I know this sounds harsh, but it’s time for some tough love from your favorite Author Coach…moi. Ready? Here it comes…
You can blame lack of time, life getting in the way, your kids, your partner, your day job, your poor health, or anything else you can think of, but that’s not why you don’t write. But if you genuinely want to develop the habit of writing consistently, stop pointing your finger at anyone and everything else. Instead, point it toward yourself.
In other words, take responsibility.
You and only you are to blame for your inability to sit down and write daily. You are the only one who controls whether or not you produce X number of words or pages per week.
Blame will get you nowhere fast. It won’t help you finish your manuscript, start or maintain your blog, or write query letters to magazines. It will, however, keep you stuck.
Taking responsibility will get you wherever you want to go fast. Really, it will.
After all, when you can only blame yourself, you realize that if you want something to change, you have to change. And that insight propels you toward a consistent writing practice.
A Harsh Talk with Myself
I’m telling you this because I recently had to say the exact words to myself. Yes…myself.
I have not had a consistent writing habit for a long time. I had tons of excuses. Those excuses just kept me stuck..and not writing.
So I sat down and said to myself, “Something has to change if you are ever to write your books and make a difference…and that something is you.”
Then I said, “Write the frickin’ books already! Be a writer.” (I am being more careful with my word choice here than during my conversation with myself.)
Now, things did not change overnight. They didn’t even change after two weeks of having an accountability partner. But now… I’m writing. I’m writing even if it’s for 15 minutes, at the end of my work day, when I’m tired or don’t feel well, and when I have other commitments to keep.
“Writers write,” I remind myself daily. “You are a writer, Nina! Write.”
Even today…with little time left to get a post up and ready for tomorrow…I wrote this post. I could have edited a post from one of my guest bloggers, but I chose to compose one from scratch instead.
Why? I’m a writer. And as a journalist and long-time blogger, I know I can churn out a post quickly. (I’ve done it many times before.) And so why not prove that to myself…that I’ve still got it in me?
Why not, indeed. And so…I wrote. And now you are reading this post, which contains the advice I gave myself that got me out of my writing slump.
Time for Change
It’s time to do things differently, is it not?
Not sure? Consider this…
If you don’t change your writing habit to one that helps you become productive, where will you be in a year, three years, or five years? Will you have written a book, created a successful blog, or landed a magazine article gig?
So, decide to change.
Be a Writer
The one change that will make the most significant difference is to change your identity.
Stop being a blamer and complainer. Be a person who is responsible. Then be responsible for your actions—including writing (or not writing).
And stop being someone who lacks personal integrity. Instead, be a person who has self-integrity. Keep your promises to yourself—like writing every day.
And, most important of all, be a writer. Then do what writers do…write. That’s how you create the results you desire—like becoming an author, blogger, or journalist.
These identities are all ones that I, too, have adopted. And they are the reason I am now writing consistently again.
Get Help and Do the Work
Transformation typically requires a hard look at ourselves and even harder work of doing things differently and being someone different. But, you need to do the work necessary to change.
While sometimes an event causes instant transformation, that’s a rare occurrence. More often than not, transformation is a process and takes time and effort.
Also, you might be able to get out of your own way on your own. But if you are like most people, you need someone or something to lend a hand and pull you out of the road. You need assistance to stop being the obstacle between where you are and where you want to go.
Humans have blind spots, so we need someone to point them out. We often need someone to call us out on our excuses and other bad habits. And we might need someone who can provide a mirror that reflects our potential and shows us who we are capable of being and what we are capable of achieving.
Focus on Your Personal Growth
To get out of your own way and write, you must engage in personal growth or development. Whether you choose to meditate, journal, read personal development books, or hire a coach, do something to help yourself change. Your success depends upon it.
In fact, the most successful people invest loads of time, money, and energy into themselves. This is because they realize that investment will reap a considerable ROI: success.
For the last two years, I have immersed myself in personal and spiritual growth programs. (I believe we need to address both aspects of being human—spiritual and physical.) I knew I was stuck and needed help getting unstuck.
I knew the problem was me…not someone or something outside of myself. And so I sought out help…and I got it. And now I’m writing consistently. I’m no longer in my own way.
Here’s the thing: personal growth is self-improvement. And self-improvement can’t do anything other than help you learn, grow, and become the type of person who can write consistently…and succeed as a writer.
Focusing on self-improvement will help you:
- Change your identity.
- Increase your level of self-integrity.
- Gain clarity on your project and goals.
- Make decisions.
- Act with courage.
- Become more productive.
- Step into the role of leader and influencer.
- Let go of what has held you back.
- Show up as the person and author/writer you want to be.
- Promote yourself and your work.
- Build an author platform.
And it will help you get out of your way and write consistently.
So, don’t wait another minute to get out of your way. Instead, admit that you are your only obstacle. Then begin doing the self-improvement work necessary to help you become the amazingly consistent—and successful—writer you know you are meant to be.
How do you plan to get out of your own way and write consistently? Tell me in a comment below, and share this post with a writing buddy who might need to hear my tough-love advice today.
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Photo courtesy of evgenyatamanenko.