Do you block your own progress?
The hardest part of anything is getting started. This is one of the main reasons we procrastinate. Because we know getting started is a huge process. It involves a lot of hard work and preparation. The thought of all that work and preparation usually stops us dead in our tracks. We decide to put it off for yet another time. And we writers are notoriously known for being procrastinators.
The thought of completing that novel or getting started with a blog is a huge project and we want to avoid it. We will do anything to avoid putting pen to paper. We will find some excuse to avoid writing. We will find an “emergency” that needs to be attended to right now.
So what is behind this procrastination? What is stopping you from being the writer you always wanted to be?
First there are the practical day to day activities that need to be taken care of. We may for instance have day jobs, kids to look after, families, laundry, errands to run, and so forth. These are some of the activities that may be getting in the way of our writing. We usually have little control over these activities; as they must be done on a daily basis. Writing is a very detailed and time consuming activity. Even though we may love to write, these other issues need to be taken care of and cannot be avoided.
Luckily there are practical solutions to these outer activities that get in the way of our writing. If you have a lot of responsibilities during the day and just can’t find time to write, one solution could be getting up an hour earlier than you usually do and use that time to write when the house is quiet and nobody is around to disturb you. You could even take just 15 minutes a day to write. Even just 15 minutes a day adds up over time. The important thing is to be consistent. Choose a time for your writing; and make sure that everyone knows this is your time that you take for yourself. Basically you can schedule your time around your day to day activities.
We may not have any control over the outside world and how it interferes with our writing. However, there are things in our own psyche that may be preventing us from writing. These are mental and emotional blocks that are experienced by most, if not all of us from time to time. Some of them you may be consciously aware of; and some of them may be subconscious. You may not be aware you are even doing them.
Writers can block their own progress in a variety of ways.
Here are 5 ways that writers often block their own progress and some suggestions on how you can counteract them.
Block #1: The broken record. You keep repeating to yourself the one word that is a writer’s worst enemy. What do you think this word is?
Well….Here it is
That’s right…This one word is a writer’s worst enemy. And do you know why?
*Because someday never comes.
It usually takes this form:
Someday I will…..
- write a book
- start a blog
- start a business
- take a class
- etc., etc., etc.
Someday will never come. And if you want to get real technical, the dictionary definition of someday is: At an indefinite future time.
One way to counteract the someday syndrome is to make up your mind to do it today. Because today is all you have. Even just five minutes a day, if that’s all you have time for is good enough. That five minutes will add up over time.
Block #2: The perfection trap. You are waiting for everything to be perfect before you begin your project. There is never a “right time” to do something or start something. If you are waiting for everything to be perfect, you will never do it. The perfectionist mind set usually looks something like this:
- When the time is right I will _______.
- When all my other issues or problems are cleared up or solved, then I will be able to _______.
- As soon as I do ______; then I will be able to _______.
- I am waiting for ______; then I will be able to ______.
- When ______ happens; then I will be able to ______.
You may also be afraid to start because you think your work has to be perfect in order for you to put it out there. This is not true at all. You do need to put forth your best effort; but it does not have to be 100% perfect in order for you to move forward.
Recognize that done is better than perfect. You have to start with something; and it will never be complete if you are trying to make it perfect. People will have different ideas about what constitutes “perfect” anyway. How do you know when it’s “perfect”? Just put forth your best effort and complete your project. It may not be 100% perfect; but it will be DONE! Done is better than perfect. It bears repeating. You may even want to tape these words near your computer or work space to remind you of its importance. Progress; not perfection.
Block #3: The lucky break. You have completed your project. Now you are waiting for your “lucky break”. Chances are you will be waiting a very long time, because there is no such thing as a lucky break or an overnight success. Success does not come from leaving it all to chance. You can not just complete a project and hope people will find it. As with someday; the lucky break will never come.
Success come from small consistent actions over time. You take small steps consistently, even when you don’t see immediate results. These actions do not have to be complicated. Actions can be as simple as tweeting once a day. Whatever it is you chose to do ; the key is to do it consistently. These small consistent actions over time are what will lead to success. “Luck” is simply preparedness meeting opportunity.
Preparedness + Opportunity = Success
Block #4: The negative mind set. Your mind is filled with negative beliefs and doubts about your ability as a writer. This usually looks something like this:
- Am I really a good writer?
- Am I even a writer at all?
- Who am I to call myself a writer?
- I’m not as good as all the other writers out there.
- My writing pales in comparison to that of other writers.
The negative mind set will keep you stuck. If you have negative mind clutter and doubts about your ability as a writer you will be stuck in the rut of a “what’s the sense” attitude. You will wonder what the sense of even getting started is if you will not be able to write as good as other writers. If your work will not be as good as everyone else’s, what’s the sense in even getting started you might think. A negative mind set will get you nowhere.
To counteract a negative mindset; you need to cultivate a positive mindset. There are a variety of ways you can cultivate a positive mind set. You have to make a conscious choice to change your mindset. One way to create a positive mindset is with meditation. Even just five minutes of meditation a day can clear your mind of clutter. You can also write and say positive affirmations every day. Some positive affirmations you can use are:
- I am a good writer.
- My story is unique.
- Nobody can tell my story like I can.
There are dozens of affirmations to choose from. You can even make up your own to counteract the negative thoughts that are the most dominant for you. It’s also important to surround yourself with positive people who build you up and encourage you. Having supportive people in your life if very important. Toxic people will bring you down and block your progress. Surround yourself with positive safe people.
Block #5: Attachment. You may be attached to how you think things are suppose to work out. When you are attached to an idea of how you think things should work out, you block the flow of something better coming into your life. For an example, let’s say you wrote a novel and now want to have it published. You are absolutely certain that your book must be published by X Publishing. You know without a doubt that publishing your book with X Publishing will bring you huge success. So you block out any other opportunities to get your book published. You focus only on trying to get published with X Publishing. What you have done is you have blocked the flow of something better working out for you.
Let go of your attachment to how you think things are suppose to work out. The Universe works in mysterious ways. When you let go of your attachment to how you think things are supposed to work out; the Universe will bring it to you in more magnificent ways than you could ever imagine or think of on your own. The only part ever that is yours is to take the ACTION. The Universe will take care of the rest.
What do you do to counteract blocks to your progress? Please share your tips in the comments below.