of failure (“What if my writing is no good?”),
- Fear of other people’s opinions (“What if my non-writer friends think I’m stuck-up? Pretentious? Ridiculous? Selfish?”)
- Fear of success (“What if I am successful once and people expect me to do it again? What if I can’t? What if I can but it feels too much like work?”)
Daydreaming is what we do, though (Einstein called it ‘thought experiements’. Doesn’t that sound nice?)
So let’s take that skill and use it to propel you into a state where you can’t wait to do some actual, honest-to-goodness writing!
Think about your current project. The one that gives you butterflies in your stomach when you think about it. The ambitious one you really want to start but are stalling over.
What Are Your Goals?
- Are you writing to prove to yourself that you can finish a piece in this style (a novel, a poem, a play, a short story?).
- Are you trying to develop your style?
- Are you trying to make one little girl in her bedroom feel the way you felt the first time you read “A Wrinkle In Time”?
- Are you trying to win the Newberry Award?
(Hint the latter one is an outcome, not a goal. Shelve it and focus on finding what you love).
What Will Happen If You Succeed?
What will happen? How will you feel? Will you be more or less confident? What will you be able to do next?
Take a moment and be honest with yourself. Grab a pen and write down the answer to those questions. Now look at what you wrote and think about what you didn’t dare write.
For those results, isn’t it worth taking the risk?
Now go! Get writing!
If you’d like some free tools to help you explore these ideas more fully, sign up for the Story A Day Creativity Lab: a low-frequency mailing list containing workbooks and practical exercises to get you closer to your writing goals.