Are you having trouble writing?
Are you struggling to get yourself to lay words down on the page?
I’m not talking about times when you spend a few hours mulling over ideas.
I’m not talking about a day or so of writer’s block.
I’m talking about works in progress that aren’t being worked on. I’m referring to you saying you want to be a writer but not making serious progress toward it.
It’s a common issue—people who talk about writing but months or years pass and they haven’t made any serious progress.
If you are one of these people, it’s time for honest self-assessment.
Do you want to write or do you want the pleasures of being a writer?
We live in a time when lots of people want to BE but few want to BECOME.
Their vision doesn’t really include the work. They’re focused on what comes with the accomplishment of BEING a writer. Of having a book, or a blog, or a name in journalism.
They’re focused on the notoriety and the benefits of having the title author, blogger, journalist, etc…
They want the lifestyle, not the life.
Because the life of a writer is mostly work. It’s mostly choosing, arranging, deleting, and remixing words. Over and over and over…in solitude.
There’s also usually a lot of research, which is primarily consuming words from various sources also in solitude.
Depending on what you write, you may have to cover events, conduct interviews, travel, and/or investigate.
But 90%, if not more, of the writing life is writing. No glamour and no glitz.
And this is why many people who claim they want to write have difficulty doing it. They sit down and prepare to work and they realize that’s exactly what it is—work. Unless it’s a moment when there’s a batch of words waiting to be unleashed from their fingertips, they don’t find the thrill they expected.
That leaves them wanting, wishing, that things were written in their name. But they don’t really want to do the writing.
I can relate…
Self-Conning, I Know
As I write this post, I feel like I’m bulging. When I say these jeans fit, it’s not a compliment.
After COVID-19 arrived, I stopped going to the gym and I gained weight.
I’ve been saying I want to get back to working out since April.
That’s led me to rearrange my house about three times. I’ve gone through and de-cluttered to ensure I have airy, open areas to exercise.
Right now, I’m waiting for several Lowes shipments to help me continue “recreating” my space, but I already know it isn’t going to help.
I’ve stopped pretending and just faced it.
It’s September, and I’ve worked out in my house maybe eight times since March.
For about 2 ½ years before the coronavirus, I was going to the gym between two and five times a week—faithfully.
So, I know what it feels like when I want to work out. I know what it feels like when I’m forcing myself to do it. And I know how it feels when I don’t want to do it.
And I DO NOT really want to work out, at least not in my house.
I want the weight gone. I want the tone and the definition back that I had six months ago.
I want the results without the work. That’s the truth.
And if you claim you want to be a writer but aren’t writing, it could also be your truth.
We’re masters of conning ourselves. And we have a tendency to let ourselves slide for things we’d hold others accountable for.
When we want to do something… when we have a desire to do something, short of disability or some real obstacle, we do it.
Successful basketball players don’t hop online and ask for advice or read blogs to motivate them to hit the court. They play.
Hungry people don’t sit around figuring out how to lure themselves to a plate of food. They eat.
Serious writers don’t need strategies and tips to get themselves to the page. They write.
Granted, that’s not to say any of those things are done in bliss all the time. Believing that is another chapter from The Fantasy of Writing—Part 1.
To become a writer, only one of two things must be true:
- You enjoy writing regularly
- You have the discipline to do it regardless
If you’re not writing, you probably lack both of these things and that calls into question what it is that you really want.
Identify Your Trouble Writing
If you think it through and writing really is what you want, you need to identify what’s keep you from doing it and come up with a resolution–Fast!
Don’t fluff around with motivational books and videos and Facebook groups. None of that.
Get to the root of the problem and get to work.
I’m not telling you anything I didn’t apply to myself.
With my workout issue, the obstacle was trying to do it in the house. I’ve never liked exercising at home, probably never will.
But I’m proud to report I’ve found and committed to a work-around until I feel safe going back to the gym. And that is outdoor activity– biking, hiking, walks… I even broke out the jump rope.