July 18, 2017
Note From Rochelle
Last week, I made a big decision. I knew that in order to keep growing my business, I needed wisdom and support. So I hired a coach and joined his coaching group—and now I have a whole cadre of people on my team. (If you’re curious, my coach is George Kao, Authentic Business Coach. He’s terrific—as are the wonderful people in the group!) If you’re in the same place—needing support to take the next step with your book or other writing project—send me an email, we’ll set up a time to talk!
Today’s tip comes from my forthcoming book of quests to help readers increase productivity in writing and life.
The Write Now! Coach
Drop Everything and Write
By Rochelle Melander
When my daughter was in grade school and middle school, they had DEAR time every single day—drop everything and read. In her school, not having a DEAR book was an offense punishable with detention.
When I think about DEAR time for writers, I wonder: what if the “everything” we have to drop is our worry, complaining, and negative self talk?
In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch wrote this about complaining:
If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.
As writers, we waste our precious creative energy when we:
+worry about what we need to do and how we will do it
+talk through our stories and projects with colleagues
+complain about the challenges of publishing
+whine about how others are getting more attention than we are
+ruminate about rejections and lost opportunities
In this quest, you will drop your worries, complaints, and fears and write.
This quest has two parts: reflection and implementation.
Review the last several weeks and consider the negative thoughts and conversations that got in the way of your writing. Include all of your worries, whines, complaints, negative thoughts, ruminations, and regrets. Make a list of the thoughts that come up most for you when you write. They might include statements like,
+I worry that this will never get published.
+Why write? The market is glutted.
+I don’t know if I know enough to write this well.
+Why would anyone read what I have to say?
+I’m such a loser.
Once you have a list of your top negative thoughts, rewrite them as positive affirmations. The list above becomes:
+I trust that this work will find readers.
+I believe that there is a vibrant market for my work.
+I know that I have been called and prepared to write this.
+I trust that my work will encourage (or entertain or educate) many people.
+I have the perfect gifts to write this project.
Copy your list of affirmations onto a document on your computer, a note on your phone, or a card that you can carry with you. Now it’s time to implement the plan.
Next time you’re writing and the inner critic showers you with doubts or you’re tempted to whine instead of write, catch yourself. Gently tell yourself to stop, saying, “I commit to drop everything and write.” Then recite one of your mantras and write.
I can guarantee you that the negative critic or the urge to complain will hit you again, very quickly and even harder. Repeat the implementation process: gently tell the inner critic to stop, recite the mantra, and write. Tweak this as needed. You might take a walk around the block or do a yoga pose to help yourself let go of the negative thoughts and grab onto the positive ones.
Game Play Tips
+In my child’s school, DEAR time was always scheduled. For those who write only when inspired, negative self-talk and complaining get in the way of even getting to the writing. Boost your chances of making this quest work by scheduling time to write.
+When I need a kick in the butt and a good laugh, I watch Bob Newhart’s “Stop it” therapy video. Try it. I’ll bet you’ll stop complaining and start writing immediately!
+I often think my affirmations sound too much like Stuart Smalley’s script from Saturday Night Live, and I can’t stop laughing. If affirmations trigger laughter or cringing, play around with them until you discover a few that work.
How do you drop everything and write? Leave a comment below
And, if you find this tip helpful, please share it online or forward it to a friend.