You want to change, yet you continue to point out all the reasons why you can’t write consistently or productively. You may already realize this, but fighting for your limitations is a broken strategy—if you want to transform yourself into the nonfiction writer you know you can…and want…to be.
Every time you say, “I really want to____ (Fill in the blank with your desired change, like “write daily,” “submit my work to agents,” “query magazine editors,” or “build my platform.”), but I can’t because____ (Fill in the blank with your reason or limitation, such as “I don’t have the time,” “life gets in the way,” “I don’t like social media,” or “I’ve tried and failed in the past.”), you tell yourself you don’t want to change.
Instead, you prefer to remain stuck. You’d rather argue for the circumstances or challenges that limit your potential to be the nonfiction writer you dream of being than fight for your transformation.
Fighting for your limitations—rather than your potential—leads to frustration…big time! It’s why you feel so stuck and unable to change.
Focus on Your Potential as a Nonfiction Writer
Plus, consider that your words are powerfully creative. Each time you offer a reason why you can’t change, you pick up a sword. And you fight off any possibility of reducing the challenges you perceive as enemies of your transformation into a courageous, productive, and consistent nonfiction writer.
Yet, anything is possible 100% of the time…even your transformation.
When you insist that you can’t change because of a circumstance in your life, you focus your attention on why you can’t write or publish rather than on why you can do it. You tell your subconscious mind the circumstance is important and you want it in your life.
As Richard Bach teaches in Illusions, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” Thus, if you focus on your potential, you will become the kind of writer you want to be.
Why You Fight for Your Limitations
Fighting for your limitations seems crazy, right…especially since you want to become an amazing writer and successful published author? Well, you know what Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
But it is human nature to find reasons—Admit it…they are excuses.—to justify why you can’t do something that feels hard or scary, like filling up the blank computer screen with words, submitting your work, or showing up on social media to promote yourself and your work. And that’s the root of the issue: different equates to hard and scary.
The reptilian part of your brain perceives any change as a threat to your life. Therefore, it gives you reasons why you can’t change. It does not want you to do anything different…ever…especially if it is hard and scary!
Past Proof Doesn’t Serve You
Not only that, your brain draws on the past to prove you can’t change. That’s why your desire to change is met with memories of the times you tried to change but failed. Or you recall all the times you did something different for a little while and then returned to your old ways before it became a habit. Or it reminds you of how you submitted a book proposal to a publisher and got rejected. Your brain points out these events to you as a way to deter you from trying again.
Just the other day, someone I know told me she wanted to do things differently going forward but would not commit. “I can tell you—or myself—that I commit to taking this action consistently, but I have never stuck with it before. So I don’t know why now would be any different,” she said.
She was fighting for her limitations…her old limitations. By so doing, she gave herself an “out.” She had a reason or excuse for not following through this time either.
But she is different now, and so are her limitations. Therefore, she has new possibilities, too.
Fight for Your Potential as a Writer and Author
If fighting for your limitations is a faulty strategy, what’s a better one? Fight for your potential. Fight for the possibility of change!
I bet there have been times when you changed successfully—or did something different, challenging, or new, like posting your first Instagram live, sending a query to literary agents, or self-publishing your book. Additionally, I am sure there are times when you had the self-integrity to carry through on your promises to yourself. For example, maybe you told yourself you would write daily and you did or committed to finishing a manuscript by a certain date and met that self-imposed deadline.
So, replace your old memories of past failures with memories that provide proof that you can change. And focus your thoughts on the possibility of doing so again.
The Past Does Not Need to Repeat Itself
Despite what you might think (or have been told), the past does not need to repeat itself. Instead, you can create a totally different future if you choose to do so.
However, the past will repeat itself…over and over…if you continue using past experiences to justify the future turning out the same. This is just another way to fight for your limitations—and to create what you don’t want.
You’ve heard this type of mental chatter before. It sounds a lot like the words used by my friend: “I failed before, so why bother? I’ll just fail again.”
And your thoughts and spoken words are powerful. As James Allen wrote, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
Five Ways to Fight for Your Potential
So, how do you stop fighting for your limitations and fight for your potential as a nonfiction writer instead? Here are five ways.
- Replace the word “can’t” with “can.”
- Replace the reasons why you can’t change with why you can change.
- Stop using past failures to prove future outcomes.
- Use past successes to fight for future possibilities.
- Decide to be someone who can change.
The last strategy is the most effective. After all, if you are someone who can change, you will change. That result is 100% possible—even probable—based simply on your identity.
Plus, when you are someone who can change, you fight for your potential and see possibility everywhere. And you experience transformation as a result.
Do you fight for your limitations or potential as a writer and author? Tell me about your experience in a comment below. And please share this post on social media or with a writing friend.
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Photo courtesy of Anna Tolipova