You’ve got a great idea for a story. Heck, maybe you have a dozen great ideas. You want more than anything to bring them to life – to see them at the front of the bookstore or maybe even on the big screen – so why isn’t your manuscript done? Is it because of your time-sucking day job? Fear or uncertainty in your plot? Finding yourself on Netflix?
The list can go on and it seems like there is a never-ending list of reasons why writing is hard or even impossible.
But the truth of it? Nothing external has to do with why you’re not writing. It has to do with your thoughts and the feelings they are creating.
Let’s take the day job example. Maybe your thought about your job is “working my day job gives me no time to write.”
How does the thought “working my day job gives me no time to write” make you feel? Anxious? Frustrated? Sad?
Now when you’re feeling an emotion like anxiety, are you likely to want to spend time writing?
Probably not. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to go on Netflix instead.
It’s that simple: the reason you’re not writing is because of a thought in your mind. And the feeling that thought is creating is either driving you or stalling you.
The trick is to find the thought that is keeping you from writing right now.
Stop and fill in the blank:
I haven’t written today because .
Then determine the feeling that thought is causing.
What emotion do you feel when you read that sentence back? .
You have the power to determine how you feel. And you can use thoughts to generate feelings that motivate you to write.
How to overcome your block and start writing:
Be self-aware. Notice your thoughts and pay attention to how they make you feel and how you act because of that feeling. Don’t shame or judge yourself. Just notice.
Imagine you have written the paragraph, page, chapter, or book. You did it! Woohoo! What do you get to think and feel now that it’s done?
Now that my paragraph/chapter/book is done, I can feel: .
Because I’m thinking: .
Hold onto that. Those thoughts and feelings you just brought to the surface are available to you right now, in this very moment. Thinking it will motivate the action you need to take. That is the key to writing.
Got your thought? Feel that feeling? Let’s write.