I thought it was normal to have various struggles and thoughts about my writing practice that were far from ideal. It’s only now that I can understand how self-perpetuating this perspective is. What are you focusing on? Not enough time, an inability to finish, no ideas, believing everyone is better, worrying you’ll never make a career out of it, an inability to maintain inspiration…?
I know what it’s like to answer this question with a list of writing struggles it seems we can’t do anything about. I also know that viewing our writing in this way is the equivalent of carrying a suitcase that actually has wheels, whilst running from a stormcloud of flies. Not only are we lugging around a weight we don’t have to – the heaviness of a writing life we believe will always be a struggle. But the reason we’re being chased by flies is because the suitcase is full of crap.
Okay, I know the analogy isn’t pretty, but neither is putting up with rubbish we don’t have to!
Thinking in a certain way about our writing, will only lead to more struggle. As long as I continue to cart around that suitcase of crap, then the flies will continue to follow me. If I run faster, they will only fly faster. How often do you find yourself thinking: ‘My god, I’m exhausted!’?
This is often why injury or illness is the only thing to wake us up – and not advice! I twist my ankle, so I have to put the suitcase down. Then I see it begins to roll away. ‘Hey,’ I think. ‘Where did all the flies go?’
What are you focusing on? Worrying about what other people think, perfectionism, confidence, running out of steam…
I know what it’s like to say, ‘but it’s different for me, you don’t understand, I really don’t ever finish anything.’ But all we’re doing is continuing to struggle with that suitcase.
I can’t force you to put it down. That’s never what I intend with my advice and that’s not how my mindset coaching works. As long as you continue to believe what you believe about your writing you won’t let go, and you will continue to follow the instruction of ‘don’t ever finish anything’. I’ve been there.
The way out is to shift our perspective. If I stand here, and look at someone’s life over there, of course it will look different to mine. I’m in mine. I can’t see the wheels on the suitcase. I’ve grown used to the smell of crap. Sometimes, when I’m working with a client, I will simply repeat back to them what they have just said to me, making the same gestures as they did. They stare at me gobsmacked, because they suddenly see themselves from the outside and realise what they’ve been carting around with them this whole time.
This isn’t to say that someone booked a session with me, told me they couldn’t finish anything, and I said, ‘I can’t finish anything,’ and they screamed, ‘eureka! What perfect advice!’ and their struggle was over and life was perfect. I want to get away from this hope of the quick fix – because I know how much that hope held me back in my own progress.
When my client allowed herself to shift perspective it meant that, rather than continuing to say, ‘I can’t finish anything,’ she experienced what it was like to ‘watch’ herself in this state. Here, is where she discovered that she really wanted to finish something. This is the moment we go from carrying the suitcase saying, ‘it’s so heavy, I hate these flies’ to ‘if it’s so heavy, what am I doing? I don’t want to be carrying this!’
Here, we shift from struggling with the perspective that we can’t finish anything, to focusing on how much we want to finish. The brain gets a reprieve – the burden is lifted. It no longer has to follow the instruction of not being able to finish. It can start to walk lighter as it commits itself to seeing a project through. At first, it won’t know how. Give it a moment! It’s spent the last several years being told it can’t finish anything.
Day by day, as you continue to remind yourself how much you want to see a project through, you will start to notice that your mind focuses on ways to make that possible, so that eventually, the ‘eureka!’ moment does come.
You can sign up to my FREE Masterclass ‘Unleash your Creativity’ here.
Do you worry about what people will think of your writing? Perhaps you are struggling to come up with ideas? This webinar will help you make a stronger connection with the writer within so that you can begin to create without limitation.