Do you make writing more difficult than it needs to be?
When it's time to write, do you spend more time and energy thinking up reasons not to write than actually writing?
Do you lend a believing ear to that voice of negativity in the back of your mind that shouts lies like "You're not a writer," "You should quit trying," or "No one will want to read your writing anyways"?
When writing gets hard, do you let yourself get distracted by your social media feeds, Netflix, or that bag of chips in the pantry?
If you do, you've fallen prey to the drama that often gets created when it's time to write.
You have? Me too.
In its simplest form, writing is just putting words down on the page.
Word after word after word and before you know it, you're done.
Writing becomes difficult when we let our thoughts, feelings, and excuses get in the way.
When we not only listen to and believe those shouting voices in the back of our minds, but when we let them convince us to stop what we are working on and do something else.
In my last blog post, I made a promise that I would be more transparent in sharing about the ups and downs in my own writing life because if I'm experiencing something, there's a good chance others are too.
So here goes: I've noticed a lot more drama in my writing life lately and most of that drama is self-created.
You see, I'm working on a big project that I know will help a lot of writers so the stakes are higher than if I was just writing in my notebook.
I've made working on this project into a bigger production than it needs to be by coming up with tons of excuses why I'm not ready to write it yet.
I've told myself that everything needs to be 'perfect' before I begin writing: I need an outline with every little detail I could possibly include, every resource perfectly documented, and know exactly where I'm going and how I will get there before I can write word #1.
I've listened to and believed that critical voice that constantly tells me that I'm a fraud, no one will want to read what I write, and there are so many others out there who could write this book much better than I could.
But the truth is that all of this is just drama I've created to keep myself from actually writing.
None of it is true.
The truth is that the outline I have is good enough for now. I can begin writing and see where it takes me. (I may even make some cool discoveries along the way!)
I can continue to explore resources to add to what I already have to take my work deeper.
I can remember that the words I write may help make someone else's writing journey a little easier and even if they don't, then I can still feel proud of myself because I WROTE A BOOK.
But I can't do any of that if I don't start writing.
So I will be on the lookout for drama that I am letting my mind create to keep me from completing this project.
I will call it for what it is and get back to work.
To all of the procrastination, excuses, comparisons, and feelings of self-doubt -- I'm onto you and your sneaky ways. I don't need you anymore. Thank you for your concern but you can leave now.
I've got writing to do.
How about you? How have you been making writing more dramatic than it needs to be?
Jen Laffin is the founder of Teach Write LLC and a writing mindset coach.
She loves to help teachers grow as writers because she knows it is the best way for students to grow as writers too. Join Jen in a Teach Write Workshop inside the Teach Write Academy soon!