I wanted to pop on quickly and talk about a new way to approach your writing.
How do you view your relationship with your writing? How does that relationship make you feel? Because it is a relationship. An intimate one. You’re pouring out your heart and soul and using your pen or the keyboard to convey it, disguised in a story that doesn’t seem as though that’s what it mirrors, even though it does.
I mean, truly dig in deep to how you feel about writing whatever you’re currently writing or feel called to write.
Is it exciting? Terrifying? Therapeutic? Frustrating? Glamorous? The pits? Are you proud of it? Embarrassed? Anxious? Scared to make the “wrong” move? Guilty that you’re not writing? Guilty that you are?
I don’t want you to breeze over this. I want you to seriously think about how you feel writing currently. Pause this. Write down 1-3 emotions. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about writing my current piece/idea/story or just writing at all?”
Then draw out lines from those emotions, almost like a mind map, and be specific on who or what is causing those emotions. What’s at the root of them? They don’t just appear. Something is causing you to feel this way, and it’ll keep showing its ugly head at different points until you address it and properly clear it.
Because that- whatever it is- is your block. That is the big old boulder that needs to get shoved out of the way/blown up/ thrown in the ocean/ disintegrated by your pet dragon – so you can continue writing. This is the thing, people refer to writer’s block as though it’s this intangible disease that can’t be cured by anything other than just waiting it out. And that’s not the case. There’s something very tangible happening that you can address, so the question is, what is it? What is the true problem?
I’ve received several messages this week about the blocks people are running into when trying to write.
One person said that everything they’re reading in writing books and advice is about the importance of outlining, so she is stuck outlining, even though she knows where her story idea starts and how it ends. But since she’s trying to do it the recommended way, she wasn’t moving forward.
First of all, that’s the difference between plotters vs pantsers. Books will tell you to plan to prevent plot holes and tons of rewrites because it doesn’t make for a very good book if the only sentence is “just write” like pantsers do.
If you are finding yourself stuck because of trying to write a certain way as someone else or in a specific style, stop trying to listen to the recommendations of other people. Just write.
At Burning Soul Press, we teach writing, publishing, and launching a full-time author business. There are some portions of it that are process-driven, specific recommendations on how to do things the right way.
However, when it comes to writing, especially that first draft, we emphasize doing things your way. Tapping into what makes you unique, your creative strengths. Even if you don’t know what your way is, just writing and figuring it out as you go. There is no right way to creatively write. Too many aspiring authors get hung up on our previous education, the specific lines that we had to stay within, otherwise it meant a terrible grade, consequences.
When you’re just trying to get that story out of your head, there are zero lines to stay within. No boundaries. Pure freedom. If you’re searching for permission to do things a certain way, stop. Or, here you go- here’s your permission. Write however you want.
Revising can always happen later.
A writer writes. If you focus too much on doing it a certain way, you won’t move forward, and your idea will lose steam before you can fulfill it.
Another person said she isn’t a writer, but she is passionate about a book topic that she can’t shake so doesn’t know what to do.
When I probed her on why she doesn’t know what to do, she said again, that she isn’t a writer.
What does being a writer mean to you? Why is it so much easier to call someone else a writer than to own the term for yourself?
I refused to call myself a writer for most of my life even though I knew since I was six years old that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
But declaring it to other people was terrifying. What if they asked to see what I’ve written? What if they laugh because I haven’t published anything yet so they say I’m just pretending.
Heck, pretend you’re a writer if that’s what it takes for you to start embracing the notion yourself.
“What if I fail as a writer?” You won’t. If you are writing because it is who you are, it fulfills your soul, you won’t fail. Period. You only fail if you give up.
Because you are a writer.
You’re a writer.
You’re a writer.
Now just say it once: I’m a writer.
This is the truth:
Action creates clarity.
If you don’t know how to write, or what to write, or what to do, or how to do it.
It may be messy, and that’s okay.
Action is better than inaction.
If you find yourself stuck, why?
Is it lack of motivation? Distraction? Roadblocks? Time?
No matter your response, it all boils down to one thing: you.
There’s nothing else blocking your way except you. You’re in your head, a plug blocking the creative flow.
I could break it down to a million bits of advice for how to overcome all the things that come up as common blocks, but this is the thing, if you aren’t taking action, that’s truly the only problem.
Action creates clarity.
You don’t need permission from anyone to write the way you want to. Just write.
If you find yourself in your head, just put your hand over your heart and breathe. Feel your heartbeat. Feel the intuition inside.
Then put your hands on a pen or your keyboard, whatever your method, and just write whatever words come to you. Don’t limit yourself to your story. Don’t limit yourself to an outline or a specific idea. Just write. It’s breaking open the walls that you put around your creative flow.
It’s just about writing.
You never know what will come out of you, but you have to stop getting in your way.
And appreciate the results.
You’re a writer.
I’ll see you next time.