I came across the wonderful blog of author Kristen Lamb a few weeks ago. For me her blog is absolutely filled with great advice for writers. But this post I found especially helpful because it challenged me to take a hard look at myself and my life. What I discovered, with her help, was that I have been letting many things get in the way of my writing and that these have become excuses.
”Excuses are free, but they cost us everything.” She writes. I’ve made far too many excuses for NOT writing and it’s time to look for reasons TO write.
So here are a few of the things that have been holding me back and which I shall be improving:
* Letting myself become sidetracked. This is insidious. I have far too often let my attention wander to YouTube, or let a site I was using for research become research drift. The next thing I realize is that it an hour and a half later and I have not committed any words to screen. Yes, my ADD doesn’t help in these cases but that in turn becomes an excuse too.
I must commit myself to writing time and treat that time as if it were my livelihood. Hobbies and time with friends are great, but what am I willing to give up in order to become a published writer? More great wisdom from Kristen Lamb:
Everything is the enemy. Friends and family will want you to keep being the maid and the taxi and the babysitter and the buddy who can spend all day shoe-shopping. Many of us will try to keep being Everything to everyone and we’ll just try to “fit in” writing, but that is the lie that will kill the dream. We can’t be Everything!
* I am too emotionally invested in my job. And what makes no sense is that I hate what I do for a living. Being a factory hand is great line of work for some but not me. I am a writer. Negative emotional attachment to my job saps my energy and creativity. I must learn to let go. As cliche as it sounds, I must treat the place where I work as if it doesn’t exist when I leave the employee gate at shift change.
Along with that I should allow myself to use vacation time for the sole purpose of writing. A working vacation that I enjoy.
* Tame the inner critic. This is a huge one for me. I think that I am like many writers when I allow my inner critic to run roughshod over what I know is good storytelling, beating myself up to the point where I think to myself, “I’ll put this aside for now and come back to it when I have some better ideas.” Again here, far too often I’ve allowed this to become a fear that I am not now nor ever will be “good enough”.
Change truly is never easy. But these are the biggest changes I need to make to be a writer professionally. It’s nice to have the potential to be a professional writer but potential means nothing without commitment and a big part of that is the commitment to one’s self to make positive change.