Welcome to Coach’s Corner, where I offer some thoughts on the creative process and breaking through moments of self-doubt.
Defeating writer’s block is a huge industry. There are dozens upon dozens of books available at the bookstore on it (including mine). There are hundreds of workshops advertised on Facebook every day that are dedicated to it (including mine). Most writers blog about it at some point in time. When groups of writers get together, in person or for coffee, chances are, they are asking for and sharing advice on getting more words on the page. I am very much a part of that machine, working with writers to defeat their self-doubt in order to be more productive.
As much as I am a cog in the machine of advice for writers, I experience the same self-doubt and frustrations. I too fall victim to thinking that I just don’t feel like writing. Writing isn’t fun any more. Work has been exhausting, and I need the evening off to recover.
I can coach myself out of those thoughts. What is it I’m resisting? What is it that I’m really running from? What is the real reason behind not wanting to write? What is it that I love about the story I’m writing? Find the motivation in that love.
The thing is, most often, whatever the answers are, they don’t matter.
They simply do not matter.
The only real way to break through writer’s block, or the self-doubt, or the “not feeling/wanting to write” is to just do it anyway.
Simple as that.
Don’t feel like it? Too bad. You want to be a writer? Write. Another rejection making you feel like you can’t write? Sit down and write something for yourself anyway. You’re not always writing for that agent or market. So just write.
Most of us have to get out of bed in the morning and go to work even when we don’t “feel like it” or “want to.” We do it because it’s our job. Some of us endure family gatherings even when we don’t want to. We do it because they are family, and we have a duty to them.
We are writers. We write.
Believe me when I say that I am very aware that this is much easier said than done. I’ve sometimes joked that if I lived in the world of Harry Potter, I’d have something that was a cross between a quick-quote quill and the pensieve, so that after placing the story thread into the ink, the quill writes the story for me. But writing isn’t that easy. It isn’t always fun. If we want to succeed at it, we have to put in the hard work.
When we put in the hard work, put words on the page despite our lack of motivation or excitement or not feeling like it, we prove to ourselves that we really are the professionals we claim to be. We prove to ourselves that we can write.
Writing is the only way to truly defeat the self-doubt and break through writer’s block. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be marketable. It doesn’t have to be our magnum opus. It just has to be words on the page.
We are writers. We write.
And now I am going to take my own advice and write, even though I’m exhausted and don’t feel like it. What about you?