Often you’re resistant to getting started. That resistance is just a thin veneer between you and your work but it feels like a concrete wall. Get up and crash right through it! Become a bull or a battering ram. Don’t let a film of resistance cost you decades.


What keeps you from writing? All of us have at least one excuse—maybe more!—that always manages to keep us from getting down to business at one time or another. I blame my Literature degree. I spent four amazing years learning that I could never write as well as the people who came before me.

Anytime I scribble a few words on a sheet of paper, people like Jane Austin, Daniel Defoe, Aphra Behn, and Thomas Pynchon sit on my shoulder asking me, “Are you as good as me?” “Is your writing going to be so inspirational that students spend thousands of dollars to study you like they do us?” Before college, I wrote every day. I filled notebook after notebook with ideas that flooded my mind.  In college, I suddenly found that the ideas ran to hide at the sight of the masterpieces.

It’s difficult to overcome these personal fears when they seem to have so much power—especially when we feel that our ideas can never measure up to the quality of work by the authors whose work we admire and whose writing world we long to join. It’s easy for people to tell us to sit down and just start writing, but we know it’s usually not that easy. Sometimes it can be, but often something in our mind simply stops us.

So we must understand what we want as writers and we need to know that the effort we put forth is going to be meaningful. Breaking through this “resistance” depends on making the fear seem smaller, easier to overcome. No matter how insignificant it might be to others, fear is an obstacle that we have to learn to conquer in our own way. We have to figure out how to make getting started with our writing less intimidating.

START

A great place to start is by believing that “starting” is not a terrifying experience, but a liberating one. This is an opportunity for you to explore the inner workings of your mind. By simply starting, you have opened this journey into your wants and desires. It’s easy to feel like you should be writing what everyone else wants you to write, but nothing will ever be as satisfying as writing what you want to write.

Maybe instead of thinking about all the consequences that come with starting a writing project, think about the consequences of what happens if you don’t. Do you want to spend the rest of your life telling people you always wanted to write, or do you want to be proud of yourself for trying—and most likely succeeding? In the end, no one can make this choice for you. No one can better understand your fears better than you, and deep down, you know how to bust through those fears.

It’s a bit ironic that I’m having to overcome my personals fears RIGHT NOW in writing to you about how overcoming our resistances can lead to such positive outcomes.

I have always been able to speak to people. I’m all hand-movements and big facial expressions, but the process of writing is a very intimate experience for me. Having people read my work feels as if I am opening my soul to a world of judgment and rejection—not an uncommon apprehension for writers. Thus, our work must fully speak for itself. Once it’s sent out into the world, we cannot explain to readers what we mean by a certain phrase or character decision.

What makes writing beautiful and exciting also terrifies me because of the possible judgment I could face. That fear of the “what if” keeps me from writing. What if you hate everything I have said in this post? How do I overcome that fear? By trying to understand that even though not everyone will like my writing, someone might. Even if they don’t fully understand or agree with what I am saying, maybe they will see the meaning they need to see.


With permission from Dr. Eric Maisel, The 97 Best Creativity Tips Ever! (2011) was the inspiration for this post.


20151003_143834Bonnie Snow was an intern with Around the Writer’s Table, working toward a graduate certificate in publishing and editing while in her senior year at Florida State University. She is inspired by the editing field’s penchant for helping others see their dreams realized. It’s important to Bonnie that the art of editing come, not only from refining writers’ works, but also in understanding the vision that authors wish to impress upon others and fully supporting them in their fulfillment of their purpose and passion.

Share This