One of the biggest blocks I have noticed with the authors I have worked with is the need to get their writing right before they get it written.
I talked about this briefly in one of my recent writing tips and it is such a big block for many authors that I wanted to go deeper and explore it further.
The idea that we have to write perfectly is a massive block for many writers and it literally stops them from writing anything at all. They freeze. And of course, not only can you not edit what hasn’t been written, you can’t publish it either.
We have to find a way to work through this if we want to become published authors.
Why does it happen?
When we sit down to write, there is often a relentless, inner critic – let’s refer to her as our inner editor- that drives us to want to write perfectly straight up.
Some writers cannot even sit down to write because they have a belief – either conscious or unconscious – that they have to get it right in their heads first and then they can put it on paper. Conscious or not, it is there, and it is having a negative impact on their ability to achieve their goal of becoming published.
How sad is that?
I know from my own experience, as well as from feedback I receive regularly, that writers can become completely paralysed but their inner editor. Even if they have an idea and they are able to start putting things down on paper, or typing things into a note on their computers, before long they are reading and re-reading the little bit of work they’ve done, and editing it, and they’ve lost their creative spark.
Mostly though, they just get so stuck with getting the words right in their heads that they don’t dare to express them in writing in the first place.
What do you need to know?
What you are experiencing is fear, pure and simple. Regardless of where it comes from, it is fear and just about anything that matters to us resides on the other side of fear.
What is the best way to combat fear?
Education. De-framing and re-framing our thoughts around our fears is a great approach to minimising and even dissipating our fears. Questioning the validity of our thoughts and adding new information is often all it takes to be able to get moving and push through a fear.
Asking questions is a great way to explore what is going on and will lead you to finding the answers you need to be able to move forward.
Start with these questions:
Do I really have to get the words right in my head before I can put them on paper?
No. You don’t. Simple. What is right anyway?
Who is going to know if I don’t write something perfectly the first time?
No one, and you can get rid of it or change it if you don’t like what you’ve written.
What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t get it right straight up?
I’ll let you answer this one for yourself. I think you will find you’ve been telling yourself some interesting stories that you might even like to share with us at some point.
What do I need to know that will help make it easier for me to move beyond this fear?
I’ll let you answer this one for yourself too because the answer will be different for everyone, but I will give you some new ways of viewing writing that might help you see it from a different perspective.
A new perspective on writing might help you to reframe a fear of not getting it right.
Writing is just another form of communication. Communicating effectively takes practice.
Writing is like a bridge that joins one mind to another.
Writing is a process of exploration and an expression of who someone really is.
Writing is like painting a picture using words. There are many different ways to describe something that are neither right nor wrong.
Writing is a means to an end.
Every author needs an editor and it is easier to edit bad writing than to edit nothing at all.
Keep your eyes on your goal. It can pull you through any uncomfortable moments.
Perspective from some famous authors:
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
What do you need to do now?
1. Give yourself permission to get it wrong.
2. Schedule regular writing time and leave your inner editor outside the door while you explore your thoughts and ideas on paper.
3. Keep doing 1 and 2 until you finish your first draft of your book.
If this has been helpful to you, please send me an email and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
If you want help to get started with your writing, please download our free ebook 7 Things an Author Must Know about Writing and Publishing a Book Before They Take the Plunge.
And if you would like further support, join us in the Authorpreneur’s Bootcamp where we show you everything you need to know to be able to write and publish your own book.
That’s it for this week. Take care and I will be back next week with another blog.
Bye for now.